A keen-eyed man was standing on the bank of a muddy water pool. Since the water was dirty, he could not see shells and pebbles at the bottom, or shoals of fish swimming about and resting.
Similarly, a man with a dirty mind sees neither his own, deeper benefits nor the real benefits of others. He does not enter a superior state with his sullied mind.
But suppose the water is clear and limpid. Then the keen-eyed man could see shells and pebbles on the bottom, and shoals of fish swimming about and resting down there.
Similarly, someone of unsullied mind should be able to realize his own benefit and look into what truly benefits others. He should be able to bring about a superior human state, thanks to an unsullied mind. [Adapted from Anguttara Nikaya 1.45-46]
Presence of Mind
Luminous is the mind deep inside The mind can be freed from incoming defilements.
The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person does not discern that his mind is present. So for that one there is no development of the mind.
For the well-instructed there can be development of the mind. [Anguttara Nikaya 1.49-52, reworked]
Buddha tells that in a certain stage of meditation called the fourth jhana, one enters and remains in purity and mindfulness, and permeates the body with a pure, bright awareness.
If you understand something, [perhaps] you should ask yourself if there might be something you have not fully resolved, or if there may be some higher meaning yet. [Dogen]The Medieval Soto Zen master Eihei Dogen lived from 1200 to 1253. He brought Soto Zen from China to Japan, where he came from.
Now for a few words about TM, Transcendental Meditation. Its basic method uses a mantra (sound or set of syllables) to call into mind at regulated intervals, aiming at developing the mind. It is used by many, and thousands of Buddhist monks too. Some aspects of the meditative process is likened to filtering muddy water again and again, till the pond (mind) gets limpid enough - and so on. A meditator may also develop his mind, not just calm down. There is more than one kind of result from contemplation. [TK].
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 to 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: "Your countenance, my friend, is serene; your 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 on earth, to give light to those
who are enshrouded in darkness and to open the gate of deathlessness."
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 Gautama," he said, "your way lies yonder," and taking another road he went away.
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 Gautama, and Gautama 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 Gautama."
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, 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.
"A middle path, 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, 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, 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, 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.
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, 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, bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning suffering.
"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 on 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, Buddha, our Lord, you have found the truth!" Then the other bhikkhus too, joined him and exclaimed: "Truly, you are the Buddha, you have 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 on earth; it will spread; and righteousness, good-will, and peace will reign among mankind."
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 you together, assist one another, and strengthen one another efforts. Be like to 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, 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 on 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 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, bhikkhus, this permission. Confer henceforth in the different countries the ordination on those who are eager to receive it, when you find them worthy.
"Go you now, 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.
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 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 on 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, have you seen Yasa, my son?"
The Buddha said to Yasa's father: "Come in, sir, you will find your 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, 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.
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 you, 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, 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, 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.
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."
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."
And the Blessed One said: "You, Kassapa, art chief of the Jatilas. Go, then, first
and inform them of yours intention, and let them do as you think 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 you think best."
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, 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 on 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."
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 Gautama 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 Gautama?"
The Tathagata, reading the thoughts of the people, said to Kassapa: "What knowledge have you gained, Kassapa, and what has induced you to renounce the sacred fire and give up your 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.
"You that are slaves of the self and toil in its service from morn till night, you 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 you 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."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.
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: "You are my most welcome guest, 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.
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."
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: "Gautama 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, 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,
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.
"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, you see, 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.
And Anathapindika said: "I see that you are 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 on the success of my enterprises.
"Now, I have heard your 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 to my fellows. Let me then ask you, Must I give up my wealth, my home, and my business enterprises, and, like yourself, 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 to 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 on 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."
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.
"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, 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 you can cover it with gold, then, and for no other price, shall you have it." Anathapindika rejoiced and began to spread his gold; but Jeta said: "Spare yourself the trouble, for I will not sell." But Anathapindika insisted. Thus they contended till 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.
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?
"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 on external things, but on your own mind. Thus you will
lay up a good name for distant ages and will secure the favor of the Tathagata."
When the Buddha was staying at the Veluvana, the bamboo grove at Rajagaha, he addressed the brethren thus: "Whether Buddhas arise, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. Since, monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed."
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: "World-honored Tathagata, your father looks for your 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 you. 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 your 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 you my kingdom," said, the king, "but if I did, you would 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."
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 do you thus disgrace me? Don't you know that I can easily supply you and your bhikkhus with food?" And the Buddha replied: "It is the custom of my race."
But the king said: "How can this be? You are descended from kings, and not one of them ever begged for food."
"Great king," rejoined the Buddha you and your 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, 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."
"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, you 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.
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.
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 your father. He possesses four great mines of wealth which I have not yet seen. Go to him and entreat him to put you 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: "Samana, even your 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."
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 on 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 to the Blessed One with medicines and baths till 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."
Jivaka said: "Lord, it is a proper and unobjectionable request."
"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 you shall be at liberty to wear either cast-off rags or lay robes. Whether you 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.
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.
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.
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."
THE bhikkhus came to the Blessed One and asked him: "Tathagata, our Lord and Master, what conduct toward women do you prescribe to the samanas who have left the world?"
The Blessed One said: "Guard against looking on a woman. If you see a woman, let it be as though you saw her not, and have no conversation with her. If, after all, you 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 on 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 you 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, 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 on 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."
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 on 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, Visakha, that you have 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.
"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."
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 on 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. You have done well in asking these eight boons of the Tathagata with such advantages in view. Charity bestowed on 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:
"Noble woman of an upright life,
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."
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.
WHILE 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 on 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, 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."
The venerable Upali, having approached the Blessed One, asked concerning the re-establishment of peace in the Sangha: "Would it be right, 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."
"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.
"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: '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 on 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.'
"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 are you frightened, king?' he replied: 'My sleep is always restless because I often dream that young Dighavu is coming on me with his sword. While I lay here with my head in your lap I dreamed the dreadful dream again; and I awoke full of terror and alarm.' Then the youth, laying his left hand on the defenseless king's head and with his right hand drawing his sword, said: 'I am Dighavu, the son of King Dighiti, whom you have 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 you will 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 you.' And Dighavu said without bitterness or ill-will: 'How can I grant you your life, king, since my life is endangered by you? I do not mean to take your life. It is you, king, who must grant me my life."
"And the king said: 'Well, my dear Dighavu, then grant me my life, and I will grant
you your.' 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.
"The youth replied: 'When my father, 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 your friends. And when he said For not by hatred is
hatred appeased; hatred is appeased by not-hatred, he meant this: You have killed my father
and mother, king, and if I should deprive you of your life, then your partisans in turn
would take away my life; my partisans again would deprive your of their lives. Thus by
hatred, hatred would not be appeased. But now, king, you have granted me my life, and I have
granted you your; thus by not-hatred hatred has been appeased.'
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, 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 you, therefore, bhikkhus, so let your light shine forth, that you, 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, bhikkhus, does not conduce to the conversion of the unconverted and to the increase of the number of the faithful. It serves, bhikkhus, to repel the unconverted and to estrange them. I exhort you to be more considerate in the future, more thoughtful and more respectful."
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 Gautama 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 on 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 on 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 on 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 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.
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?"
"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 on, 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.
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.
"Therefore, 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 on the wax reproducing the configurations of its device, so the thoughts of men, their characters, their aspirations are impressed on 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 it is said:
"As ships are blown by wind on sails,"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"The faithful disciple replies:
"Naught's mine and naught of me,"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, 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
THE Blessed One thus addressed the bhikkhus: "It is through not understanding the four noble truths, bhikkhus, that we had to wander so long in the weary path of samsara, both you and I.
