THERE was a rich man who used to invite all the Brahmans of the
neighborhood to his house, and, giving them rich gifts, offered
great sacrifices to the gods.
But the Blessed One said: "If a man each month repeat a thousand
sacrifices and give offerings without ceasing, he is not equal to
him who but for one moment fixes his mind upon righteousness." The
Buddha continued: "There are four kinds of offering: first, when the
gifts are large and the merit small; secondly, when the gifts are
small and the merit small; thirdly, when the gifts are small and the
merit large; and fourthly, when the gifts are large and the merit is
also large.
"The first is the case of the deluded man who takes away life for
the purpose of sacrificing to the gods, accompanied by carousing and
feasting. Here the gifts are great, but the merit is small indeed.
Next, the gifts are small and the merit is also small, when from
covetousness and an evil heart a man keeps to himself a part of that
which he intends to offer.
"The merit is great, however, while the gift is small, when a man
makes his offering from love and with a desire to grow in wisdom and
in kindness. And lastly, the gift is large and the merit is large,
when a wealthy man, in an unselfish spirit and with the wisdom of a
Buddha, gives donations and founds institutions for the best of
mankind to enlighten the minds of his fellow-men and to administer
unto their needs."


THERE was a certain Brahman in Kosambi, a wrangler and well versed
in the Vedas. As he found no one whom he regarded his equal in
debate he used to carry a lighted torch in his hand, and when asked
for the reason of his strange conduct, he replied: 'The world is so
dark that I carry this torch to light it up, as far as I can." A
samana sitting in the market-place heard these words and said: "My
friend, if thine eyes are blind to the sight of the omnipresent
light of the day, do not call the world dark. Thy torch adds nothing
to the glory of the sun and thy intention to illumine the minds of
others is as futile as it is arrogant." Whereupon the Brahman asked:
"Where is the sun of which thou speakest?" And the samana replied:
"The wisdom of the Tathagata is the sun of the mind. His radiancy is
glorious by day and night, and he whose faith is strong will not
lack light on the path to Nirvana where he will inherit bliss


WHILE the Buddha was preaching his doctrine for the conversion of
the world in the neighborhood of Savatthi, a man of great wealth who
suffered from many ailments came to him with clasped hands and said:
"World-honored Buddha, pardon me for my want of respect in not
saluting thee as I ought but I suffer greatly from obesity,
excessive drowsiness, and other complaints, so that I cannot move
without pain."
The Tathagata, seeing the luxuries with which the man was surrounded
asked him: "Hast thou a desire to know the cause of thy ailments?" And
when the wealthy man expressed his willingness to learn, the Blessed
One said: "There are five things which produce the condition of
which thou complainest: opulent dinners, love of sleep, hankering
after pleasure, thoughtlessness, and lack of occupation. Exercise
self-control at thy meals, and take upon thyself some duties that will
exercise thy abilities and make thee useful to thy fellow-men. In
following this advice thou wilt prolong thy life."
The rich man remembered the words of the Buddha and after some
time having recovered his lightness of body and youthful buoyancy
returned to the World-honored One and, coming afoot without horses and
attendants, said to him: "Master, thou hast cured my bodily
ailments; I come now to seek enlightenment of my mind."
And the Blessed One said: "The worldling nourishes his body, but the
wise man nourishes his mind. He who indulges in the satisfaction of
his appetites works his own destruction; but he who walks in the
path will have both the salvation from evil and a prolongation of


ANNABHARA, the slave of Sumana, having just cut the grass on the
meadow, saw a samana with his bowl begging for food. Throwing down his
bundle of hay he ran into the house and returned with the rice that
had been provided for his own food. The samana ate the rice and
gladdened him with words of religious comfort.
The daughter of Sumana having observed the scene from a window
called out: "Good! Annabhara, good! Very good!" Sumana hearing these
words inquired what she meant, and on being informed about Annabhara's
devotion and the words of comfort he had received from the samana,
went to his slave and offered him money to divide the bliss of his
offering. "My lord, said Annabhara, let me first ask the venerable
man." And approaching the samana, he said: "My master has asked me
to share with him the bliss of the offering I made thee of my
allowance of rice. Is it right that I should divide it with him?"
The samana replied in a parable. He said: "In a village of one
hundred houses a single light was burning. Then a neighbor came with
his lamp and lit it; and in this same way the light was communicated
from house to house and the brightness in the village was increased.
Thus the light of religion may be diffused without stinting him who
communicates it. Let the bliss of thy offering also be diffused.
Divide it."
Annabhara returned to his master's house and said to him: "I present
thee, my lord, with a share of the bliss of my offering. Deign to
accept it." Sumana accepted it and offered his slave a sum of money,
but Annabhara replied: "Not so, my lord; if I accept thy money it
would appear as if I sold thee my share. Bliss cannot be sold; I beg
thou wilt accept it as a gift." The master replied: "Brother
Annabhara, from this day forth thou shalt be free. Live with me as
my friend and accept this present as a token of my respect."


THERE was a rich Brahman, well advanced in years, who, unmindful
of the impermanence of earthly things and anticipating a long life,
had built himself a large house. The Buddha wondered why a man so near
to death had built a mansion with so many apartments, and he sent
Ananda to the rich Brahman to preach to him the four noble truths
and the eightfold path of salvation. The Brahman showed Ananda his
house and explained to him the purpose of its numerous chambers, but
to the instruction of the Buddha's teachings he gave no heed. Ananda
said: "It is the habit of I fools to say, 'I have children and
wealth.' He who says so is not even master of himself; how can he
claim possession of children, riches, and servants? Many are the
anxieties of the worldly, but they know nothing of the changes of
the future."
Scarcely had Ananda left, when the old man was stricken with
apoplexy and fell dead. The Buddha said, for the instruction of
those who were ready, to learn: "A fool, though he live in the company
of the wise, understands nothing of the true doctrine, as a spoon
tastes not the flavor of the soup. He thinks of himself only, and
unmindful of the advice of good counselors is unable to deliver


