by Paul Carus
AT that time Sariputta and Moggallana, two Brahmans and chiefs
the followers of Sanjaya, led a religious life. They had promised each
other: "He who first attains Nirvana shall tell the other one."
Sariputta seeing the venerable Assaji begging for alms, modestly
keeping his eyes to the ground and dignified in deportment, exclaimed:
"Truly this samana has entered the right path; I will ask him in whose
name he has retired from the world and what doctrine he professes."
Being addressed by Sariputta, Assaji replied: "I am a follower of
the Buddha, the Blessed One, but being a novice I can tell you the
substance only of the doctrine."
Said Sariputta: "Tell me, venerable monk; it is the substance I
want." And Assaji recited the stanza:
"Nothing we seek to touch or see
Can represent Eternity.
They spoil and die: then let us find
Eternal Truth within the mind."
Having heard this stanza, Sariputta obtained the pure and spotless
eye of truth and said: "Now I see clearly, whatsoever is subject to
origination is also subject to cessation. If this be the doctrine I
have reached the state to enter Nirvana which heretofore has
remained hidden from me." Sariputta went to Moggallana and told him,
and both said: "We will go to the Blessed One, that he, the Blessed
One, may be our teacher."
When the Buddha saw Sariputta and Moggallana coming from afar, he
said to his disciples, These two monks are highly auspicious." When
the two friends had taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the
Sangha, the Holy One said to his other disciples: "Sariputta, like the
first-born O son of a world-ruling monarch, is well able to assist the
king as his chief follower to set the wheel of the law rolling."
Now the people were annoyed. Seeing that many distinguished young
men of the kingdom of Magadha led a religious life under the direction
of the Blessed One, they became angry and murmured: "Gotama
Sakyamuni induces fathers to leave their wives and causes families
to become extinct." When they saw the bhikkhus, they reviled them,
saying: "The great Sakyamuni has come to Rajagaha subduing the minds
of men. Who will be the next to be led astray by him?"
The bhikkhus told it to the Blessed One, and the Blessed One said:
"This murmuring, O bhikkhus, will not last long. it will last seven
days. If they revile you, answer them with these words: 'It is by
preaching the truth that Tathagatas lead men. Who will murmur at the
wise? Who will blame the virtuous? Who will condemn self-control,
righteousness, and kindness?" And the Blessed One proclaimed:
"Commit no wrong, do only good,
And let your heart be pure.
This is the doctrine Buddhas teach,
And this doctrine will endure."
AT this time there was Anathapindika, a man of unmeasured wealth,
visiting Rajagaha. Being of a charitable disposition, he was called
"the supporter of orphans and the friend of the poor." Hearing that
the Buddha had come into the world and was stopping in the bamboo
grove near the city, he set out on that very night to meet the Blessed
And the Blessed One saw at once the sterling quality of
Anathapindika's heart and greeted him with words of religious comfort.
And they sat down together, and Anathapindika listened to the
sweetness of the truth preached by the Blessed One. And the Buddha
said: "The restless, busy nature of the world, this, I declare, is
at the root of pain. Attain that composure of mind which is resting in
the peace of immortality. Self is but a heap of composite qualities,
and its world is empty like a fantasy.
"Who is it that shapes our lives? Is it Isvara, a personal
creator? If Isvara 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; and if it were so, how would it
be possible to practice virtue? If the world had been made by Isvara
there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or evil; for
both pure and impure deeds must come from him. If not, there would
be another cause beside him, and he would not be self-existent.
Thus, thou seest, the thought of Isvara is overthrown.
"Again, it is said that the Absolute has created us. But that
which is absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from
a cause as the plant comes from the seed; but how can the Absolute
be the cause of all things alike? If it pervades them, then,
certainly, it does not make them.
"Again, it is said that Self is the maker. But if self is the maker,
why did it not make things pleasing? The causes of sorrow and joy
are real and touchable. How can they have been made by self?
"Again, if we adopt the argument that there is no maker, our fate is
such as it is, and there is no causation, what use would there be in
shaping our lives and adjusting means to an end? Therefore, we argue
that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither
Isvara, nor the absolute, nor the self nor causeless chance, is the
maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil according to
the law of causation.
"Let us, then, abandon the heresy of worshiping Isvara and of
praying to him; let us no longer lose ourselves in vain speculations
or profitless subtleties; let us surrender self and all selfishness,
and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practice good so that
good may result from our actions."
And Anathapindika said: "I see that thou art the Buddha, the Blessed
One the Tathagata, and I wish to open to the my whole mind. Having
listened to my words advise me what I shall do. My life is full of
work, and having acquired great wealth, I am surrounded with cares.
Yet I enjoy my work, and apply myself to it with all diligence. Many
people are in my employ and depend upon the success of my enterprises.
"Now, I have heard thy disciples praise the bliss of the hermit
and denounce the unrest of the world. 'The Holy 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.' My heart yearns to do what is right and to be a
blessing unto my fellows. Let me then ask thee, Must I give up my
wealth, my home, and my business enterprises, and, like thyself, go
into homelessness in order to attain the bliss of a religious life?"
And the Buddha replied: "The bliss of a religious life is attainable
by every one who walks in the noble eightfold 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 fellows. It is not life
and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and
wealth and power. The bhikkhu 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. The Dharma 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; but the Dharma
of the Tathagata requires 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. 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 heart into
their task; let them be diligent and energetic, and, if they are
like the lotus, which, although 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 not a life of self but a
life of truth, then surely joy, peace, and bliss will dwell in their
ANATHAPINDIKA rejoiced at the words of the Blessed One and said:
dwell at Savatthi, the capital of Kosala, a land rich in produce and
enjoying peace. Pasenadi is the king of the country, and his name is
renowned among our own people and our neighbors. Now I wish to found
there a vihara which shall be a place of religious devotion for your
brotherhood, and I pray you kindly to accept it."
The Buddha saw into the heart of the supporter of orphans; and
knowing that unselfish charity was the moving cause of his offer, in
acceptance of the gift, the Blessed One said: "The charitable man is
loved by all; his friendship is prized highly; in death his heart is
at rest and full of joy, for he suffers not from repentance; he
receives the opening flower of his reward and the fruit that ripens
from it. Hard it is to understand: By giving away our food, we get
more strength, by bestowing clothing on others, we gain more beauty;
by donating abodes of purity and truth, we acquire great treasures.
"There is a proper time and a proper mode in charity; just as the
vigorous warrior goes to battle, so is the man who is able to give. He
is like an able warrior a champion strong and wise in action. Loving
and compassionate he gives with reverence and banishes all hatred,
envy, and anger.
"The charitable man has found the path of salvation. He is like
the man who plants a sapling, securing thereby the shade, the flowers,
and the fruit in future years. Even so is the result of charity,
even so is the joy of him who helps those that are in need of
assistance; even so is the great Nirvana. We reach the immortal path
only by continuous acts of kindliness and we perfect our souls by
compassion and charity."
Anathapindika invited Sariputta to accompany him on his return to
Kosala and help him in selecting a pleasant site for the vihara.
ANATHAPINDIKA, the friend of the destitute and the supporter of
orphans, having returned home, saw the garden of the heir-apparent,
Jeta, with its green groves and limpid rivulets, and thought: "This is
the place which will be most suitable as a vihara for the
brotherhood of the Blessed One." And he went to the prince and asked
leave to buy the ground. The prince was not inclined to sell the
garden, for he valued it highly. He at first refused but said at last,
"If thou canst cover it with gold, then, and for no other price, shalt
thou have it." Anathapindika rejoiced and began to spread his gold;
but Jeta said: "Spare thyself the trouble, for I will not sell." But
Anathapindika insisted. Thus they contended until they resorted to the
Meanwhile the people began to talk of the unwonted proceeding, and
the prince, hearing more of the details and knowing that Anathapindika
was not only very wealthy but also straightforward and sincere,
inquired into his plans. On hearing the name of the Buddha, the prince
became anxious to share in the foundation and he accepted only
one-half of the gold, saying: "Yours is the land, but mine are the
trees. I will give the trees as my share of this offering to the
Then Anathapindika took the land and Jeta the trees, and they placed
them in trust of Sariputta for the Buddha. After the foundations
were laid, they began to build the hall which rose loftily in due
proportions according to the directions which the Buddha had
suggested; and it was beautifully decorated with appropriate carvings.
