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...

Commentary on the Biography of the thera Khadiravaniya

3-9,1. Stanzas starting with Gaṅgābhāgīrathī nāma constitute the biography of the venerable thera Khadiravaniya. This thera also had done devoted service toward previous Buddhas, and accumulating meritorious deeds conducive towards escape from rounds of repeated rebirths (vaṭṭa) was reborn in the family of a landing-place boatman in the city of Haṃsavatī, at the time of the Glorious One Padumuttara. Doing the work of a ferry boat at the Glorious One, together with his clergy of disciples going near the bank of Ganges, became clearly pious-minded, arranged a collection of boats, reached Buddha and His disciples to the further shore with great honour and reverence, saw the placing of a certain bhikkhu at topmost position amongst forest-dwelling bhikkhus by the Master, wished for that ranking position, promoted a great charitable offering to Buddha and clergy of bhikkhus and made his selfresolution (paṇidhāna). The Glorious One prophesied the unbarren condition of that aspiration.

3-9,2. Beginning therefrom, accumulating meritorious deeds, he enjoyed both kinds of prosperity going round his rounds rebirths amongst divine and human beings, was reborn in the womb of a brahmin lady named Rūpasārī at the village of Nālaka in the kingdom of magadha when this present Buddha appeared. The parents became desirous of binding him who had come of age, with the house-hold bondage and informed him accordingly. Having heard that the thera Sāriputta had become monk, he said to himself: "My eldest brother, lord Upatissa, has become a monk, discarding this wealth; how shall I enjoy the lump of saliva vomited by him?" Thus, he provoked remorse, slipped himself free from the relatives, like unto a deer who would not go near a snare, being urged by the efficacy of cause, went to the presence of bhikkhus, made them know the state of his being the youngest brother of the commander-in-chief of Dhamma and informed them about his own desire of becoming a monk himself. The bhikkhus novitiated him and conferred upon him the full-fledged ordination on his reaching full twenty years of age completely and assigned to him his mental exercise (kammaṭṭhāna). He took his lessons on mental exercise (kammaṭṭhāna) entered the Acacia forest, recovering from fatigue, striving, exerting and because of having reached all-round maturity of knowledge, not long afterwards even, became an arahant replete with sex sorts of higher knowledge. Having become an arahant, he self-suppressed his monastery, took his bowl and robe, made his departure in order to pay his homage to Buddha and the commander-in-chief of Dhamma, in due course, arrived at Sāvatthi, entered the Jetavana monastery, paid his homage to the master as well as the commander-inchief of Dhamma, and stayed at Jetavana for a few days. Then, seated Himself in the midst of His assembly of noble disciples, the master placed him at the topmost position of forest-dweller bhikkhus saying thus: "O Monks! This thera is the chief among my disciple bhikkhus who are forest-dwellers; namely, this Revata."

628. Having thus attained the topmost ranking position in this manner, he remembered his own former deeds and uttered the stanza, starting with Gaṅgā Bhāgīrathī in order to make manifest the deeds done previously by him, by way of his zest and mental delight. There Gaṅgā, the river; which goes singing and making voice;thus, is Gaṅgā; in other words, go is said to be earth, gone or turned out to be on that earth; thus, is Gaṅgā; Āvaṭṭa Gaṅgā, having circumambulated the Anotatta lake thrice and kept going (or flowing); Bahala Gaṅgā, at the point of stationing the going (or flowing) on the top of hill; Umaṅga Gaṅgā also at the point or place of going or flowing having penetrated through the animal hill;Ākāsa Gaṅgā, at the point (or place) of going (or flowing) through the sky for five yojanas striking the Bahala hill thereafter;Bhāgīrathī, having broken the falling point (or place) of that river, having broken the bank of the lotus pond which sprang up for five yojanas, having become there five water-bearing rivers like unto five fingers;having become known by such five names as Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Sarabhū, Mahī and Aciravati, having made the Eugenia Island (Jambudīpa) into five divisions or five shores, the river got going, flowing and happening; Gaṅgā as well as that Bhāgīrathī;thus, Gaṅgā bhāgīrathī. Although it should be said as "Bhāgirthī gaṅgā",it is stated so by way of former practice for the sake of ease in the composition of the stanza; thus, it should be observed. Himavanta pabhāvitā, originated from Himavanta, because it is cruel to living beings, strikes, harasses and jumbles with cold;thus, it is hima, snow; there is snow to it; thus, himavā, possessor of snow; beginning from that Himavanta it originates, turns out to be, keeps flowing; thus, it originates from Himavanta. Kutitthe nāviko āsim (I was a boatman at a bad landing place) I was and became a boatman who sprang up at the winding bank, at the uneven landing place of the river, when that Ganges reached properly at the rough stream; thus, is the meaning. Orime ca tarimaham (I crossed at hither bank also) I crossed and carried to cross, people who kept on arriving themselves; from thither bank to hither shore; thus, is the meaning.

629. Padumuttaro Nāyako (the leader Padumuttara) Buddha Padumuttara, the most excellent of two-legged men, the leader of living-beings to nibbāna where He made His converts reach and who made accomplishment by prosperity of meritorious deeds vasīsatasahassehi (with a hundred thousand powerful) with a hundred thousand arahants who had exhausted their cankers, had arrived at the landing place of the river in order to cross the stream of Gaṅgā; thus, is the connection.

630. Bahūnāvā samānetvā (having brought together many boats) having seen that selfenlightened Buddha arrive, he brought together many boats, built properly and perfectly by boatbuilder-carpenters, made each pair of two boats into one, set up a roofed pandal on those boats; Narāsabham (the big bull-man) the self-enlightened Buddha Padumuttara; patimānim (properly adored) offered in honour; thus, is the meaning.

