PART III : CONVERSION OF THE HIGH AND THE HOLY
Friday, August 22, 2008
1. Conversion of Yashas.
2. Conversion of the Kassyapas.
3. Conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana.
4. Conversion of Bimbisara.
5. Conversion of Anathapindika.
6. Conversion of Pasenjit.
7. Conversion of Jeevaka.
8. Conversion of Ratthapala.
§1. Conversion of Yashas
1. There lived in the town of Benares a nobleman's son called Yashas. He was young in years and very attractive in appearance. He was beloved of his parents. He lived in abounding wealth. He had a big retinue and a large harem and passed his time in nothing but dancing, drinking and carnal pleasures.
2. As time past, a feeling of disgust came over him. How could he escape from this orgy? Was there any better way of life than the way he was leading ? Not knowing what to do, he decided to leave his father's house.
3. One night he left his father's house and was wandering about; He happened to wend his way towards Isipathana.
4. Feeling tired he sat down and as he was seated he said to himself in loud tones: ' Where am I, what is the way ? Alas! What distress; alas! What danger! '
5. This happened on the night of the same day on which the Blessed One preached his first sermon to the Panchavargiya Bhikkus at Isipathana. Just when Yashas was approaching Isipathana, the Blessed One who was staying at Isipathana, having arisen at dawn, was walking up and down in the open. air. And the Blessed One saw Yashas, the noble youth coming from after giving utterance to his feelings.
6. And the Blessed One having heard his cry of distress, said: " There is no distress, there is no danger. Come, I will show you the way, " and the Blessed Lord preached his gospel to Yashas.
7. And Yashas, when he heard it, became glad and joyful; and he put off his gilt slippers, and went and sat down near the Blessed One and respectedly saluted him.
8. Yashas hearing the Buddha's words, requested the Blessed One to take him as his disciple.
9. Then he bade him come and asked him to be a Bhikku to which Yashas agreed.
10. The parents of Yashas were in great distress on finding that their son had disappeared. The father started in search. Yashas's father passed by the same spot where the Lord and Yashas in the Bhikku's garb were seated, and in passing, he asked the Blessed One: " Pray, have you seen Yashas, my son ? "
11. The Lord replied : " Come in. Sir, you will find your son." He went in and sat near his son but he knew him not.
12. The Lord explained to him how Yashas met him and how on hearing him he became a Bhikku. The father then recognised his son and was happy his son had chosen the right path.
13. " My son, Yashas," said the father, " your mother is absorbed in lamentations and grief. Return home and restore your mother to life."
14. Then Yashas looked at the Blessed One, and the Blessed One said to Yashas's father, "Is that your wish that Yashas should return to the world and enjoy the pleasures of a worldly life as he did before ? "
15. And Yasha's father replied : " If Yashas, my son, finds it a gain to stay with you, let him stay." Yashas preferred to remain a Bhikku.
16. Before departing Yashas's father said: " May the Blessed One, 0 Lord, consent to take his meal at my home with the members of my family."
17. The Blessed One, having donned his robes, took his alms bowl and went with Yashas to the house of his father.
18. When they arrived there, they met the mother and also the former wife of Yashas. After the meal the Blessed One preached to the members of the family his doctrine. They became very happy and promised to take refuge in it.
19. Now there were four friends of Yashas belonging to the wealthy family of Benares. Their names were Vimala, Subahu, Punyajit and Gavampati.
20. When Yashas's friends learned that Yashas had taken refuge in the Buddha and his Dhamma they felt that what is good for Yashas must be good for them. 21. So they went to Yashas and asked him to approach the Buddha on their behalf to receive them as his disciples.
22. Yashas agreed and he went to the Buddha, saying: " May the Blessed One preach the Dhamma to these four friends of mine." The Lord agreed and Yashas's friends took refuge in the
§ 2. Conversion of the Kassyapas
1. There lived in Benaras a family known as the Kassyapa family. There were three sons in the family. They were very highly educated and carried on a rigorous religious life.
2. After some time the eldest son thought of taking up Sannyasa. Accordingly he left his home, took Sannyasa and went in the direction of Uruvella where he established his Ashram.
3. His two younger brothers followed him and they too became Sannyasis.
6. Of these the Uruvella Kassyapa had a following of five hundred Jatilas ; Nadi Kassyapa had three hundred Jatilas as his disciples and Gaya Kassyapa had two hundred Jatilas. Of these the chief was Uruvella Kassyapa.
7. The fame of Uruvella Kassyapa had spread far and wide. He was known to have obtained Mukti (Salvation) while alive. People from far-away places came to his Ashram which was located on the banks of the river Falgu.
8. The Blessed Lord having come to know of the name and fame of Uruvella Kassyapa, thought of preaching his gospel to him and if possible to convert him to his Dhamma.
