Графични страници
PDF файл

parable grace of Bodhisatwa'B person as he approached, and the spiritual lustre which shone from him, were filled with awe, and spake one to another thus—" Surely this is the great Isvara, possessing three eyes,1 come down from heaven to earth." Then from every part the people came together, and whatever their engagements, they forgot all, and assembled around Bodhisatwa to pay him honour, filled with immeasurable joy. [Now at this time, Bodhisatwa was in the freshness of his youth; and, moreover, since the time of his leaving his palace to become a recluse, there had formed on his forehead, between his eyes, a circle of hair, from which was constantly emitted a flood of light, whilst his hands and his feet were so admirably proportioned, and the fingers and toes so beautu fully connected together, as by a network filament, that his very appearance was enough to convert and restrain all who beheld him.] And so the Gatha says—

"Bodhisatwa, moving along the road.
Whatever men beheld him thus,
His body perfectly bright and glorious,
Conceived great joy in their hearts.

Between his eyes the silky hair-circle, like the new moon. His eyes, blue and soft as those of the King of oxen, His body always emitting light. His hands and feet beautifully proportioned; Beholding such rare beauty as this, Not thinking what their engagements were, But lost in admiration at what they beheld, All their hearts were filled with joy." Thus, surrounded by a vast crowd, Bodhisatwa advanced steadily onwards, his body perfectly erect, his eyes fixed before him, and his garments all strictly arranged. And as he passed through the streets, those who were engaged in buying or selling, or others who were drinking in the wine shops, all left their engagements, and were wrapped in awe as they beheld Bodhisatwa, and followed him on his course.

So, also, countless women in the city gazed at Bodhisatwa from the corners of the door-posts, from the windows, from the balconies, and tops of the houses; and as they watched him go from

1 Siva Trinayana.

door to door, their hearts were filled with unutterable joy, as they spake one to another—" Who is this that has come hither—his person so beautiful and so joy-giving as he moves? What is his name? What caste or family does he belong to? Is he Brahman or Shaman T"

At this time, the King of Magadha, who reigned at Rajagriha was named Bimbasara, of the family Srenika.1 Now this monarch, before obtaining the kingdom, had made five earnest vows, which were these:—1. May I obtain the Royal dignity early in life. 2. May there be born a Buddha during my reign. 3. May I be permitted to see him and give him charity. 4. May I hear him preach. 5. May I arrive at the knowledge of the Law.

At this time, Bimbasara Raja was on the top of the city-gate, surrounded by his ministers; as he sat there, lo! afar off he saw Bodhisatwa, accompanied by the crowd as he went, advancing towards the city with dignified pace. Seeing him thus, his heart was filled with doubt; and so, descending from the tower, he went forth from the gate, and approached Bodhisatwa, whose body was glorious as the stars that shine in space throughout the darkness of the night, or as the brightness of the Mani gem. The King then addressed his ministers, and said, "Never since I was born have I seen such a perfectly beautiful and dignified person as this. Go forward, my lords, and inquire who he is, and whence he comes, and what his name?"

Then some said, it is Devaraja, others it is Sakra, others it is a Mahanagaraja, others it is Vemachitra Asura Raja, others it is Bala Asura Raja, others it is Vaisravana Raja, the protector of the world; others it is Suryadeva, others said it is Chandradeva, others Maheshwara, others Brahmadeva, whilst one of the wise ministers declared it was no other than a Chakravarti De but at length one of the councillors explained the whole circumstance of Bodhisatwa's birth at Kapilavastu, and the horoscope that had been cast, and declared that this stranger approaching the city could be no other than he.

Then Bimbasara thought, "this is nothing more than the accomplishment of my vow;" and so forthwith he commanded two of his attendant ministers to go watch where B6dhisatwa finally

1 Lai. Vist. 229, n.

took his abode, that he might himself go and pay reverence to him. Accordingly they went and joined themselves to the company of Bodhisatwa's followers, with a view to obey the king's commands.

Now, Bodhisatwa, as he passed through Rajagriha, asking alms, seeing the vast multitude of the people which thronged every part of the city, began to reflect within himself, "All these people are without any means of salvation, without any hope of deliverance, constantly tossed on the sea of life and death, old age and disease; with no fear or care about their unhappy condition, with no one to guide them or instruct them; ever wandering in the dark, and unable to escape from the net of impermanency and change."

