Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

fine Kasika garment, advanced and wrapped the body of the child in it, whilst the four Maharajas, taking the child, wrapped thus in his swaddling clothes, brought him and showed him to his mother, and uttered these words, "Now may men rejoice; the royal mother has brought forth a son; the Devas may be glad, much more may men!"

When Bodhisatwa was thus born, he said, "Now then I have arrived at my last birth; no more shall I enter into the womb to be born ; now shall I accomplish the end of my being, and become Buddha." [This refers to the utterance of Bddhisatwa when he had arrived at complete enlightenment. "Now I have finished my births; I have completed my course; I have done all that I had to do; there is no further form of life for me to assume." ]

[The seventh Kiouen contains 6790 words, and cost 3.395 Taels.]

CHAPTER VIII.

Birth beneath the Tree.
Part II.

Bodhisatwa having thus been born without any assistance or support, he forthwith walked seven steps towards each quarter of the horizon; and as he walked, at each step, there sprang from the earth beneath his feet a lotus flower; and as he looked steadfastly in each direction his mouth uttered these words; first looking to the east, he said, in no childish accents, but according to the very words of the Gatha, plainly pronounced, "In all the world I am the very chief; from this day forth my births are finished." [Now this about his walking without assistance, and so forth, i$ an adbhuta dharma, to signify that when Buddha arrived at perfect enlightenment, he attained also the seven Bddhyanga (vide Eitel, sub voce). His looking to the four quarters signifies his obtaining the four fearless rules; whilst the words he uttered refer to the universal reverence paid to him by Devas and men after his enlightenment, and also to those memorable words he then spoke, "Oh! housebuilder," etc."] Bodhisatwa having been born, the attendants looked everywhere for water; hurriedly they ran in every direction, but found none; when lo! before the very face of the mother there suddenly appeared two beautiful tanks, one of cold, the other of hot water which she mixed as most agreeable to herself, and used. And so again from the midst of space, there fell two streamlets of water, cold and hot, with which the body of Bodhisatwa was washed. {These again are adbhuta dharmas, pointing to the power of Samadhi and Vipasina to remove all sorrow and desire, whilst the spontaneous appearance of the water refers to the natural consequence of these habits of mind to procure all that is desirable for their possession.] Then all the Devas brought a golden seat for Bodhisatwa to occupy, which done, he refreshed and washed his body with the grateful streams of water. [This refers to the beautiful Lotus throne on which Buddha sat, after his enlightenment.'] [The light, again, which appeared at his birth, refers to the excellency of his doctrine (wheel of the b [Again, when it is said that this miraculous light obscured even the sun, it refers to the superiority of Buddha's eminence as a teacher, and the honour he received from all the Shamans, etc.] [Again, what is said about the trees and the flowers bursting into life at the time of Bodhisatwa's birth, refers to the faith which those were able to arrive at who heard the first teaching of the sage. Again, what is said about the Devas holding over the new-born babe an umbrella, large as a chariot wheel, with a golden handle, refers to the calm and passionless method in which Buddha, having arrived at supreme wisdom, obtained complete release from all the sorrows and afflictions incident to the state of " birth and death."]x

At this time, there was a great minister of state (koue sse) whose family name was Basita, and his private name Mahanama. He, in company with various other ministers and Brahmans, went together to visit the Lumbini garden. Having arrived there, and standing without the gates, at that time Basita addressed the ministers and said, "Do you perceive how the great earth is rock

1 The text then continues to relate the miraculous events that took place at the time of the birth; the Devas singing together and scattering flowers, a soft rain falling, etc. I omit these notices.

ing as a ship borne over the waves? And see how the sun and moon are darkened and deprived of their light; just as the stars of the night in appearance! and see how all the trees are blossoming as if the season had come—and hark! whilst the heavens are serene and calm—listen! there is the roll of thunder! and though there be no clouds, yet the soft rain is falling; so beautifully fertilising in its qualities! and the air is moved by a gentle and cool breeze coming from the eight quarters—and hark to the sound of that voice of Brahma so sweetly melodious in the air, and all the Devas chanting their hymns and praises! whilst the flowers and sweet unguents rain down through the void!"

Then a minister answered Mahanama and said, "These things are so! yet it is nothing extraordinary; it is the nature of things (earth) to produce such results!" Another said, "No doubt these things are very wonderful and not to be accounted for." Thus they deliberated together on the point. All at once, from the garden, there came tripping along a woman who came forth from Lumbini and stood outside the very gate where Basita and the Brahmans were in consultation; on seeing whom, she was greatly rejoiced, and could not contain herself for very gladness of heart; and so she cried out, " Oh! ye sons of Sakya! hurry away as fast as possible to Maharaja." Then the ministers replied, seeing her high spirits, "And what news shall we give him when we see him; what does your manner signify—is it good tidings or bad?" To whom she replied, "Oh! Sakyas! it is wonderfully good news!" "What is it then," they said; " come! let us know." Then she continued, "The queen has borne a son! oh! so beautiful and such a lovely child! a child without peer on earth! and the Devas are scattering flowers about him, and there is a heavenly light diffused round his person." The great ministers having heard these words, their hearts were filled with joy, and they could not contain themselves for gladness of heart!

