Apadana commentary (Atthakatha)

by U Lu Pe Win | 216,848 words

This is the English translation of the commentary on the Apadana (Atthakatha), also known as the Visuddhajana-Vilasini. The Buddhist stories known as apadanas refer to biographies of Buddhas, Buddhist monks and nuns. They are found in the Pali Canon (Khuddaka Nikaya), which is the primary canon of Theravada Buddhism. Alternative titles: Visuddhaja...

Conclusion of the commentary on silent buddhas (paccekabuddhas)

131.2. khaggavisāṇakappo (like the horn of a rhinoceros) is thus:- similar to cutting down trees and so on with a sword, it roams about reducing to pieces and powder, hills and so on, with its own horn; thus, is khaggavisāṇa (rhinoceros' horn). Authority resembling poison is thus (visāṇa) horn. Like a sword; is thus (khagga), sword like horn. Of a beast whose sword-horn or a beast who has sword-like horn, that beast is khaggavisāṇa (rhinoceros); similar to that horn of the rhinoceros is khaggavisāṇakappa (like a rhinoceros' horn). Silent buddha resembles a rhinoceros' horn, eko (alone), without a second, companionless, should wander about, live, turn out, get on and keep going;thus, is the meaning.

132. Visuddhasīlā (pure precept) is: distinctively pure virtue; pure precept of the four allround purity. Suvisuddhapaññā (well-purified knowledge) is properly purified wisdom;such knowledge as all-round pure right path, fruition, analytical knowledge and so on, because of the fact that lust etc. had been avoided. Samāhita (well established, sam, well, brought properly) mind placed in one's presence. Jāgariyānuyuttā (devoted to vigilance), wakefulness is vigilance; passing beyond sleep; thus, is the meaning; the condition of being awake is vigilance; to be accordingly yoked to vigilance is to be devoted to wakefulness. Vipassaka (one who sees clearly) precept (or habit) of seeing distinctively as: “Impermanence, misery (dukkha) egoless (anatta)”; they live promoting spiritual insight (vipassanā); thus, is the meaning. Dhammavisesadassī, (one who sees the distinctive dhamma or good deeds) the precept or habit of seeing distinctively the ten meritorious deeds, the four noble truths or the nine transcendental dhamma. Maggaṅga bojjhaṅga gate (gone to the eight-fold noble path and the elements of wisdom), gone with (or by means of) such noble-paths as right view and so on as well as such elements of wisdom or knowledge as mindfulness and so on, properly yoked or well connected with the noble dhamma. vijaññā (understood) is knowing with distinction, knowing or understanding; thus, is the meaning.

133. Suññatāpaṇihitañcanimittam (void, undespatched and signless), soul-empty emancipation under the influence of clear insight into egolessness (anatta), undespatched emancipation under the influence of clear insight into misery (dukkha), signless emancipation under the influence of clear insight into impermanence. Āsevavitvā (having practised) having caused to increase. Ye dhīrā (who are wise people), people who had done the accumulation or preparation; jinasāsanamhi sāvakattam (discipleship in the conqueror's dispensation) the condition of being a disciple, na vajanti (do not go), do not attain; those wise men who had made their preparation, bhavanti (became) sayambhū paccekajinā (self sprung-up silent Conquerors) silent buddhas who became thus but themselves.

134. What had happened? Mahantadhammā (great truths) fulfilled great preparations, bahudhammakāyā (many bodies of truth) many a natural body of dhamma. Again also, what had happened? Cittissarā (reigning ever mind) endowed with jhāna of mental course;thus, is the meaning. Sabbadukkhoghatiṇṇā (crossed ever the flood of entire misery (dukkha), crossed over and gone beyond the whole flood of rounds of rebirths, udaggacittā (be of elated mind) be of tranquil mind, being mentally pleasant because of the absence of such depravity as anger pride, and so on. Paramaṭṭhadassī (seer of absolute meaning) having the precept or habit of seeing the absolute meaning, best significance by way of the five aggregates (khandha), twelve abodes of senses (āyatana), the thirty-two characteristics (ākāra), truths (sacca), dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda) and so on. Sīhopanā (lion example) because it stood unshaken and fearless, similar to a lion; thus, is the meaning. Khaggavisāṇakappa (like the horn of rhinoceros) resembling poisoned sword-beast's horn due to absence of organisation and society; thus, is the meaning.

