Anil Yadavrao Gaikwad
We have read about the Yamaka Vagga, first verse in previous issue of Buddhist Voice (published in June 2013) where the Lord Buddha’s main message was “Suffering is Mind-Made”. If we observe, any anger or suffering is because of our thoughts and nothing else. If we decide to not to get disturbed with any event in our life, we can avoid our suffering.
In this column, we are mainly referring to the Pali version of Dhammapada in our discussions as readers may have come across various other versions of Dhammapada such as The Gandhara Dharmapada, Patna Dharmapada and The Chinese Version of Dhammapada.
The second verse of Yamaka Vagga is very much similar to the First Verse. Yamaka Vagga Verse One and Verse Two are parallel verses and were uttered by the Lord Buddha on two different occasions to show the inevitable effects of evil and good karma respectively.
Yamaka Vagga (Verse Two)
Main Message from the verse is “Good Begets Good”
Manasa ce pasannena
bhasati va karoti va
Tato nam sukhamanveti
Chaya va anapayini || 2 ||
Mind is the forerunner of (all good) states.
Mind is chief; and they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with pure mind, because of that, happiness follows one, even as one’s shadow and that never leavers.
All that man experiences, springs out of his thoughts. If his thoughts are good, the words and deeds will also be good. The result of good thoughts, words and deeds will be happiness. This happiness never leaves the person whose thoughts are good. Happiness will always follow him like his shadow that never leaves him.
How we experience our circumstances, depends on the way we interpret them. If we interpret them in the wrong way, we experience suffering. If we interpret them in the right way, we experience happiness. In other words, our happiness or unhappiness depends on the way we think.
Thought also creates circumstances in a futuristic sense. If we harbour ill will and speak or act with ill will, people will begin to hate us. We will be punished by society and the law. After death, we will also be reborn in a realm of suffering. Here, ‘thought’ refers to kamma (action) and ‘experience’ refers to vipàka (consequences).
The message finally conveyed by this pair of verses is: “Think wrong and suffer. Think right and be happy.” This pair of verses was spoken by the Buddha to show the inevitable consequence (vipàka) of good and evil thought (kamma). Man reaps what he has sown, both in the past and in the present. What he sows now, he reaps in the present and in the future. Man himself is responsible for his own happiness and misery. He creates his own hell and heaven. He is the architect of his own fate. What he makes, he can unmake. Buddhism teaches the way to escape from suffering by understanding and using the law of cause and effect. Buddhism is very realistic and optimistic. Instead of blindly depending on unknown supernatural powers, hoping for happiness, Buddhism finds the true way to happiness realistically.
The Story of Matthakundali associated with Verse 2
While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Saravasthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (2) of this book, with reference to Matthakundali, a young Brahmin. Matthakundali was a young Brahmin, whose father, Adinnapubbaka, was very stingy and never gave anything in charity. Even the gold ornaments for his only son were made by himself to save payment for workmanship. When his son fell ill, no physician was consulted, until it was too late. When he realized that his son was dying, he had the youth carried outside on to the verandah, so that people coming to his house would not see his possessions.
On that morning, the Buddha arising early from his deep meditation of compassion saw, in his Net of Knowledge, Matthakundali lying in verandah. So when entering Saravasthi for alms-food with his disciples, the Buddha stood near the door of the Brahmin Adinnapubbaka. The Buddha sent forth a ray of light to attract the attention of the youth, who was facing the interior of the house. The youth saw the Buddha; and as he was very weak he could only profess his faith mentally. But that was enough. When he passed away with his heart in devotion to the Buddha he was reborn in the Tavatimsa celestial world.
From his celestial abode, the young Matthakundali, seeing his father mourning over him at the cemetery, appeared to the old man in the likeness of his old self. He told his father about his rebirth in the Tavatimsa world and also urged him to approach and invite the Buddha to a meal. At the house of Adinnapubbaka, the question of whether one could or could not be reborn in a celestial world simply by mentally professing profound faith in the Buddha, without giving in charity or observing the moral precepts, was brought up. So the Buddha willed that Matthakundali should appear in person; Matthakundali soon appeared fully decked with celestial ornaments and told them about his rebirth in the Tavatimsa world. Then only, the audience became convinced that the son of the Brahmin Adinnapubbaka by simply devoting his mind to the Buddha had attained much glory.
At the end of the discourse Matthakundali and his father Adinnapubbaka attained Sotapatti Magga and Sotapatti Phala. Adinnapubbaka also donated almost all his wealth to the cause of the Buddha’s Teaching
Note : Tavatismsa – Heaven, is an import world of devas in Buddhist Cosmology
- Dhammapada by Bhadant Khema Dhammo,
Publisher: Trisharan Prakashan, Aurangabad, Year of Publication: 1983
- The Dhammapada by Narada Thera
Publisher: The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan,
Year of Publication: 1993 4th Edition
- The Treasury of Truth : Illustrated Dhammapada By Ven. Weragoda Sarada Thero
Publisher: Buddha Dhama Education Association Inc. www.Buddhanet.net
- The Dhammapada and Commentary Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala (http://thelemistas.org/PDF/Dhammapada.pdf)
- The Dhammapada Stories by Khuddaka Nikaya, Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A., Burma Pitaka Association (1986), Source: http://www.nibbana.com
- Dhammapada Verse www.tipitaka.net / tpitaka/dhp/verseload.php ? verse=002