Thinking thus, his heart was moved with love, and he felt himself strengthened in his resolution to provide some sure ground of salvation for the world.

Thus, proceeding slowly through the city, with his eyes fixed before him, and his body erect, he begged his food from house to house, after which he returned to Mount Pandava, and sat down in the shade beside a running fountain of water, to eat his meal. After having washed his hands and feet, he ascended the mountain, and looking to the south, he sought out a shady spot, where, with his face to the east, he sat down, with his legs crossed, surrounded by the birds who flew from tree to tree, and the flowers that carpeted the earth; whilst his garments gathered over him shone forth like the sun in his glory. And so the Gatha says—

"Surrounded by the fragrant trees of the mountain,
The birds and beasts disporting themselves in gambols;
The man, clad in his Kashya garment,
Shone as the sun in his early strength."

Seated thus beneath the tree, he reflected thus—" I must now learn even more thoroughly the vanity of such names as Pudgala, Jantu, Manushya, Manava, that the five Skandha are unreal, that all phenomena are false and illusory names.

Meantime, the two messengers of King Bimbasara, having followed Bodhisatwa to the spot where he was seated, the chief minister approached to within a little distance of the place, and sat down. Meantime, the other returned to the king, and told him that Bodhisatwa was seated on the southern slope of Mount Pandava.

Then the king, mounting his chariot, proceeded towards the place, and soon arriving there, he beheld Bodhisatwa seated as we have said, his body bright as the stars that shine through the dark night, or as the fire that burns on the top of some hill, or the lightning that gleams from the cloud. Then the king's heart was filled with reverence and awe, as he saluted him with much respect. And so the Gatha says—

"The king, seeing Bodhisatwa glorious as Sakrar&ja, His body bright and shining; his heart filled with joy; He saluted him, and wished him the four compliments, health, happiness, freedom from pain and care." Then Bodhisatwa, with a voice soft and sweet as that of Maha Brahma, returned the salutation of the king, and wished him all happiness and prosperity, as he asked him further the purpose of his visit, and invited him to be seated. Then Bimbasara Raja proceeded to seat himself on a large stone near to Bodhisatwa and addressed him thus—" Respectable sir! I have some doubts in my mind—would that you would solve them for me, if it be not troublesome to ask you so to do! In the first place, who or what are you ?—are you a God, or a Naga, or Brahma, or Sakra, or a man, or a spirit?"

Then Bodhisatwa, having entirely got rid of all crooked ways, answered plainly and truthfully, "Maharaja! I am no god, or spirit, but a plain man, seeking for rest, and so am practising the rules of an ascetic life."

Then the king rejoined—"But why are you thus living when your youth and your beauty would entitle you to the enjoyment of all the pleasures which men hold so dear.

"Your body, bright as sandal-wood,
You should not wear this Kashya robe,
Your hands fit to control the wills of men,
Should not be carrying that alms-dish."

Bimbasara then proceeds to urge Bodhisatwa to give up his purpose, to share the kingdom of Magadha with him, and indulge in the pleasures of life.

Then Bodhisatwa, unmoved by anything the king had said, perfectly collected, and pure in thought, word, and act, replied as follows—

"Maharaja! you should not indulge in such foolish talk? Such arguments as you have used can have no possible weight with one like myself. The pleasures of which you speak are perishing and illusory! They are as thieves and robbers; they are but fancies of an empty mind; the dreams of a madman; the follies of one who hates the truth. Even as the Gatha says—

"' The five pleasures are inconstant, poisoners of virtue;

The six objects of sense are illusive and false—

The inheritance of fools and madmen;

But the sage! he alone has a firm standing ground.'"

Bodhisatwa then proceeds with various arguments, comparisons, and illustrations, to impress on Bimbasara his fixed and unchangeable purpose to pursue the life of an ascetic, and seek for final deliverance.

[Kiouen XXIII contains 6550 words and cost 3.275 taels.]

The argument with Bimbasara (continued).

In the first part of this chapter, Bodhisatwa proceeds with his argument with Bimbasara Baja. He urges the folly of pursuing earthly happiness, whilst the inevitable evils of death, and old age, and disease, and renewed birth, are still undestroyed. The following are the Gathas used at intervals to illustrate his argument:

"Wounded by the arrows of sorrow,
I desire only to find a lasting remedy;
Supposing the palace of Sakra were mine to choose,
I would not cover it—much less worldly dignities."

« ПредишнаНапред »