The Life of the Victorious Buddha

Part One: The Far Distant Past [vv. 8-69]

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Sumedha [vv. 8-19]

At a time of four immeasurables and a hundred thousand aeons ago there was a city where meritorious people lived: it was endowed with jewels, crowded with people, full of beautiful shops, and adorned with decorated towers. It had the ten sounds, and was like the city of Sakka, the Lord of the Gods - it was a brilliant, excellent city named Amaravati.

A brahmin was born in that place, who was greatly honoured by the whole world. He was one of great compassion and wisdom, he was handsome and delightful, a youth named Sumedha, who had learned the Vedas.

That Budding Victor, after the death of his parents, was shown the immeasurable wealth of his inheritance by the councillor who managed the estate, and after surveying that mass of wealth in the countless hundreds of storerooms, and piling it up, he said: “Alas! My father and the rest of my relatives have gone to the gods and have not taken even one cent with them!” That Mine of Virtue became anxious, and reflected thus: “Although I have received this valuable wealth, I am bound to die.”

Then sitting down in seclusion in his own beautiful home, while surveying the faults in the body, he advised himself thus: “Painful is the break-up of the body, painful also is its arising again - I am subject to death, old age, and sickness.”

Having thus seen the countless faults in the body, and informing the king, he had drums beaten in the city, and for seven days thereafter he satisfied the beggars who gathered at the sound of the drum with a flood of gifts, just as bees gather and are satisfied with the sweet scent of a multitude of blossoms.