This vihara was called Jetavana, and the friend of the orphans invited
the Lord to come to Savatthi and receive the donation. And the Blessed
One left Kapilavatthu and came to Savatthi.
While the Blessed One was entering Jetavana, Anathapindika scattered
flowers and burned incense, and as a sign of the gift he poured
water from a golden dragon decanter, saying, "This Jetavana vihara I
give for the use of the brotherhood throughout the world." The Blessed
One received the gift and replied: "May all evil influences be
overcome; may the offering promote the kingdom of righteousness and be
a permanent blessing to mankind in general, to the land of Kosala, and
especially also to the giver."
Then the king Pasenadi, hearing that the Lord had come, went in
his royal equipage to the Jetavana vihara and saluted the Blessed
One with clasped hands, saying: "'Blessed is my unworthy and obscure
kingdom that it has met with so great a fortune. For how can
calamities and dangers befall it in the presence of the Lord of the
world, the Dharmaraja, the King of Truth. Now that I have seen thy
sacred countenance, let me partake of the refreshing waters of thy
teachings. Worldly profit is fleeting and perishable, but religious
profit is eternal and inexhaustible. A worldly man, though a king,
is full of trouble, but even a common man who is holy has peace of
Knowing the tendency of the king's heart, weighed down by avarice
and love of pleasure, the Buddha seized the opportunity and said:
"Even those who, by their evil karma, have been born in low degree,
when they see a virtuous man, feel reverence for him. How much more
must an independent king, on account of merits acquired in previous
existences, when meeting a Buddha, conceive reverence for him. And now
as I briefly expound the law, let the Maharaja listen and weigh my
words, and hold fast that which I deliver!
"Our good or evil deeds follow us continually like shadows. That
which is most needed is a loving heart! Regard thy people as men do an
only son. Do not oppress them, do not destroy them; keep in due
check every member of thy body, forsake unrighteous doctrine and
walk in the straight path. Exalt not thyself by trampling down others,
but comfort and befriend the suffering. Neither ponder on kingly
dignity, nor listen to the smooth words of flatterers.
There is no profit in vexing oneself by austerities, but meditate on
the Buddha and weigh his righteous law. We are encompassed on all
sides by the rocks of birth, old age, disease, and death, and only
by considering and practicing the true law can we escape from this
sorrow-piled mountain. What profit, then, in practicing iniquity?
"All who are wise spurn the pleasures of the body. They loathe
lust and seek to promote their spiritual existence. When a tree is
burning with fierce flames, how can the birds congregate therein?
Truth cannot dwell where passion lives. He who does not know this,
though he be a learned man and be praised by others as a sage, is
beclouded with ignorance. To him who has this knowledge true wisdom
dawns, and he will beware of hankering after pleasure. To acquire this
state of mind, wisdom is the one thing needful. To neglect wisdom will
lead to failure in life. The teachings of all religions should
center here, for without wisdom there is no reason.
"This truth is not for the hermit alone; it concerns every human
being, priest and layman alike. There is no distinction between the
monk who has taken the vows, and the man of the world living with
his family. There are hermits who fall into perdition, and there are
humble householders who mount to the rank of rishis. Hankering after
pleasure is a danger common to all; it carries away the world. He
who is involved in its eddies finds no escape. But wisdom is the handy
boat, reflection is the rudder. The slogan of religion calls you to
overcome the assaults of Mara, the enemy.
"Since it is impossible to escape the result of our deeds, let us
practice good works. Let us guard our thoughts that we do no evil, for
as we sow so shall we reap. There are ways from light into darkness
and from darkness into light. There are ways, also, from the gloom
into deeper darkness, and from the dawn into brighter light. The
wise man will use the light he has to receive more light. He will
constantly advance in the knowledge of truth.
"Exhibit true superiority by virtuous conduct and the exercise of
reason; meditate deeply on the vanity of earthly things, and
understand the fickleness of life. Elevate the mind, and seek
sincere faith with firm purpose; transgress not the rules of kingly
conduct, and let your happiness depend, not upon external things,
but upon your own mind. Thus you will lay up a good name for distant
ages and will secure the favor of the Tathagata."
The king listened with reverence and remembered all the words of the
Buddha in his heart.
WHEN the Buddha was staying at the Veluvana, the bamboo grove
Rajagaha, he addressed the brethren thus: "Whether Buddhas arise, O
priests, or whether Buddhas do not arise, it remains a fact and the
fixed and necessary constitution of being that all conformations are
transitory. This fact a Buddha discovers and masters, and when he
has discovered and mastered it, he announces, publishes, proclaims,
discloses, minutely explains and makes it clear that all conformations
"Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not
arise, it remains a fact and a fixed and necessary constitution of
being, that all conformations are suffering. This fact a Buddha
discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it,
he announces, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely explains and
makes it clear that all conformations are suffering.
"Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not
arise, it remains a fact and a fixed and necessary constitution of
being, that all conformations are lacking a self. This fact a Buddha
discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it,
he announces, teaches, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely
explains and makes it clear that all conformations are lacking a
And on another occasion the Blessed One dwelt at Savatthi in the
Jetavana, the garden of Anathapindika. At that time the Blessed One
edified, aroused, quickened and gladdened the monks with a religious
discourse on the subject of Nirvana. And these monks grasping the
meaning, thinking it out, and accepting with their hearts the whole
doctrine, listened attentively. But there was one brother who had some
doubt left in his heart. He arose and clasping his hands made the
request: "May I be permitted to ask a question?" When permission was
granted he spoke as follows:
"The Buddha teaches that all conformations are transient, that all
conformations are subject to sorrow, that all conformations are
lacking a self. How then can there be Nirvana, a state of eternal
And the Blessed One, this connection, on that occasion, breathed
forth this solemn utterance: "There is, O monks, a state where there
is neither earth, nor water, nor heat, nor air; neither infinity of
space nor infinity of consciousness, nor nothingness, nor perception
nor non-perception; neither this world nor that world, neither sun nor
moon. It is the uncreate. That O monks, I term neither coming nor
going nor standing; neither death nor birth. It is without
stability, without change; it is the eternal which never originates
and never passes away. There is the end of sorrow.
"It is hard to realize the essential, the truth is not easily
perceived; desire is mastered by him who knows, and to him who sees
aright all things are naught. There is, O monks, an unborn,
unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this
unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape
from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. Since, O
monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed,
therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created,
THE Buddha's name became famous over all India and Suddhodana,
father, sent word to him saying: "I am growing old and wish to see
my son before I die. Others have had the benefit of his doctrine,
but not his father nor his relatives." And the messenger said: "O
world-honored Tathagata, thy father looks for thy coming as the lily
longs for the rising of the sun."
The Blessed One consented to the request of his father and set out
on his journey to Kapilavatthu. Soon the tidings spread in the
native country of the Buddha: "Prince Siddhattha, who wandered forth
from home into homelessness to obtain enlightenment, having attained
his purpose, is coming back."
Suddhodana went out with his relatives and ministers to meet the
prince. When the king saw Siddhattha, his son, from afar, he was
struck with his beauty and dignity, and he rejoiced in his heart,
but his mouth found no words to utter. This, indeed, was his son;
these were the features of Siddhattha. How near was the great samana
to his heart, and yet what a distance lay between them! That noble
muni was no longer Siddhattha, his son; he was the Buddha, the Blessed
One, the Holy One, Lord of truth, and teacher of mankind. Suddhodana
the king, considering the religious dignity of his son, descended from
his chariot and after saluting his son said: "It is now seven years
since I have seen thee. How I have longed for this moment!"
