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Agaliha
June 24th, 2008, 01:43 AM
CHAPTER VIII.



THE THOUSANDS.

100. Even though a speech be a thousand (of words), but made up of senseless words, one word of sense is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.

101. Even though a Gāthā (poem) be a thousand (of words), but made up of senseless words, one word of a Gāthā is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.

102. Though a man recite a hundred Gāthās made up of senseless words, one word of the law is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.

103. If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.

104., 105. One's own self conquered is better than all other people; not even a god, a Gandharva, not Māra with Brahman could change into defeat the

[100. This Sahasravarga, or Chapter of the Thousands, is quoted by that name in the Mahāvastu (Minayeff, Mélanges Asiatiques, VI, p. 583): Teshām Bhagavāń gatilānām Dharmapadeshu sahasravargam bhāshati: 'Sahasram api vākānām anarthapadasamhitānām, ekārthavati sreyā yām srutvā upasāmyati. Sahasram api gāthānām anarthapadasamhitānām, ekārthavati sreyā yām srutvā upasāmyati.' (MS. R. A. S. Lond.) Here the Pāli text seems decidedly more original and perfect.

104. Gitam, according to the commentator, stands for gito (lingavipallāso, i.e. viparyāsa); see also Senart in Journal Asiatique, 1880, p. 500.

The Devas (gods), Gandharvas (fairies), and other fanciful beings of the Brahmanic religion, such as the Nāgas, Sarpas, Garudas, &c., were allowed to continue in the traditional language of the people who had embraced Buddhism. See the pertinent remarks of Burnouf, Introduction, pp. 134 seq., 184. On Māra, the tempter, see v. 7. Sāstram Aiyar, On the Gaina Religion, p. xx, says: 'Moreover as it is declared in the Gaina Vedas that all the gods worshipped by the various Hindu sects, viz. Siva, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganapati, Subramaniyan, and others, were devoted adherents of the above-mentioned Tīrthankaras, the Gainas therefore do not consider them as unworthy of their worship; but as they are servants of Arugan, they consider them to be deities of their system, and accordingly perform certain pūgās in honour of them, and worship them also.' The case is more doubtful with orthodox Buddhists. 'Orthodox Buddhists,' as Mr. D'Alwis writes (Attanagalu-vansa, p. 55), 'do not consider the worship of the Devas as being sanctioned by him who disclaimed for himself and all the Devas any power over man's soul. Yet the Buddhists are everywhere idol-worshippers. Buddhism, however, acknowledges the existence of some of the Hindu deities, and from the various friendly offices which those Devas are said to have rendered to Gotama, Buddhists evince a respect for their idols.' See also Buddhaghosha's Parables, p. 162.] victory of a man who has vanquished himself, and always lives under restraint.

106. If a man for a hundred years sacrifice month after month with a thousand, and if he but for one moment pay homage to a man whose soul is grounded (in true knowledge), better is that homage than sacrifice for a hundred years.

107. If a man for a hundred years worship Agni (fire) in the forest, and if he but for one moment pay homage to a man whose soul is grounded (in true knowledge), better is that homage than sacrifice for a hundred years.

108. Whatever a man sacrifice in this world as an offering or as an oblation for a whole year in order to gain merit, the whole of it is not worth a quarter (a farthing); reverence shown to the righteous is better.

109. He who always greets and constantly reveres the aged, four things will increase to him, viz. life, beauty, happiness, power.

110. But he who lives a hundred years, vicious and unrestrained, a life of one day is better if a man is virtuous and reflecting.

111. And he who lives a hundred years, ignorant and unrestrained, a life of one day is better if a man is wise and reflecting.

112. And he who lives a hundred years, idle and weak, a life of one day is better if a man has attained firm strength.

113. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing beginning and end, a life of one day is better if a man sees beginning and end.

114. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the immortal place, a life of one day is better if a man sees the immortal place.

115. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the highest law, a life of one day is better if a man sees the highest law.

[109. Dr. Fausböll, in a most important note, called attention to the fact that the same verse, with slight variations, occurs in Manu. We there read, II, 121:

Abhivādanasīlasya nityam vriddhopasevinah,
Katvāri sampravardhante āyur vidyā yaso balam.
Here the four things are, life, knowledge, glory, power.

In the Āpastamba-sūtras, I, 2, 5, 15, the reward promised for the same virtue is svargam āyus ka, 'heaven and long life.' It seems, therefore, as if the original idea of this verse came from the Brahmans, and was afterwards adopted by the Buddhists. How largely it spread is shown by Dr. Fausböll from the Asiatic Researches, XX, p. 259, where the same verse of the Dhammapada is mentioned as being in use among the Buddhists of Siam.

112. On kusīto, see note to verse 7 (http://sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe10/sbe1003.htm#pp_7).]