At this time, the great minister Basita loosed from his neck the string of precious stones that he wore, and gave it to the woman, because of the news she brought; but having done so, again he thought, "This woman, perhaps, is a favourite of the king, and his majesty seeing her so beautifully adorned, will naturally inquire and find out where these pearls were obtained, and so it will cause trouble." So he took back the gems, and desired that whatever merit would have attached to the gift, that this might redound to the woman's benefit.1

Then dismissing the other Brahmans to go to the king and tell the joyful news, he himself began to question the woman straitly as to the character of the event which had happened. To whom the woman replied, "Great minister! pray listen to me well; the circumstances attending the birth of the child were very wonderful! for our queen, Maya, standing upright on the ground, the child came forth of her right side; there was no rent in her bosom, or side, or loins! when the child came forth, from the air there fell beautiful garments, soft as the stuff of Kasi, sent by the Devas! these the Devas wrapped round the body of the babe, and holding him before his mother, they said, "All joy be to you, queen Maya! rejoice and be glad! for this child you have borne is holy!" Then the child, having come forth from his mother's side, said these words, "No further births have I to endure! this is my very last body! Now shall I attain to the condition of Buddha!" then, without aid, standing on the ground, he walked seven steps, whilst Lotus flowers sprang up beneath his feet, and faced each quarter; and whilst looking to the east, in perfectly rounded accents, unlike the words of a child, he said, "Amongst all creatures I am the most excellent; for I am about to destroy and extirpate the roots of sorrow caused by the universal evil of birth and death." Then there came forth from mid-air two streams of water hot and cold, respectively, to refresh and cleanse the child's body as he stood there on the ground; and again there was brought to him a golden seat on which to repose whilst he was washed. Then such brightness shone around, eclipsing the very sun and moon, and all the Devas brought a white umbrella with an entire gold handle, it was large as a chariot wheel, with which to shelter him, and they held great chamaras in their hands waving them over the child's head! whilst in the air, there was the sound of beautiful music, but no instruments; and there was the voice of people singing hymns of praise in every direction; and flowers beautifully scented fell down in profusion, and though the sun was shining fiercely, yet they withered not, nor dried!"

Then Mahanama, the great minister, having heard this descrip

1 An exquisite example of state-craft.

s

tion, immediately reflected, "wonderful! wonderful! doubtless a great teacher has been born into the world in the midst of this wicked age! Now then will I myself go to Suddhodana Raja, and acquaint him with these wonderful circumstances."

Then the great minister, taking his swiftest horses, and yoking them to a beautiful chariot, drove, fleet as the wind, from the gate of Lumbini straight to Kapilavastu, and without waiting to see the king, he sounded aloud the drum of joy,1 until his very strength was exhausted. Now, at this time, Suddhodana Raja was sitting on his royal throne, settling with his ministers some important affairs of state, surrounded by attendants on every side; suddenly hearing the sound of the joy-drum, the king, in surprise, inquired of his minister, "Who is it so abruptly dares to make this noise in front of the gate of one of the Ikshwaku family? exhausting all his strength in beating the drum of joy!" Then the guard in front of the gate replied, and said to the king, "Maharaja! your majesty's minister, Basita, surnamed Mahanama is approaching in a four-horsed chariot, swift as the wind, from the direction of Lumbini; and now he is getting down from his chariot, and, with all his might, beating the drum of joy belonging to the Maharaja, and without any further words, he demands straightway to see the king." The Suddhodana replied thus to his ministers, "What can be the good news which Basita Mahanama has to tell that he comes so hurriedly to my presence?" The ministers replied, "Let him be summoned to your majesty's presence." So then Mahanama, coming before the king, cried out with a loud voice, "May the king be ever victorious! May the king be ever honoured." Having said this, he paused to regain his strength. Meantime, Suddhodana, having heard these words, addressed Mahanama, and said, "Mahanama! great minister of the Sakyas! tell me why you thus come without preface into our presence, your strength exhausted with beating the drum of joy!" Then the great minister, Mahanama, replied, "Oh king! your majesty's queen, the queen of the ruler of the city of Devadaho and Lumbini, having gone forth into the midst of that garden, has brought forth a son, beautiful as gold in colour, heralded into the world by a supernatural light, and provided with a cradle by the Devas!"

1 The drum of joy, i.«., the drum or gong hung in front of the palace, which was sounded when there was good tidings brought.

« ПредишнаНапред »