Buddha-carita Home PageBook XVI
The Buddha-carita continuation by AMṚTĀNANDA
Translated by E. B. Cowell
1. Daily praised by all the various heavenly beings, the perfectly Wise One thus passed that period of seven days which is designated ‘the aliment of joy.’
2. He then passed the second week, while he was bathed with jars full of water by the heavenly beings, the Bodhisattvas and the rest.
3. Then having bathed in the four oceans and being seated on his throne, he passed the third week restraining his eyes from seeing.
4. In the fourth week, assuming many forms, he stood triumphant on his throne, having delivered a being who was ready to be converted.
5. A god named Samantakusuma, bearing an offering of flowers, thus addressed with folded hands the great Buddha who was seated there:
6. ‘What is the name, O holy one, of this meditation, engaged in which thou hast thus passed four whole weeks with joy, deeply pondering?’
7. ‘This is designated, O divine being, "the array of the aliment of great joy," like an inaugurated king, who has overcome his enemies and enjoys prosperity.’
8. Having said this, the saint possessing the ten pre-eminent powers, full of joy, continued, ‘The former perfect Buddhas also did not leave the Bodhi tree.
9. ‘Here the Kleśas and the Māras together with ignorance and the Āsravas have been conquered by me; and perfect wisdom has been attained able to deliver the world.
10. ‘I too, resolved to follow the teaching of the former Buddhas, remained four whole weeks in the fulfilment of my inauguration.’
11. Then Māra, utterly despondent in soul, thus addressed the Tathāgata, ‘O holy one, be pleased to enter Nirvāṇa, thy desires are accomplished.’
12. ‘I will first establish in perfect wisdom worlds as numerous as the sand, and then I will enter Nirvāṇa,’ thus did the Buddha reply, and with a shriek Māra went to his home.
13. Then the three daughters of Māra, Lust, Thirst, and Delight, beholding their father with defeated face, approached the Tathāgata.
14. Lust, with a face like the moon and versed in all the arts of enchantment, tried to infatuate him by her descriptions of the pleasures of a householder's life.
15. ‘Think, "If I abandon an emperor's happiness, with what paltry happiness shall I have to content myself? When success is lost, what shall I have to enjoy?" — and come and take refuge with us.
16. ‘Else, in bitter repentance, thou wilt remember me hereafter, when thou art fallen.’ — But he listened not to her words, closing his eyes in deep meditation like one who is sleepy.
17. Then Thirst, shameless like one distressed with thirst, thus addressed him who was free from all thirst: ‘Fie, fie, thou hast abandoned thy family duties, thou hast fallen from all social obligations;
18. ‘Without power no asceticism, sacrifice, or vow can be accomplished, — those great Ṛṣis Brahman and the rest, because they were endowed with power, enjoy their present triumph.
19. ‘Know me to be the power called Thirst, and worship thirst accordingly; else I will clasp thee with all my might and fling away thy life.’
20. Motionless as one almost dead, he continued in meditation, remembering the former Buddhas; then Delight next tried to win him who was indeed hard to be won by evil deeds.
21. ‘O holy one, I am Delight by name, fostering all practicable delights, — therefore making me the female mendicant's tutelary power, bring delight within thy reach.’
22. But whether flattered or threatened, whether she uttered curses or blessings, he remained absorbed in meditation, perfectly tranquil like one who has entered Nirvāṇa.
23. Then the three, with despondent faces, having retired together on one side, consulted with one another and came forward wearing the appearance of youthful beauty.
24. Folding their hands in reverence they thus addressed the Tathāgata, ‘O holy one, receive us as religious mendicants, we are come to thy one refuge.
25. ‘Having heard the fame of thy achievements, we, the daughters of Namuci, have come from the golden city, abandoning the life of a household.
26. ‘We are desirous of repressing the teaching of our five hundred brothers, — we would be freed from a master, as thou thyself art freed from all passions.’
27. Having his mind continually guided by the conduct which leads to Nirvāṇa, and setting himself to remember the (former) Buddhas, he kept his eyes closed, absorbed in meditation.
28. Then again, having resolved on their new plan in concert, these enchantresses, assuming an older aspect, approached once more to delude him.
29. ‘We have come here after wandering under the dismal avatāra of slaves’, — thou art the avatāra of Buddha, — do thou establish us, mature, in the true Buddha doctrine.
30. ‘We are women of older age, much to be pitied, bewildered by the fear of death, — we are therefore worthy to be established in that doctrine of Nirvāṇa which puts an end to all future births.’
