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Canto I. Psalms Of Single Verses In Psalms Of The Sisters

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Sleep softly, little Sturdy, take thy rest At ease, wrapt in the robe thyself hast made. Stilled are the passions that would rage within, Withered as potherbs in the oven dried. (1) How was she reborn? Long ago, a certain daughter of one of the clans became a fervent believer in the teaching of the Buddha Koṇāgamana, 78 and entertained him hospitably. She had an arbour made with boughs, a draped ceiling, and a sanded floor, and did him honour with flowers and perfumes. And all her life doing meritorious acts, she was reborn among the gods, and then again among men when Kassapa was Buddha, under whom she renounced the world. Reborn again in heaven till this Buddha-dispensation, she was finally born in a great nobleman's family at Vesālī. From the sturdy build of her body they called her Sturdykin. She became the devoted wife of a young noble. When the Master came to Vesālī, she was convinced by his teaching, and became a lay-disciple. Anon, hearing the Great Pajāpatī the Elder preaching the Doctrine, the wish arose in her to leave the world, and she told this to her husband. He would not consent; so she went on performing her duties, reflecting on the sweetness of the doctrine, and living devoted to insight. Then, one day in the kitchen, while the curry was cooking, a mighty flame of fire shot up, and burnt all the food with much crackling. She, watching it, made it a basis for rapt meditation on the utter impermanence of all things. Thereby she was established in the Fruition of the Path of No-Return. Thenceforth she wore no more jewels and ornaments. When her husband asked her the reason, she told him how incapable she felt of living a domestic life. So he brought her, as Visākha brought Dhammadinnā,79 with a large following, to Great Pajāpatī the Gotamid, and said: 'Let the reverend Sisters give her ordination.' And Pajāpatī did so, and showed her the Master; and the Master, emphasizing, as was his custom, the visible basis whereby she had attained, spoke the verse above. Now, when she had attained Arahantship, the Sister repeated that verse in her exultation, wherefore this verse became her verse. Get free, Liberta, 80 free e'en as the Moon From out the Dragon's jaws 81 sails clear on high. Wipe off the debts that hinder thee, 82 and so, With heart at liberty, break thou thy fast. (2) This is the verse of a student named Muttā. She, too, being one who had made a resolve under former Buddhas, went on heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that state of becoming. Finally, she was reborn in this Buddha-dispensation as the child of an eminent brahmin at Sāvatthī, and named Muttā. And in her twentieth year, her destiny being fully ripe, she renounced the world under the Great Pajāpatī the Gotamid, and studied the exercises for ecstatic insight. Returning one day from her round for alms, she discharged her duties toward her seniors, and then going apart to rest, and seated out of sight, she began to concentrate herself. Then the Master, sitting in the 'Fragrant Chamber'83 of the Vihāra, sent forth glory, and revealing himself as if seated before her, uttered the verse above. And she, steadfast in that exhortation, not long after attained Arahantship, and so attaining, exulted in the words of that verse. Completing her studies and promoted to full rank, she yet again uttered it, when about to pass away. The following verse is that of a student named Puṇṇā.84 She, heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy under former Buddhas in this and that state of becoming, was born–when the world was empty of a Saviour Buddha–as a fairy, by the River Candabhāgā.85 One day she worshipped a certain Silent 86 Buddha with a wreath of reeds. Thereby gaining heaven, she was, in this Buddha-dispensation, reborn as the child of a leading burgess of Sāvatthi and named Puṇṇā. When she had so dwelt for twenty years, her destiny then being fully ripe, she heard the Great Pajāpatī teach the doctrine, and renounced the world. Becoming a student, she began to practise insight. And the Master from the 'Fragrant Chamber' shed a glory, and spake this verse: Fill up, Puṇṇā,87 the orb of holy life, E'en as on fifteenth day the full-orb'd moon. Fill full the perfect knowledge of the Path, And scatter all the gloom of ignorance.88 (3) Hearing this, her insight grew, and she attained Arahantship. This verse is the expression of her exultation and the affirmation of her AÑÑĀ.89 The following verse is that of Tissā, a student. Heaping up merit under former Buddhas, Tissā was, in this Buddha-dispensation, reborn at Kapilavatthu in the noble clan of the Sākiyas. Made a lady of the Bodhisat's court, she renounced the world with Great Pajāpatī the Gotamid, and practised herself in insight. To her the Master appeared as to the foregoing Sisters, and said: O Tissā! train thyself in the trainings three. See that the great conjuncture 90 now at hand Pass thee not by! Unloose all other yokes, And fare thou forth purged of the deadly Drugs. 