THERE was a disciple of the Blessed One, full of energy and zeal for
the truth, who, living under a vow to complete a meditation in
solitude, flagged in a moment of weakness. He said to himself: "The
Teacher said there are several kinds of men; I must belong to the
lowest class and fear that in this birth there will be neither path
nor fruit for me. What is the use of a hermit's life if I cannot by
constant endeavor attain the insight of meditation to which I have
devoted myself?" And he left the solitude and returned to the
When the brethren saw him they said to him: "Thou hast done wrong, O
brother, after taking a vow, to give up the attempt of carrying it
out"; and they took him to the Master. When the Blessed One saw them
he said: "I see, O mendicants, that you have brought this brother here
against his will. What has he done?"
"Lord, this brother, having taken the vows of sanctifying a faith,
has abandoned the endeavor to accomplish the aim of a member of the
order, and has come back to us." Then the Teacher said to him: Is it
true that thou hast given up trying?"
"It is true, O Blessed One I was the reply.
The Master said: "This present life of thine is a time of grace.
If thou fail now to reach the happy state thou wilt have to suffer
remorse in future existences. How is it, brother, that thou hast
proved so irresolute? Why, in former states of existence thou wert
full of determination. By thy energy alone the men and bullocks of
five hundred wagons obtained water in the sandy desert, and were
saved. How is it that thou now givest up?" By these few words that
brother was re-established in his resolution. But the others
besought the Blessed One, saying: "Lord! Tell us how this was."
"Listen, then, O mendicants!" said the Blessed One; and having
thus excited their attention, he made manifest a thing concealed by
change of birth. Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in
Kasi, the Bodhisattva was born in a merchant's family; and when he
grew up, he went about trafficking with five hundred carts. One day he
arrived at a sandy desert many leagues across. The sand in that desert
was so fine that when taken in the closed fist it could not be kept in
the hand. After the sun had risen it became as hot as a mass of
burning embers, so that no man could walk on it. Those, therefore, who
had to travel over it took wood, and water, and oil, and rice in their
carts, and traveled during the night. And at daybreak they formed an
encampment and spread an awning over it, and, taking their meals
early, they passed the day lying in the shade. At sunset they
supped, and when the ground had become cool they yoked their oxen
and went on. The traveling was like a voyage over the sea: a
desert-pilot had to be chosen, and he brought the caravan safe to
the other side by his knowledge of the stars.
"Thus the merchant of our story crossed the desert. And when he
had passed over fifty-nine leagues he thought, "Now, in one more night
we shall get out of the sand, and after supper he directed the
wagons to be yoked, and so set out. The pilot had cushions arranged on
the foremost cart and lay down, looking at the stars and directing the
men where to drive. But worn out by want of rest during the long
march, he fell asleep, and did not perceive that the oxen had turned
round and taken the same road by which they had come. The oxen went on
the whole night through. Towards dawn the pilot woke up, and,
observing the stars, called out: "Stop the wagons, stop the wagons!"
The day broke just as they stopped and were drawing up the carts in
a line. Then the men cried out: "Why, this is the very encampment we
left yesterday! We have but little wood left and our water is all
gone! We are lost!" And unyoking the oxen and spreading the canopy
over their heads, they lay down in despondency, each one under his
But the Bodhisattva said to himself, "If I lose heart, all these
will perish, and walked about while the morning was yet cool. On
seeing a tuft of kusa-grass, he thought: "This could have grown only
by soaking up some water which must be beneath it." And he made them
bring a spade and dig in that spot. And they dug sixty cubits deep.
And when they had got thus far, the spade of the diggers struck on a
rock; and as soon as it struck, they all gave up in despair. But the
Bodhisattva thought, "There must be water under that rock," and
descending into the well he got upon the stone, and stooping down
applied his ear to it and tested the sound of it. He heard the sound
of water gurgling beneath, and when he got out he called his page. "My
lad, if thou givest up now, we shall all be lost. Do not lose heart.
Take this iron hammer, and go down into the pit, and give the rock a
good blow."
The lad obeyed, and though they all stood by in despair, he went
down full of determination and struck at the stone. The rock split
in two and fell below, so that it no longer blocked the stream, and
water rose till its depth from the bottom to the brim of the well
was equal to the height of a palm-tree. And they all drank of the
water, and bathed in it. Then they cooked rice and ate it, and fed
their oxen with it. And when the sun set, they put a flag in the well,
and went to the place appointed. There they sold their merchandise
at a good profit and returned to their home, and when they died they
passed away according to their deeds. And the Bodhisattva gave gifts
and did other virtuous acts, and he also passed away according to
his deeds.
After the Teacher had told the story he formed the connection by
saying in conclusion, "The caravan the Bodhisattva, the future Buddha;
the page who at that time despaired not, but broke the stone, and gave
water to the multitude, was this brother without perseverance; and the
other men were attendants on the Buddha."


BHARADVAJA, a wealthy Brahman farmer, was celebrating his
harvest-thanksgiving when the Blessed One came with his alms-bowl,
begging for food. Some of the people paid him reverence, but the
Brahman was angry and said: "O samana, it would be more fitting for
thee to go to work than to beg. I plough and sow, and having
ploughed and sown, I eat. If thou didst likewise, thou, too, wouldst
have something to eat."
The Tathagata answered him and said: "O Brahman, if too, plough
and sow, and having ploughed and sown, I eat." "Dost thou profess to
be a husbandman?" replied the Brahman. "Where, then, are thy bullocks?
Where is the seed and the plough?"
The Blessed One said: "Faith is the seed I sow: good works are the
rain that fertilizes it; wisdom and modesty are the plough; my mind is
the guiding-rein; I lay hold of the handle of the law; earnestness
is the goad I use, and exertion is my draught-ox. This ploughing is
ploughed to destroy the weeds of illusion. The harvest it yields is
the immortal fruits of Nirvana, and thus all sorrow ends." Then the
Brahman poured rice-milk into a golden bowl and offered it to the
Blessed One, saying: "Let the Teacher of mankind partake of the
rice-milk, for the venerable Gotama ploughs a ploughing that bears the
fruit of immortality."


WHEN Bhagavat dwelt at Savatthi in the Jetavana, he went out with
his alms-bowl to beg for food and approached the house of a Brahman
priest while the fire of an offering was blazing upon the altar. And
the priest said: "Stay there, O shaveling; stay there, O wretched
samana; thou art an outcast."
The Blessed One replied: "Who is an outcast? An outcast is the man
who is angry and bears hatred; the man who is wicked and hypocritical,
he who embraces error and is full of deceit. Whosoever is a provoker
and is avaricious, has evil desires, is envious, wicked, shameless,
and without fear to commit wrong, let him be known as an outcast.
Not by birth does one become an outcast, not by birth does one
become a Brahman; by deeds one becomes an outcast, by deeds one
becomes a Brahman."


