BANNER OF THE ARAHANTS
bowing his head down to the Buddha’s feet, then asked to become a Bhikkhu, the
first Buddhist monk to follow the Buddha. At this point our account really
and Arahantship - four more Arahant Bhikkhus - Buddhas and Arahants - meanings
of Sangha - Arahants and attachment - the Holy Life - Going forth - Story of
Yasa - Exhortation to the 60 Arahants - 1st, 2nd and 3rd methods of ordination
(acceptance) - the 30 Bhikkhus - the three Kassapa brothers - the pair of
Foremost Disciples - the lives and verses of some Arahants.
Añña-Kondaññá had only to hear one discourse of the Buddha to gain
Stream-winning, the first glimpse of Nibbána and of Enlightenment. But he did
not become Arahant or perfectly enlightened immediately and before this could
happen, the Buddha had to teach a second profound discourse (on the Mark of
Before he did this he instructed the four other ascetics, Vappa, Bhaddiya,
Mahanáma and Assaji until they too attained the Stream. When all five were
Stream-winners then the Buddha taught about non-self - how we wrongly identify
mind and body as ‘self’ or ‘soul’ and how such identification should
not be made, by giving up all attachment to the concept ‘I am’ - and as a
result of this all five won Arahantship. At the conclusion of this discourse
those four ascetics also asked to become Bhikkhus.
distinguishes a Buddha from an Arahant? Both are enlightened, free from
pollution and defilement, both have penetrated the Four Noble Truths but one
who does so first, „the discoverer of the undiscovered Way“ is a Buddha.
He is like a man who in utter darkness lights a great fire so that many can
see. Indeed he is called the Kinsman of the Sun for this reason-. Those who
hear and practise his teaching having enough wisdom to realise its truth in
themselves, they are Arahants, like people who kindle lights from that first
great blaze so that the light is spread further.
word Arahant, literally ‘one who is worthy’ (to accept homage, alms food,
etc.) is also used of the Buddha, who was the first of them. With those five
Bhikkhus as well it is said, „Then there were six Arahants in the world“.
two Bhikkhus do not constitute a Sangha, for which there has to be a quorum of
at least four. So the Sangha came into existence when those four Arahants
requested to become Bhikkhus.
can have two meanings: any order of Bhikkhus four or more in number is a bhikkhusangha;
and the community of all people who have seen Nibbána, whether they have had
only a glimpse - and so become Noble Ones such as Stream-winners,
Once-returners, Non-returners, or whether they are Arahants able to enjoy the
bliss of Nibbána whenever they wish - all are the Ariyasangha
or Noble Sangha. Lay people may well become Stream-winners, Once-returners and
Non-returners; but if a layperson becomes an Arahant it is necessary for him
or her to become a monk or nun.
Lay life is bound-up with craving but an Arahant has none, so life can
continue only in the Sangha where craving is not a necessary adjunct to life.
Why is this?
take the case of those first five Bhikkhus. To what indeed could they be
attached even before they became Arahants? They lived in the forest and
meditated at the foot of trees. They maintained their bodies on food collected
on alms round when they walked silently and householders placed cooked food in
their earthenware bowls. They covered their bodies with rags picked up from
rubbish tips. These they washed, sewed together and then dyed a brownish
orange with earth-colours. And when they were sick they made-up simple
medicines from roots and bark, fruits and herbs, one of the commonest (to
relieve fevers) are still used in India: myrobalan fruits pickled in fermented
urine. As far as possessions go, there is not much to be attached to here!
These four, clothing, food, shelter and medicine, are the basic requirements
for a human being but in lay life they are elaborated and extended by craving
into hundreds of thousands of things, all of which are ‘necessary’ for
those six Arahants who lived with just the bare necessities were supremely
happy for they were without attachment not only to these things but also to
any idea of ‘self’. They had no attachment to mind and body, which they
saw were processes continuing while life lasted, until the complete enjoyment
of Nibbána, which followed at the break-up of the body.
purpose of this life, as stated by the Buddha himself was to discover in
oneself the end of dukkha, which is
the end of craving. For that purpose the Bhikkhus’ way of life was later
regulated by the Buddha but no directions were necessary while the Sangha was
composed of Arahants and the other Noble Ones. They do not cause harm either
to others or to themselves and so need no rules or regulations. It is
unenlightened people who have the biases to greed, aversion, delusion and fear
in their minds; they must have rules and regulations to guide them. So it is
said in a commentary that no serious offence against the holy life was
committed by anyone in the Sangha for the first twenty years.
