Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

been afflicted with a disease that rendered it impolitic for him to live in company with the others; he had been obliged therefore to leave his Pansal and dwell apart, where he died ; but before he died he prayed that he might, in his next birth, come back to the place and have his revenge for the slight done to him. Accordingly he was born as a great poisonous snake, and he took up his abode in that very pansal from which he had been driven, and it came to pass, that whatever man or other creature entered that abode he slew them at once, so that no one dare go near it or rest in it. Then Kasyapa reflected that nought but the Fire Spirit could subdue the malice of this poisonous dragon, and therefore he consecrated the place to his worship, and reverenced him with fire according to right religious usage. So Kasyapa replied to Buddha that he could not consent to his entering there, because of the evil and poisonous snake that occupied the place, who would certainly destroy him.

Whereupon, Buddha urged his request, and Kasyapa again objected, and detailed all the history of his disciples who had died, and had come back in the form of this fiery dragon; but Buddha replied, "Oh, Kasyapa! if the place were full of fiery serpents, they could not hurt one hair of my body, how much less this one evil creature! permit me then to make my abode there!"

Then Kasyapa, seeing that he had thrice urged him to comply, consented.

Then, having obtained permission, Buddha, holding in his hand some twigs from the leafy roof of the hut, entered forthwith into the Dragon's abode, and having entered, he sat down on the mat (prepared from the twigs he had taken in), spreading out his sang- hati garment on the ground above it. And thus he lost himself in meditation.

Now it so happened that the fiery dragon at this time was out seeking for food; after a while returning to his abode, he there beheld the form ot Buddha seated on the ground in meditation. At this sight he reflected thus. "What man is there whilst I live here shall dare to intrude or enter within this Pansal?" On this he emitted from his mouth a fiery blast to destroy the intruder; but Buddha, still lost in ecstatic meditation, caused a counter blast to proceed from his mouth, which quite overpowered that of the Naga. Whereupon, in his rage, the monster emitted a more terrible and destructive vapour from his mouth; but this, too, was overpowered as before. And so it came to pass that the brightness of the flames which each breathed out filled the hut, till it seemed to be wrapped in fire. And so the contest proceeded, whilst Buddha, by his spiritual power, caused flames of every colour to proceed from his body and envelope the dragon.

Then Uravilva Over seeing the flames darting forth from the hut,1 thought thus with himself—"alas ! alas! this Shaman is being destroyed by the monster within the hut! alas! would that he had obeyed me, and not entered there!"

Then there was one of the disciples, called Ardhagiraka, who, seeing the flames, shouted out to others and cried, " Here! Gatimuni! Yamagni! Arnivachyana! Parivarsha! Chamrayana! Pariyana! Gatiyana! ye sons of Gotama! Muchilinda! Basita! all of you there! come quickly and rescue this Great Shaman from the flames of the fiery dragon!" Then all these young men hurried to the spot with their water vessels, and dipping up the water from the river,2 they hastened to pour it over the fiery pansal to extinguish, as they supposed, the flames that were destroying the world-honoured one. So, as they flung vessel after vessel-ful of water over the flames, instead of decreasing its strength, the fire increased in power, and the brightness waxed greater and greater. Then these young men standing on one side in astonishment, the first took up the conversation and said, weeping with emotion! "Alas! for the superlatively beautiful body, The c locks of his shaven head,3 the delicate fingers. The beautifully rounded eyes, so clear and bright! Destroyed by the Dragon, as Rahu destroys the Sun!"

Then another repeated, as he wept, the following:— "Alas! that he, born of the most exalted race.

1 This adventure is the subject of PI. xxxii. Tree and Serpent Worship.

* It would seem as if the figures in the Plate, referred to above, were so occupied.

* This apparent contradiction seems to illustrate the conventional figures of Buddha with what is called the "shell-ornament" on his head: this being, in fact, the young hair curling as it grew, until shorn again.

Even of the Ikshwaku family of Kings,
That he, unequalled amongst those born of women,
Should thus be destroyed by this Fiery Serpent."
And yet another said, with tears,

"His body adorned with thirty-two excellent marks
Himself arrived at emancipation, able to emancipate others,
Destroyed by the hate of this poisonous monster,
The flames are even now consuming his body," etc., etc.

[Kiouen XL contains 6,117 words and cost 3.059 taels.]

CHAPTER XLI.

