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Pataliputta






When the Blessed One had stayed as long as convenient at Nalanda,
he went to Pataliputta, the frontier town of Magadha; and when
the disciples at Pataliputta heard of his arrival, they invited
him to their village rest-house. And the Blessed One robed
himself, took his bowl and went with the brethren to the
rest-house. There he washed his feet, entered the hall, and
seated himself against the center pillar, with his face towards
the east. The brethren, also, having washed their feet, entered
the hall, and took their seats round the Blessed One, against the
western wall, facing the east. And the lay devotees of
Pataliputta, having also washed their feet, entered the hall, and
took their seats opposite the Blessed One, against the eastern
wall, facing towards the west.

Then the Blessed One addressed the lay-disciples of Pataliputta,
and he said:

"Fivefold, O householders, is the loss of the wrong-doer through
his want of rectitude. In the first place, the wrong-doer, devoid
of rectitude, falls into great poverty through sloth; in the next
place, his evil repute gets noised abroad; thirdly, whatever
society he enters, whether of Brahmans, nobles, heads of houses,
or samanas, he enters shyly and confusedly; fourthly, he is full
of anxiety when he dies; and lastly, on the dissolution of the
body after death, his mind remains in an unhappy state. Wherever
his karma continues, there will be suffering and woe. This,
householders, is the fivefold loss of the evil-doer!

"Fivefold, O householders, is the gain of the well-doer through
his practice of rectitude. In the first place the well-doer,
strong in rectitude, acquires property through his industry; in
the next place, good reports of him are spread abroad; thirdly,
whatever society he enters, whether of nobles, Brahmans, heads
of houses, or members of the order, he enters with confidence and
self-possession; fourthly, he dies without anxiety; and, lastly,
on the dissolution of the body after death, his mind remains in a
happy state. Wherever his karma continues, there will be heavenly
bliss and peace. This, O householders, is the fivefold gain of
the well-doer."

When the Blessed One had taught the disciples, and incited them,
and roused them, and gladdened them far into the night with
religious edification, he dismissed them, saying, "The night is
far spent, O householders. It is time for you to do what ye deem
most fit."

"Be it so, Lord!" answered the disciples of Pataliputta, and
rising from their seats, they bowed to the Blessed One, and
keeping him on their right hand as they passed him, they departed
thence.

While the Blessed One stayed at Pataliputta, the king of Magadha
sent a messenger to the governor of Pataliputta to raise
fortifications for the security of the town.

And the Blessed One seeing the laborers at work predicted the
future greatness of the place, saying: "The men who build the
fortress act as if they had consulted higher powers. For this
city of Pataliputta will be a dwelling-place of busy men and a
center for the exchange of all kinds of goods. But three dangers
hang over Pataliputta, that of fire, that of water, that of
dissension."

When the governor heard of the prophecy of Pataliputta's future,
he greatly rejoiced and named the city-gate through which the
Buddha had gone towards the river Ganges, "The Gotama Gate."

Meanwhile the people living on the banks of the Ganges arrived in
great numbers to pay reverence to the Lord of the world; and many
persons asked him to do them the honor to cross over in their
boats. But the Blessed One considering the number of the boats
and their beauty did not want to show any partiality, and by
accepting the invitation of one to offend all the others. He
therefore crossed the river without any boat, signifying thereby
that the rafts of asceticism and the gaudy gondolas of religious
ceremonies were not staunch enough to weather the storms of
Samsara, while the Tathagata can walk dry-shod over the ocean of
worldliness.

And as the city gate was called after the name of the Tathagata
so the people called this passage of the river "Gotama Ford."





Next: The Mirror Of Truth

Previous: Sariputta's Faith



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