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[New Series, Volume XV]

[London, Trübner and Company]


{Scanned and edited by Christopher M. Weimer, April 2002}

p. 213

ART. VII.--The Namakkára, with Translation and Commentary. By H. L. ST. BARBE, B.C.S.

IN 1875, the Secretariat Press of British Burma printed a collection of six Páli texts with a vernacular commentary and exposition. The fifth and most difficult, but, at the same time, the most interesting of all, is the one I am attempting to translate. The lack of critical editing and the general corruption of the text is sufficiently shown in the title Namakára, which may stand either for Namakáya 'a collection of panegyrics,' or Namakkára (Sansk. {Sanskrit: nmkhâr}) 'Reverence, worship.' The first stanza is a curious example of archaic punning. This "ekatthá," or tautological repetition, as it is called by the learned author of the "Subodhála"nkára," is only permissible when it is desired to express fear, anger, or laudation. It is employed again in the 8th, 9th, and 22nd stanzas.

   I may observe that the last five stanzas are evidently the work of a later writer.



p. 216


   1. I incline my head in praise of the Lord Buddha the auspicious one[1] who walks in the right path; supreme of beings who has left all states of merit and demerit; who is freed from death and is the nectar (of righteousness); without passion peerless and giver of the peerless gift; the refuge and remembrancer[2] of mankind: sinless himself and causing sinlessness; all secure and guiding to the abode of security.

   2. I venerate the incomparable Buddha, with limbs and body lovely to the eye; gifted with a voice sweet and noble; the stay of a boundless multitude of virtues.

   3. I adore Buddha the blessing of gods and men who is possessed of steadfast knowledge, endured for the sake of mankind bodily and mental anguish.

   4. I adore the Sage who has reached his final birth: who

[1. The commentary translates this as "speaking good words." I can find no trace of this meaning.

2. Cf. lokavidu.]

p. 217 has a body adorned with the 32 divine marks and radiant with emanations of light: who is endued with wisdom, fortitude, piety--a flood, in fine, of graces.

   5. I adore the omniscient Lord of sages, with a face resembling the full moon, beauteous with splendour in the midst of his monks, like the guardian sun at the early dawn.

   6. I revere the invincible, the conqueror of Mára; the Buddha who, endued with merit at the foot of the noble Bodhi tree, subdued Mára with his army, and enjoyed perfect knowledge at the rise of dawn.

   7. I revere the being possessed of the miracle of transcendent wisdom, with the sword of spotless knowledge that cleaves asunder passion, holding the shield named reflection and adorned with the ornaments of a crowd of virtues.

   8. I adore the all-seeing infinite one, the abode of mercy who in each existence has overcome difficulties and who after crossing the ocean of life has reached perfection; Lord of three worlds, the friend endowed with exquisite beauty.

   9. I adore the overcomer of irreverent fools,[1] who has accumulated a store of perfection in each existence, who bestows the bliss reached only by the good, and has become the cause of happiness of all mankind.

   10. I adore the Buddha dissipator of suffering; the sage who like a skilful mariner, grasping the rudder of exertion with the hand of knowledge, has embarked on the vessel of the eight-fold path, and has with it crossed the manifold sea of existence.

   11. I worship the conqueror, the passionless one, friend of gods and men, who bears the whole 33 perfections, who perceived the four truths beneath the glorious Bodhi Tree and has reached to miraculous power.

   12. I worship the conqueror supporter of the universe, endowed with religion of lily-like[2] purity, with intellect wide as the firmament and steadfastness like the stern mountain; the passionless one with characteristics arising from a hundred virtues.

[1. "namánamána"m jina pu"ngava"m gava"m." The last word is remarkable used in this sense.

2. Jalaja 'a lily.']

p. 218

   13. I adore perpetually the Buddha incomparable with any deity, who effulgent in his wisdom like the sun at day, seated on the stone[1] seat that produces delight, bestowed the law that leads to happiness and beatitude.

   14. I adore the unequalled one friend of the whole universe, the leader who with feet lily-soft in skin, and marked with lines perfect and clear, has reached the immeasurable void.

   15. I revere Buddha the compassionate, the supreme, of infinite wisdom, the union of gods and men, the[2] firm-minded one, who has destroyed darkness with the splendour of his lamp of wisdom, and who, yearning for their happiness, brings benefits to gods and men.

   16. I adore the peerless chief of sages, the beauteous one deserving of worship, the receptacle of all the virtues, who having proceeded to the Issipatana forest, the home of ascetics, there started the wheel of the Law which destroys demerit.

   17. I affectionately adore the Buddha revered by gods and men, gleaming with resplendent brilliance, amid his bright retinue, the abode and sphere of effulgence, furnished with senses well restrained and an accumulation of marks distinctive of the sun, moon and other planets.

