This booklet needs no preface for those who are familiar with the sacred books of Buddhism, which have been made accessible to the Western world by the indefatigable zeal and industry of scholars like Beal, Bigandet, Buehler, Burnouf, Childers, Alexander Csoma, Rhys Davids, Dutoit, Eitel, Fausboell, Foucaux, Francke, Edmund Hardy, Spence Hardy, Hodgson, Charles R. Lanmann, F. Max Mueller, Karl Eugen Neumann, Oldenberg, Pischel, Schiefner, Senart, Seidenstuecker, Bhikkhu Nyanatiloka, D. M. Strong, Henry Clarke Warren, Wasselijew, Weber, Windisch, Winternitz & c.
To those not familiar with the subject it may be stated that the bulk of its contents is derived from the old Buddhist canon. Many passages, and indeed the most important ones, are literally copied in translations from the original texts. Some are rendered rather freely in order to make them intelligible to the present generation; others have been rearranged; and still others are abbreviated. Besides the three introductory and the three concluding chapters there are only a few purely original additions, which, however, are neither mere literary embellishments nor deviations from Buddhist doctrines. Wherever the compiler has admitted modernization he has done so with due consideration and always in the spirit of a legitimate development. Additions and modifications contain nothing but ideas for which prototypes can be found somewhere among the traditions of Buddhism, and have been introduced as elucidations of its main principles.
The best evidence that this book characterizes the spirit of Buddhism correctly can be found in the welcome it has received throughout the entire Buddhist world. It has even been officially introduced in Buddhist schools and temples of Japan and Ceylon. Soon after the appearance of the first edition of 1894 the Right Rev. Shaku Soyen, a prominent Buddhist abbot of Kamakura, Japan, had a Japanese translation made by Teitaro Suzuki, and soon afterwards a Chinese version was made by Mr. O'Hara of Otzu, the talented editor of a Buddhist periodical, who in the meantime has unfortunately met with a premature death. In 1895 the Open Court Publishing Company brought out a German edition by E. F. L. Gauss, and Dr. L. de Milloue, the curator of the Musee Guimet, of Paris, followed with a French translation. Dr. Federigo Rodriguez has translated the book into Spanish and Felix Orth into Dutch. The privilege of translating the book into Russian, Czechic, Italian, also into Siamese and other Oriental tongues has been granted, but of these latter the publishers have received only a version in the Urdu language, a dialect of eastern India.
Buddhism, like Christianity, is split up into innumerable sects, and these sects not infrequently cling to their sectarian tenets as being the main and most indispensable features of their religion. The present book follows none of the sectarian doctrines, but takes an ideal position upon which all true Buddhists may stand as upon common ground. Thus the arrangement into a harmonious and systematic form is the main original feature of this Gospel of Buddha. Considering the bulk of the various details of the Buddhist canon, however, it must be regarded as a mere compilation, and the aim of the compiler has been to treat his material in about the same way as he thinks that the author of the Fourth Gospel of the New Testament utilized the accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. He has ventured to present the data of the Buddha's life in the light of their religio-philosophical importance; he has cut out most of their apocryphal adornments, especially those in which the Northern traditions abound, yet he did not deem it wise to shrink form preserving the marvellous that appears in the old records, whenever its moral seemed to justify its mention; he only pruned away the exuberance of wonder which delights in relating the most incredible things, apparently put on to impress while in fact they can only tire. Miracles have ceased to be a religious test; yet the belief in the miraculous powers of the Master still bears witness to the holy awe of the first disciples and reflects their religious enthusiasm.
Lest the fundamental idea of the Buddha's doctrines be misunderstood, the reader is warned to take the term "self" in the sense in which the Buddha uses it. The "self" of man translates the word atman which can be and has been understood, even the Buddhist canon, in a sense to which the Buddha would never have made any objection. The Buddha denies the existence of a "self" as it was commonly understood in his time; he does not deny man's mentality, his spiritual constitution, the importance of his personality, in a word, his soul. But he does deny the mysterious ego-entity, the atman, in the sense of a kind of soul-nomad which by some schools was supposed to reside behind or within man's bodily and psychical activity as a distinct being, a kind of thing-in-itself, and a metaphysical agent assumed to be the soul.
Buddhism is monistic. It claims that man's soul dies not consist of two things, of an atman (self) and of a manas (mind or thoughts), but that there is one reality, our thoughts, our mind or manas, and this manas constitutes the soul. Man's thoughts, if anything, are his self, and these is no atman, no additional and separate "self" besides. Accordingly, the translation of atman by "soul", which would imply that the Buddha denied the exitstence of the soul, is extremely misleading. Representative Buddhists, of different schools and of various countries, acknoledge the correctness of the view here taken, and we emphasize especially the assent of Southern Buddhists because they have preserved the tradition most faithfully and are very punctilious in the statement of doctrinal points.
"The Buddhist, the Organ of the Southern Church of Buddhism," writes in a review of The Gospel of Buddha:
"The eminent feature of the work is its grasp of the difficult subject and the clear enunciation of the doctrine of the most puzzling problem of atman, as taught in Buddhism. So far as we have examined the question of atman ourselves from the works of the Southern canon, the view taken by Dr. Paul Carus is accurate, and we venture to think that it is not opposed to the doctrine of Northern Buddhism."
This atman-superstition, so common not only in India, but all over the world, corresponds to man's habitual egotism in practical life. Both are illusions growing out of the same root, which is the vanity of worldliness, inducing man to believe that the purpose of his life lies in his self. The Buddha puroposes to cut off entirely all thought of self, so that it will no longer bear fruit. Thus Nirvana is an ideal state, in which man's soul, after being cleansed from all selfishness, hatred and lust, has become a habitation of the truth, teaching him to distrust the allurements of pleasure and to confine all his energies to attending to the duties of life.
The Buddha's doctrine is not negativism. An investigation of the nature of man's soul shows that, while there is no atman or ego-entity, the very being of man consists in his karma, his deeds, and his karma remains untouched by death and continues to live. Thus, by denying the existence of that which appears to be our soul and for the destruction of which in death we tremble, the Buddha actually opens (as he expresses it himself) the door of immortality to mankind; and here lies the corner-stone of his ethics and also of the comfort as well as the enthusiasm which his religion imparts. Any one who does not see the positive aspect of Buddhism, will be unable to understand how it could exercise such a powerful influence upon millions and millions of people.
The present volume is not designed to contribute to the solution of historical problems. The compiler has studied his subject as well as he could under the circumstances, but he does not intend here to offer a scientific production. Nor it this book an attempt at popularizing the Buddhist religious writings, nor at presenting them in a poetic shape. If this Gospel of Buddha helps people to comprehend Buddhism better, and if in its simple style it impresses the reader with the poetic grandeur of the Buddha's personality, these effects must be counted as incidental; its main purpose lies deeper still. The present book has been written to set the reader thinking on the religious problems of to-day. It sketches the picture of a religious leader of the remote past with the view of making it bear upon the living present and become a factor in the formation of the future.
It is a remarkable fact that the two greatest religions of the world, Christianity and Buddhism, present so many striking coincidences in the philosophical basis as well as in the ethical applications of their faith, while their modes of systematizing them in dogmas are radically different; and it is difficult to understand why these agreements should have caused animostity, instead of creating sentiments of friendship and good-will. Why should not Christians say with Prof. F. Max Mueller:
"If I do find in certain Buddhist works doctrines identically the same as in Christianity, so far from being frightened, I feel delighted, for surely truth is not the less true because it is believed by the majority of the human race."
The main trouble arises from a wrong conception of Christianity. There are many Christians who assume that Christianity alone is in possession of truth and that men could not, in the natural way of his moral evolution, have obtained that nobler conception of life which enjoins the practice of a universal good-will towards both friends and enemies. This narrow view of Christianity is refuted by the mere existence of Buddhism.
Must we add that the lamentable exclusivesness that prevails in many Christian churches, is not based upon Scriptural teachings, but upon a wrong metaphysics?
All the essential moral truths of Christianity, especially the principle of a universal love, of the eradication of hatred, are in our opinion deeply rooted in the nature of things, and do not, as is often assumed, stand in contradiction to the cosmic order of the world. Further, some doctrines of the constitution of existence have been formulated by the church in certain symbols, and since these symbols contain contradictions and come in conflict with science, the educated classes are estranged from religion. Now, Buddhism is a religion which knows of no supernatural revelation, and proclaims doctrines that require no other argument that the "come and see." The Buddha bases his religion solely upon man's knowledge of the nature of things, upon provable truth. Thus, we trust that a comparison of Christianity with Buddhism will be a great help to distinguish in both religions the essential from the accidental, the eternal from the transient, the truth from the allegory in which it has found its symbolic expression. We are anxious to press the necessity of discriminating between the symbol and its meaning, between dogma and religion, between metaphysical theories and statements of fact, between man-made formulas and eternal truth. And this is the spirit in which we offer this book to the public, cherishing the hope that its will help to develop in Christianity not less than in Buddhism the cosmic religion of truth.
The strength as well as the weakness of original Buddhism lies in its philosophical character, which enabled a thinker, but not the masses, to understand the dispensation of the moral law that pervades the world. As such, the original Buddhism has been called by Buddhists the little vessel of salvation, or Hinayana; for it is comparable to a small boat on which a man may cross the stream of worldliness, so as to reach the shore of Nirvana.
Following the spirit of a missionary propaganda, so natural to religious men who are earnest in their convictions, later Buddhists popularized the Buddha's doctrines and made them accessible to the multitudes. It is true that they admitted many mythical and even fantastic notions, but they succeeded nevertheless in bringing its moral truths home to the people who could but incompletely grasp the philosophical meaning of the Buddha's religion. They constructed, as they called it, a large vessel of salvation, the Mahayana, in which the multitudes would find room and could be safely carried over. Although the Mahayana unquestionably has its shortcomings, it must not be condemned offhand, for it serves its purpose. Without regarding it as the final stage of the religious development of the nations among which it prevails, we must concede that it resulted from an adaptation to their condition and has accomplished much to educate them. The Mahayana is a step forward in so far as it changes a philosophy into a religion, and attempts to preach doctrines that were negatively expressed, in positive propositions.
Far from rejecting the religious zeal which gave rise to the Mahayana in Buddhism, we can still less join those who denounce Christianity on account of its dogmatology and mythological ingredients. Christianity has certainly had and still has a great mission in the evolution of mankind. It has succeeded in imbuing with the religion of charity and mercy the most powerful nations of the world, to whose spiritual needs it is especially adapted. It extends the blessings of universal good-will with the least possible amount of antagonism to the natural selfishness that is no stronly developed in the Western races. Christianity is the religion of love made easy. This is its advantage. which, however, is not without its drawbacks. Christianity teaches charity without dispelling the ego-illusion; and in this sense it surpasses even the Mahayana; it is still more adapted to the needs of multitudes than a large vessel fitted to carry over those who embark on it; it is comparable to a grand bridge, a Mahasetu, on which a child who has no comprehension as yet of the nature of self can cross the stream of self-hood and worldly vanity.
A comparison of the many striking agreements between christianity and Buddhism may prove fatal to sectarian conceptions of either religion, but will in the end help to mature our insight into the true significance of both. It will bring out a nobler faith which aspires to be the cosmic religion of universal truth. Let us hope that this Gospel of Buddha will serve both Buddhists and Christians as a help to penetrate further into the spirit of their faith, so as to see its full height, length and breadth. Above any Hinayana, Mahayana, and Mahasetu is the Religion of Truth.
LaSalle, Illinois, United States.
THE DISCIPLE SPEAKS
REJOICE at the glad tidings! The Buddha our Lord has found the root of all evil; he has shown us the way of salvation. The Buddha dispels the illusions of our mind and redeems us from the terror of death.
The Buddha, our Lord, brings comfort to the weary and sorrow-laden; he restores peace to those who are broken down under the burden of life. He gives courage to the weak when they would fain give up self-reliance and hope. You who suffer from the tribulations of life, you who have to struggle and endure, you who yearn for a life of truth, rejoice at the glad tidings! There is balm for the wounded, and there is bread for the hungry. There is water for the thirsty, and there is hope for the despairing. There is light for those in darkness, and there is inexhaustible blessing for the upright.
Heal your wounds, you wounded, and eat your fill, you hungry. Rest, you weary, and you who are thirsty quench your thirst. Look up to the light, you who sit in darkness; be full of good cheer, you who are forlorn.
Trust in truth, You who love the truth, for the kingdom of righteousness is founded upon earth. The darkness of error is dispelled by the light of truth. We can see our way and take firm and certain steps. The Buddha, our Lord, has revealed the truth. The truth cures our diseases and redeems us from perdition; the truth strengthens us in life and in death; the truth alone can conquer the evils of error. Rejoice at the glad tidings!
SAMSARA AND NIRVANA
LOOK about and contemplate life! Everything is transient and nothing endures. There is birth and death, growth and decay; there is combination and separation. The glory of the world is like a flower: it stands in full bloom in the morning and fades in the heat of the day.
Wherever you look, there is a rushing and a struggling, and an eager pursuit of pleasure. There is a panic flight from pain and death, and hot are the flames of burning desires. The world is Vanity Fair, full of changes and transformations. All is Samsara, the turning Wheel of Existence.
Is there nothing permanent in the world? Is there in the universal turmoil no resting-place where our troubled heart can find peace? Is there nothing everlasting? Oh, that we could have cessation of anxiety, that our burning desires would be extinguished! When shall the mind become tranquil and composed?
The Buddha, our Lord, was grieved at the ills of life. He saw the vanity of worldly happiness and sought salvation in the one thing that will not fade or perish, but will abide for ever and ever.
You who long for life, learn that immortality is hidden in transiency. You who wish for happiness without the sting of regret, lead a life of righteousness. You who yearn for riches, receive treasures that are eternal. Truth is wealth, and a life of truth is happiness.
All compounds will be dissolved again, but the verities which determine all combinations and separations as laws of nature endure for ever and aye. Bodies fall to dust, but the truths of the mind will not be destroyed.
Truth knows neither birth nor death; it has no beginning and no end. Welcome the truth. The truth is the immortal part of mind. Establish the truth in your mind, for the truth is the image of the eternal; it portrays the immutable; it reveals the everlasting; the truth gives unto mortals the boon of immortality.
The Buddha has proclaimed the truth; let the truth of the Buddha dwell in your hearts. Extinguish in yourselves every desire that antagonizes the Buddha, and in the perfection of your spiritual growth you will become like unto him. That of your heart which cannot or will not develop into Buddha must perish, for it is mere illusion and unreal; it is the source of your error; it is the cause of your misery.
You attain to immortality by filling your minds with truth. Therefore, become like unto vessels fit to receive the Master's words. Cleanse yourselves of evil and sanctify your lives. There is no other way of reaching truth.
Learn to distinguish between Self and Truth. Self is the cause of selfishness and the source of evil; truth cleaves to no self; it is universal and leads to justice and righteousness. Self, that which seems to those who love their self as their being, is not the eternal, the everlasting, the imperishable. Seek not self, but seek the truth.
If we liberate our souls from our petty selves, wish no ill to others, and become clear as a crystal diamond reflecting the light of truth, what a radiant picture will appear in us mirroring things as they are, without the admixture of burning desires, without the distortion of erroneous illusion, without the agitation of clinging and unrest.
Yet you love self and will not abandon self-love. So be it, but then, verily, you should learn to distinguish between the false self and the true self. The ego with all its egotism is the false self. It is an unreal illusion and a perishable combination. He only who identifies his self with the truth will attain Nirvana; and he who has entered Nirvana has attained Buddhahood; he has acquired the highest good; he has become eternal and immortal.
All compound things shall be dissolved again, worlds will break to pieces and our individualities will be scattered; but the words of Buddha will remain for ever.
The extinction of self is salvation; the annihilation of self is the condition of enlightenment; the blotting out of self is Nirvana.
Happy is he who has ceased to live for pleasure and rests in the truth. Verily his composure and tranquility of mind are the highest bliss.
Let us take our refuge in the Buddha, for he has found the everlasting in the transient. Let us take our refuge in that which is the immutable in the changes of existence. Let us take our refuge in the truth that is established through the enlightenment of the Buddha. Let us take our refuge in the community of those who seek the truth and endeavor to live in the truth.
TRUTH, THE SAVIOR
THE things of the world and its inhabitants are subject to change. They are combinations of elements that existed before, and all living creatures are what their past actions made them; for the law of cause and effect is uniform and without exception.
But in the changing things there is a constancy of law, and when the law is seen there is truth. The truth lies hidden in Samsara as the permanent in its changes.
Truth desires to appear; truth longs to become conscious; truth strives to know itself.
There is truth in the stone, for the stone is here; and no power in the world, no god, no man, no demon, can destroy its existence. But the stone has no consciousness. There is truth in the plant and its life can expand; the plant grows and blossoms and bears fruit. Its beauty is marvelous, but it has no consciousness. There is truth in the animal; it moves about and perceives its surroundings; it distinguishes and learns to choose. There is consciousness, but it is not yet the consciousness of Truth. It is a consciousness of self only.
The consciousness of self dims the eyes of the mind and hides the truth. It is the origin of error, it is the source of illusion, it is the germ of evil. Self begets selfishness. There is no evil but what flows from self. There is no wrong but what is done by the assertion of self. Self is the beginning of all hatred, of iniquity and slander, of impudence and indecency, of theft and robbery, of oppression and bloodshed. Self is Mara, the tempter, the evil-doer, the creator of mischief. Self entices with pleasures. Self promises a fairy's paradise. Self is the veil of Maya, the enchanter. But the pleasures of self are unreal, its paradisian labyrinth is the road to misery, and its fading beauty kindles the flames of desires that never can be satisfied.
Who shall deliver us from the power of self? Who shall save us from misery? Who shall restore us to a life of blessedness?
There is misery in the world of Samsara; there is much misery and pain. But greater than all the misery is the bliss of truth. Truth gives peace to the yearning mind; it conquers error; it quenches the flames of desires; it leads to Nirvana. Blessed is he who has found the peace of Nirvana. He is at rest in the struggles and tribulations of life; he is above all changes; he is above birth and death; he remains unaffected by the evils of life.
Blessed is he who has found enlightenment. He conquers, although he may be wounded; he is glorious and happy, although he may suffer; he is strong, although he may break down under the burden of his work; he is immortal, although he will die. The essence of his being is purity and goodness.
