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'An elephant like this none ought to ride but King Brahmadatta himself.' Having thought thus, he went straight to Brahmadatta and said, 'Maharaja! you must know that in such and such a place there is a certain beautiful elephant, its body perfectly white, etc., fit only for your majesty to ride. May it please you, therefore, to send proper persons to the spot to trap this elephant and bring it to your majesty.' Then the Raja summoned his elephant trappers to his presence, and told them just what the lord of the huntsmen had stated, and then ordered them to go at once and take the elephant and afterwards bring him to his presence. Then these trappers, taking with them cords and snares, went to the spot indicated, and, by means of certain charms (calls) they soon caused the young elephant to approach the spot. No sooner had he come near than the trappers enclosed him in their snare, and having safely bound him, they brought him at once to Brahmadatta Raja.
"Then the king, seeing the party approaching, went forth to meet them, and was so charmed with the beauty of the captive animal that he exclaimed, 'There never was such a beautiful creature, fit only for a king to ride.' Then the king himself proceeded to feed and provide for the animal, using every kind of endearing gesture and attention. Nevertheless, the elephant did nothing but sigh and moan and weep. King Brahmadatta, seeing this, and wondering at it, came and stood in front of the creature, and, clasping his hands together in token of respect, spoke to it thus: 'I have given you every kind of choice food, I have taken every care that your cords and housings do not hurt you, and I have treated you with the utmost gentleness, and yet I see that your heart is so sad that all my tenderness is lost. How is it that you are so sorrowful! What can be done for you to give you any pleasure. Tell me and it shall be done!' Then the young elephant addressed Brahmadatta and said, 'I could explain it all in a moment, if that would give your Majesty any pleasure.' Then the king reflected,'How wonderful to hear this creature reply to me in human language!' Then the king bade him tell him all the case and explain the matter thoroughly. On this the young elephant told him how he had been accustomed to feed his father and mother, and how he was trapped in the very place where he was seeking food for them, and then he represented how broken-hearted his parents would be, and he said,' Let me but go give them some food, and I promise your majesty I will return and partake of all you provide for me.' Then the king was astonished beyond measure at the singular piety of the elephant, and he thought,' I would rather myself be condemned to hell than prevent this faithful creature from fulfilling his duty to his parents.' So he loosed him at once and let him go, and bade him be ever happy in attending to the wants of his parents, and so the Gatha says:
"' Go and welcome, thou faithful elephant Naga,
"So Brahmadatta having set the elephant at liberty, he gradually found his way back to his native mountain. But meantime his mother, from grief at losing her son, had wept herself blind, and so had wandered away from the place where she had dwelt before, nor could she find her way back to the spot she had left. And now the elephant cub, coming to the place, and not seeinghis mother, set up a loud cry and wept for very sorrow. Then the mother, hearing the cry and knowing the voice of her offspring, at once replied with a lamentable and tearful cry. The son, guided by the sound, soon came to the spot where his "mother was, and seeing her standing unmoved by the side of a water-tank, he ran forward, and, filled with joy, he took his trunk full of water and bathed his mother with the cooling stream. Then the mother, through the power of that refreshing stream, recovered her sight, and perceiving her offspring before her, she asked what had befallen him that he had been absent so long from her. Then he told her his adventure, and when she had heard it she exclaimed, as she rejoiced with exceeding joy, 'Oh! may that merciful Raja Brahmadatta partake with me in my happiness, and never want wife or child, servant or minister, to wait upon him and supply all his requirements.'
"Then Buddha explained that at that time he was the young elephant king—the elephant-mother was Mahaprajapati Gotami, and that she recovered her sight in the same way as the elephant dam had done."
The history of the conversion of Nanda.
§ 2. Now it came to pass that the world-honoured one, amidst all the followers whom he had converted, regretted most of all not to find Nanda, the Sakya Prince. He had repeatedly urged him to leave his home and follow him, but Nanda had refused, saying he would gladly administer of his substance to the support of Buddha and the priests, but that he would not leave his home and become a disciple. All his invitations having been in vain, the worldhonoured one, having finished his noon-day meal, taking with him one disciple, proceeded to the house of that Sakya Prince, Nanda. Now just at this time Nanda was on the top of his house with his female companion (Sundari), and, as they loitered up and down and looked about, or sat down, suddenly they saw the worldhonoured one approaching. Then, through a feeling of reverence, Nanda got up, and, descending from the tower, went forth to meet Buddha, and bowed down at his feet. Having then stood on one side he spake thus: "Welcome, O Lord! Whence dost thou come? Oh, enter, I pray you, my unworthy mansion and rest awhile I" On this, the Lord entered the house of Nanda and took a seat. Having spoken a few complimentary words, he then sat silent. On this, Nanda began to speak, and asked the Lord if he would partake of either food or drink. But Buddha assured him he had already eaten and required nothing in addition. Then Nanda replied, "But may I not offer you a dish of broth (congee) provided at an irregular1 hour?" Buddha replied to Nanda, "As you please." Then Nanda said, "Even so, my Lord!" and he took Buddha's patra, and, filling it up with congee, he offered it to him as a meal provided at an irregular hour. But Buddha hesitated to accept it, as did also the attendant he had brought with him, and then Buddha, with his follower, rose from his seat, and made as though he would return to his dwelling-place.