At this time, the fiery dragon seeing the four sides of the hall in flames, but the centre part alone, where Buddha was seated in contemplation, without even the appearance of fire; seeing this, he stealthily approached the spot, and then with a leap sprang into his alms-bowl and then repeated this Gatha,

"If a man, for hundreds of thousands of myriads of years,
Were with undivided heart to worship the Fire Spirit,
It would not avail to remove his wrath,
So much as the patience of this Houor'd one of the world;
Of all Devas and men who inhabit the world,
He alone is rightly called the Master;
For all their diseases and infirmities,
He alone by his patience is able to provide a cure."

At this time, the world-honoured one, after the night had passed, came forth in the morning holding his alms-dish in his hand; and with the Naga in itl he approached to the place where Uravilva was, and having come nigh, he addressed him thus, "Excellent Kasyapa, this is the fiery dragon you so much dreaded, and for fear of which you dared not enter the Hall of the Fire Spirit. I

1 It seems very probable that this adventure of Buddha with the Dragon is also the subject of Plate lxx., Tree and Serpent Worship, and that the alms-dish, before which the Kasyapas are there worshipping, represents the Patra of Buddha with the Dragon in it.

have overcome his poisonous blast by my more powerful breath, and now I pray take him and show him to your followers," and so the Gatha says,

"Now after the night watch had passed, The world-honoured, approaching the place where Kasyapa

stood, Shewed him the poisonous Naga in his alms-dish, His hand holding him there in perfect security." Then Kasyapa began to reflect thus—"This great poisonous Dragon entered of his own will into the alms-dish of the Great Shaman, induced so to do by the spiritual power of his vanquisher and desirous to hear his instruction." At this, Buddha removed his hand from the Patra, on which the fiery snake, emerging with his nine heads, stretched out his neck in the direction of Kasyapa, who on his part was filled with fear at the sight, and covered his face with his hands. On this Buddha chided him and said, "Yesternight I went to teach and convert this creature,

You need not fear him therefore or tremble at his presence,

If he now were to desire to hurt you or bite,

The world might come to an end without Salvation;

No! the heavens may fall to earth,

The earth itself be triturated into fine dust,

Sumeru may be moved from its place of rest,

But my words cannot be false, or deceitful." Still, Uravilva Kasyapa, though he allowed the mighty spiritual power of the honoured one, denied that he was so great a Rahat as himself.

Then Buddha, taking the poisonous Dragon, bade him go and dwell in the ocean between the iron mountains that encircle the Sakwala; on which, Uravilva asked him and said, "My Lord, whither have you sent the fiery Dragon?" to whom Buddha replied, " I have dismissed him to dwell in the ocean between the great iron mountains that encircle the earth;" on hearing which, Kasyapa, overcome with awe and astonishment, besought the world-honoured one to remain with him as his guest and receive his offerings of food and drink.

At this time, the Devas of the Suddhavasa heavens sang this song,

"Such is the might of this great and loving Lord,

That his virtue can bind the malice of the fiery dragon ;

All the labour of the three Kasyapas in propitiating the Fire Spirit

Is rendered vain by the strength of this great one's patience." Now after this, the world-honoured one, having received food from Uravilva Kasyapa, proceeded onwards a little way towards a wood called Tcharnaka (sirrap from the bark), and arrived there, he rested awhile. At this time the four guardian kings of the world came down from their abodes, and, resplendent with their glory, they advanced and bowed at the feet of Buddha in worship. The glory of these kings made the wood so luminous that it seemed as if on fire.

The next morning, Uravilva Kasyapa, bringing some food to the world-honoured one, inquired who those glorious beings were who had come to the wood? to whom Buddha answered, these were the four Kings of Heaven who came to me to inquire some particulars about the Law.

Then Kasyapa thought, "The religious merit and spiritual energy of this Shaman are very great indeed; but yet he is not a Rahat, as I am."

[After this, Sakra, the King of the Gods, visits Buddha for the same purpose, and with the same result; and after him, the Devas of the Yama, Tusita, and other heavens.] 1

Now, whilst Buddha was dwelling in the wood before-named, all the people of Magadha, as they were accustomed to do once a year, brought their several offerings of food, etc., intending on the morrow to present them to the three Kasyapas.

Then, that very night, Uravilva Kasyapa bethought himself thus, to-morrow all the people of Magadha are going to present me with their offerings. I must contrive by some expedient or other to prevent this Shaman Gotama from coming near us, lest by some superiority of spiritual power he convince the people that he is better than I.

Now the world-honoured, knowing the thoughts of Kasyapa, on

1 These visits may possibly be the subject of plate XXV, fig. 1, Tree and Serpent Worship, or, the incident alluded to above, vide p. 74.

« ПредишнаНапред »