The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

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.

The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:18 am

The Gospel of Buddha
Compiled From Ancient Records
by Paul Carus
Illustrated by O. Kopetzky
The Open Court Publishing Company



Paul Carus: Buddhism and Monist Mission

To the extent that the aim of the delegation was to gain respect from Western scholars and men of religion for the profundity of Mahayana thought, the representation of Eastern Buddhism at Chicago was a failure, at least in the short term... Eastern Buddhism did, however, make an impact on publisher and philosopher Paul Carus (1852-1919), who is now remembered less for his contribution to American philosophy than for the consequences of his contact with Buddhist delegates: his role in the transmission of Zen to the West and his book The Gospel of Buddha. The Gospel was an archetypical example of Orientalism, the appropriation of the Orient -- in this case Buddhism and the life of the Buddha -- to support a decidedly Western and Christian project...

The Gospel of Buddha was written to propagate Carus's post-Kantian Christian religion of science... He was particularly interested in Buddhism because he ... had no doubt that it was the only possible contender against Christianity for the role of the religion of the future. Comparison and competition with Buddhism in the minds of a Christian audience would force the evolution of Christianity to its inevitable and ultimate perfection...

Carus was the editor of two journals devoted to "earnest and thoroughgoing reformation of religion under the influence of science" through the publication of an eclectic mixture of articles on scientific developments, psychology, philosophy, archaeology, biblical research, and non-Christian religions, "all of which directly or indirectly throw light on the origin of our own religion today."...Carus believed his mission was the fulfillment of Kant's ideas...

It is not surprising that Carus's philosophy seemed to have so much in common with Eastern Buddhism as it was presented at the Parliament. The delegates had particularly focused on those areas of religion of interest to Carus: Buddhism's compatibility with science and philosophy -- especially philosophic idealism -- and their resolution with religion... Most important, the delegates had emphasized the life-affirming and social aspects of Buddhism...

His first article on Buddhism, "Karma and Nirvana," was published within months of the Parliament and covered most of the doctrinal information that formed his future publications...

The article opens with a statement of the negative assumptions of the nature of Buddhism as he had previously understood it. "Buddhism is generally characterized as a religion without a belief in God and the human soul, without hope of a future existence, pessimistic and desolate, looking upon life as an ocean of suffering, quietistic in its ethics, and finding comfort only in the final extinction into nothingness."... Quoting from major Orientalists, [the article] shows that Buddhism does have a concept of deity, does not deny the existence of the human soul, does teach of life after death, is not pessimistic, and is not quietistic but teaches active self-improvement...

The Japanese delegation's assurance that Eastern Buddhism offered not only a philosophical system but also a religion answered another of Carus's difficulties. He shared with more orthodox Christians an abhorrence for any conception of the world that denied notions of the soul or God. In his Parliament paper "Science a Religious Revelation," he had argued that while a conception of religion that rejects science is inevitably doomed, humanity must have a religion because belief in God was "the innermost conviction of man which regulates his conduct." The resolution as he saw it was that religion would undergo changes, would "free itself from paganism, evolve and grow" in keeping with scientific developments. A new conception of the soul such as he had described in The Soul of Man was fundamental to this transition. In 1890 he had written: "The new view is monistic: it regards the soul as identical with its activity; the human soul consists of man's feelings and thoughts, his fears and hopes, his wishes and ideals."... [T]the Buddhists "anticipated the modern conception of the soul as it is now taught by the most advanced scientists of Europe" ... "Buddhism is monistic. It claims that man's soul does not consist of two things, of an atman (self) and a manas (mind and thoughts), but that it is made up of thoughts alone. The thoughts of a man constitute his soul; they, if anything, are his self, and there is no atman, no additional and separate 'self' besides."...

[H]is vision was unquestionably Christian. He attempted to overcome this by arguing that Buddhism and Christianity were essentially the same religion. They were both allegorical expressions of the one universal truth, their apparent differences nothing more than culturally determined "modes of expression." Christianity had "assumed a less abstract and more concrete shape, so as to appeal to the energetic races of the North." The Christian conceptions of an anthropomorphic God, God the Creator, and of a personal, immortal ego-soul are allegorical vestiges of the religion suited to an earlier period...

