[535. {538.}1 Uruvelakassapa2]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
the Sage, Knower of Every World,
the One who had [Five] Eyes, arose
a hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [5911]3
The Admonisher,4 Instructor,5
Crosser-Over6 of all that breathe,
Skilled at Preaching,7 [he], the Buddha,
caused many folks to cross [the flood]. (2) [5912]

Merciful,8 Compassionate One,9
Well-Wisher10 of all that breathe, he
established in the five precepts
all the rivals who had arrived. (3) [5913]

In this way he was Unconfused11
and Very Well-Known12 by rivals,
Ornamented13 by arahants
who were masters [and] neutral ones. (4) [5914]

The [body of the] Sage So Great
rose up fifty-eight cubits14 [tall];
he was Valuable Like Gold,15
Bearing the Thirty-Two Great Marks. (5) [5915]

[People’s] lifespan at that time was
[fully] one hundred thousand years.
Remaining [in the world] so long,
he ferried many folks across. (6) [5916]

I then [lived] in Haṃsavatī,
A brahmin held in high regard.
Approaching the Torch for the World,16
I heard the preaching of Dhamma. (7) [5917]

[One] of the Great Man’s17 followers
had an extensive retinue.
I was thrilled after hearing [him]
being placed in that foremost place. (8) [5918]

Inviting [him], the Great Victor,18
I gave an almsgiving [to him],
along with [my]19 large entourage,
including a thousand brahmins. (9) [5919]

Giving a massive almsgiving,
having saluted the Leader,
happy, standing off at one side,
I spoke these words [to him just then]: (10) [5920]

“Hero, due to my faith in you
and by virtue of serving [you],
let [me] have20 a large retinue
[while] transmigrating here and there.” (11) [5921]

[Buddha], the Cuckoo-Voiced21 Teacher,
Elephant-Trumpet-Sounding One,22
spoke to the retinue [just] then:
“All of you look at this brahmin,
with big arms, the color of gold,
[with] face and eyes [like] lotuses,
[his] body hair growing upward,
happy, with faith in my virtue.23 (12-13) [5922-5923]

This one’s aspiring to the place
of the monk with a lion’s roar.24
Very far into the future,
he’ll receive that delightful [place]. (14) [5924]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (15) [5925]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
the one whose name is Kassapa
will be the Teacher’s follower.” (16) [5926]

[Then] ninety-two aeons ago,
there was a Teacher, Unsurpassed,25
Beyond Compare,26 Unrivaled One:27
Phussa, Chief Leader of the World. (17) [5927]

That one, having slain all darkness,
untangling the great tangle,28
rained forth the rain of deathlessness,
refreshing the [world] with [its] gods. (18) [5928]

In [the city of] Benares,
[reborn] the king’s sons29 at that time,
we were three brothers, all of us,
in the confidence of the king. (19) [5929]

Strong, with heroic limbs [and] looks,30
[we’re] undefeated in battle.
Then troubled in the borderlands,
the lord of the earth said to us: (20) [5930]

“Come, going to the borderlands,
cleaning up that forest army,31
having pacified my kingdom,
come back again,” [is what] he said. (21) [5931]

Afterward we said [to the king]:
“If you’ll give [leave] to us to serve
the [Buddha], Leader [of the World],
then we’ll clean up your32 [enemies].” (22) [5932]

Then we, having obtained our wish,
sent out by the earth’s protector,
making the borderlands weapon-
free, we came up to him again. (23) [5933]

Having asked the king [to let us]
serve the Teacher, the World-Leader,
getting the Excellent Sage,33 we
worshipped34 him as long as [we] lived. (24) [5934]

Giving very expensive cloth,
and abundant35 tasty [alms food],
and lodgings36 [which were] delightful,
and beneficial37 medicines
to the Sage with the monks,38 neutral
toward birth because of the Teaching,
We, moral [and] compassionate,
minds engaged in meditation,
with loving hearts, having waited
on the [World-]Leader all the time,
when the World-Chief reached nirvana,
worshipping39 with all of [our] strength,40 (25-27) [5935-5937]

fallen from there, gone to heaven,41
all [three] of us experienced
great happiness [when] in that place:
that’s the fruit of Buddha-pūjā. (28) [5938]

Like an illusionist on stage42
showing [himself as] very large,
thus touring43 in existence I
became the king of Videha.44 (29) [5939]

At the word of naked45 Guṇa,46
become47 dependent on wrong views,48
I got onto an evil path.
Not heeding49 the advice [given]
by my daughter [known as] Rujā,50
I [later] being much-advised
by the brahmin [named] Nārada,51
giving up [Guṇa’s] evil views,
having fulfilled with distinction
the52 ten [wholesome] ways of acting,53
abandoning [my] body, I
went to heaven with a palace. (30-32) [5940-5942]

When [my] last rebirth was attained,
I was a kinsman of Brahmā,
born in Benares with great wealth,54
in a large brahmin family.55 (33) [5943]

Fearing death, illness [and] old age,
and abandoning [my] great wealth,
seeking the path to nirvana,
I went forth as a Jaṭila.56 (34) [5944]

[And] then those two brothers of mine
[also] went forth along with me.
Having built in Uruvelā
a hermitage, I [then] lived there. (35) [5945]

Named “Kassapa” through [my] lineage,
since I dwelt in Uruvelā,
I was therefore known [by the name]
of “Uruvela Kassapa.”57 (36) [5946]

My brother [lived] near the river;58
he was named “Nadī Kassapa.”
[The other lived] close to Gāyā;
by name he’s “Gāyā Kassapa”. (37) [5947]

Two hundred for Nadīkassapa,
[and] three for the middle brother.
No less than five hundred for me,
students who all [then] followed me. (38) [5948]

Then the Buddha, approaching me,
the World-Chief, Charioteer of Men,
doing various miracles,
he led me [on the correct path]. (39) [5949]

I was [ordained], “come monk,” along
with a lakh [in my] retinue;
I attained [my] arahantship,
together with all of them [too]. (40) [5950]

They and also many others
were students attending on me.
I was able to instruct [them,]
as the Seventh Sage [advised] me. (41) [5951]

He placed me in the foremost place
[of those with a] large retinue.
O! the deed done for the Buddha
[certainly] bore [its] fruit for me. (42) [5952]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (43) [5953]

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! (44) [5954]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (45) [5955]

Thus indeed Venerable Uruvelakassapa Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Uruvelakassapa 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. “Kassapa of Uruvela,” a historical monk famous for having the foremost place among monks with large retinues. See DPPN 1:432-434

  3. this and the following five verses also appear, verbatim, as the first six verses of Dabbamalla’s apadāna (#531 {534}, above; [5769]-[5774]), and also of Mahākoṭṭhita’s apadāna (#534 {537}, above; [5881]-[5886])

  4. ovādako

  5. viññāpako

  6. tārako

  7. desanākusalo

  8. anukampako

  9. kāruṇiko

  10. hitesi

  11. nirākulaŋ

  12. suñññataŋ, or “empty [of ill-will],” which is BJTS Sinhala gloss reading; I construe the epithet as su + ñata

  13. vicchittaŋ

  14. ratanāna-aṭṭha-paññāsaŋ uggato. A ratana (Sinh. riyan) is figured as twelve-fingers (aṅgula), according to Sinh-Eng Dictionary about eighteen inches. The claim here then is that Padumuttara Buddha was 1044 inches (or 87 feet) tall.

  15. kañcchanagghiyasaṅkāso, lit., “like a gold valuable thing” or “like a gold festoon work”

  16. lokapajjtotaŋ

  17. mahāpurisa°

  18. mahājinaŋ

  19. following BJTS Sinh gloss in taking mahatā parivārena with saha dānaŋ ahaŋ adaŋ rather than with mahāŋjina, though the latter is also a possible reading.

  20. parisā mahatī hotu, lit., “let there be [to me]”. This translation follows BJTS Sinhala gloss (ē ē tanhi upadinnā vū maṭa mahat vū piris äti wēwā, “let there be a large retinue for me being reborn in this and that place” ), but the construction is elastic enough to allow for other readings that would better emphasize the “sociokarmic” dimension here, that is, that an entire group of people both make and experience this karma, e.g., “let this retinue be great as [it] transmigrates here and there” or even “let this be a great retinue transmigrating here and there”.

  21. karavīkarudo, “he with the sound of a cuckoo”

  22. gajagajjitassusaro

  23. reading saddhāvantaṃ guṇe mama with BJTS for PTS sandhāvantaguṇaŋ mamaŋ

  24. sīhaghosassa, lit., “of the one who has a lion’s sound”

  25. anuttaro

  26. anupamo

  27. asadiso

  28. vijaṭetvā mahājaṭaŋ. Jaṭa literally means he braid of a “matted hair ascetic” or a tangle of tree branches (a thicket), but figuratively refers to the great tangle of desire. The verb, vjaṭeti, means “untangle” but has the connotation, as does the English equivalent, of explaining or unraveling.

  29. reading rājāpaccchchā (lit., “children of the king”) with BJTS for PTS rājāmaccchchā (“royal ministers”)

  30. vīraṅgarūpā, lit., “with the appearance/form and limbs/body of a hero

  31. reading sodhetvā aṭavībalaṃ with BJTS for PTS sodhetvā avidhībalaŋ (“cleaning up that army without a method”). BJTS understands this as a [rebel] army which is hiding in the forest; it could also be read to mean “army of forest people,” the so-called “tribals” on the borderlands of India.

  32. BJTS reads vo (pl) for PTS te (sing.), perhaps assuming a “royal we”?

  33. munivaraŋ

  34. reading yajimha with BJTS for PTS adimha (“we gave”)

  35. paṇītāni

  36. lit., “bed [and] chair” (or “bed [and] food”)

  37. hitāni

  38. lit., “with the Assembly”

  39. lit., “doing pūjā

  40. yathābalaŋ, lit., “to the extent of strength”

  41. santusitaŋ gatā, lit., “gone to Tusitā”

  42. reading raṅge with BJTS for PTS laddho (I received”)

  43. reading bhamanto with BJTS for PTS bhavanto (“existing”)

  44. the following story refers — quite obliquely — to the Mahānāradakassapajātaka (No. 544), told in the context of Uruvela Kassapa’s conversion. See DPPN II: 518-519. In the story, he is born as Aṅgati, king of Mithilā in Videha.

  45. i.e., the naked ascetic

  46. “Virtue.” In Mahānāradakassapajātaka he is depicted as preaching that there is no future life, and advocating that one therefore should indulge in only pleasures during the present one.

  47. lit “gone into dependence on,” reading °gatāsayo with BJTS for PTS hatāsayo

  48. In Mahānāradakassapajātaka he proceeds to spend two weeks in the palace, indulging himself.

  49. lit., “disregarding,” nādayitvāna

  50. “Pain”. Mahānāradakassapajātaka explains that at the end of two weeks she requested her father for 1000 (units of money) to make offerings to monks, and to keep the fast. That text maintains that in a future life she was born as Ānanda

  51. the Bodhisatta

  52. lit., “of the”

  53. reading dasakammapathāna (gen.) with BJTS for PTS dasakammapathena (acc.); these are three ways of acting in body, four ways of acting in speech, and three ways of acting in mind, totaling ten.

  54. reading phītāyaṃ with BJTS for PTS pi tāyaŋ

  55. or “clan”: vippamahākule

  56. lit., “among the Jaṭilas, “matted-hair ascetics”

  57. reading uruvelakassapo iti with BJTS for PTS Uruvelāsu Kassapo (“Kassapa among the Uruvelans”)

  58. the Nerañjarā River (nadī)