All references to the Pali Nikayas are to volume and page number of the Pali Text Society editions.

1. K. Warder, Indian Kavya Literature (Delhi, 1974), Vol. II, Chapter 7, contains a detailed and informative analysis of the style, contents and alliterations in Matrceta’s works and of their place in the Indian Kavya tradition.

2. R. Shackleton-Bailey, The Satapañcasatka of Matrceta (Cambridge, 1951).

3Indian Kavya Literature, Vol. II, p.234.

4. Lama Chimpa and Alaka Chattopadhayaya, Taranatha’s History of Buddhism in India (Calcutta, 1980), Chapter 18.

5. Majjhima Nikaya, II:387.

6. Ratnavali 5.

7. Majjhima Nikaya, I:115.

8. Edward Conze, Buddhist Texts Through the Ages (New York, 1954).

9. Here and in verses 13, 17 and 18 reference is to the Buddha sacrificing his life in former births as recounted in the Jataka Stories.

10. A mixture of truth and falsehood, useful and useless.

11. It is said to take a bodhisattva at least three incalculable aeons to attain full enlightenment. See Har Dayal, The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature (London, 1932).

12Atmasamtane: literally, “the flow (of consciousness) that makes up the self.” Pali, cittasantati.

13Mara: evil personified, the Tempter in Buddhism.

14Arahant: literally, a saint. Tirthika: an adherent of a non-Buddhist sect

15Tathagata: An epithet of the Buddha meaning the “Thus Come One” or the “Thus Gone One.” The thirty-two major marks and the eighty minor signs are special features of a Buddha’s physical body.

16Samsara: the beginningless round of birth and death.

17. In one of his former lives the Buddha was born as a musician and used his skills to convert the gods. See Guttila Jataka.

18. On the ten psychic powers, see Nyanatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary (Colombo, 1972) under Iddhi. The “lion’s roar” is the Buddha’s bold and confident claim to enlightenment. The meaning of this verse is that compassion, the nugget is the most important thing while the powers, etc., “the glitter,” are just a by-product of that compassion.

19. Here and in verses 65 and 66 compassion is personified as one who acts for the sake of others even to the extent of causing discomfort to the Buddha.

20. The taste of liberation (vimuttirasa) — Udana 56.

21. The ancient Indians believed that nectar fell from the moon.

22. The garuda is a mythological bird, the natural enemy of the serpent.

23Sakra is the king of the gods in Vedic mythology. He has a scepter of unbreakable hardness.

24Ekayanam: literally, the one way, thus “the true path.”

25Namuci: another name for Mara.

26. The triple world: the world of desire, the world of form and the formless world. See Buddhist Dictionary under Loka.

27. For the notion that those who have mastered the teaching can live for an aeon, see Digha Nikaya, II: 103,118.

28. The “two worlds” are the world of gods and the world of humans.

29. The pairs of opposites are praise and blame, cold and heat, sickness and health, ease and discomfort, etc.

30Buddhadharmata. See Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Vol. III (Colombo, 1973), p.435.

31. For a description of the hardships and simplicity of the Buddha’s life similar to those mentioned here, see Anguttara Nikaya, 1:34.

32. Nanda was so distracted by sensual thoughts that he was unable to meditate — Udana 21. Manastabdha was so proud that he would not even respect his parents — Samyutta Nikaya, I:177. Angulimala was a terrible murderer — Majjhima Nikaya, II: 98-103. All were skillfully transformed by the Buddha.

33. Devadatta was the Buddha’s evil cousin who caused a schism in the monastic community and even tried to kill the Buddha.

34. Shackleton-Bailey includes, prior to this verse, a verse of which he notes that its grammatical peculiarities and exclusion from early texts are “sufficiently strong grounds for doubting its authenticity.” I have therefore decided to omit it.

35. As he lay on his death-bed the Buddha taught and made a disciple of Subhadra. See Digha Nikaya, II:149, 153.

36. Here and in verse 145 the Buddha’s teaching or Dharma body, which lasts as long as people understand and practice his teachings, is compared with his physical body which disintegrates at death. See I.B. Horner’s discussion on dhammakaya in Milinda’s Questions (London, 1963), p:xl