Blessed is he who has attained the sacred state of Buddhahood, for he is fit to work out the salvation of his fellow beings. The truth has taken its abode in him. Perfect wisdom illumines his understanding, and righteousness ensouls the purpose of all his actions. The truth is a living power for good, indestructible and invincible! Work the truth out in your mind, and spread it among mankind, for truth alone is the savior from evil and misery. The Buddha has found the truth and the truth has been proclaimed by the Buddha! Blessed be the Buddha!
There was in Kapilavatthu a Sakya king, strong of purpose and reverenced by all men, a descendant of the Okkakas, who call themselves Gotama, and his name was Suddhodana or Pure-Rice. His wife Mayadevi was beautiful as the water-lily and pure in mind as the lotus. As the Queen of Heaven, she lived on earth, untainted by desire, and immaculate.
The king, her husband, honored her in her holiness, and the spirit of truth, glorious and strong in his wisdom like unto a white elephant, descended upon her. When she knew that the hour of motherhood was near, she asked the king to send her home to her parents; and Suddhodana, anxious about his wife and the child she would bear him, willingly granted her request.
At Lumbini there is a beautiful grove, and when Mayadevi passed through it the trees were one mass of fragrant flowers and many birds were warbling in their branches. The Queen, wishing to stroll through the shady walks, left her golden palanquin, and, when she reached the giant sala tree in the midst of the grove, felt that her hour had come. She took hold of a branch. Her attendants hung a curtain about her and retired. When the pain of travail came upon her, four pure-minded angels of the great Brahma held out a golden net to receive the babe, who came forth from her right side like the rising sun bright and perfect.
The Brahma-angels took the child and placing him before the mother said: "Rejoice, O queen, a mighty son has been born unto thee."
At her couch stood an aged woman imploring the heavens to bless the child. All the worlds were flooded with light. The blind received their sight by longing to see the coming glory of the Lord; the deaf and dumb spoke with one another of the good omens indicating the birth of the Buddha to be. The crooked became straight; the lame walked. All prisoners were freed from their chains and the fires of all the hells were extinguished.
No clouds gathered in the skies and the polluted streams became clear, whilst celestial music rang through the air and the angels rejoiced with gladness. With no selfish or partial joy but for the sake of the law they rejoiced, for creation engulfed in the ocean of pain was now to obtain release. The cries of beasts were hushed; all malevolent beings received a loving heart, and peace reigned on earth. Mara, the evil one, alone was grieved and rejoiced not.
The Naga kings, earnestly desiring to show their reverence for most excellent law, as they had paid honor to former Buddhas, now went to greet the Bodhisattva. They scattered before him mandara flowers, rejoicing with heartfelt joy to pay their religious homage.
The royal father, pondering the meaning of these signs, was now full of joy and now sore distressed. The queen mother, beholding her child and the commotion which his birth created, felt in her timorous heart the pangs of doubt.
Now there was at that time in a grove near Lumbini Asita, a rishi, leading the life of a hermit. He was a Brahman of dignified mien, famed not only for wisdom and scholarship, but also for his skill in the interpretation of signs. And the king invited him to see the royal babe.
The seer, beholding the prince, wept and sighed deeply. And when the king saw the tears of Asita he became alarmed and asked: "Why has the sight of my son caused thee grief and pain?"
But Asita's heart rejoiced, and, knowing the king's mind to be perplexed, he addressed him, saying: "The king, like the moon when full, should feel great joy, for he has begotten a wondrously noble son. I do not worship Brahma, but I worship this child; and the gods in the temples will descend from their places of honor to adore him. Banish all anxiety and doubt. The spiritual omens manifested indicate that the child now born will bring deliverance to the whole world.
"Recollecting that I myself am old, on that account I could not hold my tears; for now my end is coming on and I shall not see the glory of this babe. For this son of thine will rule the world. The wheel of empire will come to him. He will either be a king of kings to govern all the lands of the earth, or verily will become a Buddha. He is born for the sake of everything that lives. His pure teaching will be like the shore that receives the shipwrecked. His power of meditation will be like a cool lake; and all creatures parched with the drought of lust may freely drink thereof. On the fire of covetousness he will cause the cloud of his mercy to rise, so that the rain of the law may extinguish it. The heavy gates of despondency will he open, and give deliverance to all creatures ensnared in the self-entwined meshes of folly and ignorance. The king of the law has come forth to rescue from bondage all the poor, the miserable, the helpless."
When the royal parents heard Asita's words they rejoiced in their hearts and named their new-born infant Siddhattha, that is he who has accomplished his purpose."
And the queen said to her sister, Pajapati: "A mother who has borne a future Buddha will never give birth to another child. I shall soon leave this world, my husband, the king, and Siddhattha, my child. When I am gone, be thou a mother to him." And Pajapati wept and promised.
When the queen had departed from the living, Pajapati took the boy Siddhattha and reared him. And as the light of the moon increases little by little, so the royal child grew from day to day in mind and in body; and truthfulness and love resided in his heart. When a year had passed Suddhodana the king made Pajapati his queen and there was never a better stepmother than she.
THE TIES OF LIFE
WHEN Siddhattha had grown to youth, his father desired to see him married, and he sent to all his kinsfolk, commanding them to bring their princesses that the prince might select one of them as his wife.
But the kinsfolk replied and said: "The prince is young and delicate; nor has he learned any of the sciences. He would not be able to maintain our daughter, and should there be war he would be unable to cope with the enemy."
The prince was not boisterous, but pensive in his nature. He loved to stay under the great jambu-tree in the garden of his father, and, observing the ways of the world, gave himself up to meditation. And the prince said to his father: "Invite our kinsfolk that they may see me and put my strength to the test." And his father did as his son bade him.
When the kinsfolk came, and the people of the city Kapilavatthu had assembled to test the prowess and scholarship of the prince, he proved himself manly in all the exercises both of the body and of the mind, and there was no rival among the youths and men of India who could surpass him in any test, bodily or mental. He replied to all the questions of the sages; but when he questioned them, even the wisest among them were silenced.
Then Siddhattha chose himself a wife. He selected his cousin Yasodhara, the gentle daughter of the king of Koli. In their wedlock was born a son whom they named Rahula which means "fetter" or "tie," and King Suddhodana, glad that an heir was born to his son, said: "The prince having begotten a son, will love him as I love the prince. This will be a strong tie to bind Siddhattha's heart to the interests of the world, and the kingdom of the Sakyas will remain under the scepter of my descendants."
With no selfish aim, but regarding his child and the people at large, Siddhattha, the prince, attended to his religious duties, bathing his body in the holy Ganges and cleansing his heart in the waters of the law. Even as men desire to give happiness to their children, so did he long to give peace to the world.
THE THREE WOES
THE palace which the king had given to the prince was resplendent with all the luxuries of India; for the king was anxious to see his son happy. All sorrowful sights, all misery, and all knowledge of misery were kept away from Siddhattha, for the king desired that no troubles should come nigh him; he should not know that there was evil in the world.
But as the chained elephant longs for the wilds of the jungles, so the prince was eager to see the world, and he asked his father, the king, for permission to do so. And Suddhodana ordered a jewel-fronted chariot with four stately horses to be held ready, and commanded the roads to be adorned where his son would pass.
The houses of the city were decorated with curtains and banners, and spectators arranged themselves on either side, eagerly gazing at the heir to the throne. Thus Siddhattha rode with Channa, his charioteer, through the streets of the city, and into a country watered by rivulets and covered with pleasant trees.
There by the wayside they met an old man with bent frame, wrinkled face and sorrowful brow, and the prince asked the charioteer: "Who is this? His head is white, his eyes are bleared, and his body is withered. He can barely support himself on his staff."
The charioteer, much embarrassed, hardly dared speak the truth. He said: "These are the symptoms of old age. This same man was once a suckling child, and as a youth full of sportive life; but now, as years have passed away, his beauty is gone and the strength of his life is wasted."
Siddhattha was greatly affected by the words of the charioteer, and he sighed because of the pain of old age. "What joy or pleasure can men take," he thought to himself, when they know they must soon wither and pine away!"
And lo! while they were passing on, a sick man appeared on the way-side, gasping for breath, his body disfigured, convulsed and groaning with pain. The prince asked his charioteer: "What kind of man is this?" And the charioteer replied and said: "This man is sick. The four elements of his body are confused and out of order. We are all subject to such conditions: the poor and the rich, the ignorant and the wise, all creatures that have bodies are liable to the same calamity."
And Siddhattha was still more moved. All pleasures appeared stale to him, and he loathed the joys of life.
The charioteer sped the horses on to escape the dreary sight, when suddenly they were stopped in their fiery course. Four persons passed by, carrying a corpse; and the prince, shuddering at the sight of a lifeless body, asked the charioteer: "What is this they carry? There are streamers and flower garlands; but the men that follow are overwhelmed with grief!"
The charioteer replied: "This is a dead man: his body is stark; his life is gone; his thoughts are still; his family and the friends who loved him now carry the corpse to the grave." And the prince was full of awe and terror: "Is this the only dead man, he asked, or does the world contain other instances?"
With a heavy heart the charioteer replied: "All over the world it is the same. He who begins life must end it. There is no escape from death."
With bated breath and stammering accents the prince exclaimed: "O worldly men! How fatal is your delusion! Inevitably your body will crumble to dust, yet carelessly, unheedingly, ye live on." The charioteer observing the deep impression these sad sights had made on the prince, turned his horses and drove back to the city.
When they passed by the palace of the nobility, Kisa Gotami, a young princess and niece of the king, saw Siddhattha in his manliness and beauty, and, observing the thoughtfulness of his countenance, said: "Happy the father that begot thee, happy the mother that nursed thee, happy the wife that calls husband this lord so glorious."
The prince hearing this greeting, said: "Happy are they that have found deliverance. Longing for peace of mind, I shall seek the bliss of Nirvana."
Then asked Kisa Gotami: "How is Nirvana attained?" The prince paused, and to him whose mind was estranged from wrong the answer came: "When the fire of lust is gone out, then Nirvana is gained; when the fires of hatred and delusion are gone out, then Nirvana is gained; when the troubles of mind, arising from blind credulity, and all other evils have ceased, then Nirvana is gained!"
Siddhattha handed her his precious pearl necklace as a reward for the wisdom she had inspired in him, and having returned home looked with disdain upon the treasures of his palace.
His wife welcomed him and entreated him to tell her the cause of his grief. He said: "I see everywhere the impression of change; therefore, my heart is heavy. Men grow old, sicken, and die. That is enough to take away the zest of life."
The king, his father, hearing that the prince had become estranged from pleasure, was greatly overcome with sorrow and like a sword it pierced his heart.
THE BODHISATTVAS RENUNCIATION
IT was night. The prince found no rest on his soft pillow; he arose and went out into the garden. "Alas!" he cried "all the world is full of darkness and ignorance; there is no one who knows how to cure the ills of existence." And he groaned with pain.
Siddhattha sat down beneath the great jambu-tree and gave himself to thought, pondering on life and death and the evils of decay. Concentrating his mind he became free from confusion. All low desires vanished from his heart and perfect tranquility came over him.
In this state of ecstasy he saw with his mental eye all the misery and sorrow of the world; he saw the pains of pleasure and the inevitable certainty of death that hovers over every being; yet men are not awakened to the truth. And a deep compassion seized his heart.
While the prince was pondering on the problem of evil, he beheld with his mind's eye under the jambu tree a lofty figure endowed with majesty, calm and dignified. "Whence comest thou, and who mayst thou be asked the prince.
In reply the vision said: "I am a samana. Troubled at the thought of old age, disease, and death I have left my home to seek the path of salvation. All things hasten to decay; only the truth abideth forever. Everything changes, and there is no permanency; yet the words of the Buddhas are immutable. I long for the happiness that does not decay; the treasure that will never perish; the life that knows of no beginning and no end. Therefore, I have destroyed all worldly thought. I have retired into an unfrequented dell to live in solitude; and, begging for food, I devote myself to the one thing needful.
Siddhattha asked: "Can peace be gained in this world of unrest? I am struck with the emptiness of pleasure and have become disgusted with lust. All oppresses me, and existence itself seems intolerable."
The samana replied: "Where heat is, there is also a possibility of cold; creatures subject to pain possess the faculty of pleasure; the origin of evil indicates that good can be developed. For these things are correlatives. Thus where there is much suffering, there will be much bliss, if thou but open thine eyes to behold it. Just as a man who has fallen into a heap of filth ought to seek the great pond of water covered with lotuses, which is near by: even so seek thou for the great deathless lake of Nirvana to wash off the defilement of wrong. If the lake is not sought, it is not the fault of the lake. Even so when there is a blessed road leading the man held fast by wrong to the salvation of Nirvana, if the road is not walked upon, it is not the fault of the road, but of the person. And when a man who is oppressed with sickness, there being a physician who can heal him, does not avail himself of the physician's help, that is not the fault of the physician. Even so when a man oppressed by the malady of wrong-doing does not seek the spiritual guide of enlightenment, that is no fault of the evil-destroying guide."
The prince listened to the noble words of his visitor and said: "Thou bringest good tidings, for now I know that my purpose will be accomplished. My father advises me to enjoy life and to undertake worldly duties, such as will bring honor to me and to our house. He tells me that I am too young still, that my pulse beats too full to lead a religious life."
The venerable figure shook his head and replied: "Thou shouldst know that for seeking a religious life no time can be inopportune."
A thrill of joy passed through Siddhattha's heart. "Now is the time to seek religion," he said; "now is the time to sever all ties that would prevent me from attaining perfect enlightenment; now is the time to wander into homelessness and, leading a mendicant's life, to find the path of deliverance."
The celestial messenger heard the resolution of Siddhattha with approval. "Now, indeed he added, is the time to seek religion. Go, Siddhattha, and accomplish thy purpose. For thou art Bodhisatta, the Buddha-elect; thou art destined to enlighten the world. Thou art the Tathagata, the great master, for thou wilt fulfill all righteousness and be Dharmaraja, the king of truth. Thou art Bhagavat, the Blessed One, for thou art called upon to become the savior and redeemer of the world. Fulfill thou the perfection of truth. Though the thunderbolt descend upon thy head, yield thou never to the allurements that beguile men from the path of truth. As the sun at all seasons pursues his own course, nor ever goes on another, even so if thou forsake not the straight path of righteousness, thou shalt become a Buddha. Persevere in thy quest and thou shalt find what thou seekest. Pursue thy aim unswervingly and thou shalt gain the prize. Struggle earnestly and thou shalt conquer. The benediction of all deities, of all saints of all that seek light is upon thee, and heavenly wisdom guides thy steps. Thou shalt be the Buddha, our Master, and our Lord; thou shalt enlighten the world and save mankind from perdition.
Having thus spoken, the vision vanished, and Siddhattha's heart was filled with peace. He said to himself: "I have awakened to the truth and I am resolved to accomplish my purpose. I will sever all the ties that bind me to the world, and I will go out from my home to seek the way of salvation. The Buddhas are beings whose words cannot fail: there is no departure from truth in their speech. For as the fall of a stone thrown into the air, as the death of a mortal, as the sunrise at dawn, as the lion's roar when he leaves his lair, as the delivery of a woman with child, as all these things are sure and certain-even so the word of the Buddhas is sure and cannot fail. Verily I shall become a Buddha."
The prince returned to the bedroom of his wife to take a last farewell glance at those whom he dearly loved above all the treasures of the earth. He longed to take the infant once more into his arms and kiss him with a parting kiss. But the child lay in the arms of his mother, and the prince could not lift him without awakening both. There Siddhattha stood gazing at his beautiful wife and his beloved son, and his heart grieved. The pain of parting overcame him powerfully. Although his mind was determined, so that nothing, be it good or evil, could shake his resolution, the tears flowed freely from his eyes, and it was beyond his power to check their stream. But the prince tore himself away with a manly heart, suppressing his feelings but not extinguishing his memory.
The Bodhisattva mounted his noble steed Kanthaka, and when he left the palace, Mara stood in the gate and stopped him: "Depart not, O my Lord," exclaimed Mara. "In seven days from now the wheel of empire will appear, and will make thee sovereign over the four continents and the two thousand adjacent islands. Therefore, stay, my Lord."
The Bodhisattva replied: "Well do I know that the wheel of empire will appear to me; but it is not sovereignty that I desire. I will become a Buddha and make all the world shout for joy."
Thus Siddhattha, the prince, renounced power and worldly pleasures, gave up his kingdom, severed all ties, and went into homelessness. He rode out into the silent night, accompanied only by his faithful charioteer Channa. Darkness lay upon the earth, but the stars shone brightly in the heavens.
SIDDHATTHA had cut his waving hair and had exchanged his royal robe for a mean dress of the color of the ground. Having sent home Channa, the charioteer, together with the noble steed Kanthaka, to King Suddhodana to bear him the message that the prince had left the world, the Bodhisattva walked along on the highroad with a beggar's bowl in his hand.
Yet the majesty of his mind was ill-concealed under the poverty of his appearance. His erect gait betrayed his royal birth and his eyes beamed with a fervid zeal for truth. The beauty of his youth was transfigured by holiness and surrounded his head like a halo. All the people who saw this unusual sight gazed at him in wonder. Those who were in haste arrested their steps and looked back; and there was no one who did not pay him homage.
Having entered the city of Rajagaha, the prince went from house to house silently waiting till the people offered him food. Wherever the Blessed One came, the people gave him what they had; they bowed before him in humility and were filled with gratitude because he condescended to approach their homes. Old and young people were moved and said: "This is a noble muni! His approach is bliss. What a great joy for us!"
And King Bimbisara, noticing the commotion in the city, inquired the cause of it, and when he learned the news sent one of his attendants to observe the stranger. Having heard that the muni must be a Sakya and of noble family, and that he had retired to the bank of a flowing river in the woods to eat the food in his bowl, the king was moved in his heart; he donned his royal robe, placed his golden crown upon his head and went out in the company of aged and wise counselors to meet his mysterious guest.
The king found the muni of the Sakya race seated under a tree. Contemplating the composure of his face and the gentleness of his deportment, Bimbisara greeted him reverently and said: "O samana, thy hands are fit to grasp the reins of an empire and should not hold a beggar's bowl. I am sorry to see thee wasting thy youth. Believing that thou art of royal descent, I invite thee to join me in the government of my country and share my royal power. Desire for power is becoming to the noble-minded, and wealth should not be despised. To grow rich and lose religion is not true gain. But he who possesses all three, power, wealth, and religion, enjoying them in discretion and with wisdom, him I call a great master."
