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sub compact, sacrificed to the gods countless victims of various kinds, hoping hereafter to attain the happiness of heaven."
Bodhisatwa replied—" This system of religion, which consists in offering up sacrifices slain by the hand of those engaged in it—tell me, what is the character of this system?"
They replied—"It is a custom which has been handed down from very remote time, that those who worship the gods should do it in this way."
Bodhisatwa asked—" How can the system which requires the infliction of misery on others be called a religious system? Surely, if the body were polluted and filthy, it would not be made pure or clean by returning again to the filth and rolling in it. How, then, having a body defiled with blood, will the shedding of blood restore it to purity. To seek a good by doing an evil is surely no safe plan."
The Rishis answered—" This, nevertheless, is a true system of Religion."
B6dhisatwa said again—"But in what way, and by what reason?"
The Rishis answered—" According to the Vedas, and what we find the old Rishis said."
B6dhisatwa said—"Pray explain what this was." They replied —" The system is simply this, that all men who worship the Gods must sacrifice."
Bodhisatwa said—" I will ask you, then, if a man, in worshipping the gods, sacrifices a sheep, and so does well, why should he not kill his child, his relative, or dear friend, in worshipping the gods, and so do better? Surely, then, there can be no merit in killing a sheep! It is but a confused and illogical system, this."
At this time Bodhisatwa, observing that not far from the place where they were seated there was a clump of trees, the space beneath which was used as a cemetery, he asked the Rishis, and said — "Venerable sirs! and what place is that yonder?"
They said—" In that place the corpses of men are exposed, to be devoured by the birds; and there also they collect and pile up the white bones of dead persons, as you perceive; they burn corpses there also, and preserve the bones in heaps. They hang dead bodies also from the trees; there are others buried there, such as have been slain or put to death by their relatives, dreading lest they should come to life again; whilst others are left there upon the ground, that they may return, if possible, to their former homes." And then the Rishis explained how that those who tended the dead in these cemeteries, and performed these various offices for them, did so with the hope of being hereafter born in the world as men in eminent and wealthy positions.
Then Bodhisatwa rejoined—"That men should practice these modes of self-inflicted pain for the purpose of securing such returns! Sad! sad! What ignorance and what delusion!—what inconstancy and unrest!—to suffer, and then to be born again to suffer! These foolish men are like those who thrust themselves into a fire, or willingly enter the jaws of some devouring serpent!"
Thus it was Bodhisatwa discoursed with wise and choice speech in the company of these Rishis, and so discoursing, the time of sunset approached. Then Bodhisatwa, returning to the abode of the Rishi who had first addressed him, remained there that night. On the morrow, at sunrise, all those Rishis followed him as he went from place to place. Bodhisatwa, perceiving them thus following him, immediately selected a certain tree, and sat down beneath its shade, whilst they came up, and some sat and others stood surrounding him. Amongst them there was one very ancient and venerable Rishi, who had conceived in his heart a great respect for Bodhisatwa, and addressed him thus—" Venerable sir, of Royal birth! from the time you came amongst us the place in which we dwell seemed to be filled with a self-born pleasantness, but now you have gone it seems like a wilderness. Oh! would that your reverence might be persuaded not to forsake our company. For, indeed, all those who seek for birth in heaven come here to practice their religious duties, and in a short time attain their wish by going to heaven. Venerable sir! you should not leave the place where so many holy men in days gone by have carried out their daily duties;" and so the Gatha says,
"Venerable sir! this wood of ours that was so pleasant,
Then all the Rishis added their requests that, if Bodhisatwa would not remain with them, they might follow him, and accompany him whithersoever he went.
To whom he replied, as he perceived they desired to make him their chief and follow his instructions, that these things could not be so; for although his mind was somewhat divided, yet there would be no peace for him in the pursuit of their aim, and that he must go elsewhere and seek for a more complete release. "Meanwhile," said he, "follow out your system taught by the old Rishis, and by your religious practices may you obtain your desire, and be born in heaven!"
Then an old Brahmachari, who was in the habit of sleeping on ashes, and wearing the polluted garments of the dead, his eyes bleared, his nose long, his body shrivelled, and in his hand the hermit's water-pot (kwan, kundika), having heard Bodhisatwa speak, addressed him thus—" Virtuous one! your resolve is a high one; and if you are so purposed, you had better go. Not far hence there lives a Rishi whose name is Alara, who has obtained a great renown for wisdom. Repair to him, venerable one! and receive his instructions, "and may you in the end attain your aim, and arrive at the condition of Perfect Wisdom for which you now seek."
