Yathā pi bhaddo ājañño naŋgalāvattanī sikhī
Gacchati appakasirena evaɱ rattindivā mama
Gacchati appakasirena sukhe laddhe nirāmise' ti.
Even as the high-bred steer[ with crested buck
Lightly the plough adown the furrow turns,
So lightly glide for me the nights and days
Now that this pure untainted bliss is won.
(TheraGāthā Chapter 1 Verse 16 Belaṭṭhasīsa Thera)
In this Buddha-age he was reborn at Sāvatthī in a brahmin's family, and before the Exalted One became a Buddha he left the world to join the ascetic Order of Kassapa of Uruvelā, and tend the sacred fire. And when Kassapa was tamed by the Buddha, he was one of the thousand ascetics who obtained arahantship(enlightenment) on hearing the sermon on Burning.
He thereafter became the tutor of the 'Treasurer of the Path(Dhamma).' And one day, reflecting on the pure bliss of fruition and his own earlier discipline, in rapture he uttered a saying(gatha):
The stanza starting with yathā pi bhaddo ā jañño constitutes that of the venerable Thera Belaṭṭhasīsa. What is the origin? It is said that he was reborn in a family home at the time of the Blessed One Padumuttara. Having approached the Blessed One, he listened to the (teaching of) the truth (dhamma) properly gained (paṭiladdha) pious faith (saddhā), became a monk and doing his monk’s duties, was not able to bring about distinguished result due to absence of sufficing qualification for Arahantship. Having, however, accumulated much merit conducive toward escape from rounds of repeated rebirths, he wandered about his rounds of repeated rebirths and seeing the Glorious Vessabhu thirtyone aeons (kappa) ago from now, he became pious-minded and offered a citron (mātuluṇga) fruit. On account of that act of merit he was reborn among devas, performed meritorious deeds now and then; he went from one good existence to another and was reborn in a brahmin family in Sāvatthi when this Buddha arose. He renounced the world, became an ascetic in the presence of Uruvela kassapa, even prior to the attainment of perfect Buddha-hood of the Blessed One and while practising fire worship, as and when Uruvela Kassapa was subdued by means of the teaching of the parable of burning (Ādittaparivāya), he attained Arahantship along with a thousand former braided hair ascetics. Therefore it has been said in the Apadāna:–
“I saw the leader of the world shining similar to Kaṇikāra flower of yellow colour, resembling but the full-moon,
blazing like a candle-stick (dīparukkha).
Having collected a citron fruit, I offered it to the Master, the hero (vīra) worthy of dedicated donations pleasingly with my own palms (pāṇibhi).
I do not remember any adversity since I had offered the fruit then, thirtyone aeons (kappa) ago. This is the fruition of fruit offering.
My depravity had been burnt … Buddha’s instruction (sāsana) had been carried out.
Thus, this Thera, who had achieved Arahantship, the spiritual preceptor of the venerable custodian of dhamma, one day, rose up from his fruition jhāna (phalasamāpatti), reflected upon that tranquil, exalted, immaterial (nirāmisaṃ) happy condition as well as his own former connections (pubbayoga), and uttered a stanza with “yathā pi bhaddo ājañño by way of bursting forth his zest.
There, yathāpi is to be construed as an indeclinable adverb (nipāta) in the sense of offering an illustration. Bhaddo means good, endowed with vigour (thāma), strength (bala), capacity (samattha), speed (java) effort (parakkama) and so on. Ājañño means thorough-bred; possessed of birth because of the knowledge of being rational (karaṇa) or irrational (cakaraṇa); he is of three types:– thorough-bred bull, thorough-bred horse and thorough-bred elephant. Out of those three, the thorough-bred bull is meant here. That bull is concerned with the business of clever cultivations (karaṇa); therefore it is said thus: “Naṇgalāvattanī.” From the turning of plough-share (phāla) in ploughing; one who ploughs in a field after turning the plough hither and thither; thus, is the meaning. Alternatively here the bull makes the plough turn; thus, the turning of the plough (maṇgalāvattaṃ), the path of plough in the field; in that plough-turn. Here, indeed for the sake of poetic ease, it has been stated as “vattanī” after lengthening the vowel. Sikhī means thus:– it is crest (sikhā) because of its similarity to crest because of its position on the head, horn; whoever has it is a horned creature (sikhī). Others, however, say thus: Here the hump of an ox (kakudha) is ‘sikhā (crest)’; thus, is what is meant. In both cases also this, namely, ‘sikhī (one who has hump or horn)’ is the announcement (kittana) of the prominent (padhāna) limb (aṇga). Appakasirena (with less worry) with little fatigue. Rattindivā (by night as well as by day); in this way they go with little trouble to me; thus, is the interpretation. This is what has been said:– Just as a good thorough-bred bull, engaged in ploughing, never cared for (agaṇento) such obstacles as mass of grass, roots and so on in the path of the plough but would go turning round and round hither and thither with little bother (appakasira), until it could show all-round evenness (parissamaṃ) of ploughed up grass; in the same way, nights and days also, go by and pass over but without any bother. He spoke of the reason there thus:– “Sukhe laddhe nirāmise.” Since the calm and exalted happiness of the prosperity of fruition (phalasamāpatti) which is unmixed with such mundane materials a ssensual, worldly and evolutionary (vaṭṭa) had been gained, therefore; thus, is the meaning. In its separate entity (paccatte) also it is a locative expression (bhummavacana) similar to such expressions as: “vanappagumbe (in jungles and bushes);” “tena vata re vattabbe (therefore, indeed, in ra which should be said);” in other words, beginning from that time they go with little trouble night and day; thus, he said for investigation (vicāraṇāya), namely: “Sukhe laddhe nirāmise (when immaterial bliss is gained).” When there is gain of happiness free from material matter, beginning from that time of having gained it; thus, is the meaning.
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