The great Sakyamuni lifted his eyes and replied: "Thou art known, O king, to be liberal and religious, and thy words are prudent. A kind man who makes good use of wealth is rightly said to possess a great treasure; but the miser who hoards up his riches will have no profit. Charity is rich in returns; charity is the greatest wealth, for though it scatters, it brings no repentance.
"I have severed all ties because I seek deliverance. How is it possible for me to return to the world? He who seeks religious truth, which is the highest treasure of all, must leave behind all that can concern him or draw away his attention, and must be bent upon that one goal alone. He must free his soul from covetousness and lust, and also from the desire for power.
"Indulge in lust but a little, and lust like a child will grow. Wield worldly power and you will be burdened with cares. Better than sovereignty over the earth, better than living in heaven, better than lordship over all the worlds, is the fruit of holiness. The Bodhisattva has recognized the illusory nature of wealth and will not take poison as food. Will a fish that has been baited still covet the hook, or an escaped bird love the net? Would a rabbit rescued from the serpent's mouth go back to be devoured? Would a man who has burnt his hand with a torch take up the torch after he had dropped it to the earth? Would a blind man who has recovered his sight desire to spoil his eyes again?
"The sick man suffering from fever seeks for a cooling medicine. Shall we advise him to drink that which will increase the fever? Shall we quench a fire by heaping fuel upon it?
"I pray thee, pity me not. Rather pity those who are burdened with the cares of royalty and the worry of great riches. They enjoy them in fear and trembling, for they are constantly threatened with a loss of those boons on whose possession their hearts are set, and when they die they cannot take along either their gold or the kingly diadem.
"My heart hankers after no vulgar profit, so I have put away my royal inheritance and prefer to be free from the burdens of life. Therefore, try not to entangle me in new relationships and duties, nor hinder me from completing the work I have begun. I regret to leave thee. But I will go to the sages who can teach me religion and so find the path on which we can escape evil.
"May thy country enjoy peace and prosperity, and may wisdom be shed upon thy rule like the brightness of the noon-day sun. May thy royal power be strong and may righteousness be the scepter in thine hand."
The king, clasping his hands with reverence, bowed down before Sakyamuni and said: "Mayest thou obtain that which thou seekest, and when thou hast obtained it, come back, I pray thee, and receive me as thy disciple." The Bodhisattva parted from the king in friendship and goodwill, and purposed in his heart to grant his request.
THE BODHISATTVA'S SEARCH
ALARA and Uddaka were renowned as teachers among the Brahmans, and there was no one in those days who surpassed them in learning and philosophical knowledge. The Bodhisattva went to them and sat at their feet. He listened to their doctrines of the atman or self, which is the ego of the mind and the doer of all doings. He learned their views of the transmigration of souls and of the law of karma; how the souls of bad men had to suffer by being reborn in men of low caste, in animals, or in hell, while those who purified themselves by libation, by sacrifices, and by self-mortification would become kings, or Brahmans, or devas, so as to rise higher and higher in the grades of existence. He studied their incantations and offerings and the methods by which they attained deliverance of the ego from material existence in states of ecstasy.
Alara said: "What is that self which perceives the actions of the five roots of mind, touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing? What is that which is active in the two ways of motion, in the hands and in the feet? The problem of the soul appears in the expressions 'I say,' 'I know and perceive,' 'I come,' and 'I go' or 'I will stay here.' Thy soul is not thy body; it is not thy eye, not thy ear, not thy nose, not thy tongue, nor is it thy mind. The I is the one who feels the touch in thy body. The I is the smeller in the nose, the taster in the tongue, the seer in the eye, the hearer in the ear, and the thinker in the mind. The I moves thy hands and thy feet. The I is thy soul. Doubt in the existence of the soul is irreligious, and without discerning this truth there is no way of salvation. Deep speculation will easily involve the mind; it leads to confusion and unbelief; but a purification of the soul leads to the way of escape. True deliverance is reached by removing from the crowd and leading a hermit's life, depending entirely on alms for food. Putting away all desire and clearly recognizing the non-existence of matter, we reach a state of perfect emptiness. Here we find the condition of immaterial life. As the munja grass when freed from its horny case, as a sword when drawn from its scabbard, or as the wild bird escaped from its prison, so the ego liberating itself from all limitations, finds perfect release. This is true deliverance, but those only who will have deep faith will learn."
The Bodhisattva found no satisfaction in these teachings. He replied: "People are in bondage, because they have not yet removed the idea of the ego. The thing and its quality are different in our thought, but not in reality. Heat is different from fire in our thought, but you cannot remove heat from fire in reality. You say that you can remove the qualities and leave the thing, but if you think your theory to the end, you will find that this is not so.
"Is not man an organism of many aggregates? Are we not composed of various attributes? Man consists of the material form, of sensation, of thought, of dispositions, and, lastly, of understanding. That which men call the ego when they say 'I am' is not an entity behind the attributes; it originates by their co-operation. There is mind; there is sensation and thought, and there is truth; and truth is mind when it walks in the path of righteousness. But there is no separate ego-soul outside or behind the thought of man. He who believes the ego is a distinct being has no correct conception. The very search for the atman is wrong; it is a wrong start and it will lead you in a false direction.
"How much confusion of thought comes from our interest in self, and from our vanity when thinking 'I am so great,' or 'I have done this wonderful deed?' The thought of thine ego stands between thy rational nature and truth; banish it, and then wilt thou see things as they are. He who thinks correctly will rid himself of ignorance and acquire wisdom. The ideas 'I am' and 'I shall be' or 'I shall not be' do not occur to a clear thinker.
"Moreover, if our ego remains, how can we attain true deliverance? If the ego is to be reborn in any of the three worlds, be it in hell, upon earth, or be it even in heaven, we shall meet again and again the same inevitable doom of sorrow. We shall remain chained to the wheel of individuality and shall be implicated in egotism and wrong. All combination is subject to separation, and we cannot escape birth, disease, old age, and death. Is this a final escape?"
Said Uddaka: "Consider the unity of things. Things are not their parts, yet they exist. The members and organs of thy body are not thine ego, but thine ego possesses all these parts. What, for instance, is the Ganges? Is the sand the Ganges? Is the water the Ganges? Is the hither bank the Ganges? Is the hither bank the Ganges? Is the farther bank the Ganges? The Ganges is a mighty river and it possesses all these several qualities. Exactly so is our ego."
But the Bodhisattva replied: "Not so, sir! If we remove the water, the sand, the hither bank and the farther bank where can we find any Ganges? In the same way I observe the activities of man in their harmonious union, but there is no ground for an ego outside its parts."
The Brahman sage, however, insisted on the existence of the ego, saying: "The ego is the doer of our deeds. How can there be karma without a self as its performer? Do we not see around us the effects of karma? What makes men different in character, station, possessions, and fate? It is their karma, and karma includes merit and demerit. The transmigration of the soul is subject to its karma. We inherit from former existences the evil effects of our evil deeds and the good effects of our good deeds. If that were not so, how could we be different?'
The Tathagata meditated deeply on the problems of transmigration and karma, and found the truth that lies in them. "The doctrine of karma, he said, is undeniable, but the theory of the ego has no foundation. Like everything else in nature, the life of man is subject to the law of cause and effect. The present reaps what the past has sown, and the future is the product of the present. But there is no evidence of the existence of an immutable ego-being, of a self which remains the same and migrates from body to body. There is rebirth but no transmigration.
"Is not this individuality of mine a combination, material as well as mental? Is it not made up of qualities that sprang into being by a gradual evolution? The five roots of sense perception in this organism have come from ancestors who performed these functions. The ideas which I think, came to me partly from others who thought them, and partly they rise from combinations of the ideas in my own mind. Those who have used the same sense-organs, and have thought the same ideas before I was composed into this individuality of mine, are my previous existences; they are my ancestors as much as the I of yesterday is the father of the I of today, and the karma of my past deeds affects the fate of my present existence.
"Supposing there were an atman that performs the actions of the senses then if the door of sight were torn down and the eye plucked out, that atman would be able to peep through the larger aperture and see the forms of its surroundings better and more clearly than before. It would be able to hear sounds better if the ears were torn away; smell better if the nose were cut off; taste better if the tongue were pulled out; and feel better if the body were destroyed.
"I observe the preservation and transmission of character; I perceive the truth of karma, but see no atman whom your doctrine makes the doer of your deeds. There is rebirth without the transmigration of a self. For this atman, this self, this ego in the 'I say' and in the 'I will' is an illusion. If this self were a reality, how could there be an escape from selfhood? The terror of hell would be infinite, and no release could be granted. The evils of existence would not be due to our ignorance and wrong-doing, but would constitute the very nature of our being."
Then the Bodhisattva went to the priests officiating in the temples. But the gentle mind of the Sakyamuni was offended at the unnecessary cruelty performed on the altars of the gods. He said: "Ignorance only can make these men prepare festivals and hold vast meetings for sacrifices. Far better to revere the truth than try to appease the gods by shedding blood. What love can a man possess who believes that the destruction of life will atone for evil deeds? Can a new wrong expiate old wrongs? And can the slaughter of an innocent victim blot out the evil deeds of mankind? This is practicing religion by the neglect of moral conduct. Purify your hearts and cease to kill; that is true religion. Rituals have no efficacy; prayers are vain repetitions; and incantations have no saving power. But to abandon covetousness and lust, to become free from evil passions, and to give up all hatred and ill-will, that is the right sacrifice and the true worship." URUVELA
URUVELA, PLACE OF MORTIFICATION
THE Bodhisattva went in search of a better system and came to a settlement of five bhikkhus in the jungle of Uruvela; and when the Blessed One saw the life of those five men, virtuously keeping in check their senses, subduing their passions, and practicing austere self-discipline, he admired their earnestness and joined their company. With holy zeal and a strong heart, the Sakyamuni gave himself up to meditative thought and a rigorous mortification of the body. Whereas the five bhikkhus were severe, the Sakyamuni was severer still, and so they revered him, their junior, as their master.
So the Bodhisattva continued for six years patiently torturing himself and suppressing the wants of nature. He trained his body and exercised his mind in the modes of the most rigorous ascetic life. At last, he ate each day one hemp grain only, seeking to cross the ocean of birth and death and to arrive at the shore of deliverance.
And when the Bodhisattva was ahungered, lo! Mara, the Evil One, approached him and said: "Thou art emaciated from fasts, and death is near. What good is thy exertion? Deign to live, and thou wilt be able to do good work." But the Sakyamuni made reply: "O thou friend of the indolent, thou wicked one; for what purpose hast thou come? Let the flesh waste away, if but the mind becomes more tranquil and attention more steadfast. What is life in this world? Death in battle is better to me than that I should live defeated."
And Mara withdrew, saying: "For seven years I have followed the Blessed One step by step, but I have found no fault in the Tathagata."
The Bodhisattva was shrunken and attenuated, and his body was like a withered branch; but the fame of his holiness spread in the surrounding countries, and people came from great distances to see him and receive his blessing. However, the Holy One was not satisfied. Seeking true wisdom he did not find it, and he came to the conclusion that mortification would not extinguish desire nor afford enlightenment in ecstatic contemplation.
Seated beneath a jambu-tree, he considered the state of his mind and the fruits of his mortification. His body had become weaker, nor had his fasts advanced him in his search for salvation, and therefore when he saw that it was not the right path, he proposed to abandon it. He went to bathe in the Neranjara River, but when he strove to leave the water he could not rise on account of his weakness. Then espying the branch of a tree and taking hold of it, he raised himself and left the stream. But while returning to his abode, he staggered and lay as though dead.
There was a chief herdsman living near the grove whose eldest daughter was called Nanda; and Nanda happened to pass by the spot where the Blessed One had swooned, and bowing down before him she offered him rice-milk and he accepted the gift. When he had partaken of the rice-milk all his limbs were refreshed, his mind became clear again, and he was strong to receive the highest enlightenment.
After this occurrence, the Bodhisattva again took some food. His disciples, having witnessed the scene of Nanda and observing the change in his mode of living, were filled with suspicion. They feared that Siddhattha's religious zeal was flagging and that he whom they had hitherto revered as their Master had become oblivious of his high purpose.
When the Bodhisattva saw the bhikkhus turning away from him, he felt sorry for their lack of confidence, and was aware of the loneliness of his life. Suppressing his grief he wandered on alone, and his disciples said, "Siddhattha leaves us to seek a more pleasant abode." MARA
MARA, THE EVIL ONE
THE Holy One directed his steps to that blessed Bodhitree beneath whose shade he was to accomplish his search. As he walked, the earth shook and a brilliant light transfigured the world. When he sat down the heavens resounded with joy and all living beings were filled with good cheer. Mara alone, lord of the five desires, bringer of death and enemy of truth, was grieved and rejoiced not. With his three daughters, Tanha, Raga and Arati, the tempters, and with his host of evil demons, he went to the place where the great samana sat. But Sakyamuni heeded him not. Mara uttered fear-inspiring threats and raised a whirlwind so that the skies were darkened and the ocean roared and trembled.
But the Blessed One under the Bodhi-tree remained calm and feared not. The Enlightened One knew that no harm could befall him.
The three daughters of Mara tempted the Bodhisattva, but he paid no attention to them, and when Mara saw that he could kindle no desire in the heart of the victorious samana, he ordered all the evil spirits at his command to attack him and overawe the great muni. But the Blessed One watched them as one would watch the harmless games of children. All the fierce hatred of the evil spirits was of no avail. The flames of hell became wholesome breezes of perfume, and the angry thunderbolts were changed into lotus-blossoms.
When Mara saw this, he fled away with his army from the Bodhi-tree, whilst from above a rain of heavenly flowers fell, and voices of good spirits were heard: "Behold the great muni! his heart unmoved by hatred. The wicked Mara's host 'gainst him did not prevail. Pure is he and wise, loving and full of mercy. As the rays of the sun drown the darkness of the world, so he who perseveres in his search will find the truth and the truth will enlighten him."
THE Bodhisattva, having put Mara to flight, gave himself up to meditation. All the miseries of the world, the evils produced by evil deeds and the sufferings arising therefrom, passed before his mental eye, and he thought:
"Surely if living creatures saw the results of all their evil deeds, they would turn away from them in disgust. But selfhood blinds them, and they cling to their obnoxious desires. They crave pleasure for themselves and they cause pain to others; when death destroys their individuality, they find no peace; their thirst for existence abides and their selfhood reappears in new births. Thus they continue to move in the coil and can find no escape from the hell of their own making. And how empty are their pleasures, how vain are their endeavors! Hollow like the plantain-tree and without contents like the bubble. The world is full of evil and sorrow, because it is full of lust. Men go astray because they think that delusion is better than truth. Rather than truth they follow error, which is pleasant to look at in the beginning but in the end causes anxiety, tribulation, and misery."
And the Bodhisattva began to expound the Dharma. The Dharma is the truth. The Dharma is the sacred law. The Dharma is religion. The Dharma alone can deliver us from error, from wrong and from sorrow.
Pondering on the origin of birth and death, the Enlightened One recognized that ignorance was the root of all evil; and these are the links in the development of life, called the twelve nidanas: In the beginning there is existence blind and without knowledge; and in this sea of ignorance there are stirrings formative and organizing. From stirrings, formative and organizing, rises awareness or feelings. Feelings beget organisms that live as individual beings. These organisms develop the six fields, that is, the five senses and the mind. The six fields come in contact with things. Contact begets sensation. Sensation creates the thirst of individualized being. The thirst of being creates a cleaving to things. The cleaving produces the growth and continuation of selfhood. Selfhood continues in renewed birth. The renewed births of selfhood are the causes of sufferings, old age, sickness, and death. They produce lamentation, anxiety, and despair.
The cause of all sorrow lies at the very beginning; it is hidden in the ignorance from which life grows. Remove ignorance and you will destroy the wrong desires that rise from ignorance; destroy these desires and you will wipe out the wrong perception that rises from them. Destroy wrong perception and there is an end of errors in individualized beings. Destroy the errors in individualized beings and the illusions of the six fields will disappear. Destroy illusions and the contact with things will cease to beget misconception. Destroy misconception and you do away with thirst. Destroy thirst and you will be free of all morbid cleaving. Remove the cleaving and you destroy the selfishness of selfhood. If the selfishness of selfhood is destroyed you will be above birth, old age, disease, and death, and you will escape all suffering.
The Enlightened One saw the four noble truths which point out the path that leads to Nirvana or the extinction of self: The first noble truth is the existence of sorrow. The second noble truth is the cause of suffering. The third noble truth is the cessation of sorrow. The fourth noble truth is the eightfold path that leads to the cessation of sorrow.
This is the Dharma. This is the truth. This is religion. And the Enlightened One uttered this stanza:
"Through many births I sought in vain
The Builder of this House of Pain.
Now, Builder, You are plain to see,
And from this House at last I'm free;
I burst the rafters, roof and wall,
And dwell in the Peace beyond them all."
There is self and there is truth. Where self is, truth is not. Where truth is, self is not. Self is the fleeting error of samsara; it is individual separateness and that egotism which begets envy and hatred. Self is the yearning for pleasure and the lust after vanity. Truth is the correct comprehension of things; it is the permanent and everlasting, the real in all existence, the bliss of righteousness.
The existence of self is an illusion, and here is no wrong in this world, no vice, no evil, except what flows from the assertion of self. The attainment of truth is possible only when self is recognized as an illusion. Righteousness can be practiced only when we have freed our mind from passions of egotism. Perfect peace can dwell only where all vanity has disappeared.
Blessed is he who has understood the Dharma. Blessed is he who does no harm to his fellow-beings. Blessed is he who overcomes wrong and is free from passion. To the highest bliss has he attained who has conquered all selfishness and vanity. He has become the Buddha, the Perfect One.
THE FIRST CONVERTS
THE Blessed One tarried in solitude seven times seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation. At that time Tapussa and Bhallika, two merchants, came traveling on the road near by, and when they saw the great samana, majestic and full of peace, they approached him respectfully and offered him rice cakes and honey.
This was the first food that the Enlightened One ate after he attained Buddhahood.
