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The Buddha's Way of Virtue, by W.D.C Wagiswara and K.J. Saunders, [1920], at

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The following are selections from another book which bears the impress of a very early date, and gives us vivid glimpses of the Buddhist Ideal: the Thera-Therī-Gāthā, or Songs of the Elders and Sisters. The Psalms of the Sisters, Mrs. Rhys Davids' fine translation of the latter portion of this book, is a valuable commentary on the Dhammapada, and reveals the great power of Buddhism (whilst the enthusiasm for Buddha was still alive) over the human heart.

Sayings Illustrative of the Buddhist


Its asceticism:

"Gold-bedecked and bejewelled, carrying her son upon her hip and followed by attendants, came my wife.

"Beholding her, the mother of my son, I beheld a snare set by the Evil One [Mara]."

Thera-gāthā, 299.

"Where a man dwells alone, he is as Brahma; where two dwell, they dwell as gods; where three dwell, it is as a village; where there are more, it is a rabble." (The fewer the safer!)

Ibid., 245.

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Its stoicism:

"The rain pours gurgling down: alone dwell I in dreadful cave. Yet for me it holds not dread nor fear; I am one who knows them not."

Ibid. 189.

"As the elephant calmly endures the battle, so this lean one, with limbs gnarled as tree-trunks, endures the sting of insects as he bathes."

Ibid., 243.

"The cold dark nights of winter chap the skin and freeze the thoughts, O Mogharāja! What shall the Bhikkhu do?

"The men of Māgadha have taken in their harvest. I, too, like others who delight in life, will lie down and take my rest in the straw."

"Home have I left; for I have left my world!
Child have I left, and all my cherished herds!
Lust have I left, and Ill-will too is gone,
And Ignorance have I put far from me;
Craving and root of craving overpowered,
Cool am I now, knowing Nibbāna's peace."
                                      Thera-gāthā, 18.
                      (Mrs. Rhys Davids' Translation.)

Its earnestness:

"Not for sleep is the star-spangled night, but for work to him who is wise."

Thera-gāthā, 192.

"When disease assailed my body, then my mind awoke and cried, "The sickness is upon me! It is high time to play the man."

Ibid., 30.

"Happy freedom! Happy freedom! Good it is to be freed from three crooked things, from scythe and plough and hoe. There they stand; no use have I for them! Let me meditate again and again; let me lead the strenuous life (of thought)."

Ibid., 43.

"Of yore my mind would wander whither caprice and desire led it. To-day I hold it in check as the mahout can hold with his prod the elephant in rut."

Ibid., 76.

"They who have lost their foothold fall. But they can, if they will, arise again and yet again. I have won up the steep slope: loving what is lovely I have easily attained."

Ibid., 62.

Next: Appendix: The Buddhist Ideal