The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Thomas

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:23 am

CHAPTER V: THE GREAT RENUNCIATION

AT the age of twenty-nine Gotama after a life spent in worldly enjoyments was startled out of his ease at the first sight of old age, sickness, and death, and fleeing secretly at night from his home became an ascetic.105 This is essentially what the later tradition tells us, but the Scriptures preserve earlier accounts of his conversion, which not only imply that this tradition did not then exist, but are in conflict with it. One of these occurs in the continuation of the above- quoted description of the luxurious life in the three palaces.

Then, O monks, did I, endowed with such majesty and such excessive delicacy, think thus, "an ignorant, ordinary person, who is himself subject to old age, not beyond the sphere of old age, on seeing an old man is troubled, ashamed, and disgusted, extending the thought to himself. I too am subject to old age, not beyond the sphere of old age, and should I, who am subject to old age, not beyond the sphere of old age, on seeing an old man be troubled, ashamed, and disgusted?" This seemed to me not fitting. As I thus reflected on it, all the elation106 in youth utterly disappeared.


The same is then repeated of sickness and death, and "the elation in life utterly disappeared." Here we have the first mention of the signs that according to the legend awakened in Gotama's mind the problems of existence, his first sight of an old man, a sick man, and a corpse, to which is added the fourth sign of an ascetic. It is easy to see how the above account can have been developed into the story of his actually meeting these objects, but not how, if the story is a real biographical event, it can have been converted into this abstract form.

Another canonical passage, the Sutta of the Noble Search (Majjh. i 163), also put into Buddha's mouth, describes his conversion in still more general terms:

Thus, O monks, before my enlightenment, while yet a Bodhisatta and not fully enlightened, being myself subject to birth I sought out the nature of birth, being subject to old age I sought out the nature of old age, of sickness, of death, of sorrow, of impurity. Then I thought, "what if I being myself subject to birth were to seek out the nature of birth ... and having seen the wretchedness of the nature of birth, were to seek out the unborn, the supreme peace of Nirvana." (Repeated similarly of old age, sickness, death, sorrow, and impurity.)


In these accounts we have no definite historical circumstances mentioned, nor any trace of the events of the legend as we find it in the commentaries and later works. These have elaborated a story, the different forms of which have so many contradictory details that they appear as independent inventions, based upon the abstract statements of the earlier texts.

According to the Jataka commentary Suddhodana on the name-giving day, after hearing from the eight brahmins the prophecy that his son, if he saw the four signs, would leave the world, set guards to ward them off from the sight of his son. But while the Bodhisatta was living in luxury in his three palaces the gods decided that it was time to rouse him.

Now one day the Bodhisatta wishing to go to the park summoned his charioteer, and told him to harness the chariot. He obeyed, and adorning the great splendid chariot with all its adornments yoked the four state horses white 3slotus-petals, and informed the Bodhisatta. The Bodhisatta ascended the chariot, which was like a vehicle of the gods, and went towards the park. The gods thought, "the time for prince Siddhattha to attain enlightenment is at hand: we will show him a previous sign." So they made a god appear, worn out with old age, with broken teeth, grey hair, bent, with broken-down body, a stick in his hand, and trembling. It was the Bodhisatta and the charioteer (only) who saw him. The Bodhisatta asked his charioteer, as in the Mahapadana-sutta; "what man is this? Even his hair is not like that of others," and on hearing his reply said, "woe to birth, when the old age of one that is born shall be known." With agitated heart he thereupon returned and ascended his palace. The king asked why his son had returned so quickly. "O king, he has seen an old man, and on seeing an old man he will leave the world." "By this you arc ruining me. Get together dancing girls for my son. If he enjoys luxury, he will have no thought of leaving the world." And so saying he increased the guards, and set them in all directions to the distance of hall a league.


On other days the gods represented a sick man and a corpse, and on each occasion he turned back in his agitation.

At length the day of the Great Renunciation arrived. He set out for the park as before, and saw a man who had abandoned the world. The charioteer inspired by the gods explained, and praised the virtues of renunciation. That day the Bodhisatta, taking pleasure in the thought of abandoning the world, went on to the park. After bathing he sat on the royal rock of state to be robed, and as his attendants stood round about him, Sakka, king of the gods, perceived that he would make the Great Renunciation at midnight, and sent the god Vissakamma in the likeness of the royal barber to adorn him. When he was returning ill majesty to the city, his father sent him a message that the mother of Rahula had borne a son. The Bodhisatta on hearing said, "Rahula is born, a bond is born," and his father therefore gave the order, "let prince Rahula be his name."107 At his entry occurred the well-known event that forms a parallel to the incident in Luke xi, 27:

At that time a kshatriya maiden named Kisa Gotaml had gone to the roof of the palace, and seeing the beauty and glory of the Bodhisatta, as he made a rightwise circuit round the city, she was filled with joy and delight, and breathed forth this solemn utterance:

Happy indeed is the mother,
Happy indeed is the father,
Happy indeed is the wife,
Who has such a husband.


The Bodhisatta heard, and thought, " even so she spoke. On her seeing such a form a mother's heart becomes happy, a father's heart becomes happy, a wife's heart becomes happy.108 Now when what is extinguished is the heart happy?" And with aversion in his heart for lusts he thought, "when the fire of passion is extinguished, it is  happy, when the fire of illusion, when pride, false views, and all the lusts and pains are extinguished, it is happy. She has taught me a good lesson, for I am searching for extinguishment (Nirvana). Even to-day I must reject and renounce a household life, and go forth from the world to seek Nirvana. Let this be her fee for teaching." And loosing from his neck a pearl necklace worth 100,000 pieces, he sent it to Kisa Gotami. She thought that prince Siddhattha was in love with her, and had sent her a present, and she was filled with delight. But the Bodhisatta with great glory and majesty ascended his palace, and lay down on the bed.109


Image
Above: Temptation by Mara's Daughters
Below: Gotama's Flight


He awoke to find his female musicians sleeping round him in disgusting attitudes. Then filled with loathing for his worldly life he made his decision, and ordered his charioteer Channa to saddle his horse Kanthaka.

The Bodhisatta having sent Channa thought, "now I will look at my son," and rising from where he had been sitting cross-legged he went to the abode of the mother of Rahula, and opened the door of the chamber. Just then a lamp of scented oil was burning. On the bed strewn with heaps of jessamine and other flowers the mother of Rahula was sleeping with her hand on her son's head. The Bodhisatta standing with his foot on the threshold looked, and thought, "if I move aside the queen's hand and take my son, the queen will awake and this will be an obstacle to my going. When I have become a Buddha, I will come back and see him," and he descended from the palace. But what is said in the Jataka commentary,110 that" at that time prince Rahula had been born seven days", is not in the other commentaries. Hence the account given above should be received.


He left the city on his horse Kanthaka with the charioteer clinging to the tail. Divinities muffled the sound of his going, and the city gate was opened by the god that dwelt in it. At that moment the tempter Mara came, and standing in the air said, "sir, depart not. On the seventh day from now the jewel-wheel of empire will appear, and thou shalt rule over the four great islands and the two hundred small islands that surround them. Turn back, sir." The Bodhisatta refused, and Mara replied, "henceforth, whenever thou hast a thought of lust or malice or cruelty, I shall know."

And seeking for an entrance, like a shadow never leaving him, he followed him.111

It was on the full-moon day of the month Uttarasalha (June-July) that the Bodhisatta departed. A desire to look again at the city arose, and the great earth turned round, so that he should not have to look back. At that place he indicated the site which was to become the Kanthakanivattana shrine (the turning round of Kanthaka).

Accompanied by gods he went beyond three kingdoms, a distance of thirty leagues, reached the river Anoma, and his horse crossed it at one leap. Then giving his ornaments to his charioteer he took his sword and cut off his hair. It was thus reduced to two fingers in length, and curling to the right clung to his head, and like his beard remained so throughout his life. He threw his hair and beard into the sky. They rose a league high, and staying there were a sign that he would become Buddha. Sakka appeared and placed them in a shrine in the heaven of the Thirty-three gods. Then a Mahabrahma, who had been his friend Ghatikara in a former life, came and gave him the eight requisites of a monk -- three robes, bowl, razor, needle, girdle, and water-strainer. When he sent back his charioteer, his horse had listened to their talk, and thinking that he would never see his master again, died of a broken heart, and was reborn as a god.

This account as a whole is not found in the Scriptures, but the story in its main outlines is told of Vipassin Buddha in the Mahapadana-sutta (Digha ii 21 ff.), a discourse which, as we have seen, belongs to a period that had developed the doctrines of the marvellous career of all Bodhisattas and of six previous Buddhas. It is probably only due to the practice of abbreviating repetitions that the story is not told at length of all the seven. The whole is legend, with no claim to be the historic words of Buddha. The Jataka adds several personal incidents, some of which are in contradiction with other post-canonical versions, and are probably peculiar to the Pali. Two of these are of special interest. The shrine of the Turning back of Kanthaka (Kanthakanivattana) was no doubt a real shrine known to the authorities on which the Pali commentator depended. But whether the commentator has interpreted it correctly is doubtful, as according to his own account there was no turning round of Kanthaka at that place, but the Bodhisatta "kept him facing on the way he was to go". It is more likely that the place was where the charioteer with the horse finally took leave of his master, and identical with the shrine mentioned in the Lalita-vistara, the Turning back of Chandaka (Chandakanivartana), at the place where the charioteer Channa or Chandaka "left the Bodhisatta and returned with the horse. The other incident of the Bodhisatta's hair turning in curls to the right after being cut, is in accordance with the actual practice of thus representing the curls on images of Buddha. But images of this kind, as will be seen, are not of the earliest type of representations of Buddha, and cannot be put before the second century of the Christian era. This is entirely in harmony with what we can conclude independently of the late date of the commentary itself.

Another incident of this legend occurs in the canonical Vimanavatthu (VII 7), and Mahavastu (ii 190), where the elder Moggallana visits the heaven of the Thirty-three, and sees the god Kanlhaka, who explains that he was formerly the Bodhisatta's horse, and tells the story of the flight.

The Lalita-vistara differs from the Pali not only in the multiplication of incidents, but also by Mahayana additions. One of these is the whole of chapter xiii, 'The Exhorting.' The gods say that it is the rule (dharmata) that a Bodhisatta in his last existence should be exhorted in his seraglio by the Buddhas of the ten points of space. These exhort him in 124 stanzas, and even the music of the seraglio turns into words to ripen his purpose.

The narrative proper begins with chapter xiv. The Bodhisatta causes the king to dream, and the king in his dream sees his son leaving the world. On waking he builds three palaces for him, each guarded by five hundred men. The visits to the park and the seeing of the four signs are much the same as in other accounts. Gopa then dreams ominous dreams, but they are interpreted favourably by the Bodhisatta.112 He himself also dreams, and rises to ask his father's permission to leave the world, but promises to stay if he will grant four boons, that he may be always young, always healthy, of unending life, and always happy. The king declares them impossible, and the Bodhisatta then asks that there may be no rebirth for him. The king refuses permission, and sets new guards.

The Bodhisatta then meditates in the seraglio, makes his resolution at midnight, and summons his charioteer Chandaka, who tries in vain to persuade him to seek enjoyment first. The gods put the city to sleep, and accompanied by them he goes beyond the Sakyas, the Kodyas (Koliyas), and the Mallas, and at daybreak reaches the town Anuvaineya of the Maineyas, six leagues away. There he gives his ornaments and the horse to Chandaka. On the place where Chandaka turned back a shrine was built called the Turning back of Chandaka. The Bodhisatta cuts off his hair and changes his robes for yellow ones, which are given him by one of the gods of the Pure Abode. There a shrine was built called the Taking of the Yellow Robes (Kashayagrahana).

The seraglio and the king awake, and seeing a god bringing the Bodhisatta's royal robes, and Chandaka following with the horse and the ornaments, think that the Bodhisatta has been killed for the sake of his precious robes, but Chandaka tells them that it is impossible to bring back the Bodhisatta until he has attained complete enlightenment. For a long time the ornaments were worn by the Sakyas Bhadrika Mahanama, and Aniruddha, but as they were too heavy even for Narayana (Vishnu), Mahapajapati unable through grief to bear the sight of them threw them into a lotus-pool. This became known as the Ornaments-pool (Abharana-pushkarini).

The question now arises whether we can assume that there is a basis of historical reality for these two legends. The appearances. of the gods and the miracles need not detain us, as these may quite well have been added to a real story by people who devoutly believed in such things. Nor arc the contradictions fatal. These may be independent accretions. The statement that the Bodhisatta travelled thirty leagues (over 200 miles) between midnight and dawn may well be an exaggeration, and one account makes the distance only six leagues (some forty-five miles). When one account says that the horse died, and another that he was brought back, and that Rahula was born on the night of the Renunciation, or seven days before, or that he was only conceived then, evidently one of them is incorrect, if not all. The reference to the shrines commemorating various miraculous events only proves that at a period of some seven or eight centuries at least after Buddha's death the legends about them were established.

If Buddha is a historical personage, it is clear that a Renunciation took place, and nothing more is needed as the basis for a wholly fictitious legend. In the case of the four signs we have scriptural evidence for holding that the story of the four visits to the park is only the historicising of a canonical passage which knows nothing of these events. The events have been merely built up out of the meditation on old age, sickness, and death. We find the same state of things in the story of the Renunciation. The oldest canonical accounts given above of Gotama's leaving the world are quite different from the later legend. They are repeated in various parts of the Scriptures, and in the sutta addressed to the Jain Mahasaccaka(Majjh. i 240) they are quite mechanically combined.

Now before my enlightenment, while yet a bodhisatta and not yet fully enlightened, I thought, oppressive is life in a house, a place of dust. In the free air is abandonment of the world. Not easy is it for him who dwells in a house to practise a completely full, completely pure, and perfect religious life. What if I remove my hair and beard, and putting on yellow robes go forth from a house to a houseless life.

Now at another time, while yet a boy, a black-haired lad in the prime of youth, in the first stage of life, while my unwilling mother and father wept with tear-stained faces, I cut off my hair and beard, and putting on yellow robes went forth from a house to a houseless life.


That is all, and even if the compiler of this sutta knew the later legend, he is here using the phraseology of a period which ignores the whole of it. It makes the Bodhisatta leave the world not at the age of twenty-nine, but when quite a boy (dahara). The reference to hair and beard is a formal statement, made here because it is used in describing any ascetic, even the boy Nalaka, the nephew of Asita. To strip the legend of its miracles and contradictions is to leave a nucleus that is as foreign to the oldest sources as all the rest. Oldenberg himself rejects it as highly coloured poetry, and for the canonical accounts only claims that they arc unadorned fragments of the little that an older generation knew, or thought that it knew, of those things.

An important element in this legend is the story of Buddha's wife and his son Rahula. Oldenberg says that the statements concerning them should be all the less held to be invented, the more frequently they occur in the older tradition without the person of Rahula or his mother being used for a didactic purpose or for bringing out pathetic situations.113 This is true in a sense. There are no pathetic situations, because the persons are not mentioned in the older tradition at all. The name Bhadda Kaccana is only one of the three or four persons identified by the later tradition with Buddha's wife, and the identification is not made by the older texts.114 The case stands exactly the same with Rahula. He is never mentioned in the older texts as Buddha's son. There are, it is true, four or more Rahula-suttas, and three Rahulovada-suttas,115 where he merely appears as an interlocutor like other monks. In the Theragatha, a late work which the commentators themselves admit to be in parts no earlier than the third Council, Rahula is made to say, "I am son of Buddha." But this evidence would also prove that Buddha had four sons, for three other elders in this work say the same thing. Sirivaddha says, "I am the son of the incomparable one," Kassapa of Gaya says, "I am a true son of Buddha," and Kaludayin says, "I am Buddha's son." But all Buddha's disciples are frequently called in the same language Buddha's true or genuine sons, putta orasa, 'sons of the breast.'116

That Buddha should have had a wife is not only natural but according to Indian ideas inevitable. To marry is one of the duties of a person living in the world. The chroniclers did not need to start from the historic fact that Buddha had a wife and son. This may be true, and may rest on unwritten tradition, but it is certain that the tradition has preserved no information about them. Among the various guesses concerning Buddha's wife, the view that identified her with Bhadda Kaccana, an otherwise entirely unknown nun in the list of great disciples, is not unanimous even in the Pali commentators. They searched the Scriptures, and in the same list they found Rahula, 'the chief of those who desire instruction.' Even the Pali commentarial tradition is uncertain about him, and the other traditions show that they, if not all the others, had nothing certain to tell us.

______________

Notes:

105 That he left the world at the age of twenty-nine and died at eighty is implied in the verses quoted in the Mahaparinibbana-sutta, Digha, ii 151.
 
106 The world is mada, lit. 'intoxication.'
 
107 This incident appears to be an attempt to explain the name Rahula, but Rahula does not mean a bond. It is a diminutive of Rahu, the monster who swallows the sun or moon during an eclipse, and it would be a natural name for a person born at such a time. (See Art. Sun, Moon, and Stars, Buddhist, ERE.) Personal names derived from stars or constellatiui1s are very common. This astronomical explanation of the name is the one given in Schiefner, Tib. Lebensb. § 10, which says that the Moon was eclipsed at Rahula's birth. In Mvastu, ii 159 he descends from the Tushita heaven on the night of the Renunciation, as according to this work he is born like a Bodhisatta without the intervention of his father. In Rockhill, p. 24, he appears to have been conceived seven days before.

108 The word for 'happy' is nibbuta, literally meaning' extinguished', as it is  used in the next sentence; the state of being extinguished is nibbana, the Pali  form of Sanskrit nirvana. As will be seen from this passage, there is no reference  to the question of the extinction of the individual or personality at death. That  for the Buddhist is a further question.
 
109 According to Mvastu ii 157 the lady's name was Mrigi, and she was the mother of Ananda. In the account in Rockhill, p. 24, she became the Bodhisatta's wife, seven days before he left home.
 
110 The old, probably Singhalese, commentary used by the commentator in compiling his own work, showing that there were different traditions even in the Theravada school.
 
111 This is the first recorded temptation by Mara. Mara is held to have fulfilled his threat, and to have taken every opportunity of tempting Buddha throughout his life.

112 There is here a striking difference from the conception of the Bodhisatta's  wife in the Pali, where she is identified with a nun who attains arahatship. Here  the Bodhisatta interprets one of her dreams as meaning that she will be reborn  as a man in her next existence. 
 
113 Buddha, p. 119; but they are certainly used for didactic and pathetic purposes in the commentaries.
 
114 See above, p. 49.
 
115 Sn. 335; Samy. iii 135, 136; iv 105; Ang. ii 164; Majjh. i 414, 420; iii 277.
 
116 Therag. 295, 41, 348, 536; cf. Samy. iii 83:

Who understand the khandhas five.
In the good Doctrine live their life,
Worthy of praises, righteous men,
These are the Buddha's genuine sons.

 
So Kassapa the Great describes himself, Samy, ii 221, and Buddha tells his disciples, when asked who they are, to say that they are true sons of the Lord, Digha, iii 84.
 
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:26 am

CHAPTER VI: AUSTERITIES AND ENLIGHTENMENT

GOTAMA on leaving his home had gone eastwards, and the three countries of the Sakyas, Koliyas, and Mallas, through which he is said to have passed, are at least geographical possibilities. But nothing is known of the district at which he first arrived. The Pali commentaries call it the river Anoma, thirty leagues from Kapilavatthu, and say that he then went to the mango-grove of Anupiya, a place which in the Canon is mentioned as a township. the Mahavastu speaks not of a river, but of a town Anomiya, twelve leagues away among the Mallas. In the Lalita-vistara it is a township six leagues away, Anuvaineya or Anumaineya of the Maineyas beyond the Mallas. These statements may point to an actual locality somewhere east of Kapilavatthu, which was, traditionally at least, the place to which Gotama fled; but if so, they also point to the complete absence of any real knowledge of its nature. To assume that the Pali version has preserved the truth would be mere credulity. It is not a question here of canonical matter, but of the commentaries, and these like the Sanskrit works arc later than the supposed events by centuries.117

The chief events of the next years up to the Enlightenment are recorded in the Scriptures, and we have again parallel and more developed accounts in the commentaries and Sanskrit works. It may be asked whether the variations and additions in the latter really are accretions, or whether the canonical accounts have selected certain events from a longer story then existing, which we only get complete in the commentaries. This can only be properly seen after the events have been given, but it may be said that a continuous account of the period occurs more than once in the Scriptures,118 and that several of the most striking of the events known to the commentaries are-not once mentioned in the four Nikayas. Some of the events in both are developed later in different ways, or inserted in different chronological order, and the probability is that the canonical accounts tell all that was known as legend at the time when the narratives now included in the suttas were compiled.

From the Scriptures we learn that Gotama first sought instruction under two religious teachers, found them unsatisfying, and for six years practised austerities in the company of five disciples. Then abandoning his fasting and self-tortures he thought of a new method of religious exercise, and won enlightenment. After hesitating whether he should attempt to convert the world, he went to Benares, met the five disciples, who had deserted him when he gave up his austerities, and converted them. In addition to this there are several incidents recorded in ballad form, which in spite of their being usually referred to as 'old legends', are probably versifications of commentarial matter.

It is at this stage of the story that we first light upon persons and places for which there is evidence outside Buddhist sources. The accounts are given as being related by Buddha himself, but it is easy to see that pious chroniclers have worked over older legends. These passages require to be set forth, both because they throw light on the character of the later stories, and also because they contain some of the earliest statements of fundamental doctrines. The prominent aspect in the six years striving is the discovery of the right way of mystical concentration. The training under the two teachers is no philosophical doctrine, but the teaching of a certain method of meditation, which has to be learnt and practised.

The Mahasaccaka-sutta (Majjh. i 240 ff.) after describing the going forth as given above, continues:

Thus having gone forth from the world I strove after the good, and searching for the supreme state of peace I went to Alara Kalama, and having approached him said, "I wish, friend Kalama, to practise the religious life in this doctrine and discipline." Thereupon Alara Kalama said to me, "abide friend, such is the doctrine that an intelligent man in no long time may of himself comprehend, realise, and attain my teaching and abide in it." In no long time and quickly did I master that doctrine. So to this extent merely by moving the lips and repeating what had been recited, I and others made the profession, "I declare the doctrine of the knowledge, the doctrine of the elder I know and perceive." Then I thought, "it is not merely by faith that Alara proclaims his doctrine (saying), that of himself he has comprehended, realised, attained it, and abides in it. Verily, Alara abides knowing and perceiving this doctrine." So I approached Alara, and said to him, "friend Kalama, what is the extent of this doctrine which of yourself you have comprehended, realised, and attained, and which you proclaim?" Thereupon Alara proclaimed the Attainment of the state of Nothingness.119 Then I thought, "Alara has faith, but I too have faith. Not only has he energy, I too have energy. Not only has he mindfulness, I too have mindfulness. Not only has he concentration, I too have concentration. Not only has he wisdom, I too have wisdom. What if I strive to realise that doctrine of which Alara proclaims that of himself he has comprehended, realised, attained it, and abides in it." Then in no long time I quickly comprehended, realised, and attained the doctrine, and abode in it.

So I approached Alara, and said to him, "is that the extent of the doctrine which of yourself you have comprehended, realised, and attained, and which you proclaim?" "That is the extent, friend." "I too, friend, of myself have comprehended, realised, and attained this doctrine, and abide in it." "Gain to us, friend, great gain is it to us, who behold as friend such a fellow student. Thus it is, the doctrine that I of myself have comprehended, realised, attained, and proclaim, that doctrine you of yourself have comprehended, realised, attained, and abide in ... thus it is, as I am so are you, as you are so am I. Come now, friend, we two will devote ourselves to this company." Thus it was, Alara my teacher set me his pupil as equal to himself, and honoured me with eminent honour. Then I thought, "this doctrine extending to the Attainment of the state of Nothingness does not conduce to aversion, absence of passion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, Nirvana." So without tending this doctrine I abandoned it in disgust.


The visit to Uddaka Ramaputta is then described in almost the same terms, but here the doctrine was that which had been realised and proclaimed by Rama, the father of Uddaka. This was the Attainment of the state of Neither-consciousness-nor- nonconsciousness (the fourth Buddhist Attainment), and Uddaka proposed not to make Gotama equal to himself, but to set him over the whole company of disciples as their teacher. This doctrine he also found unsatisfactory and abandoned.

Then striving after the good, and searching for the supreme state of peace, 1 gradually made my way to the Magadhas, and went to Uruvela, the army-township.120 There 1 saw a delightful spot with a pleasant grove, a river flowing delightfully with clear water and good fords, and round about a place for seeking alms. Then I thought, truly a delightful spot with a pleasant grove, a river flowing delightfully with clear water and good fords, and round about a place for seeking alms. This surely is a fit place for the striving of a high-born one intent on striving. Then 1 sat down there: a fit place is this for striving.


The account of the strivings is introduced by three similes which then occurred to Gotama. That of a man trying to kindle fire by rubbing a fire-stick on wet green wood plunged in water. He can get no fire, and like him are the ascetics whose passions are not calmed. Whether they experience sudden, sharp, keen, and severe pains or not, they cannot attain knowledge and enlightenment. So it is in the second case, if a man rubs a fire-stick on wet green wood, even if it is out of the water. In the third case he takes dry wood, and can kindle fire. Even so ascetics who are removed from passion, in whom the passions are abandoned and calmed, may possibly attain knowledge and enlightenment. The importance of this passage lies partly in its being very old, as it is found in Sanskrit works as well,121 but also in respect to the question whether the Buddhist method of concentration owes anything to other systems. It will be seen that Gotama is represented as beginning by adopting well known practices:

Then I thought, what if 1 now set my teeth, press my tongue to my palate, and restrain, crush, and burn out my mind with my mind. (I did so) and sweat flowed from my armpits. Just as if a strong man were to seize a weaker man by the head or shoulder ... so did 1 set my teeth ... and sweat flowed from my armpits. 1 undertook resolute effort, unconfused mindfulness was set up, but my body was unquiet and uncalmed, even through the painful striving that overwhelmed me. Nevertheless such painful feeling as arose did not overpower my mind.122

Then I thought, what if I now practise trance without breathing. So I restrained breathing in and out from mouth and nose. And as I did so, there was a violent sound of winds issuing from my ears. Just as there is a violent sound from the blowing of a blacksmith's bellows, even so as I did so there was a violent sound ... Then I thought, what if I now practise trance without breathing. So I restrained breathing in and out from mouth, nose, and ears. And as I did so violent winds disturbed my head. Just as if a strong man were to crush one's head with the point of a sword, even so did violent winds disturb my head ...

(He practises holding his breath again three times, and the pains are as if a strap were being twisted round his head, as if a butcher were cutting his body with a sharp knife, and as if two strong men were holding a weaker one over a fire of coals.) Nevertheless such painful feeling as arose did not overpower my mind.

Some divinities seeing me then said, "the ascetic Gotama is dead." Some divinities said, " not dead is the ascetic Gotama, but he is dying." Some said, "not dead is the ascetic Gotama, nor dying. The ascetic Gotama is an arahat; such is the behaviour of an arahat."

Then I thought, what if I refrain altogether from food. So the divinities approached me and said, "sir, do not refrain altogether from food. If you do so, we will feed you with divine food through the pores of your hair, and with this keep you alive." Then I thought that if I were to undertake to refrain altogether from eating, and these divinities were to feed me with divine food through the pores of my hair, and with it keep me alive, this would be acting falsely on my part.123 So I refused, saying, no more of this.

Then I thought, what if I were to take food only in small amounts, as much as my hollowed palm would hold, juice of beans, vetches, chickpeas, or pulse. (He does so.) My body became extremely lean. Like asitikapabba or kalapabba124 plants became all my limbs through the little food. The mark of my seat was like a camel's footprint through the little food. The bones of my spine when bent and straightened were like a row of spindles through the little food. As the beams of an old shed stick out, so did my ribs stick out through the little food. And as in a deep well the deep low-lying sparkling of the waters is seen, so in my eye-sockets was seen the deep low-lying sparkling of my eyes through the little food. And as a bitter gourd cut off raw is cracked and withered through wind and sun, so was the skin of my head withered through the little food. When I thought I would touch the skin of my stomach, I actually took hold of my spine, and when I thought I would touch my spine, I took hold of the skin of my stomach, so much did the skin of my stomach cling to my spine through the little food. When I thought I would ease myself, I thereupon fell prone through the little food. To relieve my body I stroked my limbs with my hand, and as I did so the decayed hairs fell from my body through the little food.

Some human beings seeing me then said, "the ascetic Gotama is black." Some said, "not black is the ascetic Gotama, he is brown." Others said "not black is the ascetic Gotama, nor brown, his skin is that of a mangura-fish,"125 so much had the pure clean colour of my skin been destroyed by the little food.

Then I thought, those ascetics and brahmins in the past, who have suffered sudden, sharp, keen, severe pains, at the most have not suffered more than this. (Similarly of those in the future and present.) But by this severe mortification I do not attain superhuman truly noble knowledge and insight. Perhaps there is another way to enlightenment. Then I thought, now I realise that when my father the Sakyan was working,126 I was seated under the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, and without sensual desires, without evil ideas, I attained and abode in the first trance of joy and pleasure127 arising from seclusion, and combined with reasoning and investigation. Perhaps this is the way to enlightenment. Then arose in conformity with mindfulness the consciousness that this was the way to enlightenment. Then I thought, why should I fear the happy state that is without sensual desires and without evil ideas? And I thought, I do not fear that happy state which is without sensual desires and without evil ideas.

Then I thought, it is not easy to gain that happy state while my body is so very lean. What if I now take solid food, rice and sour milk ... Now at that time five monks were attending me, thinking, "when the ascetic Gotama gains the Doctrine, he will tell it to us." But when I took solid food, rice and sour milk, then the five monks left me in disgust, saying, "the ascetic Gotama lives in abundance, he has given up striving, and has turned to a life of abundance."

Now having taken solid food and gained strength, without sensual desires, without evil ideas I attained and abode in the first trance of joy and pleasure, arising from seclusion and combined with reasoning and investigation. Nevertheless such pleasant feeling as arose did not overpower my mind.128 With the ceasing of reasoning and investigation I attained and abode in the second trance of joy and pleasure arising from concentration, with internal serenity and fixing of the mind on one point without reasoning and investigation. With equanimity towards joy and aversion I abode mindful and conscious, and experienced bodily pleasure, what the noble ones describe as 'dwelling with equanimity, mindful, and happily', and attained and abode in the third trance. Abandoning pleasure and abandoning pain, even before the disappearance of elation and depression, I attained and abode in the fourth trance, which is without pain and pleasure, and with purity of mindfulness and equanimity.

Thus with mind concentrated, purified, cleansed, spotless, with the defilements gone, supple, dexterous, firm, and impassible, I directed my mind to the knowledge of the remembrance of my former existences. I remembered many former existences, such as, one birth, two births, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand births; many cycles of dissolution of the universe, many cycles of its evolution, many of its dissolution and evolution; there I was of such and such a name, clan, colour,129 livelihood, such pleasure and pain did I suffer, and such was the end of my life. Passing away thence I was born elsewhere. There too I was of such and such a name, clan, colour, livelihood, such pleasure and pain did I suffer, and such was the end of my life. Passing away thence I was reborn here. Thus do I remember my many former existences with their special modes and details. This was the first knowledge that I gained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was dispelled, knowledge arose. Darkness was dispelled, light arose. So is it with him who abides vigilant, strenuous and resolute.

Thus with mind concentrated, purified, cleansed, spotless, with the defilements gone, supple, dexterous, firm and impassible, I directed my mind to the passing away and rebirth of beings. With divine, purified, superhuman vision I saw beings passing away and being reborn, low and high, of good and bad colour, in happy or miserable existences according to their karma. Those beings who lead evil lives in deed, word, or thought, who speak evil of the noble ones, of false views, who acquire karma through their false views, at the dissolution of the body after death are reborn in a state of misery and suffering in hell. But those beings who lead good lives in deed, word, and thought, who speak no evil of the noble ones, of right views, who acquire karma through their right views, at the dissolution of the body after death are reborn in a happy state in the world of heaven ... This was the second knowledge that I gained in the second watch of the night ...

Thus with mind concentrated, purified, cleansed, spotless, with the defilements gone, supple, dexterous, firm, and impassible, I directed my mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the asavas.130 I duly realized (the truth) 'this is pain,' I duly realized (the truth), this is the cause of pain,' I duly realized (the truth) , this is the destruction of pain,' and I duly realized (the truth) , this is the way that leads to the destruction of pain.' I duly realized 'these are the asavas' ... 'this is the cause of the asavas' ... 'this is the destruction of the asavas' ... 'this is the way that leads to the destruction of the asavas.' As I thus knew and thus perceived, my mind was emancipated from the asava of sensual desire, from the asava of desire for existence, and from the asava of ignorance. And in me emancipated arose the knowledge of my emancipation. I realized that destroyed is rebirth, the religious life has been led, done is what was to be done, there is nought (for me) beyond this world. This was the third knowledge that I gained in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was dispelled, knowledge arose. Darkness was dispelled, light arose. So is it with him who abides vigilant, strenuous, and resolute.


The most remarkable feature in this recital is the entire absence of any temptation by Mara. There is even no mention of the famous tree under which the enlightenment (bodhi) was attained.131 It will "also be seen that the later authorities put additional events in different places. This is an indication that such events were not a part of the original story, and that they came to be inserted in one place or another according to individual ideas of fitness. The Jataka tells us that Gotama, after staying seven days at Anupiya, went on foot straight to Rajagaha, the Magadha capital, in one day, a distance of some two hundred miles, and began to beg. The royal officers reported his arrival to the king (Bimbisara), who in astonishment seeing him from the palace ordered them to follow and observe. If he was a non-human being he would vanish, if a divinity he would go through the air, if a naga into the ground, but if a man he would eat his alms. He was seen to go to the Pandava hill, and overcoming his disgust at the unusual food to eat it. The king then came, and pleased at his deportment offered him entire sovereignty, but Gotama refused, saying that he had left the world with the desire for the highest enlightenment. Yet though he rejected the repeated requests of the king, he promised to visit his kingdom first on becoming Buddha, and then journeyed by stages to the teachers Alara and Uddaka. The Therigatha commentary, which is probably a later work, says that he first went to the hermitage of Bhaggava.

The Jataka adds that the full account is to be found in the sutta of the Going-forth (Pabbajja-sutta) with its commentary. Yet this sutta, found both in the Pali and in the Mahavastu,132 differs curiously from the Jataka. The king sees him first, and noticing his beauty and downcast eyes sends messengers to find where he lives, then visits him, offers him wealth, and asks of what family he is. Gotama tells him, but does not mention that he is a king's son, and says that he has no desire for pleasures, but seeing the evil of pleasures, and looking on renunciation as peace, he is going to strive. Here the sutta ends, but the Mahavastu adds two verses in a different metre containing Bimbisara's request and Gotama's promise that he will return and preach the doctrine in his kingdom. This incident is also added by the Pali commentator on the sutta.

But the Mahavastu places this event after the visit to Alara, and says that Gotama after leaving Kanthaka paid a visit to the hermitage of Vasishtha, and then stayed with Alara. It was after leaving the latter that he went to Rajagaha and saw Bimbisara, and at the same place applied himself to the teaching of Udraka (Uddaka). But the M ahavastu also gives another account, according to which, after leaving the world, he went straight to Vaisali without any previous visits, joined Alara, and after rejecting his teaching went to Rajagaha and practised the teaching of Udraka. Here we have an earlier account which like the earliest Pali knows nothing of the Bimbisara story.133

The Lalita-vistara is much more elaborate. After receiving his ascetic's robes Gotama is entertained at the hermitage of the brahmin woman Saki,134 then at that of the brahmin woman Padma, and then by the brahmin sage Raivata and by Rajaka, son of Trimandika, until he reaches Vaisali and joins Alara. The story of meeting Bimbisara at Rajagaha is told by the insertion of a poem in mixed Sanskrit, which concludes by saying that Gotama left the city and went to the banks of the Neranjara, thus ignoring the visit to Uddaka (Rudraka). The prose of the next chapter however continues with the story of his study under Uddaka in much the same language as the Pali.

The additional events of the six years' striving have an interest chiefly as examples of the inventiveness of the commentators. When he fainted under his austerities, and news was taken to his father that he was dead, Suddhodana refused to believe, because of the prophecy of Kaladevala. His mother came from heaven, and uttered pathetic verses of lamentation, but he revived and promised that he would live and soon become Buddha. When he decided to take usual food again, says the Jataka, it was given him by a girl Sujata,135 who had been born in the family of a householder named Senani of the township of Senani136 at Uruvela. She had uttered a wish to a banyan-tree, and vowed a yearly offering to it if she should have a son. The wish having been fulfilled, she sent her maid Punna to prepare the place for the offering. This was on the very day of the Enlightenment, full moon day of the month Visakha (April-May), and Punna finding Gotama sitting beneath the banyan, thought he was the god of the tree who had come down. The night before he had dreamt five great dreams,137 and had risen with the certainty that he would that day become Buddha. Sujata came and offered him the food in a golden bowl, and the earthen one that he had miraculously received at his renunciation vanished. He took the bowl to the river bank, bathed at a ford or bathing place called Suppatitthita, and ate the food. This was his only meal for forty-nine days. Then he set the bowl on the river saying, " if to-day I shall be able to become a Buddha, let this bowl go up stream; if not, let it go down stream." It floated to the middle of the river, then up stream as swift as a horse for a distance of eighty hands, and sank down in a whirlpool to the abode of Kala, a Naga king. There it struck against the bowls of the three previous Buddhas (of this cycle) and stayed as the lowest of them. Having passed the day in a grove of saltrees he went at evening along the wide road towards the Bodhi-tree accompanied by divinities, who sang and honoured him with sweet flowers. At that time a grass-cutter Sotthiya (Svastika) met him, and gave him eight handfuls of grass. After trying each of the four directions he chose the east, the unshakeable place taken by all the Buddhas for smiting down the cage of defilements; and holding the grass by the ends shook it out, when it became a seat fourteen hands long. He sat down cross-legged and upright with the words, "skin, sinew, and bone may dry up as it will, my flesh and blood may dry in my body, but without attaining complete enlightenment I will not leave this seat."

