Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

horse, having partaken of some dainty food (corn or grain without husk and of aromatic flavour), comes to this shore once every year and half his body seen. He cries three times, " Whoever wishes to cross over the great salt sea, I will convey him over." "Now, then if you would escape from your present danger, this is the only way —await the arrival of Kesi, the Horse Raja.'1

"Then again the merchant chief inquired,' And have you yourselves seen this horse? If so, how is it ye did not escape? From whom, again, did you hear this strange story ?—it may be it is false.'

"Then those captives answered,' We heard from heaven a voice like this: "The merchants of Jambudwipa are foolish and ignorant men, and why? How can they expect ere the Pleiades and Moon be in conjunction in the middle of the fourth Moon—how can they dare to try a northern course ?s But then, if they would try, let them wait until they see the half-revealed form of the White Horse King Kesi, seeking food upon the sea-shore. He shall carry them across the briny sea to the other coast." But we, alas! were so besotted with the love of women that we heeded not the voice, and let the time slip, and are now here the certain victims of the Rakshasis, for there is no escape from this city—the walls so high! If we dig to escape under the walls, the holes fill up again as soon as they are made. There can be no escape for us—we shall most surely all be eaten by the Rakshasis. But, ah, dear friend! if you escape, and if you reach Jambudwipa again in peace, go, we pray you, to such a town (or, village), and tell our loving friends that

1 The whole of this description seems to refer to the change of monsoon. The setting in of the south-west monsoon would be a signal for the land-bound vessels of Ceylon to start for the north again. The White Horse Kesi denotes the white crested waves that roll in with a remarkable sound punctually as the ex changes. Hence, because of his attributes, Avalokiteshwara was pictured under the figure of a white horse. We have remnants of the same idea in the expression common amongst sailors, "the white mane of the horse," when the waves break. The white horse of the Saxon sea kings may have a similar origin.

3 Vid. Jul. II, 62, "Quand le soleil se meut en dedans (de scar c'est la marche au Nord (Oudagayana)." It is still the custom at Madras, and elsewhere on that coast, to fling fruit, etc., into the sea on the full moon of August, after which the native craft set sail.

so-and-so is now condemned to die within the iron city of the Eakshasis, and warn them all, and all you see, against the love of money and the desire for precious stones, and let them not risk their lives upon the treacherous ocean. Meanwhile, you and all your friends use every diligence to make good your escape, and when you join your loving relatives, parents and wives, be sure to pay your vows to Heaven, and lead a holy and religious life.'

"Having heard so much, the merchant chiefs descended from the tree, and as he went his way he listened to the piteous lamentations of the captives, who cried,'Alack! Oh! for one more look at our dear country, Jambudwipa! Far better, if safe there, to feed upon the very offal of the streets than risk one's life upon the sea in search of wealth.'

"Then the merchant chief returned to his abode and found the Rakshasis asleep as he left them.

"Finally, after much thought, he determined to keep the knowledge of his night's adventure perfectly secret from his brother merchants, lest by any chance they should let it be known to the Rakshasis, and so their condition be rendered desperate, following, in fact, the words of the Gatha—

"'Every one who has learned a secret,

And with thoughtless heart and head

Lets out some portion of what he knows,

forgets that those who hear will tell the same,

And so bring trouble and disgrace,

And stir up strife and enmity.

The wise man and the man of prudence

Let nothing out, but conceal the matter.'

And so the merchant chief, thinking of this, held his peace, and awaited the arrival of the joyous day of the fourth month, and then he began to reveal his plan to his comrades. Exhorting them all to constancy and determination, he begged them to cast off the unconcern resulting from a life of ease and shake off the power of love. So saying, he appointed a certain place of rendezvous on the night before the fifteenth day, and 'when the women are asleep,' he added,' rise up and hasten to the spot, and I will tell you more.' Accordingly, they acted as their chief advised, and met at the appointed spot. [The chief then narrates his adventures before the iron city.]

