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Buddha visits Sravasti.
§ 3. Now it came to pass that Bhagavat, having gone through various countries, at last came to Sravasti (Savatti), and had taken up his abode in the garden of Jeta1 (Jetavana), within the Vihara erected there for his accommodation. Then Yasada, having passed many seasons at Benares, hearing that Buddha was located at the Jetavana, set out, accompanied by the 500 merchant men, to join him there. And so these wandering Bhikshus at length arrived there. Then they were received according to custom, and were entertained in the Vihara (or monastery) attached to the garden. Whilst thus entertained, however, it so happened that they made much noise with their chattering and shouting, and caused considerable confusion in the establishment by their disorderly conduct. At this time Bhagavat, although perfectly acquainted with the reason of it, yet asked Ananda whence proceeded these shouts and disorderly noises. On this Ananda related how that these 500 merchants had arrived at the monastery in company with Yasada, and had claimed hospitality and shelter. On this Bhagavat commanded Ananda to go to them and reprove them for their conduct. After this they all came into the presence of Bhagavat, and bending at his feet, they worshipped him; and then, rising up, stood on one side, in silence. Then Bhagavat addressed them—"Ye Bhikshus, the noise and disorderly shouting I heard just now reminded me of the clamorous disputatious ways of men, some saying 'Boo ! hoo!' others 'ha! ha!'just like the shouting of fishermen one against the other, when they are hauling in their nets! Such conduct does not become this place. I desire you therefore to depart hence at once !— it is impossible for you to dwell with me!"
Then these Bhikshus, with submission, bowed down again at Buddha's feet, and having circumambulated him three times, departed from the Vihara. And so it was that they came to the banks of the river Paragomati, and there sitting down, they re
1 The gift of this garden by Anathapindana is a well-known event in Buddhist history. It is curiously illustrated in a sculpture at Bharahut, lately brought to light by the Archaeological Surveyor of India.
mained together, practising themselves in the pure rules of the life of a Brahmana, and giving themselves up to constant reflection and self-examination, until at length they all were able to shake off mundane influences, and became Rahats.
Then Bhagavat, having remained for some time longer in the Jetavana of Savatti, resolved at length to go through the country and visit other towns and villages; and so, travelling on, he came at length to the town of Vaisali; and there, taking up his abode in a leafy hut by the side of the Monkey Tank, he dwelt. Then, as the sun was going down, Bhagavat, arousing himself from the religious reverie in which he had been lost, went forth from his pansal into the open ground, and making a grass seat for himself, he sat down, the priests, his followers, being arranged in order around him. Then Buddha declared how he had seen' in his reverie those five hundred Bhikshus by the side of the Paragomati River, and a great light shining round them; and he bade Ananda to signify to them that they should come into the presence of Buddha. Then Ananda dispatched a young Bhikshu with this message. He, having heard the commands of Ananda, immediately prepared himself to obey, even as the warrior braces on his armour and clasps his helmet, in readiness for the expected strife. And so, in like manner, those five hundred Bhikshus, when they had heard the message, prepared to obey; and thus they all came to the place where Bhagavat dwelt in the pansal beside the Monkey Tank at Vaisali.
The previous history of Yasada.
§ 4. Then the world-honoured began to relate the previous history of Yasada and these five hundred merchants in the following words—" I remember, in days gone by, there was a certain man living in Benares who thought thus with himself—'If this business in which I am engaged succeeds, and that other matter turn out well, then I vow to give away in charity to Shaman or Brahman every variety of choice food, as a token of my gratitude, as much as ever he wants.' "And so it came to pass that, his efforts having been crowned with success, one morning, very early, he took every variety of choice food with him, and went forth to the city gate, and there sat down with this intention—' Whoever shall come first to this spot, whether Shaman or Brahman, to him will I offer this food in charity.' Now it so happened that outside the city gate there was a Pratyaka (Pase) Buddha dwelling, whose name was Nagarasikhi [perfect hair, or chaplet (Ch. ed.)], who, on this very morning, had arisen early, and arranged his dress, etc. in order, with a view to go a-begging within the city of Benares. Then, as he approached the gate, the citizen beheld him coming on with dignified mien and measured pace, looking neither to the right nor left; and as he beheld him thus, his heart was filled with joy and satisfaction, and taking his food, he offered it forthwith to this Pratyaka Buddha. Then the venerable personage, having received the food, thought thus with himself—' It is still early, and I have met with this supply unexpectedly. I will, therefore, give myself up to thought and self-examination for a time before eating.' And for this purpose he went down to the river's bank, and selecting there a shady spot beneath a spreading tree, he sat down