Then the Sakyamuni took a seat opposite his father, and the king
gazed eagerly at his son. He longed to call him by his name, but he
dared not. "Siddhattha," he exclaimed silently in his heart,
"Siddhattha, come back to thine aged father and be his son again!" But
seeing the determination of his son, he suppressed his sentiments,
and, desolation overcame him. Thus the king sat face to face with
his son, rejoicing in his sadness and sad in his rejoicing. Well might
he be proud of his son, but his pride broke down at the idea that
his great son would never be his heir.
"I would offer thee my kingdom," said, the king, "but if I did, thou
wouldst account it but as ashes."
And the Buddha said: "I know that the king's heart is full of love
and that for his son's sake he feels deep grief. But let the ties of
love that bind him to the son whom he lost embrace with equal kindness
all his fellow-beings, and he will receive in his place a greater
one than Siddhattha; he will receive the Buddha, the teacher of truth,
the preacher of righteousness, and the peace of Nirvana will enter
into his heart."
Suddhodana trembled with joy when he heard the melodious words of
his son, the Buddha, and clasping his hands, exclaimed with tears in
his eyes: "Wonderful in this change! The overwhelming sorrow has
passed away. At first my sorrowing heart was heavy, but now I reap the
fruit of thy great renunciation. It was right that, moved by thy
mighty sympathy, thou shouldst reject the pleasures of royal power and
achieve thy noble purpose in religious devotion. Now that thou hast
found the path, thou canst preach the law of immortality to all the
world that yearns for deliverance." The king returned to the palace,
while the Buddha remained in the grove before the city.
YASODHARA, THE FORMER WIFE
ON next morning the Buddha took his bowl and set out to beg his
food. And the news spread abroad: "Prince Siddhattha is going from
house to house to receive alms in the city where he used to ride in
a chariot attended by his retinue. His robe is like a red clod, and he
holds in his hand an earthen bowl."
On hearing the strange rumor, the king went forth in great haste and
when he met his son he exclaimed: "Why dost thou thus disgrace me?
Knowest thou not that I can easily supply thee and thy bhikkhus with
food?" And the Buddha replied: "It is the custom of my race."
But the king said: "how can this be? Thou art descended from
kings, and not one of them ever begged for food."
"O great king," rejoined the Buddha thou and thy race may claim
descent from kings; my descent is from the Buddhas of old. They,
begging their food, lived on alms." The king made no reply, and the
Blessed One continued: "It is customary, O king, when one has found
a hidden treasure, for him to make an offering of the most precious
jewel to his father. Suffer me, therefore, to open this treasure of
mine which is the Dharma, and accept from me this gem": And the
Blessed One recited the following stanza:
"Arise from dreams and delusions,
Awaken with open mind.
Seek only Truth. Where you find it,
Peace also you will find."
Then the king conducted the prince into the palace, and the
ministers and all the members of the royal family greeted him with
great reverence, but Yasodhara, the mother of Rahula, did not make her
appearance. The king sent for Yasodhara, but she replied: "Surely,
if I am deserving of any regard, Siddhattha will come and see me."
The Blessed One, having greeted all his relatives and friends,
asked: "Where is Yasodhara?" And on being informed that she had
refused to come, he rose straightway and went to her apartments.
"I am free, the Blessed One said to his disciples, Sari putta and
Moggallana, whom he had bidden to accompany him to the princess's
chamber; "the princess, however, is not as yet free. Not having seen
me for a long time, she is exceedingly sorrowful. Unless her grief
be allowed its course her heart will cleave. Should she touch the
Tathagata, the Holy One, ye must not prevent her."
Yasodhara sat in her room, dressed in mean garments, and her hair
cut. When Prince Siddhattha entered, she was, from the abundance of
her affection, like an overflowing vessel, unable to contain her love.
Forgetting that the man whom she loved was the Buddha, the Lord of the
world, the preacher of truth, she held him by his feet and wept
Remembering, however, that Suddhodana was present, she felt ashamed,
and rising, seated herself reverently at a little distance.
The king apologized for the princess, saying: "This arises from
her deep affection, and is more than a temporary emotion. During the
seven years that she has lost her husband, when she heard that
Siddhattha had shaved his head, she did likewise; when she heard
that he had left off the use of perfumes and ornaments, she also
refused their use. Like her husband she had eaten at appointed times
from an earthen bowl only. Like him she had renounced high beds with
splendid coverings, and when other princes asked her in marriage,
she replied that she was still his. Therefore, grant her forgiveness."
And the Blessed One spoke kindly to Yasodhara, telling of her
great merits inherited from former lives. She had indeed been again
and again of great assistance to him. Her purity, her gentleness,
her devotion had been invaluable to the Bodhisattva when he aspired to
attain enlightenment, the highest aim of mankind. And so holy had
she been that she desired to become the wife of a Buddha. This,
then, is her karma, and it is the result of great merits. Her grief
has been unspeakable, but the consciousness of the glory that
surrounds her spiritual inheritance increased by her noble attitude
during her life, will be a balm that will miraculously transform all
sorrows into heavenly joy.
RAHULA, THE SON
MANY people in Kapilavatthu believed in the Tathagata and took
refuge in his doctrine, among them Nanda Sidhattha's half-brother, the
son of Pajapati; Devadatta, his cousin and brother-in-law; Upali the
barber; and Anuruddha the philosopher. Some years later Ananda,
another cousin of the Blessed One, also joined the Sangha.
Ananda was a man after the heart of the Blessed One; he was his most
beloved disciple, profound in comprehension and gentle in spirit.
And Ananda remained always near the Blessed Master of truth, until
death parted them.
On the seventh day after the Buddha's arrival in Kapilavatthu,
Yasodhara dressed Rahula, now seven years old, in all the splendor
of a prince and said to him: "This holy man, whose appearance is so
glorious that he looks like the great Brahma, is thy father. He
possesses four great mines of wealth which I have not yet seen. Go
to him and entreat him to put thee in possession of them, for the
son ought to inherit the property of his father."
Rahula replied: "I know of no father but the king. Who is my
father?" The princess took the boy in her arms and from the window she
pointed out to him the Buddha, who happened to be near the palace,
partaking of food.
Rahula then went to the Buddha, and looking up into his face said
without fear and with much affection: "My father!" And standing near
him, he added: "O samana, even thy shadow is a place of bliss!"
When the Tathagata had finished his repast, he gave blessings and
went away from the palace, but Rahula followed and asked his father
for his inheritance. No one prevented the boy, nor did the Blessed One
Then the Blessed One turned to Sariputta, saying: "My son asks for
his inheritance. I cannot give him perishable treasures that will
bring cares and sorrows, but I can give him the inheritance of a
holy life, which is a treasure that will not perish."
Addressing Rahula with earnestness, the Blessed One said: "Gold
and silver and jewels are not in my possession. But if thou art
willing to receive spiritual treasures, and art strong enough to carry
them and to keep them, I shall give thee the four truths which will
teach thee the eightfold path of righteousness. Dost thou desire to be
admitted to the brotherhood of those who devote their life to the
culture of the heart seeking for the highest bliss attainable?"
Rahula replied with firmness: "I do. I want to join the
brotherhood of the Buddha."
When the king heard that Rahula had joined the brotherhood of
bhikkhus he was grieved. He had lost Siddhattha and Nanda, his sons,
and Devadatta, his nephew. But now that his grandson had been taken
from him, he went to the Blessed One and spoke to him. And the Blessed
One promised that from that time forward he would not ordain any minor
without the consent of his parents or guardians.
LONG before the Blessed One had attained enlightenment,
self-mortification had been the custom among those who earnestly
sought for salvation. Deliverance of the soul from all the necessities
of life and finally from the body itself, they regarded as the aim
of religion. Thus, they avoided everything that might be a luxury in
food, shelter, and clothing, and lived like the beasts in the woods.