And the Buddha addressed them and pointed out to them the way of salvation. The two merchants, seeing the holiness of the conqueror of Mara, bowed down in reverence and said: "We take our refuge, Lord, in the Blessed One and in the Dharma." Tapussa and Bhallika were the first that became followers of the Buddha and they were lay disciples.
THE BRAHMA'S REQUEST
THE Blessed One having attained Buddhahood while resting under the shepherd's Nigrodha tree on the banks of the river Neranjara, pronounced this solemn utterance:
"How sure his pathway in this wood,
Who follows truth's unchanging call!
How blessed, to be kind and good,
And practice self-restraint in all!
How light, from passion to be free,
And sensual joys to let go by!
And yet his greatest bliss will be
When he has quelled the pride of 'I'.
"I have recognized the deepest truth, which is sublime and peace-giving' but difficult to understand; for most men move in a sphere of worldly interests and find their delight in worldly desires. The worldling will not understand the doctrine, for to him there is happiness in selfhood only, and the bliss that lies in a complete surrender to truth is unintelligible to him. He will call resignation what to the enlightened mind is the purest joy. He will see annihilation where the perfected one finds immortality. He will regard as death what the conqueror of self knows to be life everlasting. The truth remains hidden from him who is in the bondage of hate and desire. Nirvana remains incomprehensible and mysterious to the vulgar whose minds are beclouded with worldly interests. Should I preach the doctrine and mankind not comprehend it, it would bring me only fatigue and trouble."
Mara, the Evil One, on hearing the words of the Blessed Buddha, approached and said: "Be greeted, thou Holy One. Thou hast attained the highest bliss and it is time for thee to enter into the final Nirvana."
Then Brahma Sahampati descended from the heavens and, having worshiped the Blessed One, said: "Alas! the world must perish, should the Holy One, the Tathagata, decide not to teach the Dharma. Be merciful to those that struggle; have compassion upon the sufferers; pity the creatures who are hopelessly entangled in the snares of sorrow. There are some beings that are almost free from the dust of worldliness. If they hear not the doctrine preached, they will be lost. But if they hear it, they will believe and be saved."
The Blessed One, full of compassion, looked with the eye of a Buddha upon all sentient creatures, and he saw among them beings whose minds were but scarcely covered by the dust of worldliness, who were of good disposition and easy to instruct. He saw some who were conscious of the dangers of lust and wrong doing. And the Blessed One said to Brahma Sahampati: "Wide open be the door of immortality to all who have ears to hear. May they receive the Dharma with faith."
Then the Blessed One turned to Mara, saying: "I shall not pass into the final Nirvana, O Evil One, until there be not only brethren and sisters of an Order, but also lay disciples of both sexes, who shall have become true hearers, wise, well trained, ready and learned, versed in the scriptures, fulfilling all the greater and lesser duties, correct in life, walking according to the precepts-until they, having thus themselves learned the doctrine, shall be able to give information to others concerning it, preach it, make it known, establish it, open it, minutely explain it, and make it clear-until they, when others start vain doctrines, shall be able to vanquish and refute them, and so to spread the wonderworking truth abroad. I shall not die until the pure religion of truth shall have become successful, prosperous, widespread, and popular in all its full extent-until, in a word, it shall have been well proclaimed among men!"
Then Brahma Sahampati understood that the Blessed One had granted his request and would preach the doctrine.
FOUNDING THE KINGDOM
UPAKA SEES THE BUDDHA
Now the Blessed One thought: "To whom shall I preach the doctrine first? My old teachers are dead. They would have received the good news with joy. But my five disciples are still alive. I shall go to them, and to them shall I first proclaim the gospel of deliverance."
At that time the five bhikkhus dwelt in the Deer Park at Benares, and the Blessed One rose and journeyed to their abode, not thinking of their unkindness in having left him at a time when he was most in need of their sympathy and help, but mindful only of the services which they had ministered unto him, and pitying them for the austerities which they practiced in vain.
Upaka, a young Brahman and a Jain, a former acquaintance of Siddhattha, saw the Blessed One while he journeyed to Benares, and, amazed at the majesty and sublime joyfulness of his appearance, said to him: "Thy countenance, my friend, is serene; thine eyes are bright and indicate purity and blessedness."
The holy Buddha replied: "I have obtained deliverance by the extinction of self. My body is chastened, my mind is free from desire, and the deepest truth has taken abode in my heart. I have obtained Nirvana, and this is the reason that my countenance is serene and my eyes are bright. I now desire to found the kingdom of truth upon earth, to give light to those who are enshrouded in darkness and to open the gate of deathlessness."
Upaka replied: "Thou professest then, friend, to be Jina, the conqueror of the world, the absolute one and the holy one.
The Blessed One said: "Jinas are all those who have conquered self and the passions of self; those alone are victorious who control their minds and abstain from evil. Therefore, Upaka, I am the Jina."
Upaka shook his head. "Venerable Gotama, he said, "thy way lies yonder," and taking another road he went away.
THE SERMON AT BENARES
ON seeing their old teacher approach, the five bhikkus agreed among themselves not to salute him, nor to address him as a master, but by his name only. "For," so they said, "he has broken his vow and has abandoned holiness. He is no bhikkhu, but Gotama, and Gotama has become a man who lives in abundance and indulges in the pleasures of worldliness." But when the Blessed One approached in a dignified manner, they involuntarily rose from their seats and greeted him in spite of their resolution. Still they called him by his name and addressed him as "friend Gotama."
When they had thus received the Blessed One, he said: "Do not call the Tathagata by his name nor address him as 'friend,' for he is the Buddha, the Holy One. The Buddha looks with a kind heart equally on all living beings, and they therefore call him 'Father.' To disrespect a father is wrong; to despise him, is wicked. The Tathagata, the Buddha continued, does not seek salvation in austerities, but neither does he for that reason indulge in worldly pleasures, nor live in abundance. The Tathagata has found the middle path.
"There are two extremes, O bhikkhus, which the man who has given up the world ought not to follow-the habitual practice, on the one hand, of self-indulgence which is unworthy, vain and fit only for the worldly-minded and the habitual practice, on the other hand, of self-mortification, which is painful, useless and unprofitable.
"Neither abstinence from fish and flesh, nor going naked, nor shaving the head, nor wearing matted hair, nor dressing in a rough garment, nor covering oneself with dirt, nor sacrificing to Agni, will cleanse a man who is not free from delusions. Reading the Vedas, making offerings to priests, or sacrifices to the gods, self-mortification by heat or cold and many such penances performed for the sake of immortality, these do not cleanse the man who is not free from delusions. Anger, drunkenness, obstinacy, bigotry, deception, envy, self-praise, disparaging others, superciliousness and evil intentions constitute uncleanness; not verily the eating of flesh.
"A middle path, O bhikkhus avoiding the two extremes, has been discovered by the Tathagata-a path which opens the eyes, and bestows understanding, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana! What is that middle path, O bhikkhus, avoiding these two extremes, discovered by the Tathagata-that path which opens the eyes, and bestows understanding, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana? Let me teach you, O bhikkhus, the middle path, which keeps aloof from both extremes. By suffering, the emaciated devotee produces confusion and sickly thoughts in his mind. Mortification is not conducive even to worldly knowledge; how much less to a triumph over the senses!
"He who fills his lamp with water will not dispel the darkness, and he who tries to light a fire with rotten wood will fail. And how can any one be free from self by leading a wretched life, if he does not succeed in quenching the fires of lust, if he still hankers after either worldly or heavenly pleasures? But he in whom self has become extinct is free from lust; he will desire neither worldly nor heavenly pleasures, and the satisfaction of his natural wants will not defile him. However, let him be moderate, let him eat and drink according to the need of the body.
"Sensuality is enervating; the self-indulgent man is a slave to his passions, and pleasure-seeking is degrading and vulgar. But to satisfy the necessities of life is not evil. To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our minds strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals. This is the middle path, O bhikkhus, that keeps aloof from both extremes." And the Blessed One spoke kindly to his disciples, pitying them for their errors, and pointing out the uselessness of their endeavors, and the ice of ill-will that chilled their hearts melted away under the gentle warmth of the Master's persuasion.
Now the Blessed One set the wheel of the most excellent law rolling, and he began to preach to the five bhikkhus, opening to them the gate of immortality, and showing them the bliss of Nirvana.
The Buddha said: "The spokes of the wheel are the rules of pure conduct: justice is the uniformity of their length; wisdom is the tire; modesty and thoughtfulness are the hub in which the immovable axle of truth is fixed. He who recognizes the existence of suffering, its cause, its remedy, and its cessation has fathomed the four noble truths. He will walk in the right path.
"Right views will be the torch to light his way. Right aspirations will be his guide. Right speech will be his dwelling-place on the road. His gait will be straight, for it is right behavior. His refreshments will be the right way of earning his livelihood. Right efforts will be his steps: right thoughts his breath; and right contemplation will give him the peace that follows in his footprints.
"Now, this, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning suffering: Birth is attended with pain, decay is painful, disease is painful, death is painful. Union with the unpleasant is painful, painful is separation from the pleasant; and any craving that is unsatisfied, that too is painful. In brief, bodily conditions which spring from attachment are painful. This, then, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning suffering.
"Now this, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the origin of suffering: Verily, it is that craving which causes the renewal of existence, accompanied by sensual delight, seeking satisfaction now here, now there, the craving for the gratification of the passions, the craving for a future life, and the craving for happiness in this life. This, then, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the origin of suffering.
"Now this, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the destruction of suffering: Verily, it is the destruction, in which no passion remains, of this very thirst; it is the laying aside of, the being free from, the dwelling no longer upon this thirst. This, then, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the destruction of suffering.
"Now, this, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the way which leads to the destruction of sorrow. Verily, it is this noble eightfold path; that is to say: Right views; right aspirations; right speech; right behavior; right livelihood; right effort; right thoughts; and right contemplation. This, then, O bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the destruction of sorrow.
"By the practice of loving-kindness I have attained liberation of heart, and thus I am assured that I shall never return in renewed births. I have even now attained Nirvana."
When the Blessed One had thus set the royal chariot wheel of truth rolling onward, a rapture thrilled through all the universes. The devas left their heavenly abodes to listen to the sweetness of the truth; the saints that had parted from life crowded around the great teacher to receive the glad tidings; even the animals of the earth felt the bliss that rested upon the words of the Tathagata: and all the creatures of the host of sentient beings, gods, men, and beasts, hearing the message of deliverance, received and understood it in their own language.
And when the doctrine was propounded, the venerable Kondanna, the oldest one among the five bhikkhus, discerned the truth with his mental eye, and he said: "Truly, O Buddha, our Lord, thou hast found the truth!" Then the other bhikkhus too, joined him and exclaimed: "Truly, thou art the Buddha, thou hast found the truth."
And the devas and saints and all the good spirits of the departed generations that had listened to the sermon of the Tathagata, joyfully received the doctrine and shouted: "Truly, the Blessed One has founded the kingdom of righteousness. The Blessed One has moved the earth; he has set the wheel of Truth rolling, which by no one in the universe, be he god or man, can ever be turned back. The kingdom of Truth will be preached upon earth; it will spread; and righteousness, good-will, and peace will reign among mankind."
THE SANGHA OR COMMUNITY
HAVING pointed out to the five bhikkhus the truth, the Buddha said: "A man that stands alone, having decided to obey the truth, may be weak and slip back into his old ways. Therefore, stand ye together, assist one another, and strengthen one another efforts. Be like unto brothers; one in love, one in holiness, and one in your zeal for the truth. Spread the truth and preach the doctrine in all quarters of the world, so that in the end all living creatures will be citizens of the kingdom of righteousness. This is the holy brotherhood; this is the church, the congregation of the saints of the Buddha; this is the Sangha that establishes a communion among all those who have taken their refuge in the Buddha."
Kondanna was the first disciple of the Buddha who had thoroughly grasped the doctrine of the Holy One, and the Tathagata looking into his heart said: "Truly, Kondanna has understood the truth." Therefore the venerable Kondanna received the name "Annata-Kondanna that is, "Kondanna who has understood the doctrine." Then the venerable Kondanna spoke to the Buddha and said: "Lord, let us receive the ordination from the blessed One." And the Buddha said: "Come, O bhikkhus! Well taught is the doctrine. Lead a holy life for the extinction of suffering."
Then Kondanna and the other bhikkhus uttered three times these solemn vows: "To the Buddha will I look in faith: He, the Perfect One, is holy and supreme. The Buddha conveys to us instruction, wisdom, and salvation; he is the Blessed One, who knows the law of being; he is the Lord of the world, who yoketh men like oxen, the Teacher of gods and men, the Exalted Buddha. Therefore, to the Buddha will I look in faith.
"To the doctrine will I look in faith: well-preached is the doctrine by the Exalted One. The doctrine has been revealed so as to become visible; the doctrine is above time and space. The doctrine is not based upon hearsay, it means 'Come and see'; the doctrine to welfare; the doctrine is recognized by the wise in their own hearts. Therefore to the doctrine will I look in faith.
"To the community will I look in faith; the community of the Buddha's disciples instructs us how to lead a life of righteousness; the community of the Buddha's disciples teaches us how to exercise honesty and justice; the community of the Buddha's disciples shows us how to practice the truth. They form a brotherhood in kindness and charity, and their saints are worthy of reverence. The community of the Buddha's disciples is founded as a holy brotherhood in which men bind themselves together to teach the behests of rectitude and to do good. Therefore, to the community will I look in faith."
The gospel of the Blessed One increased from day to day, and many people came to hear him and to accept the ordination to lead thenceforth a holy life for the sake of the extinction of suffering. And the Blessed One seeing that it was impossible to attend to all who wanted to hear the truth and receive the ordination, sent out from the number of his disciples such as were to preach the Dharma, and said unto them:
"The Dharma and the Vinaya proclaimed by the Tathagata shine forth when they are displayed, and not when they are concealed. But let not this doctrine, so full of truth and so excellent, fall into the hands of those unworthy of it, where it would be despised and contemned, treated shamefully, ridiculed and censured. I now grant you, O bhikkhus, this permission. Confer henceforth in the different countries the ordination upon those who are eager to receive it, when you find them worthy.
"Go ye now, O bhikkhus, for the benefit of the many, for the welfare of mankind, out of compassion for the world. Preach the doctrine which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle, and glorious in the end, in the spirit as well as in the letter. There are beings whose eyes are scarcely covered with dust, but if the doctrine is not preached to them they cannot attain salvation. Proclaim to them a life of holiness. They will understand the doctrine and accept it."
And it became an established custom that the bhikkhus went out preaching while the weather was good, but in the rainy season they came together again and joined their master, to listen to the exhortations of the Tathagata.
YASA, THE YOUTH OF BENARES
AT that time there was in Benares a noble youth, Yasa by name, the son of a wealthy merchant. Troubled in his mind about the sorrows of the world, he secretly rose up in the night and stole away to the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw Yasa coming from afar. Yasa approached and exclaimed: "Alas, what distress! What tribulations!"
The Blessed One said to Yasa: "Here is no distress; here are no tribulations. Come to me and I will teach you the truth, and the truth will dispel your sorrows."
When Yasa, the noble youth, heard that there were neither distress, nor tribulations, nor sorrows, his heart was comforted. He went into the place where the Blessed One was, and sat down near him. Then the Blessed One preached about charity and morality. He explained the vanity of the thought "I am"; the dangers of desire, and the necessity of avoiding the evils of life in order to walk on the path of deliverance.
Instead of disgust with the world, Yasa felt the cooling stream of holy wisdom, and, having obtained the pure and spotless eye of truth, he looked at his person, richly adorned with pearls and precious stones, and his heart was shamed.
The Tathagata, knowing his inward thoughts, said: "Though a person be ornamented with jewels, the heart may have conquered the senses. The outward form does not constitute religion or affect the mind. Thus the body of a samana may wear an ascetic's garb while his mind is immersed in worldliness. A man that dwells in lonely woods and yet covets worldly vanities, is a worldling, while the man in worldly garments may let his heart soar high to heavenly thoughts. There is no distinction between the layman and the hermit, if but both have banished the thought of self."
Seeing that Yasa was ready to enter upon the path, the Blessed One said to him: "Follow me!" And Yasa joined the brotherhood, and having put on a bhikkhu's robe, received the ordination.
While the Blessed One and Yasa were discussing the doctrine, Yasa's father passed by in search of his son; and in passing he asked the Blessed One: "Pray, Lord, hast thou seen Yasa, my son?"
The Buddha said to Yasa's father: "Come in, sir, thou wilt find thy son"; and Yasa's father became full of joy and he entered. He sat down near his son, but his eyes were holden and he knew him not; and the Lord began to preach. And Yasa's father, understanding the doctrine of the Blessed One, said:
"Glorious is the truth, O Lord! The Buddha, the Holy One, our Master, sets up what has been overturned; he reveals what has been hidden; he points out the way to the wanderer who has gone astray; he lights a lamp in the darkness so that all who have eyes to see can discern the things that surround them. I take refuge in the Buddha, our Lord: I take refuge in the doctrine revealed by him: I take refuge in the brotherhood which he has founded. May the Blessed One receive me from this day forth while my life lasts as a lay disciple who has taken refuge in him." Yasa's father was the first lay-member who became the first lay disciple of the Buddha by pronouncing the three-fold formula of refuge.
When the wealthy merchant had taken refuge in the Buddha, his eyes were opened and he saw his son sitting at his side in a bhikkhu's robe. "My son, Yasa, he said, thy mother is absorbed in lamentation and grief. Return home and restore thy mother to life."
Then Yasa looked at the Blessed One, who said: "Should Yasa return to the world and enjoy the pleasures of a worldly life as he did before?" Yasa's father replied: "If Yasa, my son, finds it a gain to stay with thee, let him stay. He has become delivered from the bondage of worldliness."
When the Blessed One had cheered their hearts with words of truth and righteousness, Yasa's father said: "May the Blessed One, O Lord, consent to take his meal with me together with Yasa as his attendant?" The Blessed One, having donned his robes, took his alms-bowl and went with Yasa to the house of the rich merchant. When they had arrived there, the mother and also the former wife of Yasa saluted the Blessed One and sat down near him.
