I was born in a low-class family,
Poor, with little to eat.
My job was lowly—
I threw out the old flowers.
Shunned by people,
I was disregarded and treated with contempt.
I humbled my heart,
And paid respects to many people.
Then I saw the Buddha,
Honoured by the Saṅgha of monks,
The great hero,
Entering the capital city of Magadhā.
I dropped my carrying-pole
And approached to pay respects.
Out of compassion for me,
The supreme man stood still.
When I had paid respects at the teacher’s feet,
I stood to one side,
And asked the most excellent of all beings
For the going-forth.
Then the teacher, being sympathetic,
And having compassion for the whole world,
Said to me, “Come, monk!”
That was my full ordination.
Staying alone in the wilderness,
I did what the teacher said,
As the conqueror had advised me.
In the first watch of the night,
I recollected my previous births.
In the middle watch of the night,
I purified the divine eye.
In the last watch of the night,
I tore apart the mass of darkness.
At the end of the night,
As the sunrise drew near,
Indra and Brahmā came
And paid homage me with hands in añjalī.
“Homage to you, thoroughbred among men!
Homage to you, supreme among men!
Your defilements are ended—
You, sir, are worthy of offerings.”
When he saw me honored
By the assembly of gods,
The teacher smiled,
And said the following:
“By austerity and by the holy life,
By restraint and by taming:
By this one is a holy man,
This is the supreme holiness.”