Some went naked, while others wore the rags cast away upon
cemeteries or dung-heaps.
When the Blessed One retired from the world, he recognized at once
the error of the naked ascetics, and, considering the indecency of
their habit, clad himself in cast-off rags.
Having attained enlightenment and rejected all unnecessary
self-mortifications, the Blessed One and his bhikkhus continued for
a long time to wear the cast-off rags of cemeteries and dung-heaps.
Then it happened that the bhikkhus were visited with diseases of all
kinds, and the Blessed One permitted and explicitly ordered the use of
medicines, and among them he even enjoined, whenever needed, the use
of unguents. One of the brethren suffered from a sore on his foot, and
the Blessed One enjoined the bhikkhus to wear foot-coverings.
Now it happened that a disease befell the body of the Blessed One
himself, and Ananda went to Jivaka, physician to Bimbisara, the
king. And Jivaka, a faithful believer in the Holy One, ministered unto
the Blessed One with medicines and baths until the body of the Blessed
One was completely restored.
At that time, Pajjota, king of Ujjeni, was suffering from
jaundice, and Jivaka, the physician to king Bimbisara, was
consulted. When King Pajjota had been restored to health, he sent to
Jivaka a suit of the most excellent cloth. And Jivaka said to himself:
"This suit is made of the best cloth, and nobody is worthy to
receive it but the Blessed One, the perfect and holy Buddha, or the
Magadha king, Senija Bimbisara."
Then Jivaka took that suit and went to the place where the Blessed
One was; having approached him, and having respectfully saluted the
Blessed One, he sat down near him and said: "Lord, I have a boon to
ask of the Blessed One." The Buddha replied: "The Tathagatas,
Jivaka, do not grant boons before they know what they are."
Jivaka said: "Lord, it is a proper and unobjectionable request."
"Speak, Jivaka, said the Blessed One.
"Lord of the world, the Blessed One wears only robes made of rags
taken from a dung-heap or a cemetery, and so also does the brotherhood
of bhikkhus. Now, Lord, this suit has been sent to me by King Pajjota,
which is the best and most excellent, and the finest and the most
precious, and the noblest that can be found. Lord of the world, may
the Blessed One accept from me this suit, and may he allow the
brotherhood of bhikkhus to wear lay robes."
The Blessed One accepted the suit, and after having delivered a
religious discourse, he addressed the bhikkhus thus: "Henceforth ye
shall be at liberty to wear either cast-off rags or lay robes. Whether
ye are pleased with the one or with the other, I will approve of it."
When the people at Rajagaha heard, The Blessed One has allowed the
bhikkhus to wear lay robes, those who were willing to bestow gifts
became glad. And in one day many thousands of robes were presented
at Rajagaha to the bhikkhus.
SUDDHODANA ATTAINS NIRVANA
WHEN Suddhodana had grown old, he fell sick and sent for his son
to come and see him once more before he died; and the Blessed One came
and stayed at the sick-bed, and Suddhodana, having attained perfect
enlightenment, died in the arms of the Blessed One.
And it is said that the Blessed One, for the sake of preaching to
his mother Maya-devi, ascended to heaven and dwelt with the devas.
Having concluded his pious mission, he returned to the earth and
went about again, converting those who listened to his teachings.
WOMEN IN THE SANGHA
YASODHARA had three times requested of the Buddha that she might
be admitted to the Sangha, but her wish had not been granted. Now
Pajapati, the foster-mother of the Blessed One, in the company of
Yasodhara, and many other women, went to the Tathagata entreating
him earnestly to let them take the vows and be ordained as disciples.
The Blessed One, foreseeing the danger that lurked in admitting
women to the Sangha, protested that while the good religion ought
surely to last a thousand years it would, when women joined it, likely
decay after five hundred years; but observing the zeal of Pajapati and
Yasodhara for leading a religious life he could no longer resist and
assented to have them admitted as his disciples.
Then the venerable Ananda addressed the Blessed One thus: "Are women
competent, venerable Lord, if they retire from household life to the
homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the
Tathagata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to a
release from a wearisome repetition of rebirths, to attain to
saintship?" The Blessed One declared: "Women are competent, Ananda, if
they retire from household life to the homeless state, under the
doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata, to attain to the
fruit of conversion, to attain to a release from a wearisome
repetition of rebirths, to attain to saintship.
"Consider, Ananda, how great a benefactress Pajapati has been. She
is the sister of the mother of the Blessed One, and as foster-mother
and nurse, reared the Blessed One after the death of his mother. So,
Ananda, women may retire from household life to the homeless state,
under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata."
Pajapati was the first woman to become a disciple of the Buddha
and to receive the ordination as a bhikkhuni.
ON CONDUCT TOWARD WOMEN
THE bhikkhus came to the Blessed One and asked him: "O Tathagata,
our Lord and Master, what conduct toward women dost thou prescribe
to the samanas who have left the world?"
The Blessed One said: "Guard against looking on a woman. If ye see a
woman, let it be as though ye saw her not, and have no conversation
with her. If, after all, ye must speak with her, let it be with a pure
heart, and think to yourself, 'I as a samana will live in this
sinful world as the spotless leaf of the lotus, unsoiled by the mud in
which it grows.'
"If the woman be old, regard her as your mother, if young, as your
sister, if very young, as your child. The samana who looks on a
woman as a woman, or touches her as a woman, has broken his vow and is
no longer a disciple of the Tathagata. The power of lust is great with
men, and is to be feared withal; take then the bow of earnest
perseverance, and the sharp arrow-points of wisdom. Cover your heads
with the helmet of right thought, and fight with fixed resolve against
the five desires. Lust beclouds a man's heart, when it is confused
with woman's beauty, and the mind is dazed.
"Better far with red-hot irons bore out both your eyes, than
encourage in yourself sensual thoughts, or look upon a woman's form
with lustful desires. Better fall into the fierce tiger's mouth, or
under the sharp knife of the executioner, than dwell with a woman
and excite in yourself lustful thoughts.
"A woman of the world is anxious to exhibit her form and shape,
whether walking, standing, sitting, or sleeping. Even when represented
as a picture, she desires to captivate with the charms of her
beauty, and thus to rob men of their steadfast heart. How then ought
ye to guard yourselves? By regarding her tears and her smiles as
enemies, her stooping form, her hanging arms, and her disentangled
hair as toils designed to entrap man's heart. Therefore, I say,
restrain the heart, give it no unbridled license."
VISAKHA AND HER GIFTS
VISAKHA, a wealthy woman in Savatthi who had many children and
grandchildren, had given to the order the Pubbarama or Eastern Garden,
and was the first in Northern Kosala to become a matron of the lay
When the Blessed One stayed at Savatthi, Visakha went up to the
place where the Blessed One was, and tendered him an invitation to
take his meal at her house, which the Blessed One accepted. And a
heavy rain fell during the night and the next morning; and the
bhikkhus doffed their robes to keep them dry and let the rain fall
upon their bodies.
When on the next day the Blessed One had finished his meal, she took
her seat at his side and spoke thus: "Eight are the boons, Lord, which
I beg of the Blessed One."
Said the Blessed One: "The Tathagatas, O Visakha, grant no boons
until they know what they are." Visakha replied: "Befitting, Lord, and
unobjectionable are the boons I ask."
Having received permission to make known her requests, Visakha said:
"I desire, Lord, through all my life long to bestow robes for the
rainy season on the Sangha, and food for incoming bhikkhus, and food
for outgoing bhikkhus, and food for the sick, and food for those who
wait upon the sick, and medicine for the sick and a constant supply of
rice milk for the Sangha, and bathing robes for the bhikkhunis, the
sisters." Said the Buddha: "But what circumstance is it, O Visakha,
that thou hast in view in asking these eight boons of the Tathagata?"