31. These words of the enchantresses were heard by him, yet he felt no anger; but they all became the victims of old age, through the manifestation of his divine power.
32. Having beheld him plunged in meditation, immovable like the mountain Meru, — they turned away their faces and they could not retain their beauty.
33. Bending their feet, with decrepit limbs, they thus addressed their father: ‘O father, do thou, the lord of the world of Desire, restore us to our own forms.’
34. His daughters were dear, but he had no power to alter the effect of the will of Buddha; then their father said to them, ‘Go to the refuge which he gives.’
35. Then they in various guises, bent humbly at his feet, implored the perfect Buddha, ‘Pardon our transgression, whose minds were intoxicated with youth.’
36. The teacher, that mine of Forgiveness, in silence restored them by his will; and having repeatedly worshipped and praised him they went joyfully to their home.
37. Then again Māra, the lord of the world of Desire, lost to shame, taking the form of the head of a family, thus addressed him from the sky:
38. ‘I worshipped thee long ago, foretelling that thou wouldest become a Buddha; and by my blessings thou hast to-day become Buddha Tathāgata.
39. ‘As thou didst come from thine own kingdom, so now having returned as Tathāgata, with a name corresponding to the reality be a king Tathāgata.
40. ‘Having gone to that royal station, do thou meditate on the three jewels, and cherish thy father and mother, and delight Yaśodharā, —
41. ‘Possessed of a thousand sons, and able to deliver the world, be successively the supreme lord of every world from the Yāma heaven onwards’.
42. ‘Having become also the supreme lord of all Bodhisattvas, thou shalt attain Nirvāṇa; O wise seer, repair to the hermitage of Kapila in order to beget those sons.
43. ‘As thou art the king of the Law, so shall thy sons also be all Tathāgatas, and all the activity and cessation of existence shall depend upon thee, O Jina.’
44. To him thus speaking the All-wise replied, ‘Hear, O shameless one; thou art Māra, — not the head of a clan, the upholder of the race of the Śākyas.
45. ‘A host like thee, though they came in myriads, could not harm me, — I will go to my kingdom gradually, I will bring the world to perfect happiness.
46. ‘Thou art utterly vanquished, O Namuci, go back to thy own home; I will go hence to turn the wheel of the Law in Vārāṇasī.’
47. He, on hearing this command, saying with a deep sigh, ‘Alas! I am crushed,’ left him and went despondent and companionless through the sky to his home.
48. Then he, the conqueror of Māra, rising from that throne, set forth to journey alone to the holy Vārāṇasī.
49. The heavens became covered with clouds when they saw the chief of saints, and the king of the Nāgas Mucilinda made a petition in reverential faith:
50. ‘O holy one, thou art all-wise, there will be stormy weather for seven days, — wind, rain, and darkness, — dwell for the time in my abode.’
51. Though himself possessed of all supernatural power, the holy one thought of the world still involved in embodied existence, and sitting on that jewel-seat he remained absorbed in contemplation.
52. That king of the Nāgas there protected the Buddha, who is himself the source of all protection, from the rain, wind, and darkness, covering his body with his own hood.
53. When the seven days were past and the Nāga had paid his homage and was gone, the Jina proceeded to the bank of a river, near a forest of goat-herds.
54. As the Sugata stayed there during the night, a deity, who bore the name of the Indian fig-tree, came up to him, illumining the spot where he was, and thus addressed him with folded hands:
55. ‘The fig-tree was planted by me when I was born as a man, bearing the name of Buddha; and it has been fostered like the Bodhi tree in the hope of delivering myself from evil.
56. ‘By the merit of that action I myself have been born in heaven; in kindness to me, O my lord, do thou dwell seven days in triumph here.’
57. ‘So be it,’ said the chief of all saints, the true Kalpa tree to grant the wishes of the faithful votary, and he stayed under the fig-tree, absorbed in contemplation, spreading lustre around like a full moon.
58. There he dwelt seven days; and then in a forest of Datura trees, sitting at the foot of a palm, he remained absorbed in contemplation.
59. Spending thus in different spots his weeks of meditation, day and night, the great saint, pondering and fasting, went on in his way, longing to accomplish the world's salvation.
60. Then two wealthy merchants from the land of Uttara Utkala, named Trapusha and Bhallika, journeying with five hundred wagons,
61. Being freed from a sin which involved a birth as pretas, both joyfully worshipped Buddha with an offering of the three sweet substancess and milk; and they obtained thereby auspicious blessings.
