Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

great Kshatriya nobles, each one accompanied by his wife, to offer their congratulations to Suddhodana Raja.

Then, Suddhodana seeing that all these things were perfectly accomplished, thought thus with himself, "What name shall I give my new-born child ?"—and then he reflected, "since on the day of his birth all things were so perfectly accomplished, therefore, I will name him Sheng-li (Sarvarthassiddha1) (perfect prosperity)." Then Suddhodana opened his treasury, and took a hundred lakhs of gold to offer to his child as he gave him the name, according to the words of the Gatha:—

"Thus within the King's palace

All things were entirely prosperous,

Therefore, the young child's name

Shall be this—Sarvarthassiddha."

Casting the Horoscope.

§ 2. Then Suddhodana Raja issued his commands that all the astrologers and fortune-tellers should at once repair to the palace to examine the child and cast his horoscope; and on their arrival he bade them look well to every sign, whether good or bad, and draw a true conclusion as to the child's destiny. On hearing this, the Brahmans, &c, with earnest purpose examined well the child's appearance, and comparing what they saw with all that was explained in their Sacred Books, they finally drew their conclusions, and thus addressed the King, "Maharaja! what great fortune is yours! And why? Because of the great dignity of this child,— he is indeed born a king of all that lives! For know, Oh! King, that his body is marked by the thirty-two infallible signs of greatness. And of persons so marked there are two sorts—if they be Secular, then they are all universal monarchs fChakravartins); but if Religious, then they become perfectly illuminated (all-wise), and are destined to be perfect Tathagatas."

Then Suddhodana further addressed the astrologers, and said, "What are the signs and the particular places of the signs, concerning which you speak?"

1 This is generally contracted into Siddhartha.

The astrologers replied, "The thirty-two signs of every great man are these following:—first of all, the sole of the foot is perfectly flat and level, all of it equally plump and full. 2. Underneath both feet are the thousand ray'd circles, beautiful and distinctly visible. 3. The Prince's fingers are tapering and long. 4. The heel of the foot round and smooth. 5. The instep high. 6. The fingers with round pliable joints. 7. The fingers and toes severally connected with a fine net-like membrane. 8. The shoulders(?) round as the King of the Stags. 9. Without stopping the hands reach to the knees. 10. That which ought to be concealed is concealed. 11. Every hair of the skin separate. 12. The hair of the body properly [arranged. 13. The skin soft and smooth as the cotton oftheTalas palm. 14. The hair the colour of gold. 15. The body itself cool and pure. 16. The mouth shaped perfectly within. 17. The cheek-bones like those of the King of Lions. 18. Both the legs large and broad. 19. The body above and below perfectly proportioned as the Nyagr6dha tree. 20. The seven places,1 full and round. 21. Possessed of forty teeth. 22. All the teeth even, and close together. 23. The teeth without discoloration or tendency to decay. 24. The four canine teeth [ya-(nga)] white and pure. 25. The body pure, and of a golden yellow colour. 26. The voice soft as that of Brahma. 27. The tongue wide and long, pliable, and red. 28. Possessed of delicate taste. 29. The eyes blue. 30. The eyebrow constantly moving' like that of the King of the oxen. 31. Between the eyebrows a white circle of soft and pliable hair. 32. An excrescence of the top of the head.

"Maharaja! these are the thirty-two superior signs. Whoever is marked with these will become either a Chakravartin or a perfect Buddha."

The King, having heard this explanation, his heart was filled with joy; he exulted greatly, and rejoiced.

Now at the time of the birth of Bodhisatwa in Lumbini, when the supernatural light appeared and the earth shook, then the Rishis and the Devas, who dwelt on earth, exclaimed with great

1 The French version of the Lalita Vistara gives "preferances."

2 There is some confusion in the Chinese, and this rendering is doubtful.

joy, "This day Buddha is born, for the good of men, to dispel the darkness of their ignorance," &c. Then the four heavenly kings took up the strain, and said, "Now because Bodhisatwa is born to give joy and bring peace to the world, therefore is there this brightness." Then the Gods of the thirty-three Heavens took up the burthen of the strain, and the Yama Devas, and the Tusita Devas; and so forth, through all the Heavens of the Kama, Rupa and Arupa worlds, even up to the Akanishta Heavens, all the Devas joined in this song and said, "To-day Bodhisatwa is born on earth to give joy and peace to men and Devas, to shed light in the dark places, and to give sight to the blind."

Now at this time there was a Rishi, called Asita1, dwelling at peace above the thirty-three Heavens, who, observing this demonstration of joy among the Devas, asked them and said, "Excellent Devas! tell me why ye are thus singing, and waving your garments and caps for joy;"—to whom they replied, "Is it possible, that you have not heard that in the city of Kapilavastu, just below the Snowy Mountains has been born a child of perfect beauty, &c, distinguished by the thirty-two great signs, and by the eighty lesser ones, destined to attained Supreme wisdom and to turn the wheel of the Divine Law, and to bring perfect deliverance from sorrow, life and death, to men and Devas?"