Visakha replied: "I gave command, Lord, to my maidservant, saying,
'Go, and announce to the brotherhood that the meal is ready.' And
the maid went, but when she came to the vihara, she observed that
the bhikkhus had doffed their robes while it was raining, and she
thought: 'These are not bhikkhus, but naked ascetics letting the
rain fall on them. So she returned to me and reported accordingly, and
I had to send her a second time. Impure, Lord, is nakedness, and
revolting. It was this circumstance, Lord, that I had in view in
desiring to provide the Sangha my life long with special garments
for use in the rainy season.
"As to my second wish, Lord, an incoming bhikkhu, not being able
to take the direct roads, and not knowing the place where food can
be procured, comes on his way tired out by seeking for alms. It was
this circumstance, Lord, that I had in view in desiring to provide the
Sangha my life long with food for incoming bhikkhus. Thirdly, Lord, an
outgoing bhikkhu, while seeking about for alms, may be left behind, or
may arrive too late at the place whither he desires to go, and will
set out on the road in weariness.
"Fourthly, Lord, if a sick bhikkhu does not obtain suitable food,
his sickness may increase upon him, and he may die. Fifthly, Lord, a
bhikkhu who is waiting upon the sick will lose his opportunity of
going out to seek food for himself. Sixthly, Lord, if a sick bhikkhu
does not obtain suitable medicines, his sickness may increase upon
him, and he may die.
"Seventhly, Lord, I have heard that the Blessed One has praised
rice-milk, because it gives readiness of mind, dispels hunger and
thirst; it is wholesome for the healthy as nourishment, and for the
sick as a medicine. Therefore I desire to provide the Sangha my life
long with a constant supply of rice-milk.
"Finally, Lord, the bhikkhunis are in the habit of bathing in the
river Achiravati with the courtesans, at the same landing-place, and
naked. And the courtesans, Lord, ridicule the bhikkhunis, saying,
'What is the good, ladies, of your maintaining chastity when you are
young? When you are old, maintain chastity then; thus will you
obtain both worldly pleasure and religious consolation.' Impure, Lord,
is nakedness for a woman, disgusting, and revolting. These are the
circumstances, Lord, that I had in view."
The Blessed One said: "But what was the advantage you had in view
for yourself, O Visakha, in asking the eight boons of the Tathagatha?"
Visakha replied: "Bhikkhus who have spent the rainy seasons in
various places will come, Lord, to Savatthi to visit the Blessed
One. And on coming to the Blessed One they will ask, saying: 'Such and
such a bhikkhu, Lord, has died. What, now, is his destiny?' Then
will the Blessed One explain that he has attained the fruits of
conversion; that he has attained arahatship or has entered Nirvana, as
the case may be.
"And I, going up to them, will ask, "Was that brother, Sirs, one
of those who had formerly been at Savatthi?' If reply to me, He has
formerly been at Savatthi then shall I arrive at the conclusion, For a
certainty did that brother enjoy either the robes for the rainy
season, or the food for the incoming bhikkhus, or the food for the
outgoing bhikkhus, or the food for the sick, or the food for those
that wait upon the sick, or the medicine for the sick, or the constant
supply of rice-milk.'
"Then will gladness spring up within me; thus gladdened, joy will
come to me; and so rejoicing all my mind will be at peace. Being
thus at peace I shall experience a blissful feeling of content; and in
that bliss my heart will be at rest. That will be to me an exercise of
my moral sense, an exercise of my moral powers, an exercise of the
seven kinds of wisdom! This Lord, was the advantage I had in view
for myself in asking those eight boons of the Blessed One."
The Blessed One said: "It is well, it is well, Visakha. Thou hast
done well in asking these eight boons of the Tathagata with such
advantages in view. Charity bestowed upon those who are worthy of it
is like good seed sown on a good soil that yields an abundance of
fruits. But alms given to those who are yet under the tyrannical
yoke of the passions are like seed deposited in a bad soil. The
passions of the receiver of the alms choke, as it were, the growth
of merits." And the Blessed One gave this thanks to Visakha:
"O noble woman of an upright life,
Disciple of the Blessed One, thou givest
Unstintedly in purity of heart.
"Thou spreadest joy, assuagest pain,
And verily thy gift will be a blessing
As well to many others as to thee."
THE UPOSATHA AND PATIMOKKHA
WHEN Seniya Bimbisara, the king of Magadha, was advanced in years,
he retired from the world and led a religious life. He observed that
there were Brahmanical sects in Rajagaha keeping sacred certain
days, and the people went to their meeting-houses and listened to
their sermons. Concerning the need of keeping regular days for
retirement from worldly labors and religious instruction, the king
went to the Blessed One and said: "The Parivrajaka, who belong. to the
Titthiya school, prosper and gain adherents because they keep the
eighth day and also the fourteenth or fifteenth day of each
half-month. Would it not be advisable for the reverend brethren of the
Sangha also to assemble on days duly appointed for that purpose?"
The Blessed One commanded the bhikkhus to assemble on the eighth day
and also on the fourteenth or fifteenth day of each half-month, and to
devote these days to religious exercises.
A bhikkhu duly appointed should address the congregation and expound
the Dharma. He should exhort the people to walk in the eightfold
path of righteousness; he should comfort them in the vicissitudes of
life and gladden them with the bliss of the fruit of good deeds.
Thus the brethren should keep the Uposatha. Now the bhikkhus, in
obedience to the rule laid down by the Blessed One, assembled in the
vihara on the day appointed, and the people went to hear the Dharma,
but they were greatly disappointed, for the bhikkhus remained silent
and delivered no discourse.
When the Blessed One heard of it, he ordered the bhikkhus to
recite the Patimokkha, which is a ceremony of disburdening the
conscience; and he commanded them to make confession of their
trespasses so as to receive the absolution of the order. A fault, if
there be one, should be confessed by the bhikkhu who remembers it
and desires to be cleansed, for a fault, when confessed, shall be
light on him.
And the Blessed One said: "The Patimokkha must be recited in this
way: Let a competent and venerable bhikkhu make the following
proclamation to the Sangha: "May the Sangha hear me Today is Uposatha,
the eighth, or the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the half-month. If
the Sangha is ready, let the Sangha hold the Uposatha service and
recite the Patimokkha. I will recite the Patimokkha.' And the bhikkhus
shall reply: 'We hear it well and we concentrate well our minds on it,
all of us.' Then the officiating bhikkhu shall continue: 'Let him
who has committed an offense confess it; if there be no offense, let
all remain silent; from your being silent I shall understand that
the reverend brethren are free from offenses. As a single person who
has been asked a question answers it, so also, if before an assembly
like this a question is solemnly proclaimed three times, an answer
is expected: if a bhikkhu, after a threefold proclamation, does not
confess an existing offense which he remembers, he commits an
intentional falsehood. Now, reverend brethren, an intentional
falsehood has been declared an impediment by the Blessed One.
Therefore, if an offense has been committed by a bhikkhu who remembers
it and desires to become pure, the offense should be confessed by
the bhikkhu; and when it has been confessed, it is treated duly.'"
WHILE the Blessed One dwelt at Kosambi, a certain bhikkhu was
accused of having committed an offense, and, as he refused to
acknowledge it, the brotherhood pronounced against him the sentence of
Now, that bhikkhu was erudite. He knew the Dharma, had studied the
rules of the order, and was wise, learned, intelligent, modest,
conscientious, and ready to submit himself to discipline. And he
went to his companions and friends among the bhikkhus, saying: "This
is no offense, friends; this is no reason for a sentence of expulsion.
I am not guilty. The verdict improper and invalid. Therefore I
consider myself still as a member of the order. May the venerable
brethren assist me in maintaining my right."
Those who sided with the expelled brother went to the bhikkhus who
had pronounced the sentence, saying: "This is no offense"; while the
bhikkhus who had pronounced the sentence replied: "This is an
offense." Thus altercations and quarrels arose, and the Sangha was
divided into two parties, reviling and slandering each other.