135. Santindriya (calm controlling faculty) tranquil by nature controlling faculty because of non-occurrence of individual sense-object of such controlling faculties as eye and so on. Santamanā (calm-minded is tranquil-minded, tranquil-by-nature-mental-intention because of being without depravity (kilesa); thus, is the meaning. Samādhi (concentration) is; become onepointed mind properly. Paccantasattesu paṭippacāra (proper practice or performance towards living beings at the border) the precept or habit of proper practice with such feelings as pity, sympathy and so on towards living creatures in the border districts. Dīpā parattha idha vijjalantā (burning lamps here and elsewhere) like unto lighted lamps (burning in this world as well as in the next world by doing deeds of assistance to the whole world; thus, is the meaning. Pacceka buddhā satatam hitā me (these silent buddhas are of constant benefit) these silent buddhas, permanently at all times practise for the welfare of the whole world; thus, is the meaning.

136. Pahīnasabbāvaraṇā janindā (the rulers of people who had forsaken all hindrances) those silent buddhas are the ones who had abandoned all the hindrances because of the fact that they had forsaken all the five hindrances beginning with desire for sensual pleasures, etc., who are, therefore, highest rulers of people. Ghanakañcanābhā (the glitter of solid gold) they do become like unto the glitter of red gold which is the product of Jambu river (jambenada). Nissamsayam lokasudakkhiṇeyyā (undoubtedly well-worthy of gifts offered by the world) definitely, befitting and well worthy to accept the best offering well solemnised of the people of the world;worthy or deserving of accepting excellent offering, due to being devoid of depravity (kilesa); thus, is the meaning. Paccekabuddhā satatappitā me (these silent buddhas are always satiated) these buddhas who had achieved the knowledge of silent buddhahood being satiated well benefitted and thoroughly accomplished always and at all times; in spite of being without any nourishment for seven solid days, they are fully accomplished due to proper attainment of fruition and cessation jhāna (or trance, nirodhasamāpattī).

137. Paccekabuddha (silent buddha) is individually alone, separate from omniscient Buddha, dissimilar to other unique Buddhas. In other words, because it has been said thus:-

“Prefixes, indeclinable words and affixes or endings, these three have the scope of neither single nor many meanings; thus, the grammarians say;”

Pati became the main word due to the word pati's being a single prefix, to be rendered as lord, because of his attainment of heavenly freedom, having accepted food even to a small extent of many a donor. Likewise, indeed, having accepted his share of meal out of the food-load (or food=bear), enjoyed his meal while the donor would be still seeing (or looking on) had congratulations given to the donor by divine-beings, made the poor man in distress attain the position of a banker, that very day by causing wealth counted in crores to arise; in the birth-story of Khadiraṅgāra, having accepted alms-food given by bodhisatta, after treading upon lotus petals which sprang up above the pit of burning embers of acacia firewood created by Māra, by arousing pleasure of mind also with his going through the sky while the bodhisatta donor was still looking on; also by provoking mental delight of the bodhisatta Mahājanaka as well as his queen, with accepting the offering, after having come through the sky from Gandhamādana hill, by way of satisfying the queen of king Mahājanaka and the sons of the chief queen Padumavatī; so also in the absence of appearance of Buddhas, when famine danger arose in the whole of Jambudīpa, the banker of Benares finished up his rice-paddy not only in the sixty thousand granaries which were filled brimful and kept guarded, to avert (or for fear of) famine danger, but also all the paddy grains buried in the ground, stored up to the full in thousand jars and the paddy grains smeared all over after beating down with earth on all the walls of their palatial mansions and there remained then just a measure of coconut shell only; thereupon, having this idea: “Let us die today after eating this” arisen in his mind, the banker lay himself down, when a silent buddha came from Gandhamādana hill, and stood at the door of the banker's house. The banker saw the silent buddha, roused up his piety and scattered his food down into the begging bowl of the silent buddha risking his life. The silent buddha went back to his residence, by means of his own power enjoyed the meal-offering of the banker, who was still looking on, together with five hundred silent buddhas. On that occasion, the rice-cooking vessel was kept closed. When hunger arose to the banker who had gone off to sleep, he rose up and said to his wife thus:- “Please look for just a scum of cooked rice in the meal pet”. That well-disciplined lady, without replying: “Have you not given away all”, opened the lid of the cooking pot. That rice-pot, even immediately, became brimful filled with sweet-scented sali-rice meal, resembling the bud of jasmine flower. When she and the banker had satisfied their hunger, all the occupants of their own house as well as residents of the whole city ate their meals. The place wherever cooked rice was taken out by means of the ladle became filled up again. Sweet scented Sali rice-paddy became full in all the sixty thousand granaries. All the residents of the entire Jambudīpa took seedlings of paddy from the banker's house only and became happy. In this way and so on, amongst the big bodies of many a living creature, whom they made to attain the heavenly emancipation, properly protecting them all round and rendering them happy, he is a buddha who had become lord and master; thus, is the silent buddha Paccekabuddhānam subhāsitāni (wellspoken words of silent buddhas) is to be interpreted as: the words, spoken and said properly by way of admonition and advice by the silent buddhas. Caranti lokamhi sadevakamhi (wandered in the world including the divine world) is to be interpreted as: in the world of living creatures together with the world of divine beings, they wandered and turned out; thus, is the meaning. Sutvā tathā ve na karonti bālā (those fools who did not do likewise accordingly, after having heard) is to be interpreted thus; those foolish people who did not do and bear in mind such words as were well-spoken by the silent buddhas; te (they) those foolish people, dukkhesu (much misery), in the misery (dukkha) of rounds of repeated rebirths; pumappunam (repeatedly) again and again by way of springing up, caranti (wandered about) is turned out, occurred, ran about;thus, is the meaning.

