The Perfection of Truthfulness - Assertion of Truth I

We read in the “Basket of Conduct” III, 11, Conduct of Kanhadipayana about Kanhadipayana who was dissatisfied for more than fifty years with his life as a recluse, and who only for the last seven days could lead this life with confidence:

“And again, when I was Kanhadipayana, a seer,

I fared dissatisfied for more than fifty years.


No one knew of this dissatisfied mind of mine for I told no one;

the dissatisfaction went on in my mind.


A fellow Brahma-farer, Mandavya, a friend of mine, a great seer,

in connexion with a former deed, acquired impalement on a stake.


I, after attending to him, restored him to health.

Having asked permission I went back to what was my own hermitage.


A brahman friend of mine, bringing his wife and little son-

the three people, coming together, approached as guests.


While I was exchanging greetings with them, seated in my own hermitage,

the youth threw a ball along (and) angered a poisonous snake.


Then that little boy, looking for the way by which the ball had gone,

touched the head of the poisoned snake with his hand.


At his touch, the snake, angered, relying on its strong venom,

angry with utmost anger, instantly bit the youth.


As he was bitten by the poisonous snake the youth fell to the ground,

whereby afflicted was I; that sorrow (of the parents) worked on mine.


Comforting them that were afflicted, shaken by grief,

first of all I made the highest, supremely glorious asseveration of truth:


‘For just seven days, I, with a mind of faith, desiring merit,

fared the Brahma-faring.

Until that time, my faring for more than fifty years I fared unwillingly.


By this truth may there be well-being, the poison destroyed,

may Yannadatta live.’


With this (asseveration of) truth made by me,

the brahman youth who had trembled with the strength of poison,

rousing himself, stood up and was well.

There was no one equal to me in truth-

this was my perfection of Truth.”
We read in the Commentary to this passage:

“The Bodhisatta who was in that life named Dipayana,

went to see his friend Mandavya.

He (Mandavya) was impaled on a stake

and because Dipayana excelled in sila he did not neglect this recluse.

He stood there leaning on a spear throughout the three watches of the night.

He acquired the name Kanhadipayana (kanha meaning black),

because his body became black by the drops of blood

that streamed from the recluse Mandavya’s body and that had dried up.


Question: What is the cause that the Great Man

who during many thousands of existences had the inclination to renunciation

and who found happiness in the brahma-faring,

was in this life dissatisfied with it?


Answer: This was because of the instability

that is characteristic of nonenlightened people.


Question: Why did he not enter again the married state?


Answer: At first he saw the disadvantage in the sense pleasures,

and because of his inclination to renunciation he became a monk.

However, because of the lack of wise consideration

he became dissatisfied with the brahmafaring.

Although he could not abandon that dissatisfaction,

he disliked to be blamed by people who might say,

‘Kanhadipayana raves on and on, he is unreliable.

He left his wealth and went forth from the household life;

he left his possessions and then he wants to return again to these.’

Because he feared that his sense of shame and fear of blame would be destroyed,

the Great Man, full of suffering and unhappy feeling, even cried and shed tears

that streamed over his face.

In this way he continued the brahma-faring and he did not leave it.”


Topic 283