[II. Progress of the Sāsana]

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12: Yasa's Going Forth

Then at that time at Bārāṇasī there was a delicate young man of good family, Yasa by name, Called Yaśoda in Mahāvastu (see e.g. 3.405).01 a merchant's son. There were three palaces for him: one for the winter time, one for the summer time, and one for the rainy season. This story of the palaces and the reason for Yasa leaving home seems to have been later applied to the Bodhisatta's own story.02 During the four months in the rainy season palace, while a female Lit: non-male.03 musical ensemble was entertaining him, he did not descend to the bottom of the palace. Then while the young man Yasa, possessed of and endowed with the five strands of sensual pleasure, was being entertained he fell asleep first, and his retinue fell asleep afterwards, and all night an oil-lamp burned.

Then the young man Yasa, after waking first, saw his retinue sleeping, one with a lute in her armpit, another with a small drum on her neck, another with a drum on her chest, another with hair dishevelled, another dribbling, another muttering, (so that) it seemed as if there was a cemetery close at hand. Having seen (this) the danger became clear to him, and his mind was established in world-weariness.

Then the young man Yasa uttered this exalted utterance: “Tribulation indeed, ruination indeed!” Then the young man Yasa, after donning his golden slippers, went to the door of his dwelling. Divine beings Lit: non-human beings.04 opened the door (thinking): “Let there be no obstacle to the going-forth of the young man Yasa from the home to the homeless life.” Then the young man Yasa went to the city gate. Divine beings opened the gate (thinking): “Let there be no obstacle to the going-forth of the young man Yasa from the home to the homeless life.” Then the young man Yasa approached the Deer Park at Isipatana.

Then at that time, towards the time of dawn, after rising, the Gracious One was walking in the open air. The Gracious One saw the young man Yasa coming while still far away, and after seeing (him) and descending from the walkway, he sat down on the prepared seat. Then the young man Yasa, not far from the Gracious One uttered this exalted utterance: “Tribulation indeed, ruination indeed!” Then the Gracious One said this to the young man Yasa: “This, Yasa, is not tribulation, this is not ruination, come, Yasa, sit down and I will teach Dhamma to you.”

Then the young man Yasa (thinking): ‘It seems this is not tribulation, this is not ruination’, joyful, uplifted, after taking off his golden slippers, approached the Gracious One, and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. To the young man Yasa, sitting at one side, the Gracious One spoke about the gradual teaching, that is to say: talk about giving, talk about virtue, talk about heaven, the danger, degradation, and defilement of sensual desires, and the advantages of renunciation, (these) he explained.

When the Gracious One knew that the young man Yasa had a ready mind, a pliable mind, an open mind, an uplifted mind, a confident mind, he explained to him the Dhamma teaching the Awakened Ones have discovered themselves: Suffering, Origination, Cessation, Path. Just as it is known that a clean cloth without a stain will take the dye well, just so to the young man Yasa on that very seat, the dust-free, stainless Vision-of-the-Dhamma arose: Jā Nid says that he became a Stream-Enterer (Sotāpanna) that night and became a Worthy One the next day. Th. 117 records Yasa's verse on this occasion: well-perfumed, well-clothed, adorned with all (my) ornaments, I attained the three knowledges - I have followed the advice of the Buddha.05

“Whatever has the nature of arising, all that has the nature of ceasing.”