"Through contact thought is born from sensation, and is reborn by a reproduction of its form. Starting from the simplest forms, the mind rises and falls according to deeds, but the aspirations of a Bodhisattva pursue the straight path of wisdom and righteousness, till they reach perfect enlightenment in the Buddha.
"All creatures are what they are through the karma of their deeds done in former and in present existences.
"The rational nature of man is a spark of the true light; it is the first step on the upward road. But new births are required to insure an ascent to the summit of existence, the enlightenment of mind and heart, where the immeasurable light of moral comprehension is gained which is the source of all righteousness. Having attained this higher birth, I have found the truth and have taught you the noble path that leads to the city of peace. I have shown you the way to the lake of ambrosia, which washes away all evil desire. I have given you the refreshing drink called the perception of truth, and he who drinks of it becomes free from excitement, passion, and wrong-doing.
"The very gods envy the bliss of him who has escaped from the floods of passion and has climbed the shores of Nirvana. His heart is cleansed from all defilement and free from all illusion. He is like to the lotus which grows in the water, yet not a drop of water adheres to its petals. The man who walks in the noble path lives in the world, and yet his heart is not defiled by worldly desires.
"He who does not see the four noble truths, he who does not understand the three characteristics and has not grounded himself in the uncreate, has still a long path to traverse by repeated births through the desert of ignorance with its mirages of illusion and through the morass of wrong. But now that you have gained comprehension, the cause of further migrations and aberrations is removed. The goal is reached. The craving of selfishness is destroyed, and the truth is attained. This is true deliverance; this is salvation; this is heaven and the bliss of a life immortal."
JOTIKKHA, the son of Subhadda, was a householder living in Rajagaha. Having received a precious bowl of sandalwood decorated with jewels, he erected a long pole before his house and put the bowl on its top with this legend: "Should a samana take this bowl down without using a ladder or a stick with a hook, or without climbing the pole, but by magic power, he shall receive as reward whatever he desires."
The people came to the Blessed One, full of wonder and their mouths overflowing with praise, saying: "Great is the Tathagata. His disciples perform miracles. Kassapa, the disciple of the Buddha, saw the bowl on Jotikkha's pole, and, stretching out his hand, he took it down, carrying it away in triumph to the vihara."
When the Blessed One heard what had happened, he went to Kassapa, and, breaking the
bowl to pieces, forbade his disciples to perform miracles of any kind.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus and said: "There is another great prohibition which I declare to you: An ordained disciple must not boast of any superhuman perfection. The disciple who with evil intent and from covetousness boasts of a superhuman perfection, be it celestial visions or miracles, is no longer a disciple of the Sakyamuni. I forbid you, bhikkhus, to employ any spells or supplications, for they are useless, since the law of karma governs all things. He who attempts to perform miracles has not understood the doctrine of the Tathagata."
THERE was a poet who had acquired the spotless eye of truth, and he believed in the Buddha, whose doctrine gave him peace of mind and comfort in the hour of affliction. It happened that an epidemic swept over the country in which he lived, so that many died, and the people were terrified. Some of them trembled with fright, and in anticipation of their fate were smitten with all the horrors of death before they died, while others began to be merry, shouting loudly, "Let us enjoy ourselves today, for we know not whether tomorrow we shall live"; yet was their laughter no genuine gladness, but a mere pretense and affectation.
Among all these worldly men and women trembling with anxiety, the Buddhist poet lived in the time of the pestilence, as usual, calm and undisturbed, helping wherever he could and ministering to the sick, soothing their pains by medicine and religious consolation. And a man came to him and said:
"My heart is nervous and excited, for I see people die. I am not anxious about
others, but I tremble because of myself. Help me; cure me of my fear."
"Unless you take refuge in the Buddha and find rest in Nirvana,The poet said: "The times are hard and teach the people a lesson; yet do they not heed it." And he composed another poem on the vanity of worldliness:
"It is good to reform, and it is good to exhort people to reform.
THE Buddha said: "Three things, disciples, are characterized by secrecy: love affairs, priestly wisdom, and all aberrations from the path of truth. Women who are in love, disciples seek secrecy and shun publicity; priests who claim to be in possession of special revelation, disciples, seek secrecy and shun publicity; all those who stray from the path of truth, disciples, seek secrecy and shun publicity.
"Three things, disciples, shine before the world and cannot be hidden. What are the three? The moon, disciples, illumines the world and cannot be hidden; the sun, disciples, illumines the world and cannot be hidden; and the truth proclaimed by the Tathagata illumines the world and cannot be hidden. These three things, disciples, illumine the world and cannot be hidden. There is no secrecy about them."
THE Buddha said: "What, my friends, is evil? Killing is evil; stealing is evil; yielding to sexual passion is evil; lying is evil; slandering is evil; abuse is evil; gossip is evil; envy is evil; hatred is evil; to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things, my friends, are evil.
"And what, my friends, is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil; hatred is
the root of evil; illusion is the root of evil; these things are the root of evil.
"And what, my friend, is the root of the good? Freedom from desire is the root of the good; freedom from hatred and freedom from illusion; these things, my friends, are the root of the good.
"What, however, brethren, is suffering? What is the origin of suffering? What is the annihilation of suffering? Birth is suffering; old age is suffering; disease is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow and misery are suffering; affliction and despair are suffering; to be united with loathsome things is suffering; the loss of that which we love and the failure in attaining that which is longed for are suffering; all these things, brethren, are suffering.
"And what, brethren, is the origin of suffering? It is lust, passion, and the thirst for existence that yearns for pleasure everywhere, leading to a continual rebirth I It is sensuality, desire, selfishness; all these things, brethren, are the origin of suffering.
"And what is the annihilation of suffering? The radical and total annihilation of this thirst and the abandonment, the liberation, the deliverance from passion, that, brethren, is the annihilation of suffering.
"And what, brethren, is the path that leads to the annihilation of suffering? It is the holy eightfold path that leads to the annihilation of suffering, which consists of right views, right decision, right speech, right action, right living, right struggling, right thoughts, and right meditation.
"In so far, friends, as a noble youth thus recognizes suffering and the origin of suffering, as he recognizes the annihilation of suffering, and walks on the path that leads to the annihilation of suffering, radically forsaking passion, subduing wrath, annihilating the vain conceit of the "I-am, leaving ignorance, and attaining to enlightenment, he will make an end of all suffering even in this life."
THE Buddha said: "All acts of living creatures become bad by ten things, and by avoiding the ten things they become good. There are three evils of the body, four evils of the tongue, and three evils of the mind.
"The evils of the body are, murder, theft, and adultery; of the tongue, lying,
slander, abuse, and idle talk; of the mind, covetousness, hatred, and error.
THE Blessed One said to his disciples: "When I have passed away and can no longer address you and edify your minds with religious discourse, select from among you men of good family and education to preach the truth in my stead. And let those men be invested with the robes of the Tathagata, let them enter into the abode of the Tathagata, and occupy the pulpit of the Tathagata.
"The robe of the Tathagata is sublime forbearance and patience. The abode of the Tathagata is charity and love of all beings. The pulpit of the Tathagata is the comprehension of the good law in its abstract meaning as well as in its particular application.
"The preacher must propound the truth with unshrinking mind. He must have the power
of persuasion rooted in virtue and in strict fidelity to his vows. The preacher must keep in
his proper sphere and be steady in his course. He must not flatter his vanity by seeking
the company of the great, nor must he keep company with persons who are frivolous and
immoral. When in temptation, he should constantly think of the Buddha and he will conquer.
All who come to hear the doctrine, the preacher must receive with benevolence, and his
sermon must be without invidiousness. The preacher must not be prone to carp at others, or
to blame other preachers; nor speak scandal, nor propagate bitter words. He must not mention
by name other disciples to vituperate them and reproach their demeanor.