ANANDA, the favorite disciple of the Buddha, having been sent by the
Lord on a mission, passed by a well near a village, and seeing Pakati,
a girl of the Matanga caste, he asked her for water to drink. Pakati
said: "O Brahman, I am too humble and mean to give thee water to
drink, do not ask any service of me lest thy holiness be contaminated,
for I am of low caste." And Ananda replied: "I ask not for caste but
for water"; and the Matanga girl's heart leaped joyfully and she
gave Ananda to drink.
Ananda thanked her and went away; but she followed him at a
distance. Having heard that Ananda was a disciple of Gotama Sakyamuni,
the girl repaired to the Blessed One and cried: "O Lord help me, and
let me live in the place where Ananda thy disciple dwells, so that I
may see him and minister unto him, for I love Ananda." The Blessed One
understood the emotions of her heart and he said: "Pakati, thy heart
is full of love, but thou understandest not thine own sentiments. It
is not Ananda that thou lovest, but his kindness. Accept, then, the
kindness thou hast seen him practice unto thee, and in the humility of
thy station practice it unto others. Verily there is great merit in
the generosity of a king when he is kind to a slave; but there is a
greater merit in the slave when he ignores the wrongs which he suffers
and cherishes kindness and good-will to all mankind. He will cease
to hate his oppressors, and even when powerless to resist their
usurpation will with compassion pity their arrogance and
supercilious demeanor.
"Blessed art thou, Pakati, for though thou art a Matanga thou wilt
be a model for noblemen and noble women. Thou art of low caste, but
Brahmans may learn a lesson from thee. Swerve not from the path of
justice and righteousness and thou wilt outshine the royal glory of
queens on the throne."


IT is reported that two kingdoms were on the verge of war for the
possession of a certain embankment which was disputed by them. And the
Buddha seeing the kings and their armies ready to fight, requested
them to tell him the cause of their quarrels. Having heard the
complaints on both sides, he said:
"I understand that the embankment has value for some of your people;
has it any intrinsic value aside from its service to your men?"
"It has no intrinsic value whatever was the reply.
The Tathagata continued: "Now when you go to battle is it not sure
that many of your men will be slain and that you yourselves, O
kings, are liable to lose your lives?" And they said: "It is sure that
many will be slain and our own lives be jeopardized."
"The blood of men, however," said Buddha, "has it less intrinsic
value than a mound of earth?" "No," the kings said, "The lives of
men and above all the lives of kings, are priceless." Then the
Tathagata concluded: care you going to stake that which is priceless
against that which has no intrinsic value whatever?-The wrath of the
two monarchs abated, and they came to a peaceable agreement.


THERE was a great king who oppressed his people and was hated by his
subjects; yet when the Tathagata came into his kingdom, the king
desired much to see him. So he went to the place where the Blessed One
stayed and asked: "O Sakyamuni, canst thou teach a lesson to the
king that will divert his mind and benefit him at the same time?"
And the Blessed One said: "I shall tell thee the parable of the
hungry dog: There was a wicked tyrant; and the god Indra, assuming the
shape of a hunter, came down upon earth with the demon Matali, the
latter appearing as a dog of enormous size. Hunter and dog entered the
palace, and the dog howled so woefully that the royal buildings
shook by the sound to their very foundations. The tyrant had the
awe-inspiring hunter brought before his throne and inquired after the
cause of the terrible bark. The hunter said, "The dog is hungry,"
whereupon the frightened king ordered food for him. All the food
prepared at the royal banquet disappeared rapidly in the dog's jaws,
and still he howled with portentous significance. More food was sent
for, and all the royal store-houses were emptied, but in vain. Then
the tyrant grew desperate and asked: 'Will nothing satisfy the
cravings of that woeful beast?' "Nothing," replied the hunter, nothing
except perhaps the flesh of all his enemies.' 'And who are his
enemies?' anxiously asked the tyrant. The hunter replied: 'The dog
will howl as long as there are people hungry in the kingdom, and his
enemies are those who practice injustice and oppress the poor." The
oppressor of the people, remembering his evil deeds, was seized with
remorse, and for the first time in his life he began to listen to
the teachings of righteousness."
Having ended his story, the Blessed One addressed the king, who
had turned pale, and said to him: "The Tathagata can quicken the
spiritual ears of the powerful, and when thou, great king, hearest the
dog bark, think of the teachings of the Buddha, and thou mayest
still learn to pacify the monster."


KING BRAHMADATTA happened to see a beautiful woman, the wife of a
Brahman merchant and, conceiving a passion for her ordered a
precious jewel secretly to be dropped into the merchant's carriage.
The jewel was missed, searched for, and found. The merchant was
arrested on the charge of stealing, and the king pretended to listen
with great attention to the defense, and with seeming regret ordered
the merchant to be executed, while his wife was consigned to the royal
Brahmadatta attended the execution in person, for such sights were
wont to give him pleasure, but when the doomed man looked with deep
compassion at his infamous judge, a flash of the Buddha's wisdom lit
up the king's passion beclouded mind; and while the executioner raised
the sword for the fatal stroke, Brahmadatta felt the effect in his own
mind, and he imagined he saw himself on the block. "Hold,
executioner!" shouted Brahmadatta, it is the king whom thou
slayest!" But it was too late! The executioner had done the bloody
deed. The king fell back in a swoon, and when he awoke a change had
come over him. He had ceased to be the cruel despot and henceforth led
a life of holiness and rectitude. The people said that the character
of the Brahman had been impressed into his mind.
O you who commit murders and robberies! The evil of self-delusion
covers your eyes. If you could see things as they are, not as they
appear, you would no longer inflict injuries and pain on your own
selves. You see not that you will have to atone for your evil deeds,
for what you sow you will reap.


