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And so, Nanda was affirmed by the great seer, in the matter of confidence; /

He felt filled with the deepest joy, as if drenched in the deathless nectar. // 13.1 //


To the Fully Awakened Buddha, by virtue of that confidence, he seemed already to be a success; /

And to himself, having been initiated by the Buddha, he felt as though he had arrived already on the better path. // 13.2 //


Some in soothing tones; some with tough talk, /

Some by both these means, he the trainer trained. // 13.3 //


Just as gold born from dirt is pure, spotless, gleaming, /

And while lying in the dirt is not tarnished by the dirt's impurities, // 13.4 //


And just as a lotus-leaf is born in water and remains in water, /

But neither above nor below is sullied by the water, // 13.5 //


So the Sage, born in the world, and acting for the benefit of the world, /

Because of his state of action, and spotlessness, is not tainted by worldly things. // 13.6 //


Joining with others and leaving them; love and toughness; and talking, as well as meditation itself: /

He used these means during his instruction for the purpose of healing, not to make a following for himself. // 13.7 //


Thus did the benevolent one, out of his great compassion, take on a form /

By which he might release fellow living beings from suffering. // 13.8 //


Seeing, then, that by boosting Nanda he had made a receptacle, /

The best of speakers, the knower of processes, spoke of better ways as a process: // 13.9 //


"Starting afresh from here, my friend, with the power of confidence leading you forward, /

In order to get to the nectar of deathlessness you should watch the manner of your action. // 13.10 //


So that the use of body and voice becomes simple for you, /

Make it expansive and open, and guarded, and free from disconnectedness -- // 13.11 //


Expansive by reality's doing; open from not hiding; /

Guarded because aimed at prevention; and unbroken through absence of fault. // 13.12 //


With regard for purity of body and voice, and with regard also for the sevenfold [prohibition on bodily and vocal] conduct,1 /

You should work to perfect a proper way of making a living, on the grounds of integrity -- // 13.13 //


On the grounds of not indulging the five faults, beginning with hypocrisy; /

On the grounds of fleeing the four predators of practice, such as astrology; // 13.14 //


On the grounds of not accepting things to be avoided, such as valuables linked to the needless killing of living creatures;2 /

On the grounds of accepting the established rules for begging, with their definite limits; // 13.15 //


As a person who is contented, pristine, and pleasant, you can, through making a living cleanly and well, /

Counteract suffering all the way to liberation. // 13.16 //


Separately from overt action, and from the origin of the use of body and voice, /

I have spoken of making a living because it is so hard to make a pure one -- // 13.17 //


For hard to be washed away is the view of a househoulder with his many and various concerns, /

And also [hard to be kept pure] is the livelihood of a beggar whose subsistence depends on others. // 13.18 //


Such is termed "the discipline of integrity." In sum, it is conduct; /

Without it there could truly be no going forth, nor state of being at home. // 13.19 //


Steeped in good conduct, therefore, lead this life of devout abstinence, /

And in what is even minutely blameworthy see danger, being firm in your purpose. // 13.20 //


For founded on integrity unfurl all actions on the better path, /

Just as events like standing unfold when a force resists the earth. // 13.21 //


Let it be grasped, my friend, that release is seated in dispassion, /

Dispassion in conscious awareness, and conscious awareness in knowing and seeing. // 13.22 //


And let it be experienced, again, that the knowing is seated in a stillness /

And that the seat of the stillness is a body-mind at ease. // 13.23 //


An assurance on which sits ease of the body-mind is of the highest order, /

And the assurance is seated in enjoyment. Again, let this be realised in experience. // 13.24 //


The enjoyment is seated in a great happiness which, similarly, is understood to be of the highest order; /

And the happiness is seated in a freedom from furrowing the heart over things done badly or not done. // 13.25 //


But the freedom of the mind from remorse is seated in pristine practice of integrity. /

Therefore, realising that integrity comes first, purify the discipline of integrity. // 13.26 //


The discipline of integrity is so called because it comes out of repeated practice;3 repeated practice comes out of devotion to training; /

Devotion to training comes out of direction in it; and direction comes out of submitting to that direction. // 13.27 //