"After awhile the Horse KingKesi, having partaken of the pure food, came to the shore, and, raising his body half out of the waves, exclaimed in a loud voice three times,'If there be anyone here desirous to pass over to the other side across the briny ocean, I will convey him.' Then those merchants, seeing the horse King and hearing his words, were filled with joy and exultation. Their very hair stood erect with delight, and, bowing down to the earth, with their hands above their heads, they exclaimed, 'Oh illustrious Horse King! we wish to be conveyed across to that shore. Would that you would transport t hence to that side where we would be.' Then the horse replied to the merchants, 'Be it known that the Rakshasis will certainly pursue you. They will bring their children in their arms and entreat you to return. If either of you relent or be moved by feelings of regret—if you say, "Ah! there is my wife," or, " Ah! there is my child," then do not suppose for a moment that I will convey you away. You will certainly fall off my back and become the prey of those Rakshasis; but if you steel your hearts against their wiles, and cling closely to my hair, then I will convey you safely across the salt sea to the other s having said this, the Horse King invited them all to mount his back, and cling to him with their legs and feet. Then, mounting into the air, he flew away like the wind. Meantime the Rakshasis, hearing the thunder-voice of the Horse King, suddenly awaking from their sleep and missing their companions, after looking on every side, at length perceived afar off the merchants mounted on the Horse King's back, clinging to his hair, and holding fast in every way, as they journey on through the air. Seeing this, they each seized her child, and, hurrying down to the shore, they uttered piteous cries, and said, ' Alas ! alas! dear masters! why are you about to leave us desolate ?—whither are ye going? Beware, dear ones, of the dangers of the sea. Remember your former mishap. Why do you leave us thus? What pain have we caused you? Have you not had your fill of pleasure? Have we not been loving wives? Then why so basely desert us? Return, dear youths! return to your children and your wives!' But all their entreaties were in vain, and the Horse King soon carried those five hundred merchants back to the welcome shore they had left, across the waves of the briny sea.

"Now at this time, Bhikshus; the five hundred merchant men were these five hundred heretics, the followers of Sandjaya; Sariputra was the wise chief, and I was the horse Kesi."

[The Mahasanghikas say that after this Buddha travelled onwards through the neighbouring villages and so came again to Rajagriha. The Kasyapiyas say he went to the Southern Mountains (Lanka fr), and there exhibited many marvellous changes of person, and that in the meantime the people of Magadha thought he was dead, and began to break through the rules when he suddenly returned.]

[Kiouen XLIX contains 5,587 words, and cost 2.794 taels.]

CHAPTER L.

§ 1. Now it so happened that Bimbasara Raja, observing the advantage got by the heretics, in consequence of their convocations held for five days, during which they explained to the people their system of doctrine and preached to them out of their law. Seeing this, the king exhorted Buddha to hold similar assemblies,1 and so keep pace with the Paribajakas, who were opposed to him. To this the Lord of the World consented, and Bimbasara on his part undertook to be present at these convocations, and so draw the people together, in imitation of his royal example.

Then Buddha having ordered the leaders of his community (Sthaviras) to assemble, in the manner aforesaid, to repeat the law, they requested to be instructed what law they should repeat. On this he told them to preach. upon the excellency of Buddha, the Law, and the Church; to exhort the people to charity, to the cultivation of wisdom, temperance, and complete personal discipline d Rules, vid. E. M., p. 9); to avoid entering crowded towns and villages; to live in quietness and retirement [and so on].

Now it came to pass that as soon as the Bhikshus had begun to recite the law, as their master directed, during the five successive days of assembly, that the people also began to find fault with them, and say, "How is it that these teachers of ours continue to repeat the same thing over and over again, in a monotonous voice,

1 There seems to be a reference here to the assemblies known as pan-che-yu-sse. Vid. Pah Hian, cap. v, p. 15.

just like children who have learned their lesson repeat it to their masters"? Then Buddha gave the priests permission to vary their mode of repeating the law, according to their individual character of voice and ability.

The people then complained of the want of agreement in the mode of recitation, and also of omissions and alterations made by some of the priests, and argued that they could not be true teachers if they varied so. On this Buddha ordered them to confine themselves to explanations of the Agama, and the Sutras generally; and each priest (if there were more than one in an assembly) to take up the recitation in turn, explaining each word and sentence according to individual ability.

Buddha then permitted the priests to enclose a space within four walls, to smooth the enclosed ground and plant it.1 Buddha then gave them permission to wash their feet [after a journey along a muddy road, undertaken for the purpose of reciting the law]. He then permitted them to use incense [perfumed cow dung] and scented water, for the purpose of purifying the place of recitation. The people then complained that the priests were transgressing the order that they should not use or possess any unguents or perfumes. On this, Buddha permitted them to receive gifts of flowers and incense from lay persons, for the purpose of assisting in the religious function; but when this permission was abused, and money and other things offered, Buddha restricted the permission to gifts of the necessary things [Ariz., meat, drink, clothes, medicine].

Buddha afterwards permitted selections of the sacred books to be read; also an elevated place to be erected, on which the priest or priests should sit, for the purpose of being heard; he forbad two preaching halls to be near one another, lest there should be confusion of sound; he also permitted those assembled to join in the recitation of certain portions of the law, such as the Gathas, etc., but he forbad anything like irreverent or indecent singing; he also ordained that, if any Bhikshu wanted to go to any place for the purpose of reciting the law, he should first ask permission of the Acharya, and on a certain occasion, when some Bhikshus had disobeyed this order, and gone to a certain town contrary to the

1 Doubtless the origin of the Sangharamas or "priests' garden."

[graphic]
« ПредишнаНапред »