TheragāthāThag 19.1
The Verses of Arahant Tāḷapuṭa (1096-1150)

Pay attention to Arahant Tāḷapuṭa very difficult but ultimately successful spiritual journey.

1096. I am here really thinking, when indeed shall I go into a thick forest filled with beautiful waterfalls and live there alone with a mind free from craving. When indeed shall I contemplate with insight all existences as impermanent? When indeed shall I fulfill these wishes?

1097. Like a sage wearing a torn robe, when shall I wear a robe? When shall I live with a mind free of self-identity and craving? Having removed passion, hatred and delusion from this mind, when shall I live peacefully in a forest?

1098. This is an impermanent body, suffering from various diseases, like a nest disturbed by ageing and death. So, having penetrated this body with insight, and rid of fear, when shall I live alone in a forest?

1099. Craving is the producer of fear, bringer of pain, twining around this entire life. So, having taken a sharp sword made of wisdom, when shall I cut the creeper of craving into pieces? When indeed shall I fulfill these wishes?

1100. There is a lion-throne called serene and insight meditations. There are swords of enlightened ones made of wisdom, of fiery might. So, having seated on that lion’s throne, holding those swords, when shall I aggressively fight against the army of Māra? When indeed shall I fulfill these wishes?

1101. I really like the association of superior people. They respect the Dhamma, have realized the nature of reality, have unshaken minds, and have conquered their senses. When shall I associate with such superior people? When shall I practice the Dhamma very hard with them?

1102. I really want to achieve Nibbāna. Undisturbed by laziness, hunger, thirst, winds, heat, insects, and snakes, when shall I live in a mountain cave? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1103. The Great Seer, the Supreme Buddha, realized these Four Noble Truths. So, with a still mind, developed wisdom and mindfulness, when shall I realize these Four Noble Truths that are very hard to realize? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1104. I really like to develop Jhāna. So, by wisdom, based on that one-pointedness of mind, when shall I see these innumerable sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches and thoughts as though they were a blazing fire? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1105. When shall I live without worrying about people talking harshly to me? When shall I live without being overjoyed when people praise me? When indeed shall I fulfill these wishes?

1106. When shall I understand with wisdom these Five Aggregates of Clinging, both internally and externally, as no more than just wood, grass and creepers? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1107. Getting soaked by the rain, when shall I walk on the path walked by the enlightened ones in the forest in the rainy season? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1108. In the thick forest, among mountains, the peacocks cry out. When shall I wake up to that cry and meditate, wishing for Nibbāna. When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1109. There are great rivers such as the Ganges, Yamunā, and Sarasvatī. There are fearful slopes. There are huge lakes. Without touching them with my feet, when shall I cross over these things using my psychic power? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1110. Like a king elephant separated from the herd, when shall I meditate separated from the desire for all the objects that appear to be attractive connected with sensual pleasures? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1111. When shall I live happily realizing the teaching of the Greatest Seer, the Buddha, like a poor man stricken by debt and, after being repeatedly oppressed by rich men, has found a golden treasure? When indeed shall I fulfill this wish?

1112. Hey mind! Didn’t you beg me repeatedly for years to give up the home life? How much did you beg me to become a monk? Now I have become a monk. Hey mind! Why don’t you meditate now?

1113. Hey mind! Didn’t you beg me to go to a forest and meditate sitting on a flat rock in the midst of mountains where birds cry and waterfalls flow? You told me that you really loved it, didn’t you?

1114. Hey mind! It is because of your request that I became a monk giving up all my possessions and valuables, relatives, friends, enjoyments and all sorts of sensual pleasures. Now I have entered the forest. But now why don’t you make me happy pushing me on the path to Nibbāna?

1115. Hey mind! This mind doesn’t belong to others. It is mine. Now I am ready for the battle against defilements. But why are you crying now? I have realized that everything is subject to destruction. That is why I renounced the household life desiring the death free-state, Nibbāna.

1116. Hey mind! Do you know what the great physician, the best of men, the supreme trainer of people, the speaker of good, the Supreme Buddha, said about this mind? “This mind is very fickle. It is like a monkey always moving in the forest. It is very hard to restrain this mind for one who is not rid of lust.”

1117. Ordinary people are sunk in ignorance. They attach to these sensual pleasures that are attractive, sweet and delightful. They seek existence repeatedly and wish only for pain. Taking them away from the good, this mind puts them in hell.

1118. The great forest resonates with the cries of peacocks and herons. One is exposed to leopards and tigers. One will have to give up longing for life. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1119. You asked me to develop meditation, develop spiritual faculties, develop spiritual powers, develop enlightenment factors, develop one-pointedness of mind and attain the Triple Knowledge in this Buddha’s path. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1120. You asked me to train in the way to the death free state, Nibbāna, and to develop the Noble Eightfold Path which leads to complete elimination of suffering, purification of defilements and leads to Nibbāna. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1121. You asked me to contemplate the reality of the five aggregates of clinging, understand them as suffering and abandon the desire towards them that generate suffering, thus putting an end to suffering in this very life. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1122. You asked me to contemplate these conditioned things as impermanent, painful, empty, selfless, misery, and as a burden, and to restrain the mind from the wandering defilements. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1123. You asked me to become ugly with a shaven head! You asked me to take a bowl and join the begging monks as someone who was cursed by suffering in saṁsāra. You asked me to live in accordance with the instruction of the Greatest Seer, the greatest teacher. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1124. You asked me to restrain the mind. You asked me not to get attached to families and sensual pleasures while going on the alms round. You asked me to live like the moon on a full moon night. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1125. You asked me to live in a forest, survive on alms food, live in a cemetery, wear robes made of rags, meditate without sleeping and always desire to practice austerities. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk?

