[484. {487.}1 Puḷinuppādaka2]

On a Himalayan mountain,
[I’m] Devala the ascetic.
My meditation walkway there
was made by non-human beings.3 (1) [5140]

Bearing a weight of matted hair,
carrying a water-pot then,
searching for ultimate meaning,
I departed from the forest. (2) [5141]

Eighty-six thousand students [there,]
waited upon me at that time.
Well-known together with their deeds,4
they are living in the forest. (3) [5142]

Going out from the hermitage,
I made a stupa out of sand.
Assembling various flowers,
I worshipped5 that stupa then. (4) [5143]

Bringing pleasure to [my] heart there,
I [re-]entered the hermitage.
All [my] students, come together,
questioned me [about] what that meant:6 (5) [5144]

“[All of] us would like to find out
which deity you’re honoring
[at that] stupa made out of sand:
being asked, please tell [that] to us.”7 (6) [5145]

“The Eyeful Ones, Greatly Famed Ones,
have no views8 [and] no magic spells;9
they’re the ones I am honoring,
the Best Buddhas, Greatly Famed Ones.” (7) [5146]

“In what way are they Great Heroes,
Omniscient Ones, Lords of the World?
What do they look like?10 What conduct?
In what way are they Greatly Famed?” (8) [5147]

“Buddhas have thirty-two great marks,
and also forty [adult] teeth.11
Their eyes with heifer-eyelashes12
resemble wild licorice fruits.13 (9) [5148]

And when those Buddhas are walking,14
they look but a plough’s length ahead.15
They do not have a person’s voice;16
their euphonic sound17 is not heard. (10) [5149]

Also, when those Well-Gone-Ones walk,
they lift up [one foot at a time],18
[always] starting [with] the right foot:
that is the nature of Buddhas. (11) [5150]

And those Buddhas are not afraid,
[just] like lions, the kings of beasts.
They do not [ever] praise themselves,
and don’t revile living beings. (12) [5151]

They are free of pride and contempt,
the same for all living beings.
Buddhas [only] praise selflessly:
that is the nature of Buddhas. (13) [5152]

And [when] Buddhas are being born,
they radiate light [from themselves],
[and] in six [different] ways19 they cause
this whole [bountiful] earth to quake. (14) [5153]

And they are [able to] see hell,
and hell is cooled off at that time.
A massive cloud rains forth [as well]:
that is the nature of Buddhas. (15) [5154]

Such-like are those Great Elephants,
Incomparable,20 of Great Fame;
in beauty they are unsurpassed,21
the Thus-Gone-Ones, Beyond Measure.” (16) [5155]

All of [my] students, respectful,
[then] expressed [their] thanks for my speech,
and22 likewise went along [with me,]
as far as they could [and] had strength. (17) [5156]

Wishing for [their] own [good] karma,
they’re worshipping [that] sand [stupa].
Having faith in that speech [of mine],
their minds drifted23 to Buddhahood. (18) [5157]

Then a God’s Son, Greatly Famous,
fell down from Tusitā heaven.
He was born in a mother’s womb,
making the ten-thousand [worlds] quake. (19) [5158]

I stood on the walkway which was
near [my] hermitage [at that time].
All [my] students, having gathered,
came into my presence [just then]. (20) [5159]

“The earth, bull-like, is bellowing;
it’s roaring like the king of beasts.
It’s shaking24 like a crocodile;
what will this be the result of?” (21) [5160]

“The Buddha25 I detailed [for you,]
close to the stupa made of sand,
the Blessed One, the Teacher, now
has been born in a mother’s womb.” (22) [5161]

Discussing the Teaching for them,
[and] having detailed the Great Sage,
exhorting [my] own students [there],
I sat in lotus position. (23) [5162]

[All] my strength was [then] exhausted,
due to a serious26 illness.
Remembering the Best Buddha,
I passed away [right] on the spot. (24) [5163]

All [of my] students assembled;
they made [me] a pyre at that time,
and taking my mortal remains,27
they lifted [me] onto the pyre. (25) [5164]

Having attended to the pyre,
hands pressed together on [their] heads,
wounded28 by the arrows of grief,
come together they lamented. (26) [5165]

While they were wailing [uselessly,]29
I [then] came [back] to the pyre [there].
“I am your [dead] teacher, wise ones;
do not lament [my passing on]. (27) [5166]

Endeavor for the highest good,
night and day not being lazy.
Don’t be negligent, all of you;
your moment30 is offered to you.” (28) [5167]

Exhorting [my] own students [thus],
I returned to the world of gods.
For eighteen aeons [after that]
I delighted in the gods’ world. (29) [5168]

