Sacred Books of the East

Part 7 out of 9

established thus in perfect dignity of manner; with noble mien and
presence, as this visitor. Thus calling things to mind with perfect
self-possession, he reached the thought of righteousness, and by what
means it can be gained. Indulging thus for some time in thoughts of
religious solitude, he now suppressed his feelings and controlled his
members, and rising turned again towards the city. His followers all
flocked after him, calling him to stop and not go far from them, but in
his mind these secret thoughts so held him, devising means by which to
escape from the world, that though his body moved along the road, his
heart was far away among the mountains; even as the bound and captive
elephant ever thinks about his desert wilds. The prince now entering the
city, there met him men and women, earnest for their several ends; the
old besought him for their children, the young sought something for the
wife, others sought something for their brethren; all those allied by
kinship or by family, aimed to obtain their several suits, all of them
joined in relationship dreading the pain of separation. And now the
prince's heart was filled with joy, as he suddenly heard those words
"separation and association." "These are joyful sounds to me," he said,
"they assure me that my vow shall be accomplished." Then deeply
pondering the joy of "snapped relationship," the idea of Nirvana,
deepened and widened in him, his body as a peak of the Golden Mount, his
shoulder like the elephant's, his voice like the spring-thunder, his
deep-blue eye like that of the king of oxen; his mind full of religious
thoughts, his face bright as the full moon, his step like that of the
lion king, thus he entered his palace; even as the son of Lord Sakra, or
Sakra-putra, his mind reverential, his person dignified, he went
straight to his father's presence, and with head inclined, inquired, "Is
the king well?" Then he explained his dread of age, disease, and death,
and sought respectfully permission to become a hermit. "For all things
in the world," he said, "though now united, tend to separation."
Therefore he prayed to leave the world; desiring to find "true

His royal father hearing the words "leave the world," was forthwith
seized with great heart-trembling, even as the strong wild elephant
shakes with his weight the boughs of some young sapling; going forward,
seizing the prince's hands, with falling tears, he spake as follows:
"Stop! nor speak such words, the time is not yet come for 'a religious
life;' you are young and strong, your heart beats full, to lead a
religious life frequently involves trouble; it is rarely possible to
hold the desires in check, the heart not yet estranged from their
enjoyment; to leave your home and lead a painful ascetic life, your
heart can hardly yet resolve on such a course. To dwell amidst the
desert wilds or lonely dells, this heart of yours would not be perfectly
at rest, for though you love religious matters, you are not yet like me
in years; you should undertake the kingdom's government, and let me
first adopt ascetic life; but to give up your father and your sacred
duties, this is not to act religiously; you should suppress this thought
of 'leaving home,' and undertake your worldly duties, find your delight
in getting an illustrious name, and after this give up your home and

The prince, with proper reverence and respectful feelings, again
besought his royal father; but promised if he could be saved from four
calamities, that he would give up the thought of "leaving home." If he
would grant him life without end, no disease, nor undesirable old age,
and no decay of earthly possessions, then he would obey and give up the
thought of "leaving home."

The royal father then addressed the prince, "Speak not such words as
these, for with respect to these four things, who is there able to
prevent them, or say nay to their approach; asking such things as these,
you would provoke men's laughter! But put away this thought of 'leaving
home,' and once more take yourself to pleasure."

The prince again besought his father, "If you may not grant me these
four prayers, then let me go I pray, and leave my home. O! place no
difficulties in my path; your son is dwelling in a burning house, would
you indeed prevent his leaving it! To solve a doubt is only reasonable,
who could forbid a man to seek its explanation? Or if he were forbidden,
then by self-destruction he might solve the difficulty, in an
unrighteous way: and if he were to do so, who could restrain him after

The royal father, seeing his son's mind so firmly fixed that it could
not be turned, and that it would be waste of strength to bandy further
words or arguments, forthwith commanded more attendant women, to provoke
still more his mind to pleasure; day and night he ordered them to keep
the roads and ways, to the end that he might not leave his palace. He
moreover ordered all the ministers of the country to come to the place
where dwelt the prince, to quote and illustrate the rules of filial
piety, hoping to cause him to obey the wishes of the king.

The prince, beholding his royal father bathed with tears and o'erwhelmed
with grief, forthwith returned to his abode, and sat himself in silence
to consider; all the women of the palace, coming towards him, waited as
they circled him, and gazed in silence on his beauteous form. They gazed
upon him not with furtive glance, but like the deer in autumn brake
looks wistfully at the hunter; around the prince's straight and handsome
form, bright as the mountain of true gold (Sumeru). The dancing women
gathered doubtingly, waiting to hear him bid them sound their music;
repressing every feeling of the heart through fear, even as the deer
within the brake; now gradually the day began to wane, the prince still
sitting in the evening light, his glory streaming forth in splendor, as
the sun lights up Mount Sumeru; thus seated on his jewelled couch,
surrounded by the fumes of sandal-wood, the dancing women took their
places round; then sounded forth their heavenly music, even as Vaisaman
produces every kind of rare and heavenly sounds. The thoughts which
dwelt within the prince's mind entirely drove from him desire for music,
and though the sounds filled all the place, they fell upon his ear
unnoticed. At this time the Deva of the Pure abode, knowing the prince's
time was come, the destined time for quitting home, suddenly assumed a
form and came to earth, to make the shapes of all the women
unattractive, so that they might create disgust, and no desire arise
from thought of beauty. Their half-clad forms bent in ungainly
attitudes, forgetful in their sleep, their bodies crooked or supine, the
instruments of music lying scattered in disorder; leaning and facing one
another, or with back to back, or like those beings thrown into the
abyss, their jewelled necklets bound about like chains, their clothes
and undergarments swathed around their persons; grasping their
instruments, stretched along the earth, even as those undergoing
punishment at the hands of keepers, their garments in confusion, or like
the broken kani flower; or some with bodies leaning in sleep against the
wall, in fashion like a hanging bow or horn, or with their hands holding
to the window-frames, and looking like an outstretched corpse. Their
mouths half opened or else gaping wide, the loathsome dribble trickling
forth, their heads uncovered and in wild disorder, like some unreasoning
madman's; the flower wreaths torn and hanging across their face, or
slipping off the face upon the ground; others with body raised as if in
fearful dread, just like the lonely desert bird; or others pillowed on
their neighbor's lap, their hands and feet entwined together, whilst
others smiled or knit their brows in turn; some with eyes closed and
open mouth, their bodies lying in wild disorder, stretched here and
there, like corpses thrown together. And now the prince seated, in his
beauty, looked with thought on all the waiting women; before, they had
appeared exceeding lovely, their laughing words, their hearts so light
and gay, their forms so plump and young, their looks so bright; but now,
how changed! so uninviting and repulsive. And such is woman's
disposition! how can they, then, be ever dear, or closely trusted; such
false appearances! and unreal pretences; they only madden and delude the
minds of men.

"And now," he said, "I have awakened to the truth! Resolved am I to
leave such false society." At this time the Deva of the Pure abode
descended and approached, unfastening the doors. The prince, too, at
this time rose and walked along, amid the prostrate forms of all the
women; with difficulty reaching the inner hall, he called to Kandaka, in
these words, "My mind is now athirst and longing for the draught of the
fountain of sweet dew; saddle then my horse, and quickly bring it here.
I wish to reach the deathless city; my heart is fixed beyond all change,
resolved I am and bound by sacred oath; these women, once so charming
and enticing, now behold I altogether loathsome; the gates, which were
before fast-barred and locked, now stand free and open! these evidences
of something supernatural, point to a climax of my life."

Then Kandaka stood reflecting inwardly, whether to obey or not the
prince's order, without informing his royal father of it, and so incur
the heaviest punishment.

The Devas then gave spiritual strength; and unperceived the horse
equipped came round, with even pace; a gallant steed, with all his
jewelled trappings for a rider; high-maned, with flowing tail,
broad-backed, short-haired and eared, with belly like the deer's, head
like the king of parrots, wide forehead, round and claw-shaped nostrils,
breath like the dragon's, with breast and shoulders square, true and
sufficient marks of his high breed. The royal prince, stroking the
horse's neck, and rubbing down his body, said, "My royal father ever
rode on thee, and found thee brave in fight and fearless of the foe; now
I desire to rely on thee alike! to carry me far off to the stream (ford)
of endless life, to fight against and overcome the opposing force of
men, the men who associate in search of pleasure, the men who engage in
the search after wealth, the crowds who follow and flatter such persons;
in opposing sorrow, friendly help is difficult to find, in seeking
religious truth there must be rare enlightenment, let us then be knit
together thus as friends; then, at last, there will be rest from sorrow.
But now I wish to go abroad, to give deliverance from pain; now then,
for your own sake it is, and for the sake of all your kind, that you
should exert your strength, with noble pace, without lagging or
weariness." Having thus exhorted him, he bestrode his horse, and
grasping the reins proceeded forth; the man like the sun shining forth
from his tabernacle, the horse like the white floating cloud, exerting
himself but without exciting haste, his breath concealed and without
snorting; four spirits (Devas) accompanying him, held up his feet,
heedfully concealing his advance, silently and without noise; the heavy
gates fastened and barred, the heavenly spirits of themselves caused to
open. Reverencing deeply the virtuous father, loving deeply the
unequalled son, equally affected with love towards all the members of
his family these Devas took their place.

Suppressing his feelings, but not extinguishing his memory, lightly he
advanced and proceeded beyond the city, pure and spotless as the lily
flowers which spring from the mud; looking up with earnestness at his
father's palace, he announced his purpose--unwitnessed and
unwritten--"If I escape not birth, old age, and death, for evermore I
pass not thus along." All the concourse of Devas, the space-filling
Nagas and spirits followed joyfully and exclaimed, "Well! well!" in
confirmation of the true words he spoke. The Nagas and the company of
Devas acquired a condition of heart difficult to obtain, and each with
his own inherent light led on the way shedding forth their brightness.
Thus man and horse, both strong of heart, went onwards, lost to sight
like streaming stars, but ere the eastern quarter flashed with light,
they had advanced three yoganas.

[Footnote 91: Mara, the king of the world of desire. According to the
Buddhist theogony he is the god of sensual love. He holds the world in
sin. He was the enemy of Buddha, and endeavored in every way to defeat
him. He is also described as the king of death.]

[Footnote 92: That is, the Brahman wearing the twice-born thread.]

[Footnote 93: The "eternal draught" or "sweet dew" of Ambrosia. This
expression is constantly used in Buddhist writings. It corresponds with
the Pali amatam, which Childers explains as the "drink of the gods."]

[Footnote 94: The condition of the highest Deva, according to Buddhism,
does not exempt him from re-birth; subject to the calamities incident on
such a renewal of life.]

[Footnote 95: This seems to mean that those who had not received benefit
from the teaching of the four previous Buddhas, that even these were
placable and well-disposed.]

[Footnote 96: The description here given of the peace and content
prevailing in the world on the birth of Bodhisattva (and his name given
to him in consequence) resembles the account of the golden age in
classic authors.]


The Return of Kandaka

And now the night was in a moment gone, and sight restored to all
created things, when the royal prince looked through the wood, and saw
the abode of Po-ka, the Rishi. The purling streams so exquisitely pure
and sparkling, and the wild beasts all unalarmed at man, caused the
royal prince's heart to exult. Tired, the horse stopped of his own will,
to breathe. "This, then," he thought, "is a good sign and fortunate, and
doubtless indicates divine approval." And now he saw belonging to the
Rishi, the various vessels used for asking charity, and other things
arranged by him in order, without the slightest trace of negligence.
Dismounting then he stroked his horse's head, and cried, "You now have
borne me well!"

With loving eyes he looked at Kandaka: eyes like the pure cool surface
of a placid lake and said, "Swift-footed! like a horse in pace, yea!
swift as any light-winged bird, ever have you followed after me when
riding, and deeply have I felt my debt of thanks, but not yet had you
been tried in other ways; I only knew you as a man true-hearted, my mind
now wonders at your active powers of body; these two I now begin to see
are yours; a man may have a heart most true and faithful, but strength
of body may not too be his; bodily strength and perfect honesty of
heart, I now have proof enough are yours. To be content to leave the
tinselled world, and with swift foot to follow me, who would do this but
for some profit; if without profit to his kin, who would not shun it?
But you, with no private aim, have followed me, not seeking any present
recompense; as we nourish and bring up a child, to bind together and
bring honor to a family, so we also reverence and obey a father, to gain
obedience and attention from a begotten son; in this way all think of
their own advantage; but you have come with me disdaining profit; with
many words I cannot hold you here, so let me say in brief to you, we
have now ended our relationship; take, then, my horse and ride back
again; for me, during the long night past, that place I sought to reach
now I have obtained."

Then taking off his precious neck-chain, he handed it to Kandaka. "Take
this," he said, "I give it you, let it console you in your sorrow." The
precious jewel in the tire that bound his head, bright-shining, lighting
up his person, taking off and placing in his extended palm, like the sun
which lights up Sumeru, he said, "O Kandaka! take this gem, and going
back to where my father is, take the jewel and lay it reverently before
him, to signify my heart's relation to him; and then, for me, request
the king to stifle every fickle feeling of affection, and say that I, to
escape from birth and age and death, have entered on the wild forest of
painful discipline; not that I may get a heavenly birth, much less
because I have no tenderness of heart, or that I cherish any cause of
bitterness, but only that I may escape this weight of sorrow. The
accumulated long-night weight of covetous desire (love), I now desire to
ease the load so that it may be overthrown forever; therefore I seek the
way of ultimate escape; if I should obtain emancipation, then shall I
never need to put away my kindred, to leave my home, to sever ties of
love. O! grieve not for your son! The five desires of sense beget the
sorrow; those held by lust themselves induce the sorrow. My very
ancestors, victorious kings, thinking their throne established and
immovable, have handed down to me their kingly wealth; I, thinking only
on religion, put it all away; the royal mothers at the end of life their
cherished treasures leave for their sons, those sons who covet much such
worldly profit; but I rejoice to have acquired religious wealth; if you
say that I am young and tender, and that the time for seeking wisdom is
not come, you ought to know that to seek true religion, there never is a
time not fit; impermanence and fickleness, the hate of death, these ever
follow us, and therefore I embrace the present day, convinced that now
is time to seek religion. With such entreaties as the above, you must
make matters plain on my behalf; but, pray you, cause my father not to
think longingly after me; let him destroy all recollection of me, and
cut out from his soul the ties of love; and you, grieve not because of
what I say, but recollect to give the king my message."

Kandaka hearing respectfully the words of exhortation, blinded and
confused through choking sorrow, with hands outstretched did worship;
and answering the prince, he spoke, "The orders that you give me will, I
fear, add grief to grief, and sorrow thus increased will deepen, as the
elephant who struggles into deeper mire. When the ties of love are
rudely snapped, who, that has any heart, would not grieve! The golden
ore may still by stamping be broken up, how much more the feelings
choked with sorrow! the prince has grown up in a palace, with every care
bestowed upon his tender person, and now he gives his body to the rough
and thorny forest; how will he be able to bear a life of privation? When
first you ordered me to equip your steed, my mind was indeed sorely
troubled, but the heavenly powers urged me on, causing me to hasten the
preparation of the horse, but what is the intention that urges the
prince, to resolve thus to leave his secure palace? The people of
Kapilavastu, and all the country afflicted with grief; your father, now
an old man, mindful of his son, loving him moreover tenderly; surely
this determination to leave your home, this is not according to duty; it
is wrong, surely, to disregard father and mother--we cannot speak of
such a thing with propriety! Gotami, too, who has nourished you so long,
fed you with milk when a helpless child, such love as hers cannot easily
be forgotten; it is impossible surely to turn the back on a benefactor;
the highly gifted virtuous mother of a child, is ever respected by the
most distinguished families; to inherit distinction and then to turn
round, is not the mark of a distinguished man. The illustrious child of
Yasodhara, who has inherited a kingdom, rightly governed, his years now
gradually ripening, should not thus go away from and forsake his home;
but though he has gone away from his royal father, and forsaken his
family and his kin, forbid it he should still drive me away, let me not
depart from the feet of my master; my heart is bound to thee, as the
heat is bound up in the boiling water. I cannot return without thee to
my country; to return and leave the prince thus, in the midst of the
solitude of the desert, then should I be like Sumanta, who left and
forsook Rama; and now if I return alone to the palace, what words can I
address to the king? How can I reply to the reproaches of all the
dwellers in the palace with suitable words? Therefore let the prince
rather tell me, how I may truly describe, and with what device, the
disfigured body, and the merit-seeking condition of the hermit! I am
full of fear and alarm, my tongue can utter no words; tell me then what
words to speak; but who is there in the empire will believe me? If I say
that the moon's rays are scorching, there are men, perhaps, who may
believe me; but they will not believe that the prince, in his conduct,
will act without piety; for the prince's heart is sincere and refined,
always actuated with pity and love to men. To be deeply affected with
love, and yet to forsake the object of love, this surely is opposed to a
constant mind. O then, for pity's sake! return to your home, and thus
appease my foolish longings."

The prince having listened to Kandaka, pitying his grief expressed in so
many words, with heart resolved and strong in its determination, spoke
thus to him once more, and said: "Why thus on my account do you feel the
pain of separation? you should overcome this sorrowful mood, it is for
you to comfort yourself; all creatures, each in its way, foolishly
arguing that all things are constant, would influence me to-day not to
forsake my kin and relatives; but when dead and come to be a ghost, how
then, let them say, can I be kept? My loving mother when she bore me,
with deep affection painfully carried me, and then when born she died,
not permitted to nourish me. One alive, the other dead, gone by
different roads, where now shall she be found? Like as in a wilderness,
on some high tree, all the birds living with their mates assemble in the
evening and at dawn disperse, so are the separations of the world; the
floating clouds rise like a high mountain, from the four quarters they
fill the void, in a moment again they are separated and disappear; so is
it with the habitations of men; people from the beginning have erred
thus, binding themselves in society and by the ties of love, and then,
as after a dream, all is dispersed; do not then recount the names of my
relatives; for like the wood which is produced in spring, gradually
grows and brings forth its leaves, which again fall in the
autumn-chilly-dews--if the different parts of the same body are thus
divided--how much more men who are united in society! and how shall the
ties of relationship escape rending? Cease therefore your grief and
expostulation, obey my commands and return home; the thought of your
return alone will save me, and perhaps after your return I also may come
back. The men of Kapilavastu, hearing that my heart is fixed, will
dismiss from their minds all thought of me, but you may make known my
words, 'when I have escaped from the sad ocean of birth and death, then
afterwards I will come back again; but I am resolved, if I obtain not my
quest, my body shall perish in the mountain wilds.'" The white horse
hearing the prince, as he uttered these true and earnest words, bent his
knee and licked his foot, whilst he sighed deeply and wept. Then the
prince with his soft and glossy palm, fondly stroking the head of the
white horse, said, "Do not let sorrow rise within, I grieve indeed at
losing you, my gallant steed--so strong and active, your merit now has
gained its end; you shall enjoy for long a respite from an evil birth,
but for the present take as your reward these precious jewels and this
glittering sword, and with them follow closely after Kandaka." The
prince then drawing forth his sword, glancing in the light as the
dragon's eye, cut off the knot of hair with its jewelled stud, and
forthwith cast it into space; ascending upwards to the firmament, it
floated there as the wings of the phoenix; then all the Devas of the
Trayastrimsa heavens seizing the hair, returned with it to their
heavenly abodes; desiring always to adore the feet (offer religious
service), how much rather now possessed of the crowning locks, with
unfeigned piety do they increase their adoration, and shall do till the
true law has died away.

Then the royal prince thought thus, "My adornments now are gone forever,
there only now remain these silken garments, which are not in keeping
with a hermit's life."

Then the Deva of the Pure abode, knowing the heart-ponderings of the
prince, transformed himself into a hunter's likeness, holding his bow,
his arrows in his girdle, his body girded with a Kashaya-colored robe,
thus he advanced in front of the prince. The prince considering this
garment of his, the color of the ground, a fitting pure attire, becoming
to the utmost the person of a Rishi, not fit for a hunter's dress,
forthwith called to the hunter, as he stood before him, in accents soft,
and thus addressed him: "That dress of thine belikes me much, as if it
were not foul, and this my dress I'll give thee in exchange, so please

The hunter then addressed the prince, "Although I ill can spare this
garment, which I use as a disguise among the deer, that alluring them
within reach I may kill them, notwithstanding, as it so pleases you, I
am now willing to bestow it in exchange for yours." The hunter having
received the sumptuous dress, took again his heavenly body.

The prince and Kandaka, the coachman, seeing this, thought deeply thus:
"This garment is of no common character, it is not what a worldly man
has worn"--and in the prince's heart great joy arose, as he regarded the
coat with double reverence, and forthwith giving all the other things to
Kandaka, he himself was clad in it, of Kashaya color; then like the dark
and lowering cloud, that surrounds the disc of the sun or moon, he for a
moment gazed, scanning his steps, then entered on the hermit's grot;
Kandaka following him with wistful eyes, his body disappeared, nor was
it seen again. "My lord and master now has left his father's house, his
kinsfolk and myself," he cried; "he now has clothed himself in hermit's
garb, and entered the painful forest." Raising his hands he called on
Heaven, o'erpowered with grief he could not move; till holding by the
white steed's neck, he tottered forward on the homeward road, turning
again and often looking back, his body going on, his heart
back-hastening; now lost in thought and self-forgetful, now looking down
to earth, then raising up his drooping eye to heaven, falling at times
and then rising again, thus weeping as he went, he pursued his way

Entering the Place of Austerities

The prince having dismissed Kandaka, as he entered the Rishis' abode,
his graceful body brightly shining, lit up on every side the forest
"place of suffering"; himself gifted with every excellence, according to
his gifts, so were they reflected. As the lion, the king of beasts, when
he enters among the herd of beasts, drives from their minds all thoughts
of common things, as now they watch the true form of their kind, so
those Rishi masters assembled there, suddenly perceiving the miraculous
portent, were struck with awe and fearful gladness, as they gazed with
earnest eyes and hands conjoined. The men and women, engaged in various
occupations, beholding him, with unchanged attitudes, gazed as the gods
look on King Sakra, with constant look and eyes unmoved; so the Rishis,
with their feet fixed fast, looked at him even thus; whatever in their
hands they held, without releasing it, they stopped and looked; even as
the ox when yoked to the wain, his body bound, his mind also restrained;
so also the followers of the holy Rishis, each called the other to
behold the miracle. The peacocks and the other birds with cries
commingled flapped their wings; the Brahmakarins holding the rules of
deer, following the deer wandering through mountain glades, as the deer
coarse of nature, with flashing eyes, regard the prince with fixed gaze;
so following the deer, those Brahmakarins intently gaze likewise,
looking at the exceeding glory of the Ikshvaku. As the glory of the
rising sun is able to affect the herds of milch kine, so as to increase
the quantity of their sweet-scented milk, so those Brahmakarins, with
wondrous joy, thus spoke one to the other: "Surely this is one of the
eight Vasu Devas"; others, "this is one of the two Asvins"; others,
"this is Mara"; others, "this is one of the Brahmakayikas"; others,
"this is Suryadeva or Kandradeva, coming down; are they not seeking here
a sacrifice which is their due? Come let us haste to offer our religious

The prince, on his part, with respectful mien addressed to them polite
salutation. Then Bodhisattva, looking with care in every direction on
the Brahmakarins occupying the wood, each engaged in his religious
duties, all desirous of the delights of heaven, addressed the senior
Brahmakarin, and asked him as to the path of true religion. "Now having
just come here, I do not yet know the rules of your religious life. I
ask you therefore for information, and I pray explain to me what I ask."

On this that twice-born (Brahman) in reply explained in succession all
the modes of painful discipline, and the fruits expected as their
result. How some ate nothing brought from inhabited places but that
produced from pure water, others edible roots and tender twigs, others
fruits and flowers fit for food, each according to the rules of his
sect, clothing and food in each case different; some living amongst
bird-kind, and like them capturing and eating food; others eating as the
deer the grass and herbs; others living like serpents, inhaling air;
others eating nothing pounded in wood or stone; some eating with two
teeth, till a wound be formed; others, again, begging their food and
giving it in charity, taking only the remnants for themselves; others,
again, who let water continually drip on their heads and those who offer
up with fire; others who practise water-dwelling like fish; thus there
are Brahmakarins of every sort, who practise austerities, that they may
at the end of life obtain a birth in heaven, and by their present
sufferings afterwards obtain peaceable fruit.

The lord of men, the excellent master, hearing all their modes of
sorrow-producing penance, not perceiving any element of truth in them,
experienced no joyful emotion in his heart; lost in thought, he regarded
the men with pity, and with his heart in agreement his mouth thus spake:
"Pitiful indeed are such sufferings! and merely in quest of a human or
heavenly reward, ever revolving in the cycle of birth or death, how
great your sufferings, how small the recompense! Leaving your friends,
giving up honorable position; with a firm purpose to obtain the joys of
heaven, although you may escape little sorrows, yet in the end involved
in great sorrow; promoting the destruction of your outward form, and
undergoing every kind of painful penance, and yet seeking to obtain
another birth; increasing and prolonging the causes of the five desires,
not considering that herefrom birth and death, undergoing suffering and,
by that, seeking further suffering; thus it is that the world of men,
though dreading the approach of death, yet strive after renewed birth;
and being thus born, they must die again. Although still dreading the
power of suffering, yet prolonging their stay in the sea of pain.
Disliking from their heart their present kind of life, yet still
striving incessantly after other life; enduring affliction that they may
partake of joy; seeking a birth in heaven, to suffer further trouble;
seeking joys, whilst the heart sinks with feebleness. For this is so
with those who oppose right reason; they cannot but be cramped and poor
at heart. But by earnestness and diligence, then we conquer. Walking in
the path of true wisdom, letting go both extremes, we then reach
ultimate perfection; to mortify the body, if this is religion, then to
enjoy rest, is something not resulting from religion. To walk
religiously and afterwards to receive happiness, this is to make the
fruit of religion something different from religion; but bodily exercise
is but the cause of death, strength results alone from the mind's
intention; if you remove from conduct the purpose of the mind, the
bodily act is but as rotten wood; wherefore, regulate the mind, and then
the body will spontaneously go right. You say that to eat pure things is
a cause of religious merit, but the wild beasts and the children of
poverty ever feed on these fruits and medicinal herbs; these then ought
to gain much religious merit. But if you say that the heart being good
then bodily suffering is the cause of further merit, then I ask why may
not those who live in ease, also possess a virtuous heart? If joys are
opposed to a virtuous heart, a virtuous heart may also be opposed to
bodily suffering; if, for instance, all those heretics profess purity
because they use water in various ways, then those who thus use water
among men, even with a wicked mind, yet ought ever to be pure. But if
righteousness is the groundwork of a Rishi's purity, then the idea of a
sacred spot as his dwelling, being the cause of his righteousness is
wrong. What is reverenced, should be known and seen. Reverence indeed is
due to righteous conduct, but let it not redound to the place or mode of