For the discipline of integrity, my friend, is the refuge: it is like a guide in the wilderness, /

It is friend, kinsman, and protector; it is wealth, and it is strength. // 13.28 //


Since the discipline of integrity is such, my friend, you should work to perfect the discipline of integrity. /

Among those who practise, moreover, this is the stance taken in different endeavours whose aim is freedom.4 // 13.29 //


On this basis, standing grounded in awareness, /

You should hold back the naturally impetuous senses from the objects of those senses. // 13.30 //


There is less to fear from an enemy or from fire, or from a snake, or from lightning, /

Than there is from one's own senses; for through them one is forever being smitten. // 13.31 //


Some people some of the time are beleaguered by hateful enemies – or else they are not. /

Besieged through the senses are all people everywhere, all of the time. // 13.32 //


Nor does one go to hell when smitten by the likes of an enemy; /

But meekly is one pulled there when smitten through the impetuous senses. // 13.33 //


The pain of being smitten by those others may occur in the heart – or else it may not. /

The pain of being oppressed through one's senses is a matter of the heart and indeed of the body. // 13.34 //


For smeared with the poison of conceptions, are those arrows, produced from five senses, /

Whose tails are anxiety, whose tips are thrills, and whose range is the vast emptiness of objects. // 13.35 //


Fired off by Desire, the hunter, they strike human fawns in the heart; /

Unless they are warded away, men wounded by them duly fall. // 13.36 //


Standing firm in the arena of restraint, and bearing the bow of resolve, /

The mighty man, as they rain down, must fend them away, wearing the armour of awareness. // 13.37 //


From ebbing of the power of the senses, as if from subjugation of enemies, /

One sleeps or sits at ease, in joyful recreation, wherever one may be. // 13.38 //


For in the constant hankering of those senses after objects in the world, /

There occurs out of that ignominy no more consciousness than there is in the hoping of hounds. // 13.39 //


A cluster of sense organs is no more sated by objects, /

Than is the ocean, even when constantly filled, by water. // 13.40 //


It is necessarily through the senses, each in its own sphere, that one must function in this world. /

But not to be seized upon in that realm is an objectified image or any secondary sexual sign:5 // 13.41 //


On seeing a form with your eye you are contained in the sum of the elements: /

The conception that 'it is a woman' or 'it is a man' you should not frame.6 // 13.42 //


If a notion of woman or man does intrude at any time in relation to anyone, /

Upon hair, teeth, and the rest, for their beauty, you should not dwell. // 13.43 //


Nothing, then, is to be taken away and nothing is to be added: /

The reality is to be investigated as it really is, whatever and however it is. // 13.44 //


In your observing what is, like this, always in the territory of the senses, /

There will be no foothold for longing and dejection. // 13.45 //


Longing, using cherished forms, smites the sensual masses: /

A foe who has a friendly face, she's7 fair of speech and foul of heart. // 13.46 //


Conversely, what is called dejectedness is, in connection with an object, a contrary reaction /

By going along with which, in one's ignorance, one is smitten hereafter, and smitten here and now. // 13.47 //


When, by getting and not getting his way, a man is pained as if by cold or heat, /

He finds no refuge; nor arrives on a better path: hence the unsteady sense-power of the masses. // 13.48 //


And yet the power of the senses, though operative, need not become glued to an object, /

So long as in the mind, with regard to that object, no conceptualization goes on.8 // 13.49 //


Just as a fire burns only where fuel and air co-exist, /

So a fire of affliction arises, from an object and the forming of a conception. // 13.50 //


For through an illusory fixed conception one is bound to an object; /

Seeing that very same object as it really is, one is set free. // 13.51 //


On seeing one and the same form this man is enamoured, that man is disgusted; /

Somebody else remains in the middle; while yet another feels thereto a human warmth. // 13.52 //


Thus, an object is not the cause of bondage or of liberation; /

It is due to peculiar fixed conceptions that attachment arises or does not.9 // 13.53 //


Through effort of the highest order, therefore, contain the power of the senses; /

For unguarded senses make for suffering and for becoming. // 13.54 //


The senses are like serpents coiled in sensual enjoyment with eyes of selfish views, their many heads are heedlessness and their flickering tongues are excitement: /

The snaky senses lurk in mind-pits, their venom eager desire; and when they bite there is no cure, save the antidote of cessation.10 // 13.55 //


Therefore, towards those mischief-making foes, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and feeling, /

Show in every situation a vigilance born of restraint. In this matter you are not for an instant to be heedless. // 13.56 //



The 13th Canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled "Defeating the Power of the Senses through the Discipline of Integrity."