All these happenings were reported to the Blessed One. Then the
Blessed One went to the place where the bhikkhus were who had
pronounced the sentence of expulsion, and said to them: "Do not think,
O bhikkhus, that you are to pronounce expulsion against a bhikkhu,
whatever be the facts of the case, simply by saying: 'It occurs to
us that it is so, and therefore we are pleased to proceed thus against
our brother.' Let those bhikkhus who frivolously pronounce a
sentence against a brother who knows the Dharma and the rules of the
order, who is learned, wise, intelligent, modest, conscientious, and
ready to submit himself to discipline, stand in awe of causing
divisions. They must not pronounce a sentence of expulsion against a
brother merely because he refuses to see his offense."
Then the Blessed One rose and went to the brethren who sided with
the expelled brother and said to them: "Do not think, O bhikkhus, that
if you have given offense you need not atone for it, thinking: 'We are
without offense.' When a bhikkhu has committed an offense, which he
considers no offense while the brotherhood consider him guilty, he
should think: 'These brethren know the Dharma and the rules of the
order; they are learned, wise, intelligent, modest, conscientious, and
ready to submit themselves to discipline; it is impossible that they
should on my account act with selfishness or in malice or in
delusion or in fear.' Let him stand in awe of causing divisions, and
rather acknowledge his offense on the authority of his brethren."
Both parties continued to keep Uposatha and perform official acts
independently of one another; and when their doings were related to
the Blessed One, he ruled that the keeping of Uposatha and the
performance of official acts were lawful, unobjectionable, and valid
for both parties. For he said: "The bhikkhus who side with the
expelled brother form a different communion from those who
pronounced the sentence. There are venerable brethren in both parties.
As they do not agree, let them keep Uposatha and perform official acts
And the Blessed One reprimanded the quarrelsome bhikkhus, saying
to them: "Loud is the voice which worldings make; but how can they
be blamed when divisions arise also in the Sangha? Hatred is not
appeased in those who think: 'He has reviled me, he has wronged me, he
has injured me.' For not by hatred is hatred appeased. Hatred is
appeased by not-hatred. This is an eternal law.
"There are some who do not know the need of self-restraint; if
they are quarrelsome we may excuse their behavior. But those who
know better, should learn to live in concord. If a man finds a wise
friend who lives righteously and is constant in his character, he
may live with him, overcoming all dangers, happy and mindful.
"But if he finds not a friend who lives righteously and is
constant in his character, let him rather walk alone, like a king
who leaves his empire and the cares of government behind him to lead a
life of retirement like a lonely elephant in the forest. With fools
there is no companionship. Rather than to live with men who are
selfish, vain, quarrelsome, and obstinate let a man walk alone."
And the Blessed One thought to himself: "It is no easy task to
instruct these headstrong and infatuate fools." And he rose from his
seat and went away.
THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF CONCORD
WHILST the dispute between the parties was not yet settled, the
Blessed One left Kosambi, and wandering from place to place he came at
last to Savatthi. In the absence of the Blessed One the quarrels
grew worse, so that the lay devotees of Kosambi became annoyed and
they said: "These quarrelsome monks are a great nuisance and will
bring upon us misfortune. Worried by their altercations the Blessed
One is gone, and has selected another abode for his residence. Let us,
therefore, neither salute the bhikkhus nor support them. They are
not worthy of wearing yellow robes, and must either propitiate the
Blessed One, or return to the world."
And the bhikkhus of Kosambi, when no longer honored and no longer
supported by the lay devotees, began to repent and said: "Let us go to
the Blessed One and let him settle the question of our
disagreement." Both parties went to Savatthi to the Blessed One. And
the venerable Sariputta, having heard of their arrival, addressed
the Blessed One and said: "These contentious, disputatious, and
quarrelsome bhikkhus of Kosambi, the authors of dissensions, have come
to Savatthi. How am I to behave, O Lord, toward those bhikkhus."
"Do not reprove them, Sariputta, said the Blessed One, "For harsh
words do not serve as a remedy and are pleasant to no one. Assign
separate dwelling-places to each party and treat them with impartial
justice. Listen with patience to both parties. He alone who weighs
both sides is called a muni. When both parties have presented their
case, let the Sangha come to an agreement and declare the
re-establishment of concord."
Pajapati, the matron, asked the Blessed One for advice, and the
Blessed One said: "Let both parties enjoy the gifts of lay members, be
they robes or food, as they may need, and let no one receive
preference over any other."
The venerable Upali, having approached the Blessed One, asked
concerning the re-establishment of peace in the Sangha: "Would it be
right, O Lord, said he, that the Sangha, to avoid further
disputations, should declare the restoration of concord without
inquiring into the matter of the quarrel?"
The Blessed One said: "If the Sangha declares the reestablishment of
concord without having inquired into the matter, the declaration is
neither right nor lawful. There are two ways of re-establishing
concord; one is in the letter, and the other one is in the spirit
and in the letter.
"If the Sangha declares the re-establishment of concord without
having inquired into the matter, the peace is concluded in the
letter only. But if the Sangha, having inquired into the matter and
having gone to the bottom of it, decides to declare the
re-establishment of concord, the peace is concluded in the spirit
and also in the letter. The concord re-established in the spirit and
in the letter is alone right and lawful."
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus and told them the story
of Prince Dighavu, the Long-lived. He said: "In former times, there
lived at Benares a powerful king whose name was Brahmadatta of Kasi;
and he went to war against Dighiti, the Long-suffering, a king of
Kosala, for he thought, The kingdom of Kosala is small and Dighiti
will not be able to resist my armies." And Dighiti, seeing that
resistance was impossible against the great host of the king of
Kasi, fled leaving his little kingdom in the hands of Brahmadatta; and
having wandered from place to place, he came at last to Benares, and
lived there with his consort in a potter's dwelling outside the town.
"The queen bore him a son and they called him Dighavu. When
Dighavu had grown up, the king thought to himself: 'King Brahmadatta
has done us great harm, and he is fearing our revenge; he will seek to
kill us. Should he find us he will slay all three of us.' And he
sent his son away, and Dighavu having received a good education from
his father, applied himself diligently to learn all arts, becoming
very skillful and wise.
"At that time the barber of King Dighiti dwelt at Benares, and he
saw the king, his former master, and being of an avaricious nature,
betrayed him to King Brahmadatta. When Brahmadatta, the king of
Kasi, heard that the fugitive king of Kosala and his queen, unknown
and in disguise, were living a quiet life in a potter's dwelling, he
ordered them to be bound and executed; and the sheriff to whom the
order was given seized King Dighiti and led him to the place of
"While the captive king was being led through the streets of Benares
he saw his son who had returned to visit his parents, and, careful not
to betray the presence of his son, yet anxious to communicate to him
his last advice, he cried: 'O Dighavu, my son! Be not far-sighted,
be not near-sighted, for not by hatred is hatred appeased; hatred is
appeased by not-hatred only.'
"The king and queen of Kosala were executed, but Dighavu their son
bought strong wine and made the guards drunk. When the night arrived
he laid the bodies of his parents upon a funeral pyre and burned
them with all honors and religious rites. When King Brahmadatta
heard of it, he became afraid, for he thought, Dighavu, the son of
King Dighiti, is a wise youth and he will take revenge for the death
of his parents. If he espies a favorable opportunity, he will
"Young Dighavu went to the forest and wept to his heart's content.
Then he wiped his tears and returned to Benares. Hearing that
assistants were wanted in the royal elephants' stable, he offered
his services and was engaged by the master of the elephants. And it
happened that the king heard a sweet voice ringing through the night
and singing to the lute a beautiful song that gladdened his heart. And
having inquired among his attendants who the singer might be, was told
that the master of the elephants had in his service a young man of
great accomplishments, and beloved by all his comrades. They said He
is wont to sing to the lute, and he must have been the singer that
gladdened the heart of the king.'
"The king summoned the young man before him and, being much
pleased with Dighavu, gave him employment in the royal castle.