9. Having come to know of his whereabouts the Blessed Lord went to Uruvella.
10. The Blessed One met him and wanting to have an opportunity to instruct him and convert him, said: "If it is not disagreeable to you, Kassyapa, let me dwell one night in your Ashram."
11. "I am not agreeable to this," said Kassyapa. "There is a savage Naga king called Muchalinda who rules over this place. He is possessed of dreadful powers. He is the deadly enemy of all ascetics performing fire worship. He pays nocturnal visits to their Ashrams and does them great harm. I fear he may do you the same harm as he does to me."
12. Kassyapa did not know that the Nagas had become the friends and followers of the Blessed One. But the Blessed One knew it.
13. So the Blessed One pressed for his request, saying : " He is not likely to do any harm to me : pray, Kassyapa, allow me a place in your fire room, for one night."
14. Kassyapa continued to raise many difficulties and the Blessed One continued to press his request.
15. Then Kassyapa said : " My mind desires no controversy, only I have my fears and apprehensions, but follow your own good pleasure."
16. The Blessed Lord forthwith stepped into the fire grove and took his seat.
17. The Naga king Muchalinda came into the room at his usual time. But instead of finding Kassyapa he found the Blessed One seated in his place.
18. Muchalinda, seeing the Lord seated, his face glowing with peace and serenity, felt as though he was in the presence of a great divinity, and bending his head, began to worship.
19. That night Kassyapa's sleep was very much disturbed by the thought of what might have happened to his guest. So he got up with great misgivings fearing that his guest might have been burnt up.
20. Then Kassyapa and his followers at morning light came one and all to have a look. Far from the Lord injured by Muchalinda, they found Mucha-linda worshipping the Lord.
21. Beholding the scene, Kassyapa felt that he was witnessing a great miracle.
22. Struck by this miracle Kassyapa requested the Blessed Lord to stay near him and make an Ashram, and,promised to look after him.
23. The Blessed Lord agreed to stay on.
24. The two, however, had different motives. Kassyapa's motive was to obtain protection against Muchalinda Naga. The Blessed Lord thought that one day Kassyapa will give him opportunity to propound his gospel.
25. But Kassyapa showed no such inclination. He thought that the Blessed Lord was only a miracle maker and nothing more.
26. One day the Blessed Lord thought of himself taking the initiative and asked Kassyapa, "Are you an Arhant?
27. " If you are not an Arhant, what good is this Agnihotra going to do to you ? "
29. The Lord then told Kassyapa, " An Arhant is one who has conquered all the passions which disturb a man from pursuing the eight-fold Path. Agnihotra cannot cleanse a man of his sins."
30. Kassyapa was a proud person. But he did feel the force of the Blessed Lord's argument. Making his mind pliant and yielding, until at length prepared to be a vehicle of the true law, he confessed that his poor wisdom could not compare with the wisdom of the world-honoured One.
31. And so, convinced at last, humbly submitting, Uruvella Kassyapa accepted the doctrine of the Lord and became his follower.
32. Following their master, the followers of Kassyapa, virtuously submissive, in turn received the teaching of the law. Kassyapa and all his followers were thus entirely converted. 33. Uruvella Kassyapa, then, lifting his goods and all his sacrificial vessels, threw them together into the river, which floated down upon the surface of the current.
34. Nadi and Gaya, who dwelt down the stream, seeing these articles of clothing (and the rest) floating along the stream disorderly, said, "These are the belongings of our brother ; why has he thrown them away ? Some great change has happened," and were deeply pained and restless. The two, each with five hundred followers, went up the stream to seek their brother.
35. On seeing him and all his followers now dressed as hermits, strange thoughts engaged their minds and they inquired into the reasons. Uruvella Kassyapa told them the story of his conversion to the Buddha's Dhamma.
36. " Our brother having submitted thus, we too should also follow him," they said.
37. They conveyed their wishes to their eldest brother. Then the two brothers, with all their band of followers, were brought to hear the Lord's discourse on the comparison of a fire sacrifice with his own gospel.
38. In his discourse to the two brothers the Blessed Lord said : " The dark smoke of ignorance arises, whilst confused thoughts, like wood drilled into wood, create the fire.
39. " Lust, anger, delusion, these are as fire produced, and these enflame and burn all other things which cause grief and sorrow in the world.
40. " If once this way is found and lust, anger and delusion consumed, then with it is born sight, knowledge and pure conduct.
41. "So when the heart of a man has once conceived distaste for sin, this distaste removes covetous desire, covetous desire extinguished, there is recluse."
42. The great Rishis listening to him, lost all regard for fire worship and wished to be the disciples of the Buddha. 43. The conversion of the Kassyapas was a great triumph for the Blessed Lord. For they had a very strong hold on the imagination of the people.