631. Āgantvāna ca Sambuddho (the self-enlightened Buddha, having come) thus having come there on to the boats which were well pegged together; tam ca nāvakam (that boat also) Buddha mounted the most excellent boat; thus, is the connection. Vārimajjhe ṭhito Satthā (the master stood in mid-water) the master who had mounted the boat, who being stationed in the middle of the Gaṅgā river spoke and preached this stanza properly provoking mental delight; thus, is the connection.

632. Yo so tāresi Sambuddham (he who sent the self-enlightened buddha across) that boatman, who sent the self-enlightened buddha across the flowing stream Gaṅgā; Saṅghañ cāpi anāsavam (the clergy also who were free from cankers) it was not the Self-enlightened Buddha alone that I sent across but also I did the same to the cankerless clergy devoid of depravity; thus, is the meaning. Tena cittapasādena (with that pleasant pious mind) with that clear pious mind accompanied by mental delight, which sprang up at the time of my driving or rowing the boat; devaloke (in the divine world) in six sensual heavens;ramissati (he will enjoy) he will accordingly experience celestial prosperity;thus, is the meaning.

633. Nibbattissati te byamham, there will spring up for you a mansion, te (to you) to you who will be reborn in the divine world, byamham, a mansion, sukatam (well-made) properly produced, well-built;nāvāsaṇṭhitam (properly placed boat) shaped like a boat;nibbattissati (will be reborn) will become apparent; thus, is the meaning. Ākāse puppha chadanam (in the sky, flower umbrella) due to the fruitful result of having made a pandal above the boat, he will bear over his head flower umbrella in the sky, always; thus, is the sequence.

634. Aṭṭhapaññasakappamhi (fifty eight aeons (kappa) hence) beginning from this time of doing meritorious deed, having gone beyond fifty-eight aeons, a world-king belonging to princely warrior (Khattiya) clan, known by the name of Toraka; caturanto (four borders) the reigning king in the four islands; Vijitāvī (has conquered) will become possessor of victory; thus, is the connection. The rest of the stanza is but clear.

637. Revato nāma nāmena (known by the name of Revata) because of being born with the star known as Revatī, the name "Revata" was gained; brahmabandhu (relative of brahmā) have become the son of a brahmin; nhavissati (will become) will spring up in the brahmin family; thus, is the meaning.

639. Nibbāyissati nāsavo (the cankerless will enter nibbāna) devoid of depravity he will by means of all-round blown out aggregates (khandha parinibbāna) will enter nibbāna.

640. Vīriyam me dhuradhorayam (my exertion over my bearing the burden (or responsibility) my exertion was not of the soft sort;it was special and definite bearing of responsibility accompanied by my vigorously hard exertion for the attainment of secure, dangerfree nibbāna;thus, is the meaning. Dhāremi antimam deham (I bear my last and final body) now, I carry my all-round final body in the dispensation of the Self-enlightened Buddha; thus, is the connection.

640,1. Subsequently, he went to his own native village, brought three nephews, sons of his sister, and three nieces, daughters of his sister, the former, namely: Cālā, Upacālā and Sīsūpacālā, the latter, namely: Cālā, Upacālā and Sīsūpacālā, made them bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs and assigned them to mental exercise (Kammaṭṭhāna). That lived being accordingly devoted to mental exercise (Kammaṭṭhāna).

640,2. At that time, however, a certain ailment arose to the thera. Having heard about it, the thera Sāriputta went near the thera saying to himself: "I shall make enquiry of Revatas illness and ask about his achievement". The thera Revata, having seen the commander-in-chief of Dhamma coming, even from afar, uttered the stanza starting with Cāle, in order to admonish (or advise) his nephews and nieces or those novices by way of the rising of mindfulness. Thera, Cāle, Upacāle and Sīsūpacāle are their being addressed as such; the three boys who gained names in the form of feminine gender, indeed, namely: Cālā, Upacālā and Sīsūpacālā, though they had made their renunciation and became novices, still they were called and addressed likewise. Besides, people called them also as "Cālī, Upacālī and Sīsūpacālī". For what purpose or under what circumstance was the address made in such a manner as: "Cāle"and so on? In order to show it, he said: "Patissatā nu kho viharatha? Do you all, indeed, dwell with proper mindfulness?" He spoke of the cause (or reason) there thus: "Such a personage as a splitter of tail-hair has, indeed, come". Patisatā, properly mindful; kho is emphasis (or the word indicating the affirmation) āgato (has come) arrived; vo, to you (or your); Vālā viya vedhi, like a hairsplitter; this, here, is meaning in brief-Your uncle thera, who is like the Master, who looks like a hair-splitter on account of his sharp, swift and deeply penetrating knowledge, has come; therefore, you all should live having become thus being harnessed with mindfulness and selfawareness after arousing the perception of monkhood;you had better be without negligence in your such life as has been achieved by you.

604.3. Having heard what was said to them, those novices performed the duty of going forward to meet and welcome the Commander-in-chief of Dhamma, and sat themselves down having entered upon concentration (samādhi) not very far from their uncles, at the time when both the theras were engaged in mutual conversation. The Commander-in-chief of Dhamma, having made conversation together with the thera Revata, rose up from his seat and went near those novices (sāmaṇera). Because they had been performing concentration exercise likewise for all-round limits of time, they rose up when the thera came near them and stood paying their respective homage. The thera enquired of them thus: "By what and which way of living do you all live?' and when told by the boys that they have been living by this and by that means, the thera Sāriputta made his departure, disciplining the novices and praising his younger brother thera, thus: "My younger brother, speaker of truth (or holder of true view), is, indeed, a righteous practitioner according to the truth (dhamma)". The rest here is but clear.

The Commentary on the biography of the thera Khadirayaniya has ended.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: