[537. {540.}1 Mogharāja2]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
the Sage, Knower of Every World,
the One who had [Five] Eyes, arose
a hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [5987]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) [5988]

Merciful,8 Compassionate One,9
Well-Wisher10 of all that breathe, he
established in the five precepts
all the rivals who had arrived. (3) [5989]

In this way he was Unconfused11
and Very Well-Known12 by rivals,
Ornamented13 by arahants
who were masters [and] neutral ones. (4) [5990]

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) [5991]

[People’s] lifespan at that time was
[fully] one hundred thousand years.
Remaining [in the world] so long,
he ferried many folks across. (6) [5992]

I was then in Haṃsavatī;
I was [born] in a certain16 clan.
Bound to working for others,17 I
did not have any possessions. (7) [5993]

Living on the unfinished floor18
of a storeroom for special seats,19
I lit a fire there [on that floor];
the earth became hard [and] blackened. (8) [5994]

Then the Lord, explaining the Four
Noble Truths to the retinue,
lavished praise on a follower
who wore inferior cloth robes.20 (9) [5995]

[Then] thrilled at that virtue of his,
falling before the Thus-Gone-One,
I aspired to that supreme place,
foremost among those with rough robes. (10) [5996]

Then Buddha Padumuttara
said this to [all his] followers:
“All of you look at that person,
with bad clothes, a skinny body,
with joy [and] pleasure in [his] face,
possessing a great wealth of faith,
happy, body hair grown upward,
steadfast, eating food in a hall.21 (11-12) [5997-5998]

He’s wishing to [attain] the place
of [this] monk [named] Saccchchasena;22
his hope’s for the appearance of
this [monk] wearing robes of rough cloth.” (13) [5999]

After hearing that,23 being thrilled,
bowing [my] head to the Victor,
doing good karma my whole life24
in the Victor’s dispensation,
due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I was gone to Tāvatiṃsa. (14-15) [6000-6001]

Through the deed of burning the floor
in the storeroom for special seats,
for all of a thousand [years,] I
burned in hell, remaining in pain. (16) [6002]

Due to that karma’s remainder,
I had five hundred [more] rebirths,
being born in a human clan,
[and] marked with the marks of [my] caste.25 (17) [6003]

For those same five hundred rebirths,
I’m afflicted with skin disease,
I underwent great suffering,
through the power of that karma. (18) [6004]

In this [present] lucky aeon,
having a mind [full] of pleasure,
I entertained with begged alms food
Upariṭṭha, the Famous One.26 (19) [6005]

Through the rest of the deed27 I did,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (20) [6006]

When [my] last28 rebirth was attained,
I’m born in a warrior29 clan.
After the death of my father,
I possessed a large kingdom [then]. (21) [6007]

Afflicted with a skin disease,
I get no comfort in the night.
Due to useless royal comfort,30
I was then called “King of Useless.”31
Seeing the flaws of the body,
I went forth into homelessness.
I entered in the studentship
of Bāvarī, the chief brahmin. (23) [6009]

With an enormous retinue,
approaching the Leader of Men,32
I asked a subtle question of
the Hero, Debater-Crusher.33 (24) [6010]

“[In] this world [or in] the next world
[or] in Brahma’s world with [its] gods,
[might] he not know the sight of you,34
of Gotama, the Famous One? (25) [6011]

Thus one with excellent knowledge35
comes to the point through the question,
[while] looking upon what world, [then],
does the King of Death not see [him]?” (26) [6012]

The Physician for all Disease,36
the Buddha answered37 [this] to me:
“Look upon the world as empty,38
Mogharāja;39 always mindful,
[and] uprooting his own [false] views,40
[in this way] he’d cross beyond death.
Thusly looking upon the world,
the King of Death does not see [him].” (27-28) [6013-6014]

And the conclusion of that verse,
cutting off [my] hair and [my] beard,
putting on saffron-colored robes,
I became an arahant monk. (29) [6015]

Oppressed by illness I don’t live
in Assembly monasteries.
“Don’t offend the monastery” —
by that word I’m extra-oppressed. (30) [6016]

Taking [cloth] atop rubbish heaps,
from charnel field, on carriage roads,
having made41 [my] robe out of that,
I am wearing a rough-cloth robe. (31) [6017]

Pleased about42 that virtue of mine,
the Great Physician,43 the Leader,
[then] placed me in the foremost place
of those who wear robes of rough cloth. (32) [6018]

Merit and evil are all destroyed;
every illness is driven out.
Like fire, [I] have no attachments;
I will realize nirvana. (33) [6019]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (34) [6020]

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! (35) [6021]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (36) [6022]

Thus indeed Venerable Mogharāja Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Mogharāja Thera is finished.

