Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

"Sobhiya! thou hast come from afar,
Desiring to ask me respecting your doubts;
Ask, then, now! and I will explain,
according as your queries are put, in order."

Then Sobhiya, struck with the calm and self-possessed appearance of Gotama, addressed him thus with all reverence— "Holy one! tell me what means the word Bhikshu? What means the expression, to 'overcome and subdue'? Seeing and knowing what things is it, that a man is called

'Buddha'. Oh! that the world-honoured one would explain these things to me!"

At this time, the world-honoured answered Sobhiya in the following stanzas—

"A man who endures constant penance in search of wisdom,
Overcoming all doubts, and crossing over to the shore of Nir-
vana—
Letting go all thoughts of what exists, and what does not exist,
Thoroughly practising the rules of a Brahmana! he is a Bhikshu.
Whoever is able to forsake all systems, and practise right-
recollection,
Living in the world, and doing no harm to aught that lives,
Able to acquire a body spotless and pure,
And escape all the toils of sorrow; he is called calm.
Able to control all the senses and objects of sense,
And to subdue all obstacles in the way; he is called True.
Living above this world, and all other worlds,
Awaiting the time of Nirvana ; he is called virtuous.
Toiling through ages of suffering,
Receiving births and deaths in succession,
Yet not soiled by the pollution of the world;
This man is rightly called ' Buddha' ".

[And much more to the same effect; after which Sobhiya becomes a disciple.]

The Story of the Chief Soldier (Senapati).

§ 2. Now at this time people from all quarters were flocking to Buddha, to hear him preach, and join his community; on which Buddha, after due consideration, resolved to send his followers through the different districts, towns and villages, to teach and explain his system of doctrine, and so prepare the way for their becoming disciples. So, early in the morning, on a certain day, he assembled the Bhikshus together, and addressed them thus— "Bhikshus! I desire to go into retirement for a time; go ye and visit the different cities and towns of the land, and prepare the way for my coming." Moreover, he gave them directions as to the mode of receiving all who sought to become disciples—that they should receive the tonsure, and wear the robes of a mendicant, and be instructed in the other rules of right behaviour, such as bending the knee and clasping the hands; and, finally, how they ought to take refuge in the threefold formula (Buddha, the Law, the Church). Then Buddha, having sent them forth, retired to the Deer park, and there rested for a, time, having already signified his intention to proceed gradually towards Uravilva, and the village of the soldier-lord (Senapati), to preach the law for his sake and others. And so the Gatha says— "Bhikshus! having myself escaped from all sorrows,

I desire my own profit to redound to the good of others;

There are yet a vast number of men enthralled by grief—

For these we ought to have some care and compassion.

Do you, therefore, oh Bhikshus!

Each one go forth by himself, to teach the world;

Whilst I, by myself, go from this place

Towards the village of Uravilva, to preach there."

Then again Mara came to the spot where Buddha dwelt, and addressed him thus—

"You, oh Shaman! are bound by the same cords
As those which bind both gods and men;
You are entwined in the same meshes as they,
And from these thou canst never escape!"

Then the world honoured one recognising at once, from the words, that they came from Mars the wicked one, replied to him in A Gatha as follows—

"Long ago have I escaped from all the meshes of the net;
No more am I bound with the cords which bind gods and men;
My body has been released from all these trammels,
And I have conquered thee, oh wicked one! What more,
then, dost thou seek -"

Moreover, he added the following Gatha—
"The five pollutions that affect the human race—
The power of beauty, sound, odour, taste, and touch—
These I have long since cast away and rejected,
And in so doing I have conquered all thy power, oh Mara!"

Then the devil took to flight, and left the enlightened one.
Then the Bhikshus addressed Buddha, and said—" Suppose, on

our entering a town or village, we are asked what is the meaning

of the word Shaman or Brahman, what answer shall we give?"

