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The ascent and sojourn (of Bodhisatwa) in the
§1. At this time, B6dhisatwa Mahasatwa, from being a faithful and obedient follower of Kasyapa Buddha, at the time of his death, was straightway born in the Tusita Heaven, at which time all the Devas of that heaven gave him the name of Prabhapala,1 and on this account he is so named. Then all the Devas announced the title by which he was known to the worlds above Tusita, and the sound thereof reached even to the Akanishta3 Heaven. Then the Devas also sang together, and said, "Prabhapala Bodhisatwa has come to be born in this Tusita Heaven." The sound of this strain was heard in the Trayastrifishas3 Heaven, and in the Heaven of the four kings,4 and it reached even to the abodes of the Asuras6; so that each one of them addressed the other in these words, "Prabhapala B6dhisatwa has gone up to be born in the Tusita Heaven." So, from the lowest abode of these Asuras, to the highest Heavens of the Akanishta, there flocked (innumerable beings) to the Tusita Heaven, to the abode of Prabhapala Bodhisatwa, to hear the law from his mouth.
Now the years of the life of the Tusita Devas is 4000 years, These years having past, then the five indications of change appear, that is to say, the chaplet on the head begins to fade; the armpits exude perspiration; the garments become less beautiful; the body loses its splendour; there is a restlessness on the chair or throne. And so it came to pass, when the Tusita Devas observed these signs affecting Prabhapala, they uttered a loud cry, and said, " alas! alack-a-day!" and speaking between themselves, they said, "Oh! misery! misery! Prabhapala will not be with us much longer! he
1 Hou-ming, vide Jul. ii, 358. But there is some confusion in Julien's translation. According to the " Lalita Vistara," Bodhisatwa's name was Swetaketu.
2 The highest of the Rupa (i. e., material) heavens.
s That is, the Heaven of Sakra, on the top of Sumeru.
4 That is, the four kings who keep watch over the earth. Their abodes were placed half way up Mount Sumeru.
5 The demons, or Titans, who live below the earth.
is leaving our HeavenT his spiritual qualifications are departing— what can we do to keep him here?" And so the sound of this lamentation reached upwards to the Sudarsana Heavens, and the Akanishta Heavens, and was repeated in every place, "Alas! alas! by the five indications, it is plain that Prabhapala will soon descend from the Tusita Heaven;" and the news reached down even to the Asura raja's palace; and the cries of lamentation were heard in every place, "Alas! alas! he will con descend!"
At this time, the Devas of the Superior Heavens again descended to Tusita, whilst the Devas of the Inferior Heavens ascended and assembled together in one place; so also the Nagas, the Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Kinnaras, Garudas, Mahoragas, Kumbhandas, and so on, came flocking upwards to the Tusita Heaven's, and there assembled in one place; and then they all began to say one to another, "We now see for ourselves that this Prabhapala is about to descend to Earth." [The five indications are apparent for twelve years before the departure of the Deva, Ch. Ed.]. At this time, the Suddhavasa1 Devas said amongst themselves, "We have seen previously the expected Buddha descend from the Tusita Heaven, to be born in the world." Then all this innumerable multitude of Devas, beholding, by the infallible signs, that B6dhisatwa was about to descend to be born in Jambudwipa, together uttered this cry, calling to the people who inhabit the earth, "Ye mortals ! adorn your earth! for Bodhisatwa, the great Mahasatwa, not long hence shall descend from Tusita to be born amongst you! make ready and prepare! Buddha is about to descend and to be born I"
Now, at this time, there were dwelling in Jambudwipa, five hundred Pratyeka2 Buddhas, in the midst of a forest, practising their religious exercises; these five hundred Pratyeka Buddhas, having heard this cry, immediately rose up into the air and went together to Benares; having arrived there, they began to exhibit their supernatural powers: causing their bodies to ascend into space, and emit all sorts of brilliant appearances; and then
1 The period of the life of these Devas being so long, they had seen previous Bodhisatwas descend to be incarnated on earth.
2 The Pratyeka Buddhas correspond very much in character to the old rishis or genii. They cannot teach the law for the benefit of others, but they can exhibit miraculous proofs of their dignity (principally by flying through the air).
having uttered A Gatha, one after the other, they ended their term of days and entered Nirvana.
So then, at this time, Prabhapala Bodhisatwa, observing all this vast assembly of Devas, etc., his heart unaffected by any fear or inordinate emotion, spake as follows, "Respectable ones! I would have you know, each one of you, that I plainly see by these indications of my person, that I shall shortly descend from Tusita, and be born amongst men." Then Brahma, Sakra, and so on, answering, said, " Venerable Prabhapala! as you see these indications, it is necessary that you should shortly descend and be born in the world; but, doubtless, you remember your former words and prayers, (that this might really be your destiny)!" Then all those countless Devas, having heard these words, the very hairs of their bodies became erect, and their hearts were filled with great fear and revereence; so they clasped their hands, and fell down before Prabhapala and adored him. Then Prabhapala replied, " Doubtless it is even so; the destiny which was certainly foretold, is now about to be accomplished! ye, therefore, should reflect on the character of impermaNancy ! you should consider the character of the sad destiny that may await some of you in the future! Consider well the impure character of all bodily forms; that by the lusts of the flesh, and the desires of the natural heart, there is no escape from the bonds of continual birth and death. Now, as ye stand here with your fingers clasped in adoration, behold this body of mine, which I have not yet been able to cast off; and now I am about to quit it for ever! weep not then, nor lament for me!" Then all these Devas replied, " Venerable Prabhapala! oh! would that in your infinite love you would not depart hence to be born."