The identity of Buddhism and Christianity was essential to Carus's project. He rejected suggestions that the similarities between the two great religions might be explained in terms of cultural influence imposed on different bases. The identity had to be fundamental. Buddhism and Christianity had to be expressions of the same truth. His most radical declaration of their essential identity was his hypothesis that Christ was the Buddha Maitreya, a claim he "validated" by a rather dubious use of Buddhist texts. The entry for "Maitreya [sic]" in Eitel's Handbook of Chinese Buddhism mentioned a legend in which Sakyamuni appointed Maitreya to "issue thence as his successor after a lapse of 5,000 years." By slipping a zero, Carus quoted the text predicting Maitreya's appearance in the world five hundred years after the death of Sakyamuni, a date approximating the birth of Christ. Hence he could write that "Buddha prophesied that the next Buddha after him would be Maitreya, the Buddha of kindness, and without doing any violence to Buddha's words, this prophecy may be said to be fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. Thus the Christians may be said to be Buddhists that worship Maitreya under the name of Christ."...

Perhaps the greatest doctrinal debt Carus owed to Eastern Buddhism was the Mahayana doctrine of the trikaya, the Three Bodies of the Buddha. Eliding this with the Christian Trinity provided him with an acceptable alternative to the Christian anthropomorphic conception of God. Carus argued that although they do not believe in a personal God, "Buddhists believe not only in the Sambhoga Kaya which is an equivalent of the Christian God-idea, but even in a Trinity of Sambhoga Kaya, Nirmana Kaya, and Dharma Kaya, bearing a close resemblance to the Christian conception of Father, Son and Holy Ghost."...

Carus's vision of the self constituted by the samskaras was a cohesive entity persisting beyond death. It was a soul...

The evolutionary struggle from which, Carus believed, the religion of the modern world would emerge, would have to take place at the level of the body of the Church. The ideas had to reach a wide general readership. This popularization was the function of The Gospel of Buddha, which appeared a year after the Parliament...

The title, The Gospel of Buddha, Compiled from Old Records, as Told by Paul Carus, presented the book as nothing more than a short version of the Buddhist canon. It was the truth of the life of the Buddha, the Gospel truth with all the colloquial connotations of the term, in the same way that the Christian Gospels, upon which the text was modeled, was the truth of the life of Christ. The religious nature of the work was signaled to his Christian audience by the familiar form of chapter and verse, and the King James style of language he purposefully adopted. Buddhism was a religion, if a philosophical one. The preface, like the title, attempted to efface the presence of the author, stressing the book's reliance on the canon, claiming that many passages, indeed the most important ones, were literally copied. It admitted to modifications such as trimming needless repetitions and adornments, but reassured the reader that there was nothing in the book for which prototypes could not be found in the traditions of Buddhism. For Carus, unlike his Orientalist contemporaries, this included the traditions of all Buddhist societies in all times, not just the Pali canon.

The claim that the book was merely a compilation, however, hardly does justice to what is in fact a most ingenious original composition. Carus's claim that the most important passages are copied is not exactly incorrect but is misleading. He used Buddhist texts in a number of ways. Some chapters he copied extensively from Buddhist sources, but often with a revised ending that attached a new lesson to a familiar story. He developed whole chapters from a short quotation -- typically a two-line verse from the Dhammapada -- but the lesson of the chapter was monist rather than Buddhist. In contrast, one very short chapter in the Gospel (ch. XXIV) carries the reference to a very long section of text, verses 1496-1521 of Asvaghosha's life of the Buddha. Following the example of all Orientalists of the time, he trimmed texts of "apocryphal adornment." Chapter 6, not an atypical example, gives an idea of how extensive this trimming could be. Verses 191 to 322 (131 verses) of the Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King were reduced to 23 verses in the Gospel. Elsewhere he strung together various passages from assorted Buddhist works, using them like words in a vocabulary to create totally new statements. He nevertheless succeeded in stitching together this incredible patchwork in a highly readable continuous narrative, creating a work in prose that deliberately rivaled Edwin Arnold's epic poem Light of Asia...