Then the Blessed One preached, and the women having understood his doctrine, exclaimed: "Glorious is the truth, O Lord! We take refuge in the Buddha, our Lord. We take refuge in the doctrine revealed by him. We take refuge in the brotherhood which has been founded by him. May the Blessed One receive us from this day forth while our life lasts as lay disciples who have taken refuge in him." The mother and the wife of Yasa, the noble youth of Benares, were the first women who became lay disciples and took their refuge in the Buddha.
Now there were four friends of Yasa belonging to the wealthy families of Benares. Their names were Vimala, Subahu, Punnaji, and Gavampati.
When Yasa's friends heard that Yasa had cut off his hair and put on bhikkhu robes to give up the world and go forth into homelessness, they thought: "Surely that cannot be a common doctrine, that must be a noble renunciation of the world.
And they went to Yasa, and Yasa addressed the Blessed One saying: "May the Blessed One administer exhortation and instruction to these four friends of mine." And the Blessed One preached to them, and Yasa's friends accepted the doctrine and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
KASSAPA, THE FIRE-WORSHIPER
AT that time there lived in Uruvela the Jatilas, Brahman hermits with matted hair, worshiping the fire and keeping a fire-dragon; and Kassapa was their chief. Kassapa was renowned throughout all India, and his name was honored as one of the wisest men on earth and an authority on religion. And the Blessed One went to Kassapa of Uruvela the Jatila, and said: "Let me stay a night in the room where you keep your sacred fire."
Kassapa, seeing the Blessed One in his majesty and beauty, thought to himself: "This is a great muni and a noble teacher. Should he stay overnight in the room where the sacred fire is kept, the serpent will bite him and he will die." And he said: "I do not object to your staying overnight in the room where the sacred fire is kept, but the serpent lives there; he will kill you and I should be sorry to see you perish."
But the Buddha insisted and Kassapa admitted him to the room where the sacred fire was kept. And the Blessed One sat down with body erect, surrounding himself with watchfulness. In the night the dragon came, belching forth in rage his fiery poison, and filling the air with burning vapor, but could do him no harm, and the fire consumed itself while the World-honored One remained composed. And the venomous fiend became very wroth so that he died in his anger. When Kassapa saw the light shining forth from the room he said: "Alas, what misery! Truly, the countenance of Gotama the great Sakyamuni is beautiful, but the serpent will destroy him."
In the morning the Blessed One showed the dead body of the fiend to Kassapa, saying: "His fire has been conquered by my fire." And Kassapa thought to himself. "Sakyamuni is a great samana and possesses high powers, but he is not holy like me."
There was in those days a festival, and Kassapa thought: "The people will come hither from all parts of the country and will see the great Sakyamuni. When he speaks to them, they will believe in him and abandon me." And he grew envious. When the day of the festival arrived, the Blessed One retired and did not come to Kassapa. And Kassapa went to the Buddha on the next morning and said: "Why did the great Sakyamuni not come?"
The Tathagata replied: "Didst thou not think, O Kassapa, that it would be better if I stayed away from the festival?" And Kassapa was astonished and thought: "Great is Sakyamuni; he can read my most secret thoughts, but he is not holy like me."
The Blessed One addressed Kassapa and said: "Thou seest the truth, but acceptest it not because of the envy that dwells in thy heart. Is envy holiness? Envy is the last remnant of self that has remained in thy mind. Thou art not holy, Kassapa; thou hast not yet entered the path." And Kassapa gave up his resistance. His envy disappeared, and, bowing down before the Blessed One, he said: "Lord, our Master, let me receive the ordination from the Blessed One."
And the Blessed One said: "Thou, Kassapa, art chief of the Jatilas. Go, then, first and inform them of thine intention, and let them do as thou thinkest fit." Then Kassapa went to the Jatilas and said: "I am anxious to lead a religious life under the direction of the great Sakyamuni, who is the Enlightened One, the Buddha. Do as ye think best."
The Jatilas replied: "We have conceived a profound affection for the great Sakyamuni, and if thou wilt join his brotherhood, we will do likewise." The Jatilas of Uruvela now flung their paraphernalia of fire-worship into the river and went to the Blessed One.
Nadi Kassapa and Gaya Kassapa, brothers of the great Uruvela Kassapa, powerful men and chieftains among the people, were dwelling below on the stream, and when they saw the instruments used in fire-worship floating in the river, they said: "Something has happened to our brother. And they came with their folk to Uruvela. Hearing what had happened, they, too, went to the Buddha.
The Blessed One, seeing that the Jatilas of Nadi and Gaya, who had practiced severe austerities and worshiped fire, were now come to him, preached a sermon on fire, and said: "Everything, O Jatilas, is burning. The eye is burning, all the senses are burning, thoughts are burning. They are burning with the fire of lust. There is anger, there is ignorance, there is hatred, and as long as the fire finds inflammable things upon which it can feed, so long will it burn, and there will be birth and death, decay, grief, lamentation, suffering, despair, and sorrow. Considering this, a disciple of the Dharma will see the four noble truths and walk in the eightfold path of holiness. He will become wary of his eye, wary of all his senses, wary of his thoughts. He will divest himself of passion and become free. He will be delivered from selfishness and attain the blessed state of Nirvana."
And the Jatilas rejoiced and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
THE SERMON AT RAJAGAHA
THE Blessed One having dwelt some time in Uruvela went to Rajagaha, accompanied by a number of bhikkhus, many of whom had been Jatilas before. The great Kassapa, chief of the Jatilas and formerly a fire worshiper, went with him.
When the Magadha king, Seniya Bimbisara, heard of the arrival of Gotama Sakyamuni, of whom the people said, "He is the Holy One, the blessed Buddha, guiding men as a driver curbs bullocks, the teacher of high and low," he went out surrounded with his counselors and generals and came to the grove where the Blessed One was. There they saw the Blessed One in the company of Kassapa, the great religious teacher of the Jatilas, and they were astonished and thought: "Has the great Sakyamuni placed himself under the spiritual direction of Kassapa, or has Kassapa become a disciple of Gotama?"
The Tathagata, reading the thoughts of the people, said to Kassapa: "What knowledge hast thou gained, O Kassapa, and what has induced thee to renounce the sacred fire and give up thine austere penances?"
Kassapa said: "The profit I derived from adoring the fire was continuance in the wheel of individuality with all its sorrows and vanities. This service I have cast away, and instead of continuing penances and sacrifices I have gone in quest of the highest Nirvana. Since I have seen the light of truth, I have abandoned worshiping the fire."
The Buddha, perceiving that the whole assembly was ready as a vessel to receive the doctrine, spoke thus to Bimbisara the king: "He who knows the nature of self and understands how the senses act, finds no room for selfishness, and thus he will attain peace unending. The world holds the thought of self, and from this arises false apprehension. Some say that the self endures after death, some say it perishes. Both are wrong and their error is most grievous. For if they say the self is perishable, the fruit they strive for will perish too, and at some time there will be no hereafter. Good and evil would be indifferent. This salvation from selfishness is without merit.
"When some, on the other hand, say the self will not perish, then in the midst of all life and death there is but one identity unborn and undying. If such is their self, then it is perfect and cannot be perfected by deeds. The lasting, imperishable self could never be changed. self would be lord and master, and there would be no use in perfecting the perfect; moral aims and salvation would be unnecessary.
"But now we see the marks of joy and sorrow. Where is any constancy? If there is no permanent self that does our deeds, then there is no self; there is no actor behind our actions, no perceiver behind our perception, no lord behind our deeds.
"Now attend and listen: The senses meet the object and from their contact sensation is born. Thence results recollection. Thus, as the sun's power through a burning-glass causes fire to appear, so through the cognizance born of sense and object, the mind originates and with it the ego, the thought of self, whom some Brahman teachers call the lord. The shoot springs from the seed; the seed is not the shoot; both are not one and the same, but successive phases in a continuous growth. Such is the birth of animated life.
"Ye that are slaves of the self and toil in its service from morn until night, ye that live in constant fear of birth, old age, sickness, and death, receive the good tidings that your cruel master exists not. Self is an error, an illusion, a dream. Open your eyes and awaken. See things as they are and ye will be comforted. He who is awake will no longer be afraid of nightmares. He who has recognized the nature of the rope that seemed to be a serpent will cease to tremble.
"He who has found there is no self will let go all the lusts and desires of egotism. The cleaving to things, covetousness, and sensuality inherited from former existences, are the causes of the misery and vanity in the world. Surrender the grasping disposition of selfishness, and you will attain to that calm state of mind which conveys perfect peace, goodness, and wisdom."
And the Buddha breathed forth this solemn utterance:
"Do not deceive, do not despise
Each other, anywhere.
Do not be angry, and do not
Secret resentment bear;
For as a mother risks her life
And watches over her child,
So boundless be your love to all,
So tender, kind and mild.
"Yea cherish good-will right and left,
For all, both soon and late,
And with no hindrance, with no stint,
From envy free and hate;
While standing, walking, sitting down,
Forever keep in mind:
The rule of life that's always best
Is to be loving-kind.
"Gifts are great, the founding of viharas is meritorious, meditations and religious exercises pacify the heart, comprehension of the truth leads to Nirvana, but greater than all is loving-kindness. As the light of the moon is sixteen times stronger than the light of all the stars, so loving-kindness is sixteen times more efficacious in liberating the heart than all other religious accomplishments taken together. This state of heart is the best in the world. Let a man remain steadfast in it while he is awake, whether he is standing, walking, sitting, or lying down."
When the Enlightened One had finished his sermon, the Magadha king said to the Blessed One: "In former days, Lord, when I was a prince, I cherished five wishes. I wished: O, that I might be inaugurated as a king. This was my first wish, and it has been fulfilled. Further, I wished: Might the Holy Buddha, the Perfect One, appear on earth while I rule and might he come to my kingdom. This was my second wish and it is fulfilled now. Further I wished: Might I pay my respects to him. This was my third wish and it is fulfilled now. The fourth wish was: Might the Blessed One preach the doctrine to me, and this is fulfilled now.
"The greatest wish, however, was the fifth wish: Might I understand the doctrine of the Blessed One. And this wish is fulfilled too.
"Glorious Lord! Most glorious is the truth preached by the Tathagata! Our Lord, the Buddha, sets up what has been overturned; he reveals what has been hidden; he points out the way to the wanderer who has gone astray; he lights a lamp in the darkness so that those who have eyes to see may see. I take my refuge in the Buddha. I take my refuge in the Dharma. I take my refuge in the Sangha."
The Tathagata, by the exercise of his virtue and by wisdom, showed his unlimited spiritual power. He subdued and harmonized all minds. He made them see and accept the truth, and throughout the kingdom the seeds of virtue were sown.
THE KING'S GIFT
SENIYA BIMBISARA, the king, having taken his refuge in the Buddha, invited the Tathagata to his palace, saying: "Will the Blessed One consent to take his meal with me tomorrow together with the fraternity of bhikkhus?" The next morning the king announced to the Blessed One that it was time for taking food: "Thou art my most welcome guest, O Lord of the world, come; the meal is prepared."
The Blessed One having donned his robes, took his alms-bowl and, together with a great number of bhikkhus, entered the city of Rajagaha. Sakka, the king of the Devas, assuming the appearance of a young Brahman, walked in front, and said: "He who teaches self-control with those who have learned self-control; the redeemer with those whom he has redeemed; the Blessed One with those to whom he has given peace, is entering Rajagaha Hail to the Buddha, our Lord! Honor to his name and blessings to all who take refuge in him." Sakka intoned this stanza:
"Blessed is the place in which the Buddha walks,
And blessed the ears which hear his talks;
Blessed his disciples, for they are
The tellers of his truth both near and far.
"If all could hear this truth so good
Then all men's minds would eat rich food,
And strong would grow men's brotherhood."
When the Blessed One had finished his meal, and had cleansed his bowl and his hands, the king sat down near him and thought:
"Where may I find a place for the Blessed One to live in, not too far from the town and not too near, suitable for going and coming, easily accessible to all people who want to see him, a place that is by day not too crowded and by night not exposed to noise, wholesome and well fitted for a retired life? There is my pleasure-garden, the bamboo grove Veluvana, fulfilling all these conditions. I shall offer it to the brotherhood whose head is the Buddha."
The king dedicated his garden to the brotherhood, saying: "May the Blessed One accept my gift." Then the Blessed One, having silently shown his consent and having gladdened and edified the Magadha king by religious discourse, rose from his seat and went away.
SARIPUTTA AND MOGGALLANA
AT that time Sariputta and Moggallana, two Brahmans and chiefs of the followers of Sanjaya, led a religious life. They had promised each other: "He who first attains Nirvana shall tell the other one."
Sariputta seeing the venerable Assaji begging for alms, modestly keeping his eyes to the ground and dignified in deportment, exclaimed: "Truly this samana has entered the right path; I will ask him in whose name he has retired from the world and what doctrine he professes." Being addressed by Sariputta, Assaji replied: "I am a follower of the Buddha, the Blessed One, but being a novice I can tell you the substance only of the doctrine."
Said Sariputta: "Tell me, venerable monk; it is the substance I want." And Assaji recited the stanza:
"Nothing we seek to touch or see
Can represent Eternity.
They spoil and die: then let us find
Eternal Truth within the mind."
Having heard this stanza, Sariputta obtained the pure and spotless eye of truth and said: "Now I see clearly, whatsoever is subject to origination is also subject to cessation. If this be the doctrine I have reached the state to enter Nirvana which heretofore has remained hidden from me." Sariputta went to Moggallana and told him, and both said: "We will go to the Blessed One, that he, the Blessed One, may be our teacher."
When the Buddha saw Sariputta and Moggallana coming from afar, he said to his disciples, These two monks are highly auspicious." When the two friends had taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, the Holy One said to his other disciples: "Sariputta, like the first-born O son of a world-ruling monarch, is well able to assist the king as his chief follower to set the wheel of the law rolling."
Now the people were annoyed. Seeing that many distinguished young men of the kingdom of Magadha led a religious life under the direction of the Blessed One, they became angry and murmured: "Gotama Sakyamuni induces fathers to leave their wives and causes families to become extinct." When they saw the bhikkhus, they reviled them, saying: "The great Sakyamuni has come to Rajagaha subduing the minds of men. Who will be the next to be led astray by him?"
The bhikkhus told it to the Blessed One, and the Blessed One said: "This murmuring, O bhikkhus, will not last long. it will last seven days. If they revile you, answer them with these words: 'It is by preaching the truth that Tathagatas lead men. Who will murmur at the wise? Who will blame the virtuous? Who will condemn self-control, righteousness, and kindness?" And the Blessed One proclaimed:
"Commit no wrong, do only good,
And let your heart be pure.
This is the doctrine Buddhas teach,
And this doctrine will endure."
ANATHAPINDIKA, THE MAN OF WEALTH
AT this time there was Anathapindika, a man of unmeasured wealth, visiting Rajagaha. Being of a charitable disposition, he was called "the supporter of orphans and the friend of the poor." Hearing that the Buddha had come into the world and was stopping in the bamboo grove near the city, he set out on that very night to meet the Blessed One.
And the Blessed One saw at once the sterling quality of Anathapindika's heart and greeted him with words of religious comfort. And they sat down together, and Anathapindika listened to the sweetness of the truth preached by the Blessed One. And the Buddha said: "The restless, busy nature of the world, this, I declare, is at the root of pain. Attain that composure of mind which is resting in the peace of immortality. Self is but a heap of composite qualities, and its world is empty like a fantasy.
"Who is it that shapes our lives? Is it Isvara, a personal creator? If Isvara be the maker, all living things should have silently to submit to their maker's power. They would be like vessels formed by the potter's hand; and if it were so, how would it be possible to practice virtue? If the world had been made by Isvara there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or evil; for both pure and impure deeds must come from him. If not, there would be another cause beside him, and he would not be self-existent. Thus, thou seest, the thought of Isvara is overthrown.
"Again, it is said that the Absolute has created us. But that which is absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from a cause as the plant comes from the seed; but how can the Absolute be the cause of all things alike? If it pervades them, then, certainly, it does not make them.
"Again, it is said that Self is the maker. But if self is the maker, why did it not make things pleasing? The causes of sorrow and joy are real and touchable. How can they have been made by self?
"Again, if we adopt the argument that there is no maker, our fate is such as it is, and there is no causation, what use would there be in shaping our lives and adjusting means to an end? Therefore, we argue that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither Isvara, nor the absolute, nor the self nor causeless chance, is the maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil according to the law of causation.
"Let us, then, abandon the heresy of worshiping Isvara and of praying to him; let us no longer lose ourselves in vain speculations or profitless subtleties; let us surrender self and all selfishness, and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practice good so that good may result from our actions."
And Anathapindika said: "I see that thou art the Buddha, the Blessed One the Tathagata, and I wish to open to the my whole mind. Having listened to my words advise me what I shall do. My life is full of work, and having acquired great wealth, I am surrounded with cares. Yet I enjoy my work, and apply myself to it with all diligence. Many people are in my employ and depend upon the success of my enterprises.
"Now, I have heard thy disciples praise the bliss of the hermit and denounce the unrest of the world. 'The Holy One,' they say, 'has given up his kingdom and his inheritance, and has found the path of righteousness, thus setting an example to all the world how to attain Nirvana.' My heart yearns to do what is right and to be a blessing unto my fellows. Let me then ask thee, Must I give up my wealth, my home, and my business enterprises, and, like thyself, go into homelessness in order to attain the bliss of a religious life?"
And the Buddha replied: "The bliss of a religious life is attainable by every one who walks in the noble eightfold path. He that cleaves to wealth had better cast it away than allow his heart to be poisoned by it; but he who does not cleave to wealth, and possessing riches, uses them rightly, will be a blessing unto his fellows. It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power. The bhikkhu who retires from the world in order to lead a life of leisure will have no gain, for a life of indolence is an abomination, and lack of energy is to be despised. The Dharma of the Tathagata does not require a man to go into homelessness or to resign the world, unless he feels called upon to do so; but the Dharma of the Tathagata requires every man to free himself from the illusion of self, to cleanse his heart, to give up his thirst for pleasure, and lead a life of righteousness. And whatever men do, whether they remain in the world as artisans, merchants, and officers of the king, or retire from the world and devote themselves to a life of religious meditation, let them put their whole heart into their task; let them be diligent and energetic, and, if they are like the lotus, which, although it grows in the water, yet remains untouched by the water, if they struggle in life without cherishing envy or hatred, if they live in the world not a life of self but a life of truth, then surely joy, peace, and bliss will dwell in their minds."
