[from V. The Third Recital]

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[King Asoka sees the Buddha]
331-338 = Mhv. 87-94

One day King Asoka heard about the Nāga King Mahākāla, of great power, who had lived for an aeon and seen the Four Perfectly Awakened Ones, This means the four Buddhas who have already arisen in this auspicious aeon: Kakusandha, Koṇāgamana, Kassapa and Gotama; one more will come later in this aeon: Metteyya.01 and had him brought into his presence bound by golden chains.

He brought him and had him sit under the white canopy over the throne and worshipped him with many flowers, and surrounded him with sixty thousand dancing women, and said: “Show me the form of the one who set rolling the True Dhamma, the Omniscient Great Sage with endless knowledge, Dear Sir.”

The King of the Nāgas created a captivating form of the Buddha endowed with the thirty-two marks, the eighty characteristics, encircled by a fathom-wide light and adorned with the garland of rays.

Seeing that, full of faith and astonishment, Asoka said: “Such is this mere created form! What would have been the Realised One's true form?” And his joy was raised on high.

For seven days he uninterruptedly performed what is known as the Eye-Worship, Meaning he paid respect by looking at the form uninterruptedly for seven days; a similar thing is said in the commentaries about the Buddha after he attained Awakening: he spent the second seven days doing unblinking worship (animisapūja) to the Bodhi Tree (see e.g. Jinacarita v. 277). 02 and the Great King, of great power, had a great festival celebrated.

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