Thag 10.2
Ekavihariya: Dwelling Alone
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Alternate translation: Olendzki (excerpt)
Translator's note: This poem, which is attributed to King Asoka's younger brother, falls into three parts: the first expresses his initial desire to leave the life of the palace and go into the forest; the second depicts his going forth; and the third announces his Awakening. Some scholars have suggested that many of the poems dealing with events in the lives of the early Buddhist monks and nuns may have originally been intended for dramatic performance, and this poem could easily have been written with that intent. The language of the original, with its heavy use of poetic terms, certainly indicates that the author had a literate background and was writing for a sophisticated audience.
If, in front or behind, there is no one else, it's extremely pleasant for one staying alone in the forest. Come then! Alone I will go to the wilderness praised by the Awakened One pleasant for a resolute monk dwelling alone. Alone, astute in my goal, I'll quickly enter the grove — refreshing, giving rapture to meditators — the haunt of elephants in rut. When the Cool Forest's in full flower, in a cool mountain gorge, having bathed my limbs I'll walk back & forth. alone. Ah, when will I dwell, alone and free from companions, in the refreshing great forest — my task done, fermentation-free? As I desire to do this, may my purpose succeed. I myself will bring it about. No one can do it for anyone else. I myself bind on my armor. I will enter the grove and will not emerge without having attained fermentations' end. While soft breezes blow — cool, heavily, fragrantly scented — I'll make ignorance burst, as I sit on a mountaintop. In the forest covered with blossoms or perhaps on a cool hillside, blessed with the bliss of release, on Giribbaja I'll delight. [1] I am now he whose resolves are fulfilled like the moon on a full-moon night. With all fermentations totally ended, there is now no further becoming.


Giribbaja is the ring of mountains surrounding Vulture's Peak.