§ 3. Conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana
1. While the Blessed Lord was in Rajagraha there resided a well-known person by name Sanjaya with a great retinue of Parivrajakas numbering about two hundred and fifty as his disciples.
2. Among his disciples were Sariputta and Moggallana—two young Brahmins.
3. Sariputta and Moggallana were not satisfied with the teachings of Sanjaya and were in search of something better.
4. Now one day the venerable Assaji, one of the Panchvargiya Bhikkus, in the forenoon, having put on his under-robes, and having taken his alms bowl and outer robe, entered the city of Rajagraha for alms.
5. Sariputta was observing the dignified deportment of Assaji and was struck by it. On seeing the venerable Assaji, Sariputta thought, "Indeed this person is one of those monks who are the worthy ones in the world. What if I were to approach this monk and to ask him : 'In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess ?' "
6. Now Sariputta thought : " This is not the time to ask this monk ; he has entered the inner yard of a house for alms. What if I were to follow this monk step by step, according to the course recognised by those who want something ? "
7. And the venerable Assaji, having finished his alms pilgrimage through Rajagraha, went back with the food he had received. Then Sariputta went to the place where the venerable Assaji was ; having approached him, he exchanged greetings and with complaisant words, he stood at his side.
8. Standing at his side the wandering ascetic Sariputta said to the venerable Assaji: " Your countenance, friend, is serene; your complexion is pure and bright. In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess ? "
9. Assaji replied : " There is, friend, the great recluse of the Sakya's clan ; in this Blessed One's name, have I retired from the world ; this Blessed One is my teacher, and it is the Dhamma of this Blessed One that I follow."
10. "And what, venerable Sir, is the doctrine which your teacher holds ? And what does he preach to you?"
11. "I am only a young disciple, friend ; I have but recently received ordination ; and I have newly adopted this Dhamma and discipline. I cannot explain to you the Dhamma in detail ; but I will tell you in short what it means."
12. Then Sariputta, the wandering ascetic, said to the venerable Assaji : " So be it, friend, tell me as much or as little as you like, but tell me the meaning, I want just meaning. Why make so much of the letter?"
13. Then the venerable Assaji explained to Sariputta the substance of the teachings of the Buddha and Sariputta was completely satisfied.
14. Sariputta and Moggallana, though not brothers, were bound together as hough they were brothers. They had given their word to each other. He who first attains the truth shall tell the same to the other one. That was their mutual engagement.
15. Accordingly Sariputta went to the place where Moggallana was. Seeing him, he said to Sariputta : " Your countenance, friend, is serene ; your complexion is pure and bright. Have you then really reached the truth ? "
16. " Yes, friend, I have come to know the truth." " And how, friend, have you done so ? " Then Sariputta told him what happened between him and Assaji.
17. Then Moggallana said to Sariputta, " Let us go, friend, and join the Blessed One ; that he, the Blessed One, may be our teacher." 18. Sariputta replied : " It is on our account, friend, that these two hundred and fifty wandering Parivrajakas live here, and it is we whom they regard ; let us first tell them before taking leave of them ; they will do what they think fit."
19. Then Sariputta and Moggallana went to the place where they were ; having approached them they said to them, " Friends, we are going to join the Blessed One ; he, the Blessed One, is our teacher."
20. They replied : "It is on your account. Sirs, that we live here, and it is you whom we regard ; if you. Sirs, will lead the holy life under the great Samana, we all will do the same."
21. Then Sariputta and Moggallana went to the place where Sanjaya was ; having approached him, they said : " Friend, we go to join the Blessed One ; he, the Blessed One, is our teacher."
22. Sanjaya replied : "Nay, friends, do not go ; we will all three look after this company."
23. And a second and third time Sariputta and Moggallana said this and Sanjaya answered as before.
24. Then Sariputta and Moggallana took with them two hundred and fifty wandering ascetics and went to the Veluvana in Rajagraha where the Blessed One was staying.
25. And the Blessed One saw them—Sariputta and Moggallana, coming from afar : on seeing them he thus addressed the monks: "There, monks, arrive two companions," pointing towards Sariputta and Moggallana, "these will be my chief pair of disciples, and auspicious pair."
26. When they had arrived at the bamboo grove, they went to the place where the Blessed One was ; having approached him, they prostrated themselves, with their heads at the feet of the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One : " Lord, let us receive ordination from the Blessed One."
27. The Blessed One then uttered the usual formula indicating dmission, " Ehi Bhikku " (Come Monks), and Sariputta and Moggallana and the two hundred Jatilas became the disciples of the Buddha."
