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After the lapse of such a period
The Heavenly treasure appears with men!
The one difficult person to see in the world,
is simply this Buddha—world honoured name!'"
At this time the venerable Maha Mogalan hearing this Gatha from the mouth of the Suddhavasa Devas, his entire frame trembled with awe, and the hairs on his body stood on end; then he reflected thus: "SeldomI seldom indeed beyond expression! and difficult, is it to see or encounter one who is called Buddha, etc.; difficult to meet with such an one who appears but once through countless ages!"
At this time the venerable Maha Mogalan, for the sake of those Devas, and in their abode, delivered innumerable profound and mysterious expositions of the Law—made clear countless religious truths —set forth to their very bottom endless difficulties of the deepest meaning, so that all these Devas were filled with joy, and derived the greatest benefit from the instruction thus delivered. Having thus explained the law in its various relations, the venerable Mogalan forthwith descended again to Jambudwipa, just as a champion lets his arm drop down after exercise. So he returned to Rajagriha, and forthwith proceeded in an orderly manner to beg his food from door to door, and then returned to his own place of rest. Having finished his necessary meal, he bound up his begging dish in his garment, and having washed his feet, straightway proceeded to the place where Buddha was, and having arrived there, after religiously venerating the foot of Buddha, he took a seat on one side. After being thus seated, he turned towards Buddha and spoke as follows, with respect to the places he had visited: "World-honoured! this morning I have been to Rajagriha to perform my duty of begging alms; and having by the way gone to the Suddhavasa Heavens, the Devas there spoke to me thus: 'It is difficult to see, difficult to meet with Tathagata,1 honoured by the world, amongst men.'" Having said so much he
ledge and history of Buddhism was perpetuated before the discovery of the art of writing. Vide Max Muller's "Chips," vol. i, p. 300. [The explanation given by Babu Rajendralal is fully borne out by the character of the Gathas in the present work.] 1 The expression Tathagata is so well known, that it needs no continued his address thus: "World-honoured! this communication, so wonderful to hear, having been finished, I felt truly in a strait how to understand what was said, viz., that only once in the midst of countless Kalpas does a Buddha appear!"
At this time Buddha addressed Mogalan and said: "Mogalan! the Devas of the Suddhavasa Heavens have little knowledge and imperfect perception — they may by their limited wisdom know something of the affairs of a myriad kalpas1 or so; but Mogalan! I can remember the virtuous principles which were adopted by countless, infinite Buddhas as the groundwork of their future supremacy. Mogalan! I remember when in former days I was a Chakravarti Raja,2 that I met with thirty tens of myriads of Buddhas, all of them named by the same name, which was Sakya Tathagata, all of whom were attended by disciples (hearers), many and honourable, who provided for their masters the four necessary requirements, that is to say, clothes, meat and drink, bed furniture, and medicinal preparations. But from none of them did I receive an intimation that I should become a Buddha, etc. Mogalan! I remember in bygone ages when I was a Chakravarti Raja, that I met with eighty myriads of Buddhas, all called Dipafikara, whose disciples, etc.
"Mogalan! I remember in bygone ages, when I was a Chakravarti Raja meeting with thirty myriads of Buddhas, all called Pushya,3 etc.
"Mogalan! I remember in bygone ages meeting with nine myriads of Buddhas, all called Kasyapa, etc. [and so with sixty thousand called Dipaprabhasa,4 etc.5] At length I remember that Mrs treya, for the first time, conceived the purpose of arriving at the condition of a Buddha; he was then a Chakravarti Re called Vair6chana.
explanation—it seems to correspond very closely to the phrase rendered from the Greek, " he who should come."
1 A Kalpa, a sfflculum or tuasy of somewhat indefinite length.
2 A Chakravarti Raja, i.e., a universal monarch. One who governs a Sakwala, or entire world (vide "Journal Asiatique," tome ii, No. 4).
3 Vide Jul. "Methode," M. 4 Teng-ming.
5 I have not considered it worth while to enumerate these purely fictitious personages.
"Mogalan! this Vair6chana preceded me by more than forty kalpas, after which I also began to aspire to the condition of a Buddha."
Buddha now proceeds to mention in detail the different names of his predecessors. This corresponds to the list found in the "Buddha wanso," as the succeeding section does to the "Eajawanso" (vide J. B. A. S. B., 1838. 926 ss.)
§ 2. At this time the world-honoured one was residing at Sravasti, in the Jetavana Vihara, possessed of the same supereminent qualities as we have before briefly mentioned. Then Buddha, having finished his meal, during seven days lost himself in contemplation,1 and recalled to his memory the history of all the Buddhas of bygone ages.
At this time, Ananda,2 after the seven days had elapsed, went to the place where Buddha was, and after adoring his feet, stood on one side, and addressed Buddha thus, " World-honoured! seldom indeed (do we meet with) Tathagatat his body so pure, and his presence so full of dignity and beauty as now I behold, and still more beautiful and ever more so! World-honoured one! with such boundless faculties for perfect abstraction as you possess, tell me, what are the memories that engage you in Samadhi, and what the rules and marks of it?"
At this time the world-honoured addressed Ananda, and said: "It is even as you say, Ananda! Tathagata, if he enters Samadhi, remembers through bygone ages all the Buddhas who have appeared, and obtained perfect wisdom and spiritual capacities, and in this condition he can remain either a kalpa or any portion of one, reflecting on the character of hundreds of thousands
1 Samadhi, a condition of ecstasy, in which the mind or soul is freed from all restraint, and enjoys perfect communion with the "other world."
2 Ananda, the chief of Buddha's disciples, now becomes the interlocutor.
of myriads of Buddhas; for the wisdom of Tathagata is boundless! And because Tathagata is possessed of all this wisdom, he has therefore arrived at that shore.1 Ananda! Tathagata having finished his meal, passes away for any period of time and meditates upon the affairs that have occurred in other ages, without let or hindrance. What then! Mal practices with ease the S called 'of all the Buddhas,' and passes over to that shore; and this of all the Samadhis is the most excellent."
Buddha addressed Ananda, "Ananda! I remember in previous ages, endless kalpas ago, there was a Buddha in the world called Indraketu Tathagata, etc., who saved countless creatures, and was strong to exercise love for their sakes, and by the power of his compassion for all flesh, gave them rest and peace. He was of great personal dignity, and was surrounded by a holy retinue of disciples. Ananda! he had five thousand myriad of followers, all fully arrived at the condition of arhats; the years of his life were five thousand years. This Indraketu Tathagata predicted that a certain B6dhisatwa should afterwards appear as a Buddha, and be called Uttaraketu Tathagata; he in his turn predicted the arrival of a Buddha called Gunaketu; he predicted Pritiketu; he predicted Dasaketu."2
[This first kiouen of the Fu-pen-hing-tsi-king, contains 5235 words, and the cost of carving these words was 2.617 taels (1 tael = 6s. 8d.) Ch. Ed.]
The second part of the first section "exciting a heart ready to nourish and cherish the cause of religion."
"Ananda! Samantabhadra predicted the advent of a Buddha named Chandra Tathagata; he predicted Pundara; he predicted Vimala; and so on for twenty-six generations.
1 "That shore," an expression for Nirvana—a condition of perfect release.
8 And so on through sixty-four generations of Buddhas, down to Samantabhadra.
"Ananda, all these Tathagatas down to the last, each in his turn, received the promise of future perfection, and each of them, I, in my own person, attended and cherished."
At this time the world-honoured one proceeded to recite the following gathas:
"All these various Tathagatas,
At this time, Ananda addressed Buddha, and said, "Worldhonoured! that which I have now heard proceed from the golden lips of Buddha, I will hold fast in my memory and not let slip, viz., that which relates to the incomparable and infinite wisdom of all the Buddhas, which has no bounds or limits. World-honoured! Tathagata truly knows the character of this wisdom; is it not so?"
At this time, the world-honoured addressed AnaDda, and said, "the wisdom of Tathagata is perfectly and thoroughly possessed (by me). My knowledge is that which has no limits or impediment; Tathagata, as he desires to make the boundaries (of his wisdom) large or narrow, or as he wishes to reflect on the wisdom of all the Buddhas in large or small proportions, is perfectly able to do so according to his wish."
At this time, Ananda addressed Buddha, "World-honoured! like as the Honourable Aniruddha,2 with his pure and heavenly
1 Buddha acknowledges no teacher, or inspiration of a God; he is "samanta chakkhu," t. B., his eye surveys all the boundaries of knowledge, and he clearly perceives at a glance all truth. (Gogerley).
2 Aniruddha, one of the Sakya princes and a disciple of Buddha. Super-eminent for his power of " Divine Sight."