"All those who receive the truth will find perfect enlightenment. And, verily, such
is the power of the doctrine that even by the reading of a single stanza, or by reciting,
copying, and keeping in mind a single sentence of the good law, persons may be converted to
the truth and enter the path of righteousness which leads to deliverance from evil.
Creatures that are swayed by impure passions, when they listen to the voice, will be
purified. The ignorant who are infatuated with the follies of the world will, when pondering
on the profundity of the doctrine, acquire wisdom. Those who act under the impulse of hatred
will, when taking refuge in the Buddha, be filled with good-will and love.
"Into your hands, you men of good family and education who take the vow of preaching
the words of the Tathagata, the Blessed One transfers, intrusts, and commends the good law
of truth. Receive the good law of truth, keep it, read and re-read it, fathom it, promulgate
it, and preach it to all beings in all the quarters of the universe.
When the Blessed One had thus spoken, the disciples said: "You who rejoice in kindness having its source in compassion, you great cloud of good qualities and of benevolent mind, you quench the fire that vexeth living beings, you pour out nectar, the rain of the law! We shall do, Lord, what the Tathagata commands. We shall fulfill his behest; the Lord shall find us obedient to his words."
And this vow of the disciples resounded through the universe, and like an echo it came back from all the Bodhisattvas who are to be and will come to preach the good law of Truth to future generations.
And the Blessed One said: "The Tathagata is like to a powerful king who rules his kingdom with righteousness, but being attacked by envious enemies goes out to wage war against his foes. When the king sees his soldiers fight he is delighted with their gallantry and will bestow on them donations of all kinds. You are the soldiers of the Tathagata, while Mara, the Evil One, is the enemy who must be conquered. And the Tathagata will give to his soldiers the city of Nirvana, the great capital of the good law. And when the enemy is overcome, the Dharma-raja, the great king of truth, will bestow on all his disciples the most precious crown, which jewel brings perfect enlightenment, supreme wisdom, and undisturbed peace."
THIS is the Dharmapada, the path of religion pursued by those who are followers of the Buddha: Creatures from mind their character derive; mind-marshaled are they, mind-made. Mind is the source either of bliss or of corruption. By oneself evil is done; by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone; by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself, no one can purify another. You yourself must make an effort. The Tathagatas are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mara. He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise; who, though young and strong, is full of sloth; whose will and thoughts are weak; that lazy and idle man will never find the way to enlightenment.
If a man hold himself dear, let him watch himself carefully; the truth guards him who guards himself. If a man makes himself as he teaches others to be, then, being himself subdued, he may subdue others; one's own self is indeed difficult to subdue. If some men conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors. It is the habit of fools, be they laymen or members of the clergy, to think, this is done by me. May others be subject to me. In this or that transaction a prominent part should be played by me." Fools do not care for the duty to be performed or the aim to be reached, but think of themselves alone. Everything is but a pedestal of their vanity.
Bad deeds, and deeds hurtful to ourselves, are easy to do; what is beneficial and good, that is very difficult. If anything is to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it vigorously!
Before long, alas! this body will lie on the earth, despised, without understanding, like a useless log; yet our thoughts will endure. They will be thought again, and will produce action. Good thoughts will produce good actions, and bad thoughts will produce bad actions.
Earnestness is the path of immortality, thoughtlessness the path of death. Those who are in earnest do not die; those who are thoughtless are as if dead already. Those who imagine they find truth in untruth, and see untruth in truth, will never arrive at truth, but follow vain desires. They who know truth in truth, and untruth in untruth, arrive at truth, and follow true desires. As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house, passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind. lead the water wherever they like; fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves; wise people falter not amidst blame and praise. Having listened to the law, they become serene, like a deep, smooth, and still lake.
If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the wagon. An evil deed is better left undone, for a man will repent of it afterwards; a good deed is better done, for having done it one will not repent. If a man commits a wrong let him not do it again; let him not delight in wrongdoing; pain is the outcome of evil. If a man does what is good, let him do it again; let him delight in it; happiness is the outcome of good.
Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh to me."
As by the falling of waterdrops a water-pot is filled, so the fool becomes full of evil,
though he gather it little by little. Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart,
It will not come nigh to me." As by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled, so the
wise man becomes full of good, though he gather it little by little.
The fool who knows his foolishness, is wise at least so far. But a fool who thinks himself wise, he is a fool indeed. To the evil-doer wrong appears sweet as honey; he looks on it as pleasant so long as it bears no fruit; but when its fruit ripens, then he looks on it as wrong. And so the good man looks on the goodness of the Dharma as a burden and an evil so long as it bears no fruit; but when its fruit ripens, then he sees its goodness.
A hater may do great harm to a hater, or an enemy to an enemy; but a wrongly-directed mind will do greater mischief to itself. A mother, a father, or any other relative will do much good; but a well-directed mind will do greater service to itself.
He whose wickedness is very great brings himself down to that state where his enemy wishes him to be. He himself is his greatest enemy. Thus a creeper destroys the life of a tree on which it finds support.
Do not direct your thought to what gives pleasure, that you may not cry out when burning, "This is pain." The wicked man burns by his own deeds, as if burnt by fire. Pleasures destroy the foolish; the foolish man by his thirst for pleasures destroys himself as if he were his own enemy. The fields are damaged by hurricanes and weeds; mankind is damaged by passion, by hatred, by vanity, and by lust. Let no man ever take into consideration whether a thing is pleasant or unpleasant. The love of pleasure begets grief and the dread of pain causes fear; he who is free from the love of pleasure and the dread of pain knows neither grief nor fear.
He who gives himself to vanity, and does not give himself to meditation, forgetting the real aim of life and grasping at pleasure, will in time envy him who has exerted himself in meditation. The fault of others is easily noticed, but that of oneself is difficult to perceive. A man winnows his neighbor's faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides, as a cheat hides the false die from the gambler. If a man looks after the faults of others, and is always inclined to take offense, his own passions will grow, and he is far from the destruction of passions. Not about the perversities of others, not about their sins of commission or omission, but about his own misdeeds and negligences alone should a sage be worried. Good people shine from afar, like the snowy mountains; bad people are concealed, like arrows shot by night.
If a man by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for himself, he, entangled in the bonds of selfishness, will never be free from hatred. Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth! For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by not hatred, this is an old rule.
Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if you are asked; by these three steps
you will become divine. Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self, as a smith blows
off the impurities of silver, one by one, little by little, and from time to time.
Some form their Dharma arbitrarily and fabricate it artificially; they advance
complex speculations and imagine that good results are attainable only by the acceptance of
their theories; yet the truth is but one; there are not different truths in the world.
Having reflected on the various theories, we have gone into the yoke with him who has shaken
off all sin. But shall we be able to proceed together with him?
Not only by discipline and vows, not only by much learning, do I earn the happiness of release which no worldling can know. Bhikkhu, be not confident as long as you have not attained the extinction of thirst. The extinction of evil desire is the highest religion.
The gift of religion exceeds all gifts; the sweetness of religion exceeds all sweetness; the delight in religion exceeds all delights; the extinction of thirst overcomes all pain. Few are there among men who cross the river and reach the goal. The great multitudes are running up and down the shore; but there is no suffering for him who has finished his journey.
As the lily will grow full of sweet perfume and delight on a heap of rubbish, thus
the disciple of the truly enlightened Buddha shines forth by his wisdom among those who are
like rubbish, among the people that walk in darkness. Let us live happily then, not hating
those who hate us! Among men who hate us let us dwell free from hatred!