§ 4. Conversion of King Bimbisara
1. Rajagraha was the capital of Seniya Bimbisara; King of Magadha.
2. Having heard of the conversions of this large number of Jatilas, everyone in the city had begun to talk about the Blessed One.
3. Thus King Bimbisara came to know of his arrival in the city.
4. " To have converted the most orthodox and the most obstinate Jatilas was no mean task." " Truly so," said King Bimbisara to himself, " he must be the Blessed, holy, absolute Buddha, proficient in knowledge and conduct, the way-farer, who understands the world, the highest one, who guides men, the teacher of gods and men. He must be teaching the truth, which he understood himself.
5. " He must be preaching that Dhamma which is lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely at the end, in the spirit and in the letter ; he must be proclaiming the consummate perfect, pure and holy life. It is good to obtain the sight of a man like him."
6. So King Bimbisara, surrounded by twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, went to the place where the Blessed One was. Having approached him and respectfully saluted the Blessed One, he sat down near him. And of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, some also respectfully saluted the Blessed One and sat down near him ; some exchanged greetings with the Blessed One, and having done so they sat down near him with complaisant words ; some bent their clasped hands towards the Blessed One and sat down near him ; some made known their name and family name before the Blessed One and sat down near him ; some sat down near him silently.
7. Now those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders saw Uruvella Kassyapa among the monks who came with the Blessed Lord. They thought: " How now is this ? Does the great Samana follow the holy life under Uruvella Kassyapa, or does Uruvella Kassyapa follow the holy life under the great Samana?"
8. And the Blessed One, who understood in his mind the reflection which had arisen in the minds of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, addressed the venerable Uruvella Kassyapa : "What has thou seen, 0 dweller of Uruvella, that thou who art called the great one has forsaken the fire worship? How is it thou has forsaken the fire sacrifice ? "
9. Kassyapa replied : " It is sights and sounds, and also tastes, and omen of sense desire that the sacrifices promise ; because I understood that these things are impure that I took no more delight in sacrifices and offerings."
10. " But if you don't mind, tell us what made you think so ? "
11. Then the venerable Uruvella Kassyapa rose from his seat, adjusted his upper robe so as to cover one shoulder, prostrated himself, inclining his head to the feet of the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One: " My teacher is the Blessed One, I. am his pupil." Then those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders understood : " Uruvella Kassyapa follows the holy life under the great Samana."
12. And the Blessed One, who understood in his mind 'the reflection that had arisen in the minds of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, preached to them his Dhamma. Just as a clean cloth free from black specks properly takes the dye, thus eleven myriads of those Magadha Brahmins and householders with Bimbisara at their head, while sitting there, obtained the pure and spotless dye of the Dhamma. One myriad announced their having become lay followers.
13. Then the Magadha king, Seniya Bimbisara, having witnessed the scene, having understood the Dhamma, having penetrated the Dhamma, having overcome uncertainty, having dispelled all doubts, having gained full knowledge, said to the Blessed One : " In former days. Lord, when I was a prince, I entertained five aspirations ; these are now fulfilled.
14. " In former days. Lord, to me when I was a prince, came this thought : ' O that I might be inaugurated king ! ' That was my first aspiration, Lord ; that is now fulfilled. ' And might then a holy one, a fully Enlightened One, come over into my kingdom ! ' This was my second aspiration, Lord ; that is now fulfilled. ' And might I minister to that Blessed One ! ' That was my third aspiration. Lord ; that is now fulfilled. ' And might he, the Blessed One, preach the Dhamma to me ! ' This was my fourth aspiration, Lord ; and that is now fulfilled. ' And might I understand the Dhamma of that Blessed One! 'This was my fifth aspiration, Lord; this is now fulfilled. These were my five aspirations, Lord, which I entertained in former days when I was a prince.
15. " Wonderful, Lord ! Wonderful, just as if one should set up, what had been overturned, or should reveal what had been hidden, or should point out the way to one who had lost his way, or should bring a lamp into the darkness, in order that those who had eyes might see things, thus has the Blessed One preached the Dhamma in many ways. I take refuge. Lord, in that Blessed One, and in the Dhamma, and in the fraternity of Bhikkus (monks). May the Blessed One receive me from this day forth, while my life lasts, as a lay disciple who has taken refuge in him."
§ 5. Conversion of Anathapindika
1. Sudatta was a resident of Shravasti, the capital of the kingdom of Kosala. It was ruled by King Pasenjit. Sudatta was treasurer of the king. From his bounties to the poor, Sudatta was known as Anathapindika.
2. When the Lord was at Rajagraha, Anathapindika happened to visit the place on some private business of his own. He was stopping with his who was married to the guild master of Rajagraha.