[Kiouen V contains 6978 words, and cost 3.489 taels.]
CHAPTER VI. On the ascent and sojourn of Bodhisatwa in Tusita.
§2. At this time, in the midst of the Devas of the Tusita Heaven, there was one called Gold Mass] who for many years had, over and
1 Kin-t'hwan. This Deva is not mentioned by name in the "Lalita Vistara."
over again, gone down to Jambudwipa. Prabhapala knowing this, addressed him thus: "Devaputra, you have often gone down to Jambudwipa; doubtless, therefore, you know the cities, towns, and villages, and the various lineages of their kings; and in what family B6dhisatwa, for his one birth more, ought to be born."
The Devaputra answered, "Venerable! I know them well, and if you permit me, I will recount them to you." Prabhapala replied, "Well! do so!" Then he spoke thus, "This great Chiliocosm has one sacred place called the ' Bodhimandala,'1 situated in a country called 'Magadha, ' in Jambudwipa; here, from all time, the kings have arrived at perfect illumination. Prabhapala! in the midst of this district, is a river called ' Ganges'; on the southern bank of that river, is an eminence where dwells an old Rishi; the name of the place is 'Vajra,' or otherwise,' Panda va-Vaihara (Vipoura) kudaka-parvata, [or, it may be, 'the solitary-peak2-mount' called 'Pandava Taihara (Vibhara) kuta']. This peak is surrounded by mountains, which encircle it and keep it in, as a string of pearls. In the middle of this (peak), is a little village called' Mountain-abundance ;3 and not far from the mount is a large city called ' Rajagriha.' In this city, there was, formerly, a certain royal Rishi called 'Udapali.' He had, without interruption, descended from the Kshatriya caste (royal caste). He had a son called ' Bahuka'; and from that time till now, those who have reigned in that city have all descended from this Rishi in regular succession. If Prabh apala is to be born in Jambudwipa, it would become him to be born as the son of the king of that city."
Prabhapala answered the Deva, and said, "Although this be so, yet the pedigree is not a pure one; and the city is a frontier one, and the country hilly, and broken with valleys; the ground story and covered with weeds, etc.; wherefore you may select another place where a Kshatriya family resides."
1 The B6dhimanda is the area around the B6dhi tree, under which the B6dhisatwas arrive at supreme wisdom.
2 Is this the same as " the small rocky hill standing by itself?" (Fa-hien, cap. xxviii).
3 Those Chinese compounds which I am unable to restore, I merely translate.
Gclden-mass again remarked, "Prabhapala! in the Kasi country there is a city called 'Varanasi'1; the raja Rishi called. 'Shen-kwong '2; you may, perhaps, think this family worthy of you!" To which, Prabhapala replied, " This may be so; but there are four heretical schools there, so that you had better look elsewhere."
Then the Deva observed again, "Prabhapala! in Kosala, in the city of Savaiti, there is a king called ' Griya'(?); the people numerous, and the king powerful; will it please you to be born there?"
"No!" said Prabhapala, "for the kings of Kdsala have descended from Matangas,3 both on the mother's and father's side, of impure birth; and in former days they were of small repute, without any personal courage or nobleness of heart; the country comparatively poor, although there are the seven precious substances there; yet they are in no abundance. Therefore, I cannot be born there!"
Then he said again, "In the Vadsa country, the city Kausambi, there is a king called 'thousand excellences' (tsienshing); his son, called 'pih-shing' (hundred excellences). That king has elephants, horses, the seven gems, and armies (the four sorts of military force) in abundance; will it please you to be born there?" To which Prabhapala replied, "Although what you say may be true; yet the mother of the king of Vadsa was born of a strange parent, and therefore the Son is not of pure descent; you must look elsewhere."
Golden-mass said again, "This Vajora country has a city called Vaisali,4 rich in every kind of produce; the people in peace and contentment; the country enriched and beautiful as a heavenly mansion; the king called 'Druma raja'5; his son without the least stain on his scutcheon; the king's treasuries full of gems, and gold and silver; perhaps you will be born there."
1 This of course is Benares.
2 virtuous —lustre.
3 Matangas, i. e., pariahs. Compare these and subsequent passages with the "Lalita Vistara" (Foucault's translation, p. 24).
1 An old town on the Gandak River, a little to the north of Patna. 5 Tree-king.