with his legs crossed, and gave himself up to inward contemplation. Now it so happened that the King of Benares at this time was called Brahmadatta [Virtue of Brahma (Ch. ed.)], a very celebrated monarch; and on this very day he was proceeding in his chariot, surrounded by the four kinds of military cortege, beyond the precincts of the city on a certain business. Just then a villager, travelling towards Benares with an umbrella in his hand to shelter himself withal, was advancing along the same road, when lo! he saw the King Brahmadatta coming onwards towards the very spot where he was. Seeing this, he thought with himself, 'I will get out of the way of the King'; and so, stepping down into a byepath, he went onwards through the wood till he came to the riverside; and then, following the river's course, he went on towards the city. As he was thus going, suddenly he came to the very spot where the Pratyeka Buddha was sitting, lost in reverie, under the tree, and his food by his side. And now it so happened that the sun had risen so high that the spot where he was sitting, motionless and lost in contemplation, was no longer in the shade, but exposed to the full glare and heat of the day. And so the perspiration was bursting from every pore, and trickling down his face. Seeing which the villager thought thus—' This Rishi is evidently lost in abstraction, fulfilling some religious purpose; and the sun's rays, as they light on his body, must be a source of inconvenience. I will stop here, and shelter him with my umbrella.' At length the Pratyeka Buddha, perceiving that the time for taking food had fully come, thought thus with himself—' It is now time to take food (12 o'clock)! I will shake off this ecstasy and arise.' Having done so, lo! he beheld the man by his side holding an umbrella over his head to shade him from the sun. In return for this act of consideration, the Pratyeka Buddha immediately ascended into the air, and exhibited before the eyes of the villager some wonderful transformations; he caused fire and water to proceed from his mouth, and many other astonishing changes; so that the villager, overcome by what he saw, was filled with faith, and bowed down at the feet of the saint, uttering these words, —' Oh! that I, in future states of existence, may fall into no evil kind of birth!1 but may be able to offer food, and provide other necessaries for this Pratyeka Buddha.'
"Then he asked the saint where he lived, on which he replied, 'I live in such and such a place.'
"Then the villager at once proceeded to the place where his pansal was; he swept it and watered it with great care, and having cleansed it from all pollutions, he requested permission to offer to the Pratyeka Buddha the four necessary articles, viz., food, drink, clothing, and medicine. After this he returned to his home, and told his father, mother, and wife what he had witnessed; and taking them to the pansal of the Pratyeka Buddha, they also beheld, and finally requested permission to leave their homes and become disciples, whereupon Nagarasikhi instructed the villager to go and join himself to the company of some Parivrajakas (wandering hermits) who were located near that spot, and 'after learning from them,' he said, ' how to subdue your appetites and to practise complete self-control, then you may be in a condition, when a future Buddha called Sakya comes into the world, to join yourself to his company and become a Rahat.'
"Afterthis, the Pratyeka Buddha died, and entered Nirvana, on which they burnt his body, gathered together his relics, and
1 That is, be born either as a beast, or an Asura, or in Hell.
erected a tower over them, and having decorated the tower with flags and surmounting canopies they worshipped before it, offering flowers and burning incense. So it came to pass that this villager, having for a long time practised the discipline of these Paribrajakas, became a recluse, and on one occasion, as he went to the city of Benares to beg, he accidentally saw the corpse of a woman covered with a loathsome disease, and awaiting to be burned; worms and disgusting insects covered it—it was altogether a loathsome sight. This spectacle so affected him, and impressed his mind with the vanity and misery of life, that he uttered this vow: 'Oh! would that when Sakya Buddha appears in the world, I may become his disciple and undertake all the rules of a religious life, and so obtain deliverance.' And so, after his death, he was born in the heaven of Brahma; after that he was again born in the world, and so successively through many births, till at last he was born a great minister, rich and prosperous in this very city of Benares; but still his vow was not perfectly accomplished. Afterwards, however, having been born as the king of the country of Kasi, known by the name of Narakhi, he was devoted to Kasyapa Buddha, and erected over his ashes a Stupa, adorned with the seven precious substances. This Stupa was called Dasavrika (ten marks, Ch. ed.), and was surmounted by seven encircling discs placed there by the king and his different relatives. On this account that king is now born as Yasada; and because formerly he held that umbrella over the head of the Pratyeka Buddha, there is now over his head 'a precious chatta ever appearing of itself,'1 and his father and mother and wife have become my first lay disciples." At this time the world-honoured one pronounced these Gathas:
"Thus by nourishing and tending holy men,
[Kiouen XXXVI contains 6270 words and cost 3.135 taels.]