AT one time when the Blessed One was journeying through Kosala he came to the Brahman village which is called Manasakata. There he stayed in a mango grove. And two young Brahmans came to him who were of different schools. One was named Vasettha and the other Bharadvaja. And Vasettha said to the Blessed One:
"We have a dispute as to the true path. I say the straight path which leads to a
union with Brahma is that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasati, while my
friend says the straight path which leads to a union with Brahma is that which has been
announced by the Brahman Tarukkha. Now, regarding your high reputation, samana, and knowing
that you are called the Enlightened One, the teacher of men and gods, the Blessed Buddha, we
have come to ask you, are all these paths salvation? There are many roads all around our
village, and all lead to Manasakata. Is it just so with the paths of the sages? Are all
paths to salvation, and do they all lead to a union with Brahma?
"But, then," said the Blessed One, has any teacher of the Brahmans, versed in the
Vedas, seen Brahma face to face?" The two Brahmans said: "No, sir."
"It is as if a man should make a staircase in the place where four roads cross, to mount up into a mansion. And people should ask him, Where, good friends, is this mansion, to mount up into which you are making this staircase? Do you know whether it is in the east, or in the south, or in the west, or in the north? Whether it is high, or low, or of medium size?' And when so asked he should answer, 'I know it not.' And people should say to him, 'But, then, good friend, you are making a staircase to mount up into something - taking it for a mansion - which all the while you do not know, neither have you seen it.' And when so asked he should answer, 'That is exactly what I do; yea I know that I cannot know it.' What would you think of him? Would you not say that the talk of that man was foolish talk?"
"In sooth, Gautama, said the two Brahmans, it be foolish talk!" The Blessed One went on: "Then the Brahmans should say, 'We show you the way to a union with what we know not and what we have not seen." This being the substance of Brahman lore, does it not follow that their task is vain?"
"It does follow, replied Bharadvaja.
Said the Blessed One: "Thus it is impossible that Brahmans versed in the three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they neither know nor have seen. Just as when a string of blind men are clinging one to the other. Neither can the foremost see, nor can those in the middle see, nor can the hindmost see. Even so, methinks the talk of the Brahmans versed in the three Vedas is but blind talk; it is ridiculous, consists of mere words, and is a vain and empty thing. Now suppose," added the Blessed One that a man should come hither to the bank of the river, and, having some business on the other side, should want to cross. Do you suppose that if he were to invoke the other bank of the river to come over to him on this side, the bank would come on account of his praying?"
"Certainly not, Gautama."
"Yet this is the way of the Brahmans. They omit the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and say, 'Indra, we call on you; Soma, we call on you; Varuna, we call on you; Brahma, we call on you.' Verily, it is not possible that these Brahmans, on account of their invocations, prayers, and praises, should after death be united with Brahma.
"Now tell me," continued the Buddha, "what do the Brahmans say of Brahma? Is his mind full of lust?" And when the Brahmans denied this, the Buddha asked: "Is Brahma's mind full of malice, sloth, or pride?"
"No sir!" was the reply. "He is the opposite of all this."
The Holy One said: "The Brahmans cling to the five things leading to worldliness and yield to the temptations of the senses; they are entangled in the five hindrances, lust, malice, sloth, pride, and doubt. How can they be united to that which is most unlike their nature? Therefore the threefold wisdom of the Brahmans is a waterless desert, a pathless jungle, and a hopeless desolation."
When the Buddha had thus spoken, one of the Brahmans said: "We are told, Gautama, that the Sakyamuni knows the path to a union with Brahma."
And the Blessed One said: "What do you think, Brahmans, of a man born and brought up in Manasakata? Would he be in doubt about the most direct way from this spot to Manasakata?"
"Certainly not, Gautama."
"Thus," replied the Buddha, the Tathagata knows the straight path that leads to a union with Brahma. He knows it as one who has entered the world of Brahma and has been born in it. There can be no doubt in the Tathagata."
The two young Brahmans said: "If you know the way show it to us."
"This is the sign that a man follows the right path: Uprightness is his delight, and
he sees danger in the least of those things which he should avoid. He trains himself in the
commands of morality, he encompasseth himself with holiness in word and deed; he sustains
his life by means that are quite pure; good is his conduct, guarded is the door of his
senses; mindful and self-possessed, he is altogether happy. He who walks in the eightfold
noble path with unswerving determination is sure to reach Nirvana. The Tathagata anxiously
watches over his children and with loving care helps them to see the light.
WHILE the Blessed One was staying at the bamboo grove near Rajagaha, he once met on his way Sigala, a householder, who, clasping his hands, turned to the four quarters of the world, to the zenith above, and to the nadir below. The Blessed One, knowing that this was done according to the traditional religious superstition to avert evil, asked Sigala: "Why do you perform these strange ceremonies?"
And Sigala in reply said: "Do you think it strange that I protect my home against the influences of demons? I know you would fain tell me, Gautama Sakyamuni, whom people call the Tathagata and the Blessed Buddha, that incantations are of no avail and possess no saving power. But listen to me and know, that in performing this rite I honor, reverence, and keep sacred the words of my father."
Then the Tathagata said: You do well, Sigala, to honor, reverence, and keep sacred the words of your father; and it is your duty to protect your home, your wife, your children, and your children's children against the hurtful influences of evil spirits. I find no fault with the performance of your father's rite. But I find that you do not understand the ceremony. Let the Tathagata, who now speaks to you as a spiritual father and loves you no less than did your parents, explain to you the meaning of the six directions.
"To guard your home by mysterious ceremonies is not sufficient; you must guard it by good deeds. Turn to your parents in the East, to your teachers in the South, to your wife and children in the West, to your friends in the North, and regulate the zenith of your religious relations above you, and the nadir of your servants below you. Such is the religion your father wants you to have, and the performance of the ceremony shall remind you of your duties."
And Sigala looked up to the Blessed One with reverence as to his father and said: "Truly, Gautama, you are the Buddha, the Blessed One, the holy teacher. I never knew what I was doing, but now I know. You have revealed to me the truth that was hidden as one who bringeth a lamp into the darkness. I take my refuge in the Enlightened Teacher, in the truth that enlightens, and in the community of brethren who have been taught the truth."
AT that time many distinguished citizens were sitting together assembled in the town-hall and spoke in many ways in praise of the Buddha, of the Dharma, and of the Sangha. Simha, the general-in-chief, a disciple of the Niggantha sect, was sitting among them. And Simha thought: "Truly, the Blessed One must be the Buddha, the Holy One. I will go and visit him."
Then Simha, the general, went to the place where the Niggantha chief, Nataputta, was; and having approached him, he said: "I wish, Lord to visit the samana Gautama." Nataputta said: "Why should you, Simha, who believe in the result of actions according to their moral merit, go to visit the samana Gautama, who denies the result of actions? The samana Gautama, Simha, denies the result of actions; he teaches the doctrine of non-action; and in this doctrine he trains his disciples."
Then the desire to go and visit the Blessed One, which had risen in Simha, the general, abated. Hearing again the praise of the Buddha, of the Dharma, and of the Sangha, Simha asked the Niggantha chief a second time; and again Nataputta persuaded him not to go.
When a third time the general heard some men of distinction extol the merits of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, the general thought: "Truly the samana Gautama must be the Holy Buddha. What are the Nigganthas to me, whether they give their consent or not? I shall go without asking their permission to visit him, the Blessed One, the Holy Buddha." And Simha, the general, said to the Blessed One: "I have heard, Lord, that the samana Gautama denies the result of actions; he teaches the doctrine of non-action, saying that the actions of sentient beings do not receive their reward, for he teaches annihilation and the contemptibleness of all things; and in this doctrine he trains his disciples. Do you teach the doing away of the soul and the burning away of man's being? Pray tell me, Lord, do those who speak thus say the truth, or do they bear false witness against the Blessed One, passing off a spurious Dharma as your Dharma?"