The Summary:

Kaccchchāna, Vakkalī Thera,
the one named Mahākappina,
Dabba, and he named Kumāra,
Bāhiya, Master Koṭṭhita,
Uruvelakassapa, Rādha,
and Mogharājā the pundit.
There are three hundred verses here,
piled on another sixty-two.

The Kaccchchāna Chapter, the Fifty-Fourth44


  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. See DPPN II: 669-670

  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}; [5881]-[5886]), and Uruvela-Kassapa’s apadāna (#535 {538}; [5911]-[5916]), and Rādhas apadāna (#536 {539}; [5956]-[5961])

  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. aññatare implies “undistinguished” here

  17. i.e., an itinerant worker or a servant

  18. BJTS Sinh. gloss (piriyam no kaḷa bimhi) seems to take the Pāli as vasanto ‘katabhūmiyaṃ (“on an unfinished floor”) rather than (as both editions have it), vasanto katabhūmiyan, which means the opposite (“on a finished floor”). The reference to “the earth” (mahī) in the final foot may be why the BJTS editor reads it this way, and I follow suit, though it is unclear to me why blackening an unfinished floor would be problematic enough to cause the terrible consequences it does for the protagonist.

  19. paṭikkamanasālāyaŋ, following RD. The sense is of a building whose purpose is keeping the chairs, cushions, mats or what have you that are appointed for distinguished visitors. As the Buddha and monks would have been among the latter, the sooting up of the floor seems to have been especially grave.

  20. lūkhacchīvaradhārakaŋ. Lūkha° refers to rough, inferior cloth discarded by tailors

  21. sālapiṇḍitaŋ, BJTS Sinh. gloss “who has sālapiṇḍa (“a lump of food in a hall” “a lump of sal

  22. “Truth-Army”

  23. oddly, here the Buddha does not draw the conclusion that the protagonist will indeed attain that foremost place; perhaps a verse or two has been lost?

  24. lit., “for as long as [I] lived”

  25. reading jātiyā lakkhaṇaṅkito with BJTS for PTS tatiyākāraṇ’ aṅkita (“marked in the third mine”?)

  26. BJTS gloss explains that he was a paccchchekabuddha or “Lonely Buddha” who realizes nirvana without teaching the path (as does a Sammāsambuddha). Reading upariṭṭhaṃ yasassinaṃ with BJTS for PTS upaṭṭhitaŋ yasassinaŋ (“I waited on the famous”)

  27. lit., “the karma”

  28. taking BJTS macchchime (for pacchchime) as a typographical error

  29. lit., “kṣatriyan”

  30. mogharajjasukhan yasmā

  31. Mogharājā

  32. naranāyakaŋ

  33. reading taṃ vīraṃ vādisūdanaṃ with BJTS for PTS vāhisaŋ vādisūdanaŋ (“Lord of Speech, Debater-Crusher) and following BJTS Sinh. gloss on sūdanaṃ (maḍinnā, “Crusher”)

  34. reading diṭṭhiṃ te nābhijānāti with BJTS for PTS diṭṭhi no nâbhijānāmi, and following BJTS Sinh. gloss.

  35. or “excellent knowledge,” see under RD abhikkanta, s.v. (°dassāvin)

  36. sabbarogatikicchchako

  37. abhaṇī lit., “said”

  38. suññato

  39. reading mogharāja (voc.) with BJTS for PTS Mogharājā (nom.)

  40. attānudiṭṭhiŋ uhaccchcha

  41. reading katvā with BJTS for PTS hutvā (“having become”)

  42. lit., “in”

  43. mahā-bhisakko

  44. BJTS places this statement above the summary, rather than after it