Observing how wisely the youth acted, how modest he was and yet
punctilious in the performance of his work, the king very soon gave
him a position of trust. Now it came to pass that the king went
hunting and became separated from his retinue, young Dighavu alone
remaining with him. And the king worn out from the hunt laid his
head in the lap of young Dighavu and slept.
"Dighavu thought: 'People will forgive great wrongs which they
have suffered, but they will never be at ease about the wrong which
they themselves have done. They will persecute their victims to the
bitter end. This King Brahmadatta has done us great injury; he
robbed us of our kingdom and slew my father and my mother. He is now
in my power. Thinking thus he unsheathed his sword. Then Dighavu
thought of the last words of his father. 'Be not far-sighted, be not
near-sighted. For not by hatred is hatred appeased. Hatred is appeased
by not-hatred alone.-Thinking thus, he put his sword back into the
"The king became restless in his sleep and he awoke, and when the
youth asked, 'Why art thou frightened, O king?' he replied: 'My
sleep is always restless because I often dream that young Dighavu is
coming upon me with his sword. While I lay here with my head in thy
lap I dreamed the dreadful dream again; and I awoke full of terror and
alarm.' Then the youth, laying his left hand upon the defenseless
king's head and with his right hand drawing his sword, said: 'I am
Dighavu, the son of King Dighiti, whom thou hast robbed of his kingdom
and slain together with his queen, my mother. I know that men overcome
the hatred entertained for wrongs which they have suffered much more
easily than for the wrongs which they have done, and so I cannot
expect that thou wilt take pity on me; but now a chance for revenge
has come to me.
"The king seeing that he was at the mercy of young Dighavu raised
his hands and said: 'Grant me my life, my dear Dighavu, grant me my
life. I shall be forever grateful to thee.' And Dighavu said without
bitterness or ill-will: 'How can I grant thee thy life, O king,
since my life is endangered by thee? I do not mean to take thy life.
It is thou, O king, who must grant me my life."
"And the king said: 'Well, my dear Dighavu, then grant me my life,
and I will grant thee thine.' Thus, King Brahmadatta of Kasi and young
Dighavu granted each other's life and took each other's hand and swore
an oath not to do any harm to each other.
"Then King Brahmadatta of Kasi said to young Dighavu: 'Why did thy
father say to thee in the hour of his death: "Be not far-sighted, be
not near-sighted, for hatred is not appeased by hatred. Hatred is
appeased by not-hatred alone,"-what did thy father mean by that?'
"The youth replied: 'When my father, O king, in the hour of his
death said: 'Be not far-sighted," he meant, Let 'Be not hatred go far.
And when my father said near-sighted," he meant, be not hasty to
fall out with thy friends. And when he said For not by hatred is
hatred appeased; hatred is appeased by not-hatred, he meant this: Thou
hast killed my father and mother, O king, and if I should deprive thee
of thy life, then thy partisans in turn would take away my life; my
partisans again would deprive thine of their lives. Thus by hatred,
hatred would not be appeased. But now, O king, thou hast granted me my
life, and I have granted thee thine; thus by not-hatred hatred has
"Then King Brahmadatta of Kasi thought: 'How wise is young Dighavu
that he understands in its full extent the meaning of what his
father spoke concisely.' And the king gave him back his father's
kingdom and gave him his daughter in marriage."
Having finished the story, the Blessed One said: "Brethren, ye are
my lawful sons in the faith, begotten by the words of my mouth.
Children ought not to trample under foot the counsel given them by
their father; do ye henceforth follow my admonitions. Then the
bhikkhus met in conference; they discussed their differences in mutual
good will, and the concord of the Sangha was re-established.
THE BHIKKHUS REBUKED
IT happened that the Blessed One walked up and down in the open
air unshod. When the elders saw that the Blessed One walked unshod,
they put away their shoes and did likewise. But the novices did not
heed the example of their elders and kept their feet covered.
Some of the brethren noticed the irreverent behavior of the
novices and told the Blessed One; and the Blessed One rebuked the
novices and said: "If the brethren, even now, while I am yet living,
show so little respect and courtesy to one another, what will they
do when I have passed away?"
The Blessed One was filled with anxiety for the welfare of the
truth; and he continued: "Even the laymen, O bhikkhus, who move in the
world, pursuing some handicraft that they may procure them a living,
will be respectful, affectionate, and hospitable to their teachers. Do
ye, therefore, O bhikkhus, so let your light shine forth, that ye,
having left the world and devoted your entire life to religion and
to religious discipline, may observe the rules of decency, be
respectful, affectionate, and hospitable to your teachers and
superiors, or those who rank as your teachers and superiors. Your
demeanor, O bhikkhus, does not conduce to the conversion of the
unconverted and to the increase of the number of the faithful. It
serves, O bhikkhus, to repel the unconverted and to estrange them. I
exhort you to be more considerate in the future, more thoughtful and
THE JEALOUSY OF DEVADATTA
WHEN Devadatta, the son of Suprabuddha and a brother of Yasodhara,
became a disciple, he cherished the hope of attaining the same
distinctions and honors as Gotama Siddhattha. Being disappointed in
his ambitions, he conceived in his heart a jealous hatred, and,
attempting to excel the Perfect One in virtue, he found fault with his
regulations and reproved them as too lenient.
Devadatta went to Rajagaha and gained the ear of Ajatasattu, the son
of King Bimbisara. And Ajatasattu built a new vihara for Devadatta,
and founded a sect whose disciples were pledged to severe rules and
Soon afterwards the Blessed One himself came to Rajagaha and
stayed at the Veluvana vihara. Devadatta called on the Blessed One,
requesting him to sanction his rules of greater stringency, by which a
greater holiness might be procured. "The body," he said, consists of
its thirty-two parts and has no divine attributes. It is conceived
in sin and born in corruption. Its attributes are liability to pain
and dissolution, for it is impermanent. It is the receptacle of
karma which is the curse of our former existences; it is the
dwelling place of sin and diseases and its organs constantly discharge
disgusting secretions. Its end is death and its goal the charnel
house. Such being the condition of the body it behooves us to treat it
as a carcass full of abomination and to clothe it in such rags only as
have been gathered in cemeteries or upon dung-hills."
The Blessed One said: "Truly, the body is full of impurity and its
end is the charnel house, for it is impermanent and destined to be
dissolved into its elements. But being the receptacle of karma, it
lies in our power to make it a vessel of truth and not of evil. It
is not good to indulge in the pleasures of the body, but neither is it
good to neglect our bodily needs and to heap filth upon impurities.
The lamp that is not cleansed and not filled with oil will be
extinguished, and a body that is unkempt, unwashed, and weakened by
penance will not be a fit receptacle for the light of truth. Attend to
your body and its needs as you would treat a wound which you care
for without loving it. Severe rules will not lead the disciples on the
middle path which I have taught. Certainly, no one can be prevented
from keeping more stringent rules, if he sees fit to do so but they
should not be imposed upon any one, for they are unnecessary."
Thus the Tathagata refused Devadatta's proposal; and Devadatta
left the Buddha and went into the vihara speaking evil of the Lord's
path of salvation as too lenient and altogether insufficient. When the
Blessed One heard of Devadatta's intrigues, he said: "Among men
there is no one who is not blamed. People blame him who sits silent
and him who speaks, they also blame the man who preaches the middle
Devadatta instigated Ajatasattu to plot against his father
Bimbisara, the king, so that the prince would no longer be subject
to him. Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son in a tower, where he died,
leaving the kingdom of Magadha to his son Ajatasattu.
The new king listened to the evil advice of Devadatta, and he gave
orders to take the life of the Tathagata. However, the murderers
sent out to kill the Lord could not perform their wicked deed, and
became converted as soon as they saw him and listened to his
preaching. The rock hurled down from a precipice upon the great Master
split in twain, and the two pieces passed by on either side without
doing any harm. Nalagiri, the wild elephant let loose to destroy the
Lord, became gentle in his presence; and Ajatasattu, suffering greatly
from the pangs of his conscience, went to the Blessed One and sought
peace in his distress.
