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Brahmas Request

The Blessed One having attained Buddhahood while resting under
the shepherd's Nigrodha tree on the banks of the river Neranjara,
pronounced this solemn utterance:

"How blest in happy solitude
Is he who hears of truth the call!
How blest to be both kind and good,
To practice self-restraint to all!
How blest from passion to be free,
All sensuous joys to let pass by!
Yet highest bliss enjoyeth he
Who quits the pride of 'I am I.'

"I have recognized the deepest truth, which is sublime and
peace-giving, but difficult to understand; for most men move in a
sphere of worldly interests and find their delight in worldly

"The worldling will not understand the doctrine, for to him there
is happiness in selfhood only, and the bliss that lies in a
complete surrender to truth is unintelligible to him.

"He will call resignation what to the enlightened mind is the
purest joy. He will see annihilation where the perfected one
finds immortality. He will regard as death what the conqueror of
self knows to be life everlasting.

"The truth remains hidden from him who is in the bondage of hate
and desire. Nirvana remains incomprehensible and mysterious to
the vulgar whose minds are beclouded with worldly interests.
Should I preach the doctrine and mankind not comprehend it, it
would bring me only fatigue and trouble."

Mara, the Evil One, on hearing the words of the Blessed Buddha,
approached and said: "Be greeted, thou Holy One. Thou hast
attained the highest bliss and it is time for thee to enter into
the final Nirvana."

Then Brahma Sahampati descended from the heavens and, having
worshipped the Blessed One, said:

"Alas! the world must perish, should the Holy One, the Tathagata,
decide not to teach the Dharma.

"Be merciful to those that struggle; have compassion upon the
sufferers; pity the creatures who are hopelessly entangled in the
snares of sorrow.

"There are some beings that are almost free from the dust of
worldliness. If they hear not the doctrine preached, they will be
lost. But if they hear it, they will believe and be saved."

The Blessed One, full of compassion, looked with the eye of a
Buddha upon all sentient creatures, and he saw among them beings
whose minds were but scarcely covered by the dust of worldliness,
who were of good disposition and easy to instruct. He saw some
who were conscious of the dangers of lust and wrong doing.

And the Blessed One said to Brahma Sahampati: "Wide open be the
door of immortality to all who have ears to hear. May they
receive the Dharma with faith."

And the Blessed One turned to Mara, saying: "I shall not pass
into the final Nirvana, O Evil One, until there be not only
brethren and sisters of an Order, but also lay-disciples of both
sexes, who shall have become true hearers, wise, well trained,
ready and learned, versed in the scriptures, fulfilling all the
greater and lesser duties, correct in life, walking according to
the precepts--until they, having thus themselves learned the
doctrine, shall be able to give information to others concerning
it, preach it, make it known, establish it, open it, minutely
explain it, and make it clear--until they, when others start
vain doctrines, shall be able to vanquish and refute them, and so
to spread the wonderworking truth abroad. I shall not die until
the pure religion of truth shall have become successful,
prosperous, widespread, and popular in all its full
extent--until, in a word, it shall have been well proclaimed
among men!"

Then Brahma Sahampati understood that the Blessed One had granted
his request and would preach the doctrine.

Next: Upaka

Previous: The First Converts

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