Carus's Gospel aimed at ... the academic validation that Arnold's work lacked -- hence his stress on the Gospel's reliance on the canon and the pseudoacademic trappings of a "table of reference," "where the reader can find the sources and the parallelisms of the Buddhistic doctrines with Christianity, a full glossary of names and terms, and an exhaustive index."...

The table of reference appended by Carus compensated for the absence of footnotes in the biblical format... But how many readers would have been sufficiently diligent in tracing the sources to discover, for example, that "E.A.," the reference for the first three chapters and for some of the most outstanding passages, stands not for a Buddhist text but for "Explanatory Addition," and designates Carus's own original contribution? "E.A." indicates material for which Carus could find no textual reference, and it is in these passages that he expounded his principal themes. One other imaginative passage carries the reference "E.H.," which decodes to Eitel's Handbook of Chinese Buddhism. Few readers would recognize that this is actually a dictionary and that consequently this reference -- the meaning of one term -- is used to suggest that a whole chapter of Carus's work has a canonical basis. Given the author's unidentified intrusions in most other chapters, the function of this attribution seems less to confess to his own creation than to conceal the absence of a Buddhist reference. The dubious nature of the source has been buried in the bibliography. The table of reference not only claimed academic legitimation, it concealed the author's considerable personal contribution to the work.

Not even the glossary is free of the author's presence. Amid the list of Sanskrit and Pali technical terms the entry "Mahase'tu" sits unobtrusively. This is not, however, a Buddhist term but a pseudo-Sanskritic neologism that confirms the author's commitment to Christian superiority: "Mahase'tu. The great bridge. A name invented by the author of the present book to designate the importance of Christianity compared to the Hinayana and Mahayana of Buddhism."

A survey of sources for chapter XCVI, "Maitreya" (Metteyya, in Pali, in later editions), illustrates Carus's control of texts. The function of this key chapter is to allow the Buddha to predict the advent of a Messiah to continue his teaching. It presents the basis of Carus's argument that Jesus is a Buddha, the Buddha Maitreya, and his conviction that Buddhism and Christianity are the same religion. Since the substance of Carus's chapter is a dialogue between the Buddha, Sakyamuni, and his principal disciple, Ananda, on the eve of the Buddha's parinirvana, the principal reference is Rhys Davids's translation of the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta. Carus opened the chapter by following the text very closely, exemplifying his claim that "[m]any passages, and indeed the most important ones, are literally copied from the translations of original texts." He made editorial changes to avoid repetitions, and substituted the more biblical "thou art" for "you are" in keeping with the style of the Christian Gospel. In this way, verses 1-3 of the Gospel correspond to verses 3-6 of the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta, though not to the more substantial fourteen-verse block indicated. Carus cut out the "apocryphal adornments," verses 7-14 of the sutra, which concern the presence of gods and spirits as witnesses to the Great Decease. The omission itself is characteristic of his rational approach, but why did he include these eleven rejected verses in his reference if not to make it seem more substantial?

Carus's text then leaps forward, beyond his reference, to verse 32 of the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta, which finds Ananda weeping at the thought of the Buddha's passing. After a brief reiteration of the real nature of the self in Carus's own words (since this is not indicated as an "Explanatory Addition," is it an example of the adaptation of the passage for modern readers?), Carus then has Ananda ask the question "Who shall teach us when thou art gone?" (96:12), which allows the Blessed One of Carus's Gospel to predict the coming of Carus's Buddhist Christ.

In this chapter, Carus has used three verses of the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta (3-6) to establish the scene and its characters. The lesson of this chapter in the Buddhist sutras is, however, quite different, concerned not with future teachers but with the conduct of the brethren after the Buddha's death; the four places of pilgrimage (16-22); the correct deportment toward women (23); the correct forms of treating the remains of a Tathagata (24-31). There is no mention of Maitreya in this sutra, and these issues -- the substance of the reference -- are not mentioned in the Gospel.