62. They obtained pieces of his nails and hairs for a Caitya and they also received a prophecy of their future birth, and having received the additional promise, ‘Ye shall also obtain a stone,’ they then proceeded on their way elsewhere.
63. Then Buddha accepted alms in his bowl, offered by the goddess who dwelt in the Datura grove, and he blessed her with benedictions.
64. The Jina then blessed the four bowls as one, which were offered by the four Mahārājas, and ate with pleasure the offering of milk.
65. Then one day the Jina ate there an Haritakī fruit which was offered to him by Śakra, and having planted the seed he caused it to grow to a tree.
66. The king of the Devas carried the news thereof joyfully to the Deva-heavens; and gods, men, and demons watered it with reverential circumambulations.
67. On hearing the news of the Haritakī seed, and remembering the whole history from first to last, a daughter of the gods named Bhadrikā, who had been a cow in her former birth, came from heaven.
68. She, the daughter of the gods, smiling with her companions, thus addressed the Jina, bringing him a garment of rags, dependent from a bough:
69. ‘I beg to bring to thy notice — what? O Buddha! — accept this garment of rags, by whose influence I am now a daughter of heaven named Bhadrikā.’
70. ‘By the further development of this merit thou shalt become a Bodhisattva’ — uttering this blessing the Teacher accepted the rags.
71. Beholding the tattered rags, the gods, crowding in the sky, filled with wonder, and uttering cries of hī hī, flung down upon him garments of heavenly silk.
72. ‘These are not fit for a religious mendicant,’ — so saying, he did not accept even one of them, — only thinking in his calm apathy, ‘these are fit for imperial pomp and a householder's luxury.’
73. He desired a stone slab and some water in order to wash the dirt away, — Śakra at that moment dug out a great river full of water;
74. And four stones are brought to him by the four Mahārājas, — on one he himself sat, on another he performed the washing;
75. On another he performed the drying, and another he flung up into the sky; the stone as it flew up reached the blazing city and astonished all the worlds.
76. After paying their worship in many ways, Trapusha and Bhallika duly raised an excellent Caitya and they called it Silāgarbha.
77. The ascetics of that neighbourhood paid their homage to the ‘Three Stones’ when they were made into a Caitya, and the noble stream flowed widely known as the ‘Holy River.’
78. Those who bathe and offer their worship in the holy river and reverence the Caitya of the three stones, become great-souled Bodhisattvas and obtain Nirvāṇa.
79. Then seated under a palm-tree the holy one pondered: ‘The profound wisdom so hard to be understood is now known by me.
80. ‘These sin-defiled worlds understand not this most excellent (Law), and the unenlightened shamelessly censure both me and my wisdom.
81. ‘Shall I proclaim the Law? It is only produced by knowledge; having attained it thus in my lonely pondering, do I feel strong enough to deliver the world?’
82. Having remembered all that he had heard before, he again pondered; and resolving, ‘I will explain it for the sake of delivering the world,’
83. Buddha, the chief of saints, absorbed in contemplation, shone forth, arousing the world, having emitted in the darkness of the night a light from the tuft of hair between his eyebrows.
84. When it became dawn, Brahman and the other gods, and the various rulers of the different worlds, besought Sugata to turn the wheel of the Law.
85. When the Jina by his silence uttered an assenting ‘so be it,’ they returned to their own abodes; and the lion of the Śākyas also shone there, still remaining lost in contemplation.
86. Then the four divinities (of the Bodhi tree), Dharmaruci and the rest, addressed him, ‘Where, O teacher of the world, will the holy one turn the wheel of the Law?’
87. ‘In Vārāṇasī, in the Deer Park will I turn the wheel of the Law; seated in the fourth posture O deities, I will deliver the world.’
88. There the holy one, the bull of the Śākya race, pondered, ‘For whom shall I first turn the wheel of the Law?’
89. The glorious one reflected that Rudraka and Arāḍa were dead, and then he remembered those others, the five men united in a worthy society, who dwelt at Kāśī.
90. Then Buddha set out to go joyfully to Kāśī, manifesting as he went the manifold supernatural course of life of Magadha.
91. Having made a mendicant (whom he met) happy in the path of those who are illustrious through the Law, the glorious one went on, illumining the country which lies to the north of Gaya.
92. (Having stayed) in the dwelling of the prince of the Nāgas, named Sudarśana, on the occurrence of night, he ate a morning meal consisting of the five kinds of ambrosia, and departed, gladdening him with his blessing.
93. Near Vaṇārā he went under the shadow of a tree and there he established a poor Brāhman named Nandin in sacred knowledge.
