Home Articles Confucius Sayings Buddhism Wisdom Budda Gospels Sources Categories

Bimbisara Raga Invites The Prince

Source: Sacred Books Of The East

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
going, for their sakes he would light the lamp of wisdom; say then! why
would you extinguish it? All flesh engulfed and overwhelmed in the great
sea of birth and death, this one prepares the boat of wisdom; say then!
why destroy and sink it? Patience is the sprouting of religion, firmness
its root, good conduct is the flower, the enlightened heart the boughs
and branches. Wisdom supreme the entire tree, the 'transcendent law' the
fruit, its shade protects all living things; say then! why would you cut
it down? Lust, hate, and ignorance, are the rack and bolt, the yoke
placed on the shoulder of the world; through ages long he has practised
austerities to rescue men from these their fetters. He now shall
certainly attain his end, sitting on this right-established throne; as
all the previous Buddhas, firm and compact like a diamond. Though all
the earth were moved and shaken, yet would this place be fixed and
stable; him, thus fixed and well assured, think not that you can
overturn. Bring down and moderate your mind's desire, banish these high
and envious thoughts, prepare yourselves for right reflection, be
patient in your services."

Mara hearing these sounds in space, and seeing Bodhisattva still
unmoved, filled with fear and banishing his high and supercilious
thoughts, again took up his way to heaven above. Whilst all his host
were scattered, o'erwhelmed with grief and disappointment, fallen from
their high estate, bereft of their warrior pride, their warlike weapons
and accoutrements thrown heedlessly and cast away 'mid woods and
deserts. Like as when some cruel chieftain slain, the hateful band is
all dispersed and scattered, so the host of Mara disconcerted, fled
away. The mind of Bodhisattva now reposed peaceful and quiet. The
morning sunbeams brighten with the dawn, the dust-like mist dispersing,
disappears; the moon and stars pale their faint light, the barriers of
the night are all removed, whilst from above a fall of heavenly flowers
pay their sweet tribute to the Bodhisattva.

O-wei-san-pou-ti (Abhisambodhi)

Bodhisattva having subdued Mara, his firmly fixed mind at rest,
thoroughly exhausting the first principle of truth, he entered into deep
and subtle contemplation. Every kind of Samadhi in order passed before
his eyes. During the first watch he entered on "right perception" and in
recollection all former births passed before his eyes. Born in such a
place, of such a name, and downwards to his present birth, so through
hundreds, thousands, myriads, all his births and deaths he knew.
Countless in number were they, of every kind and sort; then knowing,
too, his family relationships, great pity rose within his heart.