THERE was a courtesan in Mathura named Vasavadatta. She happened
to see Upagutta, one of Buddha's disciples, a tall and beautiful
youth, and fell desperately in love with him. sent an invitation to
the young man, but he replied: "The time has not yet arrived when
Upagutta will visit Vasavadatta." The courtesan was astonished at
the reply, and she sent again for him, saying: "Vasavadatta desires
love, not gold, from Upagutta." But Upagutta made the same enigmatic
reply and did not come.
A few months later Vasavadatta was having a love intrigue with the
chief of the artisans. But at that time a wealthy merchant came to
Mathura, and fell in love with Vasavadatta. Seeing his wealth, and
fearing the jealousy of her other lover, she contrived the death of
the chief of the artisans, and concealed his body under a dung-hill.
When the chief of the artisans had disappeared, his relatives and
friends searched for him and found his body. Vasavadatta was tried
by a judge, and condemned to have her ears and nose, her hands and
feet cut off, and flung into a graveyard. Vasavadatta had been a
passionate girl, but kind to her servants, and one of her maids
followed her, and out of love for her former mistress ministered to
her in her agonies, and chased away the crows.
Now the time had arrived when Upagutta decided to visit Vasavadatta.
When he came, the poor woman ordered her maid to collect and hide
under a cloth her severed limbs; and he greeted her kindly, but she
said with petulance: "Once this body was fragrant like the lotus,
and I offered thee my love. In those days I was covered with pearls
and fine muslin. Now I am mangled by the executioner and covered
with filth and blood."
"Sister," said the young man, "it is not for my pleasure that I
approach thee. It is to restore to thee a nobler beauty than the
charms which thou hast lost. I have seen with mine eyes the
Tathagata walking upon earth and teaching men his wonderful
doctrine. But thou wouldst not have listened to the words of
righteousness while surrounded with temptations while under the
spell of passion and yearning for worldly pleasures. Thou wouldst
not have listened to the teachings of the Tathagata, for thy heart was
wayward, and thou didst set thy trust on the sham of thy transient
charms. The charms of a lovely form are treacherous, and quickly
lead into temptations, which have proved too strong for thee. But
there is a beauty which will not fade, and if thou wilt but listen
to the doctrine of our Lord, the Buddha, thou wilt find that peace
which thou wouldst have found in the restless world of sinful
Vasavadatta became calm and a spiritual happiness soothed the
tortures of her bodily pain; for where there is much suffering there
is also great bliss. Having taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma,
and the Sangha, she died in pious submission to the punishment of
her crime.


THERE was a man in Jambunada who was to be married the next day, and
he thought, "Would that the Buddha, the Blessed One, might be
present at the wedding." And the Blessed One passed by his house and
met him, and when he read the silent wish in the heart of the
bridegroom, he consented to enter. When the When the Holy One appeared
with the retinue of his many bhikkhus, the host, whose means were
limited, received them as best he could, saying: "Eat, my Lord, and
all thy congregation, according to your desire."
While the holy men ate, the meats and drinks remained
undiminished, and the host thought to himself: "How wondrous is
this! I should have had plenty for all my relatives and friends. Would
that I had invited them all. all." When this thought was in the host's
mind, all his relatives and friends entered the house; and although
the hall in the house was small there was room in it for all of
them. They sat down at the table and ate, and there was more than
enough for all of them. The Blessed One was pleased to see so many
guests full of good cheer and he quickened them and gladdened them
with words of truth, proclaiming the bliss of righteousness:
"The greatest happiness which a mortal man can imagine is the bond
of marriage that ties together two loving hearts. But there is a
greater happiness still: it is the embrace of truth. Death will
separate husband and wife, but death will never affect him who has
espoused the truth. Therefore be married unto the truth and live
with the truth in holy wedlock. The husband who loves his wife and
desires for a union that shall be everlasting must be faithful to
her so as to be like truth itself, and she will rely upon him and
revere him and minister unto him. And the wife who loves her husband
and desires a union that shall be everlasting must be faithful to
him so as to be like truth itself; and he will place his trust in her,
he will provide for her. Verily, I say unto you, their children will
become like their parents and will bear witness to their happiness.
Let no man be single, let every one be wedded in holy love to the
truth. And when Mara, the destroyer, comes to separate the visible
forms of your being, you will continue to live in the truth, and
will partake of the life everlasting, for the truth is immortal."
There was no one among the guests but was strengthened in his,
spiritual life, and recognized the sweetness of a life of
righteousness; and they took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the


HAVING sent out his disciples, the Blessed One himself wandered from
place to place until he reached Uruvela. On his way he sat down in a
grove to rest, and it happened that in that same grove was a party
of thirty friends who were enjoying themselves with their wives; and
while they were sporting, some of their goods were stolen. Then the
whole party went in search of the thief and, meeting the Blessed One
sitting under a tree, saluted him and said: "Pray, Lord, didst thou
see the thief pass by with our goods?"
And the Blessed One said: "Which is better for you, that you go in
search for the thief or for yourselves?" And the youths cried: "In
search for ourselves!"
"Well then," said the Blessed One "sit down and I will preach the
truth to you." And the whole party sat down and they listened
eagerly to the words of the Blessed One. Having grasped the truth,
they praised the doctrine and took refuge in the Buddha.