The Blessed One said "There is a way, Simha, in which one who says so, is speaking truly of me; on the other hand, Simha, there is a way in which one who says the opposite is speaking truly of me, too. Listen, and I will tell you: I teach, Simha, the not-doing of such actions as are unrighteous, either by deed, or by word, or by thought; I teach the not-bringing about of all those conditions of heart which are evil and not good. However, I teach, Simha, the doing of such actions as are righteous, by deed, by word, and by thought; I teach the bringing about of all those conditions of heart which are good and not evil.
"I teach, Simha, that all the conditions of heart which are evil and not good, unrighteous action by deed, by word, and by thought, must be burnt away. He who has freed himself, Simha, from all those conditions of heart which are evil and not good, he who has destroyed them as a palm-tree which is rooted out, so that they cannot grow up again, such a man has accomplished the eradication of self.
"I proclaim, Simha, the annihilation of egotism, of lust, of ill-will, of delusion.
However, I do not proclaim the annihilation of forbearance, of love, of charity, and of
truth. I deem, Simha, unrighteous actions contemptible, whether they be performed by deed,
or by word, or by thought; but I deem virtue and righteousness praiseworthy."
The Tathagata having given his consent, Simha continued: "I am a soldier, Blessed One, and am appointed by the king to enforce his laws and to wage his wars. Does the Tathagata who teaches kindness without end and compassion with all sufferers, permit the punishment of the criminal? and further, does the Tathagata declare that it is wrong to go to war for the protection of our homes, our wives, our children, and our property? Does the Tathagata teach the doctrine of a complete self-surrender, so that I should suffer the evil-doer to do what he pleases and yield submissively to him who threatens to take by violence what is my own? Does the Tathagata maintain that all strife, including such warfare as is waged for a righteous cause should be forbidden?"
The Buddha replied: "He who deserves punishment must be punished, and he who is
worthy of favor must be favored. Yet at the same time he teaches to do no injury to any
living being but to be full of love and kindness. These injunctions are not contradictory,
for whosoever must be punished for the crimes which he has committed, suffers his injury not
through the ill-will of the judge but on account of his evildoing. His own acts have brought
on him the injury that the executer of the law inflicts. When a magistrate punishes, let him
not harbor hatred in his breast, yet a murderer, when put to death, should consider that
this is the fruit of his own act. As soon as he will understand that the punishment will
purify his soul, he will no longer lament his fate but rejoice at it."
"He who struggles in the interest of self, so that he himself may be great or powerful or rich or famous, will have no reward, but he who struggles for righteousness and truth, will have great reward, for even his defeat will be a victory. Self is not a fit vessel to receive any great success; self is small and brittle and its contents will soon be spilt for the benefit, and perhaps also for the curse, of others. Truth, however, is large enough to receive the yearnings and aspirations of all selves and when the selves break like soap-bubbles, their contents will be preserved and in the truth they will lead a life everlasting.
"He who goeth to battle, Simha, even though it be in a righteous cause, must be prepared to be slain by his enemies, for that is the destiny of warriors; and should his fate overtake him he has no reason for complaint. But he who is victorious should remember the instability of earthly things. His success may be great, but be it ever so great the wheel of fortune may turn again and bring him down into the dust. However, if he moderates himself and, extinguishing all hatred in his heart lifts his down-trodden adversary up and says to him, Come now and make peace and let us be brothers, he will gain a victory that is not a transient success, for its fruits will remain forever. Great is a successful general, Simha, but he who has conquered self is the greater victor.
"The doctrine of the conquest of self, Simha, is not taught to destroy the souls of men, but to preserve them. He who has conquered self is more fit to live, to be successful, and to gain victories than he who is the slave of self. He whose mind is free from the illusion of self, will stand and not fall in that battle of life. He whose intentions are righteousness and justice, will meet with no failure, but be successful in his enterprises and his success will endure. He who harbors in his heart love of truth will live and not die, for he has drunk the water of immortality. Struggle then, general, courageously; and fight your battles vigorously, but be a soldier of truth and the Tathagata will bless you."
When the Blessed One had spoken thus, Simha, the general, said: "Glorious Lord, glorious Lord! You have revealed the truth. Great is the doctrine of the Blessed One. You, indeed, art the Buddha, the Tathagata, the Holy One. You are the teacher of mankind. You show us the road of salvation, for this indeed is true deliverance. He who follows you will not miss the light to enlighten his path. He will find blessedness and peace. I take my refuge, Lord, in the Blessed One, and in his doctrine, and in his brotherhood. May the Blessed One receive me from this day forth while my life lasts as a disciple who has taken refuge in him."
The Blessed One said: "Consider first, Simha, what you do. It is becoming that
persons of rank like yourself should do nothing without due consideration."
Said the Blessed One: "For a long time, Simha, offerings have been given to the Nigganthas in your house. You shouldst therefore deem it right also in the future to give them food when they come to you on their alms-pilgrimage." And Simha's heart was filled with joy. He said: "I have been told, Lord: 'The samana Gautama says: To me alone and to nobody else should gifts be given. My pupils alone and the pupils of no one else should receive offerings.' But the Blessed One exhorts me to give also to the Nigganthas. Well, Lord, we shall see what is seasonable. For the third time, Lord, I take my refuge in the Blessed One, and in his Dharma, and in his fraternity."
THERE was an officer among the retinue of Simha who had heard of the discourses of the Blessed One, and there was some doubt left in his heart. This man came to the Blessed One and said: "It is said, Lord, that the samana Gautama denies the existence of the soul. Do they who say so speak the truth, or do they bear false witness against the Blessed One?"
And the Blessed One said: "There is a way in which those who say so are speaking truly of me; on the other hand, there is a way in which those who say so do not speak truly of me. The Tathagata teaches that there is no self. He who says that the soul is his self and that the self is the thinker of our thoughts and the actor of our deeds, teaches a wrong doctrine which leads to confusion and darkness. On the other hand, the Tathagata teaches that there is mind. He who understands by soul mind, and says that mind exists, teaches the truth which leads to clearness and enlightenment."
The officer said: "Does, then, the Tathagata maintain that two things exist? that which we perceive with our senses and that which is mental?"
Said the Blessed One: "I say to you, your mind is spiritual, but neither is the sense-perceived void of spirituality. The bodhi is eternal and it dominates all existence as the good law guiding all beings in their search for truth. It changes brute nature into mind, and there is no being that cannot be transformed into a vessel of truth."
KUTADANTA, the head of the Brahmans in the village of Danamati, having approached the Blessed One respectfully, greeted him and said: "I am told, samana, that you are the Buddha, the Holy One, the All-knowing, the Lord of the world. But if you wert the Buddha, would you not come like a king in all your glory and power?" Said the Blessed One: "Your eyes are holden. If the eye of your mind were undimmed you couldst see the glory and the power of truth."
Said Kutadanta: "Show me the truth and I shall see it. But your doctrine is without consistency. If it were consistent, it would stand; but as it is not, it will pass away." The Blessed One replied: "The truth will never pass away."
Kutadanta said: "I am told that you teach the law, yet you tear down religion. Your
disciples despise rites and abandon immolation, but reverence for the gods can be shown only
by sacrifices. The very nature of religion consists in worship and sacrifice." Said the
Buddha: "Greater than the immolation of bullocks is the sacrifice of self. He who offers to
the gods his evil desires will see the uselessness of slaughtering animals at the altar.
Blood has no cleansing power, but the eradication of lust will make the heart pure. Better
than worshiping gods is obedience to the laws of righteousness."
Said the Blessed One: "Brahman, you are religious and earnest. You are seriously concerned about your soul. Yet is your work in vain because you are lacking in the one thing that is needful. There is rebirth of character, but no transmigration of a self. Your thought-forms reappear, but there is no ego-entity transferred. The stanza uttered by a teacher is reborn in the scholar who repeats the words.
"Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their souls are separate and self-existent entities. Your heart, Brahman, is cleaving still to self; you are anxious about heaven but you seek the pleasures of self in heaven, and thus you can not see the bliss of truth and the immortality of truth.
"I say to you: The Blessed One has not come to teach death, but to teach life, and you discern not the nature of living and dying. This body will be dissolved and no amount of sacrifice will save it. Therefore, seek you the life that is of the mind. Where self is, truth cannot be; yet when truth comes, self will disappear. Therefore, let your mind rest in the truth; propagate the truth, put your whole will in it, and let it spread. In the truth you shall live forever. Self is death and truth is life. The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying, while moving in the truth is partaking of Nirvana which is life everlasting."
Then Kutadanta said: "Where, venerable Master, is Nirvana?" "Nirvana is wherever the precepts are obeyed," replied the Blessed One.
"Do I understand you right," rejoined the Brahman, "That Nirvana is not a place, and
being nowhere it is without reality?" "You do not understand me aright," said the Blessed
One, "Now listen and answer these questions: Where does the wind dwell?"
Buddha retorted: "Then, sir, there is no such thing as wind." Kutadanta made no reply; and the Blessed One asked again: "Answer me, Brahman, where does wisdom dwell? Is wisdom a locality?"
"Wisdom has no allotted dwelling-place," replied Kutadanta. Said the Blessed One:
"Do you mean that there is no wisdom, no enlightenment, no righteousness, and no salvation,
because Nirvana is not a locality? As a great and mighty wind which passeth over the world
in the heat of the day, so the Tathagata comes to blow over the minds of mankind with the
breath of his love, so cool, so sweet, so calm, so delicate; and those tormented by fever
assuage their suffering and rejoice at the refreshing breeze."
Buddha replied: "Our thinking is gone, but our thoughts continue. Reasoning ceases, but knowledge remains." Said Kutadanta: "How is that? Are not reasoning and knowledge the same?"
The Blessed One explained the distinction by an illustration: "It is as when a man
wants, during the night, to send a letter, and, after having his clerk called, has a lamp
lit, and gets the letter written. Then, when that has been done, he extinguishes the lamp.
But though the writing has been finished and the light has been put out the letter is still
there. Thus does reasoning cease and knowledge remain; and in the same way mental activity
ceases, but experience, wisdom, and all the fruits of our acts endure."
"Now, is it the same flame that burns in the first watch of the night as in the
second?" Kutadanta hesitated. He thought it is the same flame, but fearing the complications
of a hidden meaning, and trying to be exact, he said: "No, it is not."
"Very well said the Buddha and would you call those flames the same that have burned yesterday and are burning now in the same lamp, filled with the same kind of oil, illuminating the same room?" "They may have been extinguished during the day," suggested Kutadanta.
Said the Blessed One: "Suppose the flame of the first watch had been extinguished
during the second watch, would you call it the same if it burns again in the third watch?"
Replied Kutadanta: "In one sense it is a different flame, in another it is not."
The Blessed One continued: "Now, suppose there is a man who feels like yourself, thinks like yourself, and acts like yourself, is he not the same man as you?" "No, sir," interrupted Kutadanta.
Said the Buddha: "Do you deny that the same logic holds good for yourself that holds good for the things of the world?" Kutadanta bethought himself and rejoined slowly: "No, I do not. The same logic holds good universally; but there is a peculiarity about my self which renders it altogether different from everything else and also from other selves. There may be another man who feels exactly like me, thinks like me, and acts like me; suppose even he had the same name and the same kind of possessions, he would not be myself."
"True, Kutadanta, answered Buddha, he would not be yourself. Now, tell me, is the person who goes to school one, and that same person when he has finished his schooling another? Is it one who commits a crime, another who is punished by having his hands and feet cut off?" "They are the same, was the reply.
"Then sameness is constituted by continuity only?" asked the Tathagata. "Not only
by continuity," said Kutadanta, but also and mainly by identity of character."
The Buddha continued: "And in this same sense alone are you the same today as
yesterday. Your nature is not constituted by the matter of which your body consists, but by
your sankharas, the forms of the body, of sensations, of thoughts. The person is the
combination of the sankharas. Wherever they are, you are. Whithersoever they go, you go.
Thus you will recognize in a certain sense an identity of your self, and in another sense a
difference. But he who does not recognize the identity should deny all identity, and should
say that the questioner is no longer the same person as he who a minute after receives the
answer. Now consider the continuation of your personality, which is preserved in your karma.
Do you call it death and annihilation, or life and continued life?"
"Very well," said Buddha. "This is what you desire and this is the cleaving to self.
This is your error. All compound things are transitory: they grow and they decay. All
compound things are subject to pain: they will be separated from what they love and be
joined to what they abhor. All compound things lack a self, an atman, an ego."
The Tathagata continued: "It is by a process of evolution that sankharas come to be. There is no sankhara which has sprung into being without a gradual becoming. Your sankharas are the product of your deeds in former existences. The combination of your sankharas is your self. Wheresoever they are impressed thither your self migrates. In your sankharas you will continue to live and you will reap in future existences the harvest sown now and in the past."
"Verily, Lord," rejoined Kutadanta, this is not a fair retribution. I cannot
recognize the justice that others after me will reap what I am sowing now."
Kutadanta said: "I have faith in the glory and excellency of your doctrines. My eye cannot as yet endure the light; but I now understand that there is no self, and the truth dawns on me. Sacrifices cannot save, and invocations are idle talk. But how shall I find the path to life everlasting? I know all the Vedas by heart and have not found the truth."
Said the Buddha: "Learning is a good thing; but it availeth not. True wisdom can be acquired by practice only. Practice the truth that your brother is the same as you. Walk in the noble path of righteousness and you will understand that while there is death in self, there is immortality in truth."
Said Kutadanta: "Let me take my refuge in the Blessed One, in the Dharma, and in the brotherhood. Accept me as your disciple and let me partake of the bliss of immortality."
AND the Blessed One thus addressed the brethren: "Those only who do not believe,
call me Gautama, but you call me the Buddha, the Blessed One, the Teacher. And this is
right, for I have in this life entered Nirvana, while the life of Gautama has been
extinguished. Self has disappeared and the truth has taken its abode in me. This body of
mine is Gautama's body and it will be dissolved in due time, and after its dissolution no
one, neither God nor man, will see Gautama again. But the truth remains. The Buddha will not
die; the Buddha will continue to live in the holy body of the law.
"You are my children, I am your father; through me you have been released from your sufferings. I myself having reached the other shore, help others to cross the stream; I myself having attained salvation, am a savior of others; being comforted, I comfort others and lead them to the place of refuge. I shall fill with joy all the beings whose limbs languish; I shall give happiness to those who are dying from distress; I shall extend to them succor and deliverance.
"I was born into the world as the king of truth for the salvation of the world. The subject on which I meditate is truth. The practice to which I devote myself is truth. The topic of my conversation is truth. My thoughts are always in the truth. For lo! my self has become the truth. Whosoever comprehendeth the truth will see the Blessed One, for the truth has been preached by the Blessed One."
THE Tathagata addressed the venerable Kassapa, to dispel the uncertainty and doubt
of his mind, and he said: "All things are made of one essence, yet things are different
according to the forms which they assume under different impressions. As they form
themselves so they act, and as they act so they are. It is, Kassapa, as if a potter made
different vessels out of the same clay. Some of these pots are to contain sugar, others
rice, others curds and milk; others still are vessels of impurity. There is no diversity in
the clay used; the diversity of the pots is only due to the moulding hands of the potter who
shapes them for the various uses that circumstances may require.
