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 Biography of the thera Uttiya

Stanzas starting with Candabhāgānadī tīre, constitute the biography of the venerable thera Uttiya. This one also, having done devoted deed of service towards former Buddhas, accumulating meritorious deeds conducive towards escape from the rounds of repeated rebirths (vaṭṭa), in this or that existence, he was reborn as a crocodile in the river Candabhāgā at the time of the Glorious One Siddhattha; Seeing the Glorious One approaching the river bank, it became pleasingly pious-minded, and lay itself down near the shore even, being desirous of carrying Him across to the further shore. The Glorious One, out of compassion for the crocodile placed His feet on its back. It became delighted and elated, became enormously energetic under the influence of zest, cut across the current swiftly and speedily and led the Glorious One to the further shore. The Glorious One, having come to know about its pleasing piety, made His departure after having prophesied thus:-:This crocodile having passed away hence, will be reborn in the world of divine-beings; thence forward, it will wander about rounds of repeated rebirths;(samsāra), in the good course of existence and ninety four aeons (kappa), from now, it will attain immortal peace, nibbāna".

In that manner, the crocodile wandered about his rounds of repeated rebirths, only in excellent existences, and was reborn as the son of a certain brahmin in Sāvatthi, at the time of the appearance of this Buddha. They named him Uttiya. On coming of age, he became a wandering ascetic saying to himself: "I shall seek the immortal peace (amata)", one day met the Glorious One, whom he approached, paid his homage, listened to the dhamma, became a proper recipient of pious faith, got ordained as a monk in the dispensation (sāsana), but was unable to rise up to distinction, owing to not having cleanly purified himself of wrong view morally; seeing another bhikkhu bringing about distinction and another bhikkhu foretelling (byākarontam, explaining), he approached the Master and asked for advice in brief. The master also gave him advice in brief even thus: "O Uttiya! Therefore, here, you had better have yourself purified from the very beginning", and do on. He did abide by the advice of the Master, and began to develop spiritual insight (vipassanā). When he started developing spiritual insight ailment arose. When disease developed he got stricken with remorse, came to know the foundation of exerted effort, developed spiritual insight (vipassanā), and attained arahatship.

169. Having thus attained the fruition of arahatship commensurate with his load of deeds, he remembered his own former deed, became delighted and uttered this stanza, starting with candabhāgānadī tīre in order to make manifest the deed done by himself formerly. There, Candabhāgānadī tīre (on the bank of the river (Sandabhāgā), it goes roaring and making sound being of shining glory since strewn over with moon-light, because of also being all-round full of crystal clear fresh water endowed with shining light with the riverbed surfaced with all-round pure pale yellow sand; thus, the river Candabhāgā. I was a crocodile on the shore of that river Candabhāgā; thus, is the connection.

There, Susumāro, making small shoals of fishes into pieces, big and small, it kills; thus susumara (crocodile); fierce fish, alligator; thus, is the meaning. Sabhojana-pasuto (devoted to one's own food), I was devoted to and busy with my own nourishment in my own pasture; nadītittham agaccha'ham (I went to the river-landing place), at the time of the Glorious one's coming I went to, and reached the river-landing spot.

170. Siddhattho tamhi samaye (at that time, Siddhattha) at that time when I reached the landing spot, the Glorious One Siddhattha, the topmost personage, the eldest and best among all creatures Sayambhū (who had become by Himself), that Glorious One, who became Buddha, springing up into being. all by Himself, approached the river-shore, being desirous of crossing the river.

172. Pettikam visayam mayham (my paternal sphere of influence), this crossing of great power every time they arrived (or of any and every arrival), brought over by my father, grandfather and do on, generation after generation; thus, is the meaning.

173. Mama Uggajjam sutva (having heard my offer, the Glorious One, the great Sage, mounted), having heard my offer, volunteering;thus, is the connection. The rest is but clear in meaning.

The commentary on the biography of the thera Uttiya has ended.

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