At this point begins the attack of Mara, the Lord of the world of passion, but there is a canonical passage to be considered first, which contains what may be the first suggestion of the legend. This is the Padhana-sutta (Discourse of Striving).138 It is a legend in which Mara comes to Gotama while he is on the bank of the Neranjara practising austerities, and tempts him to abandon his striving and devote himself to doing good works. The Pali version is a combination of at least two poems; but in spite of the modern taste for dissecting documents, this analysis seems to have been left to the Pali commentator, who points out the separate parts and additions. There can be no doubt that he is mainly right, as the first part, which deals with the events before the Enlightenment, is found as a separate poem in both the Sanskrit versions. There are minor differences in the Sanskrit, which it is not necessary to notice. The Lalita-vistara introduces the poem with the words, "Mara the wicked one, O monks, followed close behind the Bodhisattva, as he was practising austerities for six years, seeking and pursuing an entrance, and at no time succeeding in finding any. And finding none he departed gloomy and sorrowful." The Pali version is as follows:

To me intent on striving by the Neranjara river, exerting myself in contemplation to win the calm of peace, came Namuci139 uttering compassionate speech.

"Lean art thou and ill-favoured, near to thee is death. Death hath a thousand parts, only one part of thee is life. Live, good sir; life is better. Living thou shalt do good works.

If thou livest the religious life, if thou sacrificest the fire-sacrifice, much good is stored up. What hast thou to do with striving?

Hard is the path of striving, hard to perform, and hard to attain." These verses did Mara speak, standing in the presence of the Buddha.140

Then to Mara speaking thus did the Lord say: "Friend of the slothful, evil one, for thine own sake hast thou come hither.

No need for even the least work of merit is found in me. Them that have need of merits let Mara deign to address.

Faith is found in me, and heroism and wisdom. Why dost thou ask about life from me, who am thus intent?

The streams even of rivers may this wind dry up. How should not my blood dry up, when I am intent?

When the blood dries up, the bile and phlegm dry up. When the flesh wastes away, still more does the mind become tranquil. Still more does my mindfulness, my wisdom and concentration become firm.

While I live thus, having attained the last sensation, my mind looks not to lusts. Behold the purity of a being.

Lusts (kama) are thy first army, the second is called Aversion (arati). Thy third is Hunger-and-thirst. The fourth is called Craving (tanha).141

Thy fifth Sloth-and-indolence, the sixth is called Cowardice. Thy seventh is Doubt, thy eighth Hypocrisy and Stupidity.

Gain, Fame, Honour, and Glory falsely obtained, the Lauding of oneself and Contemning of others.

This, Namuci, is thy army, the host of thee the Black One. The coward overcomes it not, but he that overcomes it gains happiness.

I am wearing munja-grass142; shame on life in this world! Better to me is death in battle than that I should live defeated.

Plunged in this battle some ascetics and brahmins are (not)143 found. They know not the way on which the virtuous go.

Seeing the army on all sides I go to meet Mara arrayed with his elephant in the battle. He shall not drive me from my post.

That army of thine, which the world of gods and men conquers not, even that with my wisdom will I smite, as an unbaked earthen bowl with a stone.

Having controlled my intention and well-set mindfulness from kingdom to kingdom will I wander, training disciples far and wide.

Not careless they, but intent, and performing the teaching of me who am free from lust, they shall go where having gone they do not grieve.


Here the Lalita-vistara, omitting the last verse, ends. It adds in prose, "at these words Mara the evil one pained, dejected, depressed, and sorrowful vanished from thence," The rest of the poem in the Pali is as follows:

(Mara speaks:) "For seven years have I followed the Lord step by step. I can find no entrance to the All-enlightened, the watchful one.

As a crow went after a atone that looked like a lump of fat, thinking, surely here I shall find a tender morsel, here perchance is something sweet,

And finding no sweetness there, the crow departed thence; so like a crow attacking a rock, in disgust I leave Gotama."

The lute of Mara who was overcome with grief slipped from beneath his arm.. Then in dejection the Yakkha disappeared from thence.


Windisch supposed that the reference to seven years implied a difference from the tradition that makes the austerities last only six years.144 But the Pali tradition, not only in the commentary, but also in the Seven-years sutta (Samy. i 122), in which the last two of the above verses recur, understands that these words of Mara refer to a later temptation in the seventh year from the Renunciation, at a time when Buddha was, as Mara calls him, the All-enlightened. There is no conversation, as there is in the former part, but only a soliloquy of Mara.

The whole story of the contest with Mara is a mythological development, and theories of its origin must be postponed. It is not found in the Pali Canon, except that phrases in some of the later parts, such as Mara's army (Marasena), Mara's assembly (Maraparisa), victor of Mara (Marabhibhu),145 imply that the legend was then known. Even Gotama's doubts and questionings assumed by the rationalists as the origin of the legend of the contest are no part of the Enlightenment story. The commentator on this sutta evidently knew the whole legend, as he assumes that the six verses beginning 'Seeing the army', were spoken by Gotama under the Bodhitree. This description of passions and evil impulses personified as armies may well be the starting point of the story, as found in the commentaries and Lalita-vistara, of the superhuman beings that drive away the gods, and attack Gotama in vain with showers of blazing weapons and such horrors. The account in the Mahavastu (ii 281) differs considerably both from the Pali commentaries and the Lalita-vistara, and is probably earlier than both. Some of the verbose repetitions arc here abbreviated:

Then, O monks, did Mara the evil one, distressed, dejected, inwardly burning with the arrow of pain, assemble a great fourfold army, and standing before the Bodhisatva utter a great roar, "seize him, drag him, slay him; good luck to the troop of Mara." Then the Bodhisatva, unfearing, unterrified, without horripilation, removed from his robe his golden arms with netted hands and copper-hued nails, and as though with his right-hand lightly touching a balance, with his right hand stroked his head three times, with his right hand stroked his couch, and with his right hand smote the earth. Then the great earth roared and sounded forth a deep and terrible sound. Mara's army so mighty, so well-arrayed, alarmed, terrified, agitated, distracted, and horrified, dispersed and melted away. The elephants, horses, chariots, 'infantry, and auxiliaries sank down. Some fell on their hands, some on their faces, some in contortions, some on their backs, some on their left side, some on their right. And Mara the evil one reflected, and wrote with a reed on the ground, "the ascetic Gotama will escape from my realm."


Two features that appear in the various accounts are his touching the earth to call it as a witness (a favourite attitude represented in statues), and his first words after the Enlightenment. The Pali commentator gives them as follows:

Now Mara on hearing these words (Lusts are thy first army, etc.) said, "Seeing such a yakkha as me dost thou not fear, O monk?" "Verily, I fear not, Mara." "Why dost thou not fear?" "Through having performed the perfections of the merits of almsgiving and others." "Who knows that thou hast given alms?" "Is there need of a witness here, evil one? When in one birth I became Vessantara and gave alms, through the power thereof this great earth quaked seven times in six ways, and gave witness." Thereupon the great earth as far as the ocean quaked, uttering a terrible sound. And Mara terrified at hearing it like a dropped stone lowered his flag, and tied with his host. Then the Great Being in the three watches having realised the three knowledges uttered at dawn this udana:

Through worldly round of many births
I ran my course unceasingly,146
Seeking the maker of the house:
Painful is birth again and again.
House-builder! I behold thee now,
Again a house thou shalt not build;
All thy rafters are broken now,
The ridge-pole also is destroyed;
My mind, its elements dissolved,
The end of cravings has attained.


Mara at the sound of this udana approached and said, "he knows that he is Buddha. Verily I will follow him to see his conduct. If there is any slip in deed or word of his, I will harass him." And having followed him for six years during his stage as Bodhisatta he followed him for a year after his attaining Buddhahood. Then finding no slip in the Lord he spoke these verses of disgust, 'For seven years, etc.'


The above verses spoken by Buddha, occur in the Dhammapada (153, 154), but there is nothing in them peculiarly applicable to a Buddha. They express the enlightenment to which any disciple may attain on the Noble Eightfold Path, and we may have all the less hesitation in treating them as the floating verses of some unknown arahat, not only because earlier accounts ignore them, but also because the earliest passage in which an udana is mentioned gives a quite different set of stanzas, that is, the Mahavagga of the Vinaya.147 The commentator on the Dhammasangani148 also follows the Vinaya account, but adds the Dhammapada verses as being according to the reciters of the Digha Buddha's first utterance. The verses in the Vinaya are these:

When verily things are manifested
Unto the strenuous meditating brahmin,149
Then do his doubtings vanish away completely,
For he knows things together with their causes.

When verily things are manifested
Unto the strenuous, meditating brahmin,
Then do his doubtings vanish away completely,
For he has reached the destruction of the causes.

When verily things are manifested
Unto the strenuous, meditating brahmin,
He stands and smites away the host of Mara,
Even as the sun the firmament enlightens.


In this passage Buddha is said to have meditated on the Chain of Causation three times in direct and reverse order, and at the end of each of the three watches of the night to have repeated the first, second, and third stanzas respectively as udanas. As the verses with their references to causes appear to refer to the formula of the Chain of Causation, and immediately follow it, they have less intrinsic vraisemblance than the Dhammapada verses, since this formula is quite absent from the earliest accounts of the Enlightenment.

But this is not all. The Mahavastu, in one of its accounts gives as the first words another udana representing an entirely new point of view:

Pleasant is ripening of merit,
Moreover his desire succeeds;
Quickly to the supremest peace
And bliss does he attainment win.

In front of him portentous loom
The deities of Mara's host;
Hindrance to him they cannot cause,
When he his merit has performed.150


Here the point is not the enlightenment, in view of which indeed the accumulation of merit has no significance, but the former good deeds by which he confuted Mara. Merit however holds an important place in later doctrine of the progress of a bodhisattva, and these verses bear a strong resemblance to the first of the verses given as Buddha's first words in the Lalita-vistara,151 a definitely Mahayana work. These latter are in mixed Sanskrit, and in a different metre from those in the Mahavastu, but many of the words as well as the thought are the same. They look like a rewriting of the verses of the Mahavastu to suit the metre of the poem in which they are recorded:

The ripening of merit is pleasant, removing all pain;
The desire succeeds and attains of the man with merit.
Quickly he touches enlightenment, having smitten down Mara;
The path of peace be goes, to the cool state of bliss

"Who then would be sated with performing merit?
Who would be sated with hearing the immortal Doctrine?
In a lonely dwelling who would be sated?
Who would be sated with doing good?


These verses form part of a poem incorporated by the author of the Lalita-vistara at the end of the chapter recounting Buddha's enlightenment; but in the prose part of the work, a few pages before, the compiler gives an account in prose, and says that the gods after Buddha's enlightenment expected him to make a sign:

So the Tathagata, seeing that the gods had become confused, rose in the air to the height of seven palm-trees, and standing there breathed forth this udana:

Cut off is the road, the dust is laid, dried up are the asavas, they flow not again.

When the road is cut off, it turns not: this indeed is called the end of pain.152


This account is also given in the Mahavastu (ii 416) in another version of the enlightenment:

The gods holding scented garlands stood wondering whether the mind of the Lord was released. The Lord by his mind knowing the mind of those gods at that time spoke to those gods this udana, which dispersed their doubts:

Having cut off craving I abandon the dust. Dried up are the asavas, they flow not.

The road cut off turns not: this indeed is the end of pain.


In these two accounts we evidently have the same udana. It is meant for verse (arya), but is so corrupt that in both places it has been printed as prose. We can however trace it in an older and evidently metrical form in the Pali. It there reads:

He has cut off craving, he has gone to absence of desire. Dried up is the stream, it flows not.

The road cut off turns not: this indeed is the end of pain.153


Here, as the preservation of the metrical form shows, we have a more primitive and correct form of the udana. But in the Pali it has no reference to Buddha's enlightenment. The two Sanskrit versions are evidently adaptations, modified in order to fit into the Enlightenment legend. The Mahavastu is not content with this account, but goes on to give three stanzas. The first two describe how the gods on finding out the truth scatter flowers. The third is the same verse as the first of the udanas given in the Vinaya. Then follow the words, "This is the Chain of Causation in direct order." No Chain of Causation has in fact been given here, though it does occur in the Pali Vinaya, but the text is so corrupt that it may well have dropped out. Then follows the second of the Vinaya stanzas, with the statement, "This is the Chain of Causation in reverse order," and lastly the third stanza introduced by the words, "So then at this time the Lord uttered this udana." But it immediately goes on to say, "So then the Lord on first attaining enlightenment at this time uttered this udana," and it gives over again the udana, 'Pleasant is the ripening of merit,' which had been given in its previous account.

There is still another account, most instructive in suggesting how these legends of the first words of Buddha arose. In the Tibetan Vinaya154 three stanzas quite different from any of the former are given as Buddha's first words. The counterparts of two occur in the Pali Scriptures, but each verse is there isolated in quite different places.155 In the Tibetan Udanavarga, however, they occur together, and in the same order as in the Tibetan Vinaya:

The joy of pleasures in the world,
And the great joy of heaven,
Compared with the joy of the destruction of craving
Are not worth a sixteenth part.

Sorry is he whose burden is heavy,
And happy is he who has cast it down;
When once he has cast off his burden,
He will seek to be burdened no more.

When all existences are put away,
When all notions are at an end,
When all things are perfectly known,
Then no more will craving come back.


The natural inference is that it was not until these stanzas had been brought together in their present sequence in the anthology of the Udanavarga that they could be treated as connected, and that only after this could the legend that they were the three verses of Buddha at his enlightenment have been applied to them. A remarkable fact is that the first of them occurs in a continuous passage in the Mahabharata156 with no trace of the other two.

The disciples held that in the account of Buddha's death they had the record of his last words. It was equally clear to them that in the collection of Buddha's utterances there must somewhere be contained the first that he spoke. Hence the continuous efforts to decide which this must be. But unlike some of the other legends no unanimity in this case was ever reached. Even within the same school there is no unanimity, nor even within the same book.

These are the chief events of the six years of austerities and the Enlightenment. Between the canonical account and the story usually told there is a gap of several centuries. Even the canonical story is not contemporary tradition, and the first question to ask is not whether the additional stories are historical, but whether they are as old as the canonical account. In some cases they contradict it; others contradict one another, and have the appearance of commentators' inventions which have developed differently in different schools. This is seen not only in the various elaborations of Buddha's contest with Mara, but in the different accounts of his meditation under the rose-apple tree, his journey to Rajagaha or Vesali, and his first words. The meeting with Bimbisara is not only told variously, but is inserted in the narrative at different places. Another example is the story of the five monks. they are first mentioned in the Canon as the five monks (panca bhikkhu), who left Gotama when he abandoned his austerities. Later on they are known as 'the elders of the series of five' (pancavaggiyathera). The Jataka tells us that one of these was Kondanna, the youngest of the eight brahmins who prophesied at Gotama's birth. The seven others died, and when Gotama left the world, Kondanna went to their sons and asked them to go with him, but only four consented. According to the Lalita-vistara they were Uddaka's pupils, who on finding that Gotama rejected Uddaka's teaching, thought that he would become a teacher in the world, and went with him to Rajagaha. In this work they are called the bhadravargiya, 'the series of wealthy ones'; but in the Pali the bhaddavaggiya are quite different persons. The Tibetan story (Rockhill, p. 28) is that Suddhodana on hearing that his son was staying with Uddaka sent three hundred men to attend him, and Suppabuddha sent two hundred. But Gotama retained only five, who became the five monks. Evidently two schools at least knew nothing of the facts. All three stories are of the same kind as .many that grew up and were adopted by commentators.

The canonical account tells what was known, and probably all that was known, a century or two after Buddha's death. Its importance is mainly doctrinal and psychological. In the description of the austerities we find what the Buddhist considered to be the wrong ways of striving. In the description of the Enlightenment we have the 'right concentration' of the Noble Eightfold Path, for each noble disciple may follow the Path discovered by the All-enlightened.

______________

Notes:

117 Jat. i 65; Mvastu ii 189: Lal. 277 (225); it is evidently impossible to find a certain explanation of all these names, but the following may be suggested. Anupiya was a real place in the Malla country, mentioned in the Canon. It probably became traditionally identified as the place of Gotama's first retreat, and all the other names are corruptions of Anupiya in that popular language which lies behind the language of both Pali and Sanskrit works.

118 See Majjh. i, 23, 117, 167, 247-9; ii 93-4; these are repetitions, and this means  that the redactor or redactors of this collection incorporated an older  document. The Chain of Causation, although known to the redactor, docs not occur  in it.
 
119 This is the third Attainment, or the seventh of the eight Attainments of the  Buddhists, reckoning the trances as the first four. The com understands that  the six lower ones are also implied. These are discussed in ch. xiii. For the  supposed philosophy of Alara see ch. xvi.
 
120 Sena-nigama; later accounts turn this into Senani-nigama, 'the township of Senani, or of the general'; Lal. 311 (248) has senapati-grama, 'general's village.'
 
121 La1. 309 (246); Mvastu, ii 121.
 
122 This passage (I undertook ... mind) recurs after the description of each of the following austerities.

123 Lal. 330 (264), adds, "the villagers dwelling round would think that the ascetic Gotama does not eat."
 
124 Names of plants, both meaning 'having black joints '.

125 In the Sanskrit madgura, said to he a sheat fish.
 
126 See p. 44.
 
127 Or 'state of happiness' (sukha), 'pleasure' is often too strong a term; the word is used of the pleasant or happy in any sense, especially of feeling, and is opposed to dukkha 'painful'. See Rhys Davids, Pali-English Dictionary, s.v. Dukkha.
 
128 This sentence is repeated as a refrain after each stage of trance. In the corresponding account (Majjh. i 21) it does not occur at all.

129 Or 'caste'. The com. takes it literally, and says that Buddha in his last birth but one was of a golden colour.
 
130 We know exactly what is understood by the asavas, as they are here stated to consist of sensual desire (kama), desire for existence (bhava), and ignorance (avijja). To these was later added false view (ditthi), as a development of avijja. The word has been translated 'depravities', but it does not necessarily imply sinful propensities. It may include the most innocent .natural impulses, so far as they are expressions of the clinging to existence. The word corresponds to Skt. asrava 'flowing in', and this literal sense fits with its use by the Jains, who understood karma in a material sense, and conceived it as entering and pervading the individual. This sense is never found in Buddhism, which appears to have adopted the term as used already in a technical sense, and to have reinterpreted it. The commentators did not know its origin, as they connect it with two roots su 'to press (liquor)' and pa-su 'to beget '. Dhammasangani, com. p. 48.
 
131 The tree is mentioned in the list of the trees of the last seven Buddhas in Mahapadana-s., Digha ii 4, and is said to be an Assattha, the sacred fig-tree, Ficus religiosa. The Buddhists shared with the older religion the popular belief that trees are divine beings. It is seen throughout the Jatakas and in the legend in which Gotama is mistaken for a tree-god (below, p. 70). In the Lalita-vistara there are four gods of the Bodhi-tree (bodhivrksadevatah. For Senart the Bodhi-tree is not a piece of popular legend attached to a historic person, but an example of an ancient myth (the winning of ambrosia) which has become historicised; cf. La legende du Buddha, ch. 3. "Nous arrivons en derniere analyse a cette phrase mythologique: 'Le Buddha s'empara de l'arbre; Mara s'efforca en vain de la lui enlever,' comme a la base premiere de tous les developpements legendairces ou moraux que presentent les redactions definitives."

132 Sn. 405-424; Mvastu, ii 198--200; the Tibetan account in Rockhill is probably a translation of the same verses; Lal. 297 (240) has a different verse account.
 
133 Mvastu, ii 117-120; cf. ii 195-206. Another indication that the Bimbisara story is an addition is that in the canonical account Gotama does not reach the Magadha country until after leaving both his teachers.

134 Probably not as Foucaux translates, 'de la famille de Cakya.'
 
135 In Lal. 334-7 (267-270) nine other girls are added, who provide him with food during the period of his austerities. In Divy. 392, there are two called Nanda and Nandabala.
 
136 This is how the Jataka commentator interprets the ambiguous words of the text of Majjh.; see p. 64.
 
137 The dreams are given in the Scriptures: (1) The world appeared as a great couch, and the Himalaya mountain as the pillow. His left hand was plunged in the eastern ocean, his right in the western, and his feet in the southern. This meant the complete enlightenment attained by the Tathagata. (2) A plant called tiriya came from his hand, and rose and touched the sky. This was the noble Eightfold Path. (3) White worms with black heads crept up as far as his knees and covered them. These were white-robed householders, who come to the Tathagata as a refuge. (4) Four birds of different colours came from the four quarters, and falling at his feet became entirely white. These were the four castes, who leaving a household life for the doctrine taught by the Tathagata realise the highest release. (5) He was walking on a mountain of dung without being defiled by it. This was the Tathagata, who receives the requisites, but enjoys them without being attached to them. Angut. iii 240; Mvastu ii 136.
 
138 Sutta-nipata. 425-449; the Sanskrit versions in Mvastu ii 238; Lal. 327 (261).

139 The name of a Vedic demon applied to Mara.
 
140 He was evidently not Buddha at the time, as the commentator points out. Both Mvastu and Lal. have 'Bodhisatva'.
 
141 Three of these become personified as the daughters of Mara: Raga or Rati (a form of lust), Arati, and Tanha (Trsna), and tempt him after the enlightenment. Samy, i 124, Lal. 490 (378). In Lal. they also tempt him under the Bodhi-tree.

142 A sign that a warrior intends to devote himself in battle.
 
143 Omitted in Sanskrit, probably rightly.
 
144 Oldenberg also rejects the view that there is a difference in the tradition. On the mythological aspect Windisch's Mara und Buddha is most important, but naturally has little to do with historical questions.

145 Digha ii 261; iii 260; Therag. 839.
 
146 Taking anibbisam as an adverb, it is usually understood as a participle 'not finding'; the Sanskrit has punah punah, 'again and again.'
 
147 Vin. i. 2; Vinaya Texts, i. 78; the whole passage recurs in Udana I. i.
 
148 P. 17; Buddbaghosa commenting on the Digha (i 16) gives both sets of verses; even the commentary on the Vinaya itself gives the Dhammapada verses. but adds, "some say that he spoke the udana-verse in the Khandhaka, 'when verily things are manifested.'"

149 For the Buddhists the true brahmin is the true disciple, see p. 132.
 
150 Mvastu ii 286.

151 Lal. 454 (355); the verses given in the Beal, Rom. Legend, p. 225, probably represent the same original.
 
152 Lal. 448 (351) printed as prose in Calcutta edition, but Lefmann has recognised the udana as verse.

153 Ud. VII 2, reading vyaga; 'road' (vattam, Skt. vartma and vartmam) is translated by Winternitz 'wheel'.
 
154 Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, p. 33.
 
155 Udana, II 2; Samy. iii 26; and perhaps Theragatha, 254. Rockhill's version of the third stanza in Udanavarga differ sfrom that which he gives in the Vinaya, probably owing to a different Tibetan rendering of the Sanskrit.

156 Mbh. xii 174, 48. It may not have come straight from the epic, but may  have been one of the many verses of the epic found scattered throughout Indian  literature and in the Pali Canon itself. It is quoted in a 13th century Sanskrit  work on style, Sahityadarpana 240, in illustration of the state of mind of tranquillity  (santa).
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:33 am

CHAPTER VII: THE FIRST PREACHING

THE story of the Enlightenment as given in the Majjhima (above p. 64 ff.) continues directly with the journey to Benares and the conversion of the five monks.

Then I thought, now I have gained the doctrine, profound, hard to perceive, hard to know, tranquil, transcendent, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, to be known by the wise. Mankind is intent on its attachments, and takes delight and pleasure in them. For mankind, intent on its attachments ... it is hard to see the principle of causality, origination by way of cause. Hard to see is the principle of the cessation of all compound things, the renunciation of clinging to rebirth, the extinction of all craving, absence of passion, cessation, Nirvana.

But if I were to teach the Doctrine, and others did not understand it, it would be a weariness to me, a vexation. Then also there naturally occurred to me these verses unheard before:

Through painful striving have I gained it,
Away with now proclaiming it;
By those beset with lust and hate
Not easily is this Doctrine learnt.
This Doctrine, fine, against the stream,
Subtle, profound, and hard to see,
They will not see it, lust-inflamed,
Beneath the mass of darkness veiled.


Thus, monks, as I reflected, my mind turned to inaction, not to teaching the Doctrine. Then Brahma Sahampati knowing the deliberation of my mind thought, " verily the world is being destroyed, verily the world is going to destruction, in that the mind of the Tathagata, the arahat, the fully enlightened, turns to inaction and not to teaching the Doctrine." Then Brahma Sahampati, just as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm, or bend his stretched-out arm, so did he disappear from the Brahma-world and appear before me. And arranging his upper robe on one shoulder he bent down his clasped hands to me and said, "may the reverend Lord teach the Doctrine, may the Sugata157 teach the Doctrine. There are beings of little impurity that are falling away through not hearing the Doctrine." Thus said Brahma Sahampati, and having spoken he said further:

Among the Magadhas arose in ancient times
Doctrine impure, with many blemishes devised.
Open for them the door of the Immortal,
The Doctrine let them hear proclaimed with pureness.

As one upon a rocky mountain standing
Beholdeth all the people round about him,
Even thus, O thou with wisdom filled, ascending
The palace of the Doctrine, all-beholder,
Look down, thou griefless one, upon the people
Plunged in their griefs, by birth and age o'erpowered.

Rise up, O hero, victor in battle,
O caravan-leader, free from the debt (of birth), go through the world.
May the Lord deign to teach the Doctrine;
Knowers of it will they become.


Then perceiving Brahma's request, and on account of my pity for beings, I surveyed the world with my Buddha-vision. I saw beings of little impurity, of much impurity, of keen or dull faculties, of good or bad conditions, easy or hard to teach, and some too I saw who perceived the dangers and faults affecting a future life. And just as in the case of blue, red, or white lotuses, some are born in the water, grow in the water, do not rise out of the water, but grow plunged in it, some are born in the water, grow in the water, and remain sprinkled with water, while some are born in the water, grow in the water, but stand out above the water, unstained by the water, even so surveying the world with my Buddha-vision I saw beings of little impurity (etc., as above). Then I addressed Brahma Sahampati in a verse:

Open to them are the doors of the Immortal, O Brahma.
Let them that have ears cast off their faith.158
Perceiving the vexation I uttered not the doctrine
Eminent and excellent among men, O Brahma.


Then Brahma Sahampati thinking, "I have been the occasion of the Lord preaching the Doctrine," saluted me, went round me passing to the right and disappeared from there.

Now I thought, "to whom shall I first teach the doctrine? Who will learn the Doctrine quickly?" And I thought, "this Alara Kalama is learned, wise, and intelligent, and has for long been of little impurity; what if I first teach him the Doctrine? He will soon learn it." Then a divinity approached me and said, "reverend sir, Alara Kalama has been dead seven days." And the knowledge and insight arose in me that Alara Kalama had been dead seven days. (Then Buddha thinks of Uddaka, but he had died the evening before, and he then thinks of the five monks.) "The five monks did much for me, who attended me when I was intent on striving. What if I first teach the Doctrine to the five monks?" Then I thought, "where do the five monks now dwell?" And with my divine vision, purified and superhuman, I saw the five monks dwelling at Benares in the deer park of Isipatana. So having stayed at Urvela as long as I wished, I made my way to Benares.

When I had set out on the high road between Gaya and the Bodhitree, the Ajivika ascetic Upaka saw me, and on seeing me he said, "your faculties friend, are clear, the colour of your skin is pure and clean. Whom do you follow, friend, in leaving the world? Who is your teacher, and whose doctrine do you approve?" At this I replied to Upaka the Ajivika in verses:

Victorious over all, omniscient am I,
In all things (of the world) free from defilement;
Leaving all, with craving gone, emancipated,
And knowledge all self-gained, whom should I follow?

Instructor, teacher, have I none,
One like to me is nowhere found;
In the world with its gods and men
No one is there to rival me.

I am an arahat in the world,
I am a teacher most supreme;
Alone am I the All-enlightened,
I have won coolness, won Nirvana.

To set going the Wheel of Doctrine
To Kasi city now I go;
And in the blinded world the Drum
of the Immortal will I beat.


"Then according to what you profess, friend, you deserve to be an unlimited victor," said Upaka.

Victors like me are they indeed,
Who have destroyed the asavas;
Conquered by me are evil things,
Hence am I a victor, Upaka.


Thereupon Upaka said, "would that it might be so, friend," shook his head, and went off on a by-path. Then by gradual journeying I came to Benares, to the deer-park of Isipatana.159 The five monks saw me coming from afar, and on seeing me they decided among themselves, "this, friends, is the ascetic Gotama coming, who lives in abundance, who has given up exertion, and has turned to a life of abundance. We must not greet him, nor rise in respect, nor take his bowl and robe, but we will set a seat for him. If he wishes he may sit down." But as I approached, so the five monks were not able to abide by their decision. One approached and took my bowl and robe, one prepared a seat, and one set water for my feet. And then they addressed me by name, and by the title 'friend'.160 At this I said to the five monks, "monks, do not address the Tathagata by name or by the title' friend', I am an arahat, a Tathagata, fully enlightened. Give ear, monks, I have attained the immortal, I instruct, I teach the Doctrine. If you walk according to the teaching for the sake of which well-horn youths rightly go forth from a house to a houseless life, you will, even in this life, learn, realise, and attain the end of a religious life and abide in it." Thereat the five monks said to me, "by that exercise, friend Gotama, by that course and practice of self-mortification, you have not gained that superhuman truly noble knowledge and insight. Will you, when you now live in abundance, have given up exertion, and have turned to a life of abundance, gain that supernatural truly noble knowledge and insight?" Thereat I said to the monks, "monks, the Tathagata does not live in abundance, he has not given up exertion, and has not turned to a life of abundance. The Tathagata, monks, is an arahat, fully enlightened. Give ear, monks (etc. as above, and the monks ask the question a second and a third time)." Thereat I said to the five monks, "do you perceive, monks, that I have never spoken to you thus before now?" "Never thus, reverend sir." "I am an arahat (etc. as above)." Then I was able to convince the five brethren. I admonished two of the monks, and three monks went for alms. When the three monks returned with the alms we six lived upon them. Then I admonished three of the monks, and two went for alms. When the two monks returned, we six lived upon them. So the five monks were thus admonished and instructed by me, and they being themselves liable to birth, seeing the wretchedness in the nature of birth, and seeking out the unborn, the supreme peace, Nirvana, gained the unborn, the supreme peace, Nirvana... The knowledge and insight arose in them that their release is unshaken, this is the last birth, there is no existence again.


Here the continuous story as given in the Canon ends. It is continued from the attainment of enlightenment down to the conversion of the two chief disciples in the introduction to the second part of the Vinaya (the Khandhakas).161

After this we have no continuous account of Buddha's life, until we come to the Mahaparinibbana-sutta, which tells of the last year of his life, his death, and burial. There are late compilations that profess to relate the whole life, but everything in them with any claim to be old tradition is found in the commentaries.

According to the Vinaya162 Buddha remained four weeks at the Bodhi-tree, during the first week under the tree, where he meditated on the Chain of Causation, and during the second at the banyan-tree of the goat herd (ajapala),163 where he was accosted by a haughty brahmin, who asked him what are the things that make a brahmin. For the third week he went to a tree Mucalinda, and during a seven days' storm a naga, a serpent king Mucalinda, wound his body round Buddha, and protected him with his hood. It was at this time according to the Jataka that Mara's daughters carne and made a last attempt to move him.164 The last week was spent in meditation under a tree called rajayatana 'abode of the king', perhaps a tree-god. Later authorities extend this period over seven weeks.165 In the Jataka the additions come after the first week, the second being spent by Buddha near the Bodhi-tree, at which he gazed without winking, and where the Animisa shrine, 'shrine of non-winking,' was built. The third week he walked on the jewelled promenade (Ratana-cankama shrine), and the fourth was spent in the jewelled house (Ratana-ghara shrine), where he thought out the Abhidhamma Pitaka. These shrines were probably real places or sites in the time of the commentators, like those marking Buddha's flight from home (p. 55), and convenient objects for the growth of the legend.

At the end of the four (or seven) weeks two merchants carne, Tapussa and Bhallika, travelling from Ukkula (Orissa), and being warned by a divinity they approached Buddha and offered him rice and honey cakes. Buddha thought, "Tathagatas do not accept food in their hands. With what shall I accept the rice and honey cakes?" So the four Great Kings, the gods of the four quarters, brought four stone bowls, which he accepted, and from which he ate the food.166

After the meal the merchants bowed with their heads at his feet, and said, "we go, Lord, to the Lord as a refuge, we go to the Doctrine as a refuge. May the Lord receive us from this day forth, while life shall last, as lay disciples, who have gone (to him) as a refuge." These were the first lay disciples in the world admitted by the twofold formula.167 This accepting of disciples comes in awkwardly immediately before the doubts of Buddha whether he shall proclaim his doctrine to the world, but he does not give them instruction. In the Lalita-vistara account he pronounces a long charm bestowing on them wealth and good fortune in the four quarters and under the twenty-eight lunar constellations. All the incidents up to this point appear to be insertions in the older story, which is now taken up again by the Vinaya. It tells in the same canonical language as in the Majjhima, but given in the third person, of the visit of Brahma, the wish to instruct his former teachers, the meeting with Upaka, and the journey to Benares to find the five monks.

The Vinaya tells us that Buddha thereupon preached a discourse to the monks. The earlier account not only omits it, but says that Buddha instructed two of them while three went for alms, and then three while two went for alms, until they attained Nirvana. In other words, the legend of the first sermon had not yet originated. It is of course possible to believe that in the story of the first sermon we have an old tradition independent of the Canon, but in the canonical account there is nothing to show that the compiler knew anything of it. It is this canonical account which is adopted by the commentators, and the story of the sermon inserted in it. The commentators knew that Buddha must have preached a sermon, and in the Scriptures they found, just as they found his first enlightened utterance, the sermon which certainly contains the fundamental principles of Buddhism.

THE FIRST SERMON168

These two extremes, O monks, are not to be practised by one who has gone forth from the world. What are the two? That conjoined with the passions, low, vulgar, common, ignoble, and useless, and that conjoined with self-torture, painful, ignoble, and useless. Avoiding these two extremes the Tathagata has gained the knowledge of the Middle Way, which gives sight and knowledge, and tends to calm, to insight, enlightenment, Nirvana.

What, O monks, is the Middle Way, which gives sight ...? It is the noble Eightfold Path, namely, right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This, O monks, is the Middle Way...

(1) Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of pain: birth is painful, old age is painful, sickness is painful, death is painful, sorrow, lamentation, dejection, and despair are painful. Contact with unpleasant things is painful, not getting what one wishes is painful. In short the five khandhas of grasping are painful.

(2) Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of the cause of pain: that craving, which leads to rebirth, combined with pleasure and lust, finding pleasure here and there, namely the craving for passion, the craving for existence, the craving for non-existence.

(3) Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of pain: the cessation without a remainder of that craving, abandonment, forsaking, release, non-attachment.

(4) Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of the way that leads to the cessation of pain: this is the noble Eightfold Path, namely, right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. 'This is the noble truth of pain.' Thus, O monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me sight and knowledge arose, wisdom, knowledge, light arose. 'This noble truth of pain must be comprehended.' Thus, O monks, among doctrines unheard before, by me was this truth comprehended. And thus, O monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me sight and knowledge arose. (Repeated in the same words for the other truths, except that the second, the cause of pain, is to be abandoned, the third, the cessation of pain, is to be realised, and the fourth, the noble Eightfold Path, is to be practised.)

As long as in these noble truths my threefold knowledge and insight duly with its twelve divisions was not well purified, even so long, O monks, in the world with its gods, Mara, Brahma, with ascetics, brahmins, gods and men, I had not attained the highest complete enlightenment. Thus I knew.

But when in these noble truths my threefold knowledge and insight duly with its twelve divisions was well purified, then, O monks, in the world . .. I had attained the highest complete enlightenment. Thus I knew. Knowledge arose in me, insight arose that the release of my mind is unshakeable; this is my last existence; now there is no rebirth.


At the end of the sermon Kondanna attained the knowledge that everything that is subject to origination is also subject to cessation. And the news that the Wheel of the Doctrine had been turned by the Lord was shouted by the earth-dwelling gods, and carried from rank to rank of gods up to the world of Brahma. Then the Lord uttered this udana: "Verily Kondanna has attained the knowledge (annasi); verily Kondanna has attained the knowledge." So his name became Annata-Kondanna, 'Kondanna who has attained the knowledge.' He then asked to receive the pabbajja, the ceremony of leaving the world, and the upasampada, the ceremony of ordination, and was admitted with the words, "come, monk (ehi bhikkhu), well proclaimed is the doctrine; lead a religious life for making a complete end of pain." This is held to be the original form of ordination as conferred by Buddha himself. After further instruction Vappa and Bhaddiya were admitted, and finally Mahanama and Assaji.

Buddha then preached to them on the non-existence of the soul. The soul (atman) which is denied is not the self of actual experience, but a theory of the permanent nature of the soul, a reality held to be behind all the psychical phenomena. The argument is that whatever part of the individual is taken, bodily or mental, we cannot point to anyone element in it as permanent, and when the individual is free from any passion (raga) or craving (tan-ha), which impel these elements to rebirth, he is emancipated.

SERMON ON THE MARKS OF NON-SOUL169

The body, monks, is soulless. If the body, monks, were the soul, this body would not be subject to sickness, and it would be possible in the case of the body to say, 'let my body be thus, let my body not be thus.' Now because the body is soulless, monks, therefore the body is subject to sickness, and it is not possible in the case of the body to say, 'let my body be thus, let my body not be thus.'

Feeling is soulless ... perception is soulless ... The aggregates are soulless... 170

Consciousness is soulless. For if consciousness were the soul, this consciousness would not be subject to sickness, and it would be possible in the case of consciousness to say, 'let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness not be thus.'

Now because consciousness is soulless, therefore consciousness is subject to sickness, and it is not possible in the case of consciousness to say, 'let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness not be thus.'

