Hymn to the Buddha

No faults in any way are found in him;
All virtues in every way dwell in him

Thus begins the Hymn to the Buddha (Satapancasataka), a poem by the 1st century poet Matrceta. It is considered to have played some part in the popularization of Buddhism at that time, and even now is a good introduction to the atheistic religion.  At first it looks like an eulogy for the Buddha, but as one reads the full text it becomes apparent that it is not just a blind eulogy to a person but encapsulates the message of the Buddha in verse. It speaks about the Buddha’s concerns (the noble eight fold path)- Compassion, Speech, Teaching, Guidance and Deeds, among others. An extract from ‘In Praise of Speech’:

Your speech is excellent in three ways,
based on fact it is truthful
because its motive is pure it causes no confusion
and being relevant it is easily understood.

When first heard, your words first excite the mind
But when their meaning is pondered over
they wash away all ignorance and passion.

They go to the hearts of all.
While comforting the grieving they alarm the heedless
and rouse those preoccupied with pleasures

Truly your words are for all: they delight the wise
strengthen those of middling intelligence
and illuminate the minds of the dull

You can read the full text online (pdf)

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