THE SERMON ON CHARITY
ANATHAPINDIKA rejoiced at the words of the Blessed One and said: I dwell at Savatthi, the capital of Kosala, a land rich in produce and enjoying peace. Pasenadi is the king of the country, and his name is renowned among our own people and our neighbors. Now I wish to found there a vihara which shall be a place of religious devotion for your brotherhood, and I pray you kindly to accept it."
The Buddha saw into the heart of the supporter of orphans; and knowing that unselfish charity was the moving cause of his offer, in acceptance of the gift, the Blessed One said: "The charitable man is loved by all; his friendship is prized highly; in death his heart is at rest and full of joy, for he suffers not from repentance; he receives the opening flower of his reward and the fruit that ripens from it. Hard it is to understand: By giving away our food, we get more strength, by bestowing clothing on others, we gain more beauty; by donating abodes of purity and truth, we acquire great treasures.
"There is a proper time and a proper mode in charity; just as the vigorous warrior goes to battle, so is the man who is able to give. He is like an able warrior a champion strong and wise in action. Loving and compassionate he gives with reverence and banishes all hatred, envy, and anger.
"The charitable man has found the path of salvation. He is like the man who plants a sapling, securing thereby the shade, the flowers, and the fruit in future years. Even so is the result of charity, even so is the joy of him who helps those that are in need of assistance; even so is the great Nirvana. We reach the immortal path only by continuous acts of kindliness and we perfect our souls by compassion and charity."
Anathapindika invited Sariputta to accompany him on his return to Kosala and help him in selecting a pleasant site for the vihara.
JETAVANA, THE VIHARA
ANATHAPINDIKA, the friend of the destitute and the supporter of orphans, having returned home, saw the garden of the heir-apparent, Jeta, with its green groves and limpid rivulets, and thought: "This is the place which will be most suitable as a vihara for the brotherhood of the Blessed One." And he went to the prince and asked leave to buy the ground. The prince was not inclined to sell the garden, for he valued it highly. He at first refused but said at last, "If thou canst cover it with gold, then, and for no other price, shalt thou have it." Anathapindika rejoiced and began to spread his gold; but Jeta said: "Spare thyself the trouble, for I will not sell." But Anathapindika insisted. Thus they contended until they resorted to the magistrate.
Meanwhile the people began to talk of the unwonted proceeding, and the prince, hearing more of the details and knowing that Anathapindika was not only very wealthy but also straightforward and sincere, inquired into his plans. On hearing the name of the Buddha, the prince became anxious to share in the foundation and he accepted only one-half of the gold, saying: "Yours is the land, but mine are the trees. I will give the trees as my share of this offering to the Buddha."
Then Anathapindika took the land and Jeta the trees, and they placed them in trust of Sariputta for the Buddha. After the foundations were laid, they began to build the hall which rose loftily in due proportions according to the directions which the Buddha had suggested; and it was beautifully decorated with appropriate carvings. This vihara was called Jetavana, and the friend of the orphans invited the Lord to come to Savatthi and receive the donation. And the Blessed One left Kapilavatthu and came to Savatthi.
While the Blessed One was entering Jetavana, Anathapindika scattered flowers and burned incense, and as a sign of the gift he poured water from a golden dragon decanter, saying, "This Jetavana vihara I give for the use of the brotherhood throughout the world." The Blessed One received the gift and replied: "May all evil influences be overcome; may the offering promote the kingdom of righteousness and be a permanent blessing to mankind in general, to the land of Kosala, and especially also to the giver."
Then the king Pasenadi, hearing that the Lord had come, went in his royal equipage to the Jetavana vihara and saluted the Blessed One with clasped hands, saying: "'Blessed is my unworthy and obscure kingdom that it has met with so great a fortune. For how can calamities and dangers befall it in the presence of the Lord of the world, the Dharmaraja, the King of Truth. Now that I have seen thy sacred countenance, let me partake of the refreshing waters of thy teachings. Worldly profit is fleeting and perishable, but religious profit is eternal and inexhaustible. A worldly man, though a king, is full of trouble, but even a common man who is holy has peace of mind."
Knowing the tendency of the king's heart, weighed down by avarice and love of pleasure, the Buddha seized the opportunity and said: "Even those who, by their evil karma, have been born in low degree, when they see a virtuous man, feel reverence for him. How much more must an independent king, on account of merits acquired in previous existences, when meeting a Buddha, conceive reverence for him. And now as I briefly expound the law, let the Maharaja listen and weigh my words, and hold fast that which I deliver!
"Our good or evil deeds follow us continually like shadows. That which is most needed is a loving heart! Regard thy people as men do an only son. Do not oppress them, do not destroy them; keep in due check every member of thy body, forsake unrighteous doctrine and walk in the straight path. Exalt not thyself by trampling down others, but comfort and befriend the suffering. Neither ponder on kingly dignity, nor listen to the smooth words of flatterers.
There is no profit in vexing oneself by austerities, but meditate on the Buddha and weigh his righteous law. We are encompassed on all sides by the rocks of birth, old age, disease, and death, and only by considering and practicing the true law can we escape from this sorrow-piled mountain. What profit, then, in practicing iniquity?
"All who are wise spurn the pleasures of the body. They loathe lust and seek to promote their spiritual existence. When a tree is burning with fierce flames, how can the birds congregate therein? Truth cannot dwell where passion lives. He who does not know this, though he be a learned man and be praised by others as a sage, is beclouded with ignorance. To him who has this knowledge true wisdom dawns, and he will beware of hankering after pleasure. To acquire this state of mind, wisdom is the one thing needful. To neglect wisdom will lead to failure in life. The teachings of all religions should center here, for without wisdom there is no reason.
"This truth is not for the hermit alone; it concerns every human being, priest and layman alike. There is no distinction between the monk who has taken the vows, and the man of the world living with his family. There are hermits who fall into perdition, and there are humble householders who mount to the rank of rishis. Hankering after pleasure is a danger common to all; it carries away the world. He who is involved in its eddies finds no escape. But wisdom is the handy boat, reflection is the rudder. The slogan of religion calls you to overcome the assaults of Mara, the enemy.
"Since it is impossible to escape the result of our deeds, let us practice good works. Let us guard our thoughts that we do no evil, for as we sow so shall we reap. There are ways from light into darkness and from darkness into light. There are ways, also, from the gloom into deeper darkness, and from the dawn into brighter light. The wise man will use the light he has to receive more light. He will constantly advance in the knowledge of truth.
"Exhibit true superiority by virtuous conduct and the exercise of reason; meditate deeply on the vanity of earthly things, and understand the fickleness of life. Elevate the mind, and seek sincere faith with firm purpose; transgress not the rules of kingly conduct, and let your happiness depend, not upon external things, but upon your own mind. Thus you will lay up a good name for distant ages and will secure the favor of the Tathagata."
The king listened with reverence and remembered all the words of the Buddha in his heart.
THE THREE CHARACTERISTICS AND THE UNCREATED
WHEN the Buddha was staying at the Veluvana, the bamboo grove at Rajagaha, he addressed the brethren thus: "Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not arise, it remains a fact and the fixed and necessary constitution of being that all conformations are transitory. This fact a Buddha discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it, he announces, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely explains and makes it clear that all conformations are transitory.
"Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not arise, it remains a fact and a fixed and necessary constitution of being, that all conformations are suffering. This fact a Buddha discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it, he announces, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely explains and makes it clear that all conformations are suffering.
"Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not arise, it remains a fact and a fixed and necessary constitution of being, that all conformations are lacking a self. This fact a Buddha discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it, he announces, teaches, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely explains and makes it clear that all conformations are lacking a self."
And on another occasion the Blessed One dwelt at Savatthi in the Jetavana, the garden of Anathapindika. At that time the Blessed One edified, aroused, quickened and gladdened the monks with a religious discourse on the subject of Nirvana. And these monks grasping the meaning, thinking it out, and accepting with their hearts the whole doctrine, listened attentively. But there was one brother who had some doubt left in his heart. He arose and clasping his hands made the request: "May I be permitted to ask a question?" When permission was granted he spoke as follows:
"The Buddha teaches that all conformations are transient, that all conformations are subject to sorrow, that all conformations are lacking a self. How then can there be Nirvana, a state of eternal bliss?"'
And the Blessed One, this connection, on that occasion, breathed forth this solemn utterance: "There is, O monks, a state where there is neither earth, nor water, nor heat, nor air; neither infinity of space nor infinity of consciousness, nor nothingness, nor perception nor non-perception; neither this world nor that world, neither sun nor moon. It is the uncreate. That O monks, I term neither coming nor going nor standing; neither death nor birth. It is without stability, without change; it is the eternal which never originates and never passes away. There is the end of sorrow.
"It is hard to realize the essential, the truth is not easily perceived; desire is mastered by him who knows, and to him who sees aright all things are naught. There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. Since, O monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed."
THE BUDDHA'S FATHER
THE Buddha's name became famous over all India and Suddhodana, his father, sent word to him saying: "I am growing old and wish to see my son before I die. Others have had the benefit of his doctrine, but not his father nor his relatives." And the messenger said: "O world-honored Tathagata, thy father looks for thy coming as the lily longs for the rising of the sun."
The Blessed One consented to the request of his father and set out on his journey to Kapilavatthu. Soon the tidings spread in the native country of the Buddha: "Prince Siddhattha, who wandered forth from home into homelessness to obtain enlightenment, having attained his purpose, is coming back."
Suddhodana went out with his relatives and ministers to meet the prince. When the king saw Siddhattha, his son, from afar, he was struck with his beauty and dignity, and he rejoiced in his heart, but his mouth found no words to utter. This, indeed, was his son; these were the features of Siddhattha. How near was the great samana to his heart, and yet what a distance lay between them! That noble muni was no longer Siddhattha, his son; he was the Buddha, the Blessed One, the Holy One, Lord of truth, and teacher of mankind. Suddhodana the king, considering the religious dignity of his son, descended from his chariot and after saluting his son said: "It is now seven years since I have seen thee. How I have longed for this moment!"
Then the Sakyamuni took a seat opposite his father, and the king gazed eagerly at his son. He longed to call him by his name, but he dared not. "Siddhattha," he exclaimed silently in his heart, "Siddhattha, come back to thine aged father and be his son again!" But seeing the determination of his son, he suppressed his sentiments, and, desolation overcame him. Thus the king sat face to face with his son, rejoicing in his sadness and sad in his rejoicing. Well might he be proud of his son, but his pride broke down at the idea that his great son would never be his heir.
"I would offer thee my kingdom," said, the king, "but if I did, thou wouldst account it but as ashes."
And the Buddha said: "I know that the king's heart is full of love and that for his son's sake he feels deep grief. But let the ties of love that bind him to the son whom he lost embrace with equal kindness all his fellow-beings, and he will receive in his place a greater one than Siddhattha; he will receive the Buddha, the teacher of truth, the preacher of righteousness, and the peace of Nirvana will enter into his heart."
Suddhodana trembled with joy when he heard the melodious words of his son, the Buddha, and clasping his hands, exclaimed with tears in his eyes: "Wonderful in this change! The overwhelming sorrow has passed away. At first my sorrowing heart was heavy, but now I reap the fruit of thy great renunciation. It was right that, moved by thy mighty sympathy, thou shouldst reject the pleasures of royal power and achieve thy noble purpose in religious devotion. Now that thou hast found the path, thou canst preach the law of immortality to all the world that yearns for deliverance." The king returned to the palace, while the Buddha remained in the grove before the city.
YASODHARA, THE FORMER WIFE
ON next morning the Buddha took his bowl and set out to beg his food. And the news spread abroad: "Prince Siddhattha is going from house to house to receive alms in the city where he used to ride in a chariot attended by his retinue. His robe is like a red clod, and he holds in his hand an earthen bowl."
On hearing the strange rumor, the king went forth in great haste and when he met his son he exclaimed: "Why dost thou thus disgrace me? Knowest thou not that I can easily supply thee and thy bhikkhus with food?" And the Buddha replied: "It is the custom of my race."
But the king said: "how can this be? Thou art descended from kings, and not one of them ever begged for food."
"O great king," rejoined the Buddha thou and thy race may claim descent from kings; my descent is from the Buddhas of old. They, begging their food, lived on alms." The king made no reply, and the Blessed One continued: "It is customary, O king, when one has found a hidden treasure, for him to make an offering of the most precious jewel to his father. Suffer me, therefore, to open this treasure of mine which is the Dharma, and accept from me this gem": And the Blessed One recited the following stanza:
"Arise from dreams and delusions,
Awaken with open mind.
Seek only Truth. Where you find it,
Peace also you will find."
Then the king conducted the prince into the palace, and the ministers and all the members of the royal family greeted him with great reverence, but Yasodhara, the mother of Rahula, did not make her appearance. The king sent for Yasodhara, but she replied: "Surely, if I am deserving of any regard, Siddhattha will come and see me."
The Blessed One, having greeted all his relatives and friends, asked: "Where is Yasodhara?" And on being informed that she had refused to come, he rose straightway and went to her apartments.
"I am free, the Blessed One said to his disciples, Sari putta and Moggallana, whom he had bidden to accompany him to the princess's chamber; "the princess, however, is not as yet free. Not having seen me for a long time, she is exceedingly sorrowful. Unless her grief be allowed its course her heart will cleave. Should she touch the Tathagata, the Holy One, ye must not prevent her."
Yasodhara sat in her room, dressed in mean garments, and her hair cut. When Prince Siddhattha entered, she was, from the abundance of her affection, like an overflowing vessel, unable to contain her love. Forgetting that the man whom she loved was the Buddha, the Lord of the world, the preacher of truth, she held him by his feet and wept bitterly.
Remembering, however, that Suddhodana was present, she felt ashamed, and rising, seated herself reverently at a little distance.
The king apologized for the princess, saying: "This arises from her deep affection, and is more than a temporary emotion. During the seven years that she has lost her husband, when she heard that Siddhattha had shaved his head, she did likewise; when she heard that he had left off the use of perfumes and ornaments, she also refused their use. Like her husband she had eaten at appointed times from an earthen bowl only. Like him she had renounced high beds with splendid coverings, and when other princes asked her in marriage, she replied that she was still his. Therefore, grant her forgiveness."
And the Blessed One spoke kindly to Yasodhara, telling of her great merits inherited from former lives. She had indeed been again and again of great assistance to him. Her purity, her gentleness, her devotion had been invaluable to the Bodhisattva when he aspired to attain enlightenment, the highest aim of mankind. And so holy had she been that she desired to become the wife of a Buddha. This, then, is her karma, and it is the result of great merits. Her grief has been unspeakable, but the consciousness of the glory that surrounds her spiritual inheritance increased by her noble attitude during her life, will be a balm that will miraculously transform all sorrows into heavenly joy.
RAHULA, THE SON
MANY people in Kapilavatthu believed in the Tathagata and took refuge in his doctrine, among them Nanda Sidhattha's half-brother, the son of Pajapati; Devadatta, his cousin and brother-in-law; Upali the barber; and Anuruddha the philosopher. Some years later Ananda, another cousin of the Blessed One, also joined the Sangha.
Ananda was a man after the heart of the Blessed One; he was his most beloved disciple, profound in comprehension and gentle in spirit. And Ananda remained always near the Blessed Master of truth, until death parted them.
On the seventh day after the Buddha's arrival in Kapilavatthu, Yasodhara dressed Rahula, now seven years old, in all the splendor of a prince and said to him: "This holy man, whose appearance is so glorious that he looks like the great Brahma, is thy father. He possesses four great mines of wealth which I have not yet seen. Go to him and entreat him to put thee in possession of them, for the son ought to inherit the property of his father."
Rahula replied: "I know of no father but the king. Who is my father?" The princess took the boy in her arms and from the window she pointed out to him the Buddha, who happened to be near the palace, partaking of food.
Rahula then went to the Buddha, and looking up into his face said without fear and with much affection: "My father!" And standing near him, he added: "O samana, even thy shadow is a place of bliss!"
When the Tathagata had finished his repast, he gave blessings and went away from the palace, but Rahula followed and asked his father for his inheritance. No one prevented the boy, nor did the Blessed One himself.
Then the Blessed One turned to Sariputta, saying: "My son asks for his inheritance. I cannot give him perishable treasures that will bring cares and sorrows, but I can give him the inheritance of a holy life, which is a treasure that will not perish."
Addressing Rahula with earnestness, the Blessed One said: "Gold and silver and jewels are not in my possession. But if thou art willing to receive spiritual treasures, and art strong enough to carry them and to keep them, I shall give thee the four truths which will teach thee the eightfold path of righteousness. Dost thou desire to be admitted to the brotherhood of those who devote their life to the culture of the heart seeking for the highest bliss attainable?"
Rahula replied with firmness: "I do. I want to join the brotherhood of the Buddha."
When the king heard that Rahula had joined the brotherhood of bhikkhus he was grieved. He had lost Siddhattha and Nanda, his sons, and Devadatta, his nephew. But now that his grandson had been taken from him, he went to the Blessed One and spoke to him. And the Blessed One promised that from that time forward he would not ordain any minor without the consent of his parents or guardians.
LONG before the Blessed One had attained enlightenment, self-mortification had been the custom among those who earnestly sought for salvation. Deliverance of the soul from all the necessities of life and finally from the body itself, they regarded as the aim of religion. Thus, they avoided everything that might be a luxury in food, shelter, and clothing, and lived like the beasts in the woods. Some went naked, while others wore the rags cast away upon cemeteries or dung-heaps.
When the Blessed One retired from the world, he recognized at once the error of the naked ascetics, and, considering the indecency of their habit, clad himself in cast-off rags.
Having attained enlightenment and rejected all unnecessary self-mortifications, the Blessed One and his bhikkhus continued for a long time to wear the cast-off rags of cemeteries and dung-heaps. Then it happened that the bhikkhus were visited with diseases of all kinds, and the Blessed One permitted and explicitly ordered the use of medicines, and among them he even enjoined, whenever needed, the use of unguents. One of the brethren suffered from a sore on his foot, and the Blessed One enjoined the bhikkhus to wear foot-coverings.
Now it happened that a disease befell the body of the Blessed One himself, and Ananda went to Jivaka, physician to Bimbisara, the king. And Jivaka, a faithful believer in the Holy One, ministered unto the Blessed One with medicines and baths until the body of the Blessed One was completely restored.
