Friday, February 13, 2009

Hymn To The Buddha

From the Satapancasatka of Matrceta, 1st century CE. Translated by Bhante S. Dhammika Homage to you, O Self-developed One
Whose good works are numerous and wondrous,
Whose virtues are too numerous and awesome to define.

Their number? They are infinite.
Their nature? Words must fail.
But to se speak of them bestows great good,
so I shall speak much.

No faults in any way are found in him;
All virtue in every way dwell in him.

You were kind without being asked,
you were loving without reason,
you were a friend to the stranger
and a kinsman to those without kin.

The joy you beings feel on saving their lives
equals not the joy you experienced
when you gave your life for others.

By not envying the superior,
despising the inferior,
or competing with equals,
you attained pre-eminence in the world.

Good deeds you praise, bad deeds you blame,
but towards those who act thus
you are free from any 'for' or 'against'.

Lovely yet calming, bright but not blinding,
gentle yet strong. Who would not be
inspired just to see you?

Your body seems to say to your virtues:
'I am blessed to have you,'
and the virtues seem to respond:
'Where better could we dwell.'

Just to hear you brings joy;
just to look upon you calms the heart;
your speech refreshes and your teaching frees.

Your are a wall of safety
for those hovering at the edge of the cliff,
those blind to their own welfare,
those who are their own worst enemy.

You are the Lord, but you never lord it over others.
All may use you as a servant to obtain the help they need.

To an enemy intent on evil
you are a friend intent on good.
To one who gleefully seeks faults
you respond by seeking virtues.

I have hardly began to sing your praise
and yet already my heart is filled with joy.
But need a lake be drained
before one's thirst is quenched?


desertboot said...

Exquisite beauty. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful poem. Thank you.

Yamakoa said...

The poem is speaking to each one of us.

Nine bows,

Justin Choo said...


"Whose virtues are to numerous and awesome to define."

You missed out one "o" in
"to numerous".

Viryabodhi said...

Yes, beautiful indeed. I notice you have swapped the sequence from the Hymn, starting with more ease as you do here.

I always thought the first verse was a little strange as a first.

I have made a translation of the Hymn into Swedish, but haven't finished reviewing it. One day soon I will.

Just discovered your blog, which I must explore more.

best wishes,

Abhi said...

Thank you! I was looking for the meaning of Maluva creeper and your blog clarified it to me.