[400. {403.}1 Mettagu2]

In the Himalayan region,
there’s a mountain named Asoka.3
In that place was my hermitage,
constructed by Vissakamma.4 (1) [3935]

The Sambuddha named Sumedha,
Chief,5 Compassionate One,6 the Sage,7
dressing himself in the morning,
approached me [begging] for alms food. (2) [3936]

[Seeing] the Great Hero who’d come,8
Sumedha, Leader of the World,
taking a good alms-bowl, I
filled it with clarified butter.9 (3) [3937]

Giving it to10 the Best Buddha,
Sumedha, Leader of the World,
pressing both my hands together,
I brought pleasure to [my] heart [there]. (4) [3938]

Because of this ghee-offering,
[made] with intention and resolve,
[whether] born human or divine,
I obtain enormous comfort. (5) [3940]

Avoiding states of suffering,11
I transmigrate from birth to birth.
Having resolved [my] heart on it,12
I’m obtaining the deathless state. (6) [3941]

“This gain for you is well-received,
which is that you saw me, brahmin.
Having arrived to look at me,
you’re going to be an arahant. (7) [3942]

Be confident [and] have no fear,
after finding the Great-Famed One.
Having given [this] ghee to me,
you will be freed from being born. (8) [3943]

Because of this ghee-offering
and practicing with loving heart,13
for eighteen hundred aeons you
will delight in the world of gods. (9) [3944]

And eighteen times you [also] will
become the king of [all] the gods,
[and you will have] much local rule,
innumerable by counting. (10) [3945]

And fifty-one times you will be
a king who turns the wheel [of law],
lord of the grove of rose-apples,14
victorious on [all] four sides.15 (11) [3946]

Unperturbed like the great ocean,
as hard to carry as the earth,
in just that way your possessions
are going to be immeasurable.”16 (12) [3947]

I went forth after giving [up]
six hundred million [worth] of gold.
Seeking after what is wholesome,
I [first] went up to Bāvarī. (13) [3948]

[While] I studied the mantras there,
Vedic science17 and [reading] marks,
you arose [in the world], Great Sage,
destroying that bewilderment.18 (14) [3949]

Having a desire to see you,
I came [up to you], O Great Sage.
Having listened to your Teaching,
I [then] attained the deathless state. (15) [3950]

Thirty thousand aeons [ago]
I gave that ghee to the Buddha.
In the interval19 I don’t know
[any] begging of ghee20 by me. (16) [3951]

My intentions being discerned,
what I wish for [then] arises.
My heart discerned [I am] reborn,
[and] I gratify everyone. (17) [3952]

O! the Buddha! O! the Teaching!
O! our Teacher’s [great] achievement!
After giving a bit of ghee,
I receive immeasurably. (18) [3953]

The water in the great ocean,
the extent of Mt. Meru’s slope,
would not be21 one half a quarter22
of the ghee arising for me. (19) [3954]

The universe’s full extent,
made into a [gigantic] pile
would not be able23 [to fill the]
space of the clothing worn by me. (20) [3955]

Himalaya, king of mountains,
although it is the best mountain,
is not [even] comparable
to the perfumes anointing me. (21) [3956]

Clothes and perfumes and ghee and food,
or [everything] that’s in the world,
and nirvana, unconditioned:24
that is the fruit of giving ghee. (22) [3957]

[My] couch today is mindfulness,25
[my] pasture’s meditative states,26
[my] food is wisdom’s [seven] parts:27
that is the fruit of giving ghee. (23) [3958]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Knowing well all the defilements,
I am [now] living, undefiled. (24) [3959]

Being in Best Buddha’s presence
was a very good thing for me.
The three knowledges are attained;
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (25) [3960]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (26) [3961]

Thus indeed Venerable Mettagu Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Mettagu 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. “Perfected in Loving-kindness”

  3. “Griefless.” This is the only reference to the mountain recorded in DPPN (I:220)

  4. Vishwakarma, “the divine architect”

  5. aggo

  6. kāruṇiko

  7. muni

  8. upāgataŋ, lit., “approached”

  9. sappitelaŋ, i.e., ghee

  10. lit., “for,” the expected datives here appear in the locative, presumably metri causa

  11. vinipātaŋ

  12. tattha cchittaŋ paṇidhitvā, also “having aspired,” “having wished,” “having intended”

  13. mettacchittavatāya ccha

  14. jambusaṇḍa = jambudīpa = India, the South Asian continent

  15. cchaturanto vijitāvi, “possessed of conquest of the four quarters,” a supreme imperial overlord

  16. contract to “immeas’rable” for chanting, to preserve the meter.

  17. chalaṅgaŋ, lit., “the six branches.” RD: “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.” BJTS understand this as an adjective modifying “[reading] marks,” i.e., “the six branches of the science (śāstraya) of marks,” but given the use of the term to refer to the six branches of Vedic science above ([3605] = Sela (#389 {392}), v. 24,

  18. andhakāra, lit., “blinder,” “[studies] that blind”

  19. etthantare, lit., “in the interval [up to] here”

  20. sappiŋ viññāpitaŋ mayā, lit., “ghee instructions from me” or (as in BJTS Sinhala gloss,) “not even a word about ghee”

  21. BJTS reads phassati, “would not touch”

  22. kalabhāgaŋ, i.e., a thirty-second part (this follows BJTS)

  23. na sammati, following BJTS gloss no pohotē = no häki

  24. asaṅkhataŋ ccha nibbānaŋ

  25. sati paṭṭhānasayano

  26. lit., “samādhi [and] jhāna,” meditative awareness and higher levels of consciousness”

  27. reading bojjhaṅga-bhojano with BJTS for PTS (typo) bhojjaṅgabhojano