"And the Tathagata is the same to all beings, differing in his attitude only in so
far as all beings are different. The Tathagata recreates the whole world like a cloud
shedding its waters without distinction. He has the same sentiments for the high as for the
low, for the wise as for the ignorant, for the noble-minded as for the immoral.
"The Tathagata, however, Kassapa, knows the law whose essence is salvation, and whose end is the peace of Nirvana. He is the same to all, and yet knowing the requirements of every single being, he does not reveal himself to all alike. He does not impart to them at once the fullness of omniscience, but pays attention to the disposition of various beings."
BEFORE Rahula, the son of Gautama Siddhattha and Yasodhara, attained to the
enlightenment of true wisdom, his conduct was not always marked by a love of truth, and the
Blessed One sent him to a distant vihara to govern his mind and to guard his tongue. After
some time the Blessed One repaired to the place, and Rahula was filled with joy.
"No, my Lord," replied the boy, "the water is defiled. Then the Blessed One said: "Now consider your own case. Although you are my son, and the grandchild of a king, although you are a samana who has voluntarily given up everything, you are unable to guard your tongue from untruth, and thus defile you your mind." And when the water had been poured away, the Blessed One asked again: "Is this vessel now fit for holding water to drink?"
"No, my Lord," replied Rahula, "the vessel, too, has become unclean." And the Blessed One said: "Now consider your own case. Although you wear the yellow robe, are you fit for any high purpose when you have become unclean like this vessel?" Then the Blessed One, lifting up the empty basin and whirling it round, asked: "Are you not afraid lest it shall fall and break?" "No, my Lord," replied Rahula, it is cheap, its loss will not amount to much."
"Now consider your own case, said the Blessed One. You are whirled about in endless eddies of transmigration, and as your body is made of the same substance as other material things that will crumble to dust, there is no loss if it be broken. He who is given to speaking untruths is an object of contempt to the wise."
Rahula was filled with shame, and the Blessed One addressed him once more: "Listen,
and I will tell you a parable: There was a king who had a very powerful elephant, able to
cope with five hundred ordinary elephants. When going to war, the elephant was armed with
sharp swords on his tusks, with scythes on his shoulders, spears on his feet, and an iron
ball at his tail. The elephant-master rejoiced to see the noble creature so well equipped,
and, knowing that a slight wound by an arrow in the trunk would be fatal, he had taught the
elephant to keep his trunk well coiled up. But during the battle the elephant stretched
forth his trunk to seize a sword. His master was frightened and consulted with the king, and
they decided that the elephant was no longer fit to be used in battle.
THE Blessed One observed the ways of society and noticed how much misery came from
malignity and foolish offenses done only to gratify vanity and self-seeking pride. And the
Buddha said: "If a man foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my
ungrudging love; the more evil comes from him, the more good shall go from me; the fragrance
of goodness always comes to me, and the harmful air of evil goes to him."
"My son," said the Buddha you have railed at me, but I decline to accept your abuse, and request you to keep it yourself. Will it not be a source of misery to you? As the echo belongs to the sound, and the shadow to the substance, so misery will overtake the evil-doer without fail."
The abuser made no reply, and Buddha continued: "A wicked man who reproaches a virtuous one is like one who looks up and spits at heaven; the spittle soils not the heaven, but comes back and defiles his own person. The slanderer is like one who flings dust at another when the wind is contrary; the dust does but return on him who threw it. The virtuous man cannot be hurt and the misery that the other would inflict comes back on himself." The abuser went away ashamed, but he came again and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
ON a certain day when the Blessed One dwelt at jetavana, the garden of Anathapindika, a celestial deva came to him in the shape of a Brahman whose countenance was bright and whose garments were white like snow. The deva asked questions which the Blessed One answered.
The deva said: "What is the sharpest sword? What is the deadliest poison? What is the fiercest fire? What is the darkest night?" The Blessed One replied: "A word spoken in wrath is the sharpest sword; covetousness is the deadliest poison; passion is the fiercest fire; ignorance is the darkest night."
The deva said: "Who gains the greatest benefit? Who loses most? Which armor is invulnerable? What is the best weapon?" The Blessed One replied: "He is the greatest gainer who to others, and he loses most who greedily receives without gratitude. Patience is an invulnerable armor; wisdom is the best weapon."
The deva said: "Who is the most dangerous thief? What is the most precious treasure? Who is most successful in taking away by violence not only on earth, but also in heaven? What is the securest treasure-trove?" The Blessed One replied: "Evil thought is the most dangerous thief; virtue is the most precious treasure. The mind takes possession of everything not only on earth, but also in heaven, and immortality is its securest treasure-trove."
The deva said: "What is attractive? What is disgusting? What is the most horrible pain? What is the greatest enjoyment?" The Blessed One replied: "Good is attractive; evil is disgusting. A bad conscience is the most tormenting pain; deliverance is the height of bliss."
The deva asked: "What causes ruin in the world? What breaks off friendships? What is the most violent fever? Who is the best physician?" The Blessed One replied: "Ignorance causes the ruin of the world. Envy and selfishness break off friendships. Hatred is the most violent fever, and the Buddha is the best physician."
The deva then asked and said: "Now I have only one doubt to be solved; pray, clear it away: What is it fire can neither burn, nor moisture corrode, nor wind crush down, but is able to reform the whole world?" The Blessed One replied: "Blessing! Neither fire, nor moisture, nor wind can destroy the blessing of a good deed, and blessings reform the whole world."
The deva, having heard the words of the Blessed One, was full of exceeding joy. Clasping his hands, he bowed down before him in reverence, and disappeared suddenly from the presence of the Buddha.
THE bhikkhus came to the Blessed One, and having saluted him with clasped hands they said: "Master, you all-seeing one, we all wish to learn; our ears are ready to hear, you are our teacher, you are incomparable. Cut off our doubt, inform us of the blessed Dharma, you of great understanding; speak in the midst of us, you who art all-seeing, as is the thousand-eyed Lord of the gods. We will ask the muni of great understanding, who has crossed the stream, gone to the other shore, is blessed and of a firm mind: How does a bhikkhu wander rightly in the world, after having gone out from his house and driven away desire?"
The Buddha said: "Let the bhikkhu subdue his passion for human and celestial
pleasures, then, having conquered existence, he will command the Dhartna. Such a one will
wander rightly in the world. He whose lusts have been destroyed, who is free from pride, who
has overcome all the ways of passion, is subdued, perfectly happy, and of a firm mind. Such
a one will wander rightly in the world. Faithful is he who is possessed of knowledge, seeing
the way that leads to Nirvana; he who is not a partisan; he who is pure and virtuous, and
has removed the veil from his eyes. Such a one will wander rightly in the world."
The Blessed One said: "Whatever is to be done by him who aspires to attain the tranquility of Nirvana let him be able and upright, conscientious and gentle, and not proud. Let a man's pleasure be the Dharma, let him delight in the Dharma, let him stand fast in the Dharma, let him know how to inquire into the Dharma, let him not raise any dispute that pollutes the Dharma, and let him spend his time in pondering on the well-spoken truths of the Dharma.
"A treasure that is laid up in a deep pit profits nothing and may easily be lost. The real treasure that is laid up through charity and piety, temperance, self-control, or deeds of merit, is hid secure and cannot pass away. it is never gained by despoiling or wronging others, and no thief can steal it. A man, when he dies, must leave the fleeting wealth of the world, but this treasure of virtuous acts he takes with him. Let the wise do good deeds; they are a treasure that can never be lost."
