The Life of the Victorious Buddha

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The Divine Request [vv. 281-303]

After making use of the pure water brought from the Anotatta lake in the Himālayas, the tooth-cleaner made out of betel wood, and the yellow myrobalan medicine brought by Sakka the Lord of the Gods, the Bodhisatta accepted the milk-rice and honey-balls brought by the merchants in the bowl offered by the Great Kings.

At the end of his meal he went to the root of the Goat-Herder's Tree and recalled the profundity of the Dhamma he had understood thus: “This Dhamma which has been understood by me is deep and peaceful like the mass of water borne by the earth,” and so on.

While the King of the Dhamma was reflecting mindfully on the deep nature of the Dhamma thinking: “While I was practising with great effort and thinking to penetrate this Dhamma, to those who came forward and requested it, I cut off my head, delightfully decorated as it was with a top-knot, and other decorations, and gave it to them; I rooted out my collyrium-annointed eyes, and removed my flowing blood. Then through giving away my beautiful, splendid wife, and my son, the light of his family's lineage, there was nothing known as a gift that I had not given, and no virtue that was not preserved.

Thus, fearing a break in my virtuous practices, I sacrificed my life in my existences as Saṅkhapāla and at other times; and in countless existences which I attained such as Khantivādī, with the cutting off of my limbs and so on, there was no perfection I left unfulfilled. When Māra's army was destroyed by me the earth did not shake, and nor with the Remembrance of Past Lives, in the middle watch when I purified the Divine Eye it did not shake, but in the last watch when I penetrated Conditional Origination, instantaneously, as though giving a round of applause, while releasing a great roar, the earth shook.

Like a gourd filled with rice-gruel, like a pot full of buttermilk, like a hand besmeared with collyrium, like a cloth soaked with grease, this world, filled with a mass of defilements, defiled and excited by passion, corrupted by anger, confused with very strong delusion, is a place for the production of a great deal of ignorance. What is the name of the one who will penetrate this Dhamma? What is the use of preaching to him?”

Thus in this way the Protector became one lacking the energy to give the Ambrosial Dhamma to the people. Then the Supreme Divinity Sahampati, after emitting the following great shout: “The world is surely perishing! The world is surely perishing!” immediately took a host of Gods and Supreme Divinities from the hundred world-elements, and drew close to the Teacher. After approaching and placing his knee on the plain of the earth and stretching forth his hands in reverential salutation he said: “May the Gracious One preach the Dhamma, may the Fortunate One preach the Dhamma; there are some beings with little dust on their eyes who are going to destruction from not hearing it, they will be able to understand the Dhamma”.

Then, being requested by Sahampati in this way, the Victorious One, the lotus-faced Sambuddha, looked around the hundred world-elements with his Buddha-eye, and saw that many mortals had but little dust on their eyes. He then classified beings according to their capacity, shunned those incapable of understanding, and took those who were capable, and answered the hosts of Supreme Divinities with his radiant deathless words: “Now let the people present themselves as recipients of faith and I will fill them with the gift of the deathless and True Dhamma.”