Bhaddāli Chapter, the Forty-Second

[408. {411.}1 Bhaddāli2]

The Sambuddha named Sumedha,
Chief, Compassionate One, the Sage,
the World’s Chief, Seclusion-Lover,
came up to the Himalayas. (1) [4268]

Plunged3 into the Himalayas,
Sumedha, Leader of the World,
the Ultimate Person, sat down,
getting into lotus posture.4 (2) [4269]

Sumedha, Leader of the World,
his meditative state attained,5
the Ultimate Person, Buddha,
sat [there] for seven nights [and] days. (3) [4270]

Taking a carrying pole-load,6
I [too] plunged into the forest.7
There I saw [him], the Sambuddha,
Flood-Crosser, the Undefiled One. (4) [4271]

After having picked up a broom,
I [then] swept out the hermitage.
Fixing sticks in the four [corners,]
I made [him] a pavilion then. (5) [4272]

Bringing flowers from a sal [tree,]
I [then] covered the pavilion.
Happy, with pleasure in [my] heart,
I worshipped [him], the Thus-Gone-One. (6) [4273]

The one whom they call “Sumedha,”8
Very Wise9 [and] Intelligent,10
seated in the monks’ Assembly,
spoke these verses [about me then]: (7) [4274]

Knowing that Buddha would speak,11 the
gods all came together, [thinking],
“the Best Buddha, the Eyeful One,
will doubtlessly preach the Dhamma.”12 (8) [4275]

The Sambuddha named Sumedha,
Sacrificial Recipient,
seated in the gods’ assembly,
spoke these verses [about me then]: (9) [4276]

“Who for a week did bear for me
a sal-bloom-covered pavilion,
I shall relate details of him;
[all of] you listen to my words: (10) [4277]

Born as a god or as a man,
he will be the color of gold.
Being one with abundant wealth,
he’ll feast on sensual pleasures.13 (11) [4278]

[Then] sixty thousand elephants,
decked out in all the ornaments,
mātaṅgas with gold headdresses,
clothed in harnessing made of gold, (12) [4279]

mounted by elephant-trainers
with lances and goads in hand,14
will come to [be owned by] this man,
and attend him evening and morn.15
Surrounded by those elephants,
this man will delight [in the world]. (13) [4280]16

Sixty thousand horses [as well],
decked out in all the ornaments,
thoroughbreds of good pedigree,17
horses from Sindh, fast vehicles, (14) [4281]

mounted by trainers of horses18
carrying bows and one-edged swords,19
will constantly wait on this [man]:
that’s the fruit of Buddha-pūjā. (15) [4282]

Sixty thousand chariots [too],
decked out in all the ornaments,
covered in20 the skins of leopards
and likewise tigers,21 flags hoisted, (16) [4283]

mounted by animal-trainers22
wearing armor with bows in hand,
will constantly wait on this [man]:
that’s the fruit of Buddha-pūjā. (17) [4284]

[And] sixty thousand villages,
completely full in all regards,
rich in grain and abundant wealth,23
altogether magnificent,24
will appear [for him] all the time:
that’s the fruit of Buddha-pūjā. (18) [4285]25
The four-part army: elephant,
horse, chariot and foot-soldier,
will constantly wait on this [man]:
that’s the fruit of Buddha-pūjā. (19) [4286]

For eighteen hundred aeons he
will delight in the world of gods.
A26 thousand times he’ll be a king,
a king who turns the wheel [of law]. (20) [4287]

[During that time] three hundred times
he will exercise divine rule,
[and there will be] much local rule,
innumerable by counting. (21) [4288]

[After] thirty thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (22) [4289]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
knowing well all the defilements,
he’ll reach nirvana, undefiled.” (23) [4290]

Thirty thousand aeons [ago]
I saw the Leader of the World.
In all the time from then to now,27
I was seeking the deathless state. (24) [4291]

The gain for me was well-received,
that I knew the dispensation.
The three knowledges are attained;
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (25) [4292]

Praise to you, O Well-Bred Person!28
Praise to you, Ultimate Person!
After having praised your knowledge,
I’ve now attained the deathless state. (26) [4293]

In whichever womb I’m reborn,
[whether] it’s human or divine,
I am happy in every place,
the fruit of my praising knowledge. (27) [4294]

This is the final time for me;
[my] last rebirth is proceeding.29
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (28) [4295]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (29) [4296]

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! (30) [4297]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (31) [4298]

Thus indeed Venerable Bhaddāli Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Bhaddāli 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. In the printed work, the BJTS numbering “114” for “411” in the Pali text is obvious a typographical error.