1 Of the ten universal precepts referred to in Canto 3, there seem to be seven that specifically prohibit wrong physical and vocal conduct, namely: not inflicting needless suffering on any living being, not stealing, not chasing women who are spoken for; along with not lying, not gossiping, not hurting others with smooth speech, and not slandering others (see verses 3.30 –33).

2 EHJ's original text has prāṇi-dhānya-dhanādīnāṃ (living creatures, grain, money and so on), but EHJ noted that Gawronski's prāṇi-ghāta-dhanādīnāṃ may well be right. Prāṇi-ghātin means killing living beings, so that Gawronski's amendment could mean 'such things as money [procured from needless] killing of living beings' or 'goods [whose production has involved needless] killing of living beings' or 'valuables [whose acquisition has involved needless] killing of living beings.' It is difficult to see why grain would have been avoided.

3 “Repeated practice” is śīlana; “the discipline of integrity” is śīla. So śīla is so called because it comes from śīlana.

4 Yoginām here seems to indicate not only those who practise yoga as directed by the Buddha, for example in Canto 16, but also yogins devoted to other ways of practice whose aim is freedom. The universal principle in the background, recognized by mechanical engineers as well as by yoga adepts, might be the interdependence of freedom and restraint. The use of yoginām in the plural in this verse mirrors the use of śreyasāṃ in the plural in 13.9. The point might be that there is more than one way to liberate oneself from the slavery of habit – the way of a Thai bhikkhu, the way of a Tibetan bodhisattva, the way of a Zen adept, the way of a student of FM Alexander, or J. Krishnamurti, or G. I. Gurdjieff -- but every way is a process, in which the univeral truth holds that there is no freedom without restraint.

5 Anu-vyañjanam is given in the MW dictionary as a word used in Buddhist literature to mean “secondary mark or token.” Meanings of vyañjanam include “mark of sex or gender (as the beard, breasts et cetera),” and the prefix anu- means following from, or secondary. In this verse, the use of anu-vyañjanam in combination with nimittam, sheds some light on a somewhat technical meaning of nimittam. No such Buddhist technical meaning is given in the MW dictionary, which defines nimitta more broadly as 1. mark, target, 2. sign, omen, 3. cause, motive, reason. The Pali-English Dictionary, being more closely based on the Pali canon, defines nimitta as 1. a sign or omen, 2. outward appearance, mark, characteristic, attribute, 3. mark, aim, 4. sexual organ, and 5. ground, reason. Specifically with reference to the practice of meditation, the Pali-English dictionary adds (as part of sense 2) the technical sense of “a mental reflex [i.e. reflection] or image” and cites nimittan gaṇhāti, “to make something the object of a thought, to catch up a theme for reflection.” Nimittam is a key word in Canto 16, and it may be that Aśvaghoṣa deliberately used nimitta in various meanings as an antidote to the sin of certainty.

6 Kalpayitum (the causative infinitive from the root √kḷp) means to frame, form, invent, compose (as a poem et cetera), and hence to imagine.

7 Abhidhyā, desire or longing, is a feminine noun.

8 Or “no fixing goes on” or “no inventing goes on” or “no illusion arises.” Parikalpa is given in the MW dictionary as a word used in Buddhist literature to mean “illusion.” At the same time in non-Buddhist writing, parikalpa = parikalpana: fixing, contriving, making, inventing. The primary meaning of the verb pari-√kḷp is to fix.

9 Here, then, is the Buddha's explicit falsification of the striver's argument that women are to blame for men's reaction to them.

10 This verse was omitted by both EHJ and LC from their respective translations. The verse's spurious metre convinced EHJ that it was an interpolation.






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