3. When he arrived he found the guild master preparing a meal for the Lord and his monks on so great a scale that he thought that a wedding was in progress or that the king had been invited.
4. On learning the truth he became very eager to visit the Lord and he set out in the very night to meet the Blessed One.
5. And the Blessed One saw at once the sterling quality of Anathapindika's heart and greeted him with words of comfort. After taking his seat Anathapindika expressed a desire to hear a discourse on some religious subject.
6. The Blessed Lord responding to his wishes raised the question, " Who is it that shapes our lives ? Is it Ishavara, a personal creator ? If Ishavara be the maker, all living things should have silently to submit to their maker's power. They would be like vessels formed by the potter's hand. If the world had been made by Ishavara there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or sin ; for both pure and impure deeds must come from him. If not, there would be another cause beside him, and he would not be the self-existent one. Thus, you see, the thought of Ishavara is overthrown.
7. " Again, it is said that the Absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from a cause as the plant comes from the seed; how can the Absolute be the cause of all things alike ? If it pervades them, then certainly it does not make them.
8. " Again, it is said that self is the maker. But if self is the maker, why did he not make things pleasing? The cases of sorrow and joy are real and objective. How can they have been made by self?
9. " Again, if you adopt the argument, there is no maker, or fate in such as it is, and there is no causation, what use would there be in shaping our lives and adjusting means to an end?
10. " Therefore, we argue that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither Ishavara, nor the Absolute, nor the self, nor causeless chance, is the maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil.
11. "The whole world is under the law of causation, and the causes that act are not un-mental, for the gold of which the cup is made is gold throughout.
12. " Let us, then, surrender the heresies of worshipping Ishavara and praying to him; let us not lose ourselves in vain speculations of profitless subtleties; let us surrender self and all selfishness, and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practise good so that good may result from our actions."
13. And Anathapindika said : " I see the truth of what the Blessed One has said and I wish to open my whole mind. Having listened to my words let the Lord advise me what I should do.
14. " My life is full of work, and having acquired great wealth, I am surrounded with cares. Yet do I enjoy my work, and I apply myself to it with all diligence. Many people are in my employ and depend upon the success of my enterprises.
15. " Now, I have heard your disciples praise the bliss of the hermit and denounce the unrest of the world. ' The Blessed One,' they say, ' has given up his kingdom and his inheritance, and has found the path of righteousness, thus setting an example to all the world how to attain Nirvana.'
16. " My heart yearns to do what is right and to be a blessing unto my fellow-beings. Let me then ask you, must I give up my wealth, my home, and my business enterprises, and, like you, go into homelessness in order to attain the bliss of a religious life ?"
17. And the Blessed Lord replied : " The bliss of a religious life is attainable by every one who walks in the noble eight-fold path. He that cleaves to wealth, had better cast it away than allow his heart to be poisoned by it ; but he who does not cleave to wealth, and possessing riches, uses them rightly, will be a blessing unto his fellow-beings.
18. "I say unto thee, remain in thy station of life and apply thyself with diligence to thy enterprises. It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power.
19. " The Bhikku who retires from the world in order to lead a life of leisure will have no gain. For a life of indolence is an abomination, and lack of energy is to be despised.
20. "The Dhamma of the Tathagata does not require a man to go into homelessness or to resign the world unless he feels called upon to do so ; what the Dhamma of the Tathagata requires is for every man to free himself from the illusion of self, to cleanse his heart, to give up his thirst for pleasure, and lead a life of righteousness.
21. "And whatever men do, whether they remain in the world as artisans, merchants, and officers of the king, or retire from the world and devote themselves to a life of religious meditation, let them put their whole eart into their task ; let them be diligent and energetic, and, if they are like the lotus, which, though it grows in the water, yet remains untouched by the water, if they struggle in life without cherishing envy or hatred, if they live in the world a life not of self but a life of truth, then surely joy, peace, and bliss will dwell in their minds."
22. Anathapindika perceived that this was the most excellent system of truth, simple and of wisdom-born.
23. Thus firmly settled in the true doctrine he slowly bent in worship at the feet of the Blessed One and with closed hands made his request.
§ 6. Conversion of King Pasenjit
1. Then King Pasenjit, hearing that the Lord had come, went in his royal equippage to the Jetavana Vihara. Saluting him with clasped hands, he said:
2. " 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 Lord of the World, the Dharma Raja, the King of Truth.
3. " Now that I have seen your sacred features, let me partake of the refreshing waters of your teachings.
4. "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."
5. Knowing the tendency of the king's heart, weighed down by avarice and love of pleasure, the Blessed One seized the opportunity and said :
6. " Even those who, have been born in low degree, when they see a virtuous man, feel reverence for him, how much more must an independent king, who by his previous conditions of life has acquired much merit, feel ?