Thus speaking at large on religious questions, they went on till the
setting sun. He then beheld their rites in connection with sacrifice to
fire, the drilling for sparks and the fanning into flame, also the
sprinkling of the butter libations, also the chanting of the mystic
prayers, till the sun went down. The prince considering these acts,
could not perceive the right reason of them, and was now desirous to
turn and go. Then all those Brahmakarins came together to him to request
him to stay; regarding with reverence the dignity of Bodhisattva, very
desirous, they earnestly besought him: "You have come from an
irreligious place, to this wood where true religion flourishes, and yet,
now, you wish to go away; we beg you, then, on this account, to stay."
All the old Brahmakarins, with their twisted hair and bark clothes, came
following after Bodhisattva, asking him as a god to stay a little while.
Bodhisattva seeing these aged ones following him, their bodies worn with
macerations, stood still and rested beneath a tree; and soothing them,
urged them to return. Then all the Brahmakarins, young and old,
surrounding him, made their request with joined hands: "You who have so
unexpectedly arrived here, amid these garden glades so full of
attraction, why now are you leaving them and going away, to seek
perfection in the wilderness? As a man loving long life, is unwilling to
let go his body, so we are even thus; would that you would stop awhile.
This is a spot where Brahmans and Rishis have ever dwelt, royal Rishis
and heavenly Rishis, these all have dwelt within these woods. The places
on the borders of the snowy mountains, where men of high birth undergo
their penance, those places are not to be compared to this. All the body
of learned masters from this place have reached heaven; all the learned
Rishis who have sought religious merit, have from this place and
northwards found it; those who have attained a knowledge of the true
law, and gained divine wisdom come not from southwards; if you indeed
see us remiss and not earnest enough, practising rules not pure, and on
that account are not pleased to stay, then we are the ones that ought to
go; you can still remain and dwell here; all these different
Brahmakarins ever desire to find companions in their penances. And you,
because you are conspicuous for your religious earnestness, should not
so quickly cast away their society: if you can remain here, they will
honor you as god Sakra, yea! as the Devas pay worship to Brihaspati."

Then Bodhisattva answered the Brahmakarins and told them what his
desires were: "I am seeking for a true method of escape, I desire solely
to destroy all mundane influences; but you, with strong hearts, practise
your rules as ascetics, and pay respectful attention to such visitors as
may come. My heart indeed is moved with affection towards you, for
pleasant conversation is agreeable to all, those who listen are affected
thereby; and so hearing your words, my mind is strengthened in religious
feeling; you indeed have all paid me much respect, in agreement with the
courtesy of your religious profession; but now I am constrained to
depart, my heart grieves thereat exceedingly: first of all, having left
my own kindred, and now about to be separated from you. The pain of
separation from associates, this pain is as great as the other; it is
impossible for my mind not to grieve, as it is not to see others'
faults. But you, by suffering pain, desire earnestly to obtain the joys
of birth in heaven; whilst I desire to escape from the three worlds, and
therefore I give up what my reason tells me must be rejected. The law
which you practise, you inherit from the deeds of former teachers, but
I, desiring to destroy all combination, seek a law which admits of no
such accident. And, therefore, I cannot in this grove delay for a longer
while in fruitless discussions."

At this time all the Brahmakarins, hearing the words spoken by
Bodhisattva, words full of right reason and truth, very excellent in the
distinction of principles, their hearts rejoiced and exulted greatly,
and deep feelings of reverence were excited within them.

At this time there was one Brahmakarin, who always slept in the dust,
with tangled hair and raiment of the bark of trees, his eyes bleared,
preparing himself in an ascetic practice called "high-nose."[97] This
one addressed Bodhisattva in the following words: "Strong in will!
bright in wisdom! firmly fixed in resolve to escape the limits of birth,
knowing that in escape from birth there alone is rest, not affected by
any desire after heavenly blessedness, the mind set upon the eternal
destruction of the bodily form, you are indeed miraculous in appearance,
as you are alone in the possession of such a mind. To sacrifice to the
gods, and to practise every kind of austerity, all this is designed to
secure a birth in heaven, but here there is no mortification of selfish
desire, there is still a selfish personal aim; but to bend the will to
seek final escape, this is indeed the work of a true teacher, this is
the aim of an enlightened master; this place is no right halting-place
for you; you ought to proceed to Mount Pinda: there dwells a great Muni,
whose name is A-lo-lam. He only has reached the end of religious aims,
the most excellent eye of the law. Go, therefore, to the place where he
dwells, and listen there to the true exposition of the law. This will
make your heart rejoice, as you learn to follow the precepts of his
system. As for me, beholding the joy of your resolve, and fearing that I
shall not obtain rest, I must once more let go those following me, and
seek other disciples; straighten my head and gaze with my full eyes;
anoint my lips and cleanse my teeth; cover my shoulders and make bright
my face, smooth my tongue and make it pliable. Thus, O excellently
marked sir! fully drinking at the fountain of the water you give, I
shall escape from the unfathomable depths. In the world nought is
comparable to this, that which old men and Rishis have not known, that
shall I know and obtain."

Bodhisattva having listened to these words, left the company of the
Rishis, whilst they all, turning round him to the right, returned to
their place.

The General Grief of the Palace

Kandaka leading back the horse, opening the way for his heart's sorrow,
as he went on, lamented and wept: unable to disburden his soul. First of
all with the royal prince, passing along the road for one night, but now
dismissed and ordered to return. As the darkness of night closed on him,
irresolute he wavered in mind. On the eighth day approaching the city,
the noble horse pressed onwards, exhibiting all his qualities of speed;
but yet hesitating as he looked around and beheld not the form of the
royal prince; his four members bent down with toil, his head and neck
deprived of their glossy look, whinnying as he went on with grief, he
refused night and day his grass and water, because he had lost his lord,
the deliverer of men. Returning thus to Kapilavastu, the whole country
appeared withered and bare, as when one comes back to a deserted
village; or as when the sun hidden behind Sumeru causes darkness to
spread over the world. The fountains of water sparkled no more, the
flowers and fruits were withered and dead, the men and women in the
streets seemed lost in grief and dismay. Thus Kandaka with the white
horse went on sadly and with slow advance, silent to those inquiring,
wearily progressing as when accompanying a funeral; so they went on,
whilst all the spectators seeing Kandaka, but not observing the royal
Sakya prince, raised piteous cries of lamentation and wept; as when the
charioteer returned without Rama.

Then one by the side of the road, with his body bent, called out to
Kandaka: "The prince, beloved of the world, the defender of his people,
the one you have taken away by stealth, where dwells he now?" Kandaka,
then, with sorrowful heart, replied to the people and said: "I with
loving purpose followed after him whom I loved; 'tis not I who have
deserted the prince, but by him have I been sent away; by him who now
has given up his ordinary adornments, and with shaven head and religious
garb, has entered the sorrow-giving grove."

Then the men hearing that he had become an ascetic, were oppressed with
thoughts of wondrous boding; they sighed with heaviness and wept, and as
their tears coursed down their cheeks, they spake thus one to the other:
"What then shall we do?" Then they all exclaimed at once, "Let us haste
after him in pursuit; for as when a man's bodily functions fail, his
frame dies and his spirit flees, so is the prince our life, and he our
life gone, how shall we survive? This city, perfected with slopes and
woods; those woods, that cover the slopes of the city, all deprived of
grace, ye lie as Bharata when killed!"

Then the men and women within the town, vainly supposing the prince had
come back, in haste rushed out to the heads of the way, and seeing the
horse returning alone, not knowing whether the prince was safe or lost,
began to weep and to raise every piteous sound; and said, "Behold!
Kandaka advancing slowly with the horse, comes back with sighs and
tears; surely he grieves because the prince is lost." And thus sorrow is
added to sorrow!

Then like a captive warrior is drawn before the king his master, so did
he enter the gates with tears, his eyes filled so that he said nought.
Then looking up to heaven he loudly groaned; and the white horse too
whined piteously; then all the varied birds and beasts in the palace
court, and all the horses within the stables, hearing the sad whinnying
of the royal steed, replied in answer to him, thinking "now the prince
has come back." But seeing him not, they ceased their cries!

And now the women of the after-palace, hearing the cries of the horses,
birds, and beasts, their hair dishevelled, their faces wan and yellow,
their forms sickly to look at, their mouths and lips parched, their
garments torn and unwashed, the soil and heat not cleansed from their
bodies, their ornaments all thrown aside, disconsolate and sad,
cheerless in face, raised their bodies, without any grace, even as the
feeble little morning star; their garments torn and knotted, soiled like
the appearance of a robber, seeing Kandaka and the royal horse shedding
tears instead of the hoped-for return, they all, assembled thus, uttered
their cry, even as those who weep for one beloved just dead. Confused
and wildly they rushed about, as a herd of oxen that have lost their

Mahapragapati Gotami, hearing that the prince had not returned, fell
fainting on the ground, her limbs entirely deprived of strength, even as
some mad tornado wind crushes the golden-colored plantain tree; and
again, hearing that her son had become a recluse, deeply sighing and
with increased sadness she thought, "Alas! those glossy locks turning to
the right, each hair produced from each orifice, dark and pure,
gracefully shining, sweeping the earth when loose,[98] or when so
determined, bound together in a heavenly crown, and now shorn and lying
in the grass! Those rounded shoulders and that lion step! Those eyes
broad as the ox-king's, that body shining bright as yellow gold; that
square breast and Brahma voice; that you! possessing all these excellent
qualities, should have entered on the sorrow-giving forest; what fortune
now remains for the world, losing thus the holy king of earth? That
those delicate and pliant feet, pure as the lily and of the same color,
should now be torn by stones and thorns; O how can such feet tread on
such ground! Born and nourished in the guarded palace, clad with
garments of the finest texture, washed in richly scented water, anointed
with the choicest perfumes, and now exposed to chilling blasts and dews
of night, O! where during the heat or the chilly morn can rest be found!
Thou flower of all thy race! Confessed by all the most renowned! Thy
virtuous qualities everywhere talked of and exalted, ever reverenced,
without self-seeking! why hast thou unexpectedly brought thyself upon
some morn to beg thy food for life! Thou who wert wont to repose upon a
soft and kingly couch, and indulge in every pleasure during thy waking
hours: how canst thou endure the mountain and the forest wilds, on the
bare grass to make thyself a resting-place!"

Thus thinking of her son--her heart was full of sorrow, disconsolate she
lay upon the earth. The waiting women raised her up, and dried the tears
from off her face, whilst all the other courtly ladies, overpowered with
grief, their limbs relaxed, their minds bound fast with woe, unmoved
they sat like pictured-folk.

And now Yasodhara, deeply chiding, spoke thus to Kandaka: "Where now
dwells he, who ever dwells within my mind? You two went forth, the horse
a third, but now two only have returned! My heart is utterly o'erborne
with grief, filled with anxious thoughts, it cannot rest. And you,
deceitful man! Untrustworthy and false associate! evil contriver!
plainly revealed a traitor, a smile lurks underneath thy tears!
Escorting him in going; returning now with wails! Not one at heart--but
in league against him--openly constituted a friend and well-wisher,
concealing underneath a treacherous purpose; so thou hast caused the
sacred prince to go forth once and not return again! No questioning the
joy you feel! Having done ill you now enjoy the fruit; better far to
dwell with an enemy of wisdom, than work with one who, while a fool,
professes friendship. Openly professing sweetness and light, inwardly a
scheming and destructive enemy. And now this royal and kingly house, in
one short morn is crushed and ruined! All these fair and queen-like
women, with grief o'erwhelmed, their beauty marred, their breathing
choked with tears and sobs, their faces soiled with crossing tracks of
grief! Even the queen (Maya) when in life, resting herself on him, as
the great snowy mountains repose upon the widening earth, through grief
in thought of what would happen, died. How sad the lot of these--within
these open lattices--these weeping ones, these deeply wailing! Born in
another state than hers in heaven, how can their grief be borne!" Then
speaking to the horse she said, "Thou unjust! what dulness this--to
carry off a man, as in the darkness some wicked thief bears off a
precious gem. When riding thee in time of battle, swords, and javelins
and arrows, none of these alarmed or frighted thee! But now what
fitfulness of temper this, to carry off by violence, to rob my soul of
one, the choicest jewel of his tribe. O! thou art but a vicious reptile,
to do such wickedness as this! to-day thy woeful lamentation sounds
everywhere within these palace walls, but when you stole away my
cherished one, why wert thou dumb and silent then! if then thy voice had
sounded loud, and roused the palace inmates from their sleep, if then
they had awoke and slumbered not, there would not have ensued the
present sorrow."

Kandaka, hearing these sorrowful words, drawing in his breath and
composing himself, wiping away his tears, with hands clasped together,
answered: "Listen to me, I pray, in self-justification--be not
suspicious of, nor blame the royal horse, nor be thou angry with me,
either. For in truth no fault has been committed by us. It is the gods
who have effected this. For I, indeed, extremely reverenced the king's
command, it was the gods who drove him to the solitudes, urgently
leading on the horse with him: thus they went together fleet as with
wings, his breathing hushed! suppressed was every sound, his feet scarce
touched the earth! The city gates wide opening of themselves! all space
self-lighted! this was the work indeed of the gods; and what was I, or
what my strength, compared with theirs?"

