[544. {547.}1 Abhaya2]

The Victor, Padumuttara,
the One with Eyes for everything,
the Leader [of the World,] arose
a hundred thousand aeons hence. (1) [6217]

The Thus-Gone-One exhorts someone
in the going for refuge, [and]
he exhorts someone in morals,
in the supreme ten ways to act.3 (2) [6218]

The Hero gives to somebody
the ultimate fruit of monkhood,
[and] likewise the eight attainments;4
he bestows the three knowledges. (3) [6219]

Supreme Man5 urges some being
in the six special knowledges,
[and] the Lord gives to somebody
the four analytical modes. (4) [6220]

Seeing folks to be awakened,
[across] leagues that can’t be counted,
in no time having approached [them],
the Charioteer of Men exhorts. (5) [6221]

I then [lived] in Haṃsavatī;
I was the son of a brahmin,
a master of all the Vedas,
revered as a grammarian,
skillful in etymology,
confident in definitions,
verse-knower,6 ritual-knower,7
[also] clever at prosody.8 (6-7) [6222-6223]

[While] wandering about on foot,
having approached Swan Hermitage,9
I saw [him], the Best Debater,10
Honored by the Great Populace,11 (8) [6224]

preaching the Dhamma without stain.
I, with contrary ideas,
after having gone up to [him],
after hearing his stainless words, (9) [6225]

[looking for a word] of the Sage
which was incorrect, repeated,
or12 thrown-off or without meaning,
I saw none; therefore I went forth. (10) [6226]

After not a long time, being
confident among all teachers,
I am taken as an expert13
in the subtle words of Buddha. (11) [6227]

After having put together14
four well-written15 verses [for him],
praising the Chief of the Three Worlds,
I had [them] preached16 from day to day. (12) [6228]

“In [this] frightful existence you
are Free from Passion,17 Great Hero;18
out of compassion, you don’t die,19
thus [you’re] ‘the Compassionate Sage.’ (13) [6229]

Someone who’s20 a common person
not overwhelmed by defilements,
[would be] attentive21 and mindful;22
thus [Buddha’s] inconceivable. (14) [6230]

These are not destroyed by themselves,
[even] someone’s weak defilements,
consumed in the fire of knowledge.
It [would be] a marvel [if so]. (15) [6231]

He who’s the Teacher of All Worlds:23
for him the world’s thus a teacher;
he’s thus [known as] ‘the World-Teacher’24
[and] the world is following him.” (16) [6232]

With [fine verses] like those, I praised
the Sambuddha,25 Dhamma-preacher;26
doing so as long as [I] lived,
after death27 I went to heaven.28 (17) [6233]

In the hundred thousand aeons
since I praised the Buddha [like that],
I’ve come to know no bad rebirth:
that’s the fruit of praising [Buddha]. (18) [6234]

I experienced a lot of
great kingship in the world of gods,
and local kingship [here on earth,]
[and] wheel-turning kingship [as well]. (19) [6235]

I transmigrate in [just] two states:
that of a god, or of a man.
I do not know other rebirths;
that’s the fruit of praising [Buddha]. (20) [6236]

[When human] I‘m born in two clans:
the kṣatriyan or the brahmin.
I don’t get born29 in lesser clans:
that’s the fruit of praising [Buddha]. (21) [6237]

Now, in [my] final existence,
in Rajgir, ultimate city,30
I am King Bimbisāra’s son,
and [my given] name’s Abhaya. (22) [6238]

Influenced31 by an evil friend,32
I was bewildered by a Jain.
Sent by the leader of the Jains,33
I approached the Best of Buddhas. (23) [6239]

Having asked a subtle question,
hearing [Buddha’s] supreme response,
going forth, in not a long time,
I attained [my] arahantship. (24) [6240]

After praising the Best Victor,34
I [myself] am praised all the time.
With good-scented body and mouth,
I am endowed with happiness. (25) [6241]

Thus indeed I am greatly wise,
with sharp, clever [and] quick wisdom,
and I [speak] with varied discourse,
through the power of that karma. (26) [6242]

With pleasure in [my] heart, praising the Worthy,35
the Unmatched,36 Self-Become37 Padumuttara,
as the fruit of that, to a place [full] of woe,
for a [whole] lakh38 of aeons, I did not go. (27) [6243]39

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
Like elephants with broken chains,
I am living without constraint. (28) [6244]

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! (29) [6245]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (30) [6246]

Thus indeed Venerable Abhaya Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Abhaya 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. “Fearless,” a historical monk, commonly known as Abhayarājakumāra, “Abhaya the Royal Prince,” because he was the son of King Bimbisāra of Rajgir. See DPPN I:127-128.

  3. dasakammapathuttame: RD: “divided into kusala (meritorious, good) and akusala (demeritorious, evil) and classified according to the three manifestations” of body (3 kammapathas), speech (4 kammapathas) and mind (3 kammapathas), for a total of ten.

  4. namely the four jhanas and the four formless realms (of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, and neither consciousness nor unconsciousness)

  5. naruttamo

  6. padako, i.e. knowing the lines and feet of the Vedic poems

  7. keṭubhavidū

  8. chandovicchitikovido

  9. haṃsârāmam appears to be a proper name, though it also could be taken as “the hermitage in [my hometown] Haṃsavatī”

  10. vadataŋ seṭṭhaŋ

  11. mahājana-purakkhataŋ

  12. reading with BJTS for PTS ccha (“and”)

  13. gaṇi°, lit., “one who has a group [of followers],” “a teacher”

  14. reading ganthayitvā with BJTS for PTS ganthavitvā

  15. suvyañjanaŋ (“with good characteristics” “good in the letter [as opposed to the meaning]”)

  16. desayissaŋ

  17. viratto

  18. reading mahāvra (voc.) with BJTS for PTS mahāvīro (nom).

  19. na nibbāyi, lit., “did not die” or “did not reach full nirvana (parinibbāna)”

  20. reading santo with BJTS (and PTS alt.) for PTS satto (“a creature”)

  21. sampajāno

  22. satiyutto

  23. sabbalokassa guru (BJTS reads garu, the older form, but glosses guru). I follow BJTS Sinh. gloss in taking this as referring specifically to a Buddha, hence capitalize it as a Buddha-epithet.

  24. reading lokcchāriyo with BJTS for PTS lokacchariyā (sic).

  25. reading sambuddhaṃ with BJTS for PTS yaŋ Budhhaŋ (“which Buddha”)

  26. PTS dhammadesakaŋ; BJTS dhammadesataṃ

  27. tato cchuto, lit., “fallen from there”

  28. gato saggaŋ

  29. reading jāyāmi with BJTS for PTS jānāmi (“know”)

  30. giribbajapuruttame. Giribbaja or Girivraja is another name for Rajgir (also for Vaṅkagiri; see DPPN I:770)

  31. °vasaŋ gantvā, lit., “having gone under the power of”

  32. pāpamitta°, a friend who enjoins one to evil deeds, as contrasted with a “beautiful friend” (kalyānamitta) who enjoins one to do good.

  33. lit., “sent by Nāṭaputta,” the typical Pāli designation of Vardhamāna Mahāvīra, the Jina. (BJTS reads nātaputtena). For details about him as depicted in the Pāli texts see DPPN II: 61-64. The protagonist is “sent” by the Jina in order to spy on or refute the Buddha.

  34. jinavaraŋ

  35. arahaŋ, i.e., “the arahant”

  36. asamaŋ

  37. sayambhuŋ

  38. i.e., for one hundred thousand aeons

  39. this verse is in the more complex xxx meter, with eleven-syllable feet.