THERE was a Brahman, a religious man and fond in his affections
but without deep wisdom. He had a son of great promise, who, when
seven years old, was struck with a fatal disease and died. The
unfortunate father was unable to control himself; he threw himself
upon the corpse and lay there as one dead. The relatives came and
buried the dead child and when the father came to himself, he was so
immoderate in his grief that he behaved like an insane person. He no
longer gave way to tears but wandered about asking for the residence
of Yamaraja, the king of death, humbly to beg of him that his child
might be allowed to return to life.
Having arrived at a great Brahman temple the sad father went through
certain religious rites and fell asleep. While wandering on in his
dream he came to a deep mountain pass where he met a number of samanas
who had acquired supreme wisdom. "Kind sirs," he said, "Can you not
tell me where the residence of Yamaraja is?" And they asked him, "Good
friend, why wouldst thou know?" Whereupon he told them his sad story
and explained his intentions. Pitying his self-delusion, the samanas
said: "No mortal man can reach the place where Yama reigns, but some
four hundred miles westward lies a great city in which many good
spirits live; every eighth day of the month Yama visits the place, and
there mayst thou see him who is the King of Death and ask him for a
The Brahman rejoicing at the news went to the city and found it as
the samanas had told him. He was admitted to the dread presence of
Yama, the King of Death, who, on hearing his request, said: "Thy son
now lives in the eastern garden where he is disporting himself; go
there and ask him to follow thee." Said the happy father: "How does it
happen that my son, without having performed one good work, is now
living in paradise?" Yamaraja replied: "He has obtained celestial
happiness not for performing good deeds, but because he died in
faith and in love to the Lord and Master, the most glorious Buddha.
The Buddha says: 'The heart of love and faith spreads as it were a
beneficent shade from the world of men to the world of gods.' This
glorious utterance is like the stamp of a king's seal upon a royal
The happy father hastened to the place and saw his be beloved
child playing with other children, all transfigured by the peace of
the blissful existence of a heavenly life. He ran up to his boy and
cried with tears running down his cheeks: "My son, my son, dost thou
not remember me, thy father who watched over thee with loving care and
tended thee in thy sickness? Return home with me to the land of the
living." But the boy, while struggling to go back to his playmates,
upbraided him for using such strange expressions as father and son.
"In my present state, he said, "I know no such words, for I am free
from delusion."
On this, the Brahman departed, and when he woke from his dream he
bethought himself of the Blessed Master of mankind, the great
Buddha, and resolved to go to him, lay bare his grief, and seek
consolation. Having arrived at the Jetavana, the Brahman told his
story and how his boy had refused to recognize him and to go home with
And the World-honored One said: "Truly thou art deluded. When man
dies the body is dissolved into its elements, but the spirit is not
entombed. It leads a higher mode of life in which all the relative
terms of father, son, wife, mother, are at an end, just as a guest who
leaves his lodging has done with it, as though it were a thing of
the past. Men concern themselves most about that which passes away;
but the end of life quickly comes as a burning torrent sweeping away
the transient in a moment. They are like a blind man set to look after
a burning lamp. A wise man, understanding the transiency of worldly
relations, destroys the cause of grief, and escapes from the
seething whirlpool of sorrow. Religious wisdom lifts a man above the
pleasures and pains of the world and gives him peace everlasting." The
Brahman asked the permission of the Blessed One to enter the community
of his bhikkhus, so as to acquire that heavenly wisdom which alone can
give comfort to an afflicted heart.


THERE was a rich man who found his gold suddenly transformed into
ashes; and he took to his bed and refused all food. A friend,
hearing of his sickness, visited the rich man and learned the cause of
his grief. And the friend said: "Thou didst not make good use of thy
wealth. When thou didst hoard it up it was not better than ashes.
Now heed my advice. Spread mats in the bazaar; pile up these ashes,
and pretend to trade with them." The rich man did as his friend had
told him, and when his neighbors asked him, "Why sellest thou
ashes?" he said: "I offer my goods for sale."
After some time a young girl, named Kisa Gotami, an orphan and
very poor, passed by, and seeing the rich man in the bazaar, said: "My
lord, why pilest thou thus up gold and silver for sale?" And the
rich man said: "Wilt thou please hand me that gold and silver?" And
Kisa Gotami took up a handful of ashes, and lo! they changed back into
gold. Considering that Kisa Gotami had the mental eye of spiritual
knowledge and saw the real worth of things, the rich man gave her in
marriage to his son, and he said: "With many, gold is no better than
ashes, but with Kisa Gotami ashes become pure gold."
And Kisa Gotami had an only son, and he died. In her grief she
carried the dead child to all her neighbors, asking them for medicine,
and the people said: "She has lost her senses. The boy is dead. At
length Kisa Gotami met a man who replied to her request: "I cannot
give thee medicine for thy child, but I know a physician who can." The
girl said: "Pray tell me, sir; who is it?" And the man replied: "Go to
Sakyamuni, the Buddha."
Kisa Gotami repaired to the Buddha and cried: "Lord and Master, give
me the medicine that will cure my boy." The Buddha answered: "I want a
handful of mustard-seed." And when the girl in her joy promised to
procure it, the Buddha added: "The mustard-seed must be taken from a
house where no one has lost a child, husband, parent, or friend." Poor
Kisa Gotami now went from house to house, and the people pitied her
and said: "Here is mustard-seed; take it!" But when she asked Did a
son or daughter, a father or mother, die in your family?" They
answered her: "Alas the living are few, but the dead are many. Do
not remind us of our deepest grief." And there was no house but some
beloved one had died in it.
Kisa Gotami became weary and hopeless, and sat down at the
wayside, watching the lights of the city, as they flickered up and
were extinguished again. At last the darkness of the night reigned
everywhere. And she considered the fate of men, that their lives
flicker up and are extinguished. And she thought to herself: "How
selfish am I in my grief! Death is common to all; yet in this valley
of desolation there is a path that leads him to immortality who has
surrendered all selfishness."
Putting away the selfishness of her affection for her child, Kisa
Gotami had the dead body buried in the forest. Returning to the
Buddha, she took refuge in him and found comfort in the Dharma,
which is a balm that will soothe all the pains of our troubled hearts.
The Buddha said: "The life of mortals in this world is troubled
and brief and combined with pain. For there is not any means by
which those that have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old
age there is death; of such a nature are living beings. As ripe fruits
are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in
danger of death. As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in
being broken, so is the life of mortals. Both young and adult, both
those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of
death; all are subject to death.
"Of those who, overcome by death, depart from life, a father
cannot save his son, nor kinsmen their relations. Mark I while
relatives are looking on and lamenting deeply, one by one mortals
are carried off, like an ox that is led to the slaughter. So the world
is afflicted with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve,
knowing the terms of the world. In whatever manner people think a
thing will come to pass, it is often different when it happens, and
great is the disappointment; see, such are the terms of the world.
"Not from weeping nor from grieving will any one obtain peace of
mind; on the contrary, his pain will be the greater and his body
will suffer. He will make himself sick and pale, yet the dead are
not saved by his lamentation. People pass away, and their fate after
death will be according to their deeds. If a man live a hundred years,
or even more, he will at last be separated from the company of his
relatives, and leave the life of this world. He who seeks peace should
draw out the arrow of lamentation, and complaint, and grief. He who
has drawn out the arrow and has become composed will obtain peace of
mind; he who has overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow, and
be blessed."


