[530. {533.}1 Mahākappina2]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
was a Master of Everything.
He rose in the space of the world,3
like the sun in the autumn sky. (1) [5727]

With [his] word-rays he awakens
the lotuses [called] things to know.
With his thought-rays the Leader cleans
the muck [known as] the defilements. (2) [5728]

The fame of the rivals is slain,
like firefly-light4 [by] the sun;
he sheds the light of truthfulness5
like a gem [reflects] the sunlight. (3) [5729]

Like the ocean for gems, he is
the future for the virtuous;
like a rain-cloud for living things,
he rains by the cloud of Teaching. (4) [5730]

I was a magistrate6 back then,
in the city named “Haṃsa;”7
approaching I heard the Teaching,
of the one named “Superb Lotus,”8
who was purifying9 my mind
[while] explaining the virtue of
a follower who’d done the deed,10
the admonisher of the monks. (5-6) [5731-5732]

Delighted,11 happy,12 having heard,
[then] inviting the Thus-Gone-One,
having fed [him] with his students,
I aspired [to attain] that place. (7) [5733]

Then the Greatly Fortunate One,
loudly as a swan or drum, said,13
“look at him, a great minister,
skilled in examining [cases],
fallen down in front of my feet,
his body hair14 growing upward,
rain-cloud-colored15 [and] broad-shouldered,16
with pleasant[-looking] eyes [and] face, (8-9) [5734-5735]

with an extensive entourage,
bound for kingship, very famous.
With kindliness17 he is wishing
for the place of this deed-doer.18 (10) [5736]

Because of this alms-giving19 [done]
with intention and [firm] resolve,20
for one hundred thousand aeons
he won’t be born in a bad state.21 (11) [5737]

Divine fortune22 among the gods;
greatness [when born] among humans:
having enjoyed that, through the rest,23
he will attain [his] nirvana. (12) [5738]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (13) [5739]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
the one whose name is Kappina
will be the Teacher’s follower.” (14) [5740]

And so, having performed good deeds,
in the Victor’s dispensation,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (15) [5741]

Having commanded righteously24
[both] divine and human kingdoms,
I was born close to Benares,
in a clan of servants who weave.25 (16) [5742]

With a following of thousands,
together with [my] chief queen, I
[then] attended on five hundred
Buddhas enlightened by themselves.26 (17) [5743]

Having fed [them] for three months, we27
afterward gave [them] the three robes.
Fallen from there we all of us
arose among the thirty [gods].28 (18) [5744]

Fallen from there we all came back
to human existence again.
We’re born29 in Kukkuṭa city,
to the side of Himalaya. (19) [5745]

My name [at birth] was Kappina;
son of the king, very famous.
The rest were born in a clan of
ministers; they waited on me. (20) [5746]

The comfort of kingship30 attained,
I was rich in every pleasure.
Told by merchants, I got to know,31
that the Buddha had arisen: (21) [5747]

“A Buddha’s risen in the world;
Unequaled,32 the Single Person,33
he’s declaring the great Teaching:
ultimate, deathless comfort. (22) [5748]

And his students are well-engaged,
well-liberated, undefiled.”
After hearing that good word, [and]
paying respect to the merchants, (23) [5749]

quitting34 kingship, with ministers,
I left, devoted to Buddha.35
Seeing the great CChanda River36
full [of water] with level banks,
a little rough, without supports,
a rushing current hard to cross —
recalling the Buddha’s virtue,
I got across [it] in safety. (24-25) [5750-5751]

“If [he] Crossed the stream of being,
Buddha, Knower, World’s-End-Goer,
due to the truthfulness of that,
let my journey be a success! (26) [5752]

If the Path is going to peace,
and release is peaceful comfort,
due to the truthfulness of that,
let my journey be a success! (27) [5753]

If the monks37 have crossed the wasteland,
the unsurpassed field of merit,
due to the truthfulness of that,
let my journey be a success!” (28) [5754]

When that truth-wish38 had been performed,
the water went off from the road.
Thus in safety I crossed over
to the river’s beautiful bank. (29) [5755]

I saw the Buddha sitting down,
like the sun [when it] is rising,
blazing like a mountain of gold,
shining forth like a tree of lamps, (30) [5756]

surrounded by [his] followers
like the moon along with the stars,
like the king of gods39 raining forth
the gladdening sermon-water. (31) [5757]

Worshipping with the ministers,
I went up to [him] on one side,
[and] then, discerning [what] we wished,
the Buddha preached the Dhamma [there]. (32) [5758]

Having heard the stainless Teaching,
we [then] said [this] to the Victor:
“O Great Sage, please [now] ordain [us],
we’re disgusted with existence.” (33) [5759]

“Well-preached, O monks, is the Dhamma,
for you to make suffering end;
wander forth in celibacy,”
thus [indeed] spoke the Seventh Sage. (34) [5760]

When that was spoken, all of us
took on the appearance of monks;
we were [all then] fully ordained
stream-enterers in the teachings.40 (35) [5761]

Then going to Jetavana,
the Guide gave instruction [to us].
[Thus] instructed by the Victor,
I attained [my] arahantship. (36) [5762]

