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 Kāḷudāyī

Stanzas beginning with Padumuttara Buddhassa constitute the biography of the venerable thera Kāḷudāyī. This one also having done devoted service toward former Buddhas, accumulating meritorious deeds conducive towards escape from rounds of repeated rebirths (vaṭṭa), in this and that existence, was reborn in a family-house in the city of Hamsavatī, at the time of the Glorious One Padumuttara, listened to the truth (dhamma), when he noticed the master placing a bhikkhu at the topmost position among those bhikkhus who made the family piously pleased; he made appropriate endeavour (tajjam abhinīhāram), and aspired for that ranking position.

Having done meritorious deed as long as he lived, he wandered about his rounds of rebirths, took conception in the house of a minister in Kapilavatthu even, on the day when our Bodhisat took conception in His mother's womb. Saying that he was born on the self-same day, together with the Bodhisat, he was made to lie down on a double quilt (dukūlacumbaṭaka), and brought for the purpose of attending on the Bodhisat. Indeed, together with the Bodhisat, the bodhi tree, the mother of Rāhula, the four jars of gold treasure, the riding-elephant, the horse Kaṇṭhaka, Ānanda, Chana, Kāḷudāyī; thus these seven were known as born-together (sahajāta), because they were born on one and the same day. Then, on his naming day they named him Udāyi even, because he was born on the day, when the entire city was elated in mind. Because of the fact that his limbs were slightly black, however, he was clearly known as dark Udāyi (Kāḷudāyi). Playing princely sport together with the Bodhisat, he grew up.

Subsequently, when the protector of the world was residing at Veḷuvana, in the neighbourhood of (or depending upon) Rājagaha, after having renounced the great renunciation, attained, in due course, omniscience, and was turning round the excellent wheel of dhamma. The great king Suddhodana heard about this matter (or news), and sent a minister together with retinue of a thousand men saying: "Bring my son here". That minister went to the presence of the master at the time of preaching dhamma, stationed himself at the all-out end of the audience, listened to the preaching of the truth (dhamma), and attained arahatship together with his own retinue. Then the Master stretched out His hand to them saying! "Come, bhikkhus!" At that very moment, all of them became as if they were senior monks of sixty years of age, bearers of magically-made bowls and robes. From the attainment of arahatship onwards, however, they were but middle-aged nobles. Therefore, the minister did not speak of the message sent by the king to Dasabala. The king sent another minister together with a thousand men saying: "Neither the one who had gone has but come back nor news heard of". When that minister also did behave likewise, the king sent out another minister too. Thus, the king despatched nine ministers along with nine thousand men in this manner. All of them attained arahatship and kept themselves silent.

The king considered thus: "So many of these people, due to absence of affection for me, did not say anything for the purpose of dasabala's coming here; this Udāyi, indeed, is of the same age as Dasabala, who played soft earth together, he has affection for me also;I shall send this minister". The king sent for Kāḷudāyī and sent him out saying: "My dear! You had better go to Rājagaha accompanied by a retinue of a thousand men and bring here Dasabala. In going, however, Kāḷudāyī said thus:- "Your majesty! If I get your permission of becoming a bhikkhu, thus, I shall bring here, the Glorious One". On being told thus: "Having done anything desired by you, you should show me my son;" the minister went to Rājagaha stationed himself at the allround end of the audience at the time of preaching the truth (dhamma), attained arahatship together with his retinue and got himself established in the condition of come, bhikkhu. Having, however attained arahatship, the minister said to himself thus:- "This is not the time now for Dasabala to go to His family-city, when, however, the spring weather (vasanta) approaches (or comes near), when the dense forest bloom its flowers, when the ground is properly covered with green grass, then, it will become time to go".

