[540. {543.}1 Sīvali2]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
the One with Eyes for everything,
the Leader [of the World,] arose
a hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [6076]

His morals could not be measured,
meditative states like lightening,3
vast4 knowledge could not be measured,
and freedom unlike anything.5 (2) [6077]

The Leader preached the Dhamma to
the men, the gods,6 the snake-gods [and]
the Brahmās [all] come together,
mixed with [Buddhist] monks and brahmins. (3) [6078]

Confident among Multitudes,7
the [Buddha] placed a merit-filled,
much-receiving [and] gift-worthy
follower in that foremost place. (4) [6079]

I was a kṣatriyan back then,
in the city named “Haṃsa;”8
hearing the Victor’s words [about]
the follower’s virtuousness,9 (5) [6080]

inviting [Buddha], for a week
I fed [him] with [his] followers.
Giving a massive alms-giving,
I aspired [to attain] that place. (6) [6081]

Then [he], the Bull Among People,
seeing me bowing10 at [his] feet,
the Great Hero, in [his] good voice,
uttered these words [concerning me]: (7) [6082]

Then the multitude, desiring
to hear the words of the Victor,
the gods, titans, musical nymphs,
the greatly powerful Brahmās,11
and the [Buddhist] monks, and brahmins,
praised [him] with hands pressed together:
“Praise to you, O Well-Bred Person!12
Praise to you, Ultimate Person!
For a week [this] kṣatriyan gave
a massive alms-giving to you.13
[We] wish to hear the fruit for him;
prophesy [that], O Sage So Great.” (8-10) [6083-6085]

After that, the Blessed One said,
“[All of] you listen to my words:
Who can tell the [fruit of the] gift14
well-established for the Buddha
[or] Assembly, beyond measure?
It will bear fruit beyond measure.
This rich man is truly wishing
[to attain] that ultimate place. (11-12) [6086-6087]

He’ll be a getter of huge wealth,
just like the monk Sudassana,15
[and] also just like me [as well];
he’ll receive that in the future. (13) [6088]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (14) [6089]

Worthy heir to that one’s Dhamma,
Dhamma’s legitimate offspring,
the one whose name is Sīvali
will be the Teacher’s follower.” (15) [6090]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (16) [6091]

[Then] ninety-one aeons ago,
the World-Leader [named] Vipassi
arose, the One with Lovely Eyes,16
with Insight into Everything.17 (17) [6092]

Then I [lived] in Bandhumatī,
[a member] of a certain clan;18
I was19 pitied and sought after,
one intent on ending karma.20 (18) [6093]

Then a certain corporation21
constructed a monastic school22
for the Great Sage [named] Vipassi,
which was large and widely renowned. (19) [6094]

Searching for new curds and honey
to give along with solid food23
at the end of the great alms-gift,
they did not find24 [any to give]. (20) [6095]

Then having taken [some] of that,25
new curds and also honey too,
I went to the overseer’s house,26
and seeking that they saw me.27 (21) [6096]

Even offering a thousand,
they did not obtain those two [things].28
I thought [about it] then like this:
“That [price] would not be too little.
As far as all these people are
honoring [him], the Thus-Gone-One,
I too will do a [pious] deed,
for the World-Lord with Assembly.” (22-23) [6097-6098]

Then having thought [it out] like that,
mixing together the curds and
the honey, I gave [them] to the
Lord of the World with Assembly. (24) [6099]

Due to that karma done very well,
with intention and [firm] resolve,
discarding [my] human body,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (25) [6100]

Again, in Benares, being
a king [who was] very famous,
enraged29 at an enemy [then,]
I caused the gateway to be blocked. (26) [6101]

Then, obstructing ascetics30 [too],
[it] was guarded thus for a week.31
Therefore, as the result of that
karma, I fell hard into hell.32 (27) [6102]

And now in [my] final rebirth,
due to the kṣatriyan’s good deeds,33
I’m born in Koliya city;
my mother was Suppavāsā,34
father Mahāli Licchchavi.35
Because of obstructing the gate,
I gestated for seven years,
suffering in [my] mother’s womb. (28-29) [6103-6104]

One week breached in the birth canal,36
I’m endowed with great suffering.
Because she gave approval [then],
my mother suffered greatly [now].37 (30) [6105]

Departing from Śrāvasti, I
was pitied by [him], the Buddha;
on the very day I set out,
I went forth into homelessness. (31) [6106]

My preceptor: Sāriputta;
powerful38 Moggallāna, the
wise, instructed me [as teacher]
[while he was] removing my hair. (32) [6107]

While my hair was being cut off,
I attained [my] arahantship.
Gods, snake-gods and human beings
are bringing me the requisites.39 (33) [6108]

Because, delighted, I worshipped40
[Buddha] named Padumuttara
and the Guide, Vipassi [Buddha],
I’m distinguished with requisites. (34) [6109]

