[539. {542.}1 Kaṅkha-Revata2]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
the One with Eyes for everything,
the Leader [of the World,] arose
a hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [6056]

Lion-Jawed3 and Brahmā-Voiced,4 his
sound5 was [like] a swan’s [or] a drum’s;
gait heroic [like] a tusker’s,6
very bright [like] the moon [or] sun, (2) [6057]

Very Wise,7 the Great Hero, the
Great Meditator, the Great Friend,8
Greatly Compassionate,9 the Lord,
Dispeller of the Great Darkness,10 (3) [6058]

the Three Worlds’ Chief,11 the Sambuddha,
Sage, Knower of Beings’ Wishes,12
leading many who can be led13
whenever he preaches Dhamma, (4) [6059]

the Victor delighted14 people,
praising amidst [his] retinue
a hero, meditator, calm
[and] undisturbed trance-loving [monk]. (5) [6060]

I then [lived] in Haṃsavatī,
brahmin master of the Vedas.
Hearing the Teaching, being thrilled,
I aspired [to attain] that place. (6) [6061]

Then the Victor prophesied, the
Leader, amidst the Assembly,
“O brahmin, you [should] be15 thrilled, [for]
you’ll attain that delightful [place]. (7) [6062]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (8) [6063]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
the one whose name is Revata
will be the Teacher’s follower.” (9) [6064]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (10) [6065]

And now, in [my] final rebirth,
I’m born in Koliya city,
in a well-off kṣatriyan clan,
rich, prosperous, very wealthy. (11) [6066]

When the Buddha preached the Dhamma
in Kapilavastu [city],
being pleased16 in the Well-Gone-One,
I went forth into homelessness. (12) [6067]

I had lots of doubts, here and there,
[what is] proper, [what’s] improper;17
[while] preaching the supreme Dhamma,
the Buddha resolved18 all of that. (13) [6068]

After that I crossed existence,
then fond of the pleasure in trance
I lived. At that time, seeing me,
the Buddha said this [about me]: (14) [6069]

“Which doubts exist in this world or the other,19
[whether] known by oneself or else known by another,
those who are meditators give up all that,
living the holy life,20 energetically.”21 (15) [6070]22

Karma done a hundred thousand
[aeons hence] showed me [its] fruit here:
well-liberated, arrow-quick,
I have destroyed my defilements. (16) [6071]

Then the World-Surpasser,23 the Sage,
after seeing my love of trance,
the Great Sage then appointed me:
“foremost of monks who meditate.” (17) [6072]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (18) [6073]

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! (19) [6074]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (20) [6075]

Thus indeed Venerable Kaṅkha-Revata Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Kaṅkha-Revata 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. “Troubled Revata,” a historical monk so-named due to his scrupulosity about the Vinaya rules prior to attaining his arahantship. He was known as the foremost among those who are proficient in the trance-like meditative states called jhanas. See DPPN I: 474-475

  3. sīhahanu. BJTS Sinh. gloss on this curious epithet is siṃhayakugē haṇu banda piruṇu haṇu ättē ya (“he has a full jaw like the jaw of a lion”)

  4. brahmagiro

  5. the final component of this compound varies considerably in the texts; all the alternatives seem to indicate “sound” or “noise,” paralleling other forms of this adjective (e.g., [5624], [5734]) . PTS reads haŋsadundrabhinisvano, which is garbled; BJTS reads haṃsadundubhibissaro. I follow BJTS and BJTS Sinh. gloss haḍḍa. Presumably the meaning is that his voice was loud or resonated well. BJTS takes the first two components of the compound, haṃsa + dundubhi, as the name of a particular type of drum, “Swan-drum” (hasbera), though I find no indication of such an instrument in the dictionaries and so find more likely the translation here, that the Buddha’s sound was resounding like that of a swan or a drum — loud but pleasant.

  6. nāgavikkantagamano

  7. mahāmati

  8. mahāhito. BJTS reads mahābalo (“Very Strong”)

  9. mahākāruṇiko

  10. mahātamanisūdano (BJTS reads, more coherently, mahātamapanūdano)

  11. tilokaggo

  12. sattâsayavidū

  13. veneyyavinayaŋ bahuŋ; BJTS tries to clean up the grammar with vineyye vinayaṃ bahuṃ

  14. toseti, lit., “is delighting”

  15. lit., “be” (imperative)

  16. tadā pasanno, lit., “then being pleased”

  17. kappākappe, or “permitted…prohibited” or “the rule…not the rule” or “suitable…not suitable”

  18. vinayī, both “removed” and “instructed”

  19. idha vā huraŋ vā, cf. RD, s.v. and his references to re-use of the phrase in poetry: S.i.12; DH 20; Sn 224 = J. i.96.

  20. or “wandering in celibacy”: brahmacchariyan ccharantā

  21. pronounce all six syllables when chanting, or else read “[most] energetically,” to keep the meter.

  22. This verse is in a more complex 11-12-11-12 meter named xxx (reading ye jhāyino tā with BJTS for PTS jhāyino tā in the third foot, thereby preserving both meter and grammar.

  23. lokantagū, lit., “who has gone to the ends of the world” (understood by BJTS to refer to bhavotpattiya, the process of rebirth or re-existence itself)