At that time, Pajjota, king of Ujjeni, was suffering from jaundice, and Jivaka, the physician to king Bimbisara, was consulted. When King Pajjota had been restored to health, he sent to Jivaka a suit of the most excellent cloth. And Jivaka said to himself: "This suit is made of the best cloth, and nobody is worthy to receive it but the Blessed One, the perfect and holy Buddha, or the Magadha king, Senija Bimbisara."
Then Jivaka took that suit and went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, and having respectfully saluted the Blessed One, he sat down near him and said: "Lord, I have a boon to ask of the Blessed One." The Buddha replied: "The Tathagatas, Jivaka, do not grant boons before they know what they are."
Jivaka said: "Lord, it is a proper and unobjectionable request."
"Speak, Jivaka, said the Blessed One.
"Lord of the world, the Blessed One wears only robes made of rags taken from a dung-heap or a cemetery, and so also does the brotherhood of bhikkhus. Now, Lord, this suit has been sent to me by King Pajjota, which is the best and most excellent, and the finest and the most precious, and the noblest that can be found. Lord of the world, may the Blessed One accept from me this suit, and may he allow the brotherhood of bhikkhus to wear lay robes."
The Blessed One accepted the suit, and after having delivered a religious discourse, he addressed the bhikkhus thus: "Henceforth ye shall be at liberty to wear either cast-off rags or lay robes. Whether ye are pleased with the one or with the other, I will approve of it."
When the people at Rajagaha heard, The Blessed One has allowed the bhikkhus to wear lay robes, those who were willing to bestow gifts became glad. And in one day many thousands of robes were presented at Rajagaha to the bhikkhus.
SUDDHODANA ATTAINS NIRVANA
WHEN Suddhodana had grown old, he fell sick and sent for his son to come and see him once more before he died; and the Blessed One came and stayed at the sick-bed, and Suddhodana, having attained perfect enlightenment, died in the arms of the Blessed One.
And it is said that the Blessed One, for the sake of preaching to his mother Maya-devi, ascended to heaven and dwelt with the devas. Having concluded his pious mission, he returned to the earth and went about again, converting those who listened to his teachings.
WOMEN IN THE SANGHA
YASODHARA had three times requested of the Buddha that she might be admitted to the Sangha, but her wish had not been granted. Now Pajapati, the foster-mother of the Blessed One, in the company of Yasodhara, and many other women, went to the Tathagata entreating him earnestly to let them take the vows and be ordained as disciples.
The Blessed One, foreseeing the danger that lurked in admitting women to the Sangha, protested that while the good religion ought surely to last a thousand years it would, when women joined it, likely decay after five hundred years; but observing the zeal of Pajapati and Yasodhara for leading a religious life he could no longer resist and assented to have them admitted as his disciples.
Then the venerable Ananda addressed the Blessed One thus: "Are women competent, venerable Lord, if they retire from household life to the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to a release from a wearisome repetition of rebirths, to attain to saintship?" The Blessed One declared: "Women are competent, Ananda, if they retire from household life to the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to a release from a wearisome repetition of rebirths, to attain to saintship.
"Consider, Ananda, how great a benefactress Pajapati has been. She is the sister of the mother of the Blessed One, and as foster-mother and nurse, reared the Blessed One after the death of his mother. So, Ananda, women may retire from household life to the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata."
Pajapati was the first woman to become a disciple of the Buddha and to receive the ordination as a bhikkhuni.
ON CONDUCT TOWARD WOMEN
THE bhikkhus came to the Blessed One and asked him: "O Tathagata, our Lord and Master, what conduct toward women dost thou prescribe to the samanas who have left the world?"
The Blessed One said: "Guard against looking on a woman. If ye see a woman, let it be as though ye saw her not, and have no conversation with her. If, after all, ye must speak with her, let it be with a pure heart, and think to yourself, 'I as a samana will live in this sinful world as the spotless leaf of the lotus, unsoiled by the mud in which it grows.'
"If the woman be old, regard her as your mother, if young, as your sister, if very young, as your child. The samana who looks on a woman as a woman, or touches her as a woman, has broken his vow and is no longer a disciple of the Tathagata. The power of lust is great with men, and is to be feared withal; take then the bow of earnest perseverance, and the sharp arrow-points of wisdom. Cover your heads with the helmet of right thought, and fight with fixed resolve against the five desires. Lust beclouds a man's heart, when it is confused with woman's beauty, and the mind is dazed.
"Better far with red-hot irons bore out both your eyes, than encourage in yourself sensual thoughts, or look upon a woman's form with lustful desires. Better fall into the fierce tiger's mouth, or under the sharp knife of the executioner, than dwell with a woman and excite in yourself lustful thoughts.
"A woman of the world is anxious to exhibit her form and shape, whether walking, standing, sitting, or sleeping. Even when represented as a picture, she desires to captivate with the charms of her beauty, and thus to rob men of their steadfast heart. How then ought ye to guard yourselves? By regarding her tears and her smiles as enemies, her stooping form, her hanging arms, and her disentangled hair as toils designed to entrap man's heart. Therefore, I say, restrain the heart, give it no unbridled license."
VISAKHA AND HER GIFTS
VISAKHA, a wealthy woman in Savatthi who had many children and grandchildren, had given to the order the Pubbarama or Eastern Garden, and was the first in Northern Kosala to become a matron of the lay sisters.
When the Blessed One stayed at Savatthi, Visakha went up to the place where the Blessed One was, and tendered him an invitation to take his meal at her house, which the Blessed One accepted. And a heavy rain fell during the night and the next morning; and the bhikkhus doffed their robes to keep them dry and let the rain fall upon their bodies.
When on the next day the Blessed One had finished his meal, she took her seat at his side and spoke thus: "Eight are the boons, Lord, which I beg of the Blessed One."
Said the Blessed One: "The Tathagatas, O Visakha, grant no boons until they know what they are." Visakha replied: "Befitting, Lord, and unobjectionable are the boons I ask."
Having received permission to make known her requests, Visakha said: "I desire, Lord, through all my life long to bestow robes for the rainy season on the Sangha, and food for incoming bhikkhus, and food for outgoing bhikkhus, and food for the sick, and food for those who wait upon the sick, and medicine for the sick and a constant supply of rice milk for the Sangha, and bathing robes for the bhikkhunis, the sisters." Said the Buddha: "But what circumstance is it, O Visakha, that thou hast in view in asking these eight boons of the Tathagata?"
Visakha replied: "I gave command, Lord, to my maidservant, saying, 'Go, and announce to the brotherhood that the meal is ready.' And the maid went, but when she came to the vihara, she observed that the bhikkhus had doffed their robes while it was raining, and she thought: 'These are not bhikkhus, but naked ascetics letting the rain fall on them. So she returned to me and reported accordingly, and I had to send her a second time. Impure, Lord, is nakedness, and revolting. It was this circumstance, Lord, that I had in view in desiring to provide the Sangha my life long with special garments for use in the rainy season.
"As to my second wish, Lord, an incoming bhikkhu, not being able to take the direct roads, and not knowing the place where food can be procured, comes on his way tired out by seeking for alms. It was this circumstance, Lord, that I had in view in desiring to provide the Sangha my life long with food for incoming bhikkhus. Thirdly, Lord, an outgoing bhikkhu, while seeking about for alms, may be left behind, or may arrive too late at the place whither he desires to go, and will set out on the road in weariness.
"Fourthly, Lord, if a sick bhikkhu does not obtain suitable food, his sickness may increase upon him, and he may die. Fifthly, Lord, a bhikkhu who is waiting upon the sick will lose his opportunity of going out to seek food for himself. Sixthly, Lord, if a sick bhikkhu does not obtain suitable medicines, his sickness may increase upon him, and he may die.
"Seventhly, Lord, I have heard that the Blessed One has praised rice-milk, because it gives readiness of mind, dispels hunger and thirst; it is wholesome for the healthy as nourishment, and for the sick as a medicine. Therefore I desire to provide the Sangha my life long with a constant supply of rice-milk.
"Finally, Lord, the bhikkhunis are in the habit of bathing in the river Achiravati with the courtesans, at the same landing-place, and naked. And the courtesans, Lord, ridicule the bhikkhunis, saying, 'What is the good, ladies, of your maintaining chastity when you are young? When you are old, maintain chastity then; thus will you obtain both worldly pleasure and religious consolation.' Impure, Lord, is nakedness for a woman, disgusting, and revolting. These are the circumstances, Lord, that I had in view."
The Blessed One said: "But what was the advantage you had in view for yourself, O Visakha, in asking the eight boons of the Tathagatha?"
Visakha replied: "Bhikkhus who have spent the rainy seasons in various places will come, Lord, to Savatthi to visit the Blessed One. And on coming to the Blessed One they will ask, saying: 'Such and such a bhikkhu, Lord, has died. What, now, is his destiny?' Then will the Blessed One explain that he has attained the fruits of conversion; that he has attained arahatship or has entered Nirvana, as the case may be.
"And I, going up to them, will ask, "Was that brother, Sirs, one of those who had formerly been at Savatthi?' If reply to me, He has formerly been at Savatthi then shall I arrive at the conclusion, For a certainty did that brother enjoy either the robes for the rainy season, or the food for the incoming bhikkhus, or the food for the outgoing bhikkhus, or the food for the sick, or the food for those that wait upon the sick, or the medicine for the sick, or the constant supply of rice-milk.'
"Then will gladness spring up within me; thus gladdened, joy will come to me; and so rejoicing all my mind will be at peace. Being thus at peace I shall experience a blissful feeling of content; and in that bliss my heart will be at rest. That will be to me an exercise of my moral sense, an exercise of my moral powers, an exercise of the seven kinds of wisdom! This Lord, was the advantage I had in view for myself in asking those eight boons of the Blessed One."
The Blessed One said: "It is well, it is well, Visakha. Thou hast done well in asking these eight boons of the Tathagata with such advantages in view. Charity bestowed upon those who are worthy of it is like good seed sown on a good soil that yields an abundance of fruits. But alms given to those who are yet under the tyrannical yoke of the passions are like seed deposited in a bad soil. The passions of the receiver of the alms choke, as it were, the growth of merits." And the Blessed One gave this thanks to Visakha:
"O noble woman of an upright life,
Disciple of the Blessed One, thou givest
Unstintedly in purity of heart.
"Thou spreadest joy, assuagest pain,
And verily thy gift will be a blessing
As well to many others as to thee."
THE UPOSATHA AND PATIMOKKHA
WHEN Seniya Bimbisara, the king of Magadha, was advanced in years, he retired from the world and led a religious life. He observed that there were Brahmanical sects in Rajagaha keeping sacred certain days, and the people went to their meeting-houses and listened to their sermons. Concerning the need of keeping regular days for retirement from worldly labors and religious instruction, the king went to the Blessed One and said: "The Parivrajaka, who belong. to the Titthiya school, prosper and gain adherents because they keep the eighth day and also the fourteenth or fifteenth day of each half-month. Would it not be advisable for the reverend brethren of the Sangha also to assemble on days duly appointed for that purpose?"
The Blessed One commanded the bhikkhus to assemble on the eighth day and also on the fourteenth or fifteenth day of each half-month, and to devote these days to religious exercises.
A bhikkhu duly appointed should address the congregation and expound the Dharma. He should exhort the people to walk in the eightfold path of righteousness; he should comfort them in the vicissitudes of life and gladden them with the bliss of the fruit of good deeds. Thus the brethren should keep the Uposatha. Now the bhikkhus, in obedience to the rule laid down by the Blessed One, assembled in the vihara on the day appointed, and the people went to hear the Dharma, but they were greatly disappointed, for the bhikkhus remained silent and delivered no discourse.
When the Blessed One heard of it, he ordered the bhikkhus to recite the Patimokkha, which is a ceremony of disburdening the conscience; and he commanded them to make confession of their trespasses so as to receive the absolution of the order. A fault, if there be one, should be confessed by the bhikkhu who remembers it and desires to be cleansed, for a fault, when confessed, shall be light on him.
And the Blessed One said: "The Patimokkha must be recited in this way: Let a competent and venerable bhikkhu make the following proclamation to the Sangha: "May the Sangha hear me Today is Uposatha, the eighth, or the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the half-month. If the Sangha is ready, let the Sangha hold the Uposatha service and recite the Patimokkha. I will recite the Patimokkha.' And the bhikkhus shall reply: 'We hear it well and we concentrate well our minds on it, all of us.' Then the officiating bhikkhu shall continue: 'Let him who has committed an offense confess it; if there be no offense, let all remain silent; from your being silent I shall understand that the reverend brethren are free from offenses. As a single person who has been asked a question answers it, so also, if before an assembly like this a question is solemnly proclaimed three times, an answer is expected: if a bhikkhu, after a threefold proclamation, does not confess an existing offense which he remembers, he commits an intentional falsehood. Now, reverend brethren, an intentional falsehood has been declared an impediment by the Blessed One. Therefore, if an offense has been committed by a bhikkhu who remembers it and desires to become pure, the offense should be confessed by the bhikkhu; and when it has been confessed, it is treated duly.'"
WHILE the Blessed One dwelt at Kosambi, a certain bhikkhu was accused of having committed an offense, and, as he refused to acknowledge it, the brotherhood pronounced against him the sentence of expulsion.
Now, that bhikkhu was erudite. He knew the Dharma, had studied the rules of the order, and was wise, learned, intelligent, modest, conscientious, and ready to submit himself to discipline. And he went to his companions and friends among the bhikkhus, saying: "This is no offense, friends; this is no reason for a sentence of expulsion. I am not guilty. The verdict improper and invalid. Therefore I consider myself still as a member of the order. May the venerable brethren assist me in maintaining my right."
Those who sided with the expelled brother went to the bhikkhus who had pronounced the sentence, saying: "This is no offense"; while the bhikkhus who had pronounced the sentence replied: "This is an offense." Thus altercations and quarrels arose, and the Sangha was divided into two parties, reviling and slandering each other.
All these happenings were reported to the Blessed One. Then the Blessed One went to the place where the bhikkhus were who had pronounced the sentence of expulsion, and said to them: "Do not think, O bhikkhus, that you are to pronounce expulsion against a bhikkhu, whatever be the facts of the case, simply by saying: 'It occurs to us that it is so, and therefore we are pleased to proceed thus against our brother.' Let those bhikkhus who frivolously pronounce a sentence against a brother who knows the Dharma and the rules of the order, who is learned, wise, intelligent, modest, conscientious, and ready to submit himself to discipline, stand in awe of causing divisions. They must not pronounce a sentence of expulsion against a brother merely because he refuses to see his offense."
Then the Blessed One rose and went to the brethren who sided with the expelled brother and said to them: "Do not think, O bhikkhus, that if you have given offense you need not atone for it, thinking: 'We are without offense.' When a bhikkhu has committed an offense, which he considers no offense while the brotherhood consider him guilty, he should think: 'These brethren know the Dharma and the rules of the order; they are learned, wise, intelligent, modest, conscientious, and ready to submit themselves to discipline; it is impossible that they should on my account act with selfishness or in malice or in delusion or in fear.' Let him stand in awe of causing divisions, and rather acknowledge his offense on the authority of his brethren."
Both parties continued to keep Uposatha and perform official acts independently of one another; and when their doings were related to the Blessed One, he ruled that the keeping of Uposatha and the performance of official acts were lawful, unobjectionable, and valid for both parties. For he said: "The bhikkhus who side with the expelled brother form a different communion from those who pronounced the sentence. There are venerable brethren in both parties. As they do not agree, let them keep Uposatha and perform official acts separately."
And the Blessed One reprimanded the quarrelsome bhikkhus, saying to them: "Loud is the voice which worldings make; but how can they be blamed when divisions arise also in the Sangha? Hatred is not appeased in those who think: 'He has reviled me, he has wronged me, he has injured me.' For not by hatred is hatred appeased. Hatred is appeased by not-hatred. This is an eternal law.
"There are some who do not know the need of self-restraint; if they are quarrelsome we may excuse their behavior. But those who know better, should learn to live in concord. If a man finds a wise friend who lives righteously and is constant in his character, he may live with him, overcoming all dangers, happy and mindful.
"But if he finds not a friend who lives righteously and is constant in his character, let him rather walk alone, like a king who leaves his empire and the cares of government behind him to lead a life of retirement like a lonely elephant in the forest. With fools there is no companionship. Rather than to live with men who are selfish, vain, quarrelsome, and obstinate let a man walk alone."
And the Blessed One thought to himself: "It is no easy task to instruct these headstrong and infatuate fools." And he rose from his seat and went away.
THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF CONCORD
WHILST the dispute between the parties was not yet settled, the Blessed One left Kosambi, and wandering from place to place he came at last to Savatthi. In the absence of the Blessed One the quarrels grew worse, so that the lay devotees of Kosambi became annoyed and they said: "These quarrelsome monks are a great nuisance and will bring upon us misfortune. Worried by their altercations the Blessed One is gone, and has selected another abode for his residence. Let us, therefore, neither salute the bhikkhus nor support them. They are not worthy of wearing yellow robes, and must either propitiate the Blessed One, or return to the world."
And the bhikkhus of Kosambi, when no longer honored and no longer supported by the lay devotees, began to repent and said: "Let us go to the Blessed One and let him settle the question of our disagreement." Both parties went to Savatthi to the Blessed One. And the venerable Sariputta, having heard of their arrival, addressed the Blessed One and said: "These contentious, disputatious, and quarrelsome bhikkhus of Kosambi, the authors of dissensions, have come to Savatthi. How am I to behave, O Lord, toward those bhikkhus."
"Do not reprove them, Sariputta, said the Blessed One, "For harsh words do not serve as a remedy and are pleasant to no one. Assign separate dwelling-places to each party and treat them with impartial justice. Listen with patience to both parties. He alone who weighs both sides is called a muni. When both parties have presented their case, let the Sangha come to an agreement and declare the re-establishment of concord."
Pajapati, the matron, asked the Blessed One for advice, and the Blessed One said: "Let both parties enjoy the gifts of lay members, be they robes or food, as they may need, and let no one receive preference over any other."
The venerable Upali, having approached the Blessed One, asked concerning the re-establishment of peace in the Sangha: "Would it be right, O Lord, said he, that the Sangha, to avoid further disputations, should declare the restoration of concord without inquiring into the matter of the quarrel?"