SOUTH of Savatthi is a great river, on the banks of which lay a
hamlet of five hundred houses. Thinking of the salvation of the
people, the World-honored One resolved to go to the village and preach
the doctrine. Having come to the riverside he sat down beneath a tree,
and the villagers seeing the glory of his appearance approached him
with reverence; but when he began to preach, they believed him not.
When the world-honored Buddha had left Savatthi Sariputta felt a
desire to see the Lord and to hear him preach. Coming to the river
where the water was deep and the current strong, he said to himself:
"This stream shall not prevent me. I shall go and see the Blessed One,
and he stepped upon the water which was as firm under his feet as a
slab of granite. When he arrived at a place in the middle of the
stream where the waves were high, Sariputta's heart gave way, and he
began to sink. But rousing his faith and renewing his mental effort,
he proceeded as before and reached the other bank.
The people of the village were astonished to see Sariputta, and they
asked how he could cross the stream where there was neither a bridge
nor a ferry. Sariputta replied: "I lived in ignorance until I heard
the voice of the Buddha. As I was anxious to hear the doctrine of
salvation, I crossed the river and I walked over its troubled waters
because I had faith. Faith. nothing else, enabled me to do so, and now
I am here in the bliss of the Master's presence."
The World-honored One added: "Sariputta, thou hast spoken well.
Faith like thine alone can save the world from the yawning gulf of
migration and enable men to walk dryshod to the other shore." And
the Blessed One urged to the villagers the necessity of ever advancing
in the conquest of sorrow and of casting off all shackles so as to
cross the river of worldliness and attain deliverance from death.
Hearing the words of the Tathagata, the villagers were filled with joy
and believing in the doctrines of the Blessed One embraced the five
rules and took refuge in his name.


AN old bhikkhu of a surly disposition was afflicted with a loathsome
disease the sight and smell of which was so nauseating that no one
would come near him or help him in his distress. And it happened
that the World-honored One came to the vihara in which the unfortunate
man lay; hearing of the case he ordered warm water to be prepared
and went to the sick-room to administer unto the sores of the
patient with his own hand, saying to his disciples:
"The Tathagata has come into the world to befriend the poor, to
succor the unprotected, to nourish those in bodily affliction, both
the followers of the Dharma and unbelievers, to give sight to the
blind and enlighten the minds of the deluded, to stand up for the
rights of orphans as well as the aged, and in so doing to set an
example to others. This is the consummation of his work, and thus he
attains the great goal of life as the rivers that lose themselves in
the ocean."
The World-honored One administered unto the sick bhikkhu daily so
long as he stayed in that place. And the governor of the city came
to the Buddha to do him reverence and having heard of the service
which the Lord did in the vihara asked the Blessed One about the
previous existence of the sick monk, and the Buddha said:
"In days gone by there was a wicked king who used to extort from his
subjects all he could get; and he ordered one of his officers to lay
the lash on a man of eminence. The officer little thinking of the pain
he inflicted upon others, obeyed; but when the victim of the king's
wrath begged for mercy, he felt compassion and laid the whip lightly
upon him. Now the king was reborn as Devadatta, who was abandoned by
all his followers, because they were no longer willing to stand his
severity, and he died miserable and full of penitence. The officer
is the sick bhikkhu, who having often given offense to his brethren in
the vihara was left without assistance in his distress. The eminent
man, however, who was unjustly beaten and begged for mercy was the
Bodhisattva; he has been reborn as the Tathagata. It is now the lot of
the Tathagata to help the wretched officer as he had mercy on him."
And the World-honored One repeated these lines: "He who inflicts
pain on the gentle, or falsely accuses the innocent, will inherit
one of the ten great calamities. But he who has learned to suffer with
patience will be purified and will be the chosen instrument for the
alleviation of suffering."
The diseased bhikkhu on hearing these words turned to the Buddha,
confessed his ill-natured temper and repented, and with a heart
cleansed from error did reverence unto the Lord.


WHILE the Blessed One was residing in the Jetavana, there was a
householder living in Savatthi known to all his neighbors as patient
and kind, but his relatives were wicked and contrived a plot to rob
him. One day they came to the householder and by worrying him with all
kinds of threats took away a goodly portion of his property. He did
not go to court, nor did he complain, but tolerated with great
forbearance the wrongs he suffered. The neighbors wondered and began
to talk about it, and rumors of the affair reached the ears of the
brethren in Jetavana. While the brethren discussed the occurrence in
the assembly hall, the Blessed One entered and asked "What was the
topic of your conversation?" And they told him.
Said the Blessed One: "The time will come when the wicked
relatives will find their punishment. O brethren, this is not the
first time that this occurrence took place; it has happened before,"
and he told them a world-old tale: Once upon a time, when
Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisattva was born in the
Himalaya region as an elephant. He grew up strong and big, and
ranged the hills and mountains, the peaks and caves of the torturous
woods in the valleys. Once as he went he saw a pleasant tree, and took
his food, standing under it. Then some impertinent monkeys came down
out of the tree, and jumping on the elephant's back, insulted and
tormented him greatly; they took hold of his tusks, pulled his tail
and disported themselves, thereby causing him much annoyance. The
Bodhisattva, being full of patience, kindliness and mercy, took no
notice at all of their misconduct which the monkeys repeated again and
"One day the spirit that lived in the tree, standing upon the
tree-trunk, addressed the elephant saying, 'My lord elephant, why dost
thou put up with the impudence of these bad monkeys?' And he asked the
question in a couplet as follows:

"'Why do you patiently endure each freak
These mischievous and selfish monkeys wreak?'

"The Bodhisattva, on hearing this, replied, If, Tree sprite, I
cannot endure these monkeys' ill treatment without abusing their
birth, lineage and persons, how can I walk in the eightfold noble
path? But these monkeys will do the same to others thinking them to be
like me. If they do it to any rogue elephant, he will punish them
indeed, and I shall be delivered both from their annoyance and the
guilt of having done harm to others.' Saying this he repeated
another stanza:

"If they will treat another one like me,
He will destroy them; and I shall be free.

