The Life of the Victorious Buddha

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The Great Renunciation [vv. 159-173]

The Great Champion, the Master of the Earth, after lying down, reposed a little on the couch, then he folded his legs crosswise. While sitting there he saw the change in the condition of the women who had fallen asleep, and fearful of continued existence, he thought: “I will renounce the world now”.

He approached the doorsill, and called Channa, his attentive, well-controlled, faith-inspiring, highly meritorious friend and councillor, who had placed his head on the beautiful threshold and was reposing, with the thought: “I will hear the Hero if he calls me”. The Bodhisatta said this to Channa: “Prepare the horse named Kanthaka and bring him here”.

Channa accepted the order that was given by the Bodhisatta, and after going from there and preparing the horse, he quickly brought him. Having understood he was being prepared for the Bodhisatta's Great Renunciation that noble horse, while being harnessed by Channa, neighed excitedly. That noise went out and spread over the whole city, but the Hosts of Gods in the city allowed no one to hear it.

Then that Good Man thought joyously: “I will first see my son and afterwards depart and become a Buddha.” Therefore he went to his wife's apartments, placed his foot on the threshold, and looked inside. On a couch, which was bestrewn with flowers, like Sakka the Lord of the Gods' couch, lay Mother Yasodharā together with his son. The Sole Leader of the World, having seen that, thought thus: “If I, having removed her Majesty's arm, would take my son, she might wake and, through her great love, put an obstacle in the way of my departure. After becoming a Buddha I will return and see my son.” Then the Ruler of Men descended from that place.

Yasodharā, with her well-formed face and lotus-like hands and feet, her laughing, bubbling, bright eyebrows, her eyes like blue lotuses, who was like the full moon, and very desirable - who would be able to abandon enjoying possession of her body, apart from the Hero, standing on perfection's heights?