‘Holy Life’, what does this mean? This word in Pali (the language spoken
by the Buddha) is brahmacariya. ‘Brahma’
here has the sense of ‘purity’ or ‘excellence’ and ‘cariya’
can only be rendered reasonably well by an archaic English word ‘faring’
meaning both going and practising. This means the practice done with effort,
which is excellent and strives towards further excellence or purity. Therefore
it means going against the current of passions and defilements - all kinds of
greed, lust and attachment, all sorts of anger, hatred and violence, rooting
out even the defilements connected with delusion: dullness, sloth, boredom,
distraction, worry, depression, uncertainty, pride and fear. So the brahmacariya, the way of pure practice also implies chastity, as
sexual relations always have an element of lust in them.
one is able to leave behind sex, one is able to go beyond the many
requirements for the household life. All that goes along with sexual relations
with another, the money needed for a family and its very many needs, all can
be dispensed with by the Bhikkhu.
people will say, ‘Oh, this is just escape! It’s running away from
responsibilities! Escaping from the real world!’ But it is not the good
Bhikkhu who escapes; it is people generally with their numerous
sense-pleasures who do so. Whenever an unpleasant defilement arises, say
boredom, they escape by turning towards some attractive object of the senses.
But Bhikkhus cannot escape in this way because they do not (or should not)
have the possibilities for escape. They cannot evade defilements, the causes
of dukkha in their own minds, in
this way, so they have the splendid opportunity instead to be mindful of the
arising and passing away of these defilements. When one is mindful and
cultivates insight like this it is called the beginning of seeing the world as
it really is. Confused minds, lacking mindfulness, never understand this
world; they are too attached to it. Thus the Bhikkhu’s life is lived free
from family responsibilities and all the worries, which are a usual
accompaniment, so that he can deal with his mind.
one sees the expression used of a Bhikkhu, ‘He renounced the world’. This
is not a Buddhist way of describing the renunciation of household life. One
cannot ‘renounce the world’ because even though one goes from the middle
of a crowded city to stay in a cave far up some mountain slope, remote from
humanity, ‘the world’ goes with such a person. Memories and thoughts do
not get left behind! Apart from this, the Buddha calls this mind and body
‘the world’ and they continue, changing endlessly according to kamma and
other causes, until Arahantship is reached and then lived out, when there is
an end. The Buddha used the expression, „Going forth from home to
homelessness“, to describe the person who ceased to be a householder and
took upon himself the training of a Bhikkhu.
as a Bhikkhu will be outlined below. This procedure of ordination is called
‘ordination of the body’, that is, hair and beard are shaved off and the
new Bhikkhu from that time wears the yellow robes. These are the outward marks
of his renunciation of pleasures, which are enjoyed by the householder. Then
by this practice he has to cultivate inner renunciation - the attitude of
turning away from matters in which greed and craving are involved. This is
known as ‘ordination of the heart’ for the heart or mind usually only
follows slowly what has been accomplished quickly in the ordination procedure.
Of course, there are some people who in the lay state can practise so well
that their power of renunciation is very strong and they do not need the
‘ordination of the body’. But even so, in Buddhist countries many people
like this do get ordained so that their practice is unimpeded by the troubles
of lay life.
reason for doing this, often repeated in the Suttas (or Discourses of the
Buddha) runs like this: „Lord, as I understand the Dhamma given by the
Exalted One, it is not possible while living in a household to lead the holy
life as utterly perfect and pure as a polished shell. Lord, I wish to shave
off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe and go forth from the home life
into homelessness“. This is what one young man, Ratthapála,
said to the Buddha. Sometimes the household life is said to be „crowded and
dusty“ (with the dust of passion) „while life gone forth is wide open“
as the Buddha says he felt at the time of his own Going-forth. The same
reasons apply today to those who go forth, not for reasons of tradition, but
because they want time to practise the whole of the Buddha’s Dhamma.
some people will say that Going-forth to find the way beyond dukkha
is selfish, an aim which brings little fruit. But the Buddha did not see it
like this. Once a young Brahmin came to visit him and stated that his
brahminical sacrifices were of great fruit to many people whereas the
Going-forth benefited only one person. The Buddha replied with his own case:
that after Going-forth and by great efforts reaching Enlightenment, he then
was able to teach the way to innumerable people some of whom benefited to the
utmost extent by becoming Arahants. (See, Sangarava Sutta, Numerical
Collection, Threes, 60).
who goes forth must spend some time, usually a number of years, with Teachers
who guide his learning and practice. But when this period of training ends,
then possessed of learning and good practice, perhaps with penetration of the
Dhamma too, he can teach and help others on the way beyond dukkha. It is like a medical student who must spend some years at
study and practice before he can perform delicate operations on the body.
