Chapter XI - JARA VAGGA - Old Age

CRAVING IS THE BUILDER OF THIS HOUSE

CRAVING IS THE BUILDER OF THIS HOUSE

Aneka jati samsaram sandhavissam anibbisam
Gaha karakam gavesanto dukkha jati punappunam.
[153]


Gaha karaka dittho' si puna geham na kahasi
Sabba te phasuka bhagga gaha kutam visankhitam
Visankhara gatam cittam tanhanam khayam ajjhaga.
[154]


Through many a birth I wandered insamsara,seeking, but not finding, the builder of the house. Sorrowful is it to be born again and again. [153]


O house-builder! Thou art seen. Thou shalt build no house again. All thy rafters are broken.
Thy ridge-pole is shattered. My mind has attained the unconditioned. Achieved is this end of craving. [154]



XI:08 The paean of bliss uttered by the Buddha

Prince Siddhattha, the family of Gotama, son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya of the kingdom of the Sakyans, renounced the world at the age of twenty-nine and became an ascetic in search of the Dhamma (Truth). For six years, he wandered about the valley of the Ganges, approaching famous religious teachers, studying their doctrines and methods. He lived austerely and submitted himself strictly to rigorous ascetic discipline; but he found that all these traditional practices do not lead to Truth. He was determined to find the Truth in his own way, and by avoiding the two extremes of excessive sensual indulgence and self-mortification, he found the Middle Path which would lead to Perfect Peace, Nibbana. This Middle Path (Majjhima Patipada) is the Noble Eight Fold Path,viz. Right Understanding, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.


Thus, one evening, seated under a Bo tree on the bank of the Neranjara River, Prince Siddhattha Gotama attained Supreme Enlightenment at the age of thirty-five. During the first watch of the night, the Prince attained the power of recollection of past existences and during the second watch he attained the power of divine sight. Then, during the third watch of the night he contemplated on the Doctrine of Dependent Origination. At the crack of dawn, Prince Siddhattha Gotama, by his own intellect and insight, fully and completely comprehended the Four Noble Truths: The Noble Truth of Unsatisfactoriness, Dukkha (Dukkha Ariya Sacca); The Noble Truth of the Cause of Dukkha (Dukkha Samudaya Ariya Sacca); The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha (Dukkha Nirodha Ariya Sacca), and The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha (Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipada Ariya Sacca). There also appeared in him, in all their purity, the clear knowledge of the absolute reality of each Noble Truth (Sacca nana), knowledge gained through the performance required for each Noble Truth (Kicca nana) and the knowledge of the completion of the performance required for each Noble Truth (Kata nana); and thus, he attained the Sabbannuta nana (also called Bodhi nana) of a Buddha. From that time, he was known as Gotama the Buddha.

Notes:

  1. These two verses, the first paean of joy(udana)uttered by the Buddha immediately after His Enlightenment, are not found elsewhere. The Venerable Ananda heard them from the lips of the Buddha and they have been inserted here.
    Here the Buddha admits his past wanderings in existence which entails suffering, a fact which evidently proves the belief in rebirth. He was compelled to wander, and consequently to suffer, so long as he could not discover the architect who built this house, the body. In His final birth He discovered by His own intuitive wisdom the elusive architect dwelling not outside but within the recesses of His own heart. The architect was Craving or Attachment(tanha)a self-created force, a mental element latent in all. The discovery of the architect is the eradication of craving by attaining Arahanthood which, in this utterance, is alluded to as the end of craving.
    The rafters of this self-created house are the defilements(kilesa). The ridge-pole that supports the rafters is ignorance(avijja), the root cause of all defilements. The shattering of the ridge-pole of ignorance by wisdom results in the complete demolition of the house. The ridge-pole and the rafters are the material with which the architect builds this undesired house. With their destruction the architect is deprived of the wherewithal to rebuild the house which is not wanted. With the demolition of the house the mind attains the Unconditional which is Nibbana.

*The four Noble Truths


  1. The first Noble Truth ofDukkhashould be comprehended.(Parinneyya).
  2. The second Noble Truth of the Cause ofDukkhashould be eradicated.(Pahatabba).
  3. The third Noble Truth of the Cessation ofDukkhashould be realised.(Sacchikatabbam)
  4. The fourth Noble Truth of the Path leading to the cessation ofDukkhashould be developed.(Bhavetabbam)