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Common Life, many things from out of many holy books; which things I have briefly set forth in the language of the Scriptures.*
2. The Book of Proverbs that speaketh of divers matters is unto man as an heart;† as father and mother, as a teacher, as a friend; therefore he that knoweth this book is as one that hath seen and heard much and becometh excellent and wise.
3. He that is idle from whence shall he obtain knowledge? He that is without knowledge, from whence shall he obtain riches? He that is without riches, from whence shall he obtain friends? He that is without friends, from whence shall he obtain happiness? He that is without happiness, how shall he do well? He that hath not done well, how shall he attain unto the perfect state ?‡
4. There is no wealth like unto knowledge, for thieves cannot steal it : in this world knowledge is a friend and leadeth unto happiness in the world to come. §
5. Think not the wisdom that seeth and heareth a little thing, and ponder this in thy mind. It is a drop of water that falling often times on an ant-hill filleth it.||
6. Think it not a small thing to be learned in thy books or with thy hands if thou learn well but one of these only thou canst live.
7. Not every mountain hath precious stones; not every elephant hath
a charm;¶ not every forest hath the sandal-wood; not every place hath a wise man.**
8. Surely he that is searching after knowledge should go with much yearning to the place where he heareth the wise man is that is filled with knowledge.
9. By degrees wisdom is learnt: by degrees riches are gotten: by
* Or Pali Language or Magadhi Language. The Pâli language is literally “the language of the Scriptures." The following is from Childers' account of the Pâli language-" The true or geographical name of the Pâli language is Mâgadhî, 'Magadhese language', or Magadhabhâsâ, language of the Magadha people." The word pâli in Sanskrit means "line, row, series" and by the South Buddhists is extended to mean the series of books which form the text of the Buddhist Scriptures. Thence it comes to mean the text of the Scriptures as opposed to the commentaries, and at last any text or even portion of a text of either Scriptures or commentaries. Pâlibhâsâ therefore means "the language of the texts," which is of course equivalent to saying "Magadhî language." Childers' Pâli Dict. Preface, footnote.
+ Or solid thing, or pith, or core, or best part.
Or the night of perfect rest, or nirvâna, or nêgbàn.
§ Or life to follow.
|| Or hill of white ants.
¶ Or charm against danger.
** Or a wise man of great fame, or a wise man of the Council of the King.
degrees he climbeth that climbeth a mountain by degrees desire is appeased: by degrees anger cometh: by degrees are these five things.
10. The knowledge of seeing and hearing the knowledge of the statutes*: the knowledge of reckoning: the knowledge of carpentry: the knowledge of the Books of Proverbs: the knowledge of healing by charms : the knowledge of music: the knowledge of throwing: the knowledge of shooting with the bow: the knowledge of the ancient writings :† the knowledge of medicine: the knowledge of jesting: the knowledge of the stars the knowledge of juggling the knowledge of the Book of Words:§ the knowledge of the arts of messengers: the knowledge of the ways of speech :|| the knowledge of charms: these are the eighteen kinds of knowledge.
11. In the world if none asketh aught of the wise man he is like a drum that is not beaten; if any asketh aught of him then his wisdom floweth forth as the rain: but the ignorant man whether any asketh aught or asketh not alway talketh much.
12. In the world the knowledge that is only in the books, or the riches in the hand of another, when thou hast cause to use them, then the knowledge that is only in the books thou canst not call knowledge nor the riches in the hand of another riches.
13. In the world by the stalk of the water-lily thou shouldest know the water whether it be deep or shallow by his deeds and the manner of his speech thou shouldest know a man whether he be base-born or of high birth by his words thou shouldest know a man whether he be wise or a fool: by the green herb and the parched thou shouldest know the land whether it be rich or poor.
14. In the world he that hath a little knowledge thinketh that little knowledge much and is proud: wherefore is it thus ? A young frog that hath not seen the sea thinketh the well wherein he dwelleth to be a great water.
15. In the world if a man gather not knowledge in his first age: if he gather not riches in his second age: if he keep not the law in his third age: how shall he begin these things in his fourth age?
16. My beloved children, learn knowledge and wisdom: wherefore are ye idle? My beloved children, learn knowledge and wisdom every day. He that hath not knowledge and wisdom becometh the servant of another and rightly unto him that hath knowledge and wisdom is homage paid in the world.
17. In the world the mother is an enemy to her children, likewise the father is an enemy to his children; wherefore is it so ? In the time of their
youth they make them not to learn knowledge: therefore their place is not in the midst of the assembly, as the place of the bittern* is not in the midst of the wild-duck. Because they make them not to learn knowledge are they called their enemies.
18. Doth any sharpen the thorn that groweth in the valley? my son,† it becometh sharp of itself. My son,† hath any given his keen eyes to the deer? my son,† they are keen of themselves. Doth any give the sweet smell to the lily that is in the mud? My son,† the smell is sweet of itself. Doth any teach his good manners to the child of high birth? My son,† he must teach them to himself.
19. The betel-nut that is without lime hath an ill-savour: he that hath not riches hath an ill-savour when he putteth him on ornaments:. that which is eaten without salt hath an ill-savour: he that hath not knowledge hath an ill-savour when he writeth a book.‡
20. He that listeneth and marketh carefully with his might becometh filled full of knowledge. By learning knowledge increaseth: from the knowledge that is learnt cometh understanding.§ He that hath understanding of that he should know hath happiness ever with him.||
21. In the world both unto the ox and to the man is the appetite and lust and sleep, but learning is unto the man alone; wherefore if thou fall short of learning thou becomest as the ox.