  2. “Embankment of Good Fortune”. A historical monk, to whom the Bhaddali-sutta (M.i.437ff.) was preached after he confessed to avoiding the Buddha for three months in disagreement with the vinaya ruling on eating meals after noon. See DPPN II:357

  3. ajjhogahetvā, lit., “plunging”

  4. lit “crouching with [his] legs crossed”

  5. samādhiŋ so samāpanno

  6. khārikājaŋ gahetvāna, lit., “taking a khāri [a unit of weight, perhaps of grain] on a carrying pole;” RD: “a khāri-load”

  7. lit., “into the middle of the forest”

  8. the name of this Buddha means “very clever” (su-medha), so the line could also be translated, “The one whom they call ‘the Wise One’”

  9. bhūripaññaŋ

  10. sumedhasaŋ, “he with good intelligence,” a play on the Buddha’s name

  11. lit., “recognizing [that there would be] speech of the Buddha”

  12. I take asaŋsayaŋ adverbially, but it could also be read as an adjective modifying dhammaŋ, i.e., “will preaching the Teaching which is without doubt” or “which engenders no doubt”

  13. kāmabhogī bhavissati, lit., “he will be one who enjoys/eats/possesses sensual pleasures”

  14. tomaraṅkusapāṇihi

  15. sāyapāto, BJTS reads sāyaṃpāto, lit., “in the evening and in the morning”

  16. PTS and BJTS agree in reading this as a six-footed verse.

  17. jātiyā, lit., “well-born” or simply “excellent,” the term connotes lineage, genealogy, caste, breed. Here it seems to substitute for “those fast like the wind” (vātajavā) in parallel lists (see above, [1293], [2692], [3981])

  18. gāmaṇīya usually means elephant-trainers, as in v. 26 [4097], above, but here the context makes “horse-trainer” a more suitable translation, so I have taken the same liberty taken by the poet in treating the term that way. PSI indicates that these are trainers of “elephants, etc.” (ätun ādīn puhuṇu karana ācchāryyaya), allowing for the extended meaning in this context.

  19. illiyā cchāpadhārīhi

  20. sannaddhā, RD: fastened, bound; put on, clothed (with), armed, accoutred. The term has a wide enough range to leave open the possibility that rather than covered in the hides of these big cats, the poet imagines the chariots pulled by leopards and tigers, which would make sense of the specification below that they are also mounted by animal-trainers, in this case perhaps leopard- and tiger-trainers, paralleling the elephant-trainers who mount the elephants and the horse-trainers who mount the horses.

  21. dīpā, fr. dīpī, leopard. Both RD and PSI give cart covered with a tiger skin as one of the meanings of dīpā, and the same (i.e., covered with a tiger skin) for veyyagghā, but here the “and also too” (atho pi) connecting the two terms clearly indicates that they are not simple synonyms, but rather two types of decorated or armored carts: those covered with leopard skins (dīpā) and those covered with tiger skins (veyyagghā).

  22. gāmaṇīya usually means elephant-trainers, as in v. 26 [4097], above, but as noted in the note on v. [4099], above, the meaning is more elastic to include other animals too. Here I opt for the most open translation, given the possibility that at least horses in addition to elephants would have been imagined pulling the 60,000 chariots. It is even possible that the poet imagines the chariots as pulled by leopards and tigers, rather than merely covered in their hides, in which case “big-cat-trainers” would be the best translation here.

  23. pahūtadhanadhaññāni, taking the compound as a dvandva, see RD, dhana s.v. for a discussion of the options here. Because the subject is “villages,” it seems to me appropriate to maintain the underlying meaning of both dhana and dhañña, namely “grain,” but this is a stock phrase which means “rich in abundant treasures”

  24. susamiddhāni sabbaso, “thoroughly very magnificent/rich/prosperous

  25. PTS and BJTS agree in reading this as a six-footed verse.

  26. omitting ccha, “and”

  27. etthantaram upādāya, lit., “for as long as the interval [up to] now (or here)”

  28. purisājañña, RD “steed of man,” in the voc. Contracted form of ājāniya/ājānīya, “almost exclusively used to donate a thoroughbred horse”

  29. ccharimo vattate bhavo