What think you, monks, is the body permanent or impermanent?
Impermanent, Lord.
But is the impermanent painful or pleasant?
Painful, Lord.
But is it fitting to consider what is impermanent, painful, and subject to change as, 'this is mine, this am I, this is my soul'?
No indeed, Lord.
(And so of feeling, perception, the aggregates, and consciousness.) Therefore in truth, monks, whatever body, past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, low or eminent, near or far, is to be looked on by him who duly and rightly understands, as, 'all this body is not mine, not this am I, not mine is the soul.' (And so of feeling, etc.)

Thus perceiving, monks, the learned noble disciple feels loathing for the body, for feeling, for perception, for the aggregates, for consciousness. Feeling disgust he becomes free from passion, through freedom from passion he is emancipated, and in the emancipated one arises the knowledge of his emancipation. He understands that destroyed is rebirth, the religious life has been led, done is what was to be done, there is nought (for him) beyond this world.

Thus said the Lord. The five monks rejoiced at the utterance of the Lord, and when this exposition was uttered, the hearts of five monks not clinging (to existence) were emancipated from the asavas.171


At that time a young man named Yasa, son of a wealthy gildmaster, was living in luxury at Benares. Waking up one night he found his palace attendants and musicians asleep in unseemly attitudes, and with the same cry of disgust that Buddha had used on leaving the world went out from his house and the city (the gates of which were opened for him by non-human beings) to the deer park of Isipatana, where he found Buddha at dawn.172 Buddha consoled him, and taught him the Four Truths. His father followed the marks of his slippers to the park, and Buddha made Yasa invisible. Then he instructed the gildmaster, who took his refuge as a lay disciple in the Buddha, the Doctrine, and the Order of monks. He was thus the first lay person who became a disciple through the threefold formula. Yasa meanwhile had heard the instruction, and attained full enlightenment with the destruction of the asavas. Then Buddha made him visible again, and explained to his father that one whose mind has become quite free from attachment to the world cannot return to it again. Yasa was then ordained, and became the seventh member of the Order.

The first two women to become lay disciples were the mother and former wife of Yasa, at whose house Buddha accepted a meal. Next four friends of Yasa, then fifty, entered the Order, and all became arahats. There were now sixty monks, and we are told that Buddha then sent them out in different directions to preach the doctrine. The motive of this narrative appears to be to introduce a formula of admission to the Order by the monks. The preachers brought back so many candidates for admission that Buddha was obliged to allow the monks themselves to perform the ceremony. It consisted in removing the hair, assuming the yellow robe, and reciting three times the threefold taking refuge in Buddha, the Doctrine, and the Order. This is held to be the second form or ordination prescribed by Buddha. A much more elaborate ritual is given later in the Vinaya, and is still used.

After keeping Retreat,173 the three months of seclusion during the rains (vassa), Buddha returned to Uruvela, and on the way found a party of thirty wealthy young men, who had been sporting with their wives in a grove. One of them had no wife, and for him they had taken a courtesan, but while they were not noticing she had taken their things and fled. They came seeking her, and inquired of Buddha whether he had seen a woman. "What do you think, young men," Buddha replied, "which is better, for you to go in search of a woman, or to go in search of yourselves?" "It is better, Lord, for us to go in search of ourselves." Buddha then told them to sit down, and preaching to them converted and ordained them. There is a strange divergence here from the Sanskrit tradition. The thirty are here called 'the friends of the series of wealthy ones' (bhaddavaggiya). But this name in the form bhadravargiya is the name given by the Sanskrit authorities to the five monks. The contradiction is without explanation, and from the point of view of history none is necessary.174

At Uruvela lived a matted-haired ascetic known as Uruvela Kassapa with five hundred disciples. Further down the river lived his brothers, Nadi Kassapa (Kassapa of the river) with three hundred disciples, and Gays Kassapa (of the village of Gaya) with two hundred. The story of their conversion by Buddha is a great contrast to the picture of Buddha's character and methods that prevails in the canonical stories, and closely resembles the tales of astonishing miracles and magic worked by arahats in the late compilations of Sanskrit authorities. Buddha by his magical powers overcame two nagas that vomited smoke and flame, received visits from various gods, read the thoughts of Uruvela Kassapa, split wood, created stoves for them to use after bathing in the cold weather, and worked in all 3,500 miracles. Still Kassapa persisted in his thought, "the great ascetic is of great magic and of great power, but he is not an arahat like me." Finally Buddha decided to startle him, and said, "you are not an arahat, Kassapa, you have not attained the path of arahatship; nor is this the way by which you will become an arahat or attain arahatship." Thereupon Kassapa bowed with his head at the feet of the Lord and asked for ordination. Buddha told him to consult his pupils, and they cut off their matted hair, threw it with their sacrificial utensils into the river, and were all ordained. The pupils of Nadi Kassapa seeing the things floating down the river came to inquire if some misfortune had happened. On finding out the truth they all did the same and were ordained. Exactly the same thing happened to Gaya Kassapa and his pupils. On the hill at Gaya (Gayasisa) Buddha preached to them the Fire-sermon, and they all attained arahatship.

Taking with him the Kassapas and their thousand pupils Buddha went on to Rajagaha, where king Seniya Bimbisara heard of his arrival, and came with a great host of citizens to visit him. The multitude wondered whether 'the great ascetic' was practising the religious life under Uruvela Kassapa, or whether the latter was his pupil, and Buddha to make the truth clear to the people put questions to Uruvela Kassapa. Kassapa having explained why he had abandoned his fire-worship rose from his seat, bowed with his head at the feet of the Lord, and said, "my teacher, Lord, is the Lord; I am the disciple. My teacher, Lord, is the Lord; I am the disciple." After Buddha had preached, Bimbisara rose and said, "formerly, Lord, when I was a prince, I made five wishes, and they are now fulfilled: I thought, would that I might be consecrated king; this was my first wish, and it is now fulfilled. May the arahat, the all-enlightened, come to my kingdom; this was my second wish, and it is now fulfilled. May I do honour to the Lord; this was my third wish, and it is now fulfilled. May the Lord teach me the doctrine; this was my fourth wish, and it is now fulfilled. May I understand the doctrine of the Lord, this was my fifth wish, and it is now fulfilled."175 Buddha then accepted an invitation to a meal with his followers for the next day, and went to the palace preceded by Sakka, king of the gods, in the form of a young brahmin student singing his praises. The king served Buddha with his own hands, and then made the donation to Buddha and the Order of a park known as the Veluvana (Bamboo grove), conveniently near Rajagaha.

The chronology implied in these legends is fairly clear and consistent for the first year. The Enlightenment took place at full moon of the month Visakha (April-May). Then follow the events up to the three months of Retreat (July to September). The next three months up to the visit of Bimbisara were spent, according to the Jataka, with the Kassapas, and this agrees with Buddha providing stoves for the ascetics who had to bathe in the cold weather. The following two months were spent at Rajagaha, and it was during this period that the next event recorded in the Vinaya occurred.

At Rajagaha lived Sanjaya, an ascetic with two hundred and fifty pupils, among whom were Sariputta and Moggallana. These two had made one another a promise that whoever should' first win the immortal should tell the other. Sariputta saw the elder Assaji going early in the morning for alms, with decorous walk and looks and motion of his arms, with downcast eyes and perfect deportment. He thought, surely this is one of the monks who are arahats, or who have entered on the path of arahatship; but thinking it not the right time to inquire he followed him until he had done begging. Then he approached and greeted him, and said, "your faculties, friend, are clear, the colour of your skin is pure and clean, whom do you follow, friend, in leaving the world? Who is your teacher, and whose doctrine do you approve?" Assaji told him that it was under the great ascetic, the son of the Sakya of the Sakya family. Then Sariputta asked of his master's teaching, but Assaji replied that he had only recently left the world, and could not expound the doctrine and discipline at length, but could tell him the meaning shortly.176 Sariputta said:

Well, friend, tell little or much,
But tell me just the meaning.
Just the meaning is what I want;
Why speak many words?


So Assaji uttered this statement of the doctrine:

Of things that proceed from a cause
Their cause the Tathagata has told,
And also their cessation;
Thus teaches the great ascetic.


Then the spotless eye of the doctrine arose in Sariputta, the knowledge that everything that is subject to origination is also subject to cessation and he replied:

If that is the extent of the doctrine,
You have penetrated to the sorrowless state,
Unseen throughout the past
Through many myriads of ages.177


Then Sariputta went to tell his friend the good news, and Moggallana said, "your faculties, friend, are clear, the colour of your skin is pure and clean, can it be that you have attained the immortal?" "Yes, friend, I have attained the immortal," and Sariputta told him all, and with the recital the same recognition of the truth arose in Moggallana. The two then went to the other disciples of Sanjaya, and informed them that they now recognised Buddha as their teacher, and that they intended to go to him. The disciples declared that it was for the sake of Sariputta and his friend that they were there, and that they would go with them. Sanjaya refused to go himself three times, and when they went, hot blood came from his mouth. When Buddha saw them coming he prophesied:

These two companions are coming,
Kolita and Upatissa;
They shall be my pair of disciples,
The chief, an excellent pair.


They bowed with their heads at his feet, asked for ordination, and were ordained with the formula of 'come monks'.

The commentators are able to give us much more detail of the lives of these two famous disciples.178 Sariputta was born near Rajagaha at Upatissa-village, hence his personal name, Upatissa. His mother was Rupasari, a brahmin woman, and hence he was known as Sariputta, 'the son of Sari.' In Sanskrit works his name appears as Saradvatiputra and other forms. Moggallana was born at the neighbouring Kolita-village, and through being the son of the chief family of Kolita was named Kolita. His mother was a brahmin woman, Moggali. The two were born on the same day, grew up and left the world together to seek the doctrine of release under Sanjaya, but learnt all he had to tell them, and then wandered over all India in search of a teacher. After making their mutual promise they returned home, until Sariputta discovered Assaji, as has been told. Unlike tho other disciples they did not attain full enlightenment at once. Moggallana attained it after a week, and for Sariputta a whole fortnight was required. This was owing to the greatness of those perfections (parami) attained by the disciples, just as a king, when setting out, requires far greater preparations than a poor man. The other disciples murmured that they should have been at once appointed chief disciples over the heads of older ones like the five, but Buddha pointed out that he was not guilty of favouritism. These two in previous lives had made the wish to become the chief disciples of a Buddha, and their wish was now fulfilled.

Whatever may be thought of the older story, this portion at least has the appearance of being pure invention. It differs in essential points from the accounts preserved in the Tibetan and Chinese (Rockhill, p. 44), and gives impossible interpretations of the names. Upatissa is really 'minor Tissa', and would naturally be the name of one whose father was Tissa, a very common personal name, and this is the actual explanation given by the Tibetan.179 The commentary does not even know the name of Sariputta's village, which was Nalaka, or in Sanskrit works Nalanda. Moggallana (Skt. Maudgalyayana) is a clan name, and Kolita his personal name. 'Upatissa-village' and 'Kolita-village' are merely inventions based on their names. It is possible that the commentator intended them to mean the villages of the Upatissa clan and Kolita clan.

Little further is told of the two chief disciples that can be called historical. They do not appear in events after Buddha's death, and this fact, rather than the legends of their deaths, is evidence that they died before him. Sariputta, 'the chief of those endowed with insight,' is often represented as preaching or instructing younger monks. His title Dhammasenapati, 'general of the Doctrine,' is a development of the idea of Buddha's destiny as a universal king. Just as Buddha by rejecting universal empire became Dhammaraja, king of the Doctrine, so Sariputta becomes his general, and turns the Wheel after him. Moggallana 'the chief of those with magic powers' (iddhi) frequently visited the heavens and other worlds to find out the destiny or anyone who had died.

In view of the large number of converts it is not surprising to find that the Vinaya records a growing hostility among the Magadha people, who accused Buddha of being intent on producing childlessness, widowhood, and the breaking up of families. They recited scornfully a verse about the pupils of Sanjaya, but Buddha gave the monks a verse to repeat in reply, and in seven days the noise disappeared.

______________

Notes:

157 Another title of Buddha, 'he who has well gone.'

158 Probably corrupt. The faith must be their present base beliefs. Mvastu,  iii 319 reads 'injurious faith'.
 
159 Lal. 528 (406) gives details of the stages. Buddha having no money to pay  the ferryman crossed the Ganges through the air, in consequence of which  Bimbisara abolished the tolls for ascetics.
 
160 Avuso, the term by which elders address one another; it is probably the vocative of ayasma, 'elder.'
 
161 These narratives, though now forming a part of the Vinaya, are not canonical in the same sense as the Suttas, though they quote much canonical matter, but are a historical commentary, as Rhys Davids and Oldenberg have shown in their translation in Vin. Texts, i, pp. xv-xxi.

162 Vin. i 1 ff.; Vin.. Texts, i 73 ff.
 
163 It was here where Mara came tempting him to attain Nirvana at once. Digha, ii 112, below, p. 147.
 
164 Jat. i 78; also told in Samy. i 124, Lal. 490 (378).
 
165 Jat. i 77; Lal. 488 (377); Mvastu iii 273. A verse account in Lal. 499 (385), as Olden berg has pointed out, apparently makes the period only one week, and this is also seen in the Tibetan account; Rockhill, p. 34.

166 The Jataka says that the gods first offered four sapphire bowls, which Buddha refused. Then he took the four stone ones, which fitted together and became one. Lal. 495 (382) says that bowls of gold, silver, and various kinds of precious stones were offered and refused. The reason of these additions is evidently because such bowls are forbidden in the Vinaya rules. Vin. ii 112; Vin. Texts, iii 82.
 
167 Omitting taking refuge in the Order of monks, which did not yet exist.

168 Called in the later literature Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta, 'Sutta of Turning the Wheel of the Doctrine: It occurs in the Canon, Samy. v 420. The Sanskrit versions agree in essentials; Lal. 540 (416); Mvastu. iii 330. The Tibetan preserves the statement about the instruction of the monks two and three at a time, and inserts the sermon before it.

169 Anattalakkhana-sutta, given in the Canon (Samy. iii 66), as Panca-sutta.
 
170 The same statement is repeated in the case of each element.
 
171 I.e. they attained full enlightenment as arahats.

172 Much of the circumstances and language of the description of his flight are identical with the story of the Great Renunciation, which Rhys Davids held Wall modelled on this story of Yasa. Vin. Texts, i, 102. This certainly deprives the legend of Buddha's flight of any claim to be history, but it is not easy to decide which story was the model.
 
173 Two so-called temptations by Mara occur in this account, one after sending the disciples to preach, and one after Retreat. They consist of verses, in which Mara asserts that Buddha is in his power, and Buddha denies it. Both occur in Samy, i 105, 111.

174 See p. 80; even the meaning of the phrase is uncertain; Rhys Davids says  wealthy'; Pischel 'die schone Gruppe bildend'; it may also mean 'the group  headed by Bhadra '.
 
175 This does not agree exactly with the story of Bimbisira's first meeting with  Buddha, p. 69, at which time he was already king.
 
176 This does not harmonise with the fact that he was an arahat, and one of the  sixty who had been sent out to preach.
 
177 All these verses except the second have been printed as prose, but they are in arya metre like the second, even if now corrupted. This is an indication of the late date of the legend, at least in its existing form. According to Prof. Leumann the metre is not found in Jain works earlier than the Christian era, and all the examples in Buddhist works are certainly late. See Nettip., Introd. p. xxii. The reply of Assaji corresponds to the Sanskrit verse beginning Ye dharma hetuprabhava, found inscribed in many places in North India, but occurring in Pali only in this legend.
 
178 Dhp. com. i 88 ff.; Angut. com. i 155 ff.

179 Rockhill, 44; in Dhp. com. his father is Vanganta. The legends of their deaths are given below in ch. x.
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

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CHAPTER VIII: SPREAD OF THE DOCTRINE

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Miracle of the Pairs at Savatthi

BUDDHA had returned with the converted Kassapas to Rajagaha in mid-winter, and according to the commentators stayed there two months.180 His next visit was to his father's home. It is not recorded in the Canon, but the verses of the elder Kaludayin, given in the collection of verses uttered by the elders, imply the story, and are unintelligible without it.181 The commentary on these verses· says that Kaludayin (Udayin the black) was the son of a courtier of Suddhodana, who was born on Buddha's birthday, and grew up with him as his playmate. When Suddhodana heard that Buddha was preaching at Rajagaha, he sent a courtier with a thousand men to invite him. These arrived while he was preaching, and as they stood at the edge of the crowd and listened to the doctrine, they attained arahatship. Buddha at once ordained them, and they suddenly appeared with bowls and robes in the guise of elders of a hundred years' standing. Now arahats are indifferent to things of the world, so they never gave Buddha his father's message. Suddhodana sent another courtier and a thousand men with the same result, and so on for nine times. Then he asked Kaludayin to go, who promised to bring Buddha, if he might be allowed to leave the world. Like the rest he entered the Order, but delayed to give the message until the beginning of spring, full-moon day of the month Phagguna (Feb.-Mar.), when Buddha had been two months at Rajagaha. Then Kaludayin seeing that the time was suitable for travelling uttered his invitation, which forms his verses in the Theragatha:

Aflame are now the trees, O reverend Master,
Bringing forth fruit they have cast off last year's leaves,
Like blazing fires all shining in their splendour:
Full of delights, great hero, is the season.


The Jataka says that he went on thus for sixty verses, but the Theragatha give only nine. One verse is specially interesting in which he reminds Buddha of his family:

Suddhodana is the great sage's father,
The mother of the Buddha is named Maya,
Who bore the Bodhisatta in her bosom,
And having died in the Three-heavens rejoices.


Buddha set out for Kapilavatthu with 20,000 arahats, journeying by slow stages. Kaludayin went on before through the air to the king, who did not recognise him, so he explained to the king his identity by saying:

A son am I of Buddha, the achiever of the impossible,
The Angirasa, the peerless one, the perfect;
The father of my father art thou, O Sakya,
And through the Doctrine thou, Gotama, art my grandfather.182


He then preached to the king and his court, and won their favour, so that he became 'the chief of those who make families well disposed '.

When Buddha and his company arrived, the Sakyas provided a residence for them in the Nigrodha park; but as he saw that his proud kinsmen did not intend to make obeisance to him, he rose in the air and performed the miracle of the pairs.183 And as his father had reverenced him at his birth, and secondly at the miracle of the rose-apple tree, so now for the third time he bowed at his son's feet, and not one of the Sakyas was able to refrain from doing the same.184

After he had come down from the sky a storm of rain broke, but it wetted only those who wished to be wet, at which they marvelled, and Buddha said, "not only now did a shower of rain fall on an assembly of my kinsfolk, but it did so also in the far past." He then told them the story of his earthly existence as king Vessantara, which immediately preceded his birth in the Tusita heaven. After the discourse they dispersed, but there was not one raja185 or minister who asked him to come and receive alms. Therefore next day he went begging in the city from house to house with his monks. The report went about that prince Siddhattha was going for alms, and the multitude opened their windows to look at him. Buddha's wife too saw him and told the king, who with agitated heart hurried to him and asked him why he was disgracing his family. "It is our custom, O king," said Buddha. "Surely, Lord, our lineage is the kshatriya lineage of Mahasammata, and not one kshatriya has ever practised begging." "That royal lineage is your lineage, O king, but mine is the Buddha lineage of Dipankara, Kondanna (etc., down to) Kassapa.186 These and many thousands of Buddhas have gained their livelihood by begging," and standing in the middle of the street he said:

One should rise up and not be slothful,
One should practise well the Dhamma;
Who practises the Dhamma rests in bliss
Both in this world and the next.


The king was immediately established in the first stage of conversion, the fruit of Entering-the-stream.187 He took Buddha's bowl, and conducted him with his monks to the palace, where they received a meal. Afterwards all the women of the palace, except the mother of Rahula, came and did reverence. Buddha said:

One should practise well the Dhamma,
One should not practise evil:
Who practises the Dhamma rests in bliss
Both in this world and the next.


Then Mahapajapati was established in the fruit of the first stage, and Suddhodana in the second, the stage of the Once-returner, who returns to be reborn only once before attaining Nirvana. The mother of Rahula, when asked by her attendants to go, said, "if I have any excellence, my master will come himself to my presence, and when he comes I will reverence him." Buddha handed his bowl to the king, and saying, "the king's daughter may do reverence as she wishes, she is not to be blamed," went with the two chief disciples to her chamber, and sat on the appointed seat. She came swiftly, clasped his ankles, placed his feet round her head, and did reverence to him according to her desire. The king told of her great love, and said, "Lord, my daughter, when she heard that you were wearing yellow robes, put on yellow robes; when she heard of your having one meal a day, herself took one meal; when she knew that you had given up a large bed, she lay on a narrow couch; and when she knew that you had given up garlands and scents, she gave them up."188

Buddha pointed out that she had also proved her devotion in a former life, for when she was a fairy named Canda, a king had shot her husband with a poisoned arrow, and hoped to win her love. But she so taunted the gods, saying, "are there no world guardians, or are they gone abroad, or are they dead that they do not protect my husband? "that Sakka came down and restored him to life.189

On the following day was being celebrated the royal consecration of Nanda, half-brother of Buddha and son of Mahapajapati. This seems to have been his consecration as heir apparent, such as had taken place in Buddha's case at the age of sixteen. It was also the occasion of Nanda's marriage and entering his house. Buddha came and gave Nanda his bowl to hold, and then after uttering a mangala, or auspicious formula, rose to go without taking back the bowl. Nanda did not venture to ask him to take it back, even when his bride appealed to him, and he followed Buddha as far as the monastery. Then Buddha asked him if he was going to leave the world, and out of reverence for the Master Nanda said, "yes, I am going to leave the world," and Buddha ordered him to be ordained.190

After seven days the mother of Rahula adorned her son, and sent him to Buddha, saying to him, "see, dear, that golden-coloured ascetic, looking like Brahma, and attended by twenty thousand ascetics. He is your father, and he had four great vases of treasure, but since he left the world we do not see them. Go and ask for your inheritance, and say that you are the prince, and that when you are consecrated king you will be a universal monarch and in need of wealth, for the son is owner of what belonged to the father."

He went to Buddha, who was dining in the palace, and seized with love for him said, "pleasant, ascetic, is your shadow," and much else that was becoming. After the meal he said, "give me my inheritance, ascetic," and followed Buddha, who did not turn him back, nor were the attendants able to do so. On arriving at the park Buddha thought, "his father's wealth that he asks for is liable to change and trouble; now, I will give him the sevenfold noble wealth that I received at the foot of the Bodhi-tree, and make him owner of an inheritance beyond this world." So he told Sariputta to admit him to the Order.

The whole of the story of this visit to Kapilavatthu is strictly speaking post-canonical, but the ordination of Rahula is told as above in the Vinaya, though with less detail.191 After the ordination of Rahula Suddhodana came to Buddha and asked a boon. "When the Lord abandoned the world, it was no small pain to me, so when Nanda did so, and especially so in the case of Rahula. The love of a son cuts through the skin, having cut through the skin it cuts through the hide, the flesh, the sinew, the bone, the marrow. Grant, Lord, that the noble ones may not confer the pabbajja ordination on a son without the permission of his mother and father." This was granted and made a Vinaya rule. The reference here to Nanda shows that his story as well as that of Rahula was known to the Vinaya, and that the compiler has probably recorded merely enough of the legend to explain the rule from its supposed historical origin.

The next day after an early meal Suddhodana seated by Buddha said, "Lord, at the time when you were practising austerities, a divinity came to me, and said, 'your son is dead,' but I did not believe him, and replied, 'my son will not die without attaining enlightenment.''' Buddha then told a story how Suddhodana in a former life, even when bones were shown to him as his son's, refused to believe that his son was dead. And the king was established in the fruit of the third path, that of the Non-returner, who never returns to be born in this world.

It is on the occasion of this visit that the legends put the conversion of two of the best known of Buddha's followers, Ananda, the beloved disciple, and Devadatta, the Buddhist Judas.192 We are told that at Buddha's birth 80,000 Sakyas had each dedicated a son to form a retinue for him, when he should become either a Buddha or a universal king as prophesied. These now entered the Order, and set out with Buddha on his return to Rajagaha. In one family however were two nobles, Mahanama and Anuruddha, sons of Amitodana, neither of whom had left the world.193 Mahanama therefore proposed that one of them should do so. Anuruddha, who was very delicately nurtured, and like Buddha had three palaces for the three seasons, declared it impossible for him; but Mahanama persuaded him by pointing out the difficulties of a household life, and the never ending labour of farming. Anuruddha's mother, after at first refusing, gave him permission if his companion Bhaddiya, raja of the Sakyas, would go with him. She thought that as Bhaddiya was ruling over the Sakyas, this would be impossible. Bhaddiya promised, and after proposing to postpone the departure for seven years gradually reduced the time to seven days, until he should have handed over the rule to his sons and brothers. The two then set out with four others, Ananda, Bhagu, Kimbila, and Devadatta, to the park, as if they were going for sport, taking with them their barber Upali. After going some distance they removed their ornaments, and sent Upali back with them, but he being afraid of the anger of the Sakyas soon returned, and went along with the six. They found Buddha at Anupiya on the route to Rajagaha, the place where he had first stayed in his flight from home; and there they made their request that Upali might be admitted first, in order that their Sakya pride might be humbled through having their former attendant as their senior.

During the following Retreat Bhaddiya attained the three knowledges, and thus became an arahat. Anuruddha won the second of these knowledges, the divine eye, which sees the arising and passing away of beings, and Ananda realised the fruit of the First Path. Devadatta acquired the kind of magical power (iddhi) that is possible to unconverted persons. The appointment of Ananda as Buddha's personal attendant and the schism of Devadatta belong to a much later date.

The additional circumstances of this story given in the commentaries show the process of legend-making going on. The details of their previous lives there given are equally circumstantial. But there is no reason to seek a historical basis even for the earliest form. The story appears to be modelled on that of Buddha's flight. In both there is, a delicately nurtured youth, a secret flight to the same place to which Buddha went, and an attendant sent back with the ornaments. Bhaddiya is called Sakya-raja, but it is unnecessary to suppose a contradiction with the story that Suddhodana was king. He would be a raja like the other Sakya nobles, and he ruled in the sense of sharing the government with them. In the story no difficulty is raised about his retiring, beyond the arrangements in his own family. In a later incident Bhaddiya speaks of his bliss in dwelling alone in the forest, and contrasts it with his former life as raja, when he was ill at ease though protected on all sides, but he never speaks of having abandoned the duties of kingship. In this account the idea of the aristocratic government of the city by a number of rajas or nobles appears to be preserved, but in the Tibetan the king is a monarch, such as was known to the Magadhas in later times. This account records that Suddhodana abdicated, and offered the throne to each of his brothers, who refused it. Bhadrika (i.e. Bhaddiya) was then made king, and when he was asked to become a monk, his reason for at first refusing was that Devadatta would become king. Therefore in order to prevent this Devadatta was persuaded to become a monk as well. The significance of these divergent accounts is that they illustrate how the later the legends are the more divergent they become through having been invented independently in different schools.

On returning to Rajagaha Buddha stayed in the Sitavana. It is at this period that the commentaries place the founding of the famous monastery of the Jetavana at Savatthi.194 The story is told in the Vinaya, but the date is not there indicated. Sudatta, a householder of Savatthi, known from his bounty as Anathapindika or Anathapindada, 'giver of alms to the unprotected,' came to Rajagaha on some business. His sister was the wife of the gildmaster of Rajagaha, and w hen he arrived he found the gildmaster preparing a meal for Buddha and his monks, on so great a scale that he thought that a wedding was in progress, or that the king had been invited. On learning the truth he was eager to visit Buddha, and did so the next day. He was converted, and invited Buddha to a meal, providing everything himself in spite of the request of the gildmaster and the king to be allowed to do so. After the meal he invited Buddha to spend Retreat at Savatthi, and Buddha accepted, saying, "the Tathagatas, householder, take pleasure in empty dwelling places." Anathapindika replied, "commanded, Lord, commanded, Sugata," and prepared parks, stopping places, and gifts at stages along the road to Savatthi.

Understanding the request implied in Buddha's acceptance he looked out for a quiet place near Savatthi where Buddha might dwell, and saw the park of prince Jeta. Jeta told him that it was not for sale, even if it were covered with kotis (ten millions) of gold pieces. Anathapindika offered to take it on those terms, but Jeta said that no bargain had been struck. The ministers, to whom the question was submitted, decided that it was a bargain, and Anathapindika brought cartloads of gold to cover the grove of Jeta (the Jetavana). A small space remained uncovered, and Jeta asked that this might be his gift. Anathapindika agreed, and on that part Jeta built the gateway with a storehouse. The commentaries add other details, including the exact price (fifty-four kotis) and the size of the parks of the six previous Buddhas, which had all been situated on the same spot.

Anathapindika appears in the list of the eighty chief disciples, with the title of 'chief of almsgivers'. The famous laywoman who had the same title was Visakha of Savatthi, and her legend, may be conveniently given here.195 She was the daughter of a gildmaster of Bhaddiya, a town in the Anga country, and was converted by Buddha in her youth. Her father Dhananjaya was sent by Bimbisara to Pasenadi, who had requested to have a wealthy person in his kingdom. On his way to Savatthi he stayed at a place seven leagues away, and finding it pleasant asked Pasenadi that he might settle there. His wish Was granted, and because the place was first inhabited in the evening (sayam), it was named Saketa. Visakha was married to Punnavaddhana, son of Migara, a gildmaster of Savatthi. Migara was a follower of the naked ascetics, and they finding that she was a disciple of Buddha advised him to dismiss her. Although he did not do so, he subsequently brought charges against her, and when she succeeded in having them disproved, she refused to stay unless she were allowed to minister to the Buddhist monks. When Buddha himself came, Migara was converted, and because he won the fruit of the First Path through his daughter-in-law, be saluted her as his mother. Hence her title of 'Migara's mother'.

On one occasion she went to hear Buddha preach, and removed her gorgeous headdress on entering the monastery. It was forgotten by her servant on her return, and laid aside by Ananda. She then refused to take it again, but ordered it to be sold for the benefit of the monks. It was so costly that a purchaser could not be found, and she devoted the amount at which it was assessed to building a monastery at Savatthi in the Pubbarama, 'the Eastern Park.' When Buddha had settled permanently at Savatthi he spent Retreat alternately here and in the Jetavana.

This is an example of one of the latest of the legends in the commentaries. The whole of it is probably later than any of the references to Visakha in the Vinaya. The most attractive of these is the incident where she asked permission to bestow eight kinds of permanent alms, and told how, if she heard of the death of a monk of Savatthi, she would rejoice to know that he was one to whom she. had been able to do good. Buddha asked what blessing she expected to find. She replied "in this way, Lord, that the monks who have spent Retreat in different places will come to the Lord and ask, saying, 'a monk, Lord, of such a name has died; what is his future career and lot?' And the Lord will explain that he had reached the fruit of the first, second, or third stage or that he had attained arahatship.196 Then I shall come and ask, 'did that noble one ever come in the past to Savatthi?' If they tell me that that monk had come to Savatthi, my object will be attained, in the thought that without doubt that noble one has had a robe for the rains, or that there has been food for an incoming monk, or that there has been food for a departing monk, or for one who was sick, or for his attendant, or that there was medicine, or a permanent supply of gruel.197 And when I think of this, gladness will arise, and from gladness joy, and with gladness of heart my whole self will be at peace, and being at peace I shall feel happiness, and in that happiness my heart will be concentrated. That will be an exercise in my faculties, in my powers, and in the constituents of enlightenment. This, Lord, is the blessing that I perceive in asking the eight boons of the Tathagata."198

This incident illustrates a feature that will become clearer when the doctrine is discussed, the fact that the new teaching was not merely a way of salvation for those who had come to feel the emptiness of all earthly pleasures. It was also a guide of life for those in the world, and it taught the duties of social life not merely as a means of accumulating merit, but as a moral discipline. The above passage, whether historical or not, is a testimony to the enthusiasm and moral illumination which as a fact of history the teaching of Buddha inspired among the laity.

The preceding legends place the founding of three of the most important monasteries, those at Rajagaha, Kapilavatthu, and Savatthi within two years of the first preaching. These dates need not be taken as historical, as they are nowhere found in the older sources, and appear to be merely the inferences of the compilers of the legends. But the use of fixed residences must have been early, as no travelling was possible during the three or four months of the rainy season.

The establishing of an order of female ascetics has become attached to three legends, the admission of Mahapajapati as the first nun, and (as a natural inference) the previous death of Suddhodana, together with Buddha's visit to his home to settle a dispute between the Sakyas and the Koliyas.199 In the fifth year after his enlightenment Buddha stayed at Vesali in the Pinnacled Hall (Kutagarasala), and at this time Suddhodana died, and realised arahatship 'under the white umbrella', i.e. while still holding the symbol of royalty. Buddha flew through the air, and preached to his father on his deathbed. It was at this time, according to one account, that a quarrel had broken out between the Sakyas and their neighbours the Koliyas about the irrigation of the river Rohini, which divided their lands. Buddha persuaded them to make peace, and it was then that the widowed Mahapajapati went to Buddha in the Nigrodha park and asked that women might be allowed to leave the world under the doctrine and discipline of the Tathagata.200 Buddha refused three times, and returned to Vesali. Mahapajapati then cut off her hair, put on yellow robes, and followed after him with other Sakya women. They arrived with swollen feet and covered with dust, and Ananda found them weeping outside the door. He met them and took their request to Buddha, who again refused three times. Then Ananda said, "is a woman, Lord, who has gone forth from a house to a houseless life in the doctrine and discipline declared by the Tathagata, capable of realizing the fruit of Entering-the- stream, or of the Once-returner, or of the Noh-returner, or Arahatship?" "A woman is capable, Ananda." "If so, Lord, Mahapajapati Gotami, the aunt of the Lord, was of great service, she was his nurse and foster-mother, and gave him milk, and when his mother died, fed him from her own breast. It were good, Lord, for women to be allowed to go forth ... " "If, Ananda, Mahapajapati will take upon herself the eight Strict Rules, let this be her ordination."

Ananda went to Mahapajapati, stated the rules, and said, "if, Gotami, you will take upon yourself these eight Strict Rules, this will be your ordination." Mahapajapati replied, "just as, reverend Ananda, a woman or a man, who is young and fond of adornment, after washing his head receives a garland of lotus or jasmine or atimuttaka flowers, takes it with both hands, and puts it on his head, even so do I take upon myself these eight Strict Rules, not to be transgressed while life shall last."

The eight Strict Rules (garudhamma) are, (1) a nun even of a hundred years' standing shall (first) salute a monk and rise up before him, even if he is only just ordained; (2) a nun shall not spend Retreat in a place where there is no monk; (3) twice a month a nun shall ask from the Order of monks the time of Uposatha (fortnightly meeting), and the time when a monk will come to give admonition; (4) after Retreat the final ceremony (pavarana) is to be held by the nuns both in the assembly of the monks and of the nuns; (5) certain offences are to be dealt with by both assemblies; (6) a novice who has been trained in the six rules for two years is to ask for ordination from both assemblies; (7) a nun is not to rebuke or abuse a monk on any pretext; (8) from this day forth utterance (i.e. official statement) of nuns to monks is forbidden, of monks to nuns it is not forbidden.

Ananda returned, saluted Buddha, sat down at one side, and told him that Mahapajapati had accepted the rules. Buddha replied, " if women had not received the going forth in the doctrine and discipline, the religious system (brahmacariya) would have lasted long, the good doctrine would have stayed for a thousand years; but as women have gone forth, now the religious system will not last long, now, Ananda, the good doctrine will last only five hundred years. For just as houses, where there are many women and few men, are easily broken into by robbers, even so in the doctrine and discipline in which a woman goes forth the religious system will not last long201 ... And just as a man might in anticipation make a dyke for a great reservoir, so that the water should not overflow, even so, Ananda, have I in anticipation prescribed these eight Strict Rules for the nuns, not to be transgressed while life shall last."

This judgment passed on the advisability of the admission of women as nuns doubtless represents a view held in the Order. It is seen also in the story of the first Council, at the end of which Ananda was compelled to ask pardon for a number of faults. Among others he declared that he could see no fault in having striven for the ordination of Mahapajapati on the ground of her fostering care, nevertheless, out of faith in the reverend members of the Council he confessed it as such.

There is nothing like a history of the nuns. In the account of Buddha's death they are not mentioned except in the formal description of the community as consisting of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen.202 What we know of them directly comes from isolated legends and from the set of regulations for nuns in the Vinaya. The story of Mahapajapati appears to be taken by Oldenberg as having a historical basis, but it is just the kind of legend that would be added to the historical fact of the establishment of the Order. The most thorough treatment of the whole question of the nuns is by Miss M. E. Lulius van Goor, who rejects the legend entirely.203

Although the founding of the women's Order was in the fifth year of the preaching, Ananda is spoken of as being Buddha's attendant. This does not harmonise with the legend that he was appointed in the twentieth year, when Buddha had permanently settled at Savatthi. On the other hand it seems impossible to put the death of Suddhodana as late as this. The reason for making Mahapajapati the first nun is obvious, and she could not well have become one before her husband's death. Still later accounts add that Buddha's wife Bhadda Kaccana and Mahapajapati's daughter Nanda entered the Order at the same time. Over seventy nuns are recorded in the Therigatha.204 The twelve mentioned with Mahapajapati in the list of the eighty great disciples might be expected to be more historical, but all that we know of them comes from the same set of legends as in the Therigatha commentary. Khema was wife of Bimbisara, and is recorded to have given instruction to king Pasenadi.205 A whole sutta is attributed to Dhammadinna, 'chief of those that discourse on the Doctrine.'206 Kisa Gotami, 'Gotami the lean,' according to one account, was the lady who uttered a verse in praise of Buddha, at the time when he entered Kapilavatthu in triumph just before his renunciation. In the commentaries however she was born at Savatthi and married there. Her boy died when he was able to run about, and in her distress she took him on her hip, and went about asking for medicine. One wise man thought that no one but Buddha would know of any, and sent her to him. Buddha said, "you, have done well to come here for medicine. Go into the city and get a mustard seed from a house where no one has died." She was cheered and went, but soon found that Buddha in his compassion had sent her to learn the truth. She went to a cemetery, laid her child there, and taking him by the hand said, "little son, I thought that death had happened to you alone; but it is not to you alone, it is common to all people." There she left him, and returned to Buddha, who asked her if she had got the mustard seed. "That work is done, Lord," she said, "grant me support." Buddha replied:

Him whose mind is set upon
The love of children and of cattle,
As on a sleeping village comes a flood,
Even so comes death and seizes him.