22. In the world there is no friend like knowledge: there is no enemy like disease: there is no lover like unto thyself: there is no strength like unto fate.
23. In the world the place of the duck is not in the midst of the crows: neither is the place of the lion in the midst of the oxen; neither · the place of the horse in the midst of the asses: nor the place of the wise man in the midst of fools.
24. Surely though the ignorant man sit at the feet of the wise all his days he knoweth not the law: wherefore is it so? It is even as the ladle knoweth not the taste of the pottage.
25. Surely he that is wise if he sit at the feet of the wise even for a moment, quickly will he know the law: wherefore is it so ? It is even as the tongue knoweth the taste of the pottage.
26. The strong man goeth not to the battle if he be not armed; likewise the wise man speaketh not but according to the scriptures; even as the merchant that goeth on a journey afar goeth not without companions; nor journeyeth any anywhither by himself.T
27. In the world, if he lose his wealth, if there be sorrow in his mind,
+ Or Sir, or my masters.
‡ Or sacred verse.
§ Or the meanings are known.
Or beareth happiness.
¶ Or without companions.
if there be evil in his house, if any deceive him, if any mock him; the wise man telleth not of these things.
28. In the world he that knoweth what he should say whatsoever happeneth; that knoweth whom he should love; that knoweth how to be angry the same is called a wise man.
29. He that would eat of good things without money; he that would fight without strength; he that would dispute without knowledge: these are like unto madmen.
30. Going often times unto the house of another, not being called; disputing often times, with another, not being questioned; being proud of his own conceit: these three things are a sign of the mean man.
31. He that is not comely babbleth much: so he that hath a little wisdom showeth it publicly so the pot that is not filled with water troubleth the water : ** so the cow that giveth not milk kicketh.
32. The young frog when he sitteth him down† thinketh, Now am I a lion, but when the crow snatcheth him up he coaxeth him saying, Friend, friend likewise the fool that hath no wisdom thinketh himself wise, but when the wise man asketh him a question, then he speaketh unto him kindly saying, My lord, my lord.
33. Because the young frog sitteth in the like manner, shalt thou say, It is a lion? because the pig grunteth in the like manner shalt thou say, It is a leopard? because the cat hath the like colour and form shalt thou say, It is a tiger? because their form appeareth the same in thine eyes shalt thou say, All wise men are equal in knowledge ?
34. No ruler is satisfied with his wealth; so also is no wise man satisfied with the good word: as the eye is not surfeited by looking on the beloved, nor the sea surfeited with water.
35. It is not right that he fail in wisdom and learning that hath come to a full age, if he be of them that are noble. It is even as the acacia flower that hath no smell.
36. In the world though a man be base-born he becometh a minister of the king; though a man be a fool's son he becometh wise; though a man be the son of him that hath no riches his wealth becometh abundant : therefore be ye not scoffers of men.
37. Whoso learneth much by his yearning after knowledge cannot interpret that which he hath learnt, as the dumb cannot tell that which he hath seen in his dreams.
38. The potter striketh not the pot to break it, but that it may be
* Or troubleth the water by shaking.
+ Or sitteth on his haunches as a lion.
‡ Or agati flower or the beautiful acacia flower.
come goodly; so the teacher beateth not the scholar to make him misera. ble, but that he may increase in knowledge and wisdom he beateth him.
39. If any bind the flower of the periwinkle tree in the leaf of the butea tree, then to him it is not the flower of the periwinkle tree only that hath a sweet smell, for the leaf of the butea tree likewise smelleth sweetly : therefore it behoveth to follow both the wise man and them that cleave to him. Here endeth the book concerning them that are wise.
1. Be ye companions with the righteous and keep ye company with the upright: the upright man knowing the law of the just becometh excellent and is not wicked.
2. Forsake the company of the wicked, but cleave unto the righteous for he is worthy of companionship. Work righteousness day and night, remembering alway that all things change continually.*
3. The fruit of the water fig tree when it is ripe without is red, but within it is altogether full of flies: as it is with these so is it with the heart of the wicked.
4. The fruit of the jacat tree when it is ripe without seemeth covered with thorns, but within it is full of sweetness: as it is with these even so is it with the heart of the righteous.
5. In the world the sandal-wood though it be dead‡ loseth not the sweet smell; neither loseth the elephant his comeliness in the eyes of men on the place of battle; nor the sugar-cane his sweetness in the mill: even so he that is wise and good forsaketh not the law though he become poor and wretched.
6. That which is called a lion though he be an-hungered eateth not of any green thing; that which is called a lion though he become lean eateth not of the flesh of the elephant: for being noble he keepeth the law of the noble.§ So he that is born noble though he become poor doeth not that which is not noble.
7. In the world the sandal-wood|| is sweet, and sweeter than the sandal-wood is the moon; but sweeter than sandal-wood and moon is the righteous word of a righteous man.
8. Let not the words of the righteous transgress even for a moment, saying, Behold! the sun that hath rays innumerable riseth in the West: Myinmo¶ boweth his head: or the fires of hell are cold, or the lily flowereth on the mountain-top.
*Or that the state of life changeth continually.
† Or jack-fruit tree.
‡ Or dried up.
§ Or guardeth his nobility.
Or almug tree.
¶ Or Mount Myin-mo or Mount Meru.