Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 79:
dhammapīti sukhaṃ seti vippasannena tejasā |
ariyappavedite dhamme sadā ramati paṇḍito || 79 ||
79. Happy is he who Dhamma drinks with heart that’s clear and cool. One so wise e’er delights in Dhamma declared by the Noble.
The Story of Venerable Mahākappina
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to Venerable Mahākappina.
Mahākappina was king of Kukkutavati. He had a queen named Anojā; he also had one thousand ministers to help him rule the country. One day, the king accompanied by his ministers, was out in the park. There, they met some merchants from Sāvatthi. On learning about the Triple Gem from these merchants the king and his ministers immediately set out for Sāvatthi.
On that day, when the Buddha surveyed the world with his supernormal power, he saw in his vision, Mahākappina and his ministers coming towards Sāvatthi. He also knew that they were due for arahatship. The Buddha went to a place one hundred and twenty yojanas (leagues) away from Sāvatthi to meet them. There, he waited for them under a banyan tree on the bank of the Candabhāga River. King Mahākappina and his ministers came to the place where the Buddha was waiting for them. When they saw the Buddha, with six-coloured rays radiating from his body, they approached the Buddha and paid homage to him. The Buddha then delivered a discourse to them. After listening to the discourse the king and all his ministers attained sotāpatti fruition, and they asked the Buddha to permit them to join the Sangha. The Buddha, reflecting on their past and finding that they had made offerings of yellow robes in a past existence said to them, “hi monk” (which meansE “Come here monk”), and they all became monks.
Meanwhile, Queen Anojā, learning about the king’s departure for Sāvatthi, sent for the wives of the one thousand ministers, and together with them followed the king’s trail. They too came to the place where the Buddha was and seeing the Buddha with a halo of six colours, paid homage to him. All this time, the Buddha by exercising his supernormal power had made the king and his ministers invisible so that their wives did not see them. The queen therefore enquired where the king and his ministers were. The Buddha told the queen and her party to wait for a while and that the king would soon come with his ministers. The Buddha then delivered another discourse at the end of which the king and his ministers attained arahatship and the queen and the wives of the ministers attained sotāpatti fruition. At that instant, the queen and her party saw the newly admitted monks and recognized them as their former husbands. The ladies also asked permission from the Buddha to enter the Sangha, so they were directed to go ahead to Sāvatthi. There they entered the Sangha and very soon they also attained arahatship. The Buddha then returned to the Jetavana Monastery accompanied by one thousand monks.
At the Jetavana Monastery, Monk Mahākappina while resting during the night or during the day would often say, “Oh, what happiness!” (“Aho Sukham!”). The monks, hearing him saying this so many times a day, told the Buddha about it. To them the Buddha replied, “My son Kappina, having had the taste of the Dhamma, lives happily with a serene mind; he is saying these words of exultation repeatedly with reference to Nibbāna.
Explanatory Translation (Verse 79)
dhammapīti vippasannena cetasā sukhaṃ seti
paṇḍito ariyappavedite dhamme sadā ramati
dhammapīti: those who truly delight in “the Teaching”; vippasannena cetasā: with clarity of mind; sukhaṃ seti: live happily; paṇḍito [paṇḍita]: the wise person; ariyappavedite: experienced by the “Sublime Ones”; dhamme: in the reality; sadā ramati: always takes delight
One who delights in “The Teaching” lives happily with a pure mind. The experience of the “Sublime Ones” (ariyā) the wise always enjoy.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 79)
dhammapīti sukhaṃ seti: he who imbibes the essence of Dhamma lives happily. What is meant here is that those who follow the teaching of the Buddha and follow it in practical terms will live happily. The expression pīti implies drinking. But the drinking meant here is absorbing the Teaching into one’s life.
Ariya: which means ‘one who is far removed from passions’, was originally a racial term. In Buddhism it indicates nobility of character, and is invariably applied to the Buddhas and the Arahants.