Then she won the stage of Entering the Stream, and asked for ordination. After attaining arahatship she became 'the first of those that wear rough robes.'

It has been stated that there were non-Buddhist female ascetics in the time of Buddha. This cannot be disproved, but there is not the slightest historical evidence for it. What we find are stories in the commentaries compiled at a time when there was great rivalry between Buddhists and Jams, and when both sects had an order of nuns. Sariputta is said to have converted a Jain girl, Patacara, who offered, if she were defeated in a dispute, to marry the victor if he were a layman, or to join his Order if he were a monk. She appears to be the same Patacara. of whom quite a different story is told elsewhere.207 The notorious Cinca is not called a Jain, but a student (manavika) in some ascetic Order. She was persuaded by members of the hostile sect to pretend to pay visits to Buddha at the Jetavana, and then to simulate pregnancy. Her false accusation was revealed by the help of the god Sakka, and then the earth opened, and she was swallowed up in the lowest hell.208

A similar story is told of Sundari, a female ascetic (paribbajika). She also was persuaded by members of her sect to pretend that she paid visits to Buddha at Jetavana. The plotters then had her killed, and her body was found in the Jetavana. When Buddha's monks were accused of the murder and reviled, he told them to reply:

To hell he goes that says the thing that is not,
And he who does, and says, 'I have not done it.'
Both in another life the same fate suffer,
In the next world the doers of base actions.


The people then said that the sons of the Sakya could not have done it, and in seven days the rumour disappeared. The commentaries say that the hired murderers got drunk, and in their quarrelling revealed the truth. The king through his spies found out, and compelled the originators of the murder to proclaim the truth throughout the city. and the honour of Buddha increased more and more.209

_______________

Notes:

180 According to the calculation here adopted this (the year of the Enlightenment) was 528 B.C. The sequence of events during the forty-five years of Buddha's ministry can often be approximately determined, but except for the Renunciation at the age of twenty-nine, the Enlightenment six years later, and death at eighty, there is nothing like an exact chronology. The commentators invented one for the first twenty years, into which they fitted the various legends, and this is the basis of the scheme adopted in the Burmese life translated by Bigandet, and followed by Kern and Rhys Davids. The places where he stayed each year are thus given in the commentary on the Buddhavamsa: (1) Benares, (2-4) Rajagaha, (5) Vesali, (6) Mankula hill, (7) Heaven of the Thirty-three, (8) Bhagga near Sumsumara hill, (9) Kosambi, (10) Parileyyaka wood, (11) brahmin village of Nala, (12) Veranja, (13) Caliya hill, (14) Jetavana (Savatthi), (15) Kapilavatthu, (16) Alavi, (17) Rajagaha. (18) Caliya hill, (19) Rajagaha. Thereafter he stayed permanently at Savatthi, either in the vihara of Jetavana or in the Pubbarama. This list really implies the legends of the commentaries, Vesali being the place where he was staying when he allowed the admission of women, Parileyyaka, where he went during a serious quarrel among the monks, etc. In the Tibetan the whole forty-five years have been fixed, seventeen of them at Jetavana, eight at Rajagaha, and the rest at various places. Schiefner, Tib. Leb. § 11.
 
181 Therag. 527-536 and com.; Ang. com. i 301; Jat. i 87; Dhp. com. i 115, iii 163, where the story is continued.

182 I.e. Kaludayin having become a 'son of Buddha' is now grandson of Suddhodana, who is here addressed by his clan name Gotama.
 
183 Yamaka-patihariya. For a long time the nature of this extraordinary performance was not understood, but we now possess canonical descriptions. Patisambhidamagga, i 125; Mvastu. iii 115. Buddha rose in the air, flames of fire came from the upper part of his body and streams of water from the lower
part. Then the process was reversed. Next fire came from the right side of his body and water from the left, and so on through twenty-two variations of pairs. He then created a jewelled promenade in the sky, and walking along it produced the illusion that he was standing or sitting or lying down, and varied the illusions in a similar way. The Jitaka says that he performed it on three other occasions. at his enlightenment to remove the doubt of the gods, at the meeting with Patika. and at Ganda's mango-tree.
 
184 Vessantara-jataka, No. 547.
 
185 The reference to rajas is a preservation of the tradition that all the Sakya nobles were rajas. The other commentaries distinguish the king as maharaja, and say that. though he did not invite Buddha, yet he prepared a meal. Buddha however begged from house to house. because that was what all previous Buddhas had done.
 
186 The last Buddha before Gotama. He is often called dasabala 'of the ten powers', a title common to all Buddhas, but used specially of him to distinguish him from the other Kassapas.

187 The Jataka mentions in this place the king's attainment of the four stages, without implying that they took place on the same occasion. See com. on Dhp. 9 and Therag. 157-8.
 
188 Also told in Mvastu, ii 234, which further tells how at the same time she remained faithful to her husband; and rejected the advances of Devadatta and Sundarananda, ii 69. She also adorned herself and tried to tempt him back at the time of his visit, and even sent him a love-philtre, which Buddha gave to Rahula, with the result that Rahula could not be prevented from following Buddha, iii 141-3, 255-271.

189 Candakinnara-jat. (480) iv 282.
 
190 It is not surprising that there should be a story of Nanda wishing to leave the Order. Buddha took him to the Heaven of the Thirty-three and showed him the nymphs, so superior in beauty to his own wife that he decided to stay in the Order in order to gain this heaven in another existence. But the ridicule of the other monks shamed him out of that intention. Udana. III 2.

191 Vin. i 82; Vin. Texts, i 210.
 
192 Dhp. com. i 133; iv 124; Angut. com. i 183, 292; Jat. i 87; the account of the conversion of the six here given follows the earlier and simpler account in Vin. ii 180.
 
193 Elsewhere (Angut. com. i 292) Ananda is called a son of Amitodana, but the point of this story is that there were only two sons, one of whom was in duty bound to leave the world. As all these parentages have been fitted later on to the individuals,  it is unnecessary to unravel them. They differ in many points from those  given in the Tibetan.
 
194 Vin. ii 154; Jat. i 92; Angut. com. i 384.
 
195 Dhp. com. i 384; Angut. com. i 404; Agganna-s. (Digha) com., where the  founding of her monastery is told more explicitly. The Tibetan accounts differ;  Rockhill, p. 70; Schiefner, Tib. Tales, 110.
 
196 It was through the second of the three knowledges of an arahat that Buddha could tell these things.
 
197 The eighth boon, which she does not mention here, was bathing-dresses for the nuns.

198 Vin. i 293; Vin. Texts. ii 223.
 
199 Jat. v 412; Therig. com. 141; Sn. com. 357; Angut. com. i 341.

200 What follows is according to the account in Ang. iv 274 (repeated in Vin. ii  253), but no dates are there indicated.
 
201 Two other similes follow of disease attacking a field of rice and a field of sugar-cane.
 
202 A later tradition says that Ananda allowed women to salute the Lord's body first. Members of the families of the Mallas are probably meant.

203 De Buddhistische Non, Leiden, 1915.
 
204 On the historical character of these see Mrs. Rhys Davids in Psalms of the Sisters.
 
205 Samy. iv 374, quoted below, ch. XIII.
 
206 Cullavedalla-s. Majjh. i 299; it is one of a number of suttas that consist of a series of questions and answers, and looks like a catechism that has been converted into a discourse.

207 Jat. iii 1; cf. Psalms of the Sisters, p. 68.
 
208 Jat. iv 187; Dhp. com. iii, 178.

209 Ud. IV 8: Jat. ii 415: Dhp. iii 474.
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:38 am

CHAPTER IX: LEGENDS OF THE TWENTY YEARS' WANDERING

THE preceding legends, even those that are connected with undoubted historical events, show little relation to any real chronology. This is still more the case with the succeeding legends. The older the records are the more indefinite are the dates of the circumstances, whether miraculous or not. Even if some of the dates are real, they are now indistinguishable in the sequence of events that have become associated with the list of places where Buddha is said to have kept Retreat for the first twenty years.210 To the fourth year of the preaching is referred the conversion of Uggasena. He was a gildmaster's son of Rajagaha, who fell in love with an acrobat and married her. As he found that she despised him, he learnt her art and became a skilful tumbler. Buddha knew that he was ready for conversion, and entering the city while Uggasena was displaying his skill withdrew the attention of all the people from his feats. Then he preached to Uggasena, who attained arahatship at once. This was because in a previous existence he had given food to an arahat, and had made a wish to be a sharer in the doctrine to which he had attained, and his wife who had done the same was also converted.211 In the fifth year he stayed at Vesali, from where he paid a flying visit to his home at his father's death as described above.

In the sixth year the Miracle of the Pairs was performed again. The gildmaster at Rajagaha, in order to find out if arahats really existed, had set up a sandalwood bowl at the end of a long bamboo, and challenged anyone to rise in the air by magic power (iddhi) and get it down. The leaders of the six sects212 were unable to do so, but the elder Pindola Bharadvaja at the suggestion of Moggallana performed the feat. When Buddha came, he forbade both the use of wooden bowls and the display of magic powers. At this the heretics were delighted, as they were able to say that they were ready to work miracles if Buddha's disciples would do the same. Buddha therefore promised to perform one himself, and pointed out to Bimbisara that he had the right to do so, just as the king might eat mangoes in his own garden, but would punish anyone else who took them.

The occasion was so important that Buddha decided to carry out his promise four months later at Savatthi, at the foot of Ganda's mango tree. When the time came the heretics pulled up all the mango trees for a league round, but Ganda, the king's gardener, found a ripe mango and presented it to Buddha. He was told to plant the seed, and no sooner had Buddha washed his hands over it than it sprang up into a tree fifty hands high. Buddha then created a jewelled promenade in the sky, and after refusing the offer of six disciples to work wonders performed the Miracle of the Pairs, as he had formerly done at Kapilavatthu.

Buddha on reflecting knew that former Buddhas after performing this miracle had gone to the Heaven of the thirty-three to preach the Abhidhamma to their mothers. Therefore with three strides he rose to this heaven, and there kept the seventh Retreat. During the three months of this period he was visited by Sariputta and Moggallana, and he told the latter that he would descend not at Savatthi, but at Sankassa thirty leagues away. There he came down a ladder of jewels with one of gold on the right for the gods, and one of silver on the left for Brahma. At the spot where all the Buddhas set their right foot on the ground was a permanent shrine. The Chinese pilgrims visited the place, but in their time the ladders had sunk nearly into the earth.213 It is at this period, when Buddha's fame had so increased, that the heretics are said to have attempted to destroy his reputation by means of the plot of Cinca.214

While Buddha was journeying among the Bhaggas in the eighth year, he entered the town of Sumsumaragiri, and a householder Nakulapita with his wife came. As soon as they saw him they said, "that is our son," and fell at his feet saying, "son, you have left us for such a long time, where have you been living?" The reason was that Nakulapita had been his father five hundred times in former births, his paternal uncle in five hundred, his grandfather in five hundred, and his maternal uncle in five hundred more. And his wife Nakulamata had been his mother, aunt, and grandmother. That is why they could not help making a sign. Buddha did not directly take notice of the sign, but he preached to them and established them in the fruit of Entering the Stream. When he visited them afterwards, they gave him a meal, and both of them declared that neither of them had done the other any injury in thought, much less in deed, and expressed the wish that they might continue to live together both in this life and the next. Buddha when putting the chief lay disciples in ranks told the monks this story, and placed these two as the chief of those that win confidence.215

In the ninth year Buddha was at Kosambi.216 Magandiya a brahmin had a daughter Magandiya, and he thought that Buddha was the only suitable husband for her. But her mother knew the three Vedas and the verses about bodily marks, and seeing Buddha's footprint she knew that he was free from passion. Still her father insisted on offering her to Buddha, but in vain. This is the story which the commentaries give to explain the occasion of the Magandiya-sutta, in which Buddha tells how he had escaped from the seduction of Mara's daughters:

Having seen Craving, Aversion, and Lust,
No desire had I for the pleasures of love;
That body filled with urine and dung
Even with my foot I did not wish to touch.


But Magandiya thought this an insult to herself, and even after she had become the wife of king Udena of Kosambi cherished hatred against Buddha. When she found that Samavati, another consort of Udena, was devoted to the Buddhists, she laid plots against her, and finally brought about her death with five hundred attendants in the conflagration of her palace.217

It is in the tenth year that we first hear of a dissension in the Order. In the Vinaya occur certain rules for settling disputes. Like all the rules they are referred to particular incidents that gave occasion to Buddha to promulgate the regulations by which such matters were to be settled. In this case an unnamed monk of Kosambi is said to have refused to recognise that he had committed an offence. On Buddhist principles an action cannot be said to be wrong unless the offender consciously intends it, but nevertheless the monk was excommunicated. Hence a great dissension arose. On the one hand he had broken a rule and was treated as an offender, but on the other hand he ought not to have been so treated, if he could not see that he had done wrong. The legends recorded on this occasion are probably not mere inventions to illustrate the rules, but their connexion with the rules may be quite arbitrary.

Buddha counselled concord, and told the story of Dighiti, a former king of the Kosalas. This king was defeated by Brahmadatta, king of the Kasis, and went with his son Dighavu to live in disguise at Benares. He was betrayed by his barber and executed after giving his son certain advice. His son still in disguise became Brahmadatta's personal attendant, and on getting the king into his power during a hunting expedition, revealed who he was, and in accordance with his father's advice, "do not look long, do not look short; for not by hatred are hatreds calmed; by non-hatred are hatreds calmed," pardoned the king and was restored to his kingdom.218 However legendary this story may be, it doubtless reflects an earlier stage of political conditions, before the power of the Kosalas had subjected that of the Kasis.

Still Buddha was unable to reconcile the monks, and he retired alone to keep retreat in the Parileyyaka forest, where he was protected and attended by a friendly elephant, which was tired of living with the herd. At the end of three months the monks were repentant, and came to Buddha at Savatthi to ask pardon.219

In the eleventh year Buddha was at the village of Ekanala in the Magadha country. A brahmin farmer Kasibharadvaja was ploughing and distributing food. Buddha came and stood for alms, but the brahmin said, "I plough and sow, and having done so I eat. Do you, ascetic, plough and sow and then eat." Buddha replied that he did so, and the farmer said, "We do not see Gotama's yoke or plough or ploughshare or goad or oxen." Buddha replied in verses:

Faith is the seed, penance the rain,
Wisdom is my yoke and plough;
Modesty the pole, mind the yoke-tie,
Mindfulness my ploughshare and goad.

Guarded in action, guarded in speech,
Restrained in food and eating,
I make truth my hoe to cut away,
Tenderness is my deliverance.

Exertion is my beast of burden
That bears me to the state of peace;
Without turning back it goes,
Where having gone one grieves not.

Even so is this ploughing ploughed;
Its fruit is the immortal.
Having ploughed this ploughing
One is freed from all pain.220


The story of the stay at Veranja forms the introduction to the Vinaya, and is attributed by the commentaries to the twelfth year. The brahmin Veranja had heard of the fame of Buddha, and came to see him. He had been told that Buddha did not salute aged brahmins or rise up before them and offer them a seat. Buddha replied that he did not see a brahmin in the whole world to whom he ought to do that. If the Tathagata were to do so to anyone, that person's head would split into pieces. Veranja then asked a series of questions on Buddhist practice, and Buddha concluded by reciting his attaining of enlightenment. The conversation ends with the conversion of Veranja, who invited Buddha with his monks to spend Retreat there.

At that time there was a famine, and five hundred horse-merchants supplied the monks with food. Moggallana proposed to get food by exercising his magic powers, but Buddha dissuaded him. Sariputta received from Buddha an explanation why the religious systems of the three previous Buddhas lasted for a long time, but those of the three preceding them did not. After Retreat Buddha went to take leave of Veranja before setting out on his journeying, as Buddhas regularly do after receiving such an invitation. Veranja admitted that he had invited Buddha to spend Retreat with him, and that he had not kept his promise, but it was due to his having so many duties in the house. He invited Buddha and the monks to a meal for the next day, and afterwards presented a set of three robes to Buddha and a pair to each of the monks. This somewhat disconnected account has been filled out in the commentaries by making the neglect shown by the brahmin to be due to his being possessed by Mara.221

The thirteenth year was spent at Calika hill, and the elder Meghiya was then Buddha's attendant. He received permission to go for alms to the village of Jantu. On his return he saw a pleasant mango-grove near the river, and asked Buddha if he might go there to meditate. Buddha asked him to wait, as they were alone, but after three requests he gave permission. Meghiya went, but was surprised to find that he was oppressed by evil thoughts. The reason was, as Buddha told him, that five things are required by one whose mind is not yet ripe for release: a good friend, the restraint of the moral rules, proper discourse that tends to Nirvana, energy in abandoning evil thoughts with firmness in producing good thoughts, and lastly the acquiring of insight. It is not until a monk has had this preliminary training that he is fit to practise the higher stages of meditation.222

In the fourteenth year, which was spent at Savatthi, Rahula received full ordination (upasampada). The reason of this is that the Vinaya prescribes that ordination is not to be conferred before the age of twenty,223 and according to the Pali tradition Rahula was now of that age.

Suppabuddha, Buddha's father-in-law, acquires an evil character in the later legends. His death is recorded to have taken place in the fifteenth year. Because Buddha had renounced his wife (Suppabuddha's daughter), Suppabuddha was angry. He got drunk and sat in the streets of Kapilavatthu refusing to let Buddha pass. Buddha had to turn back, but he told Ananda that within seven days Suppabuddha would be swallowed up by the earth at the foot of his palace. When this was reported to Suppabuddha, he decided not to come down, and stationed men on each of the seven stories to prevent him. But Buddha declared:

Not in the air, not in the midst of ocean,
Nor if one enters a cavern in the mountains,
Can in the world a region be discovered,
Where if he stand Death cannot overpower him.


On the seventh day a horse of Suppabuddha broke loose, and he started to catch it. The doors on each of the stories opened of themselves, and the men stationed there threw him down. When he reached the bottom, the earth opened and he was swallowed up in the lowest hell of Avici.224

The events of the Alavaka-sutta are placed in the sixteenth year. Buddha was at Alavi, and stayed for a night in the dwelling of the yakkha Alavaka, a demon that fed on human flesh. The demon came and told Buddha to come out, then to go in, until after four times Buddha refused to do so any more. Then Alavaka threatened to destroy Buddha unless he could answer a question. The four questions and answers in verse with the conversion of the demon form the discourse proper.225

In the commentaries there is a characteristic way of explaining the omniscience of Buddha. Twice a day he 'surveys the world', and extends his 'net of knowledge' over all.226 In the seventeenth year he was at Savatthi, and on surveying the world in the morning he observed at Alavi a poor farmer who was ripe for conversion. He therefore decided to go and preach there. The farmer's ox had strayed away, and he was all day in finding it, but he decided that he still had time to go and pay his respects to Buddha. and set off without taking food. At Alavi Buddha with the monks had received a meal. but he waited until the farmer should come before returning thanks (which consisted in giving a discourse). On the farmer's arrival Buddha ordered that he should first receive some food, and then after seeing that his wants were relieved and his mind had become tranquil, he gave him a discourse on the Four Truths, and established him ill the fruit of Entering the Stream.227

A similar story of the eighteenth year is told of a weaver's daughter, who three years before had heard a discourse from Buddha on meditation on death. Hearing that Buddha was going to preach again at Alavi she wished to go, but she had first to finish a task for her father. For her sake Buddha had come thirty leagues, and he waited for her before beginning to preach. as he had done for the poor farmer. He knew that her death was at hand. and he wished her to be converted so that she should be certain of her future state.228 Owing to her previous meditation she was able to answer four questions that the others did not understand. and attained the stage of Entering the Stream. When she returned home. she was accidentally struck and killed by the falling of part of the loom, and Buddha consoled her father with the thought of the frequency of death.229

These stories, even if they are due to the piety of the community, show all the more how deeply the spirit of the founder inspired his followers. In the Dhammapada occurs the verse:

In no long time this body will lie on the ground.
Thrown away. unconscious, like a useless log of wood.


This might be taken to imply entire disregard for bodily welfare, such as has been only too much in evidence in the ascetic ideal. But it is of this very verse that one of the most striking stories of Buddha's practical human sympathy is told. A monk, Tissa of Savatthi, was attacked by a malignant skin disease, and his body became so offensive that he was put outside and left uncared for. Buddha when surveying the world perceived him, came to the monastery, heated water to bathe him, and was going to take him into the bathroom, but the monks insisted on doing so. Then he had Tissa's robes washed and dried, and himself bathed him. It was when the monk was clothed in dry garments with his body refreshed and his mind calm, that he received from Buddha the teaching about the body. He then attained arahatship and died, and Buddha explained from his former actions the cause of his disease, and why he had now attained Nirvana.230

In the twentieth year Buddha converted the notorious robber known as Angulimala, 'having a garland of fingers: from the way in which he treated his victims. As Buddha was going to Savatthi for alms Angulimala followed him, but Buddha by an exercise of magic power caused him to stand still, and told him that he was not standing still. Angulimala inquired:

As thou goest, monk, thou sayest 'I stand still',
And to me who stand thou sayest 'thou standest not'.
I ask thee, monk, this question:
How standest thou still and I stand not?

I stand still, Angulimala, in every wise;
Towards all living things have I laid aside violence;
But thou to all living things art unrestrained;
Therefore I stand still and thou standest not.


Angulimala was converted and became a monk. King Pasenadi had heard of him, and on visiting Buddha expressed his horror at Angulimala's enormities. Then Buddha to Pasenadi's alarm pointed him out sitting near them, but Buddha told the king that he had nothing to fear, and the king then offered to supply Angulimala with robes and the other requisites. Angulimala however replied, "enough, O king, I have my three robes," and Pasenadi complimented Buddha as the tamer of the untamed.

Once when Angulimala was going for alms he saw a woman in the throes of childbirth and told Buddha. Buddha told him to go and perform an Act of Truth,231 and say, "In that I, sister, from the day of my birth have not consciously deprived any living being of life, by this truth may health be to thee and thy unborn child." Angulimala pointed out that he could not truthfully say this, and Buddha told him to repeat it but to add" from the day I was born of the Noble Birth". He did so, and the woman was at once relieved. At another time he was stoned by people and his bowl broken. Buddha shewed that it was due to the ripening of his karma, and that he was now suffering the fruit of his evil deeds for which he might have suffered in hell for ages.232

It was also in the twentieth year that Ananda was appointed as permanent attendant to Buddha. Before this time monks had taken it in turn each day to carry his bowl and robe. One day he was going with the elder Nagasamala as attendant, and where the road divided the elder said" That is the way, Lord, we will go by that". But Buddha said, "This is the way, Nagasamala, we will go by this." Yet the elder, though told three times, put the bowl and robe on the ground, and saying "Here, Lord, is your bowl and robe", went off.233 On the way he met with robbers, who beat him, broke his bowl, and tore his robe. The elder Meghiya, who had once left Buddha to go and meditate in a mango grove, was overcome by evil thoughts. Buddha therefore at Savatthi declared that he must have a permanent attendant, as he was growing old. Sariputta rose and offered himself, but Buddha told him that his work was in exhorting, and he also rejected the offers of Moggallana and the eighty chief disciples. Ananda sat silent and did not venture to ask until Buddha spoke, and then he offered under eight conditions: if he might refuse four things, that if Buddha received a fine robe, it was not to be given to him, that he should not have alms that were given to Buddha, that he should not dwell in Buddha's scented chamber, and that if Buddha received a personal invitation it was not to include him. The four things he wished to accept were that if Buddha received an invitation he was to accompany him, that if people from a distance came to see Buddha he should be able to present them to him, that he should be able to approach Buddha whenever he should wish, and that whatever teaching Buddha should give in his absence, Buddha should repeat it to him.

Ananda for the following twenty-five years was thus the permanent attendant of Buddha. The legend given above of his conversion implies that he had already been a monk for twenty years, but in his verses (Therag. 1039) lie is made to say that he has been for twenty-five years a learner, so that he must have become a monk in the twentieth year of Buddha's preaching. As this is no doubt an earlier tradition it discredits the whole story given above of his entering the Order with Devadatta. Rhys Davids accepts the story but shifts it forward twenty years.234

_______________

Notes:
 
210 See note p. 97; none of the events of this chapter are referred to particular dates in the passages of the Canon where some of them are recorded.
 
211 Dhp. com. iv 59.
 
212 Usually called the heretics. They were six religious bodies in rivalry with Buddhism; see next chapter, p. 129.

213 Dhp. com. iii 199; Jat. iv 265; Fa-hien (Giles) p. 24; Hiuen Tsiang (Beal), i 203; the story of Pindola's miracle is told in Vin. ii 110; the descent from heaven is supposed to be referred to in Suttanipata IV 16, which consists of an answer to a question put by Siriputta to Buddha after his descent.
 
214 See p. 111.

215 Angut. com. i 400.
 
216 It is doubtful if Buddha ever went so far west as Kosambi. There were later important monasteries there, and this is sufficient to explain the existence of legends attached to it. The community localised or invented stories of Buddha'. residence in this region.

217 Sn. IV 9; Dhp. com. i 199-222; the burning of Samavati is referred to in Udana. IV 10.
 
218 Almost the words of Dhp. 4:

For not by hatred are hatreds calmed
Here in this world at any time;
But by non-hatred are they calmed
This is an everlasting Dhamma.


219 Vin. i 337; Jat. iii 486; Dhp. com. i 53; the story of Buddha going to the forest is told In Udana, IV 5, but there the reason is merely that he found life in Kosambi uncomfortable, because the place was crowded with monks, nuns, lay people, and heretics. The Kosambiya-s, and Upakkilesa-s., Majjh. i 320, iii 152, are said to have been given on the occasion the quarrel.
 
220 This is the Kasibharadvaja-sutta, Sn. I 4, and Samy. i 172, which contains a prose conclusion telling of the conversion of the farmer.

221 Van. iii 1-11: Jat. iii 494; Dhp. com. ii 153
 
222 Angut. iv 354; Udana IV 1.
 
223 Vin. i 78. 93. 
 
224 Dhp. com. iii 44.
 
225 Sn. I 10.

226 See p. 213.
 
227 Dhp. com. iii 262.
 
228 See The Mirror of the Doctrine, below, p. 145.
 
229 Dhp. com. iii 170.

230 Dhp. com. i 319.
 
231 The Act of Truth (saccakiriya) is common Hindu belief. When it is performed with complete truthfulness, it subdues even the gods. At the wooing of Damayanti four gods assumed the form of her lover Nala, and she was unable to distinguish him. But by asseverating that she had chosen Nala and had never in thought or word transgressed, she compelled them to assume their true forms. Nalopakkyana V.17 ff. (Mbh. III 6).
 
232 The whole of this legend is canonical, Angulimala-sutta, Majjh. ii 98; Dhp. com. iii 169.
 
233 Udana, VIII 7; according to the com. Buddha compelled him to take them up again. The incident of Meghiya is Udana. IV I, and Buddha finally allowed him to go, hut according to the com. he was disobedient, see p. 118. There are also differences in the account of the appointment of Ananda in the com. on Mahapadana-s., Digha, ii 6.

234 See art. Devadatta, ERE.
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:43 am

CHAPTER X: RIVAL SCHOOLS. DEVADATTA AND AJATASATTU

THE teaching of Buddha was partly a reform and partly an innovation. The result is that in the Buddhist records an important place is taken up by polemical discussion both with the prevailing Brahminism and with other schools in revolt against orthodox views. We possess many Brahminical works of ritual and philosophy as old and older than Buddhism, but none of them were in direct contact with the new movements. The centre of brahmin culture was much further west,235 and of this a picture has been drawn by Oldenberg. "The brahmins standing outside the tribe and the people were enclosed in a great society, which extended as far as the precepts of the Veda prevailed. They represented a caste of thinkers, whose forms of life with their strength and weakness included in germ the strength and weakness of their thought. They were hemmed in within a self-created world, cut off from the refreshing breeze of living life, unshaken in their boundless belief in themselves and in their own omnipotence, at the side of which all that gave reality to the life of others necessarily appeared small and contemptible."236

This is Brahminism as portrayed according to the ideals of their sacred books, and we may doubt whether it faithfully represents the actual conditions even of their own caste. The brahmins were not ascetics, but had social and family duties as well. Still less can we apply it as a picture of social conditions in the time of Buddha. Much must remain problematical, as we are in fact dependent on the statements of Buddhists and Jains for the state of Brahminism among the Magadhas and Kosalas. The essential question is that of the teaching of the brahmins as opposed to Buddhist dogmas, and brahmin views may have been partially misrepresented both through lack of knowledge and through polemical bias.

The brahmins as a caste are never treated as philosophers. They were attacked on certain definite points: the nature of caste, the value of sacrifice, and their worship of Brahma. Objections were urged both on general ethical grounds and also with regard to the way of emancipation. We do not find in the Pali Canon anything that can be taken as a report of historical events. We have a number of suttas with stereotyped arguments, which are often verbally reproduced in different contexts. They are evidently elaborated from traditional matter, which appears to have been sometimes misunderstood by the redactors. One of the best known is the Tevijja-sutta, on the threefold knowledge.237 Two brahmins, Vasettha and Bharadvaja, one the pupil of Pokkharasadi and the other of Tarukkha, dispute about the straight path, which leads him who acts according to it into the company of the Brahma-gods.238 They agree to put their difficulty before Buddha. Vasettha says that there are various paths, and mentions several brahmin schools. The names are corrupt, but there is little doubt that they refer to two schools of the Yajur-Yeda, the Adhvaryus and Taittiriyas, a Samaveda school, the Chandogyas, and a Rig-veda school, the Bahvrcas. Vasettha says that they all lead aright, just as various paths to a village all lead to the village. Buddha compels him to admit that no brahmin or even any of the ancient sages have seen Brahma face to face. They cannot even point out the way to the moon and sun, which they can see. They are like a man in love, who cannot say who the lady is, or like one who builds a staircase without knowing where the palace is to be, or like one wishing to cross a river who should call the other side to come to him. The brahmins of the three Vedas reject those things that make a man a brahmin, they are bound and attached to the five pleasures of sense, they cannot see the danger therein or understand that they are no support, and it is impossible for them after death to attain to the company of the Brahma-gods.

This does not tell us much about the positive teaching of Brahminism, nor are the brahmin pupils made to use any arguments in their own defence. The passage is merely a dramatic introduction to the positive Buddhist teaching of the Brahma-viharas which follows. In Buddhist controversial method it is a peculiarity to adopt the terms of its opponents and to give them a new sense. One instance of this is the title of this sutta, for the threefold knowledge, i.e. of the three Vedas, means in the Buddhist sense the three knowledges that an arahat attains on enlightenment. So the name brahmin means not merely a member of this caste, but is used frequently for the Buddhist arahat -- he is the true brahmin. In the same way brahma is used in compounds without any reference to the god, but apparently in the sense of 'excellent, perfect'. It is possible that Brahma-vihara is a brahminical term, but what we know of it is as used by the Buddhists to describe a certain kind of concentration. It would literally mean 'dwelling with Brahma', and it retains that meaning in so far that it is believed that one who practises this form of concentration is reborn in the Brahma-world.

The rest of the sutta describes the first two stages of the training of a monk, the moral rules and concentration, but in the latter instead of a description of the four trances and other mystical practices as in previous suttas, the four brahma-viharas are given:

The monk abides pervading one quarter having his mind accompanied by love,239 likewise the second, third, and fourth. Thus above, below, around, everywhere he abides pervading the entire world with his mind accompanied by love, with abundant, great unlimited freedom from hatred and malice.


The three other viharas are described in the same way, in which the monk pervades the world with compassion, sympathy, and equanimity.

This form of concentration is placed by Buddhaghosa immediately before the attainments of the Formless world. It may have been introduced from another school, since it is said in the Makhadeva-sutta (Majjh. ii 76), to have been practised by a long series of ancient kings, and the practice of it is there depreciated, as it leads only to rebirth in the Brahma-world, and not like the Eightfold Path to enlightenment and Nirvana.240

A more definite statement of the brahmins' claim is given in the Sonadanda-sutta (Digha, i 111). The brahmin Sonadanda is made to state that there are five things through which a man is truly called a brahmin. (1) He is well-born on both sides for seven generations back, (2) he is a repeater of the three Vedas and of the related sciences, (3) he is handsome and of brahma-colour and brahma-splendour, (4) he is virtuous, (5) he is a learned and wise man, and the first or second of those who hold out the sacrificial spoon. Sonadanda at once agrees to leave out the first three as unnecessary, which is at least what the Buddhist position required, but insists that virtue and wisdom are essential, and what these are Buddha proceeds to tell him.

The question of caste here touched upon receives much fuller treatment in several suttas.241 The claim of the brahmins, which is found as early as the Rig-veda, is stated in the Madhura-sutta (Majjh. ii 84) as being that "the brahmins are the best colour (caste); the other colour is base. The brahmins are the white colour; the other colour is black. The brahmins are purified, not the non-brahmins. The brahmins are the genuine sons of Brahma, born from his mouth, Brahma-born, Brahma-created, heirs of Brahma." This doctrine is met from two points of view. On the one hand it is held, not that caste is indifferent, but that the kshatriya caste, not the brahmin, is the best. Buddha quotes an ancient verse:

The kshatriya is best among the folk
Of those that put their trust in clans;
The man endowed with wisdom and conduct
He is best among gods and men.


This was doubtless a view generally held in kshatriya families, and the pride of the Sakyas in their caste is frequently mentioned. All the Buddhas arise, says the legend, only in one of the two highest castes. There is nothing to show that Buddha tried to abolish caste as a social institution. There was no reason why he should do so in so far as his teaching could be enforced that the true brahmin was the virtuous brahmin. But within the Order caste did disappear, and there are many instances of low caste persons being admitted as monks.

It has been maintained that the Order was at first aristocratic, and that its members were drawn from the higher castes -- a natural reaction against the quite untenable view that the movement was specially a message of salvation to the poor and needy. But we do not possess any records which may be said to picture the spiritual temper of the first evangelists. Buddha is said to have declared:

Just as, O monks, the great rivers, such as the Ganges, Jumna, Aciravati, Sarabhu, and Mahi, when they fall into the ocean lose their former names and gotras, and are known as the ocean, even so do the four castes of kshatriyas, brahmins, vaisyas, and sudras, when they have gone forth in the Doctrine and Discipline taught by the Tathagata from a house to a houseless life, lose their former names and gotras, and are known as ascetics, sons of the Sakyan.242


This teaching is no doubt primitive, and if the form in which it is stated is that of a later generation, it only shows all the more clearly what the established teaching had then become. Nor was this confined to one school, for the Lalita-vistara also points a moral for the laity, when it says that the Bodhisatta did not regard caste in choosing a wife.

The ritual questions of sacrifice and meat-eating are treated from the same ethical point of view. Moral action is higher than even a bloodless sacrifice, and still higher is the Noble Path. The worship of the six quarters is not wrong, but should be done by fulfilling the moral duties towards six classes of fellow creatures.

As meat-eating was made an ethical question, the ritual aspect ceased to have a meaning for the Buddhist. Hence the practice was not in itself condemned, but only in so far as the partaker was in some way contributory to killing or giving pain. The position is stated most clearly in the Jivaka-sutta (Majjh. i 368). Jivaka243 told Buddha that he had heard that people killed living things intending them for Buddha, and that he ate the meat prepared on that account. He asked if such persons were truth-speakers and did not accuse the Lord falsely. Buddha replied that it was not true, but that in three cases meat must not be eaten: if it has been seen, heard, or suspected that it was intended for the person. If a monk who practises the brahmavihara of love accepts an invitation in a village, he does not think, "verily this householder is providing me with excellent food; may he provide me with excellent food in the future". He eats the food without being fettered and infatuated. "What do you think, Jivaka, does the monk at that time think of injury to himself, to others, or to both?" "Certainly not, Lord." "Does not a monk at that time take blameless food?" "Even so, Lord."

The teaching is the same in the Vinaya, where Buddha is said to have accepted a meal from the Jain general, Siha, who had provided meat. The report went about that he had killed an ox for Buddha, but the fact was that he had sent for meat already killed in order to furnish the meal. The Vinaya forbids certain kinds of flesh, human, that of elephants, horses, dogs, and certain wild animals.244

There are frequent references to heretical schools of teachers. In the legend of Ajatasattu's visit to Buddha the king says that he has previously paid visits to six of these, and repeats their doctrines. They are Purana Kassapa, who taught the doctrine of non-action, i.e. the absence of merit in any virtuous action and of demerit in even the greatest crimes; Makkhali-Gosala, who admitted the fact of depravity, but said that purification was attained merely by transmigration, not by any action of the individual; Ajita Kesakambalin, who taught the doctrine of 'cutting off', i.e. annihilation at death; Pakudha Kaccayana, who maintained the existence of seven permanent, uncreated substances; the Nigantha (Jain) Nataputta, who taught that a Nigantha, 'one free from bonds,' is restrained by restraints in four directions; Sanjaya Belatthaputta, who prevaricated and refused to affirm any doctrine positive or negative.

This passage is no doubt old, as it contains traces of a dialect differing from Pali. Some of the teachers are known as historical persons, but there is nothing historical to be drawn from this statement of their doctrines, which have been misunderstood and confused by the Buddhists. The views of the first four are also given in the Sandaka-sutta (Majjh. i 513), where they are called immoral systems (abrahmacariya), but no names are there mentioned, and part of the doctrine which in the former passage is attributed to Gosala is combined with that of Pakudha, and Gosala's classification of beings is attributed in Angutt. iii 383 to Purana Kassapa. Evidently even if these doctrines were taught in Buddha's time, it is not certain that the Buddhists have applied them to the right persons.

