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."





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