The Blessed One received Ajatasattu kindly and taught him the way of
salvation; but Devadatta still tried to become the founder of a
religious school of his own. Devadatta did not succeed in his plans
and having been abandoned by many of his disciples, he fell sick,
and then repented. He entreated those who had remained with him to
carry his litter to the Buddha, saying: "Take me, children, take me to
him; though I have done evil to him, I am his brother-in-law. For
the sake of our relationship the Buddha will save me." And they
obeyed, although reluctantly.
And Devadatta in his impatience to see the Blessed One rose from his
litter while his carriers were washing their hands. But his feet
burned under him; he sank to the ground; and, having chanted a hymn on
the Buddha, died.
NAME AND FORM
ON one occasion the Blessed One entered the assembly hall and
brethren hushed their conversation. When they had greeted him with
clasped hands, they sat down and became composed. Then the Blessed One
said: "Your minds are inflamed with intense interest; what was the
topic of your discussion?"
And Sariputta rose and spake: "World-honored master, were the nature
of man's own existence. We were trying to grasp the mixture of our own
being which is called Name and Form. Every human being consists of
conformations, and there are three groups which are not corporeal.
They are sensation, perception, and the dispositions; all three
constitute consciousness and mind, being comprised under the term
Name. And there are four elements, the earthy element, the watery
element, the fiery element, and the gaseous element, and these four
elements constitute man's bodily form, being held together so that
this machine moves like a puppet. How does this name and form endure
and how can it live?"
Said the Blessed One: "Life is instantaneous and living is dying.
Just as a chariot-wheel in rolling rolls only at one point of the
tire, and in resting rests only at one point; in exactly the same way,
the life of a living being lasts only for the period of one thought.
As soon as that thought has ceased the being is said to have ceased.
As it has been said: 'The being of a past moment of thought has lived,
but does not live, nor will it live. The being of a future moment of
thought will live, but has not lived, nor does it live. The being of
the present moment of thought does live, but has not lived, nor will
"As to Name and Form we must understand how they interact. Name
has no power of its own, nor can it go on of its own impulse, either
to eat, or to drink, or to utter sounds, or to make a movement. Form
also is without power and cannot go on of its own impulse. It has no
desire to eat, or to drink, or to utter sounds, or to make a movement.
But Form goes on when supported by Name, and Name when supported by
Form. When Name has a desire to eat, or to drink, or to utter
sounds, or to make a movement, then Form eats, drinks, utters
sounds, makes a movement.
"It is as if two men, the one blind from birth and the other a
cripple, were desirous of going traveling, and the man blind from
birth were to say to the cripple as follows: 'See here! I am able to
use my legs, but I have no eyes with which to see the rough and the
smooth places in the road.' And the cripple were to say to the man
blind from birth as follows: 'See here! I am able to use my eyes,
but I have no legs with which to go forward and back.' And the man
blind from birth, pleased and delighted, were to mount the cripple
on his shoulders. And the cripple sitting on the shoulders of the
man blind from birth were to direct him, saying, 'Leave the left and
go to the right; leave the right and go to the left.'
"Here the man blind from birth is without power of his own, and
weak, and cannot go of his own impulse or might. The cripple also is
without power of his own, and weak, and cannot go of his own impulse
or might. Yet when they mutually support one another it is not
impossible for them to go. In exactly the same way Name is without
power of its own, and cannot spring up of its own might, nor perform
this or that action. Form also is without power of its own, and cannot
spring up of its own might, nor perform this or that action. Yet
when they mutually support one another it is not impossible for them
to spring up and go on.
"There is no material that exists for the production of Name and
Form; and when Name and Form cease, they do not go any whither in
space. After Name and Form have ceased, they do not exist anywhere,
any more than there is heaped-up music material. When a lute is played
upon, there is no previous store of sound; and when the music ceases
it does not go any whither in space. When it has ceased, it exists
nowhere in a stored-up state. Having previously been non-existent,
it came into existence on account of the structure and stern of the
lute and the exertions of the performer; and as it came into existence
so it passes away. In exactly the same way, all the elements of being,
both corporeal and non-corporeal come into existence after having
previously been non-existent; and having come into existence pass
"There is not a self residing in Name and Form, but the
cooperation of the conformations produces what people call a man. Just
as the word 'chariot' is but a mode of expression for axle, wheels,
the chariot-body and other constituents in their proper combination,
so a living being is the appearance of the groups with the four
elements as they are joined in a unit. There is no self in the
carriage and there is no self in man. O bhikkhus, this doctrine is
sure and an eternal truth, that there is no self outside of its parts.
This self of ours which constitutes Name and Form is a combination
of the groups with the four elements, but there is no ego entity, no
self in itself.
"Paradoxical though it may sound: There is a path to walk on,
there is walking being done, but there is no traveler. There are deeds
being done, but there is no doer. There is a blowing of the air, but
there is no wind that does the blowing. The thought of self is an
error and all existences are as hollow as the plantain tree and as
empty as twirling water bubbles.
"Therefore, O bhikkhus, as there is no self, there is no
transmigration of a self; but there are deeds and the continued effect
of deeds. There is a rebirth of karma; there is reincarnation. This
rebirth, this reincarnation, this reappearance of the conformations is
continuous and depends on the law of cause and effect. Just as a
seal is impressed upon the wax reproducing the configurations of its
device, so the thoughts of men, their characters, their aspirations
are impressed upon others in continuous transference and continue
their karma, and good deeds will continue in blessings while bad deeds
will continue in curses.
"There is no entity here that migrates, no self is transferred
from one place to another; but there is a voice uttered here and the
echo of it comes back. The teacher pronounces a stanza and the
disciple who attentively listens to his teacher's instruction, repeats
the stanza. Thus the stanza is reborn in the mind of the disciple. The
body is a compound of perishable organs. It is subject to decay; and
we should take care of it as of a wound or a sore; we should attend to
its needs without being attached to it, or loving it. The body is like
a machine, and there is no self in it that makes it walk or act, but
the thoughts of it, as the windy elements, cause the machine to
work. The body moves about like a cart. Therefore 'tis said:
"As ships are blown by wind on sails,
As arrows fly from twanging bow,
So, when the force of thought directs,
The body, following, must go.
"Just as machines are worked by ropes,
So are the body's gear and groove;
Obedient to the pull of mind,
Our muscles and our members move.
"No independent 'I' is here,
But many gathered mobile forces;
Our chariot is manned by mind,
And our karma is our horses.
"He only who utterly abandons all thought of the ego escapes
snares of the Evil One; he is out of the reach of Mara. Thus says
the pleasure-promising tempter:
"So long as to those things
Called 'mine, and 'I' and 'me'
Your hungry heart still clings-
My snares you cannot flee.
"The faithful disciple replies:
"Naught's mine and naught of me,
The self I do not mind!
Thus Mara, I tell thee,
My path thou canst not find.
"Dismiss the error of the self and do not cling to possessions
are transient, but perform deeds that are good, for deeds are enduring
and in deeds your karma continues.
"Since, then, O bhikkhus, there is no self, there can not be any
after life of a self. Therefore abandon all thought of self. But since
there are deeds and since deeds continue, be careful with your
deeds. All beings have karma as their portion: they are heirs of their
karma; they are sprung from their karma; their karma is their kinsman;
their karma is their refuge; karma allots beings to meanness or to
"Assailed by death in life last throes
On quitting all thy joys and woes
What is thine own, thy recompense?
What stays with thee when passing hence?
What like a shadow follows thee
And will Beyond thine heirloom be?
"'Tis deeds, thy deeds, both good and bad;
Naught else can after death be had.
Thy deeds are thine, thy recompense;
They are thine own when going hence;
They like a shadow follow thee
And will Beyond thine heirloom be.
"Let all then here perform good deeds,
For future weal a treasure store;
There to reap crops from noble seeds,
A bliss increasing evermore."