He awaited that time and when the spring season (vasanta) arrived properly, he uttered these stanzas, properly praising the path of going for the Master to go to His family city thus:-

"Venerable Sir! Crimson-coloured, now are trees; shedding off their foliage, they are bidding for fruits; but being aflame the trees shine, O great Hero! Time it is for way-faring. Trees are delighted with their flowers; they send breeze in all directions from all sides; discarding their leaves, the trees are bent on bearing fruits; O Hero! Time it is for departure from here. Not too cold, nor too hot, however;Venerable Sir! The weather is worthy of journey. Let the Sākiyans and Koliyans see you crossing the river Rohinī facing the opposite (or west) shore. The cultivator ploughs his field due to his desire; merchants go, due to their desire, to the high seas (or ocean) to procure wealth. Let that desire of mine for which I stand become accomplished (or get materialised). Neither too cold nor too hot, nor too difficult to get alms-food for satisfying hunger;the ground is green with grass; O great Sage! This is time. Again and again even also they sow their seeds; the royal rain shower over and over again; cultivators plough their fields now and again;crops come into kingdom repeatedly. Again and again beggars wander about; again and again lords of charity give their offering. Having given offering, lords of charity repeatedly approach heavenly abode. In whichever family a wise man of abundant knowledge is born, on the family the wise man indeed, showers prosperity to seven genera- tions (yuga). I think the god of gods (devadeva) is capable; indeed, the sage named truth has indeed been produced by you. Of the great sage, the father is named Suddhodana; Buddha's mother, however, is named Māyā who having all-round borne the Bodhisatta in her womb, on the dissolution of her body, is happy in the divine world of thirty three. That lady of the Gotama clan, having died, passed away from here, being endowed with divine sensual pleasures, she delights herself with five strands of sensual pleasures, surrounded by those groups of divine beings.

There, aṅgārino (crimson coloured) resembling embers; thus, is aṅgārāni (ember-like) flowers and fruits of trees are red-coral coloured emberlike; those are to these; thus, aṅgārino, flaming ember-coloured; as if properly all-round permeated with the raining embers and with exceedingly red Kusuma-flower colour; Thus, is the meaning. Dāni (now) at this time;dumā, trees; Bhaddante, Venerable Sir!, the inside of this one is good;thus, Bhadante; thus is said after the elision of one alphabet 'd'; the Master is associated with distinguished quality, and has become topmost (or chief) among those who are associated with distinguished quality; therefore Bhaddante;thus, is but a term of address to the master; as in such examples as: "Sugate, paṭikamme, sukhe, dukkhe, jīve (the good goer, proper work, pleasure, pain, life)" and so on, this alphabet (or vowel)'e' is an individual word (paccattavacana); here, however, it should be understood as signifying self-enlightenment (sambodhana) Therefore it has been stated thus: "Bhaddante, thus, is the term of address". Some say thus:- "By the word bhadda is an intervening word for the sake of equality; phalesino (bearing fruits) they seek fruits; thus, phalesino, seeking fruits; though inanimate 9or without volition). Being thus requested by the thera, the Glorious One saw distinguished achievements (of many in His going there, entered upon the road leading to Kapilavatthu, by way of wandering without hurry (or leisurely), from Rājagaha, surrounded by twenty thousand canker-free arahats. The thera went to kapilavatthu by means of his magical powers, while still standing in the sky in front of the king, being asked by the latter who noticed the thera in the manner of not having seen him before thus: "Who are you?”

The thera uttered a stanza in order to point out saying: "You do not recognise me, the young minister, who was sent to the presence of the Glorious One; however, you should in this manner know me".

"O Sākiyan Sovereign! i am the son of Buddha, the unconquered conqueror, such a personage resembling shining embers crimson-coloured; You are my father's father; O Gotama! Spiritually (dhammena), you are my grandfather".