Gosala is well known from the Jain Scriptures, where he is called an Ajivika. This term, says Hoernle, was probably a name given by opponents, meaning one who followed the ascetic life for the sake of a livelihood (ajiva). Hence we cannot infer that the name, which is found as late as the thirteenth century, always refers to the followers of Gosala, nor is it applied to him in Buddhist writings. Gosala joined the Jain leader, but they quarrelled and separated.245 Great hostility towards the sect is shown by the Buddhists, as in the story where Buddha says that in all the ninety-one cycles that he remembers he cannot think of any Ajivika who went to heaven except one, and even he was a believer in karma.246

Nataputta, known to the Jains as Mahavira their leader, is often referred to in the Buddhist Scriptures, but in this passage there is no clear statement of the Jain position, and according to Jacobi there has been confusion with the views of Mahavira's predecessor Parsva. His doctrine in relation to Buddhism is discussed below. The Sandaka-sutta gives a further list of four religious systems, which though not immoral are unsatisfying. The first of them is evidently intended for that of the Niganthas, for the teacher is described in exactly the same terms as Nataputta's pupils describe their teacher in the Culadukkhakkhandha-sutta (Majjh. i 92) but the rest merely tells of his foolish behaviour in saying that he did certain things because he had to do so, without stating any recognisable Jain doctrine. The fourth of the unsatisfying systems mentions no doctrine, but merely describes the prevarication of the teacher, and is evidently identical with the method of Sanjaya.

The one great schism within the Order in Buddha's lifetime was that of Devadatta. It is clear that separate incidents have been added to the various stages in the story of the career of this· disciple. To these no doubt belong all the events of his youth. He was the son of Suppabuddha according to the Chronicles, and hence both cousin and brother-in-law of Buddha, but according to Sanskrit accounts the son of Amritodana, another uncle of Buddha. The stories of his youth are examples of his malice, which finally culminated in his attempts to kill Buddha and in his schism. When the youthful Bodhisatta was going to display his skill in the arts, a white elephant was being brought for him, and Devadatta out of envy killed it. He quarrelled with the Bodhisatta about a goose that he had shot, and after the Renunciation made love to Yasodhara, who in this account was not his sister but his cousin. The Pali knows nothing of these stories, and says that his first grudge against Buddha was when he was not allowed to take Buddha's place as leader.

Even the Pali stories of Devadatta's earlier life appear to be quite unconnected with the main legend. He is said to have entered the Order at the beginning of Buddha's ministry, and the scattered references to him in the Nikayas are probably outgrowths of the later legend. He is mentioned without any trace of hostility in a list of eleven of the chief elders, who approached Buddha, and as they came Buddha said, "These are brahmins coming, O monks." A certain monk who was a brahmin by birth said, "In what respect, Lord, is one a brahmin, and what are the things that make him a brahmin?" Buddha replied:

They that have expelled evil thoughts,
And in conduct are ever mindful,
The enlightened, whose fetters are destroyed,
They truly in the world are brahmins.247


There is nothing here to suggest the future schismatic, but on another occasion Buddha, when looking at certain groups of monks, declared that Devadatta and those with him had evil wishes.248 It is only in the Vinaya and later works that we get the connected story of his defection, though fragments of it occur in the Anguttara.249

Some eight years before Buddha's death Devadatta being eager for gain and honour thought he would win over prince Ajatasattu.250 During his training he had acquired magic powers, and he now assumed the form of a child with a girdle of snakes, and terrified Ajatasattu by appearing in his lap. Then he assumed his proper form, and Ajatasattu marvelling at the wonder paid him great honour. By this his pride was increased, and he conceived the idea of taking Buddha's place as leader; but as soon as this thought arose, his magic power disappeared. His plan was revealed to Moggallana by a deceased pupil of the latter, who assumed a mental body and came to inform him. But Buddha said that the matter was not to be talked of, as the foolish man would reveal himself.

While Buddha was once preaching at Rajagaha, Devadatta came and asked that Buddha, as he was old, might hand over the Order of monks and allow Devadatta to lead it. Buddha refused, and as Devadatta persisted, said, "Not even to Sariputta and Moggallana would I hand over the Order, and would I to thee, vile one, to be vomited like spittle?" Thereat Devadatta angry and displeased went away. Buddha caused the Order to issue an Act of Proclamation that in anything done by Devadatta neither Buddha nor the Doctrine nor the Order was to be recognised, but only Devadatta.

Devadatta then went to Ajatasattu and proposed that he himself should kill Buddha, and that Ajatasattu should kill his father Bimbisara. Ajatasattu took a dagger and went to do so, but being found by the ministers he confessed his purpose. The ministers advised that he and all the plotters should be slain, but his father finding out who was the real instigator pardoned his son and handed over the kingdom to him.

Meanwhile Devadatta having received archers from Ajatasattu put one on a certain path, two on another, and so on up to sixteen, and told them to kill Buddha. But when the first man approached Buddha, he was terrified, and his body became stiff. Buddha told him not to fear, and the man threw down his weapons and confessed his intended crime, whereupon Buddha preached to him, converted him, and sent him back by a different path. The next two archers not seeing the man return went and found Buddha seated beneath a tree, and they came to him and were converted. The same happened to all the rest. The first man returned to Devadatta, and said he was unable to kill Buddha, because he was of such great magic power.251 Devadatta then decided to kill Buddha himself.

While Buddha was walking in the shade of Gijjhakuta Hill, Devadatta hurled a great rock down. It was stopped by two peaks, but splinters struck Buddha's foot and caused blood to flow. Buddha looked up and said, "Great demerit, evil man, have you produced for yourself, in that with murderous thought you have caused the blood of a Tathagata to flow". The monks wished to have a guard provided, but Buddha pointed out to them that it was impossible for anyone to deprive him of life, for Tathagatas attain Nirvana in the ordinary course.

Devadatta next caused the elephant-keepers to let loose a fierce elephant, Nalagiri, on the road by which Buddha was to come. The monks warned Buddha three times, but he refused to turn back, and again pointed out that it was impossible for him to be killed. As the elephant came on, he pervaded it with love, and it became quite subdued.

After this Devadatta's gain and honour decreased, and he decided with three others to create a schism. They went to Buddha and asked that five rules should be established: (1) that monks should dwell all their lives in the forest, (2) that they should live only on alms begged, and not accept an invitation, (3) that they should wear only discarded rags, and not accept a robe from a layman, (4) that they should dwell at the foot of a tree, not under a roof, (5) that throughout life they should not eat fish or flesh. Buddha pointed out that all these rules were permissible, except during the rainy season sleeping under a tree, but he refused to make them compulsory. Then Devadatta was pleased, and in spite of Buddha's warnings of the awful results through karma of the sin of schism, went about with his party making the foolish believe that Buddha was given to luxury and abundance. He next informed Ananda that he was going to hold the Uposatha meeting and carry out proceedings of the Order without Buddha; and persuading five hundred recently ordained monks from Vesali to join him went out to Gayasisa hill.

Buddha sent Sariputta and Moggallana to win back the mistaken monks, and when Devadatta saw them, he thought, in spite of his friend Kokalika's warning, that they were coming to join him. They sat listening while Devadatta preached far into the night until he was tired. He then asked Sariputta to address the assembly, while he himself rested, and Sariputta and Moggallana preached with such effect that they persuaded the whole five hundred to return. When Devadatta was awakened by Kokalika and found what had happened, hot blood came from his mouth. Buddha received the schismatic monks who returned, and refused to make a rule that they should be reordained; it was sufficient if they confessed their offence; but he declared that Devadatta was destined to states of punishment, to hell, doomed to stay there for a cycle, and incurable.

Other incidents recorded in the commentaries seem to show that events did not move quite so rapidly; but as they appear to be apocryphal, they may be a quite artificial extending of the story. One of these concerns a nun in Devadatta's community. In cases where a married woman entered the Order it was quite possible for children to be born in the monastery. One such person joined Devadatta's party, and when she was found to be pregnant, she was expelled by Devadatta, but she was taken to Buddha and her chastity proved. The child was brought up by the king, and hence was known as Kumara (prince) Kassapa.

The commentaries say that when Buddha was wounded by Devadatta, he was taken to the mango grove of Jivaka the physician, and there tended by him. When the mad elephant came (which had been made drunk by Devadatta), Ananda stood in front and said, "Let this elephant kill me first," and Buddha was compelled to use his magic power to remove him. Devadatta after his defeat was sick for nine months, and then desired to see Buddha, but Buddha said it would not be possible in this life. He was however brought on a litter, but when he reached the Jetavana he sank into the earth down to the Avici hell. Buddha declared that after 100,000 cycles he would be reborn as a pacceka-buddha named Atthissara.252

According to the Saddharma-pundarika he is to become not a pacceka-buddha (one who does not preach), but a complete Buddha, a Tathagata named Devaraja.253 This is in accordance with the Mahayana teaching that every individual may attain this state. The same authority says that Devadatta in an earlier existence helped Gotama to acquire the six perfections and other qualities of a Bodhisatta. How Devadatta helped him is explained in a Mongol work, which comes from a Mahayana source, and is probably part of the same teaching. "Stupid men believe wrongly and assert that Devadatta has been an opponent or enemy of Buddha. That the sublime Bodhisatta Devadatta during five hundred births, in which Buddha was going through the career of a Bodhisatta, inflicted on him all possible evil and suffering was simply in order to establish the excellence and high qualities of the Bodhisatta."254

The Pali legend seems at first sight as if it may be a post-canonical development of stray references in the Canon. Devadatta is never mentioned in the Digha, and only twice in the Majjhima, but in the latter occurs a legend which implies the existence of the whole story. In the Abhaya-rajakumara- sutta prince Abhaya is said to have associated with the Niganthas at Rajagaha. Nataputta suggested that the prince should go to Buddha and win fame by asking Buddha a question that would put him in a dilemma. "Go to the ascetic Gotama and ask if he would utter that speech which is unpleasant and disagreeable to others. If he says yes, then ask how he differs from the common people, for the common people utter speech that is unpleasant and disagreeable to others. But if he denies, then ask why he said of Devadatta that he was destined to states of punishment, to hell, doomed to stay there for a cycle, and incurable; for at that speech Devadatta was angry and displeased. If the ascetic Gotama is asked this question, he will be neither able to swallow up nor down." Abhaya went, but looking at the sun thought it too late, and invited Buddha to a meal for the next day, when he put his question, whether Buddha uttered unpleasant and disagreeable speech. Buddha however answered, "Not absolutely." "The Niganthas have heard so," said Abhaya. Buddha asked why he said that, and then Abhaya had to explain the whole plot. There was a small child sitting in Abhaya's lap at the time, and Buddha asked, "What do you think, prince? If this boy through the carelessness of you or his nurse were to get a stick or a pebble in his mouth, what would you do?" "I should take it from him, Lord, and if I could not get it at once, I should seize his head with my left hand, and bending my finger get it with my right hand, even if I drew blood. And why? Because I have compassion on the boy." "Even so, prince, speech that the Tathagata knows to be untrue, false, and useless, and also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, he does not speak; that which he knows to be true, real, but useless, and also unpleasant and disagreeable to others that too he does not speak; that which he knows to be true, real, and useful, and also unpleasant and disagreeable to others, in that case he knows the right time to express it. Speech that he knows to be untrue, false, and useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, he does not speak; that which is true, real, but useless, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, that too he does not speak; but that which is true, real, and useful, and also pleasant and agreeable to others, in that case he knows the right time to express it."

It is clear from this incident that the story of Devadatta was an accepted fact to the compilers of the Majjhima. However much invention there may be in it, we are still left with the question whether a schism actually took place, or whether the whole story is a romance that has developed from incidents about a rebellious monk. Rhys Davids once thought that a reference to the sect of Devadatta might be implied in a list of ten classes of ascetics found in Anguttara, iii 276, among which occurs the sect of Gotamakas, Gotama here being possibly the clan-name of Devadatta. But the commentary has no knowledge of this, and Rhys Davids appears to have discarded his surmise, for in his article on Buddhist Law he treats these sects as existent before the rise of Buddhism.255 This is borne out by the fact that the Gotamakas are mentioned as Gautamas in the Lalita-vistara (492) in a list of nine sects, and they are evidently identical, as several of the classes correspond with the Pali; but they are there represented as previous to Buddha's teaching. They meet him and address him in the sixth week after his enlightenment, as he was going to the goat-herd's tree. In any case no trace of the party appears in the subsequent history.

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Ajatasattu Visits Buddha

There is no reason why Devadatta's party, if it had continued to exist, should have been ignored, for the records mention the unruly Subhadda, the later dispute with the Vajji monks, and the eighteen schools. The probability of a historical kernel for the story lies, as Oldenberg has pointed out, in the statement of the five rules.256 This rather implies an actual dispute in the Order. The stories of Devadatta's crimes may be as much the invention of his enemies as those of the misdeeds of his youth. When we come down to the fifth century A.D., we find that Fa Hien mentions the existence of a body that followed Devadatta, and made offerings to the three previous Buddhas, but not to Sakyamuni.257 It may even be the case that this body consciously adopted Devadatta's rules, but there is nothing to suggest that it had continued to exist in complete obscurity from the time of Devadatta for a thousand years.

The Vinaya legend says that Bimbisara resigned his kingdom to his son Ajatasattu. From the Digha we learn that Ajatasattu finally killed his father, for at his meeting with Buddha, after hearing the discourse on the advantages of the ascetic life, he said, "Transgression overcame me, Lord, in that in folly, stupidity, and wickedness, for the sake of lordship I deprived my righteous father, the righteous king, of life. May the Lord accept my transgression as transgression that I may be restrained in the future."258 According to the Chronicles he killed his father eight years before Buddha's death. Hoernle infers from the Jain authorities that he had ascended the throne when his father resigned it ten years before. Jain accounts say that Ajatasattu during the early years of his reign was engaged in a great war with Cedaga, king of Vesali, for the possession of an extraordinary elephant.259 The Pali authorities know nothing of this king, who may have been one of the rajas of the aristocratic government of the Vajjis, but they speak of Ajatasattu intending to make war on the Vajjis in the year before Buddha's death.260

Just as Bimbisara became the supporter of Buddha in the Magadha country, so Pasenadi, king of the Kosalas, is represented as becoming his royal patron at Savatthi. The story of this king's later life belongs to the commentaries, but allusions to it appear in the Canon. Bimbisara had married a sister of Pasenadi, and when he was killed by his son she died of grief. The revenue of a Kasi village had been assigned to her as part of her dowry, but after Bimbisara's murder Pasenadi refused to continue it. Hence he was at war with his nephew with varying success, until on following the military advice of certain old monks he captured Ajatasattu alive, and peace was finally made by his giving his daughter to Ajatasattu with the revenue of the disputed village as her bath-money.261

It is during the reign of Pasenadi's son that the legends put the destruction of the Sakyas. Pasenadi is said to have wished to gain the confidence of the Buddhist monks, and thought that he could do so by forming a marriage alliance with the Sakyas. He accordingly sent messengers to them applying for a Sakya maiden as wife. The Sakyas had too much family pride to consent, but fearing his hostility they offered him Vasabhakhattiya, a daughter of the Sakya Mahanama by a slave woman. The messengers were on the look out for treachery, but by a trick they were made to believe that she ate out of the same dish with her father, and was therefore of pure caste. She was accepted, and gave birth to a son Vidudabha, who grew up, and when paying a visit to his mother's relatives accidentally discovered his low origin. He then swore to take revenge on them when he should become king.

Pasenadi's general was Bandhula, but the king becoming afraid of his growing power had him and his sons killed. He put in his place Bandhula's nephew Digha Karayana, who was secretly enraged with the king. Once the king took Digha with him while on a visit to Buddha in a Sakya village. It is this visit which is recorded in the Dhammacetiya-sutta (Majjh. ii 118), at the end of which the king said, "The Lord is a kshatriya, I too am a kshatriya; the Lord is eighty years of age, I too am eighty years of age." But while Pasenadi was conversing, Digha hurried off with most of the attendants and the symbols of royalty to Savatthi, and set Vidudabha on the throne. Pasenadi finding himself deserted went towards Rajagaha intending to seek the help of Ajatasattu, but he died of exposure on the way, and his nephew gave him burial. Vidudabha on becoming king remembered his grudge against the Sakyas, and made plans for an expedition. Buddha as he was surveying the world, perceived Vidudabha's intention, and went and induced him to turn back. Three times he did this, but on the fourth occasion he found that the consequences of the karma of the Sakyas in poisoning the water of the river could no longer be averted, and this time he did not go out. So the king slew all the Sakyas down to (beginning with) sucklings.

It is impossible to ascertain what amount of truth may underlie this legend, but its origin can be best explained on the supposition that there actually was a massacre. It is in conflict with the description of the division of Buddha's relics, according to which the Sakyas sent to receive a share, over which they built a stupa; but all we can infer from this account is that at the time when it was composed, there were eight relic-shrines in existence, one of which was said to be that of the Sakyas. It is probable that this contradiction has given rise to still later legends explaining how some of the Sakyas escaped. The Dhammapada commentary describes the massacre in almost the same phrase as the Jataka, but instead of 'all' it says 'the rest of' the Sakyas, and tells how some of the fugitives by using an ambiguous phrase escaped the vengeance of Vidudabha. Hiuen Tsiang is still more explicit. According to him one of the Sakyas who escaped reached Udyana (in the extreme north west of India), and became king there. He was succeeded by his son Uttarasena. When the relics of Buddha were about to be divided, Uttarasena arrived as a claimant, but coming from a border country he was treated with little regard by the others. Then the devas published afresh the words which the Tathagata uttered when he was about to die, assigning a share to Uttarasena. and the king obtained his portion of the relics, which he brought back, and erected a stupa in his city of Mungali.262

The two chief disciples, Sariputta and Moggallana, are said in the commentaries to have died shortly before Buddha. But more trustworthy evidence than these accounts lies in the fact that they are never mentioned as alive after Buddha's death. For the commentators a difficulty was raised owing to the story in the Mahaparinibbana-sutta that Sariputta made his great utterance of faith in Buddha while the latter was on his last journey from Rajagaha to the place where he passed away. Hence the death of Sariputta had to be put still later than this, on the full-moon day of the month Kattika (Oct.-Nov.), and the death of Moggallana a fortnight afterwards. Buddhaghosa is thus compelled to insert these events after the last Retreat which Buddha kept near Vesali.263

It was at this time, says Buddhaghosa, that Buddha went from Vesali to Savatthi, and Sariputta came and showed himself to Buddha. Sariputta then practised concentration, and finding that the chief disciples attain Nirvana before the Buddhas saw that his store of life would last seven days. But he decided to convert his mother first, and to die in the room where he was born. Having obtained Buddha's permission, and after giving a display of magic power and teaching the brethren for the last time, he set out for Nalaka, his home near Rajagaha. There his mother prepared his room for him and lodgings for five hundred monks. During his sickness the four Great Kings, Sakka, Brahma, and other gods visited him. His mother was astonished to know who they were, and thought, " So much is my son's greatness: Ah, what will the greatness of my son's Lord and teacher be like!" Sariputta thought it was the right time to instruct her, and established her in the fruit of the First Path. Then he thought, "Now I have given my mother, the brahmin lady Rupasari, the recompense for my maintenance; with so much she will have enough," and dismissed her. He assembled the monks, and addressing them for the last time, asked pardon for anything he had done that they did not like, and at dawn attained Nirvana. The elder Cunda took his bowl, robes, and strainer with the relics to Savatthi, and Buddha having caused a relic-shrine to be made for them went to Rajagaha.

At that time Moggallana was living at Rajagaha on Isigili hill. He used to go to the world of the gods and tell of the disciples of Buddha who were reborn there, and of the disciples of the heretics, who were reborn in hell. The heretics saw their honour decreasing, and decided to bring about his death. They paid a thousand pieces to a robber to go and murder him, but when Moggallana saw him coming he rose in the air by his magic power. This happened for six days, but on the seventh he could not do so, as the power of his former karma overcame him. In a previous life he had decided with his wife to kill his aged parents, and took them in a car to the forest. There making a noise like robbers he beat them, and they, as their sight was dim, not recognising their son called out that robbers were killing them, and told him to flee. Then Moggallana thought, "Even when they are being beaten they think of my welfare: I am doing what is unfitting." So he pretended that the robbers were fleeing, and took them home again.264 But his karma remained unexhausted like fire hidden under ashes, and overtook him in his last body, so that he was unable to rise in the air. The robbers crushed his bones and left him for dead, but he retained consciousness, and by the force of concentration covering himself with a clothing of trance, went to Buddha, asked his permission, and attained Nirvana. Buddha took the relics and had a shrine made for them at the entrance of the Veluvana monastery. Then having given a discourse at Ukkacela on the Nirvana of these two disciples he returned to Vesali and resumed his journey.

These two legends, if not in the strict sense edifying, have an instructive aspect in showing that a relic-shrine to Sariputta was known at Savatthi, and one to Moggallana at Rajagaha, no doubt existing there in later times. That is the reason for the strange geographical arrangement by which Buddha breaks his journey to go to Savatthi to receive the relics and then to Rajagaha. The death of the two disciples. had to be put at this period simply because an incident relating to Sariputta was inserted in the Pali story of Buddha's last journey. But it is not placed there by the Tibetan, and seems to have been inserted as a suitable addition by the Pali compiler. That Sariputta did die in the room where he was born, and that Moggallana met with a violent end, looks like genuine tradition, but it can scarcely be said that with this we reach a firm basis of history.

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Notes:
 
235 The separation between early Buddhism and the Brahminism that we know is also clear from brahmin sources. "All the earlier and later Vedic texts displayed a marked antipathy towards the people of Magadha... In the Smriti literature Magadha was included in the list of countries migration to which was strictly forbidden, and a penance was necessary for having gone there." J.N. Samaddar, The Glories of Magadha, p. 6, Patna. 1925.
 
236 Buddha, p. 15.

237 Digha, i 235.
 
238 This is Rhys Davids' translation in the Pali Text Society's Dictionary. The earlier translation, 'state of union with Brahma,' gave a specious resemblance to an allusion to Upanishadic doctrine not elsewhere found in the suttas.

239 Or friendliness, but it is love, for Buddhaghosa tells a story of a man who  understood it of love in a very un-Buddhistic way. Law's description appears  to fit the Buddhist conception: "By love I do not mean any natural tenderness  which is more or less in people according to their constitutions, but I mean a  larger principle of the soul, founded in reason and piety, which makes us tender,  kind, and benevolent to all our fellow-creatures, as creatures of God, and for his  sake." Serious Call, ch. XX.
 
240 It occurs in fact in the Yoga-sutras, I 33, so that borrowing from some form of Yoga is probable.
 
241 Digha, i 87; iii 80; Majjh. ii 83, 125, 147, 177, 196 (= Sn. III 9); see references p. 5 note.

242 Udana V 5; cf. also the Five Dreams, p. 70.
 
243 The famous physician of Bimbisara and Ajatasattu. The commentaries explain his title Komarabhacca as meaning 'brought up by the prince'. and give an elaborate story based on this meaning, but Rhys Davids said that it means' child-doctor', All the stories about him, which are post-canonical, are probably equally baseless.
 
244 Vin. i 218, 237; macchamamsa is expressly allowed. This is usually taken to mean 'flesh of fish', but it may mean, as Kern takes it, 'flesh and fish.' In any case, as the above instances show, meat under proper conditions was permissible.

245 See Hoernle's edition of Uvasagadasao, and his article, Ajivikas in ERE; B. Barua,The Ajivikas, in Journ. of Dep. of Letters, Univ. of Calcutta, vol. 2.
 
246 Majjh. i 483; this severity is because the system is classed as immoral. Jainism is put among the unsatisfying systems, and the tolerant attitude of Buddhism towards it is shown in the above story of Siha. Buddha approves of 8"1ha,even after his conversion, continuing to give alms to the Jains.

247 Ud. I 5.
 
248 Samy, ii 156.
 
249 Vin. ii 196; Jat. v 333; Dhp. com. i 133; cf. Angut. ii 73; iii 123, 402; iv 160.
 
250 Who succeeded his father Bimbisara, according to the chronology here adopted, in 491 B.C. His title is Vedehiputta, 'son of the Videha lady.' There are different stories as to who she was -- probably all inventions to explain the name.

251 Rhys Davids says, "the Iddhi here must be the power of religious persuasion."
 
252 Dhp. com. i 147.
 
253 Lotus, ch. XI, tr. p. 246.
 
254 Quoted by I. J. Schmidt. Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen, p. 311, St. Petersburg, 1829.

255 Dial. i 222; articles Devadatta and Law (Buddhist) in ERE.
 
256 The first four rules are included in the dhutangas, 13 ascetic rules (12 in Sanskrit works) to be optionally adopted by the monks. They occur in the supplement to the Vinaya (v 131), and do not appear to be early.

257 Ed. Giles, p. 35.
 
258 Buddha accepts his confession, and this has been taken as if it were the end of the matter, and as if Ajatasattu were Jet off far too easily. But he would still have to bear the effect of his karma in the future, as the great Moggallana had to the day of his death. Buddha after Ajatasattu's departure mentions one punishment that overtook him in his present life, for it was owing to this sin that the spotless eye of the Doctrine did not arise within him at that meeting.
 
259 See references in Hoernle's art. Ajivikas, ERE.
 
260 Digha ii 72; cf. Majjh. i 231.

261 Samy. i 68 ff.; Jat. ii 403.
 
262 Digha, ii 165; Jat. iv 144; Dhp. com. i 344; Hiuen Tsiang (Beal), ii 126.
 
263 Digha com. on ii 102; death of Moggallana in Jat. v 125; Dhp. com. iii 65.
 
264 According to the Dhp. com. he actually killed them.
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:11 am

CHAPTER XI: THE LAST DAYS

THE account of Buddha's last days is contained in three suttas.265 These are not properly speaking discourses, but portions of legend in which discourses have been inserted. The chief of them, the Great Discourse of the attainment of Nirvana, is known to have existed in several schools. It tells of the journey of Buddha from Rajagaha across the Ganges to Vesali, where he spent Retreat for the last time, and then by stages to Kusinara in the country of the Mallas, where he passed away. The references in it to the practice of pilgrimages, to later events mentioned in the form of prophecies, and allusions that show a developed form of the Canon, indicate that it is one of the very latest portions of the Scriptures.

The sutta opens with a visit to Buddha, who was staying at Rajagaha on Gijjhakuta hill, from a royal minister of king Ajatasattu. The minister informed him that the king was intending to make war on the Vajji tribes. Buddha told him of the discourse that he had once delivered to the Vajjis on the seven conditions of prosperity; and the minister admitted that the king's plan was impracticable, unless he could create dissension among them. Buddha thereupon assembled the monks, and gave them a discourse on the same seven conditions of their own prosperity, followed by four other lists, and a list of six.

Buddha then set out with a large attendance of monks to Ambalatthika and then to Nalanda, evidently going northwards, as his goal was Vesali. It was at Nalanda that Sariputta uttered his 'lion roar' (sihanada) of faith in Buddha. "Such, Lord, is my faith in the Lord, that there has not been, will not be, nor is there now another ascetic or brahmin greater or of more wisdom, that is to say, in enlightenment." On being questioned he admitted that his knowledge had not penetrated the mind of the Buddhas of the past, and future, or even of the Buddha of the present; but just as in a royal border fortress, which has but one gate, and no other entrance big enough even for a cat, the doorkeeper knows that all beings that enter it must do so by the gate, even so did Sariputta understand the drift of the doctrine. Like the Buddhas of the past and future, "The Lord, the arahat, the completely enlightened, having abandoned the five hindrances, having comprehended the defilements of the mind that weaken, having the mind well fixed on the four subjects of mindfulness, and having duly practised the seven constituents of enlightenment, is enlightened with the highest complete enlightenment."

Buddha then went on to Pataligama, a village on the south bank of the Ganges, and addressed the villagers in their hall on the five evil consequences of immorality and the advantages of morality. At this time the Magadha ministers were building a fortress there for repelling the Vajjis. Buddha with his divine vision saw the tutelary divinities266 of the houses that were being built; and as they were gods of high rank, and were influencing the minds of powerful persons to build there, he prophesied the future greatness of the place as the city Pataliputta. The next day he accepted a meal from the ministers, and when he left they said, "The gate by which the ascetic Gotama departs will be named the Gotama gate, and the ford by which he crosses the Ganges will be the Gotama ford." There can be little doubt that in the time of the compiler of the legend there were two places thus named. The Ganges however was in flood, and people were crossing it in boats and rafts, but Buddha, just as a strong man might stretch out or bend his arm, disappeared from one bank of the Ganges and stood on the other bank together with his monks. Then he uttered an udana:

They that cross the expanse of ocean,
Making a bridge across the pools,
While the people bind rafts--
They that have reached the other shore are the wise.
 

He then went on to Kotigama, and addressed the monks on the Four Truths, ending with the words:

Through not perceiving the Four Noble Truths,
One is reborn for long ages in birth after birth;
These truths are perceived; that which leads to existence is done away;
The root of pain is cut off; now there is rebirth no more.


His next stay was with the Nadikas of Nadika (or Natika), where Ananda mentioned to him the names of a number of monks, nuns, and lay people, who had died there; and Buddha told in which of the four stages each of them had died.267 But he declared that it was troublesome for him to do this, and gave Ananda the formula of the Mirror of the Doctrine, by which a disciple could tell for himself that he was free from rebirth in hell, as an animal, from the realm of ghosts (petas), from the lower states of suffering, that he had entered the stream, and that he was destined for enlightenment. The Mirror consists in having unwavering faith in Buddha, the Doctrine, and the Order. Such a one is possessed of the moral rules dear to the Noble Ones, the rules that are whole, unbroken, unspotted, unblemished, productive of freedom, extolled by the wise, unsullied, and tending to concentration.

Going on to VesaIi he stayed in the grove of Ambapali, where he gave a short discourse to the monks on being circumspect and mindful in their actions. Ambapali was a famous courtesan of Vesali, and on hearing of Buddha's arrival she drove out from the city to see him, and after hearing a discourse invited him with the monks to a meal for the next day. This he accepted, and had to refuse the Licchavis of Vesali, who came with a similar request. After the meal Ambapali took a low seat, and sitting on it said, "I give, Lord, this park to the Order of monks with Buddha at the head." Buddha accepted it, and after staying there some time went on to the village of Beluva. There he determined to keep Retreat, and told the monks to keep Retreat at Vesali. After entering on Retreat he became dangerously ill, but he repressed his sickness, saying, "It would not be fitting for me to attain Nirvana without having addressed my attendants, and without having taken leave of the Order of monks." Ananda was alarmed, but said that he had one consolation: "The Lord will not attain Nirvana before be has determined something about the Order." Buddha replied, "What does the Order expect of me? I have taught the Doctrine without making any inner and outer, and herein the Tathagata has not the closed fist of a teacher with regard to doctrines. It would be one who should say, 'I will lead the Order,' or 'the Order looks up to me', who would determine something about the Order. But the Tathagata does not think, 'I will lead the Order', or 'The Order looks up to me'. Why then should the Tathagata determine something about the Order? I am now old, advanced in age and years, and in my eightieth year. As an old cart keeps together fastened with thongs, even so does the body of the Tathagata keep together. At the time when the Tathagata not reflecting on any external sign (sensation), and with the cessation of each of the senses attains and abides in signless concentration of mind, then only, Ananda, is the body of the Tathagata well. Therefore, Ananda, dwell as having refuges in yourselves, resorts268 in yourselves and not elsewhere, as having refuges in the Doctrine, resorts in the Doctrine and not elsewhere". He concluded by propounding the four subjects of mindfulness, and declared, "Whoever now or after my decease shall dwell as having refuges in themselves, resorts in themselves and not elsewhere, as having refuges in the Doctrine, resorts in the Doctrine and not elsewhere, these my monks, Ananda, shall reach to the limit of darkness (rebirth), whoever are desirous of learning."

The next day he went into Vesali to beg, and on returning sat with Ananda by the Capala shrine. There he told Ananda that one who has practised the four magic powers could remain alive for a cycle269 or for what remains of a cycle, and that he had practised these powers himself. But though he gave such a clear hint, Ananda was not able to see it, and did not ask him to remain, so much was Ananda's heart possessed by Mara. A second and a third time Buddha repeated his statement without effect. He then dismissed Ananda, who went and sat down at the foot of a tree not far away, and Mara approaching Buddha said: "May the Lord now attain Nirvana, may the Sugata attain Nirvana. It is now time for the Lord to attain Nirvana." Buddha replied that he would not do so as long as his monks were not skilled and learned and able to expound, teach, and explain. Mara said that all this was now done, and repeated his request, and the same reply was made about the nuns, and also in the same formal language about laymen and lay women. Then Buddha said that he would not do so until his religious system should be prosperous, flourishing, extended, held by many, widely spread, and well proclaimed by gods and men. Mara replied declaring that the whole of this had come to pass, and Buddha having ingeniously obtained this testimony from the enemy said, "Trouble not, evil one, in no long time the Tathagata will attain Nirvana. The Tathagata will attain Nirvana in three months from now." Then he shook off the sum of his remaining life, and as he did so there was a great earthquake and thunder. Ananda marvelled, and came and asked Buddha the cause. Buddha gave him a discourse on the eight causes of earthquakes. (1) The first is owing to the earth standing on water, the water on winds, and the winds on space. When the winds blow, they shake the water, and the water shakes the earth. (2) When an ascetic or brahmin acquiring magic power (iddhi), or a divinity of great power practises limited earth-perception or unlimited water-perception, then he shakes the earth. The other six cases are (3) when a Bodhisatta is conceived, (4) is born, (5) attains enlightenment, (6) as Buddha turns the Wheel of the Doctrine, (7) shakes off his sum of life, (8) attains Nirvana without a remainder of upadi.

Then follow lists of the eight assemblies and Buddha's conduct therein, the eight stages of mastery, and the eight stages of release. The two latter lists are classifications of states of mind attained by concentration. Buddha then told how just after his enlightenment Mara tempted him with exactly the same words as he had used on the present occasion, and repeated the whole conversation with Mara that had just taken place. Thereupon it struck Ananda to ask Buddha to stay for a cycle, but Buddha blamed him for not asking before, and mentioned sixteen places where he might have done so. "If, Ananda, you had asked the Tathagata, he might have refused twice, but he would have assented the third time. Therefore, Ananda, this was herein a fault of yours, this was an offence."

The harshness of this reproof we may be sure was not due to Buddha, but to the feelings which arose in the community after the origination of this legend. It appears also in the story of the first Council, according to which Ananda was made to confess his fault before the Order.

Ananda was then sent to assemble the Vesali monks in the hall, and Buddha exhorted them on practising the doctrines he had taught them in order that the religious life might last long. Then he added, "Come now, monks, I address you: subject to decay are compound things, strive with earnestness. In no long time the Tathagata will attain Nirvana. The Tathagata will attain Nirvana in three months from now."

The next day on returning from begging in Vesali, he looked back at the city for the last time, and then went to the village of Bhandagama. There he preached on the four things which being understood destroy rebirth -- morality, concentration, insight, release. He then passed through the villages of Hatthigama, Ambagama, and Jambugama,270 and stayed at Bhoganagara. There he addressed the monks on the four Great Authorities. This is a method for determining what is actually the doctrine. It shows the arrangement of the Master's teaching not only as Dhamma and Vinaya, but also as Miitika, the 'lists' forming the systematic treatment of the Dhamma known as the Abhidhamma. It is no invention of the compiler's, but he found it in another part of the Scriptures, probably in the same place where we find it now, Anguttara, ii 167ff. It is a kind of test that we should expect to be drawn up by the Community in order to settle doubts about the authorised teaching before the Scriptures were committed to writing. The four possibilities are (1) when a monk declares that he has heard anything directly from the Lord as being Dhamma or Vinaya, and the Lord's teaching, the monks are to examine the Sutta or Vinaya to find out if it is there. Similarly, (2) if he claims to have heard it from an assembly of the Order at a certain place, (3) from a number of learned elders, who have learnt the Dhamma, Vinaya, and Matikii, or (4)from a single learned elder.

After leaving Bhoganagara Buddha went to Pava,271 and stayed in the mango grove of Cunda, the smith. There Cunda provided a meal272 with excellent food, hard and soft, and a large amount of sukaramaddava.273 Before the meal Buddha said, "Serve me, Cunda, with the sukaramaddava that you have prepared, and serve the Order with the other hard and soft food." Cunda did so, and after the meal Buddha told him to throw the remainder of the sukaramaddava into a hole, as he saw no one in the world who could digest it other than the Tathagata. Then sharp sickness arose, with flow of blood, and violent deadly pains. but Buddha mindful and conscious controlled them without complaining, and set out with Ananda for Kusinara.

On the way he came to a tree, and told Ananda to spread a robe fourfold for him to sit on, as he was suffering. There he asked for water to drink from the stream, but Ananda said that five hundred carts had just passed over, and the water was flowing muddy and turbid. Not far away was the river Kakuttha (or Kukuttha), where the Lord could drink and bathe his limbs.274 Three times Buddha asked, and when Ananda went to the stream, he found the water flowing clear and pure, which he took in a bowl, marvelling at the wondrous power of the Tathagata.

While Buddha rested there, Pukkusa, a Malla and pupil of Alara Kalama, came and told how Alara was once sitting in the open air, and did not see or hear five hundred passing carts, though he was conscious and awake. Buddha replied that when he himself was at Atuma, it rained, poured, and lightened, and two farmers were struck and four oxen. When a great crowd collected, Buddha inquired why, and was told what had happened, but although awake in the open air, he had seen and heard nothing. Pukkusa was so much impressed that he became a lay disciple, and presented Buddha with a pair of gold-coloured robes. Buddha accepted them, and said, "Clothe me with one, Pukkusa, and Ananda with the other." When Pukkusa had gone, Ananda brought the pair of robes near to the body of the Lord,275 and they seemed to have lost their glow. This was by contrast with the marvellous brightness and clearness of skin of Buddha, and he told Ananda that this takes place on two occasions: on the night when the Tathagata attains enlightenment, and on the night when he attains Nirvana without a remainder of upadi,276 and this would take place in the last watch of the night at Kusinara.