Here we find the prediction that Maitreya will appear five hundred years after Sakyamuni's decease, once again inaccurately quoting Eitel's dictionary. Careless transcription seems highly unlikely as an explanation because Carus's other references for this section, Rhys Davids's Buddhism (pp. 180, 200), also confirm Eitel's prediction that Maitreya Buddha is expected to appear five thousand years after Sakyamuni.

This pivotal equation was enhanced by illustrations in the second edition (fig. 13). That the scene is the Buddha's parinirvana is signaled by the twin sala trees in bloom behind the figure and the grieving disciples before him. In Buddhist art the dying Buddha is more commonly depicted lying on one side and never with a beard. The garment, hand gestures, hairstyle, and small earlobes all owe more to depictions of Christ than to Buddhist iconography. Such artistic liberties would be inconsequential except that the book includes a five-page testimony by the illustrator, Olga Kopetzky, claiming years of research on Asian art and her assurance that "historical fidelity has been preserved in my work." The Buddha even looked like Christ.

Carus's use of texts in this chapter is typical of the work as a whole. The references provided are an unreliable guide to the extent of Carus's marshaling of the texts to his purpose. Some do indicate his sources, but rarely do the verses, or the lessons, actually match. Although it may well have functioned as a general indication of directions for further reading, "for those who wish to trace the Buddhism of this book to its fountainhead," the table of reference was in no way a substitute for the footnotes and references of academia. Its advantage, at least for the author, was that unless one actually attempted to use it, it did create the impression of textual scholarship. The Critic praised the table of reference for "showing at an eye glance the sources of his extracts and parallelisms in the Gospels." At a glance, if not on closer inspection, the reader could be reassured of the "authenticity" of the work...

In the preface Carus declared that his purpose was not to popularize Buddhism but to aid in the formation of the religion of the future and expressed the hope that the book would "bring out a nobler faith which aspires to the cosmic religion of truth." He was quite explicit that his intention was not to explain Buddhism but to stimulate the evolutionary development of religion. The Gospel concluded with a poem, "In Praise of All the Buddhas," composed by Carus himself but presented as a Buddhist hymn. It was a song of Carus's universal religion of truth: all the Buddhas are one in essence, all teach the same truth. Carus's Christ was a Buddha.

Carus used the form of the work to reinforce his message of the similarity between Buddhism and Christianity. The name, The Gospel of Buddha, immediately signaled to his Christian readership the essential comparison between the Buddha Sakyamuni and Jesus Christ. Dropping the article before the title "Buddha" personalized the voice with which the author purported to speak. The Christian Gospels, the source of information on the life of Christ, have become, in colloquial speech, a synonym for truth itself. Hence the title implied that this was a true account of the life of the Buddha and that this was the truth that Buddha, the historical man, taught. Because "gospel" means the glad tidings of the teaching, the title also signaled Carus's intention of reversing negative perceptions of Buddhism. "Rejoice at the glad tidings .... The Buddha our Lord has revealed the Truth" is the refrain and lesson of the opening chapter. The three opening chapters, referenced to "E.A.," were entitled "Rejoice," "Samsara and Nirvana," "Truth the Saviour."...

Just as the Gospel of Saint John apparently derived from a wider range of sources than the Synoptic Gospels, Carus's Gospel of Buddha included material from Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese Buddhist works. His constant reference for the narrative was, curiously, not the Pali material used by Oldenberg, the logical contender for the title "original contents of Buddhism" he claimed to have marshaled, but the fifth-century Chinese translation of Asvaghosha, a text from Northern Buddhism.

In defense of his use of Mahayana sources, Carus declared that his intention was not to present "Buddhism in its cradle" but "Buddhism up to date." This position not only allowed him to break away from adherence to the Buddhism of the Pali texts but to incorporate the modern views of Dharmapala and the Japanese Buddhists who stressed the compatibility of Buddhism with science and the modern world, the Buddhism presented at the World's Parliament of Religions...

Carus's Gospel, in common with all Western scholarship at the time, claimed to pursue the essence of Buddhism, "the universal in the particular," the "nonsectarian ... ideal position upon which all true Buddhists may stand as upon common ground," that is, a transnational and textual Buddhism, the "real" Buddhism compared with which each Asian practice was a distortion or aberration... As a result, Carus's Buddha was the archetypal nineteenth-century intellectual: "the first positivist, the first humanitarian, the first radical freethinker, the first iconoclast and the first prophet of the Religion of Science."...