After he is qualified and experienced as a doctor he will be able to remove
bodily dukkha from his patients. The
well-trained Bhikkhu likewise, can help remove mental dukkha from those who seek his advice.
of the first Bhikkhus in the Sangha did not have to spend much time at
practice before penetration of the Dhamma. As with the first five Bhikkhus, so
it was with the next one, a rich young man called Yasa.
He became disenchanted with his pleasure-filled life and one night after
seeing his dancing girls and musicians strewn around the floor sleeping and
looking like so many corpses, he wandered out of his palace. As he wandered he
exclaimed of his life: „It is fearful, it is oppressive!“ (That such a
young man should speak these words shows his spiritual eminence). The Buddha
heard him and calling to him, said: „This is not fearful, this is not
oppressive. Come, Yasa, sit down. I shall teach you Dhamma“. When Yasa heard
this he rejoiced and after listening to a gradual Dhamma talk: on giving,
moral conduct, the heavens, the dangers, vanity and defilement of sensual
pleasures, the advantages of renunciation, then on the Teaching peculiar to
the Buddhas - the Four Noble Truths, he attained with a spotless mind to the
Eye of Dhamma: „Whatever has the nature to arise, all that has the nature to
cease“. He became a Stream-winner at this time.
mother and father worried about his absence, his father sent out search
parties and he went to look for Yasa. When he came to the Buddha he too
listened to Dhamma and also became a Stream-winner but while the sermon was
being given Yasa listened to it and attained Arahantship. And when his father
knew that Yasa had become an Arahant and consequently could not return to a
life of pleasurable indulgence he praised his son, invited the Buddha and Yasa
as his attendant-Bhikkhu to his house for the meal that day. Yasa’s father
became a lay disciple and was the first to go for Refuge to the Buddha - the
Enlightened One, the Dhamma - the Path to Enlightenment, and the Sangha - the
Community of those who have attained Enlightenment by following that Path.
also asked to be accepted as a Bhikkhu and was answered by the Buddha: „Come
Bhikkhu, well-expounded is Dhamma. Live the holy life for the complete ending
of dukkha“. Then Yasa became the
seventh of the Arahants.
offering of food in Yasa’s former house, his mother and former wife both
listened to Dhamma and became Stream-winners. They were the first laywomen to
go for Refuge to the Three Treasures: The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
Yasa was a well-known young man; so when four of his friends: Vimala, Subahu,
Punnaji, Gavampati, all of them sons of leading merchant families in Benares,
heard that he had become a Bhikkhu they said amongst themselves that it must
be an extraordinary Teaching which would cause Yasa to leave home. They went
to see him and he took them to the Buddha asking him to teach them. After they
had listened to his gradual Dhamma-talk they also became Stream-winners, asked
to become Bhikkhus and then, instructed from time to time by the Buddha,
attained Arahantship. So there were eleven Arahants in the world.
had more friends and acquaintances in the countryside, also from the merchant
class. Fifty young men from these families got together and went to visit
venerable Yasa. They attained Arahantship in exactly the same way as his four
friends mentioned above. The only difference is that we are not told their
names either here or anywhere else in Buddhist scriptures. Their names were
forgotten in the course of time and it may be that this was excusable if they
passed away during their journeys through the remote parts of that land.
Buddha spoke to those Bhikkhus the words so often quoted in connection with
spreading the Dhamma: „Bhikkhus, I am free from all shackles whether human
or divine. You are free from all shackles whether human or divine. Go now and
wander for the welfare and happiness of many, out of compassion for the world,
for the benefit, welfare and happiness of gods and men. Teach Dhamma that is
good in the beginning, good in the middle and good in the end, both in the
spirit and the latter. Explain the holy life that is utterly perfect and pure.
There are beings with little dust in their eyes that will be lost through not
hearing Dhamma. But some will understand Dhamma. I shall go to Uruvela, to
Senanigama, to teach Dhamma“. We should note that these inspiring words were
spoken to Arahants, not to ordinary men still with passions.
we must picture those Bhikkhus who were truly great men, after paying homage
to the Buddha’s feet, taking their robes and bowls and setting-off one in
this direction and two or three in that. A thin small ripple of yellowish
robes spreading out over the countryside from the Deer Park outside Benares.