On arriving at the river Kakuttha he bathed and drank, and going to a mango grove lay down on his right side in the attitude of a lion with one foot on the other, thinking of the right time to get up. He then told Ananda that Cunda might be blamed for the meal that he had given, but his remorse was to be dispelled, and he was to be told thus:

It was gain to thee, friend Cunda, great gain to thee, that the Tathagata received his last alms from thee and attained Nirvana. Face to face with the Lord, friend Cunda have I heard, face to face have I received, that these two alms are of equal fruit and equal result, far surpassing in fruit and blessing other alms. What are the two? The alms that a Tathagata receives when he attains supreme complete enlightenment, and the alms that he receives when he attains Nirvana with the element of Nirvana that is without upadi. Cunda the smith has done a deed (lit. heaped up karma) tending to long life, to good birth, to happiness, to fame, to heaven, to lordship. Thus is the remorse of Cunda to be dispelled.


After crossing the river Hirannavati Buddha reached the grove of sal trees at Kusinara,277 and said, "Come, Ananda, arrange a bed with the head to the north, I am suffering, and would lie down." He then lay down in the lion attitude on his right side, and though it was out of season, flowers fell from the sal trees in full bloom, and covered his body. Divine mandarava flowers and sandalwood powder fell from the sky, and divine music and singing sounded through the air in his honour. But Buddha said that it was not merely so that he was honoured. "The monk, nun, layman, or lay woman who dwells devoted to the greater and lesser doctrines, who is intent on doing right, and acts according to the doctrines, he it is who reveres, honours, venerates, and worships the Tathagata with the highest worship."

At that time the elder Upavana was standing in front of Buddha fanning him. Buddha said, "Go away, monk, do not stand in front of me." Ananda wondered why Buddha should speak severely to Upavana, who had been attendant for so long, but Buddha explained that there were gods of the ten world-systems assembled to see him, that there was not a place the size of the point of a hair for twelve leagues round that was not filled with them, and they were complaining that the monk obstructed their view.

Ananda then asked for instruction on several points. It had been the custom for the monks to come after Retreat to see and attend on Buddha, but what was to be done after the Lord's decease? There are four places, said Buddha, worthy to be seen by a faithful disciple, places that will rouse his devotion: the place where the Tathagata was born, the place where he attained enlightenment, where he began to turn the Wheel of the Doctrine, and where he attained complete Nirvana. All those who make pilgrimages to these shrines and die in faith will after death be reborn in heaven.

"How are we to act, Lord, with regard to women?"

"Not seeing them, Ananda." "If we see them, how are we to act?" "No speaking, Ananda." "What must be done by one who speaks?" "Mindfulness must be exercised, Ananda."

On being asked how the burial was to be carried out Buddha said that believing laymen, kshatriyas and others would see to it. It was to be like that of a universal king, and the cairn or stupa was to be at four cross roads. He further gave a list of persons who were worthy of a stupa.

Ananda then went into the monastery,278 and taking hold of the lintel stood weeping, " Alas, I am a learner with still much to do, and my Master is going to attain Nirvana, who was so kind to me." Buddha sent for him and consoled him, pointing out how all things must change, how he had attended Buddha with singlehearted and unbounded love of deed, word, and thought, and exhorted him to strive earnestly and soon be free from the asavas. He went on to point out to the monks four wonderful qualities in Ananda.

Ananda tried to persuade him not to pass away at a small insignificant place like Kusinara, but Buddha told him that it was once Kusavati, the royal city of the universal king Mahasudassana, and prosperous like a city of the gods279 and straightway sent Ananda to announce to the Mallas of Kusinara that he would pass away at the third watch in the night, and to invite them to come and see him for the last time. They came with their whole families, and so many were they that Ananda was unable to announce each individually to Buddha, but presented them by families.

An ascetic of the place named Subhadda had heard the news, and thinking that Buddha might resolve his doubts came to see him. Ananda tried to repel him, but Buddha overhearing allowed him to enter, and converted him. He was admitted, and in no long time became an arahat.

Several minor rules of discipline are said to have been decided on this occasion: the mode in which the younger and elder monks are to be addressed, the permission to abolish some lesser precepts, and the infliction of the brahma-punishment on the monk Channa.280 Finally Buddha asked the assembled monks to speak if anyone had any doubt. All were silent, and Ananda expressed his astonishment. and declared his faith that there was not a single monk who had any doubt. Buddha said, "Through faith you spoke, Ananda, but the Tathagata has the actual knowledge that in this Order there is not a single monk who has any doubt or uncertainty either about the Buddha, the Doctrine. the Order, the Path, or the Way. Of these five hundred even the latest monk has entered the stream, is not liable to birth in a state of suffering, and is certainly destined for enlightenment." Then addressing the monks he said, "Now then, monks, I address you; subject to decay are compound things: strive with earnestness." These were the last words of the Tathagata.

Then passing into the first trance, up to the second, third. and fourth, and into the five stages of attainments he reached the stage of the cessation of consciousness and feeling. Ananda said, "Reverend Anuruddha, the Lord has attained Nirvana." "No, Ananda, the Lord has not attained Nirvana, he has reached the stage of the cessation of consciousness and feeling." He then passed back through the stages to the first trance, and again up to the fourth, and from this stage he attained Nirvana.281

There was a great earthquake and terrifying thunder. and Brahma Sahampati uttered these verses:

All beings in the universe
Shall lay aside their compound state.
Even so a Teacher such as he,
The man unrivalled in the world,
Tathagata with the powers endowed,
The Enlightened, has Nirvana reached.

 
Sakka, king of the gods, said:

Impermanent, alas! are compounds;
They rise up and they pass away;
Having arisen then they cease,
And their extinguishing is bliss.


The elder Anuruddha uttered these verses:

No breathing in or out was there
Of him with firm-established heart,
When the great sage attaining peace
Free from all passion passed away;
Then he with heart released from clinging
Controlled and bore his suffering.
As the extinction of a flame.
Even so was his heart's release.


The elder Ananda uttered this verse:

Then was a terrifying awe,
Then was a horrifying dread,
When he of all the marks possessed,
The Enlightened, had Nirvana reached.


Amid the lamentation of all except those of the brethren who were free from passion, Anuruddha consoled them with the Master's teaching that there is change and separation from all pleasant things and that everything having an origin must decay.

The next day Anuruddha sent Ananda into Kusinara to inform the Mallas, and they came with scents, garlands, all kinds of music, and five hundred sets of robes to do honour to the body of the Lord with dancing, singing, music, garlands, and scents. For six days this continued, and on the seventh they decided to take the body by the south to cremate it. Eight chief men of the Mallas prepared to do so, but they could not raise the body. Anuruddha explained to them that it was the purpose of the gods that they should go by the north, take it to the middle of the city by the north gate, out by the east gate to the Makuta-bandhana shrine, and there perform the ceremonies. Immediately they had assented to this, the whole of the town was covered knee-deep with mandarava flowers that fell from the sky. Then Ananda told the Mallas how to prepare the body for cremation, according to the instructions that he had received from Buddha.

At this point the narrative is interrupted by two incidents. Kassapa the Great with a company of monks arrived from Pava. While on the way he had met an ajivika ascetic with one of the mandarava flowers that had fallen from the sky, and from him he learned of Buddha's death. Among the company was a certain Subhadda,282 who had entered the Order in his old age, and he said, "Enough, friends, do not grieve or lament; we are well freed from the great ascetic. We have been troubled by being told, 'This is befitting to you, this is not befitting to you.' Now we can do what we wish, and refrain from doing what we do not wish." But Kassapa consoled the company with the Master's teaching that there is change and separation from all pleasant things.

Meanwhile four chiefs of the Mallas tried to light the funeral pyre, but were unable. Anuruddha explained to them that it was the purpose of the gods that the pyre should not light until Kassapa the Great had come and saluted it. When he arrived with his company of five hundred and had done reverence to the pyre, it caught fire of itself. It burned without leaving behind any of the skin, flesh, sinews, or fluid of the joints, or any ash and soot. Streams of water came from the sky and extinguished it, and the Mallas extinguished it with scented water. Then they put a fence of spears round, and continued the celebration for seven days.

Ajatasattu, king of the Magadhas, heard the news, and sent a messenger to say, "The Lord was a kshatriya. I too am a kshatriya; I am worthy of a share of the relics of the Lord. I will erect a stupa over the relics of the Lord and make a feast." The Licchavis also of Vesali, the Sakyas of Kapilavatthu, the Bulis of Allakappa, the Koliyas of Ramagama, a brahmin of Vethadipa, and the Mallas of Pava asked for a share. But the Mallas of Kusinara in their assembly refused to make a division, as the Lord had attained Nirvana in their domain. Then the brahmin Dona counselled concord, and proposed to divide the relics into eight equal parts for each of the eight claimants. Having done so he asked for himself the measuring vessel, over which he erected a stupa and made a feast. The Moriyas of Pipphalivana came too late for a share and received the ashes. Two lists then follow, one of the ten divisions as given above, and another in verse giving an extended list of the places where the measures (dona)283 of Buddha's relics are worshipped. These passages are discussed below.

The Mahaparinibbana-sutta was once held to be one of the earliest in the Pali Canon, but Rhys Davids' analysis of it,284 which shows that most of it occurs in other parts of the Scriptures, makes it at first sight appear doubtful whether we have anything that may be called a whole. A closer examination however makes it clear that these passages are not strung together to make a sutta. They are separate discourses inserted in a continuous narrative. The narrative itself is a late legend, as the references to shrines and to methods of determining what are Buddha's utterances show. Some of the discourses may even be Buddha's words, but we have only the testimony of the narrator for holding that they were uttered on these particular occasions. We have good reasons to believe from their characteristic form that they were taken directly from the other parts of the Canon where they are still found. These parts are chiefly the Anguttara and the Udana. The former work arranges all its matters according to the number of subjects discussed, and the Anguttara passages found in this sutta have exactly the same feature -- such as seven conditions of welfare, five consequences of wrong doing, eight causes of earthquake, etc. The first of these passages is indeed stated to be one which Buddha had delivered at a previous time. Similarly the passages that occur in the Udana all end in this sutta with the fervent utterance, the actual udana, as in the collection of that name.

It is clear also that the narrative portion of the sutta was enlarged. Parallel narrative portions are found in the Samyutta. Three of the incidents have been made so extensive that in the Pali they are treated as separate suttas. These are the Mahasudassana-sutta, the Janavasabha-sutta, and the Sampasadaniya-sutta. The first of these in both the Tibetan and the Chinese recensions is incorporated in the sutta. The last of these (an enlargement of the 'lion-roar' of Sariputta) is shown to be an addition from its absence in the Tibetan, and its omission is not a mere accident, but because Sariputta's death is there said to have taken place at an earlier date. The nucleus of the whole, the account of Buddha's death from his last words down to the lamentations of the monks, also occurs as a separate sutta.285

As compared with the stories in the commentaries of Buddha's youth, the story of his death is an earlier document, but from its references to Buddha's conception and birth and to the legends of his being destined for universal kingship or Buddhahood it is clear that the legendary story of his birth was already in existence. The difference between them as historical documents is that the stories of the birth and infancy refer to an earlier time, of which details of biography and even the very basis are not likely to have been known or remembered. But at the time of Buddha's death there was a community which was interested in preserving a record of him, and which must have possessed many unwritten accounts. What his contemporaries actually knew and remembered we cannot tell, because what we possess is the tradition recorded in a formal manner at a much later date, but earlier than the time of Asoka.286 There is at least the attempt to give the record as a contemporary document, shown in the greatness of Pataliputta being stated in the form of a prophecy. Except to the eye of faith this is evidence of a late date to be classed with the references to pilgrimages to shrines, the worship of Buddha, the threefold division of the Scriptures, and the numerous miracles, all of which show the essential facts mingled inextricably with the dogmatic beliefs about the person of a Buddha.

The implied chronology of events in the sutta is vague, but sufficient to show that it is not consistent with later tradition. After Retreat, i.e. about the end of September, Buddha met the monks, and told them that he would attain Nirvana in three months. This implies in the following December or January, and harmonises with the statement that the sal trees (Shorea robusta) were in bloom out of season when he passed away.287 But the date given in the later Pali tradition is three months later than this, full-moon day of Visakha (April-May),288 and the fact that this is also the traditional date of the birth and of the Enlightenment is sufficient to suggest how it arose.

Hiuen Tsiang289 also gives this date as the general tradition, but says that the Sarvastivadins give the day of Buddha's death as on the eighth of the last half of the month Karttika (Oct.-Nov.), i.e. a week before full moon in this month. This cannot be made to fit the sutta, as it implies less than three months, but it is the date which Fleet has tried to establish as historical, and which he made 13 Oct. 483 B.C.290 His argument consisted in assuming that the year was 483 B.C., that Retreat would suitably begin 25 June, and that the prediction of his death uttered to Mara may be reasonably referred to the end of the first three weeks of Retreat. But the identical prediction was made also to the monks, and the very next day Buddha resumed his journey, which shows that the prediction is to be put at the end of the period of Retreat. The Sarvastivadin tradition may he old, but there is nothing to show that it was canonical, and even if a precise canonical date should ever be found, it would remain more probable that it was an addition to the legend, rather than that a really old tradition had been lost by the compilers of our present sutta.

The sutta closes with two lists of relics, and we can quite well believe with the Pali commentator that they are later additions. The first repeats the ten divisions as described above, over each of which a stupa was raised, and concludes with the words, 'even so was it in the past.' This is evidently intended to describe what the compiler understood to be the primitive distribution. The commentator says that these words (and he appears to mean the whole list) were added at the third Council, i.e. in the time of Asoka. Another list then follows in verse:

Eight are the measures of the Buddha's relics.
Seven measures do they honour in Jambudipa;
And one of the Incomparable Being
In Ramagama the Naga-rajas honour.
One tooth by the Tidiva gods is worshipped,
And in Gandhara city one is honoured;
In the Kalinga-raja's realm one also.
Another still the Naga-rajas honour.


This list, says the commentator, was spoken by the elders in Ceylon. It may be that the Ceylon elders added it to the Pali Canon, but they did not compose it, as it is found also in the Tibetan form of the sutta. It is evidently intended to describe a later arrangement of the relics than that in the first list describing how it was in the past. The reference to Gandhara shows that it is late, for it was only in Asoka's time that missionaries were being sent there to preach the Doctrine.291 It is also implied here that Ramagama was not in India. This is explained by a legend in the Mahavamsa which says that Ramagama was overwhelmed by a flood and the urn of relics carried out to sea. There it was found by the Nagas and preserved in their abode, Ramagama of the Nagas.292 Some story of this kind is evidently implied by the reference to the Nagas in the verses, and the disappearance from Ramagama of the Mallas of one measure of relics is likely to be historical.

The commentary then gives the story of the fate of the eight relic-shrines down to the time of Asoka.293 Mahakassapa fearing danger to the relics persuaded Ajatasattu to have one shrine made for them at Rajagaha. The elder collected them, but left enough at each of the places for the purpose of worship, and took none of those at Ramagama, as the Nagas had taken them, and he knew that in the future they would be deposited in a great shrine in the Great Monastery of Ceylon. Those which he collected were elaborately stored by Ajatasattu in the ground, and a stone stupa built above them. The elder in due time attained Nirvana, and the king and people died. This appears to imply that the place was forgotten.

When Asoka had come to the throne, he built 84,000 monasteries and wished to distribute relics among them. At Rajagaha he opened a shrine but found no relics, and also examined the other places in vain except Ramagama, which the Nagas did not allow him to touch. On returning to Rajagaha he summoned the four assemblies, and asked if they had heard of any relic-treasury. An old elder told how his father had deposited a casket in a certain stone shrine, and told him to remember it. The king with the help of Sakka then had this shrine opened and found the relics deposited by Ajatasattu, He left enough there for the purpose of worship, and had the rest distributed among the 84,000 monasteries.

This scarcely looks like trustworthy tradition. The story of the 84,000 shrines means that at a time when many shrines existed throughout India, their foundation was .attributed to Asoka, but evidently we cannot proceed on the assumption that we have in the sutta a contemporary account of the building of the eight relic-shrines, and that one of these remained untouched until the end of the 19th century. The legend would scarcely have arisen unless there had been actual changes in the locality of the relics. The question has become actual through the discovery of shrines containing relics in the region of Kapilavatthu and also in Gandhara.

In 1898 Mr. W. C. Peppe, according to the report by Dr. Buhler,294 excavated a stupa now called Pipravakot, situated on his estate half a mile from the Nepalese frontier and fourteen miles south east of the ruins of Kapilavatthu. In its interior stone chamber he found a number of relic vessels-two stone vases, one small stone casket, one large stone Iota, and a crystal bowl with a fish handle -- containing bones, cut stones, stars and square pieces of gold leaf with impressions of a lion. Round the rim of the lid of one of the stone vessels runs an inscription in characters like those of Asoka's inscriptions but without long vowels. Every word is clear, but great diversity of opinion arose about the translation, and hence about the significance of the whole, and without some discussion it is impossible even to transcribe it. The inscription forms a complete circle. Unfortunately Dr. Buhler's first readings were made from an eye-copy forwarded by the notorious Dr. Fuhrer, who omitted every final m, as well as the first letter of the word iyam, which consists of three dots, and which he apparently took for the end of the inscription. All the earlier interpreters were thus misled. It was not till seven years later that J. F. Fleet pointed out that in one place the letters yanam are above the line, and evidently the last inscribed. They are the end of the inscription, and the engraver had no room for them in the circle. Still later it was shown by Dr. F. W. Thomas that the inscription is in arya verse. Yet most of the discussion concerning it went on before these significant facts were discovered. The inscription according to Peppe's reading with Fleet's changes then becomes:

sukitibhatinam sabhaginikanam saputadalanam
iyam salilanidhane budhasa bhagavate sakiyanam

"Of the Sukiti-brothers with their sisters, children, and wives: this is the relic-treasury of the Lord Buddha of the Sakyas."295


But this is not a solution of all the difficulties. The first word was taken to mean 'Sukiti's brothers', or 'Sukiti and his brothers', or 'pious brothers', or again as 'brothers of the well-famed one'. Pischel held that it was to be read sukiti not sukiti, and means 'pious foundation (fromme Stiftung) of the brothers'. The last word sakiyanam, 'of the Sakyas,' may also be scanned sakiyanam in which case it might mean 'own, relatives of'. Fleet held that this was the meaning, and translated it, "this is a deposit of relics; (namely) of the kinsmen of Buddha the Blessed One."296 On this view it is a relic shrine, not of Buddha, but of certain persons who claimed to be his relatives, and the shrine was erected by survivors of the Sakyas massacred by Vidudabha several years before Buddha's death.297

The various explanations have been most fully discussed by Barth.298 Those which rest on the early misreading can be put aside. Another misconception was to assume that if the inscription is not a forgery, it must be contemporary with the death of Buddha. But all the positive evidence is in favour of its being of the period of Asoka -- the metre, and the fact that the letters are identical with those on the Asokan inscriptions. It omits long vowels, but there are others of the Asokan period that do so. In fact the only reason for putting it two centuries earlier was the hope of identifying it with the share of the relics received by the Sakyas. It was supposed that the inscription stated that Sakyas were the depositors, but this was only due to the words being read in the wrong order, and through interpreting the first word as 'brothers of the Well-famed One', i.e. Buddha. This epithet sukiti has never been found as a term to describe Buddha, nor is it likely that he would be described in two different ways in a short inscription. It is best understood as the personal name of one of the family that deposited the relics. The other interpretations as 'pious brothers' or as 'pious foundation of the brothers', apart from grammatical difficulties, would leave the brothers entirely unspecified.

We thus have an inscription recording simply the name of the donors, the nature of the deposit, and the name of the person to whom the relics are attributed. It is possible that in the time of Asoka they were held to be the share of relics traditionally given to the Sakyas. The evidence is in favour of their being placed in the third century in the shrine where they were found, but the relics themselves may be much earlier, and criticism has nothing to say against the claim that they are authentic.

The second list of relics mentions four teeth, two of them in India, and both of the latter are mentioned in later accounts. That in Gandhara may be the one recorded by Hiuen Tsiang, who speaks of a stupa outside the capital of the kingdom of Kashmir, containing a tooth of Buddha. The tooth of the Kalinga-raja was at Dantapura in south India. According to the Mahavamsa it was taken to Ceylon in the reign of Meghavanna in the fourth century A.D., and met with many changes of fortune. It is this which is held by the Buddhists to be that now preserved at Kandy.299

Other stupas in Gandhara are mentioned by the Chinese pilgrims, and relics have been found there. Though they have no direct relation with those of the ancient lists, they have an interest in connexion with the question of the depositing of relics.

The stupa at Shah-ji-ki-dheri outside Peshawar was excavated by Dr. Spooner, and in March 1909 a relic-casket was found therein. He says, "The relic-casket itself ... is a round metal vessel, 5 inches in diameter and 4 inches in height from the base to the edge of the lid. This lid originally supported three metal figures in the round, a seated Buddha figure in the centre (which was still in position), with a standing Bodhisattva figure on either side. These two figures, as well as the halo from behind the Buddha's head, had become detached . . . The same shock apparently which dislodged the Bodhisattvas loosed the bottom of the casket also . . . On this bottom was found a six-sided crystal reliquary measuring about 2-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches, and beside it a round clay scaling ... This seal had originally closed the small orifice which had been hollowed out to a depth of about an inch in one end of the six-sided crystal, and within which the sacred relics were still tightly packed. These consist of three small fragments of bone, and arc undoubtedly the original relics deposited in the stupa by Kanishka which Hiuen-Thsang tells us were the relics of Gautama Buddha."300


The name of Kanishka is found on the casket, which thus belongs to the end of the first century A.D.

In 1913-14 Sir John Marshall discovered at Taxila301 relics of a still earlier date. Some of these have been presented to the Buddhists of Ceylon, and were thus described by their discoverer, when he made the presentation at Kandy, 3rd February, 1917. "The relic chamber was square and of small dimensions, and was placed not in the body of the dagaba, as is usually the case, but at a depth of six feet below its foundations. In it there were four small earthenware lamps -- one in each corner of the chamber -- four coins of the Scythian Kings Maues and Azes I, and a vase of steatite. The vase contained a miniature casket of gold together with three safety pins of gold and some small beads of ruby, garnet, amethyst, and crystal; and inside the miniature gold casket again, were some beads of bone and ruby with some pieces of silver leaf, coral and stone, and with them the bone relic. All of these articles except the lamps, which are of no particular interest, are enclosed within this casket of silver and gold, which itself is a replica of one of the small dagabas of ancient Taxila. The two kings Maues and Azes I, to whom the coins appertain, belong to the Scythic or Baka dynasty, and are known to have been reigning in the first century before our era. The presence of their coins, taken in conjunction with the structural character of the dagaba and other collateral evidence, leaves no room for doubt that the relics were enshrined before the beginning of the Christian era."302

_______________

Notes:

265 Mahaparinibbana-s., analyzed in this chapter, Mahasudassana-s., a discourse delivered by Buddha on his death bed, and Janavasabha-s., Buddha's story of the visit of Bimbisara after death to this world, told at Nadika; the 'lion-roar' of Sariputta also exists in separate suttas. and is here probably an insertion.

266 The idea of tutelary divinities of a house is common Indian belief, and is found in the Vedas. (Hymn to Vastoshpati, Rigveda, VII 34.) The Jataka (i 226) tells of such a divinity that lived in the fourth story of Anathapindika's house, and tried to persuade him to give up his services to Buddha.

267 It was on this occasion that he is said to have told the story recorded as the Janavasabha-sutta.

268 Attadipa, not 'lights to yourselves'; the word dipa (dvipa), 'island,' is only a synonym for sarana, 'refuge.'

269 This is the natural meaning of kappa, and Mvastu, iii 225 evidently takes it in this sense, but Buddhaghosa says it means the full life of a man at that time, 100 years.

270 These names mean Elephant-village. Mango-village, and Roseapple-village. They are unknown. but there is no reason why they should be inventions. They were evidently on the road northwards to the Malla country, and were probably known to the compilers of the legends. It is noteworthy that Anupiya, although it is in the Malla country is not mentioned. This indicates that the route to Kusinara went further to the east.

271 Mahavira, the Jain leader, is said to have died at Pava. (Skt. Papa.). but this is a place identified by the Jains with the modern village of Pawapuri in the Patna District. The Pava of Buddha was within a day's journey of Kusinara.

272 This was Buddha's last meal. All that follows took place within the same day.

273 The word means pig's soft food, but does not indicate whether it means food made of pigs' flesh, or food eaten by pigs. The word however is not the obvious sukaramamsa, 'pigs' flesh,' which we should expect, if this were meant. Buddhaghosa definitely takes it as meaning the flesh of a pig, and so did the Great Commentary according to the Udana commentator, who quotes from it, and says: "sukaramaddava in the Great Commentary is said to be the flesh of a pig made soft and oily; but some say it was not pigs' flesh (sukaramamsa) but the sprout of a plant trodden by pigs; others that it was a mushroom (ahicchattaka) growing in a place trodden by pigs; others again have taken it in the sense of a flavouring substance"; Udana com. i 399. Rhys Davids, Dial. ii 137 translates 'a quantity of truffles'. K. E. Neumann Majjhima tr., Vorrede, p. xx, says 'Eberlust ... der Name irgend einer essbaren Pilzart'. J. F. Fleet is still more precise, 'The succulent parts, the titbits, of a young wild boar.' JRAS. 1909, p. 21. Those are unprovable theories. All we know is that the oldest commentators held it to be pigs' flesh.

274 In the Tibetan the turbid stream appears to be the Kakuttha and the river where he bathed the Hirannavati mentioned below.

275 Putting one on as an undergarment and one as an upper, says Buddhaghosa.

276 Those constituents of the self, which remain until finally dispersed at the death of one who attains Nirvana.

277 This place was identified by Cunningham with Kasia in the Gorakhpur District. V. A. Smith thought it was in a still undiscovered place in Nepal, some 30 miles cast of Kathmandu. JRAS. 1902, p. 139.

278 Vihara; the compiler appears to have introduced an account not in harmony with the previous details.

279 This has been expanded into the story of this king, which immediately follows this sutta as the Mahasudassana-sutta.

280 These are Vinaya rules, and arc probably taken and inserted here from the Vinaya legends.

281 The reason of this order of the stages is probably that the attaining of Nirvana from the fourth stage of trance was the original form of the legend, and that when the other stages were added this circumstance of the fourth' trance coming last was still preserved in the above way. The following verses differ in number and order in the Sanskrit and in versions preserved in the Tibetan and Chinese. They have been discussed by Oldenberg, Studien zur Gesch. des buddh. Kanon, p. 169 (K. Gos. d. Wiss. Gott., Phil. hist. Kl., 1912); M. Przyluski, Le Parinirvana et les funerailles du Buddha, JA. mai-juin, 1918, p. 485 ff.

282 This monk has been without reason identified with the Subhadda mentioned above. But the latter was not in the company of Kassapa; he was at Kusinara. and was converted on the day of Buddha's death, of which this unruly Subhadda had heard nothing. According to the Tibetan he obtained permission from Buddha to pass away first.

283 Divy. 380 speaks of a dronastupa, 'measure-stupa,' or stupa of Drona; this suggests an origin of the name of the brahmin as Drona or Dona.

284 Dial. ii 72.

285 Samy. i 157; the most extensive comparison with other recensions is by Przyluski, JA., 1918, 85 If., 401 ff.; 1919, 365 ff.

286 The final recension may be still later, for even the commentary admits that there are late additions, as will be seen below.

287 They could scarcely be said to be out of season in May. "Never quite leafless, the young foliage appears in March with the flowers. The seed ripens in June." D. Brandis, Indian Trees, p. 69, London, 1906; cf. Roxburgh, Flora Indica, p. 440, Calcutta, 1874.

288 Mhvm. iii 2; Vin. com. i 4 (Vin. iii 383).

289 Beal, ii 33.

290 The day on which Buddha died, JRAS. 1909, p. 1 ff.

291 Mhvm. xii; this is borne out by Asoka's inscriptions.

292 Buddha on his deathbed prophesied that these relics would be taken to the Naga world, and afterwards preserved in the great stupa in Ceylon. This stupa was built by Dutthagamani, king of Ceylon 101-77 B.C. and the monks sent Sonuttara, who obtained these relics for it from the Nagas. Mhvm. xxx 17 ff.

293 The account of the relics in Bigandet ii 91 ff., 134 ff., is directly taken from this commentary. There is a similar story about them in Divy. 380.

294 JRAS. 1898, 387; later discussions by W. C. Peppe, 573; by V. A. Smith. 868; by T. Bloch, 1899,425; by Rhys Davids. 1901, 397; by J. F. Fleet, 1905, 679; 1906, 149, 655, 881; by F. W. Thomas, 1906, 452; by R. Pischel in ZDMG. 1902, 157; by A. Barth in Journal des Savants, 1906, 541. transl. in Ind. Ant. 1907, 117.

295 Luders following Fuhrer's order translates: "This receptacle of the relics of Budha (Buddha), the Holy One (bhagavat), of the Sakiyas (Sakyas), (is the gift) of the brothers of Sukiti (Sukirti), jointly with their sisters, with their sons and their wives." App. to Epigr. Ind. x, No. 931.

296 His reasons for this translation were (1) the order of the words, but his reasons never appear to have convinced other scholars, and (2) the curious nature of the relics, which are more likely to belong to a family than to a. Buddha, but it is a question of what may have been thought likely by the Buddhists of the third century B.C.

297 According to the Dhammapada form of the legend; see p. 140.

298 A. Barth, loc. cit., where the minutiae of the grammatical difficulties will be found.

299 Mhvm. continuation of xxxvii; Dathavamsa. JPTS. 1884, English translation by Sir M. Coomaraswamy, 1874; text and translation by Dr. B. C. Law, Calcutta, 1925. J. Gerson da Cunha, Memoir on the history of the Tooth-relic of Ceylon, London, 1875.

300 Arch. Surv., Report 1908-9, p. 49.

301 Identified with ruins east and north-east of Saraikula, a junction 20 miles north-west of Rawalpindi.

302 The Pioneer, March 16, 1917; full report in Arch. Surv. Report 1912-13, p. 18 ff.; JRAS. 1914, 973 ff.
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:15 am

CHAPTER XII: THE ORDER

THE oldest account of the history of the Order after Buddha's death is in the last two chapters of the Cullavagga of the Vinaya, which give the history of the first and second Councils.303 This means that our authority for the first Council is more than a century, probably two centuries, after the event. It has been mentioned that when the news of Buddha's death was brought to Kassapa the Great and his monks, one of them, Subhadda, expressed his satisfaction that they were now free from the restraint of Buddha's authority. It is this incident which the Cullavagga says was the occasion of Kassapa proposing that there should be a recital of the Dhamma and Vinaya. But the earlier Digha account makes no mention of a council. Hence, said Oldenberg, it proves that the Digha knew nothing of a council, and the story of the first Council is pure invcntion.304 But it proves nothing of the kind. It only proves that the compiler of the Digha shows no trace of connecting Subhadda's outburst with the summoning of a Council. There was no reason why he should do so in the middle of an account of Buddha's death. It may be the case that the incident of Subhadda was not the actual occasion of the Council. This does not prove that the Council was a fiction, but only that the inference of the Cullavagga as to its cause was a mistake. Only to this extent can we speak of proved invention, or rather of mistaken inference, with regard to the historical fact of a Council. Nevertheless, if the assumption that the Council was a real event is the most natural conclusion, it by no means follows that a faithful record of the proceedings has been preserved. 

As no written record was made, the account is a tradition which became modified by what the compiler knew of the circumstances of a later time. The Cullavagga says that Kassapa addressed the monks, and told them of his receiving the news of the death of Buddha and of the remark of Subhadda. This is given in almost the same words as in the Mahaparinibbana-sutta. It then goes on with the statement that he proposed to recite the Dhamma and Vinaya so that it might be known what they really are. The monks then asked him to choose the members, and he chose 499 arahats. He was also asked to choose Ananda, for Ananda knew the Dhamma and Vinaya, although he was not yet an arahat. They decided to spend Retreat at Rajagaha and then recite the Dhamma and Vinaya.305

In the first month they repaired dilapidations. The day before the assembly Ananda strove far into the night to attain complete enlightenment, and succeeded at dawn. Kassapa on the motion of the assembly first questioned Upali on the Vinaya, asking where the first rule was promulgated, concerning whom, the subject of it, and other details, and so on throughout the Vinaya. These details are what one who learns the Vinaya is expected to know, and they are inserted here on the assumption of the compiler that the whole arrangement and method of reciting was as he himself knew it. In the same way Ananda was questioned about each sutta of the Dhamma, and beginning with the Digha he recited the five Nikayas.

Ananda then informed the assembly that the Lord had told him that if the Order wished, it might revoke the lesser precepts. But Ananda had forgotten to ask which these were, and the assembly decided to retain the whole. Ananda was blamed for his forgetfulness, and had to confess it as a fault. He had also to confess the fault of stepping on the Lord's robe worn during Retreat when sewing it; causing the body of the departed Lord to be saluted first by women, so that it was soiled by their tears; not asking the Lord to remain for a cycle; and obtaining the admission of women to the Order. All these he confessed out of faith in the Order, though he could not see that he was to blame. Even these unhistorical details are in no sense inventions of the compiler of the account. He found them as history, and added them to another detail -- the event of the Council itself -- which also he did not invent. The truth of the belief that there was actually a Council must depend on the claim to credibility of the tradition that such a Council took place. It is not proved to be invention by the fact that it has been garnished with inappropriate or anachronistic details.

The compiler records that the recital included the five Nikayas. This shows that he thought the Dhamma to have already existed in the form in which he knew it. The omission of the Abhidhamma only proves that it was not yet known as a separate Pitaka. At the same time it is unnecessary to suppose that anything like the Abhidhamma was in existence at the first recital of the Dhamma. The references in parts of the Canon to the Miitika, the lists of the Abhidhamma, are probably later than the first Council.306

There are two facts which go to show that another and less elaborate arrangement preceded the present one. Buddhaghosa gives in addition to the present order an arrangement in which the five Nikayas are not divisions of the Dhamma, but of the whole Canon, and in the fifth are included both the Vinaya and Abhidhamma. Further, a probably still earlier arrangement of the Canon according to nine angas or constituents is also referred to.307 This appears to be prior to the division into Nikayas, and to describe various portions according to their contents and literary character. As the angas are found only in a traditional list, the exact meaning of some of the terms is not certain. They are sutta (discourse), geyya (prose and verse), veyyakarana (analysis), gatha (verse), udana (fervent utterances), itivuttaka (passages beginning, 'thus it was said'), jataka (tales, probably birth-tales), abbhutadhamma (marvellous events), vedalla (a term applied to certain suttas). In Sanskrit works this list has been extended to twelve divisions.

The recital of the Vinaya is said to have included the stating of the circumstances owing to which each rule was given. Evidently the compiler thought that the later legendary commentary was included. There is however more reason than in the case of the Dhamma for thinking that the rules themselves had assumed a definite form during Buddha's life. These form the Patimokkha, the collection of 227 rules recited on Uposatha days at full moon and new moon in the fortnightly meetings of the Order of each district. Even these are extended in the commentary by qualifications and exceptions such as inevitably develop in any system of casuistics. It is impossible to assume that we have the Patimokkha in its primitive form, for though there is general agreement between different schools, the number is not identical in all. A determination of the rules of the Discipline would be the most urgent need, as it was also at the second Council. It is this in both cases that has a good claim to be considered the historical kernel.

There was no general head of the Order, but the rank of seniority between individuals was strictly preserved. In the Ordination service the ceremony of measuring the shadow of the sun is observed, so that the exact seniority may be known.308 The Dipavamsa speaks of 'heads of the Discipline' (vinayapamokkha), and gives a list of them down to the third Council: Upali, Dasaka, Sonaka, Siggava together with Candavajji, Tissa Moggaliputta. This may represent a list of the senior elders at Rajagaha, but its correctness cannot be tested. There are other lists that come from Sanskrit sources which do not agree with this.309 Within each district the Order of monks governed itself, and this fact is enough to explain the number of schools that subsequently arose.310

The Chronicles say that Ajatasattu reigned for fourteen years after the death of Buddha. He was killed by his son Udayabhadda, who reigned sixteen years. He too was killed by his son, Anuruddhaka, who in his turn was killed by his son Munda. The combined reigns of the two last were eight years. The son of Munda, Nagadasaka, also killed his father, and reigned twenty-four years. Then the citizens said, 'This is a race of parricides,' deposed Nagadasaka, and consecrated the minister Susunaga as king. He reigned eighteen years, and was succeeded by his son Kalasoka, 'Asoka the black.'311 It was in his reign, a century after Buddha's death, that certain monks of Vesali introduced a relaxing of the rules. They held that the following ten points were permissible:

1. To keep salt in a horn.

2. To eat food when the shadow of the sun had passed two fingers breadth beyond noon.

3. For one who had eaten to go again into the village and eat.

4. For monks dwelling in the same district to hold more than one Uposatha.

5. To carry out proceedings when the assembly was incomplete.

6. To follow a practice because it was done by one's tutor or teacher.

7. For one who had finished his meal to drink milk that had turned but had not yet become curd.

8. To drink strong drink before it had fermented.

9. To sit on a rug (not the proper size) if it had no fringes.

10. To make use of gold and silver.


The matter reached a head when the elder Yasa, son of Kakandaka, came to Vesali and found the laity on Uposatha day making contributions of money to the Order. Against this he protested, and the subsequent proceedings, recorded in a story of much circumstantial detail, were finally concluded by the condemnation of the ten points at the Council of the seven hundred held at Vesali. What the historical kernel may be, apart from the ten points, is more difficult to ascertain than in the case of the first Council. One reason is that we have more abundant accounts of the second Council. The Cullavagga calls it the Council of the Vinaya. The Mahavamsa story is essentially the same, but it goes on to say that when the ten points were settled, the elder Revata held a Council of the Dhamma under the patronage of Kalasoka. Buddhaghosa in his commentary on the Vinaya follows this account.