"A few days after, the Bodhisattva went elsewhere, and another
elephant, a savage beast, came and stood in his place. The wicked
monkeys thinking him to be like the old one, climbed upon his back and
did as before. The rogue elephant seized the monkeys with his trunk,
threw them upon the ground, gored them with his tusk and trampled them
to mincemeat under his feet."
When the Master had ended this teaching, he declared the truths, and
identified the births, saying: "At that time the mischievous monkeys
were the wicked relatives of the good man, the rogue elephant was
the one who will punish them, but the virtuous noble elephant was
the Tathagata himself in a former incarnation."
After this discourse one of the brethren rose and asked leave to
propose a question and when the permission was granted he said: "I
have heard the doctrine that wrong should be met with wrong and the
evil doer should be checked by being made to suffer, for if this
were not done evil would increase and good would disappear. What shall
we do?" Said the Blessed One: "Nay, I will tell you You who have
left the world and have adopted this glorious faith of putting aside
selfishness, you shall not do evil for evil nor return hate for
hate. Neither think that you can destroy wrong by retaliating evil for
evil and thus increasing wrong. Leave the wicked to their fate and
their evil deeds will sooner or later in one way or another bring on
their own punishment." And the Tathagata repeated these stanzas:

"Who harms the man who does no harm,
Or strikes at him who strikes him not,
Shall soon some punishment incur
Which his own wickedness begot,-

"One of the gravest ills in life,
Either a loathsome dread disease,
Or sad old age, or loss of mind,
Or wretched pain without surcease,

"Or conflagration, loss of wealth;
Or of his nearest kin he shall
See some one die that's dear to him,
And then he'll be reborn in hell."


WHEN the Blessed One was residing on the mounted called Vulture's
Peak, near Rajagaha, Ajatasattu king of Magadha, who reigned in the
place of Bimbisara, planned an attack on the Vajjis, and he said to
Vassakara, his prime mister: "I will root out the Vajjis, mighty
though they be. I will destroy the Vajjis; I will bring them to
utter ruin! Come now, O Brahman, and go to the Blessed One; inquire in
my name for his health, and tell him my purpose. Bear carefully in
mind what the Blessed One may say, and repeat it to me, for the
Buddhas speak nothing untrue."
When Vassakara, the prime minister, had greeted the Blessed One
and delivered his message, the venerable Ananda stood behind the
Blessed One and fanned him, and the Blessed One said to him: "Hast
thou heard, Ananda, that the Vajjis hold full and frequent public
assemblies?" He replied, "Lord, so I have heard."
"So long, Ananda," said the Blessed One, "as the Vajjis hold these
full and frequent public assemblies, they may be expected not to
decline, but to prosper. So long as they meet together in concord,
so long as they honor their elders, so long as they respect womanhood,
so long as they remain religious, performing all proper rites, so long
as they extend the rightful protection, defense and support to the
holy ones, the Vajjis may be expected not to decline, but to prosper."
Then the Blessed One addressed Vassakara and said: "When I stayed, O
Brahman, at Vesali, I taught the Vajjis these conditions of welfare,
that so long as they should remain well instructed, so long as they
will continue in the right path, so long as they live up to the
precepts of righteousness, we could expect them not to decline, but to
As soon as the king's messenger had gone, the Blessed One had the
brethren, that were in the neighborhood of Rajagaha, assembled in
the service-hall and addressed them, saying: "I will teach you, O
bhikkhus, the conditions of the welfare of a community. Listen well,
and I will speak.
"So long, O bhikkhus, as the brethren hold full and frequent
assemblies, meeting in concord, rising in concord, and attending in
concord to the affairs of the Sangha; so long as they, O bhikkhus,
do not abrogate that which experience has proved to be good, and
introduce nothing except such things as have been carefully tested; so
long as their elders practice justice; so long as the brethren esteem,
revere, and support their elders, and hearken unto their words; so
long as the brethren are not under the influence of craving, but
delight in the blessings of religion, so that good and holy men
shall come to them and dwell among them in quiet; so long as the
brethren shall not be addicted to sloth and idleness; so long as the
brethren shall exercise themselves in the sevenfold higher wisdom of
mental activity, search after truth, energy, joy, modesty,
self-control, earnest contemplation, and equanimity of mind, so long
the Sangha may be expected to prosper. Therefore, O bhikkhus, be
full of faith, modest in heart, afraid of sin, anxious to learn,
strong in energy, active in mind, and full of wisdom.


THE Blessed One proceeded with a great company of the brethren to
Nalanda; and there he stayed in a mango grove. Now the venerable
Sariputta came to the place where the Blessed One was, and having
saluted him, took his seat respectfully at his side, and said:
"Lord! such faith have I in the Blessed One, that methinks there never
has been, nor will there be, nor is there now any other, who is
greater or wiser than the Blessed One, that is to say, as regards
the higher wisdom."
Replied the Blessed One: "Grand and bold are the words of thy mouth,
Sariputta: verily, thou hast burst forth into a song of ecstasy!
Surely then thou hast known all the Blessed Ones who in the long
ages of the past have been holy Buddhas?" "Not so, O Lord!" said
And the Lord continued: "Then thou hast perceived all the Blessed
Ones who in the long ages of the future shall be holy Buddhas?" "Not
so, O Lord!"
"But at least then, O Sariputta, thou knowest me as the holy
Buddha now alive, and hast penetrated my mind." "Not even that, O
"Thou seest then, Sariputta, that thou knowest not the hearts of the
holy Buddhas of the past nor the hearts of those of the future. Why,
therefore, are thy words so grand and bold? Why burstest thou forth
into such a song of ecstasy?"
"O Lord! I have not the knowledge of the hearts of all the Buddhas
that have been and are to come, and now are. I only know the lineage
of the faith. Just as a king, Lord, might have a border city, strong
in its foundations, strong in its ramparts and with one gate only; and
the king might have a watchman there, clever, expert, and wise, to
stop all strangers and admit only friends. And on going over the
approaches all about the city, he might not be able so to observe
all the joints and crevices in the ramparts of that city as to know
where such a small creature as a cat could get out. That might well
be. Yet all living beings of larger size that entered or left the
city, would have to pass through that gate. Thus only is it, Lord,
that I know the lineage of the faith. I know that the holy Buddhas
of the past, putting away all lust, ill-will, sloth, pride, and doubt,
knowing all those mental faults which make men weak, training their
minds in the four kinds of mental activity, thoroughly exercising
themselves in the sevenfold higher wisdom, received the full
fruition of Enlightenment. And I know that the holy Buddhas of the
times to come will do the same. And I know that the Blessed One, the
holy Buddha of today, has done so now."
"Great is thy faith, O Sariputta," replied the Blessed One, "but
take heed that it be well grounded."