Though little in number how great was the movement that they started! When
people asked them questions what profundity and directness there was in their
answers! Those words spoken by them were born out of pure, compassionate
hearts, desire less, hate less and brilliant with penetrating wisdom. With
emissaries like this the Dhamma was sure to spread.
amongst the people who heard Dhamma from these Arahants a number wished to
take up Dhamma-practice full-time, unobstructed by worldly activities They
requested those venerable ones to accept them as their disciples. But the
Arahants told them that they must go with them and receive the words of
acceptance from the Buddha himself. Then those Arahants would bring their
pupils all the ways back to the Deer Park even though the ways were rough and
Buddha considered this matter and then allowed the Bhikkhus to give the
going-forth and acceptance to those who asked for it. Hair and beard had to be
shaved-off, the applicant clothed in the yellow-dyed lower robe like a sarong,
with the upper robe over the left shoulder, leaving the right one bare. He
must then pay homage three times to his Teacher’s feet after which, kneeling
down with his hands held palms together, be should say: „To the Buddha, I go
for Refuge, to the Dhamma I go for Refuge, to the Sangha I go for refuge. For
the second time to the Buddha … Dhamma … Sangha I go for Refuge. For the
third time to the Buddha … Dhamma … Sangha I go for Refuge“.
is the second stage in the development of the Going-forth and Acceptance as
Bhikkhus. The first, the words spoken by the Buddha for instance to Yasa (see
above), was called the „Come-Bhikkhu-acceptance“. The revised method is
known as „Acceptance by Going to the Three Refuges“. The procedure for
becoming a Bhikkhu changes once more to the form used today. It was found that
the second method did not deal with a number of matters so that undesirable
people became Bhikkhus, those with the wrong motives and the wrong intentions.
To rectify this, the Buddha, when such cases came to his attention, laid down
matters which should be clear before Acceptance, (such as possession of
one’s own bowl and robes), as well as other matters which qualify or
disqualify a person from Bhikkhu-hood. (For an outline of the procedure see
third method as finally laid down by the Buddha incorporates the second stage,
which now becomes the way of Going-forth to become a samanera or novice. It is
followed by a procedure in which the Sangha of not less than five Bhikkhus
gathers first to hear the motion chanted that so-and-so requests Acceptance
and then listens in silence to three announcements of this fact. So long as
the text for this formal act of the Sangha is completely and perfectly recited
and so long as no Bhikkhu in that Sangha speaks, the motion is ‘carried’ -
by silence. If any objections are raised then the act has no validity.
in this chapter the Buddha’s acceptance of a further thirty Bhikkhus, the
conversion of the Kassapa brothers, the arrival of his foremost pair of
disciples, and some stories of individual Arahant Bhikkhus, should be
mentioned. When he was on his way to the area around Gaya where the three
brothers Kassapa and their disciples lived, he stayed for a while in a wood. A
party of thirty young men came from the town to that place to enjoy the
coolness of the forest, most with their wives and servants. One of them was
unmarried and had brought along a prostitute as his companion but she ran off
with his valuables while they were enjoying themselves. Everyone searched for
her but instead of finding her they came across the Buddha seated in another
part of the wood. When they asked him if he had seen a woman, he said:
„Young men, what have you to do with a woman?“ They told him what had
happened and he said: „What do you think about this, then; which is better
for you - that you should seek a woman or that you should seek yourselves?“
They replied that it was better to seek for themselves so the Buddha invited
them to sit down and listen to Dhamma. After paying homage to him and
listening to a gradual discourse on Dhamma, they all became Stream-winners and
then asked to become Bhikkhus. The Buddha accepted them with the
not told what happened to this group of thirty. It seems that they did not
accompany the Buddha on his journey to Gaya as he had, apparently, no company
when he was with the Kassapas. Perhaps they returned to seek further
instruction from the other sixty Arahants.
Buddha meanwhile first went on to seek the eldest of the brothers, Uruvela
Kassapa. He was the teacher of five hundred ascetics who had coiled or matted
hair, and practised various ceremonies such as fire-worship and austerities
such as baptising themselves in the icy river during the winter to wash away
their sins. As he was teacher of such a large number his fame spread far and
wide so that he received abundant offerings. He could not be taught by the
usual methods of instruction for he had become proud of his reputation, so the
Buddha employed various special means to impress him. Sometimes these means
are wrongly called ‘miracles’ but there is nothing miraculous about them.
