Quotations from The Mahavamsa

Buddhist statue, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Buddha in Polannaruva, Sri Lanka

Compiled by London Swaminathan
Post No.1304 ; Dated 22nd September 2014.

This article is part of my series on Mahavamsa.

What is Mahavamsa?
Mahavamsa is a book in Pali language narrating the history of Sri Lanka. It gives a continuous history from the date Vijayan from Bengal ( India ) landed in Sri Lanka. It covers the period between 543 BCE and 361 CE. Mahavamsa means Great Dynasty or Great Chronicle. This book contains good quotations at the end of each chapter. I am giving the quotable quotes below:

RENOUNCING
Theras, who have overcome darkness with the light of insight, those great shining lights in the conquest of the world’s darkness, have been extinguished by death. Therefore will the wise man renounce the joy of life—From the third chapter.

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MORTALITY
When we think of the death of the sons of the Universal Teacher, who were gifted with perfect insight, who had attained all that is to attain, who had conferred blessings on the three forms of existence, then may we lay to heart the entire vanity of all that comes into being and vigilantly strive (after deliverance) — From the fourth chapter

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BUDDHA’S RELICS

Thus by these relics of his body the Master of the World (Buddha), being already passed into nibbana (Nirvana), truly bestowed salvation and bliss in abundance on mankind –From seventeenth chapter.

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IMPERMANENCE of LIFE
A man who, although he knows this overmastering, overwhelming, irresistible mortality, yet is not discontented with the world of existence and does not feel, in this discontent, resentment at wrong nor joy in virtue that is the strength of the fetters of his evil delusion ! Such a one is knowingly fooled.
—From the twentieth chapter.

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MIRACULOUS POWER
Only because the king freed himself from the guilt of walking in the path of evil did this (monarch), though he had not put aside false beliefs, gain such miraculous power; how should not then an understanding man, renounce here the guilt of walking in the path of evil? — From the twenty-first chapter

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REBIRTH
Only by works of merit living beings come to such rebirth as they desire; pondering thus the wise man will be ever filled with zeal in the heaping up of meritorious works – From the twenty-second chapter.

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LIFE OF THE PIOUS
When a wise man, mindful of his salvation, hears of the marvels wrought by the pious life, he should surely, turning aside from the evil path, evermore find pleasure in the path of piety — From the twenty-third chapter

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PEACE
Thus are pious men become accustomed to appease an enmity, though heaped up from many causes; what wise man, pondering this, shall not be of peace-loving mind toward others? From the twenty-fourth chapter

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GREEDINESS
Should a man think on the hosts of human beings murdered for greed in countless myriads, and should he carefully keep in mind the evil (arising from that), and should he also very carefully keep in mind the mortality as being the murderer of all, then will he, in this way, shortly win freedom from suffering and a happy condition — From the twenty-fifth chapter

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FIVE DANGERS
Treasures which, in truth, bear on them the blot of the five faults become, if they be acquired by people who are gifted with special wisdom, possessed of the five advantages; therefore let the wise man strive to have them thus — From the twenty-sixth chapter

Five dangers: Loss by Fire, Water, Living creatures, Confiscation or Brigandage(Highway Robbery).
Five Benefits: Popularity among men, High esteem among pious men, Fame, Fidelity in fulfilment of basic duties, Attainment of Heaven after death.

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ALMS GIVING
The wise who consider how marvellously precious is the giving of alms, while the gathering together of treasures (for oneself) is worthless, give alms lavishly, with a mind freed from the fetters (of lust), mindful of the good of beings — From the twenty-seventh chapter

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WORKS OF MERIT
Merit, that a man has thus heaped up with believing heart, careless of insupportable ills of the body, brings to pass hundreds of results which are a mine of happiness; therefore one must do works of merit with believing heart –From the twenty-eighth chapter

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GENEROSITY
Every one whose heart is inclined to (faith in) the Three Gems, knowing that by a benefactor of mankind, whose heart is set on generous giving, the highest blessing is brought to pass for the world, strive toward the attainment of many virtues, as faith and so forth — From the twenty-ninth chapter

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HOMAGE TO BUDDHA
If the wise man who is adorned with the good gifts of faith, has done homage to the blessed (Buddha) the supremely venerable, the highest of the world, while he was yet living, and then to his relics, that were dispersed abroad by him who had in view the salvation of mankind – From the thirtieth chapter

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PIOUS
Incomprehensible is the nature of the Buddha, and incomprehensible is the reward of those who have faith in the incomprehensible.
Thus do the pious themselves perform pure deeds of merit, in order to obtain the most glorious of all blessings; and they, with pure heart, make also others to perform them in order to win a following of eminent people of many kinds — From the thirty-first chapter

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WORKS OF MERIT
He who, holding the good life to be the greatest (good), does works of merit, passes into heaven as into his own house; therefore will the wise man continually take delight in works of merit — From the thirty-second chapter

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WISEMEN

Thus does the wise man labour, when he comes to rule, for the bliss of others and for his own bliss, but a man without understanding does not give the possessions which he has won, however great they are, blissful for both, being greedy of more possessions –From the thirty-third chapter

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GOOD PEOPLE IN POWER

Thus men of good understanding, who have conquered pride and indolence, and have freed themselves from the attachment to lust, when they have attained to great power, without working harm to the people, delighting in deeds of merit, rejoicing in faith, do many and various pious works — From the thirty-fourth chapter

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WEALTH SPOILS
The wise, doing many works of merit, gain with worthless riches that which is precious, but fools in their blindness, for the sake of pleasures, do much evil.
From the thirty-fifth chapter

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POWER CORRUPTS
Reflecting that sovereignty, being the source of manifold works of merit, is at the same time the source of many an injustice, a man of pious heart will never enjoy it as if it were sweet food mixed with poison — From the thirty-sixth chapter

The last chapter 37 hasn’t got any quotation.

Contact swami_48@yahoo.com

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