Yasodhara hearing these words, her heart was lost in deep consideration!
the deeds accomplished by the gods could not be laid to others' charge,
as faults; and so she ceased her angry chiding, and allowed her great
consuming grief to smoulder. Thus prostrate on the ground she muttered
out her sad complaints, "That the two doves should be divided! Now," she
cried, "my stay and my support is lost, between those once agreed in
life, separation has sprung up! those who were at one as to religion are
now divided! where shall I seek another mode of life? In olden days the
former conquerors greatly rejoiced to see their kingly retinue; these
with their wives in company, in search of highest wisdom, roamed through
groves and plains. And now, that he should have deserted me! and what is
the religious state he seeks! the Brahman ritual respecting sacrifice,
requires the wife to take part in the offering, and because they both
share in the service they shall both receive a common reward hereafter!
but you O prince! art niggard in your religious rites, driving me away,
and wandering forth alone! Is it that you saw me jealous, and so turned
against me! that you now seek someone free from jealousy! or did you see
some other cause to hate me, that you now seek to find a heaven-born
nymph! But why should one excelling in every personal grace seek to
practise self-denying austerities! is it that you despise a common lot
with me, that variance rises in your breast against your wife! Why does
not Rahula fondly repose upon your knee. Alas! alas! unlucky master!
full of grace without, but hard at heart! The glory and the pride of all
your tribe, yet hating those who reverence you! O! can it be, you have
turned your back for good upon your little child, scarce able yet to
smile! My heart is gone! and all my strength! my lord has fled, to
wander in the mountains! he cannot surely thus forget me! he is then but
a man of wood or stone." Thus having spoken, her mind was dulled and
darkened, she muttered on, or spoke in wild mad words, or fancied that
she saw strange sights, and sobbing past the power of self-restraint,
her breath grew less, and sinking thus, she fell asleep upon the dusty
ground! The palace ladies seeing this, were wrung with heartfelt sorrow,
just as the full-blown lily, struck by the wind and hail, is broken down
and withered.

And now the king, his father, having lost the prince, was filled, both
night and day, with grief; and fasting, sought the gods for help. He
prayed that they would soon restore him, and having prayed and finished
sacrifice, he went from out the sacred gates; then hearing all the cries
and sounds of mourning, his mind distressed became confused, as when
heaven's thundering and lightning put to bewildering flight a herd of
elephants. Then seeing Kandaka with the royal steed, after long
questioning, finding his son a hermit, fainting he fell upon the earth,
as when the flag of Indra falls and breaks. Then all the ministers of
state, upraising him, exhort him, as was right, to calm himself. After
awhile, his mind somewhat recovered, speaking to the royal steed, he
said: "How often have I ridden thee to battle, and every time have
thought upon your excellence! but now I hate and loathe thee, more than
ever I have loved or praised thee! My son, renowned for noble qualities,
thou hast carried off and taken from me; and left him 'mid the mountain
forests; and now you have come back alone; take me, then, quickly hence
and go! And going, never more come back with me! For since you have not
brought him back, my life is worth no more preserving; no longer care I
about governing! My son about me was my only joy; as the Brahman Gayanta
met death for his son's sake, so I, deprived of my religious son, will
of myself deprive myself of life. So Manu, lord of all that lives, ever
lamented for his son; how much more I, a mortal man deprived of mine,
must lose all rest! In old time the king Aga, loving his son, wandering
through the mountains, lost in thought, ended life, and forthwith was
born in heaven. And now I cannot die! Through the long night fixed in
this sad state, with this great palace round me, thinking of my son,
solitary and athirst as any hungry spirit; as one who, thirsty, holding
water in his hand, but when he tries to drink lets all escape, and so
remains athirst till death ensues, and after death becomes a wandering
ghost; so I, in the extremity of thirst, through loss, possessed once of
a son, but now without a son, still live and cannot end my days! But
come! tell me at once where is my son! let me not die athirst for want
of knowing this and fall among the Pretas. In former days, at least, my
will was strong and firm, difficult to move as the great earth; but now
I've lost my son, my mind is dazed, as was in old time the king

And now the royal teacher (Purohita), an illustrious sage, with the
chief minister, famed for wisdom, with earnest and considerate minds,
both exhorted with remonstrances, the king. "Pray you (they said) arouse
yourself to thought, and let not grief cramp and hold your mind! in
olden days there were mighty kings, who left their country, as flowers
are scattered; your son now practises the way of wisdom; why then nurse
your grief and misery; you should recall the prophecy of Asita, and
reasonably count on what was probable! Think of the heavenly joys which
you, a universal king, have inherited! But now, so troubled and
constrained in mind, how will it not be said, 'The Lord of earth can
change his golden-jewel-heart!' Now, therefore, send us forth, and bid
us seek the place he occupies, then by some stratagem and strong
remonstrances, and showing him our earnestness of purpose, we will break
down his resolution, and thus assuage your kingly sorrow."

The king, with joy, replied and said: "Would that you both would go in
haste, as swiftly as the Saketa bird flies through the void for her
young's sake; thinking of nought but the royal prince, and sad at
heart--I shall await your search!"

The two men having received their orders, the king retired among his
kinsfolk, his heart somewhat more tranquillized, and breathing freely
through his throat.

The Mission to Seek the Prince

The king now suppressing his grief, urged on his great teacher and chief
minister, as one urges on with whip a ready horse, to hasten onwards as
the rapid stream; whilst they fatigued, yet with unflagging effort, come
to the place of the sorrow-giving grove; then laying on one side the
five outward marks of dignity and regulating well their outward
gestures, they entered the Brahmans' quiet hermitage, and paid reverence
to the Rishis. They, on their part, begged them to be seated, and
repeated the law for their peace and comfort.

Then forthwith they addressed the Rishis and said: "We have on our minds
a subject on which we would ask for advice. There is one who is called
Suddhodana raga, a descendant of the famous Ikshvaku family, we are his
teacher and his minister, who instruct him in the sacred books as
required. The king indeed is like Indra for dignity; his son, like
Ke-yan-to, in order to escape old age, disease, and death, has become a
hermit, and depends on this; on his account have we come hither, with a
view to let your worships know of this."

Replying, they said: "With respect to this youth, has he long arms and
the signs of a great man? Surely he is the one who, inquiring into our
practice, discoursed so freely on the matter of life and death. He has
gone to the abode of Arada, to seek for a complete mode of escape."

Having received this certain information, respectfully considering the
urgent commands of the anxious king, they dared not hesitate in their
undertaking, but straightway took the road and hastened on. Then seeing
the wood in which the royal prince dwelt, and him, deprived of all
outward marks of dignity, his body still glorious with lustrous shining,
as when the sun comes forth from the black cloud; then the religious
teacher of the country and the great minister holding to the true law,
put off from them their courtly dress, and descending from the chariot
gradually advanced, like the royal Po-ma-ti and the Rishi Vasishtha,
went through the woods and forests, and seeing the royal prince Rama,
each according to his own prescribed manner, paid him reverence, as he
advanced to salute him; or as Sukra, in company with Angiras, with
earnest heart paid reverence, and sacrificed to Indra raga.

Then the royal prince in return paid reverence to the royal teacher and
the great minister, as the divine Indra placed at their ease Sukra and
Angiras; then, at his command, the two men seated themselves before the
prince, as Pou-na and Pushya, the twin stars attend beside the moon;
then the Purohita and the great minister respectfully explained to the
royal prince, even as Pi-li-po-ti spoke to that Gayanta: "Your royal
father, thinking of the prince, is pierced in heart, as with an iron
point; his mind distracted, raves in solitude; he sleeps upon the dusty
ground; by night and day he adds to his sorrowful reflections; his tears
flow down like the incessant rain; and now to seek you out, he has sent
us hither. Would that you would listen with attentive mind; we know that
you delight to act religiously; it is certain, then, without a doubt,
this is not the time for you to enter the forest wilds; a feeling of
deep pity consumes our heart! You, if you be indeed moved by religion,
ought to feel some pity for our case; let your kindly feelings flow
abroad, to comfort us who are worn at heart; let not the tide of sorrow
and of sadness completely overwhelm the outlets of our heart; as the
torrents which roll down the grassy mountains; or the calamities of
tempest, fiery heat, and lightning; for so the grieving heart has these
four sorrows, turmoil and drought, passion and overthrow. But come!
return to your native place, the time will arrive when you can go forth
again as a recluse. But now to disregard your family duties, to turn
against father and mother, how can this be called love and affection?
that love which overshadows and embraces all. Religion requires not the
wild solitudes; you can practise a hermit's duties in your home;
studiously thoughtful, diligent in expedients, this is to lead a
hermit's life in truth. A shaven head, and garments soiled with dirt--to
wander by yourself through desert wilds--this is but to encourage
constant fears, and cannot be rightly called 'an awakened hermit's
life.' Would rather we might take you by the hand, and sprinkle water on
your head, and crown you with a heavenly diadem, and place you
underneath a flowery canopy, that all eyes might gaze with eagerness
upon you; after this, in truth, we would leave our home with joy. The
former kings, Teou-lau-ma, A-neou-ke-o-sa, Po-ke-lo-po-yau,
Pi-po-lo-'anti, Pi-ti-o-ke-na, Na-lo-sha-po-lo, all these several kings
refused not the royal crown, the jewels, and the ornaments of person;
their hands and feet were adorned with gems, around them were women to
delight and please, these things they cast not from them, for the sake
of escape; you then may also come back home, and undertake both
necessary duties; your mind prepare itself in higher law, whilst for the
sake of earth you wield the sceptre; let there be no more weeping, but
comply with what we say, and let us publish it; and having published it
with your authority, then you may return and receive respectful welcome.
Your father and your mother, for your sake, in grief shed tears like the
great ocean; having no stay and no dependence now--no source from which
the Sakya stem may grow--you ought, like the captain of the ship, to
bring it safely across to a place of safety. The royal prince Pi-san-ma,
as also Lo-me-po-ti, they respectfully attended to the command of their
father: you also should do the same! Your loving mother who cherished
you so kindly, with no regard for self, through years of care, as the
cow deprived of her calf, weeps and laments, forgetting to eat or sleep;
you surely ought to return to her at once, to protect her life from
evil; as a solitary bird, away from its fellows, or as the lonely
elephant, wandering through the jungle, losing the care of their young,
ever think of protecting and defending them, so you the only child,
young and defenceless, not knowing what you do, bring trouble and
solicitude; cause, then, this sorrow to dissipate itself; as one who
rescues the moon from being devoured, so do you reassure the men and
women of the land, and remove from them the consuming grief, and
suppress the sighs that rise like breath to heaven, which cause the
darkness that obscures their sight; seeking you, as water, to quench the
fire; the fire quenched, their eyes shall open."

Bodhisattva, hearing of his father the king, experienced the greatest
distress of mind, and sitting still, gave himself to reflection; and
then, in due course, replied respectfully: "I know indeed that my royal
father is possessed of a loving and deeply considerate mind, but my fear
of birth, old age, disease, and death, has led me to disobey, and
disregard his extreme kindness. Whoever neglects right consideration
about his present life, and because he hopes to escape in the end,
therefore disregards all precautions in the present: on this man comes
the inevitable doom of death. It is the knowledge of this, therefore,
that weighs with me, and after long delay has constrained me to a
hermit's life; hearing of my father, the king, and his grief, my heart
is affected with increased love; but yet, all is like the fancy of a
dream, quickly reverting to nothingness. Know then, without fear of
contradiction, that the nature of existing things is not uniform; the
cause of sorrow is not necessarily the relationship of child with
parent, but that which produces the pain of separation, results from the
influence of delusion; as men going along a road suddenly meet midway
with others, and then a moment more are separated, each one going his
own way, so by the force of concomitance, relationships are framed, and
then, according to each one's destiny, there is separation; he who
thoroughly investigates this false connection of relationship ought not
to cherish in himself grief; in this world there is rupture of family
love, in another life it is sought for again; brought together for a
moment, again rudely divided, everywhere the fetters of kindred are
formed! Ever being bound, and ever being loosened! who can sufficiently
lament such constant separations; born into the world, and then
gradually changing, constantly separated by death and then born again.
All things which exist in time must perish; the forests and mountains,
all things that exist; in time are born all sensuous things, so is it
both with worldly substance and with time. Because, then, death pervades
all time, get rid of death, and time will disappear. You desire to make
me king, and it is difficult to resist the offices of love; but as a
disease is difficult to bear without medicine, so neither can I bear
this weight of dignity; in every condition, high or low, we find folly
and ignorance, and men carelessly following the dictates of lustful
passion; at last, we come to live in constant fear; thinking anxiously
of the outward form, the spirit droops; following the ways of men, the
mind resists the right; but, the conduct of the wise is not so. The
sumptuously ornamented and splendid palace I look upon as filled with
fire; the hundred dainty dishes of the divine kitchen, as mingled with
destructive poisons; the lily growing on the tranquil lake, in its midst
harbors countless noisome insects; and so the towering abode of the rich
is the house of calamity; the wise will not dwell therein. In former
times illustrious kings, seeing the many crimes of their home and
country, affecting as with poison the dwellers therein, in sorrowful
disgust sought comfort in seclusion; we know, therefore, that the
troubles of a royal estate are not to be compared with the repose of a
religious life; far better dwell in the wild mountains, and eat the
herbs like the beasts of the field; therefore I dare not dwell in the
wide palace, for the black snake has its dwelling there. I reject the
kingly estate and the five desires; to escape such sorrows I wander
through the mountain wilds. This, then, would be the consequence of
compliance: that I, who, delighting in religion, am gradually getting
wisdom, should now quit these quiet woods, and returning home, partake
of sensual pleasures, and thus by night and day increase my store of
misery. Surely this is not what should be done! that the great leader of
an illustrious tribe, having left his home from love of religion, and
forever turned his back upon tribal honor, desiring to confirm his
purpose as a leader--that he--discarding outward form, clad in religious
garb, loving religious meditation, wandering through the wilds--should
now reject his hermit vestment, tread down his sense of proper shame and
give up his aim. This, though I gained heaven's kingly state, cannot be
done! how much less to gain an earthly, though distinguished, home!

