A Precious Treasury of Elegant Sayings by Sakya Pandit Part 1
Acquire knowledge though you may die next year.
Although in this life you may not become wise,
In your future birth, if taken with you,
It will become a precious thing.
If you are a talented man,
Everyone gathers around you without being called.
A scented flower, though far distant,
Attracts a cloud of swarming bees.
A wise man, though possessed of immense perfections,
Will learn from others.
By such continual practice,
He will at last become omniscient.
If a wise man behaves prudently,
How can he be overcome by his enemies?
Even a single man, by right action,
Can overcome a host of foes.
A brave, wise, and fortunate man,
Though alone, overcomes all.
The lion, the king of beasts, and
The universal monarch need no assistant.
If you are wise,
You may make a slave of the great—
As the garuda, though a strong and mighty bird,
Is made the vehicle of the god Vishnu.
The wise, when studying, suffer pains;
Without exertion, it is impossible to become wise.
He that is passionate for a small pleasure
Can never reach great peace.
If you are intelligent, though you be weak,
What can a powerful enemy do to you?
The King of the wild beasts, though strong,
Was killed by an intelligent hare.
The ocean is never too full of water.
The king’s treasury is never too full of money.
One is never satisfied with enjoyment.
Wise men overflow with elegant sayings.
Even from children,
Wise men receive fine sayings.
For the sweet scent,
The navel of a musk deer must be opened.
#11. It is always by excellent men
That good qualities are praised most.
The scent of sandalwood is diffused by the wind
Into the ten corners of the world.
If a virtuous man is chosen as Master,
Everyone will find contentment.
When a ceremony is properly performed,
It will be a benefit to all.
#13. When men are injured by a wicked ruler,
Then will they remember a virtuous one.
They that suffer a malignant fever
Think only of cool water.
#14. When a wicked prince does injury,
A virtuous king is ready to defend him.
He who is occupied by an evil spirit
Is cheerfully assisted by a magician.
#15. Even in decline, a virtuous man
Increases the beauty of his behavior.
A burning stick, though turned to the ground,
Has its flame drawn upwards.
A virtuous prince, though far away,
Favorably protects his own followers.
When the clouds in the sky gather together,
The corn of the field increases.
#17. During life, renown is the cause of joy.
In the world, happiness is a man’s delight;
Without these two, a wise man
Can have no pleasure in wealth alone.
Excellent qualities, though not displayed,
Spread and become visible everywhere.
The blossoms of the nutmeg tree, though dried,
Diffuse their sweet scent in all directions.
#19. A king is great only in his dominions,
While a virtuous man is respected wherever he goes;
A flower is beautiful for a day,
A gem is everywhere esteemed.
#20. A hen at rest lays many eggs.
A peacock, when still, has a handsome tail.
A gentle horse has a swift pace.
Quietness is the sign of a sage.
#21. Though equal benefits be conferred
On the excellent and the vulgar, the return is not equal.
Though there is no difference in the seed sown in different fields,
Yet there is immense variety in the crop.
#22. Preserve your noble descent by your conduct
When your practice is bad, your birth is of no value.
The sandalwood has a fine scent,
But when reduced to ashes, who will buy it?
#23. The great, though sometimes distressed,
Have no reason to be grieved.
The moon, though eclipsed for a while,
Soon appears again.
#24. If a great man treats kindly an enemy,
That very enemy comes under his sway.
The universal monarch, since he protected all,
Was elevated to dignity by everyone.
#25. The holy man, though he be distressed,
Does not eat food mixed with wickedness.
The lion, though hungry,
Will not eat what is unclean.
#26. The holy man, though it may cost him his life,
Will not desist from what is good.
The color of fine gold will not change,
Though it be burnt and broken.
#27. Though low-minded men may be angry with a holy man,
How could that holy man become wrathful in return?
Though the jackal may utter a nonsense language,
The king of the forest mercifully protects him.
#28. People seek to find fault
With the excellent and not with the low.
All look with awe on costly belongings,
But who would notice a fire-brand?
#29. Not to be cheered by praise,
Not to be grieved by blame:
To know well one’s own perfections
Is the characteristic sign of an excellent man.