   18. I adore the Ruler of Religion, the abode of holiness, giver of supreme bliss, who with the raft of the four paths has crossed the flood of continued existence, billowy with the waves of folly, hate and lust, and has reached the further shore of safety, the home and refuge and haven of mankind.

   19. I adore the most excellent chief of sages giver of supreme bliss, who seated at the foot of the Ka.n.da tree swiftly wrought for the benefit of others a miracle unleft by sages (munibhi ajahitam),--the sheen of fire and water undisturbed, marvellous and pleasing to the eye and destroying all false glamour.

   20. I adore the Ruler, the long-suffering one, the single eye of the universe, the sun-chief of sages, the day-spring of compassion, the spacious sphere of wisdom, whose fame permeates

[1. Alluding (says the commentary) to Sakka's throne, the "pa.n.dukambala."

2. Dhitatta"m.]

p. 219 among all the pure of the three worlds and who with the glorious rays of his religion enlightened those called "the lily" among intelligent creatures.

   21. I adore the imperial conqueror who from his love of wisdom gave in countless existences with unselfish mind freely to the asker, wife and child and limb and life itself, and fulfilled the perfection of charity besides the other perfections,[1] and who from their magic might has reached Transcendency.

   22. I adore[2] perpetually Buddha chief of sages, the desire of the universe, who has forsaken sin, more divine than all the gods, who has reached his final existence,[3] the invincible one who has vanquished Mára, the lamp and shelter of mankind who attained supreme knowledge on the noble couch of victory and announced glorious tidings to the Brahma world.

   23. Buddha whose girth is like a banyan tree, who has fair soft hands and feet, the voice of a Brahma, the legs of an antelope, limbs soft as the sheath of a lily-bud; whose feet are firmly set, whose hair is soft and white between the eyes (Burm. commentary "like silver"), whose body is straight and erect as the Brahma kings, whose eyes are dark, whose heel is long, whose skin is delicate and whose nerves of sensation meet at the top of his back.

   24. Buddha who has forty teeth meeting at the top, even and regular, a back[4] rounded and plump, feet characteristically marked, teeth without a cavity, who standing with high instep can, unbending, touch his knees with both his soft hands; whose neck is rounded, whose eyelashes are delicate and whose body is like the upper part of a lion.

   25. Buddha who is plump in the seven parts, whose fingers are long and who has a single hair growing in each hair vesicle, whose canine teeth are white, whose skin is like pure gold, with dark hair on the summit of his head; the All-wise whose tongue[5] is large, who has the jaw of a lion, whose feet

[1. The 10 páramis are dána, síla, nikkhama, paññá, viriya, khanti, sacca, adhi.t.thána, mettá, upekkhá.

2. satisam.

3. nidhana vapu dhara"m.

4. antara"m sappapíno.

5. i.e. can reach from its looseness from right to left ear. The Burmese commentary explains this attribute as meaning that his tongue can cover his forehead and touch his hair.]

p. 220 and hands are like a buckler, whose head is crested; him I adore, the ruler gifted with all these characteristics.

   26. In this world it is difficult to hear "Buddha" "Buddha" even as an address; what then shall be said of the state of a Buddha? Let the wise and virtuous therefore among men who desire the various forms of happiness adore continually the peerless Buddha, who increases the joy of the universe, who is all secure and worthy of oblations, worshipped of gods and men and accomplishing each man's desire.

   27. By virtue of this panegyric may I in the future be subtle-minded and intelligent, content and clever, of far-seeing wisdom and of unfailing vigour, prosperous and generous, acute and courageous, firm-minded, helpful to myself and others, long-lived and healthy, wealthy and handsome, famous and valiant, renowned and endowed with patience.

   28. Moreover may I be faithful and charitable, of pre-eminent fame, compassionate and unselfish, modest and with virtuous friends, delighting in works of merit, observant of the five duties of religion, wanting little and slow to wrath; of upright heart and possessed of supernatural power; gaining infinite praise, pleasant in speech, amiable and recognizing the virtues of others.

   29. Let the wise man call to mind but one among these stanzas which reveal the characteristic qualities of the Buddha.

   30. He will then escape the four states of purgatory and obtain happiness in both worlds; he will break through the web of adversity and obtain pleasure and happiness.

   31-2-3. He will obtain sovereignty over gods and men and the lordship of the four great islands and in his last existence having mounted the chariot of meditation, bearing the white umbrella of an Arahat, he will reach Nirvá.na. In this existence also he will be healthy and long lived and universally respected, taking delight in meditation, beloved of men, and amiable; what then shall be said of one who remembers the whole series of stanzas?

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