"For having spewed forth lust, passion, and ignorance, shall I return to
feed upon it? as a man might go back to his vomit! such misery, how
could I bear? Like a man whose house has caught fire, by some expedient
finds a way to escape, will such a man forthwith go back and enter it
again? such conduct would disgrace a man! So I, beholding the evils,
birth, old age, and death, to escape the misery, have become a hermit;
shall I then go back and enter in, and like a fool dwell in their
company? He who enjoys a royal estate and yet seeks rescue, cannot dwell
thus, this is no place for him; escape is born from quietness and rest;
to be a king is to add distress and poison; to seek for rest and yet
aspire to royal condition are but contradictions; royalty and rescue,
motion and rest, like fire and water, having two principles, cannot be
united. So one resolved to seek escape cannot abide possessed of kingly
dignity! And if you say a man may be a king, and at the same time
prepare deliverance for himself, there is no certainty in this! to seek
certain escape is not to risk it thus; it is through this uncertain
frame of mind that once a man gone forth is led to go back home again;
but I, my mind is not uncertain; severing the baited hook of
relationship, with straightforward purpose, I have left my home. Then
tell me, why should I return again?"

The great minister, inwardly reflecting, thought, "The mind of the royal
prince, my master, is full of wisdom, and agreeable to virtue, what he
says is reasonable and fitly framed." Then he addressed the prince and
said: "According to what your highness states, he who seeks religion
must seek it rightly; but this is not the fitting time for you; your
royal father, old and of declining years, thinking of you his son, adds
grief to grief; you say indeed, 'I find my joy in rescue. To go back
would be apostasy.' But yet your joy denotes unwisdom, and argues want
of deep reflection; you do not see, because you seek the fruit, how vain
to give up present duty. There are some who say, There is 'hereafter';
others there are who say, 'Nothing hereafter.' So whilst this question
hangs in suspense, why should a man give up his present pleasure? If
perchance there is 'hereafter,' we ought to bear patiently what it
brings; if you say, 'Hereafter is not,' then there is not either
salvation! If you say, 'Hereafter is,' you would not say, 'Salvation
causes it.' As earth is hard, or fire is hot, or water moist, or wind is
mobile, 'Hereafter' is just so. It has its own distinct nature. So when
we speak of pure and impure, each comes from its own distinctive nature.
If you should say, 'By some contrivance this can be removed,' such an
opinion argues folly. Every root within the moral world has its own
nature predetermined; loving remembrance and forgetfulness, these have
their nature fixed and positive; so likewise age, disease, and death,
these sorrows, who can escape by strategy? If you say, 'Water can put
out fire,' or 'Fire can cause water to boil and pass away,' then this
proves only that distinctive natures may be mutually destructive; but
nature in harmony produces living things; so man when first conceived
within the womb, his hands, his feet, and all his separate members, his
spirit and his understanding, of themselves are perfected; but who is he
who does it? Who is he that points the prickly thorn? This too is
nature, self-controlling. And take again the different kinds of beasts,
these are what they are, without desire on their part; and so, again,
the heaven-born beings, whom the self-existent (Isvara) rules, and all
the world of his creation; these have no self-possessed power of
expedients; for if they had a means of causing birth, there would be
also means for controlling death, and then what need of
self-contrivance, or seeking for deliverance? There are those who say,
'I' (the soul) is the cause of birth, and others who affirm, 'I' (the
soul) is the cause of death. There are some who say, 'Birth comes from
nothingness, and without any plan of ours we perish.' Thus one is born a
fortunate child, removed from poverty, of noble family, or learned in
testamentary lore of Rishis, or called to offer mighty sacrifices to the
gods, born in either state, untouched by poverty, then their famous name
becomes to them 'escape,' their virtues handed down by name to us; yet
if these attained their happiness, without contrivance of their own, how
vain and fruitless is the toil of those who seek 'escape.' And you,
desirous of deliverance, purpose to practise some high expedient, whilst
your royal father frets and sighs; for a short while you have essayed
the road, and leaving home have wandered through the wilds, to return
then would not now be wrong; of old, King Ambarisha for a long while
dwelt in the grievous forest, leaving his retinue and all his kinsfolk,
but afterwards returned and took the royal office; and so Rama, son of
the king of the country, leaving his country occupied the mountains, but
hearing he was acting contrary to usage, returned and governed
righteously. And so the king of Sha-lo-po, called To-lo-ma, father and
son, both wandered forth as hermits, but in the end came back again
together; so Po-'sz-tsau Muni, with On-tai-tieh, in the wild mountains
practising as Brahmakarins, these too returned to their own country.
Thus all these worthies of a by-gone age, famous for their advance in
true religion, came back home and royally governed, as lamps
enlightening the world. Wherefore for you to leave the mountain wilds,
religiously to rule, is not a crime."

The royal prince, listening to the great minister's loving words without
excess of speaking, full of sound argument, clear and unconfused, with
no desire to wrangle after the way of the schools, with fixed purpose,
deliberately speaking, thus answered the great minister: "The question
of being and not being is an idle one, only adding to the uncertainty of
an unstable mind, and to talk of such matters I have no strong
inclination; purity of life, wisdom, the practice of asceticism, these
are matters to which I earnestly apply myself, the world is full of
empty studies which our teachers in their office skilfully involve; but
they are without any true principle, and I will none of them! The
enlightened man distinguishes truth from falsehood; but how can truth be
born from such as those? For they are like the man born blind, leading
the blind man as a guide; as in the night, as in thick darkness both
wander on, what recovery is there for them? Regarding the question of
the pure and impure, the world involved in self-engendered doubt cannot
perceive the truth; better to walk along the way of purity, or rather
follow the pure law of self-denial, hate the practice of impurity,
reflect on what was said of old, not obstinate in one belief or one
tradition, with sincere mind accepting all true words, and ever
banishing sinful sorrow (i.e. sin, the cause of grief). Words which
exceed sincerity are vainly spoken; the wise man uses not such words. As
to what you say of Rama and the rest, leaving their home, practising a
pure life, and then returning to their country, and once more mixing
themselves in sensual pleasures, such men as these walk vainly; those
who are wise place no dependence on them. Now, for your sakes, permit
me, briefly, to recount this one true principle of action: The sun, the
moon may fall to earth, Sumeru and all the snowy mountains overturn, but
I will never change my purpose; rather than enter a forbidden place, let
me be cast into the fierce fire; not to accomplish rightly what I have
entered on, and to return once more to my own land, there to enter the
fire of the five desires, let it befall me as my own oath records." So
spake the prince, his arguments as pointed as the brightness of the
perfect sun; then rising up he passed some distance off.

The Purohita and the minister, their words and discourse prevailing
nothing, conversed together, after which, resolving to depart on their
return, with great respect they quietly inform the prince, not daring to
intrude their presence on him further; and yet regarding the king's
commands, not willing to return with unbecoming haste. They loitered
quietly along the way, and whomsoever they encountered, selecting those
who seemed like wise men, they interchanged such thoughts as move the
learned, hiding their true position, as men of title; then passing on,
they speeded on their way.

[Footnote 97: That is, raising his nose to look up at the sun.]

[Footnote 98: This description of the prince's hair seems to contradict
the head arrangement of the figures of Buddha, unless the curls denote
the shaven head of the recluse.]


Bimbisara Raga Invites the Prince

The royal prince, departing from the court-master (i.e. the Purohita)
and the great minister, Saddharma, keeping along the stream, then
crossing the Ganges, he took the road towards the Vulture Peak,[99]
hidden among the five mountains, standing alone a lovely peak as a roof
amid the others. The trees and shrubs and flowers in bloom, the flowing
fountains, and the cooling rills; all these he gazed upon--then passing
on, he entered the city of the five peaks, calm and peaceful, as one
come down from heaven. The country folk, seeing the royal prince, his
comeliness and his excessive grace, though young in years, yet glorious
in his person, incomparable as the appearance of a great master, seeing
him thus, strange thoughts affected them, as if they gazed upon the
banner of Isvara. They stayed the foot, who passed athwart the path;
those hastened on, who were behind; those going before, turned back
their heads and gazed with earnest, wistful look. The marks and
distinguishing points of his person, on these they fixed their eyes
without fatigue, and then approached with reverent homage, joining both
their hands in salutation. With all there was a sense of wondrous joy,
as in their several ways they offered what they had, looking at his
noble and illustrious features; bending down their bodies modestly,
correcting every careless or unseemly gesture, thus they showed their
reverence to him silently; those who with anxious heart, seeking
release, were moved by love, with feelings composed, bowed down the
more. Great men and women, in their several engagements, at the same
time arrested on their way, paid to his person and his presence homage:
and following him as they gazed, they went not back. For the white
circle between his eyebrows adorning his wide and violet-colored eyes,
his noble body bright as gold, his pure and web-joined fingers, all
these, though he were but a hermit, were marks of one who was a holy
king; and now the men and women of Ragagriha, the old and young alike,
were moved, and cried, "This man so noble as a recluse, what common joy
is this for us!" At this time Bimbisara Raga, placed upon a high tower
of observation, seeing all those men and women, in different ways
exhibiting one mark of surprise, calling before him some man outside,
inquired at once the cause of it; this one bending his knee below the
tower, told fully what he had seen and heard, "That one of the Sakya
race, renowned of old, a prince most excellent and wonderful, divinely
wise, beyond the way of this world, a fitting king to rule the eight
regions, now without home, is here, and all men are paying homage to

The king on hearing this was deeply moved at heart, and though his body
was restrained, his soul had gone. Calling his ministers speedily before
him, and all his nobles and attendants, he bade them follow secretly the
prince's steps, to observe what charity was given. So, in obedience to
the command, they followed and watched him steadfastly, as with even
gait and unmoved presence he entered on the town and begged his food,
according to the rule of all great hermits, with joyful mien and
undisturbed mind, not anxious whether much or little alms were given;
whatever he received, costly or poor, he placed within his bowl, then
turned back to the wood, and having eaten it and drunk of the flowing
stream, he joyous sat upon the immaculate mountain. There he beheld the
green trees fringing with their shade the crags, the scented flowers
growing between the intervals, whilst the peacocks and the other birds,
joyously flying, mingled their notes; his sacred garments bright and
lustrous, shone as the sun-lit mulberry leaves; the messengers beholding
his fixed composure, one by one returning, reported what they had seen;
the king hearing it, was moved at heart, and forthwith ordered his royal
equipment to be brought, his god-like crown and his flower-bespangled
robes; then, as the lion-king, he strode forth, and choosing certain
aged persons of consideration, learned men, able calmly and wisely to
discriminate, he, with them, led the way, followed by a hundred thousand
people, who like a cloud ascended with the king the royal mountain.

And now beholding the dignity of Bodhisattva, every outward gesture
under government, sitting with ease upon the mountain crag, as the moon
shining limpid in the pure heavens, so was his matchless beauty and
purity of grace; then as the converting presence of religion dwelling
within the heart makes it reverential, so, beholding him, he reverently
approached, even as divine Sakara comes to the presence of Mo-hi-su-ma,
so with every outward form of courtesy and reverence the king approached
and asked him respectfully of his welfare.

