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Theragatha

Theragāthā 18.1
The Verses of Arahant Mahā Kassapa (1056-1095)

The Arahant Mahā Kassapa is one of the great leaders of the Saṅgha. He was the monk who practiced austerities the best.

1056. A monk should not socialize with big crowds. If a monk lives in the midst of these crowds, chances are that his mind will be distracted. He will have a hard time developing one-pointedness of mind. Living a life attending to other people’s duties is painful. A monk should understand this danger. Therefore a monk should avoid socializing with big crowds.

1057. The sage does not visit the families of supporters. If a monk wonders among families, chances are that his mind will be distracted. He will have a hard time developing one-pointedness of mind. He will be greedy for the delicious food the people offer and will desire more. He will miss the goal that brings true happiness to his life.

1058. Noble people consider that the respect and homage that comes to them is like a pile of mud. Desire for honour is like a fine dart that is hard to pull out. Inferior people never give up gains and honours.

1059. One day, coming down from the forest, I entered the city and was going on my alms round. I saw a leper eating. With a compassionate mind and for his wellbeing, I approached him.

1060. That leper offered a lump of rice into my bowl with his rotting hand. As he was placing the rice into my bowl, one of his fingers broke off and accidently fell in.

1061. After accepting that meal, I sat beside a wall and ate. Neither while I was eating, nor once I had eaten, did disgust arise in my mind at all.

1062. If a monk is contented with whatever food is offered on his alms round, his own urine as medicine, living under a tree as shelter, and wearing a rag robe, indeed such a monk will live at ease anywhere in all the four directions.

1063. Some people almost faint trying to climb up the mountain where I live. The heir of the Buddha, the monk Kassapa is now very old. But with full mindfulness, clear awareness, and supported by his psychic powers, he climbs up the mountain.

1064. Returning from his alms round, the monk Kassapa climbs up that rocky mountain. He is freed from fear and terror. He meditates without clinging.

1065. Returning from his alms round, the monk Kassapa climbs up that rocky mountain. Among the people who are burning with defilements, he quenched himself. There he meditates without clinging.

1066. Returning from his alms round, the monk Kassapa climbs up that rocky mountain. He is freed from all taints. He has done what had to be done to end suffering. He meditates without clinging.

1067. That region spread with Kareri trees is very delightful. The trumpeting of the king elephants makes this region even more beautiful. These rocky mountains delight my heart.

1068. There, the streams have beautiful pure water. Their cool water is the colour of blue clouds. In this night, the whole mountain is filled with the lights of fire flies. I really love this rocky mountain.

1069. With crags like huge clouds, like peaked roofed houses, with king elephants’ trumpeting that beautifies the entire region, I really love this rocky mountain.

1070. Soaked with the rain all the time, that region is really beautiful. Those mountains called “Naga” are inhabited by Seers. The peacocks’ cry resonates throughout the area. I really love this rocky mountain.

1071. Since I practice the Dhamma giving it top priority, maintain mindfulness well, and develop Jhānas, this rocky mountain is very suitable for me. As a monk who desires wellbeing and since I practice the Dhamma giving it top priority, this rocky mountain is very suitable for me.

1072. As I am a monk who lives in comfort and since I practice the Dhamma giving it top priority, this rocky mountain is very suitable for me. As I am a monk with an unshaken mind who desires to meditate, and since I practice the Dhamma giving it top priority, this rocky mountain is very suitable for me.

1073. The sky is the color of blue flax flowers, covered with flocks of various birds. I really love this rocky mountain.

1074. Lay people are not found anywhere in this area. But this area is home to herds of deer, and full of flocks of various birds. I really like this rocky mountain.

1075. The water in the streams here is fantastic. There is a wide flat surface on this huge rock. The mountain is populated by monkeys and deer. It is covered with oozing moss. I really like this rocky mountain.

1076. I have a one pointed mind. I penetrate everything with insight. That understanding of reality makes a wonderful joy arise in me. Even the fivefold music won’t make me happy like this True Dhamma.

1077. A monk should not be busy with building projects in the monastery. He should avoid evil people. If a monk is not content with few wishes, he will become greedy and desirous of delicious food and drinks. Then he will miss the goal that brings true happiness to his life.

1078. A monk should not be busy with building projects in the monastery. A monk who desires his own wellbeing should avoid such things that make him tired, fatigued and pained. Truly, such things don’t lead to calmness of the mind.

1079. The one who overestimates himself talks arrogantly. He does nothing but wander around with a stiff-neck thinking, “I am supreme.”

1080. Truly not supreme, the fool thinks of himself as though supreme. Wise people do not praise such stiff-minded fools.

1081–82. “I am supreme, I am not supreme, I am worse, or we are equal” These ideas come from conceit. If one is not agitated with such conceit, that person who has an unshaken and a perfectly still mind, is wise, virtuous, and practices calming the mind. Such a person is praised by the wise.

1083. If a monk has no respect for his fellow monks, he will be as far from the true Dhamma as the earth is from the sky.

1084. But, if a monk always lives mindfully, with shame and fear of wrong doing, his holy life will come to growth. His repeated existence will come to an end.

1085. Even though a monk is wearing a robe made of rags, if he is conceited and vain, he doesn’t have any beauty whatsoever. He is like a monkey wearing a lion’s skin.

1086. If a monk is not conceited or vain, prudent, and keeps his faculties restrained, he truly deserves the rag robe, the flag of liberated ones. He is like a lion in a mountain cave.

1087. About ten thousand gods have gathered here. They are glorious and have psychic powers. They all have come from brahma worlds.

1088. They are standing worshiping with joined palms the General of the Dhamma, Arahant Sāriputta, who has great energy, Jhānas, and a still mind.

1089. Homage to you, thoroughbred of men, homage to you, best of men. We can’t even find out the object you meditate on.

1090. The knowledge field of the Buddhas is extremely wonderful. It is very profound. Even though we are really skilled in penetrating very subtle fields, like skillful hair-splitting archers, we can’t understand the Buddha’s knowledge field.

1091. When Arahant Kappina saw Arahant Sāriputta who was being worshiped by the group of gods, a smile arose on Arahant Kappina’s face.

1092. Throughout the entire excellent knowledge field of the Buddha, except for him, I am the outstanding person in the practice of austerity. There is no one equal to me. In the austerity practice, I became the foremost monk.

1093. The Buddha’s instruction has been respectfully followed by me. The Buddha’s path has been fully followed by me. I lowered the heavy load of defilements. I rooted out the fetters of existence.

1094. This monk Kassapa has immeasurable qualities. He does not cling to robes, shelters, or food. He is like a beautiful lotus flower grown in the water that has bloomed from unsoiled water, spreading a sweet fragrance. He is entirely liberated from all existences.

1095. That great sage has a neck called mindfulness, hands called faith, and a head called wisdom. That great wise sage always lives with a quenched mind.

These verses were said by Arahant Mahā Kassapa.

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Theragāthā 18.1: The Verses of Arahant Mahā Kassapa (1056-1095)

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