[391. {394.}1 Madhudāyaka2]

I had a well-made hermitage,
on the banks of River Indus.
There3 I am instructing students
in history and [reading] signs. (1) [3706]

They lived on the Indus’ slopes,
desiring teachings,4 learned folks,5
masters in Vedic sciences,6
wanting to hear good instruction.7 (2) [3707]

They were skilled in interpreting8
omens as well as [reading] signs.9
Searching for ultimate meaning,
they then dwelt within the forest. (3) [3708]

The Sambuddha named Sumedha
arose in the world at that time.
Being [filled] with pity for us,
the [Buddha, the] Guide,10 approached [us]. (4) [3709]

Fashioning a mat out of grass11
for Sumedha, the World’s Leader,
the Great Hero who had approached,
I gave [it] to the World’s Best One. (5) [3710]

Taking honey from the forest,
I gave [it] to the Best Buddha.
The Sambuddha, having consumed
[it], spoke these words [to us back then]: (6) [3711]

“He who gave this honey to me,
[feeling well-] pleased by [his] own hands,
I shall relate details of him;
[all of] you listen to my words: (7) [3712]

Because of this honey-giving,
and because of the mat of grass,
for thirty thousand aeons he
will delight in the world of gods. (8) [3713]

[After] thirty thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (9) [3714]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
knowing well all the defilements,
he’ll reach nirvana, undefiled.” (10) [3715]

Coming here from the world of gods,
[when I] approached [my] mother’s womb,
there then rained a rain of honey;12
the earth was covered with honey.13 (11) [3716]

When I was coming out from the
womb, as though very unhappily,14
there again a rain of honey
is raining for me constantly. (12) [3717]

Having departed from the house,
I went forth into homelessness.
I am receiving15 food [and] drink:
that’s the fruit of giving honey. (13) [3718]

[Whether] born human [or] divine,
I succeed in all [my] wishes.
Just because of that honey-gift,
I attained [my] arahantship.16 (14) [3719]

When the god is raining, I am always living
undefiled [and] happy, on grass four fingers [high],
or17 covered18 by a tree [bursting forth] in full bloom,19
in an empty house, a pavilion, [or] tree root.20 (15-16) [3720]21

I’ve overcome all existence,
great [or] small [or] in the middle.22
Today I’m free of defilements;
now there will be no more rebirth. (17) [3721]

In the thirty thousand aeons
since I gave that gift at that time,
I’ve come to know no bad rebirth:
that’s the fruit of giving honey. (18) [3722]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
All defilements are exhausted;
now there will be no more rebirth. (19) [3723]

My being in Buddha’s presence23
was a very good thing for me.
The three knowledges are attained;
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (20) [3724]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (21) [3725]

Thus indeed Venerable Madhudāyaka Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Madhudāyaka Thera is finished.


  1. Apadāna numbers provided in {fancy brackets} correspond to the BJTS edition, which contains more individual poems than does the PTS edition dictating the main numbering of this translation.

  2. “Honey Donor”

  3. reading tattha with BJTS for PTS tassa, “his”

  4. dhammakāmā. BJTS gloss just gives dharmakāmī. I do not capitalize “teachings” because I assume the term is used more generically to mean doctrines, rather than the Dhamma.

  5. vinītā

  6. chalaṅge, lit., “six branches” of Vedic science. RD, S.V.: “the set of six Vedāngas, disciplines of Vedic science, viz. 1. kappa, 2. vyākaraṇā, 3. nirutti, 4. sikkhā, 5. chando (vicchiti), 6. joti-sattha (thus enumd at VvA 265; at PvA 97 in sequence 4, 1, 3, 2, 6, 5): D iii.269; Vv 6316; Pv ii.613; Miln 178, 236.”

  7. reading susāsanaṃ sotukāmā with BJTS for PTS sotukāmā pi sāsanaŋ, “also wanting to hear instructions.” BJTS gloss gives anuśāsanaya asanu kämättā, “desiring to listen to instructions,” and I follow suit in the generic translation here, rather than understand the term as the “Sasana,” the Buddha’s “dispensation”

  8. uppādāgamane, lit., “coming on of omens (RD: uppāda 1, BJTS gloss utpāta)” or “arrival of omens.” BJTS glosses °āgamane as śāstrayehi, “traditional learning” (about omens), apparently conflating the term with āgama, which can mean the scriptures of manuals of particular religious groups, or more generally “meaning, understanding,” likewise a meaning of the root ā + gam. BJTS explains this utpātaśāstra as “declaring [omens] good or bad (śubhāśubha) having looked at/with an eye toward unnatural changes connected with ghosts (bhūtayan piḷibanda asvābhāvika venasvīm balā)

  9. BJTS gloss takes this lakṣaṇaśāstra as involving the signs on the body/science of interpreting bodily marks.

  10. vināyako

  11. tīṇisantharakaŋ katvā

  12. madhuvasso (BJTS reads madhuvassaṃ) pavassittha

  13. chādayaŋ madhunā mahiŋ

  14. reading kucchchiyā va suduttaraṃ (lit., “as though very hard to cross over from the womb”) with BJTS for PTS kumbiyā vasuduttaraŋ (“from a pot over the earth” ?). I follow BJTS gloss in translating this BJTS reading.

  15. lit., “I am a receiver of”

  16. lit., “I attained the destruction of the outflows” (āsavakkhayaŋ). This has to be read as a reference to the much later (present) life, for if he had become an arahant in the time of Sikhi Buddha he would not have been reborn during the time of the present (Gotama) Buddha.

  17. lit., “and,” ccha

  18. reading sañcchhanne with BJTS for PTS ccha chappade (“and with six feet”?)

  19. reading sampupphite with BJTS for PTS samphīte

  20. reading mūlake with PTS (and BJTS alt.) as preferable to BTJTS mūle, which would make this line (only) an eleven-syllable foot.

  21. PTS treats this as two four-footed verses with six- (rather than eight-) syllable feet; BJTS treats it as a singe verse with twelve-syllable feet. Except the divergences indicated, the Pāli is the same in both.

  22. reading majjhe mahante hīne with BJTS for PTS majjhe mayhaŋ bhāvā, “my existences in the middle.”

  23. here too BJTS and PTS agree in presenting the variant reading