#30. Riches are not in vain
That are gained through knowledge, strength, and skill.
The dog and the cat, though they stand erect,
Are living examples of ignorance.
#31. It adds to the master’s greatness
If his disciples are well satisfied.
The embellishments of a horse
Are they the master’s own ornaments?
#32. As the master takes care of
And kindly protects his disciples,
So do the disciples
Manage the master’s affairs.
At the place where the great Lord Buddha is present,
Who would acknowledge another man?
Though there be many bright stars in the heaven,
When the sun has arisen none of them can be seen,
#34. A wicked man, though he obtains wealth,
Grows worse in his conduct.
A stream, though turned back,
Endeavors to flow downwards.
#35. Though a wicked man appears good in his conduct,
It is but hypocrisy.
Though a crystal be made to have the color of a gem,
When put in water it shows its own color.
#36. A great man’s wise arrangements
Are destroyed in a moment by wicked men.
A farmer cultivates a corn-field for years and months—
A hail storm suddenly destroys all effort.
#37. A man with bad qualities
A crow, after eating something unclean,
Earnestly rubs its bill on the ground.
#38. If one entrusts his business to a fool,
Both the fool and the business will collapse.
If a fox were elected king,
Both the fox and the king would be destroyed.
#39. The foolish man, in wishing for happiness,
Works only toward his own distress.
Someone under an evil influence,
In wishing to be freed from pain, deprives himself of life.
#40. The action of a man who cares nothing
For the welfare of others is like that of a beast—
Though he may attend the dinner party,
He makes no effort to prepare the food.
He that makes no reflection on what is useful and what is not,
And does not improve his understanding and experience,
Is a swine without hair
That seeks only to fill his belly.
#42. One may boast of his wisdom among the fools,
But before the wise he is silent.
Though one has no hump or fur coat.
He that has fangs is a beast.
#43. One who hastens to where there is food,
But runs away at the first sign of work
Though he resembles a man by speaking and laughing,
Is more like an old dog without a tail.
#44. It is easy to fill a beast’s footstep with water.
A small treasury may easily be piled full of gold.
To sow a small field with corn requires little labor.
To satisfy the curious, a little knowledge will do.
One who makes many promises because of his pride,
Though he be great, will be defeated.
By promising small plots of ground,
Even the gods will eventually be defeated.
#46. Ignorant people believe a monkey-catcher
To be greater than a wise man.
When great delicacies are served along with bread and meat,
They come back uneaten.
#47. Illiterate men are sometimes more inimical
To learned men than to others.
It is said that if a cornstalk sprouts through the snow,
It is an unlucky omen.
#48. Some who have little knowledge
Will find fault with those who understand.
It is counted a defect on some islands
Not to have a goiter.
They that know only imperfectly the religious rites
Condemn those that perform them well.
In some ancient countries, he who walks on two feet
Is not counted as a man.
#50. Those who act wrongly
But criticize those who do right
Are like homely men who contemptuously say
That he who is handsome is merely effeminate.
#51. Foolish men, though they be many,
Go directly into the power of the enemy.
A whole herd of strong elephants can be subdued
By one intelligent hare.
#52. Riches without understanding
Are of little advantage,
As the cow’s milk can support the calf
For but a limited time.
#53. Foolish men who amass riches
By all manners of wickedness,
Neglecting support of even their families,
Will soon die away like rats.
#54. He who looks always to others for support
Will most certainly fail,
As the tortoise that wanted to be carried by crows
Was eventually dropped to the ground.
#55. Not to understand what is good and bad,
Not to remember a kindness one has received,
Not to marvel at what one has clearly perceived—
These are the characteristics of a foolish man.
When the troops are advancing, he is in the rear,
When they retire, he goes to the front,
Where there is food he endeavors by all means to partake
Thus are the actions of a fool.
#57. A mean fellow, though he be rich, is outdone
By a little man of noble descent.
When the hungry tiger uttered a deep sound,
The monkey fell from the treetop.
#58. A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it
sinks to the depths.
#59. Those with little learning have great pride;
Grown wise, they are quiet.
Torrents always make much noise,
But it is seldom that the ocean roars.
