[III: The Miracles at Uruvelā] This section with its miracle-working and supernatural elements stands out from the rest of the narrative which seems in many ways to be so realistic.01

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21: The First Miracle
(The Dragon-King - Prose)

Then the Gracious One while walking gradually on walking tour arrived at Uruvelā. Then at that time at Uruvelā there lived three yogis: Literally: one with a tangled mass of hair, a matted hair ascetic. I use yogi to be concise.02 known as Uruvelakassapa, Nadīkassapa, and Gayākassapa. All the names arise from the place names where they dwelt: Kassapa at Uruvelā, Kassapa at the River (Nadī, i.e. Nerañjarā), and Kassapa at Gayā. The name Kassapa (Skt: Kāśyapa) itself is a brahminical clan name.03 Of these, the yogi Uruvelakassapa was the leader, guide, chief, director, and instructor of five hundred yogis. The yogi Nadīkassapa was the leader, guide, chief, director, and instructor of three hundred yogis. The yogi Gayākassapa was the leader, guide, chief, director, and instructor of two hundred yogis.

Then the Gracious One approached the yogi Uruvelakassapa's ashram, and after approaching he said this to the yogi Uruvelakassapa: “If it is not troublesome to you, Kassapa, we This is the so-called royal we, a plural that is used politely in many languages when talking about oneself.04 would stay for one night in the sacrificial firehouse.” SED: agní-gṛha, house or place for keeping the sacred fire.05 “It is not troublesome to me, Great Ascetic, (but) there is a fierce, venomous, poisonous, Dragon-King here, having psychic power, he should not (be allowed to) harass you.”

For a second time the Gracious One said this to the yogi Uruvelakassapa: “If it is not troublesome to you, Kassapa, we would stay for one night in the sacrificial firehouse.” “It is not troublesome to me, Great Ascetic, (but) there is a fierce, venomous, poisonous, Dragon-King here, having psychic power, he should not (be allowed to) harass you.”

For a third time the Gracious One said this to the yogi Uruvelakassapa: “If it is not troublesome to you, Kassapa, we would stay for one night in the sacrificial firehouse.” “It is not troublesome to me, Great Ascetic, (but) there is a fierce, venomous, poisonous, Dragon-King here, having psychic power, he should not (be allowed to) harass you.”

“It is all right, he will not harass me, come now, Kassapa, allow me the sacrificial firehouse.” “Dwell (there), Great Ascetic, according to your pleasure.”

Then the Gracious One, after entering the sacrificial firehouse and preparing a grass covering, sat down, having folded his legs crosswise, set his body straight, and established mindfulness at the front. Then the Dragon saw that the Gracious One had entered, and after seeing (him), pained, depressed, he belched out smoke.

Then this occurred to the Gracious One: “Now what if I, without having destroyed this Dragon's tegument, skin, flesh, muscle, bone, or bone-marrow, were to overcome (the Dragon's) power with (my) power?” Then the Gracious One so arranged it with his psychic powers that he (also) belched out smoke. Then that Dragon, unbearably angry, blazed forth. The Gracious One, having attained the fire-element, also blazed forth, and both of them burned so bright it was as if the sacrificial firehouse was on fire, in flames, was burning down.

Then those yogis, having surrounded the sacrificial firehouse, said this: “The Great Ascetic is surely intelligent, This meaning for abhirūpa is attested in Sanskrit, and seems much more appropriate than handsome, beautiful in the context.06 but he is harassed by the Dragon.” Then the Gracious One, with the passing of that night, without harming that Dragon's tegument, skin, flesh, muscle, bone, or bone-marrow, after overcoming (the Dragon's) power with (his own) power and dropping him into his bowl, showed (him) to the yogi Uruvelakassapa, (saying): “This is your Dragon, Kassapa, his power was overcome by (my) power.”

Then this occurred to the yogi Uruvelakassapa: “Powerful and majestic is this Great Ascetic, since he can overcome this fierce, venomous, poisonous, Dragon-King's psychic power with (his own) power, but he is surely not a Worthy One like I am.”