Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying at Saavatthii...Then Taayana, son of the devas, formerly a teacher of a [different] sect,... spoke thus in verse before the Blessed One:
Put forth strength and cut the stream at the source,
scatter all desires of the sense.
Else the sage can not attain the goal.
That which must be done, with vigor do:
Feeble recluseship but stirs up dust.
Better nothing done than evil wrought:
Ill one's done will cause one pain again.
If the deed is good, it's better done:
Good deeds will bring no pain to come.
A blade of grass if wrongly seized,
Will only serve to cut the clumsy hand,
So ascetic life, if wrongly tried,
Merely drags one down to states of woe.
Whatever action's slackly carried out,
Practices improperly observed,
Dubious keeping of the holy life:
None of this will bring a great reward.
So said Taayana the devas' son and, so saying, he passed with his right side to the Blessed One in salutation and vanished there and then. And when the night was past the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus.
[He repeated the verses and then said:]
"Bhikkhus, learn Taayana's verses, learn them by heart; Taayana's verses are for your good, they pertain to the fundamentals of the holy life."
- Devaputta. See Vol. I, n. 7.
- Though he held certain wrong views, he believed in kamma (a vital point!), and so was reborn in a heaven state. He came to realize the superiority of the Buddha's teaching and therefore came to encourage disciples.
- Used here in the sense of a recluse.
- Dhp 383.
- Ekatta.m: "unity."
- The next 16 lines are found (differently ordered) as Dhp 313/314, 311/312.
- Niraya: "the downward path."