Dhammapada Verses 153 and 1541
dukkha jati punappunam3.
puna geham na kahasi5
sabba te phasuka bhagga6
Verse 153: I, who have been seeking the builder of this house (body), failing
to attain Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana) which
would enable me to find him, have wandered through innumerable births in samsara.
To be born again and again is, indeed, dukkha!
Verse 154: Oh house-builder! You are seen, you shall build no house (for me)
again. All your rafters are broken, your roof-tree is destroyed. My mind has
reached the unconditioned (i.e., Nibbana); the end of craving (Arahatta
Phala) has been attained.
1. Footnotes to Verses 153 and 154: These two verses are
expressions of intense and sublime joy the Buddha felt at the very moment of his
attainment of Enlightenment; as such, they are replete with a wealth of sublime
meaning and deep feeling.
2. gahakaram gavesanto: lit., "I who have tried to find the
builder of the house" The house is the body, the builder is Craving
(Tanha). The meaning of Verse (153) as given in the Commentary is as follows:
I who have been seeking the builder of this house, knowing that
he could be seen only with a certain wisdom, have been trying to attain such
wisdom (Bodhi nana) ever since Dipankara Buddha prophesied that I would, one
day, become a Buddha like him. But failing to attain Bodhi nana, I have wandered
through this course of hundreds of thousands of existences in the endless round
3. dukkha jati punappunam: To be born again and again is dukkha.
This is the reason for trying to find the builder of this house, the Carpenter
Birth which comes together with aging, disease and death is
dukkha; that is why I have been incessantly looking for the Householder Craving.
4. ditthosi: You are seen: I have seen you now that I have
attained Enlightenment or Bodhi nana, the all comprehending wisdom, with my own
5. puna geham na kahasi: No house shall be built again: You
shall not build another house (for me) in this round of rebirths.
6. sabba te phasuka bhagga: All your rafters are broken: I have
destroyed all the remaining defilements.
7. gahakutam visankhatam The roof-tree has been destroyed: I
have dispelled Ignorance.
8. visankharagatam cittam: lit., my mind has reached the
Unconditioned, having Nibbana as its object, my mind has realized Nibbana.
9. tanhanam khayamajjhaga: The end of craving has been attained.
I have attained Arahatta Fruition.
The Story Concerning the "Words of Exultation of the Buddha"
These two verses are expressions of intense and sublime joy felt by the
Buddha at the moment of attainment of Supreme Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or
Sabbannuta nana). These verses were repeated at the Jetavana monastery at
the request of the Venerable Ananda.
Prince Siddhattha, of 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
leaders, studying their doctrines and methods. He lived austerely and submitted
himself strictly to rigorous ascetic discipline; but he found all these
traditional practices to be unsound. 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 (Majjhimapatipada) is the Noble Path of Eight
Constituents, viz., Right view, Right thought, Right speech, Right action, Right
livelihood, Right effort, 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 (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta
nana) at the age of thirty-five. During the first watch of the night, the
prince attained the power of recollection of past existences (Pubbenivasanussati-nana)
and during the second watch he attained the divine power of sight (Dibbacakkhu
nana). Then, during the third watch of the night he contemplated the
Doctrine of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada) in the order of
arising (anuloma) as well as in the order of cessation (patiloma).
At the crack of dawn, Prince Siddhattha Gotama by his own intellect and insight
fully and completely comprehended the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths
are: The Noble Truth of 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 knowledge
of the nature of each Noble Truth (Sacca nana), knowledge of 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.
In this connection, it should be noted that only when the Four Noble Truths,
under their three aspects (therefore, the twelve modes), had become perfectly
clear to him that the Buddha acknowledged in the world of Men, the world of
Devas and that of Brahmas that he had attained the Supreme Enlightenment and
therefore had become a Buddha.
At the moment of the attainment of Buddhahood,
the Buddha uttered the following two verses:
Verse 153: I, who have been seeking the builder of
this house (body), failing to attain Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or
Sabbannuta nana) which would enable me to find him, have wandered
through innumerable births in samsara. To be born again and
again is, indeed, dukkha!
Verse 154: Oh house-builder! You are seen, you
shall build no house (for me) again. All your rafters are broken, your
roof-tree is destroyed. My mind has reached the unconditioned (i.e., Nibbana);
the end of craving (Arahatta Phala) has been attained.
* Kamasukhallikanuyoga and Attakiamathanuyoga.