There, Buddhassa putto'mhi (I am son of Buddha) I am the son of the bosom of omniscient Buddha; asayhasāhino, of the unconquerable conqueror, leaving aside previous to great selfenlightenment, because of being unable to put pressure to bear upon (or to overbear) and conquer the great Bodhisat by others, of the unconquerable, of the entire load of deeds for bodhi, of the special benefactor of great sympathy, also, from the point of view of conquering and being overbearing; thence further on also, because of the inability to conquer and overwhelm by others, from the point of view of conquering and overwhelming the unconquered māra of five categories, from the point of new conquest of Buddha's duties, which are unconquerable by others, reckoned as the advice by means of absolute benefit accruing in the very present existence and hereafter for living-beings amenable to discipline according as they are worthy of being enlightened in such classifications as: their individual inclinations, adherences, practice, escape (or release) and so on, there or from the condition of doing good, of the conqueror of the unconquerable; aṅgīrasassa (of the Aṅgīrasa) of the One, prosperous with such virtues as moral precepts and so on made to be members; others opine as of one who emitted light from bodily members, big and small; some say, however, thus:- two names: Aṅgīrasa and Siddhattha are taken even as father only;appaṭimassa (of the peerless) of one beyond example; tādino (of such) of one who had attained such characteristics as is desirable and undesirable objects (or matters), pitupitāmayham tuvam (you are my father's father) you are father, by worldly convention, of my father, the self-enlightened buddha, was of noble-birth; Sakka (O Sakiyan!) he addresses the king by way of birth; dhammena (spiritually) by the combination of two births noble-birth by selfbecoming and worldly-birth; Gotama, O Gotama! he addresses the king by means of his clan; ayyakosi, you are mu grandfather; the thera, in saying here also the stanza beginning with "Buddhassa putto'mhi, I am Buddha's son", made manifest his arahatship.

Having made himself known, however, in this manner, and when he was requested to sit on the pedestal of much value (or great worth), and when his begging bowl was filled up with his own well-prepared meal of many different top tastes and offered to him by the king who was glad and satisfied, he showed his sign of going away. On being asked thus: "Venerable Sir! Why do you want to go anywhere? Please eat here", the thera replied: "I shall go back to the master's presence and eat there". The king questioned thus: "Where however, is the Master?" "The Master had entered upon a journey, surrounded by twenty thousand bhikkhus for the purpose of seeing your majesty," was the thera's reply. The king said thus: "You eat this alms-food in your bowl; you will take away another for the Glorious One; until such time when my son arrived at this city, till then please carry from here alms-food for Him". When told so, the thera performed his meal-duty; preached the truth (dhamma), to the king and his retinue, sent off (or released0 through the sky the begging bowl filled with meal to be carried to the Master, and himself also rose up into the air, while everybody was still watching him in order to render the entire royal residents become excessively pleased and pious over the three gems, much prior to the coming of the master to them; brought the alms-food close to him and placed the same into the hand of the Master. The Master ate that alms-meal. In this manner, during the journey of sixty yojanas, travelling a yojana per day, the thera brought and offered alms-meal from the royal house for the Glorious One daily. Then the Glorious One, saying: "This one made my father's entire residence pleasingly pious," placed him in the topmost position among bhikkhus who pleased His family thus:- "O monks! Amongst bhikkhus, my disciples, who instil pleasing piety into the minds of my family, this one is the topmost (or chief) namely, Kāḷudāyī.

48-49. Having attained arahatship and topmost ranking position, commensurate with the load of meritorious deeds done by him, he remembered his own former deed, uttered a stanza beginning with Padumuttarassa Buddhassa, by way of being delighted in order to make manifest the deeds done by him formerly. Addhānampaṭipannassa (to Him who had entered upon a journey) to Him who had proceeded on a distant journey for the purpose of going to another kingdom; carato cārikam takā (kto Him who was going about His wandering round then) to Him who was going about His wandering rounds of three kinds then: the inner circle, middle circle, and outer circle (mandala); Padumuttarabuddhassa, to the glorious One Padumuttara Buddha, suphullam (well-bloomed) properly blooming, awakening; gayha (seizing) having taken not simple and totally red lotus (paduma) and white lilies (uppala), mallikam (mallika flower which had flowered) i caught hold of the flowers with both hands and filled; thus, is the connection. Pardmannam gahetvāna (taking absolutely exalted food) having taken the entirely well-cooked sāli rice, absolutely most excellent, best and sweet, adasin (I gave) I requested the master to make a meal of the same; thus, is the meaning.

57. Sakyānam nandjanano (the promoter of joy of the Sākiyans) promoting and arousing pleasure and for the prosperity of growth (or height) and circumference or girth (pariṇāha), beauty, youthfulness, and words of address of members of the royal Sākiyam family, kinsmen of the glorious One; ñātihandhu bhavissati (will become relative and kinsman) will become known and obvious relative. the rest is but easily comprehensible.

The commentary on the biography of thera Kāḷudāyi has ended.

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