The book naturally attracted criticism from less tolerant sections of the Christian community...

Carus was particularly offended by the charge that he was attempting to convert Christians to Buddhism and protested that this was definitely not his purpose. The preface to Gospel showed particular concern not to antagonize its targeted Christian audience, speaking of the advantages of Christianity over Buddhism, and concluding with a statement of the religious hierarchy as Carus understood it: "Above any Hinayana, Mahayana, and Mahase'tu is the Religion of Truth." Carus's image, which appropriated the Buddhist metaphor of the doctrine as a vehicle to transport followers to awakening, likened Christianity to a great bridge, "still more adapted to the needs of the multitude" than the large vessel of the Mahayana for crossing "the stream of self-hood and worldly vanity." "While the schools of Buddhism may be compared to ships that cross the stream, Christianity is a large and solid bridge. Christianity is a Mahase'tu. A child may walk over in perfect safety."...

The Gospel was not well received by scholars. Professor J. Estlin Carpenter, for example, wrote that it was "worthless stuff" because the compiler showed no concern for historical development, indiscriminately using texts from different countries and different periods; ignored the differences in "metaphysical and ontological speculation" among the sects; placed "side by side extracts from books separated by hundreds of years in date and by still wider intervals of philosophic thought as though they all alike represented the teachings of the founder of Buddhism." For Carpenter it was as unacceptable as "a Gospel of Christ compiled from writings of the first, fourth and thirteenth centuries." In all, the work was neither philological nor historical, the only academically acceptable approaches to Oriental religions. Of Carus's use of his sources, he wrote, "[H]is spirit is excellent, but his method is execrable."...

Under the title "Scholarmania" [Carus] dismissed the Orientalists who translated the ancient texts as the laborers, those who gathered the material for intellectuals such as himself to work with. He accused Carpenter, "the hodcarrier," of "hooting at the mason," and explained again that his purpose was different. He was not attempting to represent "Buddhism in its cradle, but ... BUDDHISM UP TO DATE, in its nobler possibilities." His final argument of the worth of the book, however, was that it had been translated into Japanese, and that a group of Japanese were undertaking to translate it into Chinese. There was "[n]o better evidence, that I have succeeded at least to some extent, in my aspiration" than that contemporary Asian Buddhists appeared to accept his book as representative of their religion.

-- Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbian Exposition, by Judith Snodgrass