94. In Vaṇārā in a householder's dwelling he was lodged for the night; in the morning he partook of some milk and departed, having given his blessing.
95. In the village called Vundadvīra he lodged in the abode of a Yakṣa named Vunda, and in the morning after taking some milk and giving his blessing he departed.
96. Next was the garden named Rohitavastuka, and there the Nāga-king Kamaṇḍalu with his courtiers also worshipped him.
97. Having delivered various beings in every place, the compassionate saint journeyed on to Gandhapura and was worshipped there by the Yakṣa Gandha.
98. When he arrived at the city Sārathi, the citizens volunteered to be charioteers in his service; thence he came to the Ganges, and he bade the ferryman cross.
99. ‘Good man, convey me across the Ganges, may the seven blessings be thine.’ ‘I carry no one across unless he pays the fee.’
100. ‘I have nothing, what shall I give?’ So saying he went through the sky like the king of birds; and from that time Bimbisāra abolished the ferry-fee for all ascetics.
101. Then having entered Vārāṇasī, the Jina, illumining the city with his light, filled the minds of all the inhabitants of Kāśī with excessive interest.
102. In the Saṅkhamedhīya garden, the king of righteousness, absorbed in meditation, passed the night, gladdening like the moon all those who were astonished at his appearance.
103. The next day at the end of the second watch, having gone his begging round collecting alms, he, the unequalled one, like Hari, proceeded to the Deer Park.
104. The five disciples united in a worthy society, when they beheld him, said to one another, ‘This is Gautama who has come hither, the ascetic who has abandoned his self-control.
105. ‘He wanders about now, greedy, of impure soul, unstable and with his senses under no firm control, devoted to inquiries regarding the frying-pan.
106. ‘We will not ask after his health, nor rise to meet him, nor address him, nor offer him a welcome, nor a seat, nor bid him enter into our dwelling.’
107. Having understood their agreement, with a smiling countenance, spreading light all around, Buddha advanced gradually nearer, holding his staff and his begging-pot.
108. Forgetful of their agreement, the five friends, under his constraining majesty, rose up like birds in their cages when scorched by fire.
109. Having taken his begging-bowl and staff, they gave him an arghya, and water for washing his feet and rinsing his mouth; and bowing reverentially they said to him, ‘Honoured Sir, health to thee.’
110. ‘Health in every respect is ours, — that wisdom has been attained which is so hard to be won,’ — so saying, the holy one thus spoke to the five worthy associates:
111. ‘But address me not as "worthy Sir," know that I am a Jina, — I have come to give the first wheel of the Law to you. Receive initiation from me, — ye shall obtain the place of Nirvāṇa.’
112. Then the five, pure in heart, begged leave to undertake his vow of a religious life; and the Buddha, touching their heads, received them into the mendicant order.
113. Then at the mendicants' respectful request the chief of saints bathed in the tank, and after eating ambrosia he reflected on the field of the Law.
114. Remembering that the Deer Park and the field of the Jina were there, he went joyfully with them and pointed out the sacred seats.
115. Having worshipped three seats, he desired to visit the fourth, and when the worthy disciples asked about it, the teacher thus addressed them:
116. ‘These are the four seats of the Buddhas of the (present) Bhadra Age, — three Buddhas have passed therein, and I here am the fourth possessor of the ten powers.’
117. Having thus addressed them the glorious one bowed to that throne of the Law, decked with tapestries of cloth and silk, and having its stone inlaid with jewels, like a golden mountain, guarded by the kings of kings,
In the former fortnight of Āṣāḍa, on the day consecrated to the Regent of Jupiter, on the lunar day sacred to Viṣnu, and on an auspicious conjunction, under the asterism Anurādhā, and in the muhūrta called the Victorious, in the night, — he took his stand on the throne.
118. The five worthy disciples stood in front, with joyful minds, paying their homage, and the son of Śuddhodana performed that act of meditation which is called the Arouser of all worlds;
Brahman and the other gods came surrounded by their attendants, summoned each from his own world; and Maitrīya with the deities of the Tuṣita heaven came for the turning of the wheel of the Law.
119. So too when the multitude of the sons of the Jinas and the Suras gathered together from the ten directions of space, there came also the noble chief of the sons of the Jinas, named Dharmacakra, carrying the wheel of the Law;
With head reverentially bowed, having placed it, a mass of gold and jewels, before the Buddha and having worshipped him, he thus besought him, ‘O thou lord of saints, turn the wheel of the Law as it has been done by (former) Sugatas.’
Buddha-carita Home PageBook XVI
last updated: January 2007