WHEN the Blessed One had stayed as long as convenient at Nalanda, he
went to Pataliputta, the frontier town of Magadha; and when the
disciples at Pataliputta heard of his arrival, they invited him to
their village rest-house. And the Blessed One robed himself, took
his bowl and went with the brethren to the rest-house. There he washed
his feet, entered the hall, and seated himself against the center
pillar, with his face towards the east. The brethren, also, having
washed their feet, entered the hall, and took their seats round the
Blessed One, against the western wall, facing the east. And the lay
devotees of Pataliputta, having also washed their feet, entered the
hall, and took their seats opposite the Blessed One against the
eastern wall, facing towards the west.
Then the Blessed One addressed the lay-disciples of Pataliputta, and
he said: "Fivefold O householders, is the loss of the wrong-doer
through his want of rectitude. In the first place, the wrong-doer,
devoid of rectitude, falls into great poverty through sloth; in the
next place, his evil repute gets noised abroad; thirdly, whatever
society he enters, whether of Brahmans, nobles, heads of houses, or
samanas, he enters shyly and confusedly; fourthly, he is full of
anxiety when he dies; and lastly, on the dissolution of the body after
death, his mind remains in an unhappy state. Wherever his karma
continues, there will be suffering and woe. This, O householders, is
fivefold loss of the evil-doer!
"Fivefold, O householders, is the gain of the well-doer through
his practice of rectitude. In the first place the well doer, strong in
rectitude, acquires property through his industry; in the next
place, good reports of him are spread abroad; thirdly, whatever
society he enters, whether of nobles, Brahmans, heads of houses, or
members of the order, he enters with confidence and self-possession;
fourthly, he dies without anxiety; and, lastly, on the dissolution
of the body after death, his mind remains in a happy state. Wherever
his karma continues, there will be heavenly bliss and peace. This, O
householders, is the fivefold gain of the well doer." When the Blessed
One had taught the disciples, and incited them, and roused them, and
gladdened them far into the night with religious edification, he
dismissed them, saying, "The night is far spent, O householders. It is
time for you to do what ye deem most fit."
"Be it so, Lord!" answered the disciples of Pataliputta, and
rising from their seats, they bowed to the Blessed One, and keeping
him on their right hand as they passed him, they departed thence.
While the Blessed One stayed at Pataliputta, the king of Magadha
sent a messenger to the governor of Pataliputta to raise
fortifications for the security of the town. The Blessed One seeing
the laborers at work predicted the future greatness of the place,
saying: "The men who build the fortress act as if they had consulted
higher powers. For this city of Pataliputta will be a dwelling-place
of busy men and a center for the exchange of all kinds of goods. But
three dangers hang over Pataliputta, that of fire, that of water, that
of dissension."
When the governor heard of the prophecy of Pataliputta's future,
he greatly rejoiced and named the city-gate through which the Buddha
had gone towards the river Ganges, "The Gotama Gate." Meanwhile the
people living on the banks of the Ganges arrived in great numbers to
pay reverence to the Lord of the world; and many persons asked him
to do them the honor to cross over in their boats. But the Blessed One
considering the number of the boats and their beauty did not want to
show any partiality, and by accepting the invitation of one to
offend all the others. He therefore crossed the river without any
boat, signifying thereby that the rafts of asceticism and the gaudy
gondolas of religious ceremonies were not staunch enough to weather
the storms of samsara, while the Tathagata can walk dry-shod over
the ocean of worldliness. And as the city gate was called after the
name of the Tathagata so the people called this passage of the river
"Gotama Ford."


THE Blessed One proceeded to the village Nadika with a great company
of brethren and there he stayed at the Brick Hall. And the venerable
Ananda went to the Blessed One and mentioning to him the names of
the brethren and sisters that had died, anxiously inquired about their
fate after death, whether they had been reborn in animals or in
hell, or as ghosts, or in any place of woe.
The Blessed One replied to Ananda and said: "Those who have died
after the complete destruction of the three bonds of lust, of
covetousness and of the egotistical cleaving to existence, need not
fear the state after death. They will not be reborn in a state of
suffering; their minds will not continue as a karma of evil deeds or
sin, but are assured of final salvation.
"When they die, nothing will remain of them but their good thoughts,
their righteous acts, and the bliss that proceeds from truth and
righteousness. As rivers must at last reach the distant main, so their
minds will be reborn in higher states of existence and continue to
be pressing on to their ultimate goal which is the ocean of truth, the
eternal peace of Nirvana. Men are anxious about death and their fate
after death; but consider, it is not at all strange, Ananda, that a
human being should die. However, that thou shouldst inquire about
them, and having heard the truth still be anxious about the dead, this
is wearisome to the Blessed One. I will, therefore, teach thee the
mirror of truth and let the faithful disciple repeat it:
"'Hell is destroyed for me, and rebirth as an animal, or a ghost, or
in any place of woe. I am converted; I am no longer liable to be
reborn in a state of suffering, and am assured of final salvation.'
"What, then, Ananda, is this mirror of truth? It is the
consciousness that the elect disciple is in this world possessed of
faith in the Buddha, believing the Blessed One to be the Holy One, the
Fully-enlightened One, wise, upright, happy, world-knowing, supreme,
the Bridler of men's wayward hearts, the Teacher of gods and men,
the blessed Buddha. It is further the consciousness that the
disciple is possessed of faith in the truth believing the truth to
have been proclaimed by the Blessed One, for the benefit of the world,
passing not away, welcoming all, leading to salvation, to which
through truth the wise will attain, each one by his own efforts.
"And, finally, it is the consciousness that the disciple is
possessed of faith in the order, believing in the efficacy of a
union among those men and women who are anxious to walk in the noble
eightfold path; believing this church of the Buddha, of the righteous,
the upright, the just, the law abiding, to be worthy of honor, of
hospitality, of gifts, and of reverence; to be the supreme
sowing-ground of merit for the world; to be possessed of the virtues
beloved by the good, virtues unbroken, intact, unspotted, unblemished,
virtues which make men truly free, virtues which are praised by the
wise, are untarnished by the desire of selfish aims, either now or
in a future life, or by the belief in the efficacy of outward acts,
and are conducive to high and holy thought. This is the mirror of
truth which teaches the straightest way to enlightenment which is
the common goal of all living creatures. He who possesses the mirror
of truth is free from fear; he will find comfort in the tribulations
of life, and his life will be a blessing to all his fellow-creatures."