Due to the distinction of those
deeds, I’m receiving everywhere
enormous [and] ultimate wealth,
in woods, village, water [and] land. (35) [6110]

When the Guide is traveling for
the sake of seeing Revata,
the World’s Chief Leader together
with thirty times a thousand monks,
the Great Wise One,41 the Great Hero,
the World’s Chief Leader with the monks,42
the Buddha’s then served by me with
requisites the gods bring for me;
having gone he saw43 Revata,
then going to Jetavana,
[he] placed me in that foremost place. (36-38) [6111-6113]

The Teacher, Friend of Every World,44
praised me amidst the multitude:
“O monks, Sīvali’s the foremost
receiver among my students.” (39) [6114]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (40) [6115]

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) [6116]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (42) [6117]

Thus indeed Venerable Sīvali Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Sīvali 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, famous (and still tapped for power today) as foremost among the recipients of gifts. See DPPN II:1163-1164Small images, pictures and yantras of Sīvali are common good-luck-charms throughout the Theravāda Buddhist world

  3. lit., “samādhi whose metaphor is lightening”

  4. °varaŋ, lit., “excellent” “fine”

  5. anupamo, lit., “which has no metaphor,” referencing back to the second foot as does the third foot to the first.

  6. amarā, or “the immortals”

  7. parisāsu visārado

  8. “Swan,” i.e., Haṃsavatī

  9. lit., “that the virtue of the follower was much”

  10. or “bent”: vinataŋ

  11. reading brāhmaṇo with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS brāhmaṇā (“the Brahmins”)

  12. purisājañña, RD “steed of man,” in the voc. Contracted form of ājāniya/ājānīya, “almost exclusively used to donate a thoroughbred horse”

  13. reading hi vo with BJTS for PTS vibho (= “the Wise One” ?)

  14. reading dakkhiṇā tāya ko vattā with BJTS for PTS dakkhiṇādāya kho-v-attaŋ, (“the value of giving a gift indeed” ?)

  15. “Good-Looking,” presumably the proper name of the monk who held the foremost place among receivers of gifts during the era of Padumuttara Buddha.

  16. cchārunayano, or “lovely to the eyes” (?)

  17. sabbadhammavipassaka, a play on that Buddha’s name

  18. the connotation is: “of a certain poor/lowly clan”

  19. reading āsiṃ with BJTS for PTS āsi (“he was”)

  20. or, “one longing for the end of work”

  21. or “guild”: aññataro pūgo

  22. pariveṇaŋ

  23. reading khajjaka-sāhitaṃ with BJTS for PTS khajjakasaññutaŋ

  24. lit., “see”

  25. reading tadāhaṃ taṃ gahetvāna with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS tadā bhattaŋ gahetvāna (“then having taken cooked rice”)

  26. kammasāmigharaŋ

  27. reading tamesantā mam’ addasuṃ with BJTS for PTS tamesantaŋ tamaddasaŋ (“searching for that I saw that”)

  28. reading taṃ dvayaṃ with BJTS for PTS sat’ anvayaŋ (“conforming with [their] mindfulness”). BJTS gloss understands the intention to be, “did not obtain those two things from me,” i.e., “I would not sell those two things”i

  29. reading ruṭṭho with BJTS for PTS Buddho (“the Buddha”)

  30. BJTS reads sapattino (“[kings] with co-wives” ?) though it recognizes tapassino (the PTS readings) as an alt.

  31. reading sattāhaṃ with BJTS for PTS ekāhaŋ (“one day”), cf. v. 30 below where like BJTS, PTS indicates “seven days” rather than “one day”

  32. reading papatiṃ nirayaṃ bhusaṃ with BJTS for PTS pāpattaŋ nirayan bhusaŋ (“evilness hell vehemently ”)

  33. lit., “meritorious karma;” I follow BJTS Sinhala gloss (and the context) in construing this foot with the previous verse, rather than (and indeed in juxtaposition) with what follows in the present one.

  34. “Good Sojourner”

  35. “Big Fish [mahā + āli ?] the Licchchavi”

  36. lit., “gone astray at the gate [to the birth canal]”

  37. BJTS Sinh. gloss clarifies that she gave approval of the gate-obstruction during the previous life; therefore reborn in the present she suffered this obstruction in her “gate” (dvāra)

  38. mahiddhiko, usually translated “greatly powerful,” i.e., a possessor of the iddhi (“magical”) superpowers

  39. i.e., the things allowed a Buddhist monk, usually summarized as four: robes, alms-food, a dwelling-place, and medicines.

  40. lit., “did pūjā

  41. mahāmati

  42. sasagho, lit., “with the Assembly”

  43. reading addasa with BJTS for PTS addasaŋ (“I saw”)

  44. sabbalokahito