And [then] a hundred times I was
a king who turns the wheel [of law].
Also another hundred times,
I was a king who turns the wheel.
Also another hundred times
I [then] exercised divine rule. (30) [5169]31
In the remaining aeons I
transmigrated as god or man.32
I’ve come to know no bad rebirth:
that’s the fruit of generating.33 (31) [5170]

As in the month of Kattikā,34
many trees are in full flower,
likewise in that very season,
I have flowered as a great sage. (32) [5171]

Vigorous effort’s the yoked ox,
carrying perfect peace for me.35
Like elephants with broken chains
I am dwelling without constraint. (33) [5172]

In the hundred thousand aeons
since I praised the Buddha [back then],
I’ve come to know no bad rebirth:
that’s the fruit of praising [Buddhas]. (34) [5173]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (35) [5174]

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! (36) [5175]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (37) [5176]

Thus indeed Venerable Puḷinuppādaka Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Puḷinuppādaka 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. “Sand-Generator”. BTS reads Pulin°

  3. reading amānussehi māpito with BJTS for PTS amānussikamāpito (roughly the same meaning: “non-human-made”)

  4. sahakammāni

  5. lit., “did pūjā

  6. lit., “asked me that meaning”

  7. reading no with BJTS for PTS me

  8. niddiṭṭhā

  9. no mantapade

  10. or “what caste are they?,” kathaŋ vaṇṇa° (BJTS reads, more correctly, kathaṃ vaṇṇā)

  11. cchattārīsa-ddijāpi ccha (PTS), °dvijāpi ccha (BJTS), following BJTS Sinh. gloss in understanding dvija as “tooth” (“twice born,” hence the adult teeth).

  12. reading nettā gopa[k]khumā with BJTS for PTS gopamukhā (“face to face with a cow”)

  13. jiñjukaphalasannibhā. The jiñjuka (also known as guñja in Pāli) shrub, Sinh. huninda (BJTS gloss) or olinda is Abrus pracatorius (Legum.). It bears distinctive, small red or black berries which serve as the smallest jeweller’s weight and are used in a traditional Sri Lankan board game; the present epithet presumably refers to the (very) black berries borne by this plant.

  14. lit., “going”

  15. yugamattañ ccha pekkhare lit., “looking ahead the extent of a plough,” i.e., just a little, keeping their eyes on the ground in front of them

  16. lit., “there is not to them a person-speaking”

  17. sandhisaddo

  18. lit., “they go lifting up”

  19. chabbikāraŋ (PTS), chappakāraṃ (BJTS)

  20. atulyā

  21. vaṇṇato anatikkantā, following BJTS Sinhala gloss: rūpakāya sampattiyen no ikmavanu häkkō ya, “it is not possible to surpass them in good fortune as regards [their] form-bodies.

  22. reading ccha with BJTS (and PTS alt.) fr PTS va

  23. lit., “are gone”

  24. reading salati with BJTS for PTS saddati

  25. lit., “Sambuddha”

  26. paramena, “superior” “best.” BJTS Sinhala gloss: däḍi, “strong”

  27. kalebaraŋ, lit., “corpse” or “body”

  28. °pareta, lit., “overcome by” “afflicted with”

  29. tesaŋ lālappamānaŋ (gen. abs. construction). Lālappati means “lament, wail” as well as “to talk too much,” “to talk silly,” the intensive of lapati, “to mutter, talk, prattle”. I have interpolated “[uselessly]” metri causa, but in doing so convey the connotation of the term (and the subsequent speech by the ghost of the teacher) that their wailing was excessive or pointless.

  30. BJTS Sinh gloss: “the birth of a Buddha, which frees [one] from the eight evil moments [Sinh dict. i.e., (1) birth in hell, (2) birth as an animal, (3) birth as a demon, (4) birth in the two Brahma worlds where neither body nor mind exists, (5) birth in a foreign country devoid of the Buddha’s Teaching, (6) birth with the five senses confused or perverted, (7) birth as a non-religious person, and (8) birth in a Buddha-less age]”

  31. PTS presents this as a six-footed verse, in an apparently mistaken (and redundant) repetition of the first two feet (a-b) as c-d. BJTS presents a standard four-footed verse, omitting PTS 30c-d (i.e., corresponding to PTS 30a-b and 30e-f).

  32. vokiṇṇo (BJTS and PTS alt. reads vokiṇṇaŋ), lit., “mixed”. I follow BJTS in taking the term to refer to a mix of births as a god and births as a human.

  33. uppādassa. The term (as too in the name ascribed to this monk) apparently refers to the “generating” (or “producing”) of the stupa made of sand.

  34. the name of a lunar month, Skt. Kṛttikā, BSkt Karthikā, Sinh. il, corresponding to October-November

  35. viriyam me dhurodhayhaŋ yogakkhemādhivāhanaŋ, cf. SN 79