7. " And now as I briefly expound the law, let the Maharaja listen and weigh my words, and hold fast to what I say.
8. " Our good or evil deeds follow us continually like shadows.
9. " That which is most needed is a loving heart !
10. " Regard your people as we do an only son. Do not oppress them, do not destroy them ; keep in due check every member of your body, forsake unrighteous doctrines and walk in the straight path; do not exalt yourself by trampling down others. Give comfort and befriend the sufferer.
11. "Neither ponder much on kingly dignity, nor listen to the smooth words of flatterers.
12. "There is no profit in vexing oneself by austerities, but meditate on Dhamma and weigh the righteous law.
13. " We are enclosed on all sides by the rocks of sorrow and ill and only by considering the true law can we escape from this sorrow-filled mountain.
14, " What profit, then, in practising inequity ?
15. " All who are wise spurn the pleasures of the body. They loathe lust and seek to promote their spiritual existence.
16. " When a tree is burning with fierce flames, how can the birds congregate therein ? Truth cannot dwell where passion lives. Without a knowledge of this, the learned man, though he may be praised as a sage, is ignorant.
17. "On him who has this knowledge true wisdom dawns. To acquire this wisdom is the one aim needed. To neglect it implies the failure of life.
18. " The teachings of all schools should centre here, for without it there is no reason.
19. "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.
20. " The tide of lust 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 the rescue of your self from the assaults of Mara, the enemy.
21. " Since it is impossible to escape the result of our deeds, let us practise good works.
22. " Let us inspect our thoughts that we do no evil, for as we sow so shall we reap.
23. " There are ways from light into darkness and from darkness into light. There are ways, also, from gloom into deeper darkness, and from the dawn into brighter light. The wise man will use the light as he has to receive more light. He will constantly advance to the knowledge of the truth.
24. " 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.
25. " 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.
26. The king listened with reverence and remembered all the words of the Blessed One in his heart and promised to become his lay disciple.
§ 7. Conversion of Jeevaka
1. Jeevaka was the son of Salvati, a courtesan of Rajagraha.
2. Immediately after birth the child, being illegitimate, was placed in a basket and thrown on a dust-heap.
3. A large number of people were standing by the dust-heap watching the child. Abhaya, the Raja-kumara, happened to pass by the site. He questioned the people who said : " It is alive."
4. For this reason the child was called Jeevaka. Abhaya adopted him and brought him up.
5. When Jeevaka grew in age he learned how he was saved and was charged with the intense desire to qualify himself to save others.
6. He therefore went to the University of Takashila without the knowledge and permission of Abhaya and studied medicine for seven years.
7. Returning to Rajagraha he set up his practice as a doctor and within a very short time acquired a great name and fame in the profession.
8. His first patient was the wife of a sethi of Saketa and for curing her he received sixteen thousand kahapanas, a man-servant, a maid-servant and a coach with a horse.
9. Knowing his eminence, Abhaya gave him residence in his own establishment.
10. At Rajagraha he cured Bimbisara of a troublesome fistula and is said to have received as reward all the ornaments of Bimbisara's five hundred wives.
11. Other noteworthy cures of Jeevaka included that of the sethi of Rajagraha on whom he performed the operation of trepanning and of the son of the sethi of Benares who was suffering from chronic intestinal trouble due to misplacement.
12. Jeevaka was appointed physician to the king and the king's women.
13. But Jeevaka was greatly attached to the Blessed Lord. Consequently he also acted as a physician to him and the Sangh.
14. He became a disciple of the Lord. The Blessed Lord did not make him a Bhikku as he wanted him to remain free to tend to the sick and the wounded.
15. When Bimbisara died Jeevaka continued to serve his son Ajatsatru and was mainly instrumental in bringing him to the Lord after his crime of parricide.
§ 8. The Conversion of Ratthapala
2. They came to know of it and went to him to pay their respects.
3. When they were seated, the Lord instructed them with a discourse on the Doctrine. Having received their instruction from the Lord, the Brahmin heads of houses of Thullakotthita gratefully thanked him, rose up and departed with deep obeisance.
4. Seated among them was a young man named Ratthapala, a scion of a leading family of the place, to whom this thought came : "So far as I understand, the Doctrine which the Lord has preached is no easy matter for one who lives in a home to lead the higher life in all its fullness, purity, and perfection.
5. " What if I were to cut off hair and beard, don the yellow robes and go forth from home to homelessness as a pilgrim!"
6. When the Brahmins had not been gone long, then Ratthapala came up and, after salutations, told the Lord the thought which had come to him, and asked to be admitted to, and confirmed in, the confraternity under him.
7. " Have you your parents' consent to this step, Ratthapala?' asked the Lord.
8. "No, Sir."