91 (4) And she, when she heard the verse, increased in insight, and attained Arahantship. Thereafter she was wont to repeat the lines. Tissā! lay well upon thy heart the yoke Of noblest culture. See the moment come! Let it not pass thee by! for many they Who mourn in misery that moment past. (5) Come, O Dhīrā, reach up and touch the goal Where all distractions cease, where sense is stilled, Where dwelleth bliss; win thou Nibbana, win That sure Salvation 92 which hath no beyond. (6) Dhīrā, brave 93 Sister! who hath valiantly Thy faculties in noblest culture trained, Bear to this end thy last incarnate frame, For thou hast conquered Māra and his host. (7) Mittā, thou Sister friend! 94 who camest forth Convinced in heart, love thou in thought and deed Friends worthy of thy love. 95 So train thyself In ways of good to win the safe, sure Peace. (8) Bhadrā, who camest forth convinced in heart, To sure felicity, O fortunate!96 That heart devote. Develop 97 all that's good, Faring to uttermost Security. (9) Upasamā! cross thou serene and calm 98 The raging difficult Flood where death doth reign. Bear to this end thy last incarnate frame, For thou hast vanquished Māra and his host. (10) Of all these six Sisters the story is similar to that of Tissā (IV.), with this exception: Dhīrā, called 'another Sister Dhīrā,' had no glory-verse pronounced to her, but was troubled in heart at the Master's teaching. Leaning on his words, she strove for insight, and when she had reached Arahantship, she declaimed her verse in exultation. All the others did the same. THRESHING RICE IN 'MORTAR,' BANDIPUR, KASHMIR. To face . Muttā, heaping up good under former Buddhas, was, in this Buddha-dispensation, born in the land of Kosala as the daughter of a poor brahmin named Oghāṭaka. Come to proper age, she was given to a hunchbacked brahmin; but she told him she could not continue in the life of the house, and induced him to consent to her leaving the world. Exercising herself in insight, her thoughts still ran on external objects of interest. So she practised self-control, and, repeating her verse, strove after insight till she won Arahantship; then exulting, she repeated: O free, indeed! O gloriously free Am I in freedom from three crooked things:– From quern, from mortar, from my crookback'd lord! 100 Ay, but I'm free from rebirth and from death, And all that dragged me back is hurled away. (11) Now, she, in the time when Padumuttara was Buddha, lived at Haŋsavatī in a state of servitude; and because she ministered and did honour to one of the chief apostles when he rose from his cataleptic trance, she was reborn in heaven and so on, among gods and men, till Phussa was Buddha. Then she worked merit by doubling the gift prescribed by her husband to the Master's half-brothers while they were staying in a servant's house. And when Kassapa was Buddha, she came to birth in the house of Kiki, King of Kāsī, as one of the Seven Sisters, his daughters,101 and for 20,000 years lived a holy life. . . . Finally, in this Buddha-dispensation, she was reborn of a clansman's family at Rājagaha, and became the wife of Visākha, a leading citizen. Now one day her husband went to hear the Master teaching, and became One-who-returns-no-more. When he came home, Dhammadinnā met him as he went up the stairs; but he leant not on her outstretched hand, nor spoke to her at supper. And she asked: 'Dear sir, why did you not take my hand? Why do you not talk to me? Have I done anything amiss?' ''Tis for no fault in you, Dhammadinnā; but from henceforth I am not fit to touch a woman or take pleasure in food, for of such is the doctrine now borne in upon me. Do you according as you wish, either continuing to dwell here, or taking as much wealth as you need and going back to your family.' 'Nay, dear sir, I will make no such goings back. Suffer me to leave the world.' 'It is well, Dhammadinnā,' replied Visākha, and sent her to the Bhikkhunīs in a golden palanquin. Admitted to the Order, she shortly after asked permission of her teachers to go into retreat, saying: 'Mothers, my heart hath no delight in a place of crowds; I would go into a village abode.' The Bhikkhunīs brought her thither, and while there, because in her past lives she had subjugated the complexities of thought, word, and deed, she soon attained Arahantship, together with thorough mastery of the form and meaning of the Dhamma.102 Thereupon she thought: 'Now have I reached the summit. What shall I do here any longer? I will even go to Rājagaha and worship the Master, and many of my kinsfolk will, through me, acquire merit.' So she returned with her Bhikkhunīs. Then Visākha, hearing of her return, curious to know why she came, interviewed her with questions on the Khandhas and the like. And Dhammadinnā answered every question as one might cut a lotus-stalk with a knife, and finally referred him to the Master. The Master praised her