The Dipavamsa tells us that after the wicked monks had been defeated, they formed another party, and held a rival council of ten thousand members, known as the Great Council (mahasangiti), and that it drew up a perverted recension of the Scriptures.312 There can be no doubt that a recension differing from that of the Theravada existed, even though its relation to the second Council is doubtful. It is at this time that all the records place the origination of the eighteen schools. Seventeen of these, says the Dipavamsa, were schismatic, and the first of them was that of the Mahasanghikas, who held the rival council. Of most of the rest little definite is known.313 Some of the names imply that they were bodies residing in certain districts, a circumstance that would favour the rise of peculiar views. Some are named from their characteristic doctrines, and others apparently from the names of their leaders. Mrs. Rhys Davids has shown that the commentator on the Kathavatthu refers to less than half of the eighteen schools as existent in his time. Some of them probably did not for long preserve a continuous existence, but the list remained and became traditional.

The story of the third Council shows the process of fission going much further. While the accounts of the first two Councils are found in Sanskrit sources as well as in the Pali, that is, in different schools, this Council belongs to the Theravada school alone. Kalasoka reigned twenty-eight years, and was followed by his ten brothers, who together reigned twenty-two years. Then followed the nine Nandas, whose combined rule was also twenty-two years, and of whom the last was Dhanananda. He was slain by the great minister Canakka (Canakya), who raised to the throne Candagutta (Candragupta) of the race of the Moriyas. It was this king, known to the West as Sandrocottus or Sandrokyptos, who made a treaty with Seleucus Nicator about 804 B.C. He reigned twenty-four years, his son Bindusara twenty-eight, and was succeeded by his son Asoka.

The legend of the great Asoka, as told in the Chronicles, is that during his father's lifetime he was made viceroy in Ujjeni, and there his son Mahinda and his daughter Sanghamitta were born. At his father's death he slew his hundred brothers and seized the throne. Four years afterwards he was consecrated king. This was 218 years after Nirvana. On hearing the preaching of the elder Nigrodha he was established in the Refuges and the Precepts, and because there were 84,000 sections in the Dhamma, he caused 84,000 monasteries to be built. He became known as Dhammasoka, and his children Mahinda and Sanghamitta entered the Order.

The heretics then lost gain and honour, and as they came into the monasteries, it was for seven years impossible for the Uposatha ceremonies to be carried out. A minister, who was sent by the king to order them to be performed, was foolish enough to try and enforce the command by killing some of the monks. Asoka much agitated at the event appealed to the elder Tissa Moggaliputta to know if he was involved in the guilt of bloodshed, but the elder told him that if the mind was not defiled, there was no resulting karma. Then Asoka assembled the total number of monks, and asked them what the doctrine of Buddha was. All those who gave heretical answers he turned out, 60,000 in all. The rest declared that they were Vibhajjavadins, followers of the doctrine of analysis, which the elder declared to be that of Buddha. Thenceforth the Order held Uposatha in concord.

Tissa chose a thousand learned monks to make a collection of the Dhamma, and held a council of the Dhamma as had been done by the elders Kassapa and Yasa. In the assembly he spoke the work Kathavatthu for the crushing of other schools.

The second and third Councils are usually accepted as historical, but the same critical principles which reject the first Council would also condemn the others, and Dr. Franke quite consistently does so. A conflict of historical principle is involved, as will be seen later in the discussion of the historicity of the whole period down to Asoka.

The records that we possess were preserved in such a way that it was impossible to avoid the addition of later legends and misinterpretations in the record of facts, so that the resulting account is not history in the modern sense. But the basis is a central circumstance without which the legends would not have accumulated. Are we to judge this by the contradictions in the details and reject it all, or to conclude that the chroniclers, who undoubtedly aimed at telling the truth, have preserved the kernel of the whole?

_______________

Notes:

303 Vin. ii 284 ff.; this is the account of the Theravada school. Other much later accounts are given in Schiefner, Tib. Leb., and Taranatha's Hist. of Buddhism.

304 Vin. i, Introd., p. xxxvii; in Buddha, p. 391, he merely speaks of the account being "durchaus unhistorisch". That may well be so in the case of a quite historical event.

305 The tradition of the Chronicles is that the Council was held under the patronage of Ajatasattu on Vebhara, one of the five hills of Rajagaha, at the entrance to the Sattapanni cave, and lasted seven months.

306 The reports of the Council that come through the Sanskrit do not add more credible details. One of them is that Kassapa himself recited the Abhidhamma. Schiefner, Tib. Leb. Hiuen Tsiang (Beal) ii, 164.

307 Majjh. i 113, etc.

308 The Ordination service, Upasampada-kammavaca, has been published and translated by J. F. Dickson, Venice, 1875, and JRAS. 1875, p. 1 ff.

309 Kern, Gesch. ii 266.

310 Ananda is said to have declared to a brahmin that no monk had been set up either by Buddha or by the Order to be a refuge to them after Buddha's death. They have refuges in themselves and in the Doctrine: Majjh. iii 9; cf. p. 146.

311 For the chronology see Geiger, transl. of Mhvm; V. A. Smith, Early Hist. of India, ch. 2; Kern Gesch. ii 226 ff. The Chronicles distinguish this Asoka from the later Dhammasoka. In Taranatha they are confused or identified.

312 See the passage quoted in the Appendix. p. 252.

313 For a discussion of the Pali and Sanskrit accounts of these schools see Mrs. Rhys Davids' Prefatory Notes to Points of Controversy (transl. of Kathavatthu).
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

Postby admin » Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:17 am

CHAPTER XIII: BUDDHISM AS A RELIGION

THE most primitive formulation of Buddhism is probably found in the four Noble Truths.314 These involve a certain conception of the nature of the world and of man. The first three insist on pain as a fact of existence, on a theory of its cause, and on a method of its suppression. This method is stated in the fourth truth, the Noble Eightfold Path. It is this way of escape from pain with the attaining of a permanent state of repose which, as a course of moral and spiritual training to be followed by the individual, constitutes Buddhism as a religion.

All Indian religions are dominated by a single conception, which goes back to pre-Indian times. In both Vedic and Old Persian it is expressed by the same word315 meaning 'law'. It is the view that all things and beings follow or ought to follow a certain course prescribed for them. This course is based upon the actual nature and constitution of the existing world, through which the sun rises duly, the seasons return, and each individual part performs its own function. The possibility of such a conception must have arisen very early in the formation and growth of the association of individuals in societies. A member of a tribe must act in certain ways supposed to be advantageous to his fellow individuals and himself, and certain other actions are forbidden. From the later Vedic period we find this conception expressed as dharma covering every form of human action. It includes morals, but is much wider, and its ritual aspect is seen in the Brahminical sacrificial literature of Buddhist and pre-Buddhist times, which prescribes the most minute details, down to the shape and number of the bricks in the altar, and which, perhaps owing to our fragmentary knowledge of the sources, makes the sacrificial and ritual ceremonies appear to overshadow all other activities. This is the dharma of the priests who controlled the sacrifices, and who also undertook to interpret the corresponding dharma of the warriors, the householders, and the serfs.316

But in the sixth century B.C. protests had already arisen, not against dharma, but against the view taken by the class of brahmins concerning their own functions, and what they declared to be the dharma of the other divisions of society. Brahminism had not yet reached the extreme east of India, and even in the home of Buddhism was probably recent enough to have met with opposition and counter-claims. The claim of the Sakyas to belong to the best caste, that of the warriors, is well known; and though in the discourses the brahmins are treated respectfully, their claims are criticised and rejected. This was not peculiar to Buddhism, for there is no reason to doubt that the legends about other nonbrahminical teachers and ascetics who had left the world represent a real state of affairs. These teachers were all in revolt against the established view of dharma, and offered new systems, both theories of existence and ways of salvation ranging from mere hedonism and materialism to the most extreme forms of self-torture. Two other conceptions which Buddhism found current in the thought of the time were the dogmas of karma, 'action', and of samsara, transmigration or rebirth. They are the Indian answers to the eternal problems of pain and evil. A man does wrong and suffers for it. But he may suffer when he has done no apparent wrong. Hence his wrong was done in a former life, and if he does wrong and apparently receives no retribution, he will be punished for his sin in another birth. Like all theories that accept sin and evil as positive realities, the doctrine of rebirth rests upon faith, and ultimately on the faith that sin must find its punishment. Buddhism took over the established belief without questioning, and the doctrine was even defended by the stories of Buddhist arahats with the faculty of perceiving the destinies of those who had died, and of individuals who returned from another world to tell their fate. The world being thus a place where a certain course of action was necessary for welfare, and the individual being certain that for any error he would one day be punished, it was necessary for him to know what dharma to follow, and what the real nature of the world was, so far as it affected his course of action. Rival teachers were ready, each claiming to have found the way.

It is on the side of morality that Buddhism is best known in the West; and it is on this side that the greatness and originality of the founder's system is seen, whether considered in its historical development in discarding or reforming current views, or in relation to other systems that mark a definite progress in the ethical ideals of humanity. It was not merely a rule of life for ascetics, but also a system for laymen, applicable in all the duties of daily life; and in the case of the monk the moral principles remain an essential part of the training of one who has set before himself the aim of reaching the highest goal in his present life. We do not need to question the fact that Buddha adopted the best of the moral teaching that he found. Every system arises out of its predecessor, and Buddha himself is represented as blaming the Brahmins for having degenerated from their former pure morality. There were many in the world, as Brahma told Buddha when he began to preach, who were ready to receive the new teaching; and to these the revelation came with an authority for which their moral natures longed. Further, as being the 'eternal dhamma' it was inherent in the true nature of things, and Buddha was held to have rediscovered what had been mostly lost.

Two features that distinguished Buddhist ethics are the practical and workable system that it evolved for lay people, and the skill with which practices in current belief or ritual were spiritualised and given a moral significance. In the discourse to the brahmin Kutadanta Buddha tells how an ancient king wished to perform a great sacrifice, and how he was finally induced by his family priest to perform it so that no oxen, goats, fowls, swine, or other living things were slain, no trees were cut down for the sacrificial posts, no grass for strewing was cut, the slaves and servants were not beaten, but did their work without weeping and fear of punishment.317

Kutadanta asks what sacrifice is more eminent and of greater fruit than this. Buddha says the giving of alms to virtuous ascetics, still greater is regular giving to the fourfold Order, still greater is taking refuge in the Buddha, and still greater is keeping with well-disposed mind the learner's sentences. These are the five moral rules, binding on all lay people: refraining from killing, from taking what is not given, from wrongful indulgence in the passions, from lying, and from intoxicants.

In the Exhortation to Singalaka318 Buddha is represented as finding a householder worshipping the six quarters (the cardinal points, nadir, and zenith). His father, he says, had told him to do so. Buddha does not reprove him for doing this, but says the quarters ought not to be worshipped ill that way: He points out the four sins, killing, stealing, wrongful indulgence in the passions, and lying; four occasions of wrong doing, partiality, hatred, stupidity and fear; six ways of losing wealth, and six dangers in each of them; four kinds of enemies that look like friends, and four kinds of true friends.

The true disciple worships the quarters by looking on mother and father as the east. He says "I have been cherished by them, and I will cherish them; I will do them service, I will maintain the family, and I will make offerings to the departed spirits." And the parents make return to him in five ways, and so of the other quarters. He worships the south by duties to his teachers, the west by cherishing and being faithful to his wife, the north by devotion to his friends, the nadir by caring for his slaves and servants, and the zenith by caring for ascetics and brahmins. This has been called 'the whole duty of the Buddhist layman', but it is very far from being the whole duty, even for the layman. Moral action leads to rewards of happiness in the present or another existence, and this is emphatically taught, but it cannot lead to salvation, to complete escape from a kind of existence in which all is transitory, and hence painful. Even the layman has set before him, in the four stages of the Path, a course of training which at once raises him above the aim of seeking final happiness in the rewa1'd of good deeds.

The arrangement of the Path in four stages is frequently found In later works, and though it occurs in the Canon, it is probably a reclassification of earlier teaching: Lay people are frequently represented as attaining the first three stages.

In the first stage he who has entered the stream (sotapanna) destroys the three bonds (belief in a permanent self, doubt, and trust in good works and ceremonies); he is freed from liability to be reborn in a state of suffering, and is destined for enlightenment.

In the second stage having destroyed the three bonds, and reducing passion, hatred, and confusion of mind, he becomes a once-returner (sakadagami), and (if he dies in this state), returns only once to the world before making an end of pain.

Thirdly having destroyed the five lower bonds (the three above with sensuality and malice),319 he becomes reborn in a higher existence, and not being liable to return to this world (anagami), attains Nirvana there.

In these three stages there is no aiming at the accumulation of meritorious action. The moral training remains an essential part, in which the actual tendencies and principles that lead to immoral action are eradicated, but more fundamental is the eradication of all those tendencies that are expressions of thirst or craving (tanha) for any form of existence in the universe. This craving, in its different forms classified as the bonds, the hindrances, and the asavas, is destroyed with the knowledge of the origin of pain and of the way in which it ceases. Then the fourth stage, that of the arahat, is reached, and the individual, if he has not already left the world, ceases ipso facto to be a layman. He has rid himself of the craving which for the common man makes worldly life desirable, and "abides in the realisation of emancipation of heart and emancipation of insight."320 The way to this supreme experience is the Noble Eightfold Path: right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

In considering the subject historically, it is natural to ask not merely what we find in the developed system, but what we may hold to have been actually taught by Buddha. We can point to certain elements which must be fundamental, and to much which is certainly scholastic addition, but no distinct line can be drawn between the two. The first thirteen suttas of the Digha, for instance, contain a list of moral rules known as the Silas. This has no doubt been inserted by the redactor, who has adapted it to each of the discourses. Yet it cannot be called older than the discourses themselves: it is certainly only older than the present redaction of these discourses. But other portions of the discourses are evidently ancient, and may belong to the primitive teaching. They are sections which occur repeatedly in other places. Like all these passages intended for repetition they would be liable to be added to, and all that can be claimed is that if they are not the ipsissima verba of Buddha, they are the oldest passages which represent the Doctrine as it was understood by the disciples. By taking one of these discourses it will be possible to see what the teaching was at a certain stage, and from this to judge the attempts that have been made to extract or reconstruct a primitive teaching. As a matter of fact the portions that appear to be additions do not seek to modify the doctrines or to introduce new and opposing principles.

Among these discourses the fullest exposition of the Buddhist training is found in the sutta on the fruits of being an ascetic.321 It is inserted in a legend of king Ajatasattu, who is said to have come to Buddha after having inquired of the leaders of six rival schools. The reply of Buddha forms a description of the progress of the monk through the stages of morality and concentration to insight with the acquiring of complete enlightenment.

The king asks if Buddha can explain what fruit (advantage) can be seen in this world in the ascetic life. Buddha, after pointing out the advantages that even a slave or a householder wins merely by leaving the world, takes the case when a Buddha has arisen. A man hears the Doctrine, and acquires faith in the Buddha. He finds that he cannot lead a truly religious life in a house, and he leaves the world. He (1) keeps the moral rules, (2) protects the door of his sensuous faculties, and (3) acquiring mindfulness and alertness he is (4) content. The detailed explanation of the first of these divisions is given in the section known as the Silas, the Moralities, which are subdivided into small, middle, and great, and are here given with some abbreviation.

MORALITY

In the first division of the primary moral rules the monk abandons the killing of living things, lays aside the use of a stick or knife, and full of pity he dwells with compassion for the welfare of all living things.

Abandoning the taking of what is not given he takes and expects only what is given, and dwells without thieving.

Abandoning incontinence he lives apart in perfect chastity.

Abandoning falsehood he speaks the truth, is truthful, faithful, trustworthy, and breaks not his word to people.

Abandoning slander he does not tell what he has heard in one place to cause dissension elsewhere. He heals divisions and encourages friendships, delighting in concord and speaking what produces it.

Abandoning harsh language his speech is blameless, pleasant to the ear, reaching the heart, urbane, and attractive to the multitude.

Abandoning frivolous language he speaks duly arid in accordance with the doctrine and discipline, and his speech is such as to be remembered, elegant, clear, and to the point.

Then follow a number of further rules applying especially to his life as monk. He eats at the right time, does not see displays of dancing and music, does not use garlands, scents and ornaments, or a high bed. He does not take gold and silver and certain kinds of food, or accept property in slaves, animals, or land. He does not act as a go-between, or take part in buying and selling, and the dishonest practices connected therewith.

The Middle Moralities include avoiding the injuring of seedlings, the storing up of food and various articles, the seeing of spectacles, displays. of animal fighting, matches, contests, sports, and army manoeuvres, all kinds of games of chance and gambling, the use of luxurious furniture, cosmetics, shampooing, and various ways of tending the body. The monk does not indulge in vulgar talk and tales, or wrangle about the doctrine, or act as messenger for kings and others, or practise the deceitful interpretation of signs.

The Great Moralities include the avoiding of many arts and practices of which the brahmins were especially accused, such as the interpretation of signs on the body, portents, dreams, marks made by rats, the performance of various sacrifices and magical ceremonies, the interpretation of lucky marks on things, persons, and animals, prophesying victory to an army, foretelling astronomical events, famines, epidemics, lucky days, and the use of spells.


Although Buddhist ethics is ascetic in the sense of involving the rejection by the monk of all sensuous pleasures, it is remarkable how little the mere abstinence from pleasure is emphasised in these moral rules. Self-mortification on the other hand is strongly denounced, as in the first sermon (p. 87), and its condemnation is implied in the description of Buddha's mistaken austerities before his enlightenment. There is also a recurring list of the ascetic practices of the naked ascetics, e.g. Digha, i 166; cf. Rhys Davids' introduction to this sutta, Dial. i 206.

CONCENTRATION

Buddha next goes on to describe the advantages of concentration (samadhi). This term is much wider than 'mystic meditation', and includes spiritual exercises and all the methods of mental training that lead to enlightenment. Among these is the practice of concentrating the mind on a particular object, through which it becomes more and more intently fixed, and passes through certain psychical phases as the sphere of consciousness becomes narrowed and intensified, and at the same time shut off from outside influences. The resemblance to Western mysticism in the methods and phenomena produced will be noticed later.

The monk guards the door of his sensuous faculties by being restrained in whatever he apprehends by the five senses and by the inner sense of the mind as a sixth, not inquiring into physical details closely.322 He is thus protected from greed and disappointment, evil ideas do not master him, and he enjoys unimpaired happiness.

The monk next acquires mindfulness and full consciousness of what he is about, whether in coming and going, looking, stretching himself, wearing his robe and bowl, and in all the actions of daily life, so that he does not through carelessness act in an unseemly manner. He is then content, and takes his robe and bowl with him as a bird takes its wings.

With these four qualifications, morality, guarding the senses, mindfulness of behaviour, and contentedness, the monk dwells in a lonely place, at the foot of a tree in a forest, on a hill or in a mountain cavil or a cemetery, and after his meal sits cross-legged and upright, setting up mindfulness before him. He abandons greed, dwells with greed dispelled from his heart, and purifies his heart from greed, (2) from malice, dwelling with compassion for the good of all living things, (3) from sloth, (4) distraction, and (5) from doubt. When he sees in himself the disappearance of these five hindrances, exultation arises, as he exults joy arises, as his mind feels joy his body becomes serene and feels pleasure, and as it feels pleasure323 his mind is concentrated.


Then follows the description of the four stages of trance.324 They are produced by various methods of meditation on various subjects, and here we have only the description of the resulting states of consciousness.

(1) The monk free from the passions and evil thoughts attains and abides in the first trance of pleasure with joy, which is accompanied by reasoning and investigation, and arises from seclusion. He suffuses, fills, and permeates his body with the pleasure and joy arising from seclusion, and there is nothing in his body untouched by this pleasure and joy arising from seclusion.

(2) Again, with the ceasing of reasoning and investigation, in a state of internal serenity with his mind fixed on one point, he attains and abides in the second trance of pleasure with joy produced by concentration, without reasoning and investigation. He suffuses, fills, and permeates his body with the pleasure and joy produced by concentration, and there is nothing in his body untouched by it.

(3) Again, with equanimity towards joy and aversion he abides mindful and conscious, and experiences the pleasure that the noble ones call 'dwelling with equanimity, mindful, and happily', and attains and abides in the third trance. He suffuses, fills, and permeates his body with pleasure, without joy, and there is nothing in his body untouched by it.

(4) Again, abandoning pleasure and pain, even before the disappearance of elation and depression he attains and abides in the fourth trance which is without pain and pleasure, and with the purity of mindfulness and equanimity. He sits permeating his body with mind purified and cleansed, and there is nothing in his body untouched by it.


INSIGHT325

The monk has so far purified his mind and heart, and continues his training with his attention directed to the actual realisation of the truths. With these practices he acquires supernormal powers.

With mind concentrated, purified, cleansed, spotless, with the defilements gone, supple, ready to act, firm, impassible, he directs his attention to knowledge and insight. He understands that this my body has a shape, consists of the four elements, was produced by a mother and father, a collection of milk and gruel, subject to rubbing, pounding, breaking, and dissolution, and on this my consciousness rests, hereto it is bound.

He then directs his attention to creating a mind-formed body. From his body he creates a mind-formed body having shape, and with all its limbs and faculties.

He directs his attention to various kinds of magical powers (iddhi). From being one he becomes many, and from being many becomes one. He goes across walls and hills without obstruction, plunges into and out of the earth, goes over water as if on dry land, passes through the air sitting cross-legged, and even touches the mighty moon and sun with his hand, and reaches to the world of Brahma.

With purified divine ear he hears divine and human sounds both distant and near.

He understands the state of the minds of other beings.

The last three stages attained are called the knowledges (vijja).

(1) The monk directs his attention to remembering his former existences. He remembers thousands of births and many cycles of existence, and knows that in such a place he was a being of 'such a name and clan, and had certain experiences and length of life in each of these births. 

(2) He directs his attention to the knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings. With divine purified vision he sees evil doers being reborn in hell, and the virtuous in heaven, just as a man in a palace may see persons entering and coming out of a house.

(3) He then directs his attention to the knowledge of the destruction of the asavas.326 He duly understands, 'this is pain,' 'this is the cause of pain,' 'this is the cessation of pain,' 'this is the way leading to the cessation of pain.' He duly understands, 'these are the asavas,' 'this is the cause of the asavas,' 'this is the cessation of the asavas,' 'this is the way to the cessation of the asavas.' When he thus knows and thus perceives, his mind is released from the asava of lust, from the asava of (desire for) existence, from the asava of ignorance. In the released is the knowledge of his release; he understands that rebirth is destroyed, the religious life has been led, done is what was to be done, there is nothing further beyond this world.327


It may readily be admitted that this scheme as we now find it has undergone enlargement. The lists of moral offences as well as the different types of concentration would be very liable to receive additions. But even as it stands the scheme appears to be old, in that it omits several developments found in late works, as in Buddhaghosa's Visuddhi-magga, where it is arranged in forty methods of meditation (kammarthana) by which the trances and other stages are produced.328 Four (or five) of these are the attainments (samapatti), and need special mention here, as they are said to have been attained by Buddha at his final Nirvana. As they are not mentioned in the older accounts as a part of the training, they probably were originally an independent and parallel method of concentration; but they have become treated as a continuation of the trances, and with these form the eight or (with the addition of a fifth) nine attainments. By means of the four trances the disciple rises out of the realm of sensual passion (karma), and by means of the attainments beyond the realm of shape or form (rupa)

(1) Passing entirely beyond the perceptions of bodily shape, with the disappearance of the perceptions of resistance, not reflecting on the perceptions of diversity, (he perceives) 'space is infinite,' and attains and abides in the stage of the infinity of space.

(2) Passing entirely beyond the stage of the infinity of space, (he perceives) 'consciousness is infinite', and attains and abides in the stage of the infinity of consciousness.

(3) Passing entirely beyond the stage of the infinity of consciousness, (he perceives) 'there is nothing,' and attains and abides in the stage of nothingness.

(4) Passing entirely beyond the stage of nothingness he attains and abides in the stage of neither consciousness nor non-consciousness.329


It is usually held that the practice of concentration is borrowed from the methods of the Yoga philosophy. This is probable, but little direct evidence is available. We are told in the legends that Buddha studied under Alara Kalama and Uddaka the son of Rama, but all we learn is that the former made the goal consist in the attainment of the stage of nothingness, and the latter in the attainment of the stage of neither consciousness nor non-consciousness. These are Buddhist terms for two of the attainments, and there is no reason to suppose that the legend is recording exact details of fact about two teachers who were dead before Buddha began to preach. The compiler is using the only terms he knew to express the imperfect efforts of Buddha's predecessors.330

All that we know of the Yoga system is later than Buddhism, and no direct comparison can be made about the origins, but we find it assumed in Buddhist works that the practice of concentration was not original in Buddhism. What was claimed as original was the true method -- right concentration. A more important cause of the resemblance between Buddhist practice and Yoga is the fact that they developed side by side. Not only would there be comparison and imitation, but a member of one sect might pass over to the other and take his methods with him. It is possibly owing to the rivalry of systems that we find included among the Buddhist methods the acquisition of exceptional psychical powers. They are exceptional, not strictly abnormal or supernatural according to Indian views, but only the normal results of following out the prescribed practices. They become prominent in late Buddhist accounts, where we find two distinct ways of regarding them. On the one hand there is the tendency to look upon them, like miracles, as testimonies for converting unbelievers, as in the story of the conversion of the three Kassapas and of Buddha's miracles at Kapilavatthu. He is frequently represented as sending out a mind-formed image of himself to help or warn a disciple, and as reading the minds of others. On the other hand the acquiring of these powers is elsewhere depreciated as not leading to the end. Buddha himself is said to have forbidden his disciples to exercise them, though various arahats are admitted to have possessed them in different degrees. Even the knowledge of one's former existences, says Buddhaghosa, may be obtained by non-Buddhists, but they remember only forty cycles owing to their dulness of understanding. In the discourse to Mahali Buddha describes the power of seeing divine shapes and hearing divine sounds, but "not for the sake of realising these practices of concentration do monks follow the religious life with me".

The practice of concentration has a predominant position both in the Digha and the Majjhima, but it cannot be assumed that the attainment of even the highest mystical state was the only method. The states are in no sense the end, but only a means to the winning of knowledge, "the attainment, comprehending, and realising even in this life emancipation of heart and emancipation of insight." In the legend of the early career of Vipassin Buddha the main events correspond with that of Gotama, the prophecy at his birth based on the thirty-two marks, the three palaces, the four signs he renunciation, and the enlightenment. But in Vipassin's enlightenment there is no word of special mystic processes. He meditated and thought out the tenfold Chain of Causation, and with the knowledge of the cessation of each link vision and knowledge arose.

In the practice of Buddhist mysticism there is more correspondence than might seem with the type which makes the end union with God. The latter type is defined by Bremond, who is speaking from a strictly Catholic standpoint, in a way which shows their common features. He describes it as a natural disposition, which leads certain souls to seize directly and lovingly, by a kind of sudden grasp, the spiritual hidden below sensible experiences, the one in the many, order in confusion, the eternal in the transient and the divine in the created.331

This may be almost entirely applied to Buddhist mysticism, which is no mere production of a subjective psychic state, but in intention at least the attaining to reality in phenomena, to the eternal truth of things as rightly apprehended. "One and all," says Dr. M. Ba-han, "are seized with a consuming desire (which becomes an intense religious experience) to achieve a direct and immediate realisation of the Supremely Real -- call it what they may -- in the here and the now. To arrive at their end they invariably awaken the inherent divine potentialities, while keeping the mind in a state of perfect repose by absolute seclusion from the outside reality."332

The methods and psychical processes involved also correspond. In both there must be a preceding course of moral training, followed by meditation and concentration, in which the attention is confined to one object, accompanied by a narrowing and intensification of consciousness with certain emotional changes. Suddenly a new experience occurs. To the Christian mystic it is nothing due to any effort of his own, but something given-- "the presence of God felt." To draw a real parallel here is impossible. The Buddhist recognises no external help. He believes himself to have already reached far higher than anything that he acknowledges as God, but he does experience a sudden realisation (sacchikiriya), when the full knowledge of the truths becomes manifest to him, and he attains the state of arahat.333

The state to which the monk has now attained is the other shore, the immortal (i.e. permanent) or fixed state, Nirvana. The word Nirvana (Pali nibbana), 'blowing out, extinction,' is not peculiarly Buddhistic, and its application varies with the conception that each school of religion has formed of the chief end of man.334 For the Buddhist it is, as is clear from the above passages, the extinction of craving, of the desire for existence in all its forms, and the consequent cessation of pain.335

From lust and from desire detached,
The monk with insight here and now
Has gone to the immortal peace,
The unchangeable Nirvana-state.


It is unnecessary to discuss the view that Nirvana means the extinction of the individual. No such view has ever been supported from the texts, and there is abundant evidence as to its real meaning, the extinction of craving in this life, as Rhys Davids always insisted. The metaphor of craving as fire and of its continuance as grasping (application of fuel), is frequent. Thus in the Discourse on Fuel or Grasping:

In one who abides surveying the enjoyment in things that make for grasping craving increases. Grasping is caused by craving, the desire for existence by grasping, birth by the desire for existence, and old age and death by birth. Grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair arise. Even so is the origin of all this mass of pain.

Just as if a great mass of fire were burning of ten, twenty, thirty, or forty loads of faggots, and a man from time to time were to throw on it dry grasses, dry cow-dung, and dry faggots; even so a great mass of fire with that feeding and that fuel would burn for a long time ... In one who abides surveying the misery in things that make for grasping, craving ceases. With the ceasing of craving grasping ceases, with the ceasing of grasping desire for existence ceases, with the desire for existence birth ceases, and with the ceasing of birth old age and death cease. Grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair cease. Even so is the cessation of all this mass of pain.

Just as if a great mass of fire were burning of ten, twenty, thirty, or forty loads of faggots, and a man were not from time to time to throw on it dry grasses, dry cow-dung, or dry faggots; even so a great mass of fire with the exhaustion of the original fuel, and being Unfed with any more would go out.

Even so when one abides contemplating the misery in things that make for grasping, craving ceases. With the ceasing of craving grasping ceases... Even so is the ceasing of all this mass of pain.336


A more subtle question is what happens at death to him who has attained Nirvana in this life. It is impossible to point with certainty to the Scriptures and say, here are Buddha's own words, but we do find there the way in which the disciples understood his teaching. A remarkable feature of the passages collected by Oldenberg is the fact that even in the Scriptures the most important statements are not given as Buddha's own words, but as the exposition of disciples, showing that they had to depend on their own inferences.

The ascetic Malunkyaputta is said to have asked Buddha a number of questions, one of which was whether Tathagata exists after death. Buddha refused to say whether he exists, whether he does not exist, whether he exists and does not exist, or whether he is non-existent and not non-existent after death.

And why, Malunkyaputta, have I not explained it? Because it does not tend to the advantage of the religious life, to aversion, absence of passion, cessation, calm, insight, enlightenment, Nirvana. Therefore have I not explained it.337


The standpoint that the Lord has not explained it runs through all the passages on the subject, to which different explanations and reasons are added. Such is the dialogue attributed to the nun Khema and king Pasenadi. To all his questions she replies, "the Lord has not explained."

"Why has the Lord not explained?" "Let me ask you a question, O king, and as it suits you, so explain it. What think you, O king? Have you an accountant or reckoner or estimater who can count the sand of the Ganges, and say, so many grains, or so many hundred, thousand, or hundred thousand grains?" "No, reverend one." "Have you an accountant who can measure the water of the ocean, and say, so many measures of water, or so many hundred, thousand, or hundred thousand measures?" "No, reverend one." "And why?" "Reverend one, the ocean is deep, immeasurable, unfathomable." "Even so, O king, that body by which one might define a Tathagata is relinquished, cut off at the root, uprooted like a palmtree, brought to nought, not to arise in the future. Freed from the designation of body a Tathagata is deep, immeasurable, unfathomable as the ocean.


This is repeated for the other four constituents of the individual. Here the question is stated with regard to a Tathagata, but as the next example shows, it applies to anyone who has reached Nirvana.

A disciple Yamaka formed the heretical view that he understood the Doctrine as taught by the Lord to be that a monk free from the asavas after the destruction of his body is cut off, destroyed, and does not exist after death. The refutation is again attributed to a disciple. Sariputta asks him whether the Tathagata is the body, or in the body, or other than the body (and similarly of the other constituents), whether he is all the five constituents together, or whether he is without them all. In each case the monk denies, and Sariputta says that in this life a Tathagata is not to be comprehended in truth and reality, and that hence he has no right to say that a monk free from the asavas with the destruction of his body is cut off, destroyed, and does not exist after death.

The clearest statement against annihilation (uccheda) is in the certainly late compilation of the Udana (VIII 1-4):

There is a stage (ayatana), where there is neither earth nor water nor fire nor wind, nor the stage of the infinity of space, nor the stage of the infinity of consciousness, nor the stage of nothingness, nor the stage of neither consciousness nor non-consciousness. There is not this world, nor the other world, nor sun and moon. That, O monks, I call neither coming nor going nor staying nor passing away nor arising; without support, or going on, or basis is it. This is the end of pain.

There is an unborn, an unbecome, an unmade, an uncompounded; if there were not, there would be no escape from the born, the become. the made, and the compounded.


But this led to no positive conception,338 and we find in the much later Questions of Milinda (73) a tendency to a negative interpretation:

The Lord has reached Nirvana with the extinction of the root which consists in the complete passing away of the khandhas. The Lord has perished, and it is impossible to point him out, saying, 'here he is,' and 'there he is'. But the Lord can be pointed out in the body of the Doctrine, for the Doctrine was taught by the Lord.


The kind of Nirvana here mentioned refers to a distinction of two Nirvanas made by the commentators. They had to explain how it was that Buddha is said to have attained it under the Bodhi-tree and also at death. It is only the former that is referred to in the oldest texts, or rather the distinction had not yet been made. In the Dhammapada (89) we read:

Who in the ways of enlightenment
Fully and well have trained their minds,
And in the abandonment of clinging
Delight, no longer grasping aught,
Free from the asavas, shining ones,
They in the world have reached Nirvana.


The commentator here on 'reached Nirvana' (parinibbuta) explains the two kinds, the first as here described, on attaining arahatship, and the discarding of the round of defilements but with a remainder of upadi (i.e. the khandhas, which still constitute him as an individual); and secondly with the cessation of the last thought, the discarding of the round of khandhas, without a remainder of upadi. This distinction cannot be called primitive, but the solution is in harmony with the rest of Buddhist psychology.339

If a positive statement could be found anywhere, we should expect it in the enraptured utterances of the enlightened disciples. But this is the conclusion of the most sympathetic interpreter of the verses of the nuns:

She (the nun) is never led to look forward to bliss in terms of time, positive or negative ... It may be that in harping in highest exultation how they had won to, and touched, the Path Ambrosial -- the Amatam Padam -- Nibbana, they implied some state inconceivable to thought, inexpressible by language, while the one and the other are limited to concepts and terms of life; and yet a state which, while not in time or space, positively constitutes the sequel of the glorious and blissful days of this life's residuum. Nevertheless, their verses do not seem to betray anything that can be construed as a consciousness that hidden glories, more wonderful than the brief span of 'cool' and calm that they now know as Arahants, are awaiting them.340

 
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Notes:

314 See the First Sermon, above p. 87.

315 Vedic rta; O. Pen. arta-, seen in names like Artaxerxes; Avestan asha.

316 The word dharma (Pali dhamma) includes conceptions for which there is no one word in western languages. Mrs. Rhys Davids has translated it 'norm. Buddhism, ch. 2. Dharma, as being the principle by which a man regulates his life, often corresponds with 'religion', but includes social and ritual activities. Hence it may sometimes be translated' law'. It is not external law, but the principles by which a man should act. When the teaching concerning dharma is formulated in a system, it becomes a body of teaching, and it is in this sense that the Dhamma of Buddha is translated 'doctrine. Another distinct use of the word is in the sense of 'thing' or 'object'. In this sense dhamma are objects of the mind, and hence they may be ideas or presentations. In primitive Buddhism they are presentations of an objective reality, but they are the starting point for later subjectivist theories; cf. p. 195 note.

317 Kutadanta-sutta, Digha, i 127; an interesting feature of the legend is that Kutadanta after hearing the story asks Buddha why he did not say, 'thus 1 have heard,' but, 'so it then was,' and 'thus it so happened.' The reason was that Buddha was telling his own experience, for he was the family priest at the time.

318 Singalovada-sutta, Digha, iii 180; it is no doubt a very late work, but it shows how Buddhist ethical teaching developed and effectively carried on the founder's teaching.

319 The five higher bonds finally destroyed are desire for the world of form, desire for the formless world, pride, haughtiness, and ignorance.

320 Buddhism has been called pessimistic, but it is so only in the sense in which all religions are pessimistic that inculcate asceticism, and place true happiness above the pleasures of sense. "If, and in so far as, the Buddha held this earthly existence capable of producing perfected types of humanity, then, even if he cherished no dream of eternal bliss unspeakable, and no vision of a future sodality of purified mankind on earth. he was in a certain way and to a certain degree optimistic rather than the reverse, in the value he set on life." Mrs. Rhys Davids in Buddhism, vol. 2, Rangoon, 1907.

321 Samannaphala-sutta, Digha, i 47.

322 E.g., if he receives food, he will not examine closely what kind it is; see Buddhaghosa's explanations in Visuddhi-magga, ch. I, pp. 20. 28.

323 This pleasure is a feature of the Middle Way. The pleasures of the senses are rejected and also the other extreme, which aims at self-mortification. Buddha is represented as discovering during his austerities that there was a pleasure in right concentration that need not be rejected. 'Joy' is an inexact rendering of piti, says Mr. Aung. It is zest felt by an agent in his occupation, or excitement of feeling accompanying special attention to some object. Comp. p. 243.

324 Jhana, Skt. dhyana; the term trance is merely a makeshift, and 'mystic meditation' is too vague; 'ecstasy,' which in Western mysticism is the culmination of the whole process in an inexpressible experience, is out of place, as the jhanas are only four stages in a much more extended scheme. It may of course be tho case that they once formed the whole of the mystic process.

325 The word is panna, wisdom or understanding, but it is here the wisdom which consists in insight into the truths, and the resulting state is enlightenment, sambodhi. Another word, dassana, 'seeing,' has also to be translated insight.

326 See p. 67; it is significant that this attaining of the truths is not expressed according to the formula of the Chain of Causation, nor is the formula mentioned in the canonical account of the enlightenment of Buddha.