9. "I do not admit those who have not their parents' consent."
10. "That consent. Sir, I will take steps to obtain," said the young man, who rising up and taking a reverential leave of the Lord, went off to his parents, told them his thoughts and asked their consent to his becoming a Bhikku.
11. The parents made answer as follows : " Dear Ratthapala, you are our only son, very dear to us and beloved ; you live in comfort and have been brought up in comfort, with no experience at all of discomfort. Go away ; eat, drink, enjoy yourself, and do good works in all happiness. We refuse our consent.
12. " Your death would leave us desolate, with no pleasure left in life ; why, while we have you still, should we consent to your going forth from home to homelessness as a Bhikku".
13. A second and yet a third time did Ratthapala repeat his request, only to be met by the same refusal from his parents.
14. Failing thus to get his parents' consent, the young man flung himself down on the bare ground, declaring that he would either die there or become a Bhikku.
15. His parents entreated him to get up while repeating their objections to his becoming a Bhikku, but the young man said not a word. A second and a third time they entreated him but still he said not a word.
16. So the parents sought out Ratthapala's companions to whom they told all this and besought them to urge, as from themselves, what his parents had said to him.
17. Thrice his companions appealed to him, but still he said not a word. So his companions came to the parents with this report : " There on the bare ground he lies, declaring that he will either die there or become a Bhikku. If you refuse your consent, he will never get up alive. But, if you give your consent, you will see him when he has become a Bhikku. Should he not like being a Bhikku, what alternative will he have! Why, only to come back here. Do give your consent ! " they urged.
18. " Yes, we consent ; but when he is a Bhikku, he must come and see us."
19. Off now went his companions to Ratthapala, and they told him that his parents had given their consent, but that when he was a Bhikku he was to come and see them.
20. Thereupon the young man arose and, when he had regained his strength, betook himself to the Lord, and after salutations seated himself on one side, saying: " I have got my parents' consent to my becoming a Bhikku ; I ask the Lord to admit me."
21. Admission and confirmation were granted him under the Lord; and a fortnight afterwards the Lord, having stayed at Thullakotthita as long as he wanted, proceeded on his alms pilgrimage towards Sravasti, where he took up his abode in Jeta's grove in Anathapindika's pleasance.
22. Dwelling alone and aloof, strenuous, ardent and purged of self, the reverend Ratthapala was not long before he won the prize in quest of which young men go forth from home to homelessness as Bhikkus, that prize of prizes which crowns the highest life.
23. Then, he went to the Lord and, seated on one side after salutations, said that with the Lord's permission, he wished to go and see his parents.
24. Scanning with his own heart the thoughts of Ratthapala's heart, and recognizing thereby that he was incapable of abandoning his training and reverting to the lower life of a layman, the Lord bade him go when he would.
25. Hereupon, rising up and taking his leave of the Lord with deep reverence, Ratthapala, after duly putting away his bedding, set out, with his robe and bowl, on an alms pilgrimage to Thullakotthita where he took up his abode in the deer-park of the Kuru king.
26. Early next morning, duly robed and bowl in hand, he went into the town for alms, and there as he passed from house to house on his undiscriminating round, he came to his father's house.
27. Indoors, in the hall within the middle door, his father was having his hair combed and, seeing Ratthapala coming in the distance, he said : " It was these shavelings of reduces who made Bhikku of my only dear and beloved son."
28. So at his own father's house Ratthapala was given nothing, not even a refusal; all he got was abuse.
29. At this moment a slave-girl of the family was about to throw away the previous day's stale rice; and to her Ratthapala said: " If, sister, that is to be thrown away, put it in my bowl here."
30. As the girl was doing so, she recognised his hands and feet and voice, and going straight to her mistress, cried out: " Do you know, madam, the young master is back."
31. " If what you say is true, you are a slave no longer," said the mother, who hurried off to tell her husband that she heard their son was back.
32. Ratthapala was eating that stale rice under the hedge when his father arrived, exclaiming; " Can it be, my dear son, that you are eating stale rice? Should you not have come to your own house ?"
33. Said Ratthapala, ' 'What house of our own, householder, can we have who are homeless, having gone forth from home to homelessness ? I did come to your house, where I was given nothing not even a refusal ; all I got was abuse."
35. ' Well then, my son promise to take your meal here tomorrow.'
36. By his silence the reverend Ratthapala gave consent.
37. Then the father went indoors,—where first he ordered great heaps of gold and bullion to be piled up under a covering of mats and then he told his daughters-in-law, who had been the reverend Ratthapala's wives aforetime, to deck themselves out in all the finery their husband liked to see them in.
38. When night had passed, the father, having ordered an excellent meal to be got ready in his house, told his son when it was ready. Early that forenoon, the reverend Ratthapala, duly robed and bowl in hand, came and took the seat set for him.