great wisdom, as it is told in the Lesser Vedalla (Miscellany) Sutta,103 and ranked her foremost among the Sisters who could preach. But it was while she was dwelling in the country, and, while yet in the lowest path, was acquiring insight to reach the highest, that she uttered her verse: In whom desire to reach the final rest Is born suffusing all the mind of her, Whose heart by lure of sense-desire no more Is held–BOUND UPSTREAM:–so shall she be called.104 (12) Her story is similar to that of the Sister Dhīrā.105 After winning Arahantship she pondered on the bliss of emancipation, and thus announced AÑÑĀ: The Buddha's will be done! See that ye do His will. An ye have done it, never more Need ye repent the deed. Wash, then, in haste Your feet and sit ye down aloof; alone.106 (13) Thus she admonished others to follow her example. Her story is similar to that of Sister Tissā.107 Sending forth glory, the Master revealed himself as if seated in front of her, and spake: Hast thou not seen sorrow and ill in all The springs of life? Come thou not back to birth! Cast out the passionate desire again to Be. So shalt thou go thy ways calm and serene. (14) Her story is also similar to that of Sister Tissā.108 And it was the 'Glory-verse' through which she won Arahantship that she declaimed in exultation: Well have I 109 disciplined myself in act, In speech and eke in thought, rapt and intent. Craving with root of craving 110 is o'ercome; Cool am I now; I know Nibbana's peace. 111 (15) (Who left the world when old). She too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good in this life and in that, was, in this Buddha-dispensation, born at Sāvatthī as the sister of the King of Kosala. Hearing the Master preach the doctrine to the King Pasenadi in the discourse beginning, 'There are four young creatures, sire, who may not be disregarded,' 112 she believed, and was established in the Refuges and the Precepts. Fain to leave the world, she put off doing so that she might take care of her grandmother as long as she lived. After the grandmother's death, Sumanā went, accompanied by the King, to the Vihāra, taking much treasure in carpets and shawls, and presenting them to the Order. And hearing the Master teach, she attained the fruit of the Path of No-return, and asked for ordination. And the Master, discerning the maturity of her knowledge, spake thus: Happily rest, thou venerable dame! Rest thee, wrapt in the robe thyself hast made. Stilled are the passions that have raged within. Cool art thou now, knowing Nibbana's peace. (16) And when he had finished, she won Arahantship, together with thorough knowledge of the Norm in form and in meaning. 113 In her exultation she uttered that same verse, so that it became the announcement of her AÑÑĀ. Straightway she left the world for the Order. She, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up merit in this and that state of becoming, was, in this Buddha-dispensation, born in a respectable family at Sāvatthī. Given in marriage to a suitable husband, she became converted, and desired to leave the world, but her husband would not consent. So she waited till after his death, and then entered the Order. One day, returning to the Vihāra from seeking alms, she lost her balance and fell. Making just that her base of insight, she won Arahantship with thorough knowledge of the Norm in form and in meaning. 114 And, triumphing, she uttered this verse: Far had I wandered for my daily food; Weary with shaking limbs I reached my rest, Leaning upon my staff, when even there I fell to earth.–Lo! all the misery Besetting this poor mortal frame lay bare To inward vision. 115 Prone the body lay; The heart of me rose up in liberty. (17) Her story is like that of Sister Dhīrā, 116 but her verse is as follows: Home have I left, for I have left my world! Child have I left, and all my cherish'd herds! Lust have I left, and Ill-will, too, is gone, And Ignorance have I put far from me; Craving and root of Craving overpowered, Cool am I now, knowing Nibbana's peace. (18)

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1 Cary W = "In each relation, breath and experience, we are gifted with the grace of seeing the Buddha, the Christ.  No matter the tension, heartache, or bother.  Each moment is the work of Life, Source, God, Buddha in action.  Nothing more, nothing less.  And in this realization is Buddhahood, Christ Fellowship, God Glorified."
2 Cary W = "Oh my, how the work before each of us is clear.  We hear Christ, the Buddha, and allow the Voice to permeate all we are right now, transmuting memories, past and all belief into the Radiance of eternal truth, love and glory."
3 Cary W = "Each moment we are given access to the universal mind of Christ, to all that is, all that is known, all that is in harmony with the truth.  We must stay vigilant to not let any of this great wisdom, training, correction or revelation pass us by, but be ever alert to the Voice of Reason and Loving Wisdom, which is the only voice of command and creation."