To whom B6dhisatwa replied "Venerable Brahmachari, may it be so—even as you say!"
So it was Bodhisatwa left the company of the Rishis, and hastened on to the spot where dwelt Alara; and so the Gatha says, "The holy king-born son of the great Sakya race,
Having conversed in lucid speech with all the Rishis,
Resolved with fixed mind to go onwards to the abode of Alara,
And to return to the Rishis when in possession of Perfection."
The King's messengers return home.
§ 3. At this time the two messengers, mentioned above, moved with pity for the king, immediately set out in a well-appointed chariot from Kapilavastu to trace the progress of Bodhisatwa. Thus, by degrees, they came to the abode of the Rishi Bagava,
who, perceiving them, rose up and advanced towards them, offering ripe fruits and cool water as an inducement to remain there for a short time. Then these two men, having paid low reverence at the feet of the Rishi, took a seat on one side. Having rested awhile, the Rishi employed every means to alleviate their fatigue. Then the two messengers explained the object of their journey, and said, "We are the ministers of Suddhodana Baja, of the Ikshwaku race, whose only son Siddartha, through a terror of birth and death, disease, and old age, has left his home for the purpose of searching after complete deliverance; and having heard on the way that he had tarried in this place, we have come to inquire of you about him."
Then the Rishi answered the two messengers, and said—" It is true what you have heard; that eminent person did stop here with us, and having asked various questions, and being dissatisfied with our religious system, has now gone onwards towards the abode of the Rishi Alara;" and so the Gatha says—
"The aspirant after complete merit,
The two messengers having heard this, being anxious to fulfil the king's commands, without any delay, either to partake of the ripe fruit, or to drink the cool water of the place, set out after Bodhisatwa, and gradually advancing, they saw him sitting beneath a tree in the midst of a grove, and resting. His body, bereft of all its jewels, nevertheless emitted a soft and dazzling light, like the beams of the sun piercing through a dark cloud, and spread all around the brightness of its glory. The two messengers, immediately descending from their chariot, approached towards Bodhisatwa, and respectfully saluted him, and said, "May every prosperity attend you, sacred youth;" and then they stood before Bodhisatwa. At this time Bodhisatwa, having spoken to them kindly, invited them to sit down by his side. Being so seated, they addressed him and said—" Your Royal Father, overcome with grief at your departure, has sent us to beseech you not to enter on your religious life in the desert mountains without some further trial. We beseech you, therefore, return with us to our abodes, and take possession of the Empire; and if, after some further consideration, you shall determine to give up the kingly office, then after that you shall be at liberty to undertake the life of a recluse."
[Kiouen XX contains 5,706 words, and cost 8.285 taels.]
§ 1. Moreover, Suddhodana Raja added this to his former arguments, "My wise son, although you entertain but little Jove for all your kin, yet for my sake, at least, return to your home, and do not permit me to end my days in sorrow on your account. Dear son! the practice of religion involves, as a first principle a loving, compassionate heart for all creatures; and for this reason the very name of a religious life is given to it Why, then, should you consider a religious life as a term to be applied only to those who dwell in the lonely mountains. In former days men lived at home, and yet practised religion. They did not then cast away their jewels, or shave their crowns; and yet they were able to attain to complete emancipation; for nothing is necessary for this but wisdom and perseverance. But now, contrary to my wishes, you persist in leading the life of a hermit in the solitude of the mountains. But let me recount instances of those who have attained emancipation without thus giving up their home and all their possessions. There was of old the venerable T'sui shang, etc. There was King Rama, and so on—all these numerous kings were able to attain a condition of salvation without leaving their home, And therefore you, my son, may do the same. Return, therefore, oh, my son! etc. I willingly resign to you the kingdom; you shall be anointed king, and thus my joy shall be complete." And so the Gatha says—
"It is difficult to give up the pleasures and sweets of a kingdom, Yet for your sake I renounce all claim to mine; To see you in possession my greatest joy, Once beholding this, I would willingly be a recluse." The Minister of State and his companion, having delivered their instructions, such as are contained in the preceding section, to