Although they are certainly out of the ordinary they also become possible by
cause and effect; they are not powers granted from above. As Gotama the Buddha
had penetrated all the darkness of the mind with the brilliance of his
Enlightenment, such ‘super-knowledge’, as they are called, became possible
for him. However, he only used them rarely and then only when the usual
methods of teaching would not work.
this case, to break Uruvela-Kassapa’s pride he had to accomplish many
strange things and though the ascetic was impressed by them, thinking, ‘The
Samana Gotama is very powerful’, yet he also thought, ‘But he is not an
Arahant like me’. Uruvela Kassapa really thought that he had got to the
highest attainment and so could learn nothing further. Finally, the Buddha
seeing that the ascetic would not be moved to declare himself a pupil once
again, said to Uruvela Kassapa: „You are neither an Arahant nor on the way
to becoming one. There is nothing you do by which you might become an Arahant
or enter into the way of becoming one“. These words shocked Kassapa into
awareness of his own imperfection so that he and all his disciples became
Bhikkhus. Similarly, his brothers and their disciples amounting to another
five hundred ascetics also asked for Going-forth and Acceptance.
them all, a thousand or more Bhikkhus, the Buddha addressed the Disquisition
on Fire, his third recorded discourse: „Bhikkhus, All is burning. What is
the All? Eye is burning, sight objects are burning, eye-consciousness is
burning, eye contact is burning … Burning with what? Burning with the fire
of lust, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion …“ All of them
attained Arahantship at the conclusion of the discourse. Again, of all this
vast concourse we know only the names of their leaders, the three Kassapas, of
Uruvela, of the River, and of Gaya. Some of the other Arahants from this
assembly may be among those relatively unknown enlightened elders whose verses
are included in the collection known as Verses of the Elder Monks (Theragáthá
- see end of this chapter).
though the Buddha had now so many enlightened Bhikkhus some of them famous
either in lay society or in the religious life, he did not proclaim any of
them as his foremost disciples. This he did only a little later when the
venerable Sáriputta and Moggallána came to join him. They had been friends
from their youth and as young men became disillusioned with the amusements and
pleasures of the world. Having made a compact to tell each other about the
Deathless State (Nibbána), should either of them win to it, they journeyed
all over India discussing with Teachers and meditating with them. But they
could not find a Teacher who knew the way. Eventually Venerable Sáriputta saw
the Arahant Assaji, one of the first five Bhikkhus and sure from his composure
that he had won to the Way, approached and asked him questions. The venerable
Assaji modestly said that he could not expound Dhamma in detail but would do
so in brief. He said:
bright and quick was venerable Sáriputta’s wisdom in comprehending
conditionality that with the first half of this verse he became a
Stream-winner. (When we hear it, or see it, the profundity in the verse has to
be explained to us, demonstrating how dull our minds are). After honouring his
Teacher, venerable Sáriputta went to inform his friend, who after hearing the
came verse from him also attained to the Fruit of Stream-winning. Then both of
them proceeded to honour the Buddha’s feet and be acclaimed by him as his
foremost pair of Bhikkhu disciples. Both attained Arahantship soon after,
venerable Moggallána after a week and venerable Sáriputta when a fortnight
had gone by.
Sangha had grown to great numbers and in a very short time. With the Dhamma
perfectly expounded by the Buddha all who wore the Bhikkhu’s robes were then
Noble Ones, attained to the insights of Stream-winning, Once-returning,
Non-returning or won to the Enlightenment or the Arahant. Difficult situations
did not arise with such Noble Ones nor were evil actions done by them; so the
Sangha needed little regulation as yet.
fitting conclusion for this chapter let us look at some brief accounts of the
lives of a few Bhikkhus who became Arahants. There is a collection of their
in which they describe how they lived prior to ordination, how they came to
ordain and their Enlightenment experience afterwards. Out of the 259 Theras
(here meaning Arahant monks) just sixteen have been chosen here to show the
range of different sorts of people and their experiences. A similar selection
of enlightened bhikkhunis’ poems will be given in Chapter VII.