Then the bhikkhus praised the wisdom of the Tathagata: "You have passed beyond pain; you are holy, Enlightened One, we consider you one that has destroyed his passions. You are glorious, thoughtful, and of great understanding. you who put an end to pain, you have carried us across our doubt. Because you saw our longing and carried us across our doubt, adoration be to you, muni, who have attained the highest good in the ways of wisdom. The doubt we had before, you have cleared away, you clearly-seeing one; surely you are a great thinker, perfectly enlightened, there is no obstacle for you. All your troubles are scattered and cut off; you are calm, subdued, firm, truthful.
Adoration be to you, noble sage, adoration be to you, you best of beings; in the world of men and gods there is none equal to you. You are the Buddha, you are the Master, you are the muni that conquers Mara; after having cut off desire you have crossed over and carry this generation to the other shore."
ONE of the disciples came to the Blessed One with a trembling heart and his mind full of doubt. And he asked the Blessed One: "Buddha, our Lord and Master, in what way do we give up the pleasures of the world, if you forbid us to work miracles and to attain the supernatural? Is not Amitabha, the infinite light of revelation, the source of innumerable miracles?"
And the Blessed One, seeing the anxiety of a truth-seeking mind, said: "Savaka, you are a novice among the novices, and you are swimming on the surface of samsara. How long will it take you to grasp the truth? You have not understood the words of the Tathagata. The law of karma is unbreakable, and supplications have no effect, for they are empty words."
Said the disciple: "Do you say there are no miraculous and wonderful things?"
The Blessed One replied: "Is it not a wonderful thing, mysterious and miraculous to
the worldling, that a man who commits wrong can become a saint, that by attaining true
enlightenment he will find the path of truth and abandon the evil ways of selfishness? The
bhikkhu who renounces the transient pleasures of the world for the eternal bliss of
holiness, performs the only miracle that can truly be called a miracle. A holy man changes
the curses of karma into blessings. But the desire to perform miracles arises either from
covetousness or from vanity. The mendicant does right who does not think: "People should
salute me; who, though despised by the world, yet cherishes no ill-will towards it. That
mendicant does right to whom omens, meteors, dreams, and signs are things abolished; he is
free from all their evils. Amitabha, the unbounded light, is the source of wisdom, of
virtue, of Buddhahood. The deeds of sorcerers and miracle-mongers are frauds, but what is
more wondrous, more mysterious, more miraculous than Amitabha?"
"What is this promise?" asked the Buddha; and the disciple replied: "There is in the west a paradise called the Pure Land, exquisitely adorned with gold and silver and precious gems. There are pure waters with golden sands, surrounded by pleasant walks and covered with large lotus flowers. Joyous music is heard, and flowers rain down three times a day. There are singing birds whose harmonious notes proclaim the praises of religion, and in the minds of those who listen to their sweet sounds, remembrance arises of the Buddha, the law, and the brotherhood. No evil birth is possible there, and even the name of hell is unknown. He who fervently and with a pious mind repeats the words 'Amitabha Buddha' will be transported to the happy region of this pure land, and when death draws nigh, the Buddha, with a company of saintly followers, will stand before him, and there will be perfect tranquility."
"In truth," said the Buddha, "there is such a happy paradise. But the country is
spiritual and it is accessible only to those that are spiritual. You say it lies in the
west. This means, look for it where he who enlightens the world resides. The sun sinks down
and leaves us in utter darkness, the shades of night steal over us, and Mara, the evil one,
buries our bodies in the grave. Sunset is nevertheless no extinction, and where we imagine
we see extinction, there is boundless light and inexhaustible life."
"Your description of paradise," the Buddha continued, "is beautiful; yet it is insufficient and does little justice to the glory of the pure land. The worldly can speak of it in a worldly way only; they use worldly similes and worldly words. But the pure land in which the pure live is more beautiful than you can say or imagine. However, the repetition of the name Amitabha Buddha is meritorious only if you speak it with such a devout attitude of mind as will cleanse your heart and attune your will to do works of righteousness. He only can reach the happy land whose soul is filled with the infinite light of truth. He only can live and breathe in the spiritual atmosphere of the Western Paradise who has attained enlightenment. I say to you, the Tathagata lives in the pure land of eternal bliss even now while he is still in the body. The Tathagata preaches the law of religion to you and to the whole world, so that you and your brethren may attain the same peace, the same happiness."
Said the disciple: "Teach me, Lord, the meditations to which I must devote myself in
order to let my mind enter into the paradise of the pure land."
"The second meditation is the meditation of pity, in which you think of all beings in distress, vividly representing in your imagination their sorrows and anxieties so as to arouse a deep compassion for them in your soul.
"The third meditation is the meditation of joy in which you think of the prosperity of others and rejoice with their rejoicings.
"The fourth meditation is the meditation on impurity, in which you consider the evil consequences of corruption, the effects of wrongs and evils. How trivial is often the pleasure of the moment and how fatal are its consequences!
"The fifth meditation is the meditation on serenity, in which you rise above love and hate, tyranny and thraldom, wealth and want, and regard your own fate with impartial calmness and perfect tranquility.
"A true follower of the Tathagata founds not his trust on austerities or rituals, but giving up the idea of self relies with his whole heart on Amitabha, which is the unbounded light of truth."
The Blessed One after having explained his doctrine of Amitabha, the immeasurable light which makes him who receives it a Buddha, looked into the heart of his disciple and saw still some doubts and anxieties. And the Blessed One said: "Ask me, my son, the questions which weigh on your soul."
The disciple said: "Can a humble monk, by sanctifying himself, acquire the talents of supernatural wisdom called Abhinnas and the supernatural powers called Iddhi? Show me the Iddhi-pada, the path to the highest wisdom. Open to me the Jhanas which are the means of acquiring samadhi, the fixity of mind which enraptures the soul. And the Blessed One said: "Which are the Abhinnas?"
The disciple replied: "There are six Abhinnas: The celestial eye; the celestial ear;
the body at will or the power of transformation; the knowledge of the destiny of former
dwellings, so as to know former states of existence; the faculty of reading the thoughts of
others; and the knowledge of comprehending the finality of the stream of life."
Said the disciple: "Then the Tathagata teaches that man can attain through the Jhanas the bliss of Abhinna." And the Blessed One asked in reply: "Which are the Jhanas through which man reaches Abhinna?"
The disciple replied: "There are four Jhanas. The first Jhana is seclusion in which one must free his mind from sensuality; the second Jhana is a tranquility of mind full of joy and gladness; the third Jhana is a taking delight in things spiritual; the fourth Jhana is a state of perfect purity and peace in which the mind is above all gladness and grief."
"Good, my son," enjoined the Blessed One. "Be sober and abandon wrong practices which serve only to stultify the mind." Said the disciple: "Forbear with me, Blessed One, for I have faith without understanding and I am seeking the truth. Blessed One, Tathagata, my Lord and Master, teach me the Iddhipada."
The Blessed One said: "There are four means by which Iddhi is acquired: Prevent bad qualities from arising. Put away bad qualities that have arisen. Produce goodness that does not yet exist. Increase goodness which already exists. - Search with sincerity, and persevere in the search. In the end you will find the truth."
THE Blessed One said to Ananda: "There are various kinds of assemblies, Ananda;
assemblies of nobles, of Brahmans, of householders, of bhikkhus, and of other beings. When I
used to enter an assembly, I always became, before I seated myself, in colour like to the
colour of my audience, and in voice like to their voice. I spoke to them in their language
and then with religious discourse I instructed, quickened, and gladdened them.
"My doctrine is pure and it makes no discrimination between noble and ignoble, rich
and poor. My doctrine is like to water which cleanses all without distinction. My doctrine
is like to fire which consumes all things that exist between heaven and earth, great and
small. My doctrine is like to the heavens, for there is room in it, ample room for the
reception of all, for men and women, boys and girls, the powerful and the lowly.
Carus, Paul. The Gospel of Buddha: Compiled from Ancient Records. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1984 and 1915.
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