Asita, having heard these things, immediately accepting them as true, descended from the Heaven in which he was staying to the Tsang-chang grove where he usually dwelt on earth.2 Then taking with him his attendant Narada he passed through the air, and alighted not far from Kapilavastu. Standing there he thought thus with himself: "I will enter this city on foot, without any miraculous exhibition of my power as a Rishi."

Entering the city, therefore, he passed through the crowded streets, and arrived at the palace gates; meanwhile, the people stood looking on in wonder, some before their doors, others at their windows, others leaning over the balustrades, others on the tops of

1 The story that follows and related by Asita, is in the " Southern Records," referred to a tdpaso (ascetic) called Kaladewalo. Vide Turnour's "Pali Buddhistical Annals," R. A, S. B., 1838, p. 801.

4 Here the description and locality of this grove are given, almost in the same words as in the previous account.

[graphic]

their houses, all fixed in their attention on the proceedings of the Rishi; and they said one to another, "When this Rishi entered the city on a previous occasion, he exhibited his miraculous power, and proceeded through the air to the Palace; but now he walks pace by pace. Why is it he does so?" Meanwhile, Asita, standing before the palace gates, addressed the Warder thus: "Go! tell the King I am here."

On hearing the message, the King, rising from his seat, ordered the Warder to conduct the Rishi to his presence without delay. Being seated, the King paid him reverence, and said, "I respectfully pay homage to your Reverence;" to whom Asita replied with the following salutation (chant): "Eternal peace to your Majesty." Then the King addressed the Rishi thus: "What is the occasion of your coming, O Rishi? is it some lack of garments or food or other necessary? If so, permit me to supply all that you require." To whom Asita replied, "No such trivial matter as this, O King! has brought me here to-day; but I have come from very far to see the child just born to your Majesty. I trust that your Majesty, of your great kindness, will let me see the babe." [Accordingly, Asita and Narada proceed to the apartment where the child lay.]

Then Maya, taking the child in her arms, with her hand gently raised, attempted to make him bow his head in reverence towards the feet of Asita. But the child by his spiritual power turned himself round in his mother's arms, and presented his feet towards the Rishi. On which the King, taking the babe, made the same attempt three successive times, with the same result.

Now when Asita came to look at the child, a brightness like that of the Sun shone from his body, and illuminated the great earth, and his perfectly beautiful and graceful body sparkled like gold; his head like a precious covering, his nose straight, his shoulders round, his limbs perfectly proportioned.

Then Asita rose from his seat and addressed the King: "O King! make not the child bow his head to me! but let me rather worship his feet I" And again he recited this hymn of praise: "O rare event! Oh! seldom seen! A great Being has been born! —a very great being has been born! The tidings I heard in Heaven are indeed true, respecting this beautiful babe I"

Then Asita, baring his right shoulder and bending his right knee to the ground, took the child in his arms, and, returning to his seat, rested on his knees.1

Then the Queen said, "Venerable one! surely you will let the babe reverence you by saluting your feet!" To whom the Rishi replied, "Say not so, O Queen; for, on the contrary, both I and Devas and men should rather worship Him!"

Then the King taking costly jewels and precious substances, presented them to Asita, who, on his part, pouring water on the King's hands, received the gifts; but having done so, he at once presented them to the babe as an offering. Then Suddhodana addressed him and said, "O great Rishi! I offered these things to you, as a tribute of reverence! I beseech you, keep them yourself!" To whom the Rishi answered, "Your Majesty gave them to me! I in my turn gave them to this most excellent child." Suddhodana said, "Because I know the excellency of your merit, O Rishi! I presented these things to you." "But because I perceive the superiority of this child's excellency, I in my turn present them to him." To which Suddhodana replied, "I fail to understand you, O Rishi!" To whom Asita replied, "Know, O King! that with the deepest reverence of body and mind, I take refuge in and submit to this child." Then Suddhodana said, "What are the reasons for your so doing? I pray you expain yourself."

To whom the Rishi answered, "Listen, then, Maharaja, and I will narrate from beginning to end the circumstances of the case. Know then that I was some time ago dwelling in the Trayastrifishas heavens. When lo! I saw all the Devas around me rejoicing and dancing for joy, waving their jewelled caps and their garments in the air. On inquiring the reason of this demonstration they said, 'Know you not that this day is born in the world, in the Northern region just under the Himalaya Mountains in the city of the Sakyas, called Kapilavastu, of a Father Suddhodana, and a Mother Maya, a very beautiful child, perfect in every respect; endowed with the thirty-two superior signs, and the eighty inferior ones; and destined to become completely illuminated, and to preach the perfect Law. Doubtless this child by his Divine wisdom is com

1 Vide Speirs' "Ancient India," page 248, for a picture of this scene from Cave of Ajunta.

« ПредишнаНапред »