comes Víra, who was a son of a minister to King Pasenadi. His name means
‘hero’ and fittingly he became a great athlete and a warrior. When he
married and a son was born to him he saw the troubles in the round of
birth-and-death and so went forth to homelessness and making great effort
attained Arahantship. Then his former wife tried to lure him back to her in
various ways and venerable Víra said: ‘This woman, desiring to seduce me,
is like one wishing to shake Mount Sumeru with the wing of a gnat!’ And he
showed her the futility of her actions by reciting this verse:
woman hearing him was deeply moved and thought, ‘My husband has won to this
- what good is domestic life to me?’ She went forth as a Bhikkhuni and soon
case of Sundara-samudda it was not a wife who tried to lure him back to lay
life and its pleasures but a prostitute engaged for this purpose by his
grieving parents. He came of a wealthy merchant family and his parents feared
that the wealth of the family would be lost is their son continued in the
Bhikkhu life. They promised that woman the hand of their son in marriage if
she could prevail upon him to disrobe. Accordingly she invited him upon alms
round to receive alms food from her at the housedoer on the first day, later
inviting him to sit within the house and finally persuading him to take his
food alone with her upon the house’s topmost floor. Then she tried to seduce
him. The Thera perceiving her efforts and their effects upon himself, resolved
to make a supreme effort and sitting there won to concentration, insight and
Arahantship. Concerning this it is said:
was another merchant’s son born in western India but eventually heard the
Buddha give a Dhamma talk and then became a Stream-winner. While he was still
living as a householder a who had compassion for him roused him with these
Isidinna heard this he was deeply moved and going forth, not long after won
Arahantship. And when he confessed his penetrative knowledge, he repeated
also spoke about laymen though in this case, about their faith. He came of a
brahmin family and as a young man entered the Sangha and lived in the forest.
His practice won for him Arahantship after which he lived instructing Bhikkhus
and teaching lay people especially the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts.
One family in particular had faith in him and his Dhamma-teachings and in that
house there was a beautiful daughter who served him very respectfully with
food. A hallucination resembling him appeared to her and the family and it
seemed as though he took hold of her hand. She knew that is was not him but
the others lost faith in him. The next day when he called to receive alms food
he perceived their changed manner and investigating with his mind, knew what
had happened. Then he explained to them what had really occurred and the
householder begged his pardon, but the Thera to show his non-attachment spoke
Brahmin, Mahánáma, heard the Buddha teaching Dhamma and gaining faith,
entered the Sangha. After receiving a meditation object from the Buddha he
retired to the seclusion of Mount Nesadaka. But he was not able to stop evil
thoughts and desires arising and exclaimed ‘What use is life to me with this
corrupted mind?’ Disgusted with himself he climbed up to a steep place and
prepared to throw himself down, first uttering this verse:
he was exhorting himself with this verse the Thera won insight and Arahantship
so that this verse became his declaration of penetrative knowledge
too tried to kill himself out of despair because of his wandering mind. He was
born as the son of King Suddhodana’s ceremonial priest and therefore of
brahmin stock. When the Buddha returned to his own people to teach them, he
obtained confidence and went forth. He was overpowered by defilements of mind
and so could not win one-pointedness of mind. Finally he became so distressed
that he got to the point of committing suicide but then insight arose and
Arahantship was attained. Declaring his perfect knowledge he said:
For a translation see „Three Cardinal Discourses of the Buddha“. Wheel No. 17, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
It is incorrect to use the word ‘sangha’ for a group of lay Buddhists who do not constitute a Sangha in either of the accepted senses defined above.
See the Discourse about him and by him in Appendix I.
Most of the quotations in this chapter are from „The Life of the Buddha“ translated from the Pali by Ven. Nanamoli Thera, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
For a detailed account, see „The Life of Sáriputta“, Wheel No. 90/92. B.P.S.
The Elder Monks’ Verses have been twice translated in the P.T.S. Translations Series (see, Psalms of the Brethren/Sisters; Elders’ Verses I. II). The translations appearing here, while they have been newly made by the writer, draw on the previous renderings in somme places. The writer readily acknowledges his dobt to the translators of both volumes.
Quenched - put out the fires of lust, aversion, delusion and attained to the cool peace of Nibbana, to Arahantship.
Numbers refer to verses in the text of the Elder Monks’ Verses (Theragátha).
‘Teachings’ is a translation of the religious term Sásana, left untranslated in the last line. Literally it means ‘instructions’ but covers all aspects of ‘Buddhism’ which is called the Buddhasasana in Buddhist lands.
Swear an oath on fire or go througn an ordeal by fire to ‘prove’ veracity.
Triple knowledge described as the Enlightenment experience in Ch. I.
‘found inferior’ and ‘to ruin come’ attempt to convey the meaning of one difficult Pali verb.