[401. {404.}1 Dhotaka2]

The River named Bhāgīrathī3
is fed by the Himalayas.
It is always flowing along,
past4 the gate of Haṃsavatī. (1) [3962]

The hermitage named Sobhita,5
well-built, is on the river’s slopes.
The Buddha, Padumuttara,
the World’s Leader, was dwelling there. (2) [3963]

He was honored the people,
like Indra by the thirty [gods].
The Blessed One was seated6 there
fearlessly [just] like a lion. (3) [3964]

I was a brahmin living in
the city of Haṃsavatī.
My name [back then] was Chalaṇga,7
named thus [because] I was a sage. (4) [3965]

One thousand eight hundred8 students
were surrounding me at that time.
Joined together9 with those students,
I went up to the riverbank. (5) [3966]

At that place I saw [Buddhist] monks,
without deceit,10 cleansed of evil,11
crossing Bhāgīrathī [River].
At that time I reflected thus: (6) [3967]

“These sons of Buddha, of great fame,
are crossing evening and morning;
they are being troubled themselves,
[and] their things12 are getting ruined. (7) [3968]

The Buddha’s said to be the Chief
of the world including the gods.
I have not [yet] made donations13
that would cleanse [my] road to rebirth. (8) [3969]

Why then don’t I get a bridge built
on the river for Best Buddha?
Causing that work to be done,14 I’ll
transmigrate in this existence.” (9) [3970]

Donating a hundred thousand
I had a bridge built [for him there],
trusting that “doing this deed15 will
be of great [advantage] to me.16” (10) [3971]

Having caused [that] bridge to be built,
I went up to the World-Leader.
Hands pressed together on [my] head,
I spoke these words [to him back then]: (11) [3972]

“Donating17 one hundred thousand,
I’ve caused this magnificent18 bridge
to be constructed for your sake;
please accept [it], O Sage So Great.” (12) [3973]

Padumuttara, World-Knower,
Sacrificial Recipient,
seated in the monks’ Assembly,
spoke these verses [about me then]: (13) [3974]

“He who had [this] bridge built for me,
[feeling well-]pleased by [his] own hands,
I shall relate details of him;
[all of] you listen to my words: (14) [3975]

Fallen into19 a cave20 or from
[the top of] a mountain or tree,
even dying21 he will get caught:22
that’s the fruit of giving bridges. (15) [3976]

As the wind23 [does not disturb] a
banyan24 spreading [its] growing roots,25
enemies26 will not defeat27 [him]:
that’s the fruit of giving bridges. (16) [3977]

No thieves are going to defeat28 him29
and the king30 will not despise [him].
He’ll surpass all [his] enemies:31
that’s the fruit of giving bridges. (17) [3978]

[Even] in an unsheltered space,
being scorched by the [sun’s] harsh heat,
conforming with [his] good karma,32
he won’t feel any discomfort.33 (18) [3979]

In the world of gods or of men,
a well-built elephant-carriage
all of the time will come to be,
discerning what he is thinking. (19) [3980]

A thousand fast carriages with
Sindh horses as quick as the wind
will come to [him] evening and morning:
that’s the fruit of giving bridges. (20) [3981]

Having come to the human state,
this one is going to be happy;
here too for [this] very man the
elephant-carriage will appear.34 (21) [3982]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (22) [3983]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
knowing well all the defilements
he’ll reach nirvana, undefiled.” (23) [3984]

O! that karma well-done by me
for him whose name is “Best Lotus.35
Having done that deed36 [for him] there,
I attained [my] arahantship.37 (24) [3985]

Having put forth exertion,38 I’m
calmed,39 devoid of grounds for rebirth;40
like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (25) [3986]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
All defilements are exhausted;
now there will be no more rebirth. (26) [3988]41
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! (27) [3987]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (28) [3989]

Thus indeed Venerable Dhotaka Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Dhotaka 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. “Wash-er”

  3. This is the BJTS spelling; PTS gives Bhāgīrasī

  4. or through? dvārena

  5. “beautiful”

  6. lit., “sat down”

  7. “Six Limbs” or “Six Branches,” as in the six branches of Vedic science. BJTS spells the name Chaḷanga

  8. lit., “eighteen hundred”

  9. samito, lit., “assembled” (also pacified, calmed)

  10. nikkuhe

  11. dhotapāpake

  12. attā, “things in hand”

  13. lit., “there has not been doing of donations (dakkhiṇe) by me”

  14. kārāpetvā imaŋ kammaŋ

  15. kāraŋ

  16. I BJTS follow BJTS’s treatment of kataŋ kāraŋ vipulam me bhavissati as a saying in which the protagonist cultivates trust.

  17. lit., doing, katvā, BJTS alt. corrects to datvā

  18. mahā°

  19. lit., “from”

  20. reading darito with BJTS for PTS dalito “broken off” (but cf. RD, darī s.v., dal is alt. for dar in derivatives of this noun.

  21. cchuto, which literally means “fallen” as well, paralleling the actual “falling” (patito) governing the first two feet of the verse with a metaphorical one (“fallen from life”) governing the third foot.

  22. lacchchati ṭṭhānaŋ, lit., “he will receive a support/place/stand

  23. māluto, abl. case

  24. nigrodhā = Sinh. nuga, RD: the banyan or Indian fig-tree, Ficus Indica; Bot. dict.: milky fig tree, Ficus altissima (Urti.)

  25. lit., “as a banyan…[is not disturbed] because of the wind.” Banyan trees drop new roots from their spreading branches, the image invoked in virūḷha-mūla-santānaŋ

  26. amittā, “non-friends”

  27. PTS read sahissanti, BJTS (and PTS alt.) reads pasahanti; though the latter is in the present indicative it can also be read as a future-tense verb, hence the two readings produce the same meaning.

  28. PTS read sahissanti, BJTS (and PTS alt.) reads pasahanti; though the latter is in the present indicative it can also be read as a future-tense verb, hence the two readings produce the same meaning.

  29. lit., “of him,” i.e., “bring about the defeat of him”

  30. khattiyo, lit., “ the warrior (kṣatriyan).” BJTS (and PTS alt.) read this in the plural: nâtimaññanti khattiyā, in which case read “kings” or else “noblemen”.

  31. amitte, “non-friends”

  32. puññakammena saŋyuttā, lit., “with [his] meritorious karma”

  33. na bhavissati vedanā, lit., “there will not be feelings”

  34. bhavissati, lit., “will become,” “will come to be,” “will exist”

  35. jaladuttamanāmake, i.e., Padmuttara (also “Best Lotus”)

  36. kāraŋ

  37. lit., “I attained the destruction of the outflows”

  38. padhānaŋ padahitvāna, lit., “having exerted [myself] in exertion

  39. upasanto

  40. nirūpadhi

  41. note that BJTS inverts the first and second verses of the three-verse concluding refrain.