Thereafter I admonished them,41
the thousand monks [along with me].
[Then], because of my instruction,
they too were freed from defilements.42 (37) [5763]

The Victor, pleased43 by44 that virtue,
[then] placed in that foremost place,
“Among the monk-admonishers,
Kappina’s top,” [he told] the folk. (38) [5764]

Karma done a hundred thousand
[aeons hence] showed me [its] fruit here:
well-liberated, arrow-quick,
I have destroyed my defilements. (39) [5765]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (40) [5766]

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! (41) [5767]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (42) [5768]

Thus indeed Venerable Mahākappina Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Mahākappina 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. A historical monk, foremost among those who instruct (admonish, teach) the monks (bhikkhuovādakānaṃ) (and the nuns: see DPPN II:473-475, which uncharacteristically does not mention Apadāna).

  3. reading jagadākāse with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS jaladākāse (“in the space of a rain-cloud”)

  4. see Cone s.v. for khajjota-ābhā

  5. reading saccchchatthābhaṃ pakāseti for sabbatthaŋ

  6. akkhadasso, RD “one who examines the dice, an upmire, a judge” Cone s.v. a judge, a magistrate, very clear in the commentarial passage she cites; “assessor” is Malalasekara’s translation

  7. “Swan,” i.e., Haṃsavatī

  8. jalajuttamanāmino, i.e. Padumuttara Buddha

  9. or “perfuming,” “cleaning,” vāsayantassa

  10. katāvino, i.e., an arahant

  11. patīto

  12. sumano

  13. reading BJTS tadāhāsi mahābhāgo haṃsadundubhisussaro with BJTS for PTS’ garbled tadā haŋsasamābhāgo haŋsadundubhinīvaccho

  14. °tanūruhaŋ, see Buddhadatta Pāli-Sinhala Akārādiya, s.v.

  15. PTS jimuttavaṇṇaŋ, BJTS jīmūtavaṇṇaṃ, read jīmutavaṇṇaṃ and see see Buddhadatta Pāli-Sinhala Akārādiya, jīmuta, s.v. BJTS Sinhala gloss concurs: meghavarṇa vū

  16. lit., “fat-shoulders”. BJTS reads pīṇ° but understands the adjective in the same way: “having shoulders whihc are full (covered with meat)

  17. muditāya, “with disinterested love”

  18. katāvino, i.e., arahant.

  19. reading piṇḍapātena with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS paṇipātena (“because of this prostration” “because of this adoration”)

  20. reading cchetanāpaṇidhīhi ccha with BJTS (and this is a recurring foot throughout Apadāna) for PTS cchāgena paṇidhīhi ccha (“with generosity and resolve”)

  21. or “he won’t be reborn in a bad rebirth” (n’upapajjati duggatiŋ)

  22. PTS sobhāgyaŋ, BJTS sobhaggaṃ

  23. i.e., through the remainder of the good karma

  24. sutaso anusāsiya, following cty (p. 504: “the meaning is: having commanded righteously with equal words and on the basis of reasons”). BJTS reads sataso and takes it (in the gloss) as siyavarak (“a hundred times”) though it also includes the commentarial gloss “righteously and slowly” (dähämin semin)

  25. jāto keniyajātiyā. Malalasekera takes this as a mistake for koliyajātiyā (in a Koiiyan clan), the corresponding reading in ThagA, but cty. explains the term as tantavāyajātiyā pesakārakūla (“in a weaver’s cast, a clan of servants”); BJTS Sinh. gloss and Cone, s.v., adopt the latter reading, though PTS apparently treats this as a proper name (perhaps recalling the use of this as a proper name in #389 {392}, v. 26 [3607] et passim). The context suggests that in this birth he was a king, so this would be an instance of lower caste kingship if the cty. reading is accepted.

  26. pañcchapaccchchekabuddhānaŋ satāni

  27. reading adamha with BJTS for PTS dammi

  28. tidasūpagā, i.e the thirty-three gods, in Tāvatiṃsa heaven

  29. reading jātā with BJTS for PTS jāto (“I was born”)

  30. mahārajjaŋ, lit., “of overlordship,” “of powerful kingship” “of being a maharajah”

  31. apāpuṇiŋ. BJTS reads ahaṃ suṇiṃ, “I heard”

  32. asamo

  33. ekapuggalo

  34. reading pahāya with BJTS for PTS vihāya (“having worked”)

  35. buddhamāmaka, lit., “taking Buddha as ‘mine’”

  36. that is, the CChandabhāgā

  37. lit., “if the assembly (saṅgha)”

  38. saccchchavare, “wish [because of] truth,” cf. saccchchakiriya, “act of truth”

  39. vāsavaŋ viya, = Sakka, Indra

  40. sotāpaṇṇā ccha sāsane, lit., ”and stream-enterers in the dispensation”

  41. lit., “it,” singular, standing in for “the [group] of a thousand monks”

  42. te pi āsuŋ anāsavā

  43. tuṭṭho, lit “happy” “delighted”

  44. lit.”in”