39. Hereupon, ordering the heap of treasure to be unveiled, the father said: ' This is your mother's fortune, that is your father's and that came from your grand-father. You have the wherewithal both to enjoy yourself and to do good works.
40. 'Come, my son; abandon your training; revert to the lower life of the layman; enjoy your substance and do good works.'
41. ' If you will take my advice, householder, you will cart away all this heaped-up treasure and sink it in the middle of the Ganges. And why ? Because thence you will only derive sorrow and lamentation, ills, pain of mind, pain of body and tribulation.'
42. Clinging to his feet, the reverend Ratthapala's whilom wives asked like what were the nymphs divine for whose sake he was leading the higher life.
43. " For the sake of no nymphs at all, sisters," said he.
44. At hearing themselves called sisters, the ladies all fainted and fell to the ground.
45. Said Ratthapala to his father: " If food is to be given, householder, give it; trouble me not."
46. " The food is ready, my son ; begin," said the father as he served that excellent meal without stint till his son had his fill.
47. After taking food he departed to the deer-park of the Kuru king, where he sat down under a tree during the noontide heat.
48. Now the king had given directions to his huntsman to tidy up the park against his coming to see it; and the obedient huntsman was engaged on his task when he saw Ratthapala seated under a tree during the noontide heat, and reported to the king that the park was in. order but that under a tree there was seated Ratthapala, the young gentleman of whom His Majesty had often heard tell.
49. " Never mind about the park today," said the king; " I will pay a call on His Reverence." Ordering, therefore, all the repast which had been prepared to be made ready, he mounted a chariot and drove forth in procession in royal state out of the city to see Ratthapala.
50. Riding as far as the ground was passable for his chariot and proceeding thence on foot with his princely train, the king came at last upon the reverend Ratthapala, whom, after exchange of courteous greetings, the king—still standing—invited to be seated on a clump of flowers.
51. " Nay, sire; sit you there, I have got a seat."
52. Seating himself on the seat indicated to him, the king said: " There are four kinds of losses, Ratthapala, which impel men to cut off hair and beard, don the yellow robes, and go forth from home to homelessness—namely, (i) old age, (ii) failing health, (iii) impoverishment, and (iv) death of kinsfolk.
53. " Take a man who, being aged and old, far advanced in life, stricken in years, and at the close of life, recognises his position, and realises the difficulty either of acquiring new wealth or of doing well with what he has got; so he decides to take to homelessness. This is known as the loss which old age entails. But here are you in the prime of youth and early manhood, with a wealth of coal-black hair untouched by grey, and in all the beauty of your prime;—not yours is the loss old age entails. What have you known or seen or heard to make you take to homelessness ?
54. " Or take a man who, being in ill-health or pain, or gravely ill, recognises his position and realises the difficulty either of acquiring new wealth or doing well with what he has already; so he decides to take to homelessness. This is known as the loss which failing health entails. But here are you neither ill nor ailing, with a good digestion maintained by humours neither too hot nor too cold ; not yours is the loss which failing health entails. What have known or seen or heard to make you take to homelessness ?
55. "Or take a man who, after being rich and wealthy and of great substance, and after gradually losing it, recognises his, position and realises the difficulty either of acquiring new wealth or of doing well with what he has got; so he decides to become a pilgrim. This is known as the loss which impoverishment entails. But the revered Ratthapala is the son of leading family in this very Thullakotthita, and there is none of this loss of wealth for the revered Ratthapala. What has the good Ratthapala known or seen or heard that he has gone forth from home into homelessness ? And what, good Ratthapala, is loss of relations ? As to this, good Ratthapala, someone has many friends and acquaintances, kith and kin, but gradually these relations of his diminish. He reflects thus: ' Formerly I had many friends and acquaintances, kith and kin, but gradually these relations of mine have diminished, so it is not easy for me to acquire wealth etc....' So he that is followed by this loss of relations, having cut off hair and beard, having donned saffron garments, goes forth from home into homelessness. This is known as the loss which kinsfolk's death entails. But here are you with a host of friends and relations; not yours is the loss which kinsfolk's death entails. What have you known or seen or heard to make you take to homelessness?"
56. " I have gone forth," replied Ratthapala, " sire, from home to homelessness because I have known, seen, and heard the following four propositions enunciated by the All-Englightened Lord who knows and sees :
"(i) The world is in continual flux and change.(ii) The world has no protector or preserver. "(iii) We own nothing; we must leave everything behind. "(iv) The world lacks and bankers, being enslaved to craving." 57. "It is wonderful, it is marvellous," said the king, "how right in this the Lord was !"
Posted bySumedh at 4:40 AM