Then Nanda, the Sakya Prince, taking the patra full of honey and rice, went out and followed Buddha. Meantime his sweetheart (Sundari) at the top of the tower, seeing Nanda carrying a patra full of honey and rice out of the house, called out to him and said,
1 "Fi shi tseung," an extraordinary supply of food—i.e. exceptional or irregular as to time.
"Nanda, my Prince! (Arya) where are you going?" On this Nanda, pointing to the dish he held in his hands, said that he was going to offer the food therein contained to Tathagata, and would immediately return home. Then Sundari replied, "Oh, do come back soon, and don't let anything delay you."
Meantime, the world-honoured one, having left Nanda's house, began to walk here and there, and to stop in the different streets of the town, wishing everyone to see Nanda following him with the dish full of (unseasonable) food. So when the people saw it, they began to say, " Why Nanda has become a disciple, and is following ring master!"
At length the Lord, having arrived at the Sangharama, made a sign with his hand to one of the Bhikshus to take the dish full of food from the hand of Nanda. On this the Bhikshu, perceiving the intention of the Lord, went straightway up to Nanda and took the dish. Then Nanda, bowing his head in reverence, desired permission to return to his home; on which Buddha replied, " Nanda! return not to your house, abide here." But Nanda urged that he wished not to become a recluse, but rather to remain in a position to show hospitality and charity to the Lord and the priests.
Then Buddha replied, "In this vast continent of Jambudwipa, which is seven thousand yojanas across, broad at the top, narrow at the bottom, like the tapering of a chariot from front to rear, there are a vast number of priests, numerous as the tender shoots which grow up in a bamboo plantation. Now, suppose there were a pious man or woman who carefully tended all these Rahats, and provided them with a sufficiency of all the articles of the four sorts they needed, and after their Nirvana erected monuments over their ashes, and presented before these monuments every kind of religious offering—flowers, incense, lamps, etc.; tell me, Nanda. do you think that man or woman would acquire much merit or little?" Nanda replied, "very much merit, oh Lord!"
"Nevertheless," said Buddha, "the man who leaves his home to become my disciple, has much greater merit. Moveover, Nanda. you should be satisfied that the enjoyment of pleasure is momentary and passing, and is attended with much sorrow; for all the indulgences of sense are impermanent and perishing, full of evil and misery—regard them so, oh Nanda! and you will cease to hanker after them, and desire to escape from their power."
Nanda hearing this discourse about the misery of bodily indulgence, although he had no real desire to become a recluse, yet out of deference to Buddha, acquiesced and said, " I ought to become a disciple." On this, Buddha made a sign to one of the Bhikshus, and desired him to send for the hair-cutter at once, who having arrived, approached to Nanda as though to shave his head; on this Nanda addressed him and said: "What advantage will it be, if you do cut off my locks?" to whom Buddha replied, "Suffer it to be so; for thus you enter into my community, and by the very discipline, you cast away all sorrow, and put an end to all the sources of misery." Then Nanda permitted him to shave his head, and after seven days he assumed the Kashaya robes, and the alms-dish, and so completed the act of professed discipleship.
Now Nanda was a man of great personal beauty, his body straight and comely and of a golden hue, and just like that of Tathagata. So he had a Kashaya garment made similar to his master's, and having received it, he put it on. Then all the Bhikshus, seeing him at a distance gradually approaching the assembly, thought that he was the lord himself, and so proceeded to rise from their places to salute him, and only when they discovered their mistake did they return. Then the Bhikshus expostulated with Nanda for having a garment precisely the shape and size of their lords, and represented the case to Buddha himself; on which he asked Nanda if it were so, and when he said, "Yes! my Lord! it is as you say," then he forbad it, and said, " From this time forth, let no Bhikshu presume to wear a garment (saflghati) of the same size as mine! or if he does, let him be dealt with as the law (Pratim6ksha) directs!" Then Nanda thought thus— "The master does not allow my garment to be of equal size with his, at any rate I may have a beautifully adorned and shining one (bespangled)!" And so he assumed one of this character, and with painted eyes, and luxurious slippers, his umbrella in his left hand and his alms-dish in his right, he proceeded to the spot where Buddha was and said, "Lord! I desire to go to the town and beg my food!" Then Buddha answered and said, "It is clearly out of the question, and impossible, oh youth ! for surely you have accepted the vows and become a recluse, is it not so?" "True ! my lord!" Nanda answered, "it is so." "Then if this be the case," said Buddha, " what means this bespangled garment,