• Preface
• Pronunciation
• I. Rejoice
• II. Samsāra and Nirvāna
• III. Truth the Saviour
• IV. The Bodhisatta's Birth
• V. The Ties of Life
• VI. The Three Woes
• VII. The Bodhisatta's Renunciation
• VIII. King Bimbisāra
• IX. The Bodhisatta's Search
• X. Uruvelā, the Place of Mortification
• XI. Māra, the Evil One
• XII. Enlightenment
• XIII. The First Converts
• XIV. Brahmā's Request
• XV. Upaka
• XVI. The Sermon at Benares
• XVII. The Sangha
• XVIII. Yasa, the Youth of Benares
• XIX. Kassapa
• XX. The Sermon at Rājagaha
• XXI. The King's Gift
• XXII. Sāriputta and Moggallāna
• XXIII. Anāthapindika
• XXIV. The Sermon on Charity
• XXV. Jetavana
• XXVI. The Three Characteristics and the Uncreate
• XXVII. The Buddha's Father
• XXVIII. Yasodharā
• XXIX. Rāhula
• XXX. Jīvaka, the Physician
• XXXI. The Buddha's Parents Attain Nirvāna
• XXXII. Women Admitted to the Sangha
• XXXIII. The Bhikkhus' Conduct Toward Women
• XXXIV. Visākhā
• XXXV. The Uposatha and Pātimokkha
• XXXVI. The Schism
• XXXVII. The Re-establishment of Concord
• XXXVIII. The Bhikkhus Rebuked
• XXXIX. Devadatta
• XL. Name and Form
• XLI. The Goal
• XLII. Miracles Forbidden
• XLIII. The Vanity of Worldliness
• XLIV. Secrecy and Publicity
• XLV. The Annihilation of Suffering
• XLVI. Avoiding the Ten Evils
• XLVII. The Preacher's Mission
• XLVIII. The Dhammapada
• XLIX. The Two Brahmans
• L. Guard the Six Quarters
• LI. Simha's Question Concerning Annihilation
• LII. All Existence is Spiritual
• LIII. Identity and Non-Identity
• LIV. The Buddha Omnipresent
• LV. One Essence, One Law, One Aim
• LVI. The Lesson Given to Rāhula
• LVII. The Sermon on Abuse
• LVIII. The Buddha Replies to the Deva
• LIX. Words of Instruction
• LX. Amitābha
• LXI. The Teacher Unknown
• LXII. Parables
• LXIII. The Widow's Two Mites and the Parable of the Three Merchants
• LXIV. The Man Born Blind
• LXV. The Lost Son
• LXVI. The Giddy Fish
• LXVII. The Cruel Crane Outwitted
• LXVIII. Four Kinds of Merit
• LXIX. The Light of the World
• LXX. Luxurious Living
• LXXI. The Communication of Bliss
• LXXII. The Listless Fool
• LXXIII. Rescue in the Desert
• LXXIV. The Sower
• LXXV. The Outcast
• LXXVI. The Woman at the Well
• LXXVII. The Peacemaker
• LXXVIII. The Hungry Dog
• LXXIX. The Despot
• LXXX. Vāsavadattā
• LXXXI. The Marriage-Feast in Jambūnada
• LXXXII. A Party in Search of a Thief
• LXXXIII. In the Realm of Yamarāja
• LXXXIV. The Mustard Seed
• LXXXV. Following the Master Over the Stream
• LXXXVI. The Sick Bhikkhu
• LXXXVII. The Patient Elephant
• LXXXVIII. The Conditions of Welfare
• LXXXIX. Sāriputta's Faith
• XC. Pātaliputta
• XCI. The Mirror of Truth
• XCII. Ambapālī
• XCIII. The Buddha's Farewell Address
• XCIV. The Buddha Announces His Death
• XCV. Chunda, the Smith
• XCVI. Metteyya
• XCVII. The Buddha's Final Entering Into Nirvāna
• XCVIII. The Three Personalities of the Buddha
• XCIX. The Purpose of Being
• C. The Praise of All the Buddhas
• Table of Reference
• Abbreviations in the Table of Reference
• Glossary of Names and Terms
• Index
• Remarks on the illustrations of the Gospel of Buddha
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:25 am



Rejoice at the glad tidings! The Buddha, our Lord, has found the root of all evil; he has shown us the way of salvation.1

The Buddha dispels the illusions of our mind and redeems us from the terror of death.2

The Buddha, our Lord, brings comfort to the weary and sorrow-laden; he restores peace to those who are broken down under the burden of life. He gives courage to the weak when they would fain give up self-reliance and hope.3

Ye that suffer from the tribulations of life, ye that have to struggle and endure, ye that yearn for a life of truth, rejoice at the glad tidings!4

There is balm for the wounded, and there is bread for the hungry. There is water for the thirsty, and there is hope for the despairing. There is light for those in darkness, and there is inexhaustible blessing for the upright.5

Heal your wounds, ye wounded, and eat your fill, ye hungry. Rest, ye weary, and ye who are thirsty quench your thirst. Look up to the light, ye that sit in darkness; be full of good cheer, ye that are forlorn.6

Trust in truth, ye that love the truth, for the kingdom of righteousness is founded upon earth. The darkness of error is dispelled by the light of truth. We can see our way and take firm and certain steps.7

The Buddha, our Lord, has revealed the truth.8

The truth cures our diseases and redeems us from perdition; the truth strengthens us in life and in death; the truth alone can conquer the evils of error.9

Rejoice at the glad tidings!
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:26 am