Bodhisattva, answering as he was moved, in his turn made similar
inquiries. Then the king, the questioning over, sat down with dignity
upon a clean-faced rock. And so he steadfastly beheld the divine
appearance of the prince, the sweetness and complacency of his features
revealing what his station was and high estate, his family renown,
received by inheritance; the king, who for a time restrained his
feelings, now wishful to get rid of doubts, inquired why one descended
from the royal family of the sun-brightness having attended to religious
sacrifices through ten thousand generations, whereof the virtue had
descended as his full inheritance, increasing and accumulating until
now, why he so excellent in wisdom, so young in years, had now become a
recluse, rejecting the position of a Kakravartin's son, begging his
food, despising family fame, his beauteous form, fit for perfumes and
anointings, why clothed with coarse Kasaya garments; the hand which
ought to grasp the reins of empire, instead thereof, taking its little
stint of food; if indeed (the king continued) you were not of royal
descent, and would receive as an offering the transfer of this land,
then would I divide with you my empire; saying this, he scarcely hoped
to excite his feelings, who had left his home and family, to be a
hermit. Then forthwith the king proceeded thus: "Give just weight I pray
you to my truthful words: desire for power is kin to nobleness, and so
is just pride of fame or family or wealth or personal appearance; no
longer having any wish to subdue the proud, or to bend others down and
so get thanks from men, it were better, then, to give to the strong and
warlike martial arms to wear, for them to follow war and by their power
to get supremacy; but when by one's own power a kingdom falls to hand,
who would not then accept the reins of empire? The wise man knows the
time to take religion, wealth, and worldly pleasure. But if he obtains
not the threefold profit, then in the end he abates his earnest efforts,
and reverencing religion, he lets go material wealth. Wealth is the one
desire of worldly men; to be rich and lose all desire for religion, this
is to gain but outside wealth. But to be poor and even thus despise
religion, what pleasure can indulgence give in such a case! But when
possessed of all the three, and when enjoyed with reason and propriety,
then religion, wealth, and pleasure make what is rightly called a great
master; permit not, then, your perfectly endowed body to lay aside its
glory, without reward; the Kakravartin, as a monarch, ruled the four
empires of the world, and shared with Sakra his royal throne, but was
unequal to the task of ruling heaven. But you, with your redoubtable
strength, may well grasp both heavenly and human power; I do not rely
upon my kingly power, in my desire to keep you here by force, but seeing
you change your comeliness of person, and wearing the hermit's garb,
whilst it makes me reverence you for your virtue, moves me with pity and
regret for you as a man; you now go begging your food, and I offer you
the whole land as yours; whilst you are young and lusty enjoy yourself.
During middle life acquire wealth, and when old and all your abilities
ripened, then is the time for following the rules of religion; when
young to encourage religious fervor, is to destroy the sources of
desire; but when old and the breath is less eager, then is the time to
seek religious solitude; when old we should avoid, as a shame, desire of
wealth, but get honor in the world by a religious life; but when young,
and the heart light and elastic, then is the time to partake of
pleasure, in boon companionship to indulge in gayety, and partake to the
full of mutual intercourse; but as years creep on, giving up indulgence,
to observe the ordinances of religion, to mortify the five desires, and
go on increasing a joyful and religious heart, is not this the law of
the eminent kings of old, who as a great company paid worship to heaven,
and borne on the dragon's back received the joys of celestial abodes?
All these divine and victorious monarchs, glorious in person, richly
adorned, thus having as a company performed their religious offering, in
the end received the reward of their conduct in heaven." Thus Bimbasara
Raga used every kind of winning expedient in argument The royal prince,
unmoved and fixed, remained firm as Mount Sumeru.

The Reply to Bimbasara Raga

Bimbasara Raga, having, in a decorous manner, and with soothing speech,
made his request, the prince on his part respectfully replied, in the
following words, deep and heart-stirring: "Illustrious and
world-renowned! Your words are not opposed to reason, descendant of a
distinguished family--an Aryan--amongst men a true friend indeed,
righteous and sincere to the bottom of your heart, it is proper for
religion's sake to speak thus. In all the world, in its different
sections, there is no chartered place for solid virtue, for if virtue
flags and folly rules, what reverence can there be, or honor paid, to a
high name or boast of prowess, inherited from former generations! And so
there may be in the midst of great distress, large goodness, these are
not mutually opposed. This then is so with the world in the connection
of true worth and friendship. A true friend who makes good use of
wealth--is rightly called a fast and firm treasure, but he who guards
and stints the profit he has made, his wealth will soon be spent and
lost; the wealth of a country is no constant treasure, but that which is
given in charity is rich in returns, therefore charity is a true friend:
although it scatters, yet it brings no repentance; you indeed are known
as liberal and kind, I make no reply in opposition to you, but simply as
we meet, so with agreeable purpose we talk. I fear birth, old age,
disease, and death, and so I seek to find a sure mode of deliverance; I
have put away thought of relatives and family affection, how is it
possible then for me to return to the world and not to fear to revive
the poisonous snake, and after the hail to be burned in the fierce fire;
indeed, I fear the objects of these several desires, this whirling in
the stream of life troubles my heart, these five desires, the inconstant
thieves--stealing from men their choicest treasures, making them unreal,
false, and fickle--are like the man called up as an apparition; for a
time the beholders are affected by it, but it has no lasting hold upon
the mind; so these five desires are the great obstacles, forever
disarranging the way of peace; if the joys of heaven are not worth
having, how much less the desires common to men, begetting the thirst of
wild love, and then lost in the enjoyment, as the fierce wind fans the
fire, till the fuel be spent and the fire expires; of all unrighteous
things in the world, there is nothing worse than the domain of the five
desires; for all men maddened by the power of lust, giving themselves to
pleasure, are dead to reason. The wise man fears these desires, he fears
to fall into the way of unrighteousness; for like a king who rules all
within the four seas, yet still seeks beyond for something more, so is
lust; like the unbounded ocean, it knows not when and where to stop.
Mandha, the Kakravartin, when the heavens rained yellow gold, and he
ruled all within the seas, yet sighed after the domain of the
thirty-three heavens; dividing with Sakra his seat, and so through the
power of this lust he died; Nung-Sha, whilst practising austerities, got
power to rule the thirty-three heavenly abodes, but from lust he became
proud and supercilious; the Rishi whilst stepping into his chariot,
through carelessness in his gait, fell down into the midst of the
serpent pit. Yen-lo, the universal monarch (Kakravartin), wandering
abroad through the Trayastrimsas heaven, took a heavenly woman (Apsara)
for a queen, and unjustly extorted the gold of a Rishi; the Rishi, in
anger, added a charm, by which the country was ruined, and his life
ended. Po-lo, and Sakra king of Devas, and Nung-Sha returning to Sakra;
what certainty is there, even for the lord of heaven? Neither is any
country safe, though kept by the mighty strength of those dwelling in
it. But when one's clothing consists of grass, the berries one's food,
the rivulets one's drink, with long hair flowing to the ground, silent
as a Muni, seeking nothing, in this way practising austerities, in the
end lust shall be destroyed. Know then, that the province of the five
desires is avowedly an enemy of the religious man. Even the
one-thousand-armed invincible king, strong in his might, finds it hard
to conquer this. The Rishi Rama perished because of lust; how much more
ought I, the son of a Kshatriya, to restrain lustful desire; but indulge
in lust a little, and like the child it grows apace, the wise man hates
it therefore; who would take poison for food? every sorrow is increased
and cherished by the offices of lust. If there is no lustful desire, the
risings of sorrow are not produced, the wise man seeing the bitterness
of sorrow, stamps out and destroys the risings of desire; that which the
world calls virtue, is but another form of this baneful law; worldly men
enjoying the pleasure of covetous desire then every form of careless
conduct results; these careless ways producing hurt, at death, the
subject of them reaps perdition. But by the diligent use of means, and
careful continuance therein, the consequences of negligence are avoided,
we should therefore dread the non-use of means; recollecting that all
things are illusory, the wise man covets them not; he who desires such
things, desires sorrow, and then goes on again ensnared in love, with no
certainty of ultimate freedom; he advances still and ever adds grief to
grief, like one holding a lighted torch burns his hand, and therefore
the wise man enters on no such things. The foolish man and the one who
doubts, still encouraging the covetous and burning heart, in the end
receives accumulated sorrow, not to be remedied by any prospect of rest;
covetousness and anger are as the serpent's poison; the wise man casts
away the approach of sorrow as a rotten bone; he tastes it not nor
touches it, lest it should corrupt his teeth, that which the wise man
will not take, the king will go through fire and water to obtain, the
wicked sons labor for wealth as for a piece of putrid flesh, o'er which
the hungry flocks of birds contend. So should we regard riches; the wise
man is ill pleased at having wealth stored up, the mind wild with
anxious thoughts, guarding himself by night and day, as a man who fears
some powerful enemy, like as a man's feelings revolt with disgust at the
sights seen beneath the slaughter post of the East Market; so the high
post which marks the presence of lust, and anger, and ignorance, the
wise man always avoids; as those who enter the mountains or the seas
have much to contend with and little rest, as the fruit which grows on a
high tree, and is grasped at by the covetous at the risk of life, so is
the region of covetous desire, though they see the difficulty of getting
it, yet how painfully do men scheme after wealth, difficult to acquire,
easy to dissipate, as that which is got in a dream: how can the wise man
hoard up such trash! Like covering over with a false surface a hole full
of fire, slipping through which the body is burnt, so is the fire of
covetous desire. The wise man meddles not with it. Like that Kaurava, or
Pih-se-ni Nanda, or Ni-k'he-lai Danta, as some butcher's appearance,
such also is the appearance of lustful desire; the wise man will have
nothing to do with it; he would rather throw his body into the water or
fire, or cast himself down over a steep precipice. Seeking to obtain
heavenly pleasures, what is this but to remove the place of sorrow,
without profit. Suen-tau, Po-sun-tau, brothers of Asura, lived together
in great affection, but on account of lustful desire slew one another,
and their name perished; all this then comes from lust; it is this which
makes a man vile, and lashes and goads him with piercing sorrow; lust
debases a man, robs him of all hope, whilst through the long night his
body and soul are worn out; like the stag that covets the power of
speech and dies, or the winged bird that covets sensual pleasure, or the
fish that covets the baited hook, such are the calamities that lust
brings; considering what are the requirements of life, none of these
possess permanency; we eat to appease the pain of hunger, to do away
with thirst we drink, we clothe ourselves to keep out the cold and wind,
we lie down to rest to get sleep, to procure locomotion we seek a
carriage, when we would halt we seek a seat, we wash to cleanse
ourselves from dirt; all these things are done to avoid inconvenience;
we may gather therefore that these five desires have no permanent
character; for as a man suffering from fever seeks and asks for some
cooling medicine, so covetousness seeks for something to satisfy its
longings; foolish men regard these things as permanent, and as the
necessary requirements of life, but, in sooth, there is no permanent
cessation of sorrow; for by coveting to appease these desires we really
increase them; there is no character of permanency therefore about them.
To be filled and clothed are no lasting pleasures, time passes, and the
sorrow recurs; summer is cool during the moon-tide shining; winter comes
and cold increases; and so through all the eightfold laws of the world
they possess no marks of permanence, sorrow and joy cannot agree
together, as a person slave-governed loses his renown. But religion
causes all things to be of service, as a king reigning in his
sovereignty; so religion controls sorrow, as one fits on a burden
according to power of endurance. Whatever our condition in the world,
still sorrows accumulate around us. Even in the condition of a king, how
does pain multiply, though bound to others by love, yet this is a cause
of grief; without friends and living alone, what joy can there be in
this? Though a man rules over the four kingdoms, yet only one part can
be enjoyed; to be concerned in ten thousand matters, what profit is
there in this, for we only accumulate anxieties. Put an end to sorrow,
then, by appeasing desire, refrain from busy work, this is rest. A king
enjoys his sensual pleasures; deprived of kingship there is the joy of
rest; in both cases there are pleasures but of different kinds; why then
be a king! Make then no plan or crafty expedient, to lead me back to the
five desires; what my heart prays for, is some quiet place and freedom;
but you desire to entangle me in relationships and duties, and destroy
the completion of what I seek; I am in no fear of family hatred, nor do
I seek the joys of heaven; my heart hankers after no vulgar profit, so I
have put away my royal diadem; and contrary to your way of thinking, I
prefer, henceforth, no more to rule. A hare rescued from the serpent's
mouth, would it go back again to be devoured? holding a torch and
burning himself, would not a man let it go? A man blind and recovering
his sight, would he again seek to be in darkness? the rich, does he sigh
for poverty? the wise, does he long to be ignorant? Has the world such
men as these? then will I again enjoy my country. But I desire to get
rid of birth, old age, and death, with body restrained, to beg my food;
with appetites moderated, to keep in my retreat; and then to avoid the
evil modes of a future life, this is to find peace in two worlds: now
then I pray you pity me not. Pity, rather, those who rule as kings!
their souls ever vacant and athirst, in the present world no repose,
hereafter receiving pain as their meed. You, who possess a distinguished
family name, and the reverence due to a great master, would generously
share your dignity with me, your worldly pleasures and amusements; I,
too, in return, for your sake, beseech you to share my reward with me;
he who indulges in the threefold kinds of pleasure, this man the world
calls 'Lord,' but this is not according to reason either, because these
things cannot be retained, but where there is no birth, or life, or
death, he who exercises himself in this way, is Lord indeed! You say
that while young a man should be gay, and when old then religious, but I
regard the feebleness of age as bringing with it loss of power to be
religious, unlike the firmness and power of youth, the will determined
and the heart established; but death as a robber with a drawn sword
follows us all, desiring to catch his prey; how then should we wait for
old age, ere we bring our mind to a religious life? Inconstancy is the
great hunter, age his bow, disease his arrows, in the fields of life and
death he hunts for living things as for the deer; when he can get his
opportunity, he takes our life; who then would wait for age? And what
the teachers say and do, with reference to matters connected with life
and death, exhorting the young, mature, or middle-aged, all to contrive
by any means, to prepare vast meetings for sacrifices, this they do
indeed of their own ignorance; better far to reverence the true law, and
put an end to sacrifice to appease the gods! Destroying life to gain
religious merit, what love can such a man possess? even if the reward of
such sacrifices were lasting, even for this, slaughter would be
unseemly; how much more, when the reward is transient! Shall we, in
search of this, slay that which lives, in worship? this is like those
who practise wisdom, and the way of religious abstraction, but neglect
the rules of moral conduct. It ill behooves us then to follow with the
world, and attend these sacrificial assemblies, and seek some present
good in killing that which lives; the wise avoid destroying life! Much
less do they engage in general sacrifices, for the purpose of gaining
future reward! the fruit promised in the three worlds is none of mine to
choose for happiness! All these are governed by transient, fickle laws,
like the wind, or the drop that is blown from the grass; such things
therefore I put away from me, and I seek for true escape. I hear there
is one O-lo-lam who eloquently discourses on the way of escape; I must
go to the place where he dwells, that great Rishi and hermit. But in
truth, sorrow must be banished; I regret indeed leaving you; may your
country have repose and quiet! safely defended by you as by the divine
Sakra raga! May wisdom be shed abroad as light upon your empire, like
the brightness of the meridian sun! may you be exceedingly victorious as
lord of the great earth, with a perfect heart ruling over its destiny!
May you direct and defend its sons! ruling your empire in righteousness!
Water and snow and fire are opposed to one another, but the fire by its
influence causes vapor, the vapor causes the floating clouds, the
floating clouds drop down rain; there are birds in space, who drink the
rain, with rainless bodies.[100] Slaughter and peaceful homes are
enemies! those who would have peace hate slaughter, and if those who
slaughter are so hateful, then put an end, O king, to those who practise
it! And bid these find release, as those who drink and yet are parched
with thirst."

