Dharma Pearls

Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

Dharma Verse Stories

(Ch. 法句譬喻經)

Dharma Verse Stories (T 211) is a Chinese translation of stories that serve as background tales and commentary to the Chinese Dharmapāda (T 210).

Below is a list of the English translations currently available with brief synopses of their contents. Pali equivalents are listed in () and the source text is indicated in [].

Chapter 1: Impermanence

  1. Śakra Attains Stream Entry (v.1-2)

Just before passing away in the Trayastriṃśa Heaven, Śakra earnestly takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Saṅgha. He’s briefly reborn to a potter’s wife, but she miscarries, and Śakra is immediately reborn as Śakra again. When he returns to the Buddha to tell this tale, the Buddha recites verses 1-2 of the Dharmapāda. Śakra has an epiphany and attains stream entry.

  1. King Prasenajit’s Queen (v.3)

Prasenajit’s elderly wife passes away abruptly after falling ill. The king passes by the Buddha as he returns from the funeral, and the Buddha recite verse 3 of the Dharmapāda.