Jetavana





Anathapindika, the friend of the destitute and the supporter of

orphans, having returned home, saw the garden of the

heir-apparent, Jeta, with its green groves and limpid rivulets,

and thought: "This is the place which will be most suitable as a

vihara for the brotherhood of the Blessed One." And he went to

the prince and asked leave to buy the ground.



The prince was not inclined to sell the garden, for he valued it

highly. He at first refused but said at last, "If thou canst

cover it with gold, then, and for no other price, shalt thou have

it."



Anathapindika rejoiced and began to spread his gold; but Jeta

said: "Spare thyself the trouble, for I will not sell." But

Anathapindika insisted. Thus they contended until they resorted

to the magistrate.



Meanwhile the people began to talk of the unwonted proceeding,

and the prince, hearing more of the details and knowing that

Anathapindika was not only very wealthy but also straightforward

and sincere, inquired into his plans. On hearing the name of the

Buddha, the prince became anxious to share in the foundation and

he accepted only one-half of the gold, saying: "Yours is the

land, but mine are the trees. I will give the trees as my share

of this offering to the Buddha."



Then Anathapindika took the land and Jeta the trees, and they

placed them in trust of Sariputta for the Buddha.



After the foundations were laid, they began to build the hall

which rose loftily in due proportions according to the directions

which the Buddha had suggested; and it was beautifully decorated

with appropriate carvings.



This vihara was called Jetavana, and the friend of the orphans

invited the Lord to come to Savatthi and receive the donation.

And the Blessed One left Kapilavatthu and came to Savatthi.



While the Blessed One was entering Jetavana, Anathapindika

scattered flowers and burned incense, and as a sign of the gift

he poured water from a golden dragon decanter, saying, "This

Jetavana vihara I give for the use of the brotherhood throughout

the world."



The Blessed One received the gift and replied: "May all evil

influences be overcome; may the offering promote the kingdom of

righteousness and be a permanent blessing to mankind in general,

to the land of Kosala, and especially also to the giver."



Then the king Pasenadi, hearing that the Lord had come, went in

his royal equipage to the Jetavana vihara and saluted the Blessed

One with clasped hands, saying: 10



"Blessed is my unworthy and obscure kingdom that it has met with

so great a fortune. For how can calamities and dangers befall it

in the presence of the Lord of the world, the Dharmaraja, the

King of Truth. 11



"Now that I have seen thy sacred countenance, let me partake of

the refreshing waters of thy teachings.



"Worldly profit is fleeting and perishable, but religious profit

is eternal and inexhaustible. A worldly man, though a king, is

full of trouble, but even a common man who is holy has peace of

mind."



Knowing the tendency of the king's heart, weighed down by avarice

and love of pleasure, the Buddha seized the opportunity and said:



"Even those who, by their evil karma, have been born in low

degree, when they see a virtuous man, feel reverence for him. How

much more must an independent king, on account of merits acquired

in previous existences, when meeting a Buddha, conceive reverence

for him.



"And now as I briefly expound the law, let the Maharaja listen

and weigh my words, and hold fast that which I deliver!



"Our good or evil deeds follow us continually like shadows.



"That which is most needed is a loving heart!



"Regard thy people as men do an only son. Do not oppress them, do

not destroy them; keep in due check every member of thy body,

forsake unrighteous doctrine and walk in the straight path. Exalt

not thyself by trampling down others, but comfort and befriend

the suffering.



"Neither ponder on kingly dignity, nor listen to the smooth words

of flatterers.



"There is no profit in vexing oneself by austerities, but

meditate on the Buddha and weigh his righteous law.



"We are encompassed on all sides by the rocks of birth, old age,

disease, and death, and only by considering and practising the

true law can we escape from this sorrow-piled mountain.



"What profit, then, in practising iniquity?



"All who are wise spurn the pleasures of the body. They loathe

lust and seek to promote their spiritual existence.



"When a tree is burning with fierce flames, how can the birds

congregate therein? Truth cannot dwell where passion lives. He

who does not know this, though he be a learned man and be praised

by others as a sage, is beclouded with ignorance.



"To him who has this knowledge true wisdom dawns, and he will

beware of hankering after pleasure. To acquire this state of

mind, wisdom is the one thing needful. To neglect wisdom will

lead to failure in life.



"The teachings of all religions should center here, for without

wisdom there is no reason.



"This truth is not for the hermit alone; it concerns every human

being, priest and layman alike. There is no distinction between

the monk who has taken the vows, and the man of the world living

with his family. There are hermits who fall into perdition, and

there are humble householders who mount to the rank of rishis.



"Hankering after pleasure is a danger common to all; it carries

away the world. He who is involved in its eddies finds no escape.

But wisdom is the handy boat, reflection is the rudder. The

slogan of religion calls you to overcome the assaults of Mara,

the enemy.



"Since it is impossible to escape the result of our deeds, let us

practise good works.



"Let us guard our thoughts that we do no evil, for as we sow so

shall we reap.;



"There are ways from light into darkness and from darkness into

light. There are ways, also, from the gloom into deeper darkness,

and from the dawn into brighter light. The wise man will use the

light he has to receive more fight. He will constantly advance in

the knowledge of truth.



"Exhibit true superiority by virtuous conduct and the exercise of

reason; meditate deeply on the vanity of earthly things, and

understand the fickleness of life.



"Elevate the mind, and seek sincere faith with firm purpose;

transgress not the rules of kingly conduct, and let your

happiness depend, not upon external things, but upon your own

mind. Thus you will lay up a good name for distant ages and will

secure the favor of the Tathagata."



The king listened with reverence and remembered all the words of

the Buddha in his heart.





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