Then the king, clasping together his hands, with greatest reverence and
joyful heart, said, "That which you now seek, may you obtain quickly the
fruit thereof; having obtained the perfect fruit, return I pray and
graciously receive me!"

Bodhisattva, his heart inwardly acquiescing, purposing to accomplish his
prayer, departing, pursued his road, going to the place where Arada
Kalama dwelt; whilst the king with all his retinue, their hands clasped,
themselves followed a little space, then with thoughtful and mindful
heart, returned once more to Ragagriha!

Visit to Arada Udrarama

The child of the glorious sun of the Ikshvaku race, going to that quiet
peaceful grove, reverently stood before the Muni, the great Rishi Arada
Rama; the dark-clad followers of the Kalam (Sangharama) seeing afar-off
Bodhisattva approaching, with loud voice raised a joyful chant, and with
suppressed breath muttered "Welcome," as with clasped hands they
reverenced him. Approaching one another, they made mutual inquiries; and
this being done, with the usual apologies, according to their precedence
in age they sat down; the Brahmakarins observing the prince, beheld his
personal beauty and carefully considered his appearance; respectfully
they satisfied themselves of his high qualities, like those who,
thirsty, drink the "pure dew." Then with raised hands they addressed the
prince: "Have you been long an ascetic, divided from your family and
broken from the bonds of love, like the elephant who has cast off
restraint? Full of wisdom, completely enlightened, you seem well able to
escape the poisonous fruit of this world. In old time the monarch Ming
Shing gave up his kingly estate to his son, as a man who has carried a
flowery wreath, when withered casts it away: but such is not your case,
full of youthful vigor, and yet not enamoured with the condition of a
holy king; we see that your will is strong and fixed, capable of
becoming a vessel of the true law, able to embark in the boat of wisdom,
and to cross over the sea of life and death. The common class, enticed
to come to learn, their talents first are tested, then they are taught;
but as I understand your case, your mind is already fixed and your will
firm; and now you have undertaken the purpose of learning, I am
persuaded you will not in the end shrink from it."

The prince hearing this exhortation, with gladness made reply: "You have
with equal intention, illustrious! cautioned me with impartial mind;
with humble heart I accept the advice, and pray that it may be so with
me as you anticipate; that I may in my night-journey obtain a torch, to
guide me safely through treacherous places; a handy boat to cross over
the sea;--may it be so even now with me! But as I am somewhat in doubt
and anxious to learn, I will venture to make known my doubts, and ask,
with respect to old age, disease, and death, how are these things to be

At this time O-lo-lam hearing the question asked by the prince, briefly
from the various Sutras and Sastras quoted passages in explanation of a
way of deliverance. "But thou," he said, "illustrious youth! so highly
gifted, and eminent among the wise! hear what I have to say, as I
discourse upon the mode of ending birth and death; nature, and change,
birth, old age, and death, these five attributes belong to all; nature
is (in itself) pure and without fault; the involution of this with the
five elements, causes an awakening and power of perception, which,
according to its exercise, is the cause of change; form, sound, order,
taste, touch, these are called the five objects of sense; as the hand
and foot are called the two ways, so these are called the roots of
action (the five skandhas); the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the
body, these are named the roots (instruments) of understanding. The root
of mind (manas) is twofold, being both material, and also intelligent;
nature by its involutions is the cause, the knower of the cause is I
(the soul); Kapila the Rishi and his numerous followers, on this deep
principle of soul, practising wisdom (Buddhi), found deliverance. Kapila
and now Vakaspati, by the power of Buddhi perceiving the character of
birth, old age, and death, declare that on this is founded true
philosophy; whilst all opposed to this, they say, is false. Ignorance
and passion, causing constant transmigration, abiding in the midst of
these (they say) is the lot of all that lives. Doubting the truth of
soul is called excessive doubt, and without distinguishing aright, there
can be no method of escape. Deep speculation as to the limits of
perception is but to involve the soul; thus unbelief leads to confusion,
and ends in differences of thought and conduct. Again, the various
speculations on soul, such as 'I say,' 'I know and perceive,' 'I come'
and 'I go,' or 'I remain fixed,' these are called the intricacies of
soul. And then the fancies raised in different natures, some saying
'this is so,' others denying it, and this condition of uncertainty is
called the state of darkness. Then there are those who say that outward
things are one with soul, who say that the objective is the same as
mind, who confuse intelligence with instruments, who say that number is
the soul. Thus not distinguishing aright, these are called excessive
quibbles, marks of folly, nature changes, and so on. To worship and
recite religious books, to slaughter living things in sacrifice, to
render pure by fire and water, and thus awake the thought of final
rescue, all these ways of thinking are called without right expedient,
the result of ignorance and doubt, by means of word or thought or deed;
involving outward relationships, this is called depending on means;
making the material world the ground of soul, this is called depending
on the senses. By these eight sorts of speculation are we involved in
birth and death. The foolish masters of the world make their
classifications in these five ways: Darkness, folly, and great folly,
angry passion, with timid fear. Indolent coldness is called darkness;
birth and death are called folly; lustful desire is great folly; because
of great men subjected to error, cherishing angry feelings, passion
results; trepidation of the heart is called fear. Thus these foolish men
dilate upon the five desires; but the root of the great sorrow of birth
and death, the life destined to be spent in the five ways, the cause of
the whirl of life, I clearly perceive, is to be placed in the existence
of 'I'; because of the influence of this cause, result the consequences
of repeated birth and death; this cause is without any nature of its
own, and its fruits have no nature; rightly considering what has been
said, there are four matters which have to do with escape, kindling
wisdom--opposed to dark ignorance--making manifest--opposed to
concealment and obscurity--if these four matters be understood, then we
may escape birth, old age, and death. Birth, old age, and death being
over, then we attain a final place; the Brahmans all depending on this
principle, practising themselves in a pure life, have also largely
dilated on it, for the good of the world."

The prince hearing these words again inquired of Arada: "Tell me what
are the expedients you name, and what is the final place to which they
lead, and what is the character of that pure Brahman life; and again
what are the stated periods during which such life must be practised,
and during which such life is lawful; all these are principles to be
inquired into; and on them I pray you discourse for my sake."

Then that Arada, according to the Sutras and Sastras, spoke: "Yourself
using wisdom is the expedient; but I will further dilate on this a
little; first by removing from the crowd and leading a hermit's life,
depending entirely on alms for food, extensively practising rules of
decorum, religiously adhering to right rules of conduct; desiring little
and knowing when to abstain, receiving whatever is given in food,
whether pleasant or otherwise, delighting to practise a quiet life,
diligently studying all the Sutras and Sastras; observing the character
of covetous longing and fear, without remnant of desire to live in
purity, to govern well the organs of life, the mind quieted and silently
at rest; removing desire, and hating vice, all the sorrows of life put
away, then there is happiness; and we obtain the enjoyment of the first
dhyana.[101] Having obtained this first dhyana, then with the
illumination thus obtained, by inward meditation is born reliance on
thought alone, and the entanglements of folly are put away; the mind
depending on this, then after death, born in the Brahma heavens, the
enlightened are able to know themselves; by the use of means is produced
further inward illumination; diligently persevering, seeking higher
advance, accomplishing the second dhyana, tasting of that great joy, we
are born in the Kwong-yin heaven; then by the use of means putting away
this delight, practising the third dhyana, resting in such delight and
wishing no further excellence, there is a birth in the Subhakritsna
heaven; leaving the thought of such delight, straightway we reach the
fourth dhyana, all joys and sorrows done away, the thought of escape
produced; we dwell in this fourth dhyana, and are born in the
Vrihat-phala heaven; because of its long enduring years, it is thus
called Vrihat-phala (extensive-fruit); whilst in that state of
abstraction rising higher, perceiving there is a place beyond any bodily
condition, adding still and persevering further in practising wisdom,
rejecting this fourth dhyana, firmly resolved to persevere in the
search, still contriving to put away every desire after form, gradually
from every pore of the body there is perceived a feeling of empty
release, and in the end this extends to every solid part, so that the
whole is perfected in an apprehension of emptiness. In brief, perceiving
no limits to this emptiness, there is opened to the view boundless
knowledge. Endowed with inward rest and peace, the idea of 'I' departs,
and the object of 'I'--clearly discriminating the non-existence of
matter, this is the condition of immaterial life. As the Munga (grass)
when freed from its horny case, or as the wild bird which escapes from
its prison trap, so, getting away from all material limitations, we thus
find perfect release. Thus ascending above the Brahmans, deprived of
every vestige of bodily existence, we still endure. Endued with wisdom!
let it be known this is real and true deliverance. You ask what are the
expedients for obtaining this escape; even as I have before detailed,
those who have deep faith will learn. The Rishis Gaigishavya, Ganaka,
Vriddha Parasara, and other searchers after truth, all by the way I have
explained, have reached true deliverance."

The prince hearing these words, deeply pondering on the outline of these
principles, and reaching back to the influences produced by our former
lives, again asked with further words: "I have heard your very excellent
system of wisdom, the principles very subtle and deep-reaching, from
which I learn that because of not 'letting go' (by knowledge as a
cause), we do not reach the end of the religious life; but by
understanding nature in its involutions, then, you say, we obtain
deliverance; I perceive this law of birth has also concealed in it
another law as a germ; you say that the 'I' (i.e. the soul of Kapila)
being rendered pure, forthwith there is true deliverance; but if we
encounter a union of cause and effect, then there is a return to the
trammels of birth; just as the germ in the seed, when earth, fire,
water, and wind seem to have destroyed in it the principle of life,
meeting with favorable concomitant circumstances will yet revive,
without any evident cause, but because of desire; so those who have
gained this supposed release, likewise keeping the idea of 'I' and
living things, have in fact gained no final deliverance; in every
condition, letting go the three classes and again reaching the three
excellent qualities, because of the eternal existence of soul, by the
subtle influences of that (influences resulting from the past), the
heart lets go the idea of expedients, and obtains an almost endless
duration of years. This, you say, is true release; you say 'letting go
the ground on which the idea of soul rests,' that this frees us from
'limited existence,' and that the mass of people have not yet removed
the idea of soul, and are therefore still in bondage. But what is this
letting go gunas (cords fettering the soul); if one is fettered by these
gunas, how can there be release? For guni (the object) and guna (the
quality) in idea are different, but in substance one; if you say that
you can remove the properties of a thing and leave the thing by arguing
it to the end, this is not so. If you remove heat from fire, then there
is no such thing as fire, or if you remove surface from body, what body
can remain? Thus guna is as it were surface, remove this and there can
be no guni. So that this deliverance, spoken of before, must leave a
body yet in bonds. Again, you say that by clear knowledge you get rid of
body; there is then such a thing as knowledge or the contrary; if you
affirm the existence of clear knowledge, then there should be someone
who possesses it (i.e. possesses this knowledge); if there be a
possesor, how can there be deliverance from this personal 'I'? If you
say there is no 'knower,' then who is it that is spoken of as 'knowing'?
If there is knowledge and no person, then the subject of knowledge may
be a stone or a log; moreover, to have clear knowledge of these minute
causes of contamination and reject them thoroughly, these being so
rejected, there must be an end, then, of the 'doer.' What Arada has
declared cannot satisfy my heart. This clear knowledge is not universal
wisdom, I must go on and seek a better explanation."

Going on then to the place of Udra Rishi, he also expatiated on this
question of "I." But although he refined the matter to the utmost,
laying down a term of "thought" and "no thought" taking the position of
removing "thought" and "no thought," yet even so he came not out of the
mire; for supposing creatures attained that state, still (he said) there
is a possibility of returning to the coil, whilst Bodhisattva sought a
method of getting out of it. So once more leaving Udra Rishi, he went on
in search of a better system, and came at last to Mount Kia-ke (the
forest of mortification), where was a town called Pain-suffering forest.
Here the five Bhikshus had gone before. When then he beheld these five,
virtuously keeping in check their senses, holding to the rules of moral
conduct, practising mortification, dwelling in that grove of
mortification; occupying a spot beside the Nairangana river, perfectly
composed and filled with contentment, Bodhisattva forthwith by them
selecting one spot, quietly gave himself to thought. The five Bhikshus
knowing him with earnest heart to be seeking escape, offered him their
services with devotion, as if reverencing Isvara Deva.

