Upāli Chapter, the Fifth

[41. Upāli (2)1]

The World’s Great Lord, surrounded by
a thousand [arahants] undefiled,
being one bound to solitude
went off into seclusion [then]. (1) [1116]

I was dressed in deer-leather [clothes],
carrying2 a triple rod3 [there].
[Then] I saw the Chief of the World
encompassed by the Assembly.4 (2) [1117]

Placing deer-hide on one shoulder,
hands pressed together on my head,
having worshipped the Sambuddha,
I praised the World-Leader kindly: (3) [1118]

“Just as all birds, crows and so on,
hatched from eggs or [born out of] sweat,
born in wombs or viviparous,
always travel5 across the sky; (4) [1119]

Whatever creatures may exist,
those with and without consciousness,6
are all of them included in
the [great] knowledge that you possess. (5) [1120]

Whatever mountain scents there are
in the supreme Himalaya
they all can’t match even a bit
[the scent] of your morality.7 (6) [1121]

This world together with its gods
is grasped by the darkness-makers.8
When your knowledge is shining forth
the darkness-makers are destroyed. (7) [1122]

Just as creatures are in the dark
when the sun has set [for the day],
this world’s enshrouded in darkness
when a Buddha has not appeared. (8) [1123]

Just as the sun when it rises
drives away darkness every day,
so too do you, O Best Buddha,
destroy the darkness every day. (9) [1124]

You are one bent on exertion,
Buddha in the world with [its] gods.
Through their delight in your karma
you satisfy many people.” (10) [1125]

[Then] giving thanks for all of that,
the Great Sage Padumuttara,
the Hero,9 flew into the sky
just like a swan-king in the air. (11) [1126]

Having flown off, the Sambuddha,
the Great Sage Padumuttara,
the Teacher, standing in the sky,
spoke these verses [about me then]: (12) [1127]

“I shall relate details of him
who has made this praise of knowledge,
combined10 with [good] analogies;
[all of] you listen to my words: (13) [1128]

Eighteen [different] times he will be
the king over [all of] the gods.
He will reside upon the earth
[and] have three hundred earthly reigns. (14) [1129]

[Full] five hundred times he will reign,
a king who turns the wheel [of law],
[and he will have] much local rule
innumerable by counting. (15) [1130]

In one hundred thousand aeons,
arising in Okkāka’s clan,
the one whose name is Gotama
will be the Teacher in the world. (16) [1131]

Having fallen from Tusitā,
incited by [his] wholesome roots,
a low ascetic with dreadlocks,
he will be known as Upāli. (17) [1132]

And afterwards, having gone forth,
driving away11 [every] evil,
knowing well all the defilements,
he’ll reach nirvana, undefiled. (18) [1133]

And the Śākyas’ Son, Greatly Famed,
the Buddha known as Gotama,
pleased by his Vinaya knowledge
will place him in that foremost place.”12 (19) [1134]

I, after going forth with faith,
did [my duty], am undefiled.
Knowing well all the defilements,
without defilements I [now] live. (20) [1135]

The Blessed One did pity me;
I am skilled in the Vinaya.
Delighted by my own karma
I’m living without defilements. (21) [1136]

Self-controlled in monastic rules13
and in the five organs of sense,
I carry all the Vinaya
entirely, that gemstone-mine. (22) [1137]

And then, discerning my virtue,
the Teacher, the Best in the World,14
seated in the monks’ Assembly,
did place me in that foremost place. (23) [1138]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (24) [1139]

Thus indeed Venerable Upāli Thera spoke these verses.

The legend of Upāli Thera is finished.

  1. BJTS, Hew, and cty style him Bhāgineyya-Upāli, “Upāli the Nephew”. He is not to be confused with Upāli the top reciter of Vinaya, Therāpadāna #6

  2. reading paridhārako (BJTS, cty) or paridhāraNo (PTS alt) for PTS paricchāraṇo.

  3. tidaṇḍam = three stick, three rod. Cty glosses it as “for the sake of keeping pots” (kuṇḍika-ṭṭhāpanatthāya), apparently understanding it as a pingo or else some sort of tripod. But the more likely allusion is to the triśula or trident of Shiva and his devotees, given the deer-leather clothes.

  4. lit., “the monks’ Assembly”.

  5. reading sabbe antallikkaccharā sadā (BJTS) for sabbe antallikkhe padesagā (PTS).

  6. lit., “having consciousness or not having consciousness”

  7. lit., “…on the ultimate mountain, Himalaya, they all are not fit to [be] even a bit of [the good scent] in your morality.”

  8. lit., “is in the party of what causes the darkness of delusion”. Cf above vv. [1072] and [1073] for similar usage in a similar context. The BJTS reading mohandhakārapakkhanto allows for the plural, which is clear in the subsequent line of verse.

  9. BJTS (and PTS alt.) reads dhīro (“the wise one”)

  10. reading samāyutaṃ (BJTS, PTS alt) for samāyanaŋ (PTS)

  11. the texts all read virājetvāna or virajjitvāna, “to shine;” I follow BJTS Sinhala gloss in understanding this — as context warrants — as “drive away” (Sinhala duru koṭa)

  12. it seems that here the text does confuse this Upāli with Upāli the chief reciter of Vinaya.

  13. lit., “in the Pāṭimokkha,” the 227 main rules which Theravāda Buddhist monks and nuns are required to chant fortnightly.

  14. lit., “Unsurpassed/Unrivaled/Without Better in the World”