The Blessed One said: "If the Sangha declares the reestablishment of concord without having inquired into the matter, the declaration is neither right nor lawful. There are two ways of re-establishing concord; one is in the letter, and the other one is in the spirit and in the letter.
"If the Sangha declares the re-establishment of concord without having inquired into the matter, the peace is concluded in the letter only. But if the Sangha, having inquired into the matter and having gone to the bottom of it, decides to declare the re-establishment of concord, the peace is concluded in the spirit and also in the letter. The concord re-established in the spirit and in the letter is alone right and lawful."
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus and told them the story of Prince Dighavu, the Long-lived. He said: "In former times, there lived at Benares a powerful king whose name was Brahmadatta of Kasi; and he went to war against Dighiti, the Long-suffering, a king of Kosala, for he thought, The kingdom of Kosala is small and Dighiti will not be able to resist my armies." And Dighiti, seeing that resistance was impossible against the great host of the king of Kasi, fled leaving his little kingdom in the hands of Brahmadatta; and having wandered from place to place, he came at last to Benares, and lived there with his consort in a potter's dwelling outside the town.
"The queen bore him a son and they called him Dighavu. When Dighavu had grown up, the king thought to himself: 'King Brahmadatta has done us great harm, and he is fearing our revenge; he will seek to kill us. Should he find us he will slay all three of us.' And he sent his son away, and Dighavu having received a good education from his father, applied himself diligently to learn all arts, becoming very skillful and wise.
"At that time the barber of King Dighiti dwelt at Benares, and he saw the king, his former master, and being of an avaricious nature, betrayed him to King Brahmadatta. When Brahmadatta, the king of Kasi, heard that the fugitive king of Kosala and his queen, unknown and in disguise, were living a quiet life in a potter's dwelling, he ordered them to be bound and executed; and the sheriff to whom the order was given seized King Dighiti and led him to the place of execution.
"While the captive king was being led through the streets of Benares he saw his son who had returned to visit his parents, and, careful not to betray the presence of his son, yet anxious to communicate to him his last advice, he cried: 'O Dighavu, my son! Be not far-sighted, be not near-sighted, for not by hatred is hatred appeased; hatred is appeased by not-hatred only.'
"The king and queen of Kosala were executed, but Dighavu their son bought strong wine and made the guards drunk. When the night arrived he laid the bodies of his parents upon a funeral pyre and burned them with all honors and religious rites. When King Brahmadatta heard of it, he became afraid, for he thought, Dighavu, the son of King Dighiti, is a wise youth and he will take revenge for the death of his parents. If he espies a favorable opportunity, he will assassinate me.'
"Young Dighavu went to the forest and wept to his heart's content. Then he wiped his tears and returned to Benares. Hearing that assistants were wanted in the royal elephants' stable, he offered his services and was engaged by the master of the elephants. And it happened that the king heard a sweet voice ringing through the night and singing to the lute a beautiful song that gladdened his heart. And having inquired among his attendants who the singer might be, was told that the master of the elephants had in his service a young man of great accomplishments, and beloved by all his comrades. They said He is wont to sing to the lute, and he must have been the singer that gladdened the heart of the king.'
"The king summoned the young man before him and, being much pleased with Dighavu, gave him employment in the royal castle. Observing how wisely the youth acted, how modest he was and yet punctilious in the performance of his work, the king very soon gave him a position of trust. Now it came to pass that the king went hunting and became separated from his retinue, young Dighavu alone remaining with him. And the king worn out from the hunt laid his head in the lap of young Dighavu and slept.
"Dighavu thought: 'People will forgive great wrongs which they have suffered, but they will never be at ease about the wrong which they themselves have done. They will persecute their victims to the bitter end. This King Brahmadatta has done us great injury; he robbed us of our kingdom and slew my father and my mother. He is now in my power. Thinking thus he unsheathed his sword. Then Dighavu thought of the last words of his father. 'Be not far-sighted, be not near-sighted. For not by hatred is hatred appeased. Hatred is appeased by not-hatred alone.-Thinking thus, he put his sword back into the sheath.
"The king became restless in his sleep and he awoke, and when the youth asked, 'Why art thou frightened, O king?' he replied: 'My sleep is always restless because I often dream that young Dighavu is coming upon me with his sword. While I lay here with my head in thy lap I dreamed the dreadful dream again; and I awoke full of terror and alarm.' Then the youth, laying his left hand upon the defenseless king's head and with his right hand drawing his sword, said: 'I am Dighavu, the son of King Dighiti, whom thou hast robbed of his kingdom and slain together with his queen, my mother. I know that men overcome the hatred entertained for wrongs which they have suffered much more easily than for the wrongs which they have done, and so I cannot expect that thou wilt take pity on me; but now a chance for revenge has come to me.
"The king seeing that he was at the mercy of young Dighavu raised his hands and said: 'Grant me my life, my dear Dighavu, grant me my life. I shall be forever grateful to thee.' And Dighavu said without bitterness or ill-will: 'How can I grant thee thy life, O king, since my life is endangered by thee? I do not mean to take thy life. It is thou, O king, who must grant me my life."
"And the king said: 'Well, my dear Dighavu, then grant me my life, and I will grant thee thine.' Thus, King Brahmadatta of Kasi and young Dighavu granted each other's life and took each other's hand and swore an oath not to do any harm to each other.
"Then King Brahmadatta of Kasi said to young Dighavu: 'Why did thy father say to thee in the hour of his death: "Be not far-sighted, be not near-sighted, for hatred is not appeased by hatred. Hatred is appeased by not-hatred alone,"-what did thy father mean by that?'
"The youth replied: 'When my father, O king, in the hour of his death said: 'Be not far-sighted," he meant, Let 'Be not hatred go far. And when my father said near-sighted," he meant, be not hasty to fall out with thy friends. And when he said For not by hatred is hatred appeased; hatred is appeased by not-hatred, he meant this: Thou hast killed my father and mother, O king, and if I should deprive thee of thy life, then thy partisans in turn would take away my life; my partisans again would deprive thine of their lives. Thus by hatred, hatred would not be appeased. But now, O king, thou hast granted me my life, and I have granted thee thine; thus by not-hatred hatred has been appeased.'
"Then King Brahmadatta of Kasi thought: 'How wise is young Dighavu that he understands in its full extent the meaning of what his father spoke concisely.' And the king gave him back his father's kingdom and gave him his daughter in marriage."
Having finished the story, the Blessed One said: "Brethren, ye are my lawful sons in the faith, begotten by the words of my mouth. Children ought not to trample under foot the counsel given them by their father; do ye henceforth follow my admonitions. Then the bhikkhus met in conference; they discussed their differences in mutual good will, and the concord of the Sangha was re-established.
THE BHIKKHUS REBUKED
IT happened that the Blessed One walked up and down in the open air unshod. When the elders saw that the Blessed One walked unshod, they put away their shoes and did likewise. But the novices did not heed the example of their elders and kept their feet covered.
Some of the brethren noticed the irreverent behavior of the novices and told the Blessed One; and the Blessed One rebuked the novices and said: "If the brethren, even now, while I am yet living, show so little respect and courtesy to one another, what will they do when I have passed away?"
The Blessed One was filled with anxiety for the welfare of the truth; and he continued: "Even the laymen, O bhikkhus, who move in the world, pursuing some handicraft that they may procure them a living, will be respectful, affectionate, and hospitable to their teachers. Do ye, therefore, O bhikkhus, so let your light shine forth, that ye, having left the world and devoted your entire life to religion and to religious discipline, may observe the rules of decency, be respectful, affectionate, and hospitable to your teachers and superiors, or those who rank as your teachers and superiors. Your demeanor, O bhikkhus, does not conduce to the conversion of the unconverted and to the increase of the number of the faithful. It serves, O bhikkhus, to repel the unconverted and to estrange them. I exhort you to be more considerate in the future, more thoughtful and more respectful."
THE JEALOUSY OF DEVADATTA
WHEN Devadatta, the son of Suprabuddha and a brother of Yasodhara, became a disciple, he cherished the hope of attaining the same distinctions and honors as Gotama Siddhattha. Being disappointed in his ambitions, he conceived in his heart a jealous hatred, and, attempting to excel the Perfect One in virtue, he found fault with his regulations and reproved them as too lenient.
Devadatta went to Rajagaha and gained the ear of Ajatasattu, the son of King Bimbisara. And Ajatasattu built a new vihara for Devadatta, and founded a sect whose disciples were pledged to severe rules and self-mortification.
Soon afterwards the Blessed One himself came to Rajagaha and stayed at the Veluvana vihara. Devadatta called on the Blessed One, requesting him to sanction his rules of greater stringency, by which a greater holiness might be procured. "The body," he said, consists of its thirty-two parts and has no divine attributes. It is conceived in sin and born in corruption. Its attributes are liability to pain and dissolution, for it is impermanent. It is the receptacle of karma which is the curse of our former existences; it is the dwelling place of sin and diseases and its organs constantly discharge disgusting secretions. Its end is death and its goal the charnel house. Such being the condition of the body it behooves us to treat it as a carcass full of abomination and to clothe it in such rags only as have been gathered in cemeteries or upon dung-hills."
The Blessed One said: "Truly, the body is full of impurity and its end is the charnel house, for it is impermanent and destined to be dissolved into its elements. But being the receptacle of karma, it lies in our power to make it a vessel of truth and not of evil. It is not good to indulge in the pleasures of the body, but neither is it good to neglect our bodily needs and to heap filth upon impurities. The lamp that is not cleansed and not filled with oil will be extinguished, and a body that is unkempt, unwashed, and weakened by penance will not be a fit receptacle for the light of truth. Attend to your body and its needs as you would treat a wound which you care for without loving it. Severe rules will not lead the disciples on the middle path which I have taught. Certainly, no one can be prevented from keeping more stringent rules, if he sees fit to do so but they should not be imposed upon any one, for they are unnecessary."
Thus the Tathagata refused Devadatta's proposal; and Devadatta left the Buddha and went into the vihara speaking evil of the Lord's path of salvation as too lenient and altogether insufficient. When the Blessed One heard of Devadatta's intrigues, he said: "Among men there is no one who is not blamed. People blame him who sits silent and him who speaks, they also blame the man who preaches the middle path."
Devadatta instigated Ajatasattu to plot against his father Bimbisara, the king, so that the prince would no longer be subject to him. Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son in a tower, where he died, leaving the kingdom of Magadha to his son Ajatasattu.
The new king listened to the evil advice of Devadatta, and he gave orders to take the life of the Tathagata. However, the murderers sent out to kill the Lord could not perform their wicked deed, and became converted as soon as they saw him and listened to his preaching. The rock hurled down from a precipice upon the great Master split in twain, and the two pieces passed by on either side without doing any harm. Nalagiri, the wild elephant let loose to destroy the Lord, became gentle in his presence; and Ajatasattu, suffering greatly from the pangs of his conscience, went to the Blessed One and sought peace in his distress.
The Blessed One received Ajatasattu kindly and taught him the way of salvation; but Devadatta still tried to become the founder of a religious school of his own. Devadatta did not succeed in his plans and having been abandoned by many of his disciples, he fell sick, and then repented. He entreated those who had remained with him to carry his litter to the Buddha, saying: "Take me, children, take me to him; though I have done evil to him, I am his brother-in-law. For the sake of our relationship the Buddha will save me." And they obeyed, although reluctantly.
And Devadatta in his impatience to see the Blessed One rose from his litter while his carriers were washing their hands. But his feet burned under him; he sank to the ground; and, having chanted a hymn on the Buddha, died.
NAME AND FORM
ON one occasion the Blessed One entered the assembly hall and the brethren hushed their conversation. When they had greeted him with clasped hands, they sat down and became composed. Then the Blessed One said: "Your minds are inflamed with intense interest; what was the topic of your discussion?"
And Sariputta rose and spake: "World-honored master, were the nature of man's own existence. We were trying to grasp the mixture of our own being which is called Name and Form. Every human being consists of conformations, and there are three groups which are not corporeal. They are sensation, perception, and the dispositions; all three constitute consciousness and mind, being comprised under the term Name. And there are four elements, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the gaseous element, and these four elements constitute man's bodily form, being held together so that this machine moves like a puppet. How does this name and form endure and how can it live?"
Said the Blessed One: "Life is instantaneous and living is dying. Just as a chariot-wheel in rolling rolls only at one point of the tire, and in resting rests only at one point; in exactly the same way, the life of a living being lasts only for the period of one thought. As soon as that thought has ceased the being is said to have ceased. As it has been said: 'The being of a past moment of thought has lived, but does not live, nor will it live. The being of a future moment of thought will live, but has not lived, nor does it live. The being of the present moment of thought does live, but has not lived, nor will it live.'
"As to Name and Form we must understand how they interact. Name has no power of its own, nor can it go on of its own impulse, either to eat, or to drink, or to utter sounds, or to make a movement. Form also is without power and cannot go on of its own impulse. It has no desire to eat, or to drink, or to utter sounds, or to make a movement. But Form goes on when supported by Name, and Name when supported by Form. When Name has a desire to eat, or to drink, or to utter sounds, or to make a movement, then Form eats, drinks, utters sounds, makes a movement.
"It is as if two men, the one blind from birth and the other a cripple, were desirous of going traveling, and the man blind from birth were to say to the cripple as follows: 'See here! I am able to use my legs, but I have no eyes with which to see the rough and the smooth places in the road.' And the cripple were to say to the man blind from birth as follows: 'See here! I am able to use my eyes, but I have no legs with which to go forward and back.' And the man blind from birth, pleased and delighted, were to mount the cripple on his shoulders. And the cripple sitting on the shoulders of the man blind from birth were to direct him, saying, 'Leave the left and go to the right; leave the right and go to the left.'
"Here the man blind from birth is without power of his own, and weak, and cannot go of his own impulse or might. The cripple also is without power of his own, and weak, and cannot go of his own impulse or might. Yet when they mutually support one another it is not impossible for them to go. In exactly the same way Name is without power of its own, and cannot spring up of its own might, nor perform this or that action. Form also is without power of its own, and cannot spring up of its own might, nor perform this or that action. Yet when they mutually support one another it is not impossible for them to spring up and go on.
"There is no material that exists for the production of Name and Form; and when Name and Form cease, they do not go any whither in space. After Name and Form have ceased, they do not exist anywhere, any more than there is heaped-up music material. When a lute is played upon, there is no previous store of sound; and when the music ceases it does not go any whither in space. When it has ceased, it exists nowhere in a stored-up state. Having previously been non-existent, it came into existence on account of the structure and stern of the lute and the exertions of the performer; and as it came into existence so it passes away. In exactly the same way, all the elements of being, both corporeal and non-corporeal come into existence after having previously been non-existent; and having come into existence pass away.
"There is not a self residing in Name and Form, but the cooperation of the conformations produces what people call a man. Just as the word 'chariot' is but a mode of expression for axle, wheels, the chariot-body and other constituents in their proper combination, so a living being is the appearance of the groups with the four elements as they are joined in a unit. There is no self in the carriage and there is no self in man. O bhikkhus, this doctrine is sure and an eternal truth, that there is no self outside of its parts. This self of ours which constitutes Name and Form is a combination of the groups with the four elements, but there is no ego entity, no self in itself.
"Paradoxical though it may sound: There is a path to walk on, there is walking being done, but there is no traveler. There are deeds being done, but there is no doer. There is a blowing of the air, but there is no wind that does the blowing. The thought of self is an error and all existences are as hollow as the plantain tree and as empty as twirling water bubbles.
"Therefore, O bhikkhus, as there is no self, there is no transmigration of a self; but there are deeds and the continued effect of deeds. There is a rebirth of karma; there is reincarnation. This rebirth, this reincarnation, this reappearance of the conformations is continuous and depends on the law of cause and effect. Just as a seal is impressed upon the wax reproducing the configurations of its device, so the thoughts of men, their characters, their aspirations are impressed upon others in continuous transference and continue their karma, and good deeds will continue in blessings while bad deeds will continue in curses.
"There is no entity here that migrates, no self is transferred from one place to another; but there is a voice uttered here and the echo of it comes back. The teacher pronounces a stanza and the disciple who attentively listens to his teacher's instruction, repeats the stanza. Thus the stanza is reborn in the mind of the disciple. The body is a compound of perishable organs. It is subject to decay; and we should take care of it as of a wound or a sore; we should attend to its needs without being attached to it, or loving it. The body is like a machine, and there is no self in it that makes it walk or act, but the thoughts of it, as the windy elements, cause the machine to work. The body moves about like a cart. Therefore 'tis said:
"As ships are blown by wind on sails,
As arrows fly from twanging bow,
So, when the force of thought directs,
The body, following, must go.
"Just as machines are worked by ropes,
So are the body's gear and groove;
Obedient to the pull of mind,
Our muscles and our members move.
"No independent 'I' is here,
But many gathered mobile forces;
Our chariot is manned by mind,
And our karma is our horses.
"He only who utterly abandons all thought of the ego escapes the snares of the Evil One; he is out of the reach of Mara. Thus says the pleasure-promising tempter:
"So long as to those things
Called 'mine, and 'I' and 'me'
Your hungry heart still clings-
My snares you cannot flee.
"The faithful disciple replies:
"Naught's mine and naught of me,
The self I do not mind!
Thus Mara, I tell thee,
My path thou canst not find.
"Dismiss the error of the self and do not cling to possessions which are transient, but perform deeds that are good, for deeds are enduring and in deeds your karma continues.
"Since, then, O bhikkhus, there is no self, there can not be any after life of a self. Therefore abandon all thought of self. But since there are deeds and since deeds continue, be careful with your deeds. All beings have karma as their portion: they are heirs of their karma; they are sprung from their karma; their karma is their kinsman; their karma is their refuge; karma allots beings to meanness or to greatness.
"Assailed by death in life last throes
On quitting all thy joys and woes
What is thine own, thy recompense?
What stays with thee when passing hence?
What like a shadow follows thee
And will Beyond thine heirloom be?
"'Tis deeds, thy deeds, both good and bad;
Naught else can after death be had.
Thy deeds are thine, thy recompense;
They are thine own when going hence;
They like a shadow follow thee
And will Beyond thine heirloom be.
"Let all then here perform good deeds,
For future weal a treasure store;
There to reap crops from noble seeds,
A bliss increasing evermore."