This sense of deep compassion passed, he once again considered "all that
lives," and how they moved within the six portions of life's revolution,
no final term to birth and death; hollow all, and false and transient as
the plantain tree, or as a dream, or phantasy. Then in the middle watch
of night, he reached to knowledge of the pure Devas, and beheld before
him every creature, as one sees images upon a mirror; all creatures born
and born again to die, noble and mean, the poor and rich, reaping the
fruit of right or evil doing, and sharing happiness or misery in
consequence. First he considered and distinguished evil-doers' works,
that such must ever reap an evil birth. Then he considered those who
practise righteous deeds, that these must gain a place with men or gods;
but those again born in the nether hells, he saw participating in every
kind of misery; swallowing molten brass, the iron skewers piercing their
bodies, confined within the boiling caldron, driven and made to enter
the fiery oven dwelling, food for hungry, long-toothed dogs, or preyed
upon by brain-devouring birds; dismayed by fire, then they wander
through thick woods, with leaves like razors gashing their limbs, while
knives divide their writhing bodies, or hatchets lop their members, bit
by bit; drinking the bitterest poisons, their fate yet holds them back
from death. Thus those who found their joy in evil deeds, he saw
receiving now their direst sorrow; a momentary taste of pleasure here, a
dreary length of suffering there. A laugh or joke because of others'
pain, a crying out and weeping now at punishment received. Surely if
living creatures saw the consequence of all their evil deeds,
self-visited, with hatred would they turn and leave them, fearing the
ruin following--the blood and death. He saw, moreover, all the fruits of
birth as beasts, each deed entailing its own return; and when death
ensues born in some other form (beast shape), different in kind
according to the deeds. Some doomed to die for the sake of skin or
flesh, some for their horns or hair or bones or wings; others torn or
killed in mutual conflict, friend or relative before, contending thus;
some burdened with loads or dragging heavy weights, others pierced and
urged on by pricking goads. Blood flowing down their tortured forms,
parched and hungry--no relief afforded; then, turning round, he saw one
with the other struggling, possessed of no independent strength. Flying
through air or sunk in deep water, yet no place as a refuge left from
death. He saw, moreover, those, misers and covetous, born now as hungry
ghosts; vast bodies like the towering mountain, with mouths as small as
any needle-tube, hungry and thirsty, nought but fire and poisoned flame
to enwrap their burning forms within. Covetous, they would not give to
those who sought, or duped the man who gave in charity, now born among
the famished ghosts, they seek for food, but cannot find withal. The
refuse of the unclean man they fain would eat, but this is changed and
lost before it can be eaten. Oh! if a man believes that covetousness is
thus repaid, as in their case, would he not give his very flesh in
charity even as Sivi raga did! Then, once more he saw, those reborn as
men, with bodies like some foul sewer, ever moving 'midst the direst
sufferings, born from the womb to fear and trembling, with body tender,
touching anything its feelings painful, as if cut with knives. Whilst
born in this condition, no moment free from chance of death, labor, and
sorrow, yet seeking birth again, and being born again, enduring pain.
Then he saw those who by a higher merit were enjoying heaven; a thirst
for love ever consuming them, their merit ended with the end of life,
the five signs warning them of death. Just as the blossom that decays,
withering away, is robbed of all its shining tints; not all their
associates, living still, though grieving, can avail to save the rest.
The palaces and joyous precincts empty now, the Devis all alone and
desolate, sitting or asleep upon the dusty earth, weep bitterly in
recollection of their loves. Those who are born, sad in decay; those who
are dead, beloved, cause of grief; thus ever struggling on, preparing
future pain, covetous they seek the joys of heaven, obtaining which,
these sorrows come apace; despicable joys! oh, who would covet them!
using such mighty efforts to obtain, and yet unable thence to banish
pain. Alas, alas! these Devas, too, alike deceived--no difference is
there! through lapse of ages bearing suffering, striving to crush desire
and lust, now certainly expecting long reprieve, and yet once more
destined to fall! in hell enduring every kind of pain, as beasts tearing
and killing one the other, as Pretas parched with direst thirst, as men
worn out, seeking enjoyment; although, they say, when born in heaven,
"then we shall escape these greater ills." Deceived, alas! no single
place exempt, in every birth incessant pain! Alas! the sea of birth and
death revolving thus--an ever-whirling wheel--all flesh immersed within
its waves cast here and there without reliance! thus with his pure Deva
eyes he thoughtfully considered the five domains of life. He saw that
all was empty and vain alike! with no dependence! like the plantain or
the bubble. Then, on the third eventful watch, he entered on the deep,
true apprehension; he meditated on the entire world of creatures,
whirling in life's tangle, born to sorrow; the crowds who live, grow
old, and die, innumerable for multitude. Covetous, lustful, ignorant,
darkly-fettered, with no way known for final rescue. Rightly
considering, inwardly he reflected from what source birth and death
proceed. He was assured that age and death must come from birth as from
a source. For since a man has born with him a body, that body must
inherit pain. Then looking further whence comes birth, he saw it came
from life-deeds done elsewhere; then with his Deva-eyes scanning these
deeds, he saw they were not framed by Isvara. They were not self-caused,
they were not personal existences, nor were they either uncaused; then,
as one who breaks the first bamboo joint finds all the rest easy to
separate, having discerned the cause of birth and death, he gradually
came to see the truth; deeds come from upadana, like as fire which
catches hold of grass; upadana comes from trishna, just as a little fire
inflames the mountains; trishna comes from vedana, the perception of
pain and pleasure, the desire for rest; as the starving or the thirsty
man seeks food and drink, so "sensation" brings "desire" for life; then
contact is the cause of all sensation, producing the three kinds of pain
or pleasure, even as by art of man the rubbing wood produces fire for
any use or purpose; contact is born from the six entrances.[103] The six
entrances are caused by name and thing, just as the germ grows to the
stem and leaf; name and thing are born from knowledge, as the seed which
germinates and brings forth leaves. Knowledge, in turn, proceeds from
name and thing, the two are intervolved leaving no remnant; by some
concurrent cause knowledge engenders name and thing, whilst by some
other cause concurrent, name and thing engender

Next: Bimbisara Raga Becomes A Disciple

Previous: The Birth

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 1401