1126. Hey mind! Just like a person wishing for fruits who, having planted trees, wishes to cut down those trees, you push me into this impermanent unstable saṁsāra, don’t you?

1127. Hey formless mind! You travel far and wander alone. But after this I won’t follow your commands again! Sensual pleasures are really painful, bitter and very fearful. Certainly I wander, pointing my face only to the direction of Nibbāna.

1128. Hey mind! I didn’t become a monk because of bad luck, nor from shamelessness towards begging for food, nor because of a fickle mind, nor because of banishment, nor because of not having any other livelihood. But, I have agreed that I won’t go under your control ever again.

1129. Having few wishes is always praised by the Superior people. When disparagement is abandoned, suffering fades away. Hey mind! Wasn’t it you that urged me to become a monk? Then why are you now trying to go back to your previous bad habits?

1130. Craving, ignorance, pleasant and unpleasant things, attractive forms, happy feelings, and pleasing sensual pleasures: all these have been vomited up by me. I don’t need to swallow back what has already been vomited.

1131. Hey mind! Everywhere I went, I have followed your advice. Therefore, in many previous lives, I didn’t make you angry. You were born from me, but you don’t have any gratitude. That is why, for a long time, you dragged me through this painful journey of saṁsāra.

1132. Hey mind! Because of you one time I became a Brāhmin, another time I became a millionaire, another time I became a king, another time I became a trader, another time I became a servant, and another time I became a god.

1133. Because of you, I went to the asura world, because of you I went to hell, because of you I went to the animal world and because of you I went to the ghost world.

1134. Hey mind! You are trying to deceive me again and again. You try to show me illusionary, magical pictures time after time. You try to play with me as though a crazy man would. Hey mind! What have I done to you to deserve this pain?

1135. Hey mind! Formerly, you wandered where you liked, how you wished and how you pleased. But today, I will tame this disobedient mind with the hook of wise consideration, just as the hook holder tames a disobedient elephant.

1136. My great teacher showed me the reality of this world to be impermanent, unstable, and futile. Hey mind! Make me enter the path of the Great Victor, the Buddha. Help me cross the great flood of saṁsāra which is very hard to cross.

1137. Hey mind! Now the old mind is not here. Now you can’t control me as you wish. I am a monk in the Great Seer’s path. No one can harm those who are like me.

1138. Mountains, oceans, rivers, the earth, all conditioned things in the four directions, intermediate directions, and above and below are impermanent. All three planes of existence are disturbed by defilements. Hey mind! Which place are you going to be happy in?

1139. Hey mind! Now I am firm in strong effort. What can you do to me now? Hey mind! I am no longer under your control! Never will I touch the bag with an opening at each end filled with faeces. This human body is just like that, oozing filth from nine doors. Shame on this body!

1140. Hey mind! Wild boars and deer walk around in this beautiful forest with slopes and hills. The whole forest has been sprinkled with fresh water by the rain. Now you have entered a cave in this beautiful forest. Now be happy.

1141. The peacocks have beautiful blue necks, beautiful crests, beautiful tail fathers, and beautiful wings. When the sky thunders, those peacocks scream. Hey mind! Now you are meditating in this cave. Be happy about it.

1142. In the rainy season, the grass grows four inches high. The forest has blossomed with flowers like clouds. There on those mountains I lie on the ground. That grassy land is like a new bed for me. It is very soft.

1143. Yes, I tame you like a king commands a servant. Whatever has been obtained to maintain this life is enough for me. I am not lazy, therefore I will make you fit for Nibbāna like someone who transforms cat skin into a well worked bag.

1144. I tame you like a king commands a servant. Whatever has been obtained to maintain this life is enough for me. I will bring you under my control by my energy as a skilled hook holder tames a disobedient elephant.

1145. Hey mind! You have been tamed very well, like a superior elephant was tamed. Like someone who tames a horse, I also was able to travel on the blissful way to Nibbāna. That path to Nibbāna was only ever followed by the great beings who guarded their mind.

1146. Hey mind! I have bound you to the meditation object as one chains a king elephant to a post. Since I established mindfulness well, I was able to guard and control the mind. With that well developed mind, I escaped from all existences.

1147. When senses contact objects, it is through that contact that this mind follows the wrong path. I cut off that wrong path with wisdom. Using meditation, I put the mind back on the right path. You should see the arising and the cessation of the suffering in this saṁsāra. You should be liberated from suffering. In that way, be fortunate as the son, as an heir to the Buddha.

1148. Hey mind! I was deluded in such a way that I saw impure things as pure, impermanent things as permanent, unpleasant things as pleasant and selfless things as things with self. The mind misled me like a foolish boy. But now, you associate with that compassionate Great Sage who cut off all fetters.

1149. Hey mind! Like a deer roaming freely in this delightful mountain decorated in clouds, I live in this forest freely, undisturbed by anything. Hey mind! Undoubtedly, you have been defeated.

1150. Hey mind! If any men or women get caught up in your desire, go under your control, and delight in sensual pleasures, they all will sink into ignorance and go under Māra’s control. All those who wish to be reborn again and again—they are all your followers.

These verses were said by Arahant Tāḷapuṭa.

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Theragāthā 19.1: The Verses of Arahant Tāḷapuṭa (1096-1150)

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