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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.