138. Paccekabuddhāna, subhāsitāni (well-spoken words of silent buddhas) is to be interpreted as:- words spoken properly and told for purpose of escape from the four varieties of purgatory (apāya). What happened? Avassavantam (outflowing) sweet words like small drops of honey shedding down; thus, is the meaning. Ye paṭipattiyuttā (whoever are yoked to the attainment of practice) is to be interpreted as: wise people also, turning out in the proper attainment of practice in pursuance of what they were told, after having heard such words as were sweet, became the doors of words of advice; those wise people saccadasā (seers of truth) who had seen the four noble truths, sapaññā (with wisdom) were with wisdom or knowledge; thus, is the meaning.

139. Paccekabuddhehi jinehi bhāsitā (told by the conquerors who were silent buddhas) is to be interpreted thus:- They are conquerors because they conquered and still conquer all kinds of depravity (kilesa); spoken, said and preached by those conquerors, who were silent buddhas; kathā uḷārā (great preaching) is to be interpreted as:- turned out to be and became obvious (or clear) and possessed of essence. Tā (that) that preaching, Sakyasīhena (by the Sākiyan lion) by the Tathāgata Gotama, the lion of the royal Sakyan clan (or lineage) Abhinikkhamitvā (having made the great renunciation) by having become Buddha; naruttamena (by the best of men) by the best and highest of men, pakāsitā (made clear) pointed out and made obvious; thus, is the connection. Why did He say thus?; “Dhamma-vijānanttham”, (for comprehension of the Truth), in order to make known distinctively the ninefold transcendental Truth (dhamma); thus, is the meaning.

140. Lokānukampakāya imanitesam (to them, these, through mercy towards the world) due to sympathy with the world, in consequence of sympathy towards the world, to them these words, these stanzas; paccekabuddhānam vikubbitāni (particularly performed for the silent buddhas) distinctively done and told; thus, is the meaning. Samvegasaṅgamativāḍḍhanaṭṭham (for the purpose of exceedingly increasing the remorse and dissociation) is to be interpreted as:- for the purpose of increasing the remorse as well as for the purpose of increasing the detachment of wise men, also for the purpose of increasing their state of being alone, for the purpose of increasing their intelligence as well as for the purpose of increasing their knowledge or wisdom; sayambhusīhena (by the Buddha-lion) is to be interpreted as:- having been without any teacher, by having been born and become, getting penetrated simply by oneself; who was the fearless lion, Omniscient Buddha Gotama, these words were pakāsitāni (clarified, made clear or obvious); these stanzas were clarified, opened up and made obvious; thus, is the meaning. Iti (thus) is the indeclinable adverb which means complete conclusion.

Thus, is concluded the Commentary on the biography of the silent buddhas, in the Apadānaṭṭhakathā (Apadāna Commentary), for the unfolding splendour of the peerlessly pure people.

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