#60. It is always the low-minded men
Who speak disdainfully to the holy,
Like the foxes which attack the lion,
Though he be their defender.
The generous, though angry, are gentle when one bows before them.
The mean, yielded to, grow haughty.
Gold and silver, though hard, may be melted.
Dog’s dung stinks when burned.
#62. A wise man consists entirely of perfections.
A fool has only his defects.
With precious metals you may pay all your expenses.
From a venomous serpent expect nothing but distress.
#63. A wicked man, though he abides in a forest, is mean.
A virtuous man, though he resides in a town, is serene.
We see that a wild beast of the forest is fierce,
But a fine horse in the town is gentle.
#64. An excellent man reflects on his own faults alone.
A bad man seeks only those of others.
The peacock judges his own body,
But a bat casts ill omens on others.
An excellent man, by his gentleness, preserves both himself and others.
A bad man causes pain both to himself and to others by his harshness.
A fruit tree nourishes both itself and others.
A dry tree, by its stiffness, cumbers both itself and others.
#66. As long as you have wealth, everyone is your friend;
If your fortune declines, everyone is your foe.
An island of precious metals is visited from afar;
When a lake dries up, everyone leaves.
#67. It is only by narrow-minded men
That such distinctions are made as to friend and enemy.
A liberal man is affectionate towards all,
Since it is uncertain who may yet be useful to him.
Learned men delight in knowledge;
The ignorant do not.
Honey bees resort to flowers;
Not so the fly.
#69. A learned man is beautiful among learned men.
How can the wise be understood by the fool?
See how sandal-wood that is more precious than gold
Is by foolish people reduced to coal.
#70. A wise man guides his own course of action;
The fool follows another’s direction.
When an old dog barks, the others run,
And this for no reason at all.
#71. A wise man, though in decline,
Affords pleasure to others by his elegant sayings.
A fool, grown violent,
Destroys himself and others through quarreling.
#72. Some place perfection in speaking;
Others are silent and penetrate to the meaning.
A stupid dog utters his first fear to the enemy;
A cat catches a mouse without a sound.
#73. When a virtuous man disputes, he benefits all.
A fool causes damage even by his friendship.
Though the gods be angry, they defend all sentient beings.
The Lord of Death may smile, but still kills his enemies.
#74. An excellent man, like precious metal,
Is in every respect invariable.
A villain, like the beam of a balance,
Is always shifting up and down.
#75. As long as one is modest,
He is adorned with the chief quality.
When modesty is gone, good qualities decrease,
And ill rumor spreads about.
#76. A virtuous man gives instructions without hypocrisy;
If you ask a villain, he will misinform you.
Though you slight a Bodhisattva, he is merciful,
Though you bestow praise on the Lord of Death, he is still your destruction.
#77. What is helpful to one
May cause another pain,
As when the moon rises,
The evening flowers open, the lotuses close.
#78. Though by wicked acts one may reach one’s aim,
A wise man never resorts to such means.
The wise are not ashamed if they do not reach their goal,
Provided they have righteously endeavored for it.
#79. It is difficult to cause dissension among the virtuous,
But it is easy to reconcile them.
Low people can easily be separated, but with difficulty reconciled.
See what a difference there is between the sandal-tree and the coal made of its wood.
#80. Though a virtuous man decline for awhile,
Like the increasing moon, he rises again.
If a low man once is decayed,
He will be extinguished like a lamp.
#81. Wealth to a low man is a cause of pride;
To a virtuous man, it is that of humbleness.
The fox, when he has filled his belly, behaves proudly;
The lion, when full, takes his repose.
#82. A virtuous prince shows more affection to his subjects
When he finds them his enemies.
A mother is more grieved
When her child is sick.
#83. A good person, if he associates with a bad man,
Will be infected thereby.
Pure water, though very pleasing to the taste,
When it reaches the sea, smacks of the brine.
#84. If a low-principled man keeps company with a Holy man.
His manners become like those of the sage.
See what a fragrant scent the person gives off
Who has anointed himself with musk.
#85. Mount Sumeru cannot be moved by any creature—
So too the excellent man stands firm.
Just as a small piece of cotton is easily moved—
So the practice of a low-minded man changes greatly.
To be continued –> Part 2