327 An example of another and still later classification of the teaching is found in the thirty-seven principles tending to enlightenment (bodhipakkhika dhamma) which include: (1) four meditations, on the body, feelings, the mind, and thoughts (i.e. on the hindrances and constituents of enlightenment); (2) the four right exertions; (3) the four kinds of magic power; (4) the five faculties of faith, courage, mindfulness, concentration, and insight; (5) the five powers (the same as the faculties from a different standpoint); (6) the seven constituents of enlightenment, mindfulness, investigation of the Doctrine, courage, joy, serenity, concentration,  and equanimity; (7) the Noble Eightfold Path.

328 Ten kasina meditations (with the attention fixed on earth, water, etc.), ten meditations on different stages of a decaying corpse, six or ten remembrances (on Buddha, the Doctrine, the Order, morality, renunciation, the gods, etc.), four Brahmaviharas (producing and suffusing all around with love, compassion, sympathy, equanimity), four attainments of aruppa (formlessness), one on the four foods, and one on the four elements. For the brahmaviharas, see p. 126. The kasina practices are mentioned in the later parts of the Canon, Angut. v 46, Digha, iii 268, and are fully expounded by Buddhaghosa in Visuddhi-magga.

329 The account of the Nirvana shows still further elaboration, as it adds a fifth stage, that of the cessation of consciousness and feeling, but it is not from there that Buddha departs. He comes down to the first trance, ascends again to the fourth, and then "rising from the fourth trance the Lord straightway attained Nirvana".

330 There is one other reference to Alara in the Canon, which shows that he was looked upon as a practiser of concentration. See p. 150. When we come down to the second century A.D., we find much more detailed accounts of his philosophy in Asvaghosha's Buddhacarita, ch. 12, and they have even been treated as evidence for the sixth century B.C. Their historical value is discussed in ch. xvi.

331 H. Bremond, Hist. litteraire du sentiment religieux en France, i 517, Paris, 1916.

332 William Blake, his mysticism, p. 194. The fundamental difference between the mysticism of orthodox Catholicism and Indian mysticism is that the latter is pantheistic and assumes the ultimate identity of the divine and the human, that is, the difference lies in the cosmological theory involved rather than in the psychical state.

333 Cf. F. Heiler, Die buddh. Versenkungen, pp. 366, 379 (Aufsatze E. Kuhn gewidmet, Breslau, 1916), who astonishingly asserts that one who has reached the fourth jhana is an arahat, and declares that this stage in which there is equanimity (perfect balance between different emotions), is parallel to Plotinus's union with the One, Spinoza's amor Dei intellectualis, and the "mystic death" of Mme. Guyon. The reader can form his own opinion of this from the texts given above, but it is no easy matter to equate the corresponding psychical states. For a thoroughly sound treatment of the subject see Mrs. Rhys Davids' Buddhism and Buddhist Psychology.

334 The verb parinibbati "to attain extinction" has become connected with another root (var) meaning to cover. The etymology however throws no light on the doctrinal question as to what it is that is extinguished.

335 The works of Rhys Davids and Olden berg do not need special mention here. Earlier discussions are Colebrooke, Essays ii 424; Burnouf, Introd. 18, 589; Max Muller, Introd. to Buddhaghosha's Parables, xxxix; J. d'Alwis. Buddhist Nirvana; Childers, Pali Dict. (Nibbanam); see also art. Nirvana in ERE (bibliography); L. de la. Vallee Poussin, The way to Nirvana; F. O. Schrader, On the problem of Nirvana, JPTS. 1904-5).

336 Upadana-sutta, Samy. ii 84.

337 Culamalunkyaputta-sutta, Majjh. i 426; cf. Brahmajala-sutta, Digha. i 4 "The body of the Tathagata stays with that which leads to existence cut off. As long as his body shall stay, so long shall gods and men behold him. With the destruction of his body, after the consummation of life, gods and men shall not behold him."

338 Nor is there anything to show that it refers to existence after death. There is no doubt about a positive conception in Mahayana teaching. In the Lotus, when Buddha is preaching on Vulture Hill, innumerable millions of past Tathagatas come to hear the recital of this sutra. See Kern's translation, ch. XI. This sutra also teaches that all beings may become Tathagatas.

339 The discussion of the question by Western scholars has been largely barren, because it was begun before any of the relevant passages in the Scriptures were known. Inferences were drawn not from any actual statements in the Scriptures. but from what was supposed to be the logical result of Buddhist principles. It is now clear that there is no passage which asserts what is called a negative view, and it is certain that the doctrine of annihilation, the view that a released person is "cut off, destroyed and does not exist after death", is rejected. It is also certain that Nirvana is looked upon as a kind of existence entirely different from the transitory and impermanent nature of mundane experience. Hence it cannot be expressed in the positive terms that apply to existence as we know it.

340 Mrs. Rhys Davids, Psalms of the Sisters, Introd. xxxi.
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Re: The Life of Buddha as Legend and History, by Edward J Th

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CHAPTER XIV: BUDDHISM AS A PHILOSOPHY

A STORY in the Dhammapada commentary illustrates the distinction made in Buddhism between the letter and the spirit, between a mere knowledge of the precepts and principles of the system, and the actual attainment of a state of salvation. Two friends had entered the Order. One of them was old, and could not learn much by heart, so he was told to practise contemplation, and attained arahatship. The other learnt the whole Scriptures, and became a great teacher. He once went to pay a visit to his old friend, and Buddha who perceived his intention thought that the learned monk might try to confuse the old man, and therefore went to put the questions himself. He asked the learned monk a question about the first Trance, which he answered correctly, as well as other subtle questions about the Attainments. But when he asked him about the Path of Entering the Stream he could not reply, while the old man, who had actually entered the stream and reached all the other stages, answered one question after another. The disciples of the learned teacher murmured at Buddha's praise of an ignorant monk, but he told them that their teacher was like a man who keeps cows for hire, while the other was like the owner, who enjoys the five products of the cow.

Right views are an essential part of the Noble Path, and Buddhism, however much it avoids useless inquiries, inevitably takes up a metaphysical attitude in its statement of the Four Truths. It has indeed been asserted that Buddhism has no metaphysics, but if by metaphysics we mean the systematic interpretation of experience, it has as much right to the name as any other Indian system. Not only is it metaphysical in the statement of its own fundamental principles, but it took over much of the world-conception of Indian thought. Buddhism, like all the Indian philosophies, was never, as in the West, a mere theoretical structure due to a curiosity to know how the world goes round. The Indian systems all insist on knowledge, because true knowledge is made essential to the attaining of salvation.

The first Truth of Buddhism makes a general statement about the nature of the world: existence is painful, not merely here, but any form of existence in the universe (loka) as conceived by the Buddhists. This is one of the fundamental truths only to be fully realised with the attaining of complete enlightenment. The second Truth, that pain has a cause, has led to those developments of thought that constitute the chief claim of Buddhism to be called a philosophy. The third Truth asserts that pain can be brought to an end. These two Truths have been expanded into the Chain of Causation, the Paticcasamuppada, 'origin by way of cause.'

From ignorance as cause arise the aggregates (sankhara), from the aggregates as cause arises consciousness, from consciousness as cause arises name-and-form (mind and body), from name-and-form as cause arises the sphere of the six (senses), from the sphere of the six as cause contact, from contact as cause sensation, from sensation as cause craving, from craving as cause grasping, from grasping as cause becoming, from becoming as cause birth, from birth as cause arise old age, death, grief, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair. Even so is the origination of all this mass of pain.


There have been many attempts to expound the exact logical connexion of thought in this formula. First the assumption was made that there is a logical connexion, and then the only problem was to discover it. But we have no reason to think that the formula is a part of primitive Buddhism, nor that it was invented as a whole. In the Scriptures we find several such schemes of causal relations differing both in. the order of the links and the number. In the Digha, where the fullest canonical treatment is found, it occurs once with ten and once with nine links. In the Discourse on Fuel the first seven links are omitted, and the series begins naturally enough with the root cause of craving.341

Pischel holding that theoretical Buddhism rests entirely on Sankhya-Yoga compared and mostly identified each link in the Chain with a corresponding Sankhya or Yoga term, and held that practically all was borrowed from Sankhya- Yoga. The sankharas are the vasanas, vinnana is identical with the lingasarira, namarupa with buddhi, upadana with dharmadharmau, and bhava with sansrti. All this is quite unprovable, as we do not know that the Sankhya with these technical terms even existed when the Chain was formulated. In any case it does not tell us what the Buddhists understood by it. The Sankhya terms state the stages of evolution from a primordial matter (prakrti). This conception is not found in Buddhism, and Buddhaghosa expressly denies that ignorance is to be understood as an uncaused root cause like prakrti.342

Senart's examination leads to a very different and more probable result. The Chain is not a logical whole, but a late construction in which primitive categories are amalgamated.343 We can see some of the earlier attempts at a formulation in the Canon itself, and the borrowing of certain terms from some form of Sankhya and Yoga, or at least some of the current philosophical notions, is very probable. But a theoretical reconstruction of the historical origin of the terms would not tell us how they were interpreted by the Buddhists. More important than adding another unauthorised theory of its primitive meaning will be to begin by stating how it was understood by the earliest commentators. This interpretation is not primitive, but it gives us the traditional view adopted by Buddhists, and as will be seen differs in several respects from that in the Mahanidana-sutta attributed to Buddha himself.

Buddhaghosa344 says that the special mark of ignorance is not knowing, its essence is delusion, it appears as covering, and its immediate cause is the asavas. Elsewhere we find ignorance as one of the asavas, not an effect of them. This is not the only case where the terms of the series have to be applied in special senses.

From ignorance arise the aggregates (sankharas): The term sankhara is found used in three senses. It may mean any compounded thing. It is also used of the group of mental constituents in the fivefold division of the individual, but in this formula Buddhaghosa takes the aggregates as being expressions of will. "Their special mark is performing, their essence is striving, they appear as will, and their immediate cause is ignorance." They are not merely will as a faculty, but acts of will producing karma good or bad, and in their totality they are karma.

From the aggregates arises consciousness (vinnana). "Its mark is knowing, its essence is to precede,345 and it appears in rebirth." Consciousness is thus interpreted here as rebirth-consciousness. This is the state in which the individual exists as disembodied at the moment of conception. Such consciousness however is not a continuum persisting from rebirth to rebirth, but only one factor in the ever-changing forms of the individual, which at one stage becomes the cause of the next.

The succeeding links are more obvious, and here Buddhaghosa's etymologies do not help to explain. From consciousness arises name-and-form (namarupa), the concrete individual consisting of the immaterial part (nama) and the material (rupa). Namarupa is an upanishadic term, and is all the more likely to have been borrowed as there is another more usual division of the individual into the five khandhas, one of which is rupa, body. Nama corresponds with the other four immaterial groups.

From name-and-form arises the sphere of the six (salayatana), i.e. the six sense organs including mind (mano).

From the sphere of the six arises contact (phassa), not merely 'touch', but the contact of each sense organ, eye-contact, etc., through its appropriate' door'.

From contact arises sensation (vedana). This term usually means feeling, divided into pleasant, painful, and indifferent, but Buddhaghosa appears to use it predominantly of sensation, as he divides it into six, and says that it arises through contact of the eye and each of the other sense organs. He does not however exclude feeling, for he also says, "the three vedanas are the cause of craving."

From sensation arises craving, thirst (tanha). Apart from this formula this is the fundamental cause through which every individual in any state clings to existence. Buddhaghosa here applies the threefold division into the craving for sensuous pleasure (kama), the craving for existence, and for non-existence, and subdivides it according to each of the senses. When the craving for visible things goes along the field of sight, and proceeds by enjoying the object by means of sensuous enjoyment, then there is the craving for sensuous pleasure. When the individual thinks that the object is stable and permanent, and the craving proceeds along with the heresy of permanence, then there is the craving for existence, since passion accompanied by the heresy of permanence is such craving. But when the individual thinks that the object is annihilated and destroyed, and craving develops along with the heresy of annihilation, then there is the craving for non-existence. This is applied to each of the other senses, subdivided according to internal and external objects, and again subdivided according to past, present, and future.

From craving arises grasping (upadana). Upadana, which also means fuel, is that which keeps the craving active and feeds it like fuel. Its four forms are sensuous pleasure, heresy, belief in rites and ceremonies, and the doctrine of an atman.

From grasping arises becoming (bhava). One canonical meaning of bhava is existence or coming to be in one of the three divisions of existence, the region of sensuous desire, of form, and of the formless world. But in the formula becoming is divided by Buddhaghosa into becoming as karma and becoming as arising or rebirth (uppatti). The former is identified with the different manifestations of will (greed, etc.), so that they are identical with the sankharas. Becoming as arising is the totality of the khandhas of the individual produced by karma. This is the sense in which becoming is used when it is said to arise from grasping. But when it is said that from becoming arises birth (jati), it is becoming as karma that is meant. Becoming is both the result of the previous link and the cause of the next. Here, as in the passage from the second to the third link, there is a passing from one existence to another, and from birth arises old age and death.

It will be seen that according to this interpretation the series covers three existences. The first two links are said to refer to past existence, the links from consciousness to becoming to existence in the present, and the last two to existence in the future. This makes the sequence more intelligible, but no reason is given for the repetition of what is essentially the same in any birth. Mr. Aung emphasises the identity by arranging one group under the two others, and showing how they correspond. The stage from consciousness to sensation, says Mr. Aung, illustrates the passive side of life (uppatti-bhava), and from craving to becoming the active side of life (kamma-bhava), the working out of arising as karma. In the stage from birth to old age and death (future life) only the passive side is expressed, and in the stage from ignorance to action (sankharas) only the active side.

What is certainly an older interpretation of the formula occurs in the Mahanidana-sutta (Digha, ii 55). Here there are only nine links, the first two and the fifth (the six senses) being omitted. Contact has as cause not the six senses but name-and-form. There are other peculiarities in it. It is first stated in reverse order beginning with old age and death, which have birth as cause, down to name-and-form, which has consciousness as cause. But then another paragraph is added saying that consciousness has as its cause name-and-form. Evidently the conception of the whole series recurrent as a wheel had not yet arisen. It is then restated in direct order, beginning with consciousness, and a tenth link is made by dividing the last into two, so that grief, lamentation, etc., are a final link having old age and death as cause.

The interpretation of each link in reverse order then follows. It differs from Buddhaghosa in explaining becoming without any reference to karma. Bhava is merely coming to be in one of the three divisions of existence. The four divisions of grasping arc the same as in Buddhaghosa, and sensation is divided according to the six senses. Consciousness is also described as rebirth-consciousness even more emphatically than by buddhaghosa, and it is stated that there would be no conception or birth of an individual (name-and-form) unless the consciousness of an infant descended into the womb of the mother. Hence name-and-form has consciousness as cause. But the exposition continues, "should consciousness not get a foundation in the individual, would there be in the future the production and arising of birth, old age, death, and pain?" "No, Lord." "Therefore this is the cause346 of consciousness, that is to say, name-and-form." Consciousness and name-and-form are thus made causes of one another.

Another peculiar feature is that in the middle of the exposition another chain of causes is inserted after sensation, which makes sensation the cause of craving, and then the sequence is craving, greed, discrimination, desire and passion, attachment, acquiring, avarice, hoarding, and ending with "the use of a stick and knife, quarrelling, disputing, recrimination, backbiting, lying, and many other evil actions." This is no doubt an interpolation, as the list occurs independently in Anguttura, iv 400, and the word for cause (paticca) is different from that used in the main links. The whole exposition is said to have been given to Ananda, who had rashly said that arising by way of cause appeared to him quite clear. It is evidently older than Buddhaghosa's interpretation, and is probably the oldest record of an attempt to introduce logical consistency into the sequence. That it was not looked upon as bearing a clear and obvious meaning by the compiler of this sutta is shown by the reproof to Ananda, which he puts into the mouth of Buddha, for saying that it is clear, when it is "profound, even in its appearance profound."

The advantage to be expected from the independent investigations of modern scholars is that a treatment free from dogmatic assumptions might lead to the discovery of a more primitive train of thought. But the chief fact that results is that no agreement has been reached.347 This strengthens the view of Senart that no real logical connexion is to be found in a sequence that has been put together from various sources. Even the Buddhist commentators have had to interpret the terms in special senses, and to divide it into three lives, thus making independent divisions that correspond with some of the more rudimentary forms in the Canon.

Although the formula as such has only a historic interest, it has an importance in its being an early attempt to formulate a rational law of causation, on which the individual could act. This is the fact that Mrs. Rhys Davids has emphasised. In the midst of a world of thought permeated by animistic and polytheistic notions it put the conception of a regular sequence of events not caused by the arbitrary will of a deity, but with each series of events rising out of the previous one. This is implicit in the formula itself, but the conception was also recognised and stated, as in Majjh. ii 32.

Let the beginning be, Udayin, let the end be. I will teach you the Doctrine: when that exists, this exists; with the arising of that this arises; when that does not exist, this does not exist; with the cessation of that this ceases.


But this statement was never followed by any application of it as a universal philosophical principle. The interest lay not in a general law of causation, but in the law of the cause of pain, and this became stereotyped in the Causal Formula. Existence in the world is pain, and by the coming to know how things are causally related escape from pain is possible. This is the logical side, but for a truth which required not to be merely asserted but realised as the result of a long course of training obvious logical connexion was not the first requirement. It had been declared to belong to the truths that are beyond the sphere of logic, subtle, and to be perceived by the wise in the flash of insight that comes after long meditation and concentration.

The fullest canonical statement of the attitude of Buddhism to other systems is found in the Brahmajala-sutta (Digha, i 1). Sixty-two doctrines are there mentioned and set aside, but not one of them can be definitely identified with that of any Indian system as now known. The chief cause of this is probably that Buddhism was not in close contact with upanishadic thought, but we further find that the theories are not, as they have been called, systems, nor even the record of disputes with any actual opponents. They are abstract classifications of certain principles which appear again and again in the same formal recital, and show no evidence of real discussions with living exponents. Even if they originated in such discussions, they have become mere lists of dogmas. But if they cannot be taken as trustworthy statements of the views of opponents, they at least tell us the Buddhist position on those points. They fall into two groups:

There are those who hold views about the beginning of things in eighteen ways (pubbantakappika):

(1) Some hold in four ways that the self or soul (atman) and the universe (loka) are eternal.

(2) Some hold in four ways that the self and universe are in some respects eternal and in some not.

(3) Some hold that the universe is finite, or infinite, or finite and infinite, or neither finite nor infinite.

(4) Some wriggle like eels in four ways and refuse a clear answer.

(5) Some assert in two ways that the self and the universe have arisen without a cause.

Some hold views about the future in forty-four ways:

(1) They hold in sixteen ways that the self is conscious after death.

(2) In eight ways that it is unconscious after death.

(3) In eight ways that it is neither conscious nor unconscious after death.

(4) They hold in seven ways the annihilation of the individual.

(5) They hold that Nirvana consists in the enjoyment of this life in five ways, either in the pleasures of sense or in one of the four trances.

These appear to be all the views that the compiler thought of as being held. The heretics are all caught in this 'net of Brahma', just as a fisherman with a fine net might drag a small pool, and think, 'whatever living things of any size that there are in this pool, they are all in the net.' The large number of views is only apparent, as many differ only on unessential points. The first four views are really identical, and the only variation is that in the first the holder of the view can remember 100,000 past births, in the second he can remember his births through ten cycles, and in the third through forty cycles. The fourth case is more important, as the holder of this view is addicted to logic and investigation, and says, "eternal are the self and the universe, barren standing as on a peak, standing firm as a pillar; and these beings transmigrate, pass away, and arise, but it is eternal." Franke348 identifies this view with Sankhya, and it is so vague that the possibility cannot be denied. Oldenberg349 prefers to find Sankhya in the eighth view, which holds that the sense-organs form an impermanent, changeable atman, but that there is also a permanent atman not liable to change called thought, mind, or consciousness. This so far from being Sankhya as we know it is rather opposed to the Sankhya doctrine, which makes the atman or purusha an ultimate behind all the forms of the phenomenal consciousness.

Among all these views there is no expressed contradiction or even recognition of the Vedanta theory of an atman or brahman as the one ultimate reality. Though the personal Brahma is recognised, what is denied is not the Vedanta doctrine, but the view that Brahma is the maker or disposer of a new cycle. He is really an individual who has been reborn from a still higher state of existence owing to the exhaustion of his merit, and who does not remember his former birth.

Two of the views are assigned in other suttas to certain teachers. The doctrine of those who wriggle like eels is said to be that of Sanjaya Belatthaputta, and the annihilation doctrine that of Ajita Kesakambalin.350

All these views are rejected not because they are profound or unknowable. The Tathagata knows other things far higher than these, which are profound, hard to see, hard to understand, calm, excellent, beyond the sphere of logic, subtle, to be perceived only by the wise, and these are what he himself has comprehended and realised and now proclaims.

The same points are also treated somewhat differently in the well-known list of the undetermined questions.351

(1) Whether the universe is eternal or not.

(2) Whether the universe is finite or not.

(3) Whether the vital principle (jiva) is the same as or other than the body.

(4) Whether after death a Tathagata exists or not, whether he exists and does not exist, whether he is neither existent nor non-existent.

Here, again, it is not maintained that the questions are unknowable, but only that they have not been determined by Buddha. "For the matter does not tend to advantage, to the principle of the religious life, to aversion, absence of passion, cessation, calm, comprehension, enlightenment, Nirvana."

To this extent Buddhism may be said to be agnostic, not in teaching the fundamental unknowability of the nature of things as in Spencerian agnosticism, but in excluding from investigation certain definite problems352 which were useless to the practical aim of the seeker after freedom from pain. To human reason they are problems still.

For the Buddhist faced with the fact of pain the fundamental problem was the nature of the self. The doctrine on this question is formulated in the analysis of the individual into five groups, the khandhas: the body (rupa), feeling (vedana), perception (sanna), the aggregates (sankhara), and consciousness (vinnana). Not only the self, but all things are analysed into the elements that may be perceived in them. 'All things are without an atman,' just as a chariot is nothing but the totality of chariot-pole, axle, wheels, frame, and banner-pole. The argument has a remarkable parallel with the position of Hume:

The idea of a substance, as well as of a mode, is nothing but a collection of simple ideas, that are united by the imagination, and have a particular name assigned to them, by which we are able to recal, either to ourselves or others, that collection. But the difference' betwixt these ideas consists in this, that the particular qualities which form a substance are commonly refer'd to an unknown something, in which they are supposed to inhere.353


On the atman question the Buddhist position derives its strength from the boldness of the opposite theory. It was easy to argue against the theory of a soul which was accompanied by confident statements that could never be verified in experience. Yet the belief contains a principle which in spite of the Buddhists and the Humists has never been banished from philosophy. Why should these groups of sensations and thoughts appear as independent centres, each representing the world in miniature? As William James says, "when Peter and Paul wake up in the same bed, and recognise that they have been asleep, each one of them mentally reaches back and makes connexion with but one of the two streams of thought which were broken up by the sleeping hours."354 The problem of individuality touched Vedanta equally, and there it was solved either by making each individual ultimate within the paramatman, or by resort to the doctrine that plurality is illusion, maya. But no mention of the maya doctrine appears in early Buddhism, and it is generally agreed that when it appears in Vedanta it is a borrowing from the later forms of Buddhism itself.355 To what form of the atman doctrine the Buddhist canonical position was originally opposed is not clear. It might refer to some form of Sankhya or to the Jains (Niganthas), but there is nothing in the use of terms to show that Sankhya was directly opposed, nor is it the atman doctrine that forms the chief subject in the disputes recorded with the Niganthas.

To decide how far the formula of the five khandhas is primitive as the expression of the doctrine of non-soul is as difficult as in the case of the Chain of Causation. It is set forth in the second sermon which Buddha is said to have preached, but this sermon with its formal divisions and questions and answers has the appearance of being a product of Abhidhamma method converted into a dialogue.356 Whatever may be the way in which the doctrine was first formulated, it now forms with the Chain of Causation the chief theoretical basis of Buddhism. In the Abhidhamma the sankharas are expanded into a list of fifty-two constituents, the various psychic states that arise and pass away. The senses and sense-organs are also subdivided according to functions and powers, and the aim appears to have been to analyse the self exhaustively into its elements, no one of which could be identified with a permanent atman.

There have been many attempts to get behind this formulation of Buddhist principles. Once it was the fashion to represent Buddha as a thoroughgoing rationalist, opposed to all forms of 'animism', and teaching atheism and final annihilation. In the view of another writer:

A ce Bouddhisme aristocratique et philosophant . . . l'historien doit opposer un Bouddhisme non clerical, dont l'existence, pour etre attestee par des documents moins circonstancies, n'est pas moins certaine: la foi dans les milieux differents prend des formes diverses. L'homme extraordinaire en qui les rationalistes virent un Bouddha, fut adore par les peuples; il trouva les fideles (Bhaktas) dans les milieux non absorbes par la meditation savante et la pratique des observances, parmi les laics, non deshabitues, comme etaient les Aupanisadas, de la priere et de l'adoration, adeptes fervents d'un Kathenotheisme accommodant et superstitieux."357


For Mrs. Rhys Davids Buddha is still the gracious teacher, teaching doctrines far more palatable than those which his disciples thought they had so carefully preserved:

In time this original quarrel with the atmanist position diverged. In Buddhism it became an irrational denial of the man as man; he was reduced to his instruments, body and mind ... With the rejection of divinity in the self, the self himself, the man, the person, the spirit using mind and body was also rejected.358


This is a sufficiently severe judgment on Buddhism, but the pious hope that it was once something better before it became an "irrational denial" must remain at the side of the other views of these pubbantakappika until some positive point of agreement can be reached. They all agree in holding that the primitive teaching must have been something different from what the earliest Scriptures and commentators thought it was.

The attitude of Buddhism regarding karma and transmigration differs from common Indian belief not in the doctrines, but only in the position that they hold in the scheme of salvation. It has been held that the Buddhist doctrine of the self contradicted transmigration, but an individual may transmigrate whether he consists of an atman or only a bundle of khandhas. It is just because he has not succeeded in bringing about the final dissolution of the khandhas that he transmigrates. What is in contradiction with this is not Buddhism but Childers's theory that at death the khandhas were destroyed, and that the only connexion between two existences was the karma. The mistake of Childers was almost inevitable at a time when no examination of decisive texts was possible, but it has been repeated without the slightest attempt at verification. The ever changing bundle of khandhas may be said to be new from moment to moment, and hence from birth to birth. But from birth to birth it remains a changing bundle, until it is finally dispersed with the extinction of craving.359 Another mistake has been to hold that karma is the cause of rebirth, and that Nirvana is attained when all karma is exhausted. It is, of course, karma that determines the kind of rebirth, good or bad according to merit, but craving is the impelling force. This may be seen all the more clearly from the fact that exhaustion of karma was the ideal of the Jains,360 and this Jain position was directly opposed by the Buddhists. After the atman-theory it was the chief principle on which the two systems differed. Buddha is recorded as saying:

I went to the Niganthas, and said, "is it true, friends, that you Niganthas hold this theory and view that whatever an individual experiences, whether pleasurable, painful, or indifferent, is all the effect of his previous karma, and that so by the extinction of old karmas through penance and by the non-performance of new karmas there is no outflow in the future, and that through there being no outflow in the future there will be destruction of karma, through destruction of karma destruction of pain, through the destruction of pain destruction of feeling, and through destruction of feeling all pain will be exhausted?"

The Niganthas thus asked by me admitted it, and I said, "do you know that you were existent previously and not non-existent?" "No, friend." "Do you know, friends, whether in the past you certainly performed evil karma?" "No, friend." "Do you know, friends, that you performed such or such evil karma?" "No, friend." "Well, friends, do you know whether so much pain is exhausted, or so much is still w be exhausted, or whether, when so much is exhausted, all pain will be exhausted?" "No, friend," "Well, friends, do you know the abandonment of evil principles in this life and the acquirement of good ones?" "No, friend."361


Buddha tells them that if they knew these things, it would be fitting for them to hold their doctrine of karma. The Niganthas say that their master is omniscient, and he has said to them:

You have previously done evil karma. This you exhaust by these severe austerities. But in that you are here and now restrained in body, speech, and mind, this in the future is the non-performance of evil karma. So by the extinction of old karmas through penance and non-performance of new karmas there is no outflow in the future.


Buddha goes on to argue that the Niganthas are not consistent with their principles, and that their striving is not fruitful, but the question of chief interest is the doctrine that Buddha puts in its place. A monk may find that while he lives at ease evil ideas increase, and he may practise striving directed to pain (i.e. a form of striving which involves painful effort), but at another time he does not do so, just as an arrow-maker may apply two firebrands to an arrow to straighten it, but does not do so when his end is effected. A monk of Buddha leaves the world, abandons the sins of killing, injury, theft, incontinence, lying, bad language, etc., follows the monastic rules, is freed from the bonds of greed, malice, sloth, distraction and remorse, and doubt. He practises the trances, and is finally emancipated from the asavas of lust, desire for existence, and ignorance. The whole aim of this training is not to erase the effect of actions already done, but to eradicate from the individual those principles and tendencies that lead to evil actions and strengthen the ties with sensuous existence. The last bond that is destroyed is the ignorance that causes the individual to cling to existence in any form. This clinging is grasping (upadana) and in another form craving (tanha), and to this he must be purely indifferent. He must not even be attached to indifference. In another discourse after Buddha has explained that attachment to existence even in the highest spheres leads to rebirth, Ananda asks:

In this case, Lord, a monk has reached the indifference in which he says, " it would not be, it might not be for me, it will not be, it will not be for me, what is, what has been, that I abandon." Does that monk, Lord, attain Nirvana?

In this case, Ananda, one monk might attain Nirvana, another not.

What is the reason, Lord, what the cause, why one might attain Nirvana and another not?

The monk reaches the indifference in which he says, "it would not be" (etc.), but he is pleased with the indifference, he welcomes it and is attached to it. His consciousness is dependent on it and has a grasping for it. The monk with grasping does not attain Nirvana.


Jainism is the most extreme form of kiriyavada, the doctrine that salvation is attained through works. Opposed to this is the doctrine of non-action, that the way is only through knowledge, or as in the case of Purana Kassapa and others that all actions are fatally determined. Buddhism does not appear to have solved the antinomy of free will, except by teaching without any subtlety that right action is a part of the Noble Path. A Jain layman is recorded to have asked Buddha if he taught the doctrine of non-action, and Buddha replied:

There is a way in which one might say of me that the ascetic Gotama holds the principle of non-action, teaches the doctrine of non-action, and by this leads his disciples; and there is a way in which one might rightly say of me that the ascetic Gotama holds the principle of action, teaches the doctrine of action, and by this leads his disciples.

And how might one rightly say of me that the ascetic Gotama holds the principle of non-action? I proclaim the non-doing of evil conduct of body, speech, and thought. I proclaim the non-doing of various kinds of wicked and evil things.

And how might one say of me that the ascetic Gotama holds the principle of action? I proclaim the doing of good conduct of body, speech, and thought. I proclaim the doing of various kinds of good things.362


The details of Buddhist cosmology need not detain us, as the fantastic structure appears to be merely based on the astronomical and geographical views of the time, but much of it was evidently elaborated and extended more or less independently by the Buddhists. The whole universe, corresponding to the egg of Brahma, is divided into three regions, the kamaloka, the world of sensuous feeling extending from the lowest hell beneath the earth up to and including the six lowest heavens. Above this is the rupaloka, including the Brahma-heavens in sixteen stages, and higher still up to the limit of existence the arupaloka, the formless world divided into tiers according to the degrees of the attainments. But this is only one universe. There are other systems of these spherical universes, and in the spaces between them are special hells.363

What distinguishes this essentially from general Hindu polytheism is the position of the gods. The whole pantheon as it existed in popular belief was taken over and even multiplied, but the doctrine of non-soul was extended to the gods also. This made no difference to their actual functions as rulers. They were still beings who could confer favours and punish. Each god remained such as long as the merit lasted that placed him in his position, and as soon as he passed away there was another ready to take his place. So far from there being any expressed atheism as in Sankhya, meditation on the gods is one of the six Recollections thus given by Buddhaghosa:

One who desires to practise recollection on divinities should practise it endowed with the virtues of faith etc. resulting in accordance with the Noble Path, and alone and secluded he should set the divinities as witnesses, recollecting his virtues of faith etc. thus: there are the gods who are the four Great Kings, the Tavatimsa gods (of the heaven of the Thirty-three), the Yama, Tusita, Nimmanarati, and Paranimmitavasavatti gods; there are the gods of the Brahma-world, and gods beyond these; these gods endowed with such faith have departed thence (from their former state) and have arisen here (i.e. in whatever heaven they now are). In me also such faith is found. Endowed with such morality . . . with such learning . . . with such renunciation ... with such wisdom these gods have departed thence and have arisen here. In me also such wisdom is found.364


These are the gods of the current polytheism, and they are recollected not to be worshipped, but in order to be realised in their proper places in the scheme of things. It is doubtful if God as an ultimate reality, an ens realissimum as in Vedanta or Platonism, was conceived, but the denial of such a conception is implicit, and it is certainly denied that Brahma is the Lord, or the maker of the universe, or omniscient. Equally important from the standpoint of theistic religion is the exclusion of the gods from any share in the plan of salvation. The disciple neither desires the heaven of Brahma, nor looks to him for help in attaining the goal. He aims at attaining the ultimately real, and this is Nirvana. It is not stated in such a way that it can be identified with God, but it may be said to be feeling after an expression of the same truth.

Most of the metaphysical principles in their earliest ascertainable form may be called implicit. They were rather assumed as facts of experience than established as theories in opposition to rivals. The Sankhya doctrine of the atman was a conscious theory of spiritual monad ism opposed to pantheism. The Buddhist appealed to the obvious fact of the existence of separate individuals. The doctrines of dharma and karma, which appear to make a moral governor of the world superfluous, were to the Indian not theories that had developed within a social system, but undisputable facts. The later theories that grew out of this rudimentary system were due to the gradual recognition of hidden problems. A doctrine held by some of the Sarvastivadins was that all things are existent (sarvam asti). According to the Kathtivatthu their peculiar theory arose from the problem of time. Can the past and the future be said to be existent? And if not, is actual existence only momentary? The most important development was the epistemological theories of the Mahayana schools, and these were certainly centuries later than the position which assumed without questioning and contradiction the objectivity of an external world.365

It is possible to raise the question whether the earliest form in which we find the doctrines faithfully represents the primitive position. If Buddhism "became an irrational denial", what was it before it became so? No one has ever seriously attempted to show that there was once anything more primitive, or that any views other than those we know could be called Buddhism. In its denial of a supreme Lord Buddhism agreed with Sankhya and Jainism, and its chief claim to intellectual independence of these systems lay in the fact that it denied a permanent self. There is no rivalry between the Pali and other schools in their canonical sources. They developed new problems, but all accepted the same Scriptural utterances as their authority. We can see within the Canon the tendency to analysis and the growth of new formulations and classifications, but nothing to indicate that Buddhism ever lost hold of the doctrines once delivered to the disciples, until the subjective idealism of the Mahayana became a solvent in which external reality disappeared and Nirvana became identical with transmigration. In another important respect however Mahayana shows the growth of mythological doctrines, which were probably developed from ideas existing in the earlier schools. These concern the nature of a Bodhisatta and a Buddha, with consequent modifications of the conception of the disciple's career, and bring us to the problem of Buddha as a mythological character.

_______________

Notes:

341 See the sutta quoted, p. 187; still other differences are found; cf. Mrs. Rhys  Davids on Mahanidana-sutta in Dial. ii 42; the above form with twelve links is  that which finally became established in all schools. Samy. ii 1, Lal. 444 ff.
 
342 Vis. M. 525; he admits that in one sense both ignorance and craving for existence may be called root causes, but not uncaused, for ignorance originates from the Asavas.
 
343 E. Senart, Melanges de C. Harlez, p. 281 ff., Leyde, 1896.
 
344 Vis. M. ch. 17; a Sanskrit commentary in Candamaharoshana-tantra, JRAS. 1897, p. 463; other Buddhist interpretations agreeing in essence are in Comp. of Philosophy (with Aung's comments), and Yamakami, Systems of Buddhistic Thought. For the figure of a wheel see Georgius, Alphabetum Tibetanum, Rome, 1762, reproduced in Waddell, The Buddhism of Tibet. 
 
345 Because it comes first in apprehending objects; cf. Dhp. 1, "Things (objects)  are preceded by mind." Buddhaghosa expressly identifies citta, thought, mano  mind, and vinnana, consciousness.
 
346 Four synonyms of cause are here used in the text. One is nidana, a name by which the terms of the Formula are often known.
 
347 See Oltramare's analysis of ten theories in La Formule des douze causes, Geneve, 1909, the bibliography in Mrs. Rhys Davids' art. Paticcasamuppada in ERE., Senart, loc. cit., and Keith, Buddhist Philosophy, p. 97.
 
348 Digha. transl. p. 23.
 
349 Die Lehre der Upan. p. 295.

350 p. 130.
 
351 Digha, i 187; Majjh. i 431; Dharmmasamgraha, 137.
 
352 These problems are the only ground for the charge of agnosticism, but this is how one expounder muddles the question: "To all requests for enlightenment and teaching on the subject of the supernatural he steadily, if the sacred books may be trusted opposed a negative." Art. God (Buddhist) in ERE.
 
353 Treatise, Bk. i, 1 § 6.
 
354 Textbook of Psychol. p. 158.
 
355 Dasgupta., A History of Indian Philos. vol. i pp. 437, 494.
 
356 See the sermon p. 88 above.
  
357 L. de la Vallee Poussin, Bouddhisme, p. 37, London, 1898.
 
358 Editorial note to Kindred Sayings, vol. 3.

359 Cf. Windisch, Buddha's Geburt, p. 37, and the Buddhist theory of transmigration, above p. 35.
 
360 See p. 231.
 
361 Majjh. ii 214.

362 Angut. iv 182.
 
363 For details see Cosmology and State of the Dead in ERE.

364 Vis. M. 225; the words of the Recollection are taken from Angut. iii 287.
 
365 On these developments see Dasgupta. op. cit. ch. 5; A. B. Keith, Buddhist  Philosophy, part 3.
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