Having finished their attentions and dutiful services, then going on he
took his seat not far off, as one about to enter on a course of
religious practice, composing all his members as he desired. Bodhisattva
diligently applied himself to "means," as one about to cross over old
age, disease, and death. With full purpose of heart he set himself to
endure mortification, to restrain every bodily passion, and give up
thought about sustenance, with purity of heart to observe the
fast-rules, which no worldly man can bear; silent and still, lost in
thoughtful meditation; and so for six years he continued, each day
eating one hemp grain, his bodily form shrunken and attenuated, seeking
how to cross the sea of birth and death, exercising himself still deeper
and advancing further; making his way perfect by the disentanglements of
true wisdom, not eating, and yet not looking to that as a cause of
emancipation, his four members although exceedingly weak, his heart of
wisdom increasing yet more and more in light; his spirit free, his body
light and refined, his name spreading far and wide, as "highly gifted,"
even as the moon when first produced, or as the Kumuda flower spreading
out its sweetness. Everywhere through the country his excellent fame
extended; the daughters of the lord of the place both coming to see him,
his mortified body like a withered branch, just completing the period of
six years, fearing the sorrow of birth and death, seeking earnestly the
method of true wisdom, he came to the conviction that these were not the
means to extinguish desire and produce ecstatic contemplation; nor yet
the means by which in former time, seated underneath the Gambu tree, he
arrived at that miraculous condition, that surely was the proper way, he
thought, the way opposed to this of "withered body."

"I should therefore rather seek strength of body, by drink and food
refresh my members, and with contentment cause my mind to rest. My mind
at rest, I shall enjoy silent composure; composure is the trap for
getting ecstasy (dhyana); while in ecstasy perceiving the true law, then
the force of truth obtained, disentanglement will follow. And thus
composed, enjoying perfect quiet, old age and death are put away; and
then defilement is escaped by this first means; thus then by equal steps
the excellent law results from life restored by food and drink."

Having carefully considered this principle, bathing in the Nairangana
river, he desired afterwards to leave the water, but owing to extreme
exhaustion was unable to rise; then a heavenly spirit holding out a
branch, taking this in his hand he raised himself and came forth. At
this time on the opposite side of the grove there was a certain chief
herdsman, whose eldest daughter was called Nanda. One of the Suddhavasa
Devas addressing her said, "Bodhisattva dwells in the grove, go you
then, and present to him a religious offering."

Nanda Balada (or Balaga or Baladhya) with joy came to the spot, above
her hands (i.e. on her wrists) white chalcedony bracelets, her clothing
of a gray color; the gray and the white together contrasted in the
light, as the colors of the rounded river bubble; with simple heart and
quickened step she came, and, bowing down at Bodhisattva's feet, she
reverently offered him perfumed rice milk, begging him of his
condescension to accept it. Bodhisattva taking it, partook of it at
once, whilst she received, even then, the fruits of her religious act.
Having eaten it, all his members refreshed, he became capable of
receiving Bodhi; his body and limbs glistening with renewed strength,
and his energies swelling higher still, as the hundred streams swell the
sea, or the first quartered moon daily increases in brightness. The five
Bhikshus having witnessed this, perturbed, were filled with suspicious
reflection; they supposed that his religious zeal was flagging, and that
he was leaving and looking for a better abode, as though he had obtained
deliverance, the five elements entirely removed.

Bodhisattva wandered on alone, directing his course to that "fortunate"
tree,[102] beneath whose shade he might accomplish his search after
complete enlightenment. Over the ground wide and level, producing soft
and pliant grass, easily he advanced with lion step, pace by pace,
whilst the earth shook withal; and as it shook, Kala naga aroused, was
filled with joy, as his eyes were opened to the light. Forthwith he
exclaimed: "When formerly I saw the Buddhas of old, there was the sign
of an earthquake as now; the virtues of a Muni are so great in majesty,
that the great earth cannot endure them; as step by step his foot treads
upon the ground, so is there heard the sound of the rumbling
earth-shaking; a brilliant light now illumes the world, as the shining
of the rising sun; five hundred bluish-tinted birds I see, wheeling
round to the right, flying through space; a gentle, soft, and cooling
breeze blows around in an agreeable way; all these auspicious signs are
the same as those of former Buddhas; wherefore I know that this
Bodhisattva will certainly arrive at perfect wisdom. And now, behold!
from yonder man, a grass cutter, he obtains some pure and pliant grass,
which spreading out beneath the tree, with upright body, there he takes
his seat; his feet placed under him, not carelessly arranged, moving to
and fro, but like the firmly fixed and compact body of a Naga; nor shall
he rise again from off his seat till he has completed his undertaking."
And so he (the Naga) uttered these words by way of confirmation. The
heavenly Nagas, filled with joy, caused a cool refreshing breeze to
rise; the trees and grass were yet unmoved by it, and all the beasts,
quiet and silent, looked on in wonderment.

These are the signs that Bodhisattva will certainly attain

Defeats Mara

The great Rishi, of the royal tribe of Rishis, beneath the Bodhi tree
firmly established, resolved by oath to perfect the way of complete

The spirits, Nagas, and the heavenly multitude, all were filled with
joy; but Mara Devaraga, enemy of religion, alone was grieved, and
rejoiced not; lord of the five desires, skilled in all the arts of
warfare, the foe of those who seek deliverance, therefore his name is
rightly given Pisuna. Now this Mara raga had three daughters, mincingly
beautiful and of a pleasant countenance, in every way fit by artful ways
to inflame a man with love, highest in this respect among the Devis. The
first was named Yuh-yen, the second Neng-yueh-gin, the third Ngai-loh.
These three, at this time, advanced together, and addressed their father
Pisuna and said: "May we not know the trouble that afflicts you?"

The father, calming his feelings, addressed his daughters thus: "The
world has now a great Muni, he has taken a strong oath as a helmet, he
holds a mighty bow in his hand, wisdom is the diamond shaft he uses. His
object is to get the mastery in the world, to ruin and destroy my
territory; I am myself unequal to him, for all men will believe in him,
and all find refuge in the way of his salvation; then will my land be
desert and unoccupied. But as when a man transgresses the laws of
morality, his body is then empty. So now, the eye of wisdom, not yet
opened in this man, whilst my empire still has peace, I will go and
overturn his purpose, and break down and divide the ridge-pole of his

Seizing then his bow and his five arrows, with all his retinue of male
and female attendants, he went to that grove of "fortunate rest" with
the vow that the world should not find peace. Then seeing the Muni,
quiet and still, preparing to cross the sea of the three worlds, in his
left hand grasping his bow, with his right hand pointing his arrow, he
addressed Bodhisattva and said: "Kshatriya! rise up quickly! for you may
well fear! your death is at hand; you may practise your own religious
system, but let go this effort after the law of deliverance for others;
wage warfare in the field of charity as a cause of merit, appease the
tumultuous world, and so in the end reach your reward in heaven. This is
a way renowned and well established, in which former saints have walked,
Rishis and kings and men of eminence; but this system of penury and
alms-begging is unworthy of you. Now then if you rise not, you had best
consider with yourself, that if you give not up your vow, and tempt me
to let fly an arrow, how that Aila, grandchild of Soma, by one of these
arrows just touched, as by a fanning of the wind, lost his reason and
became a madman. And how the Rishi Vimala, practising austerities,
hearing the sound of one of these darts, his heart possessed by great
fear, bewildered and darkened he lost his true nature; how much less can
you--a late-born one--hope to escape this dart of mine. Quickly arise
then! if hardly you may get away! This arrow full of rankling poison,
fearfully insidious where it strikes a foe! See now! with all my force,
I point it! and are you resting in the face of such calamity? How is it
that you fear not this dread arrow? say! why do you not tremble?" Mara
uttered such fear-inspiring threats, bent on overawing Bodhisattva. But
Bodhisattva's heart remained unmoved; no doubt, no fear was present.
Then Mara instantly discharged his arrow, whilst the three women came in
front. Bodhisattva regarded not the arrow, nor considered aught the
women three. Mara raga now was troubled much with doubt, and muttered
thus 'twixt heart and mouth: "Long since the maiden of the snowy
mountains, shooting at Mahesvara, constrained him to change his mind;
and yet Bodhisattva is unmoved, and heeds not even this dart of mine,
nor the three heavenly women! nought prevails to move his heart or raise
one spark of love within him. Now must I assemble my army-host, and
press him sore by force;" having thought thus awhile, Mara's army
suddenly assembled round. Each assumed his own peculiar form; some were
holding spears, others grasping swords, others snatching up trees,
others wielding diamond maces; armed with every sort of weapon. Some had
heads like hogs, others like fishes, others like asses, others like
horses; some with forms like snakes or like the ox or savage tiger;
lion-headed, dragon-headed, and like every other kind of beast. Some had
many heads on one body-trunk, with faces having but a single eye, and
then again with many eyes; some with great-bellied mighty bodies. And
others thin and skinny, belly-less; others long-legged, mighty-kneed;
others big-shanked and fat-calved; some with long and claw-like nails.
Some were headless, breastless, faceless; some with two feet and many
bodies; some with big faces looking every way; some pale and
ashy-colored; others colored like the bright star rising, others
steaming fiery vapor, some with ears like elephants, with humps like
mountains, some with naked forms covered with hair. Some with leather
skins for clothing, their faces parti-colored, crimson, and white; some
with tiger skins as robes, some with snake skins over them, some with
tinkling bells around their waists, others with twisted screw-like hair,
others with hair dishevelled covering the body, some breath-suckers,
others body-snatchers, some dancing and shrieking awhile, some jumping
onwards with their feet together, some striking one another as they
went. Others waving in the air, others flying and leaping between the
trees, others howling, or hooting, or screaming, or whining, with their
evil noises shaking the great earth; thus this wicked goblin troop
encircled on its four sides the Bodhi tree; some bent on tearing his
body to pieces, others on devouring it whole; from the four sides flames
belched forth, and fiery steam ascended up to heaven; tempestuous winds
arose on every side; the mountain forests shook and quaked. Wind, fire,
and steam, with dust combined, produced a pitchy darkness, rendering all
invisible. And now the Devas well affected to the law, and all the Nagas
and the spirits, all incensed at this host of Mara, with anger fired,
wept tears of blood; the great company of Suddhavasa gods, beholding
Mara tempting Bodhisattva, free from low-feeling, with hearts
undisturbed by passion, moved by pity towards him and commiseration,
came in a body to behold the Bodhisattva, so calmly seated and so
undisturbed, surrounded with an uncounted host of devils, shaking the
heaven and earth with sounds ill-omened. Bodhisattva silent and quiet in
the midst remained, his countenance as bright as heretofore, unchanged;
like the great lion-king placed amongst all the beasts howling and
growling round him so he sat, a sight unseen before, so strange and
wonderful! The host of Mara hastening, as arranged, each one exerting
his utmost force, taking each other's place in turns, threatening every
moment to destroy him. Fiercely staring, grinning with their teeth,
flying tumultuously, bounding here and there; but Bodhisattva, silently
beholding them, watched them as one would watch the games of children.
And now the demon host waxed fiercer and more angry, and added force to
force, in further conflict; grasping at stones they could not lift, or
lifting them, they could not let them go. Their flying spears, lances,
and javelins, stuck fast in space, refusing to descend; the angry
thunderdrops and mighty hail, with these, were changed into five-colored
lotus flowers, whilst the foul poison of the dragon snakes was turned to
spicy-breathing air. Thus all these countless sorts of creatures,
wishing to destroy the Bodhisattva, unable to remove him from the spot,
were with their own weapons wounded. Now Mara had an aunt-attendant
whose name was Ma-kia-ka-li, who held a skull-dish in her hands, and
stood in front of Bodhisattva, and with every kind of winsome gesture,
tempted to lust the Bodhisattva. So all these followers of Mara,
possessed of every demon-body form, united in discordant uproar, hoping
to terrify Bodhisattva; but not a hair of his was moved, and Mara's host
was filled with sorrow. Then in the air the crowd of angels, their forms
invisible, raised their voices, saying: "Behold the great Muni; his mind
unmoved by any feeling of resentment, whilst all that wicked Mara race,
besotted, are vainly bent on his destruction; let go your foul and
murderous thoughts against that silent Muni, calmly seated! You cannot
with a breath move the Sumeru mountain. Fire may freeze, water may burn,
the roughened earth may grow soft and pliant, but ye cannot hurt the
Bodhisattva! Through ages past disciplined by suffering. Bodhisattva
rightly trained in thought, ever advancing in the use of 'means,' pure
and illustrious for wisdom, loving and merciful to all. These four
conspicuous virtues cannot with him be rent asunder, so as to make it
hard or doubtful whether he gain the highest wisdom. For as the thousand
rays of yonder sun must drown the darkness of the world, or as the
boring wood must kindle fire, or as the earth deep-dug gives water, so
he who perseveres in the 'right means,' by seeking thus, will find. The
world without instruction, poisoned by lust and hate and ignorance;
because he pitied 'flesh,' so circumstanced, he sought on their account
the joy of wisdom. Why then would you molest and hinder one who seeks to
banish sorrow from the world? The ignorance that everywhere prevails is
due to false pernicious books, and therefore Bodhisattva, walking
uprightly, would lead and draw men after him. To obscure and blind the
great world-leader, this undertaking is impossible, for 'tis as though
in the Great Desert a man would purposely mislead the merchant-guide. So
'all flesh' having fallen into darkness, ignorant of where they are


Back to Full Books