Look about and contemplate life!1

Everything is transient and nothing endures. There is birth and death, growth and decay; there is combination and separation.2

The glory of the world is like a flower: it stands in full bloom in the morning and fades in the heat of the day.3

Wherever you look, there is a rushing and a struggling, and an eager pursuit of pleasure. There is a panic flight from pain and death, and hot are the flames of burning desires. The world is vanity fair, full of changes and transformations. All is Samsāra.4

Is there nothing permanent in the world? Is there in the universal turmoil no resting-place where our troubled heart can find peace? Is there nothing everlasting?5

Oh, that we could have cessation of anxiety, that our burning desires would be extinguished! When shall the mind become tranquil and composed?6

The Buddha, our Lord, was grieved at the ills of life. He saw the vanity of worldly happiness and sought salvation in the one thing that will not fade or perish, but will abide for ever and ever.7

Ye who long for life, know that immortality is hidden in transiency. Ye who wish for happiness without the sting of regret, lead a life of righteousness. Ye who yearn for riches, receive treasures that are eternal. Truth is wealth, and a life of truth is happiness.8

All compounds will be dissolved again, but the verities which determine all combinations and separations as laws of nature endure for ever and aye. Bodies fall to dust, but the truths of the mind will not be destroyed.9

Truth knows neither birth nor death; it has no beginning and no end. Welcome the truth. The truth is the immortal part of mind.10

Establish the truth in your mind, for the truth is the image of the eternal; it portrays the immutable; it reveals the everlasting; the truth gives unto mortals the boon of immortality.11

The Buddha has proclaimed the truth; let the truth of the Buddha dwell in your hearts. Extinguish in yourselves every desire that antagonizes the Buddha, and in the perfection of your spiritual growth you will become like unto him.12

That of your heart which cannot or will not develop into Buddha must perish, for it is mere illusion and unreal; it is the source of your error; it is the cause of your misery.13

You attain to immortality by filling your minds with truth. Therefore, become like unto vessels fit to receive the Master's words. Cleanse yourselves of evil and sanctify your lives. There is no other way of reaching truth.14

Learn to distinguish between Self and Truth. Self is the cause of selfishness and the source of evil; truth cleaves to no self; it is universal and leads to justice and righteousness.15

Self, that which seems to those who love their self as their being, is not the eternal, the everlasting, the imperishable. Seek not self, but seek the truth.16

If we liberate our souls from our petty selves, wish no ill to others, and become clear as a crystal diamond reflecting the light of truth, what a radiant picture will appear in us mirroring things as they are, without the admixture of burning desires, without the distortion of erroneous illusion, without the agitation of clinging and unrest.17

Yet ye love self and will not abandon self-love. So be it, but then, verily, ye should learn to distinguish between the false self and the true self. The ego with all its egotism is the false self. It is an unreal illusion and a perishable combination. He only who identifies his self with the truth will attain Nirvāna; and he who has entered Nirvāna has attained Buddhahood; he has acquired the highest good; he has become eternal and immortal.18

All compound things shall be dissolved again, worlds will break to pieces and our individualities will be scattered; but the words of the Buddha will remain for ever.19

The extinction of self is salvation; the annihilation of self is the condition of enlightenment; the blotting out of self is Nirvāna. Happy is he who has ceased to live for pleasure and rests in the truth. Verily his composure and tranquillity of mind are the highest bliss.20

Let us take our refuge in the Buddha, for he has found the everlasting in the transient. Let us take our refuge in that which is the immutable in the changes of existence. Let us take our refuge in the truth that is established through the enlightenment of the Buddha. Let us take our refuge in the community of those who seek the truth and endeavor to live in the truth.21
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:26 am


The things of the world and its inhabitants are subject to change. They are combinations of elements that existed before, and all living creatures are what their past actions made them; for the law of cause and effect is uniform and without exception.1

But in the changing things there is a constancy of law, and when the law is seen there is truth. The truth lies hidden in Samsāra as the permanent in its changes.2

Truth desires to appear; truth longs to become conscious; truth strives to know itself.3

There is truth in the stone, for the stone is here; and no power in the world, no god, no man, no demon, can destroy its existence