To whom Buddha replied in a verse—

"A man who has for ever destroyed the source of evil desire,
And left no longer in himself a seed of covetousness,
Who is calm and at rest, both in body and soul—
This man is rightly called a Shaman and a Bhikshu, etc., etc.
Cleansed thus from all personal defilement, and coming out of

the world,
He is truly a homeless one—a disciple indeed."

The Bhikshus then inquired what words they were to use when begging their food from door to door; to whom Buddha replied —

"The wise man, in begging, uses no words, Nor does he point to this or that in accepting food; But silently he stands, lost in thought and self-recollection. He who thus begs is indeed a true Shaman. Whoever sees a religious person thus begging his food, May be sure that he is worthy of his charity, and a real disciple."

[After some further conversation, the Bhikshus respectfully salute their master and depart.]

Now the guardian spirit, who kept watch in the grove where the Bhikshus had been, perceiving that the place was now empty and without occupants, came to Buddha, and inquired of him the reason why the disciples had gone, and whither they were going; on which Buddha replied—

"These disciples of mine, perfect in self-restraint,
have gone forth to convert the world
They have gone to Kosala,
And to Vaisali,
And to the land of Ayudhya,
And to the region of the diamond-fields,1
To subdue and remove the doubts of men,
Respecting the truths of the law which I declare."

So it came to pass, when the time of the Summer's Reste at Benares was past—the world-honoured one having sent his disciples forth to preach and teach—himself set out for Uravilva, where he had practised the austerities he endured for six years. Now, in that village of Uravilva there was a great Brahman called Senapati, who had resided there from very remote time, for the purpose of instructing and benefiting the people. So it came to pass that, as Buddha was journeying along the usual road near to this village, that he saw a copse of beautiful trees by the wayside, and, feeling fatigued, he retired to this shady retreat for a time, and sat down beneath a tree of remarkable beauty.

Just at this time there was a party of thirty young men enjoying themselves in this same wood, all of whom, save one, had a pleasant female companion as an associate. Then the others, seeing that one of their number was not accompanied by a companion, began to contrive how to find one for him, but without any success, till at last they got a common dancing girl to join herself to their company, and associate with the young man who was alone without a female friend. So they passed their time in singing and

1 Literally, the region of the district of the Great Diamond country (Vajra).

4 The Summer Rest, as is well-known, is the season of the rains, during which Buddhists met together under the cover of some friendly roof or monastery. This season is sometimes called their "Lent."

f dancing, till, night coming on, they gradually sank to rest, and were soon asleep. Then the dancing woman, seeing they were all asleep, arose, and having taken such jewels and property belonging to the men as struck her fancy, she departed out of the wood. Then the young man whose companion she was, waking out of his sleep in the morning, and finding his fair companion gone, aroused his fellows, and they all set off in pursuit of her. Suddenly, under a tree, they lighted on Buddha, sitting in a perfectly composed manner, and conspicuous for his superhuman beauty and dignified mien. Addressing him respectfully, they asked him if he had seen the woman of pleasure, their former companion, go by that way? To whom Buddha replied: "Tell me, I pray, all about this woman of whom you speak; why did she come to you, and from whence?" Then they related to him the story of their adventure. On this Buddha replied to the young men thus : "Listen to me, oh youths! and I will ask you a question—whether it is better, think you, to find yourselves, or to find this woman whom ye seek?" They replied —" It would certainly be better to find ourselves." Then Buddha invited them to sit down whilst he recited to them his law [ond in the end they were all converted, and became Rahats].

Then Buddha, passing on through the wood, came to another beautiful tree, and there sat down. Whilst seated thus, it so happened that sixty travellers drew nigh; and seeing Buddha, so beautiful in form and figure, thus resting, they drew nigh to him, and having heard his exposition of the law, they also were converted and became Rahats.

[Kiouen XXXIX contains 5,834 words, and cost 2.917 taels.]

CHAPTER XL.

§ 1. So Buddha, by easy stages, at length arrived at the bank of the river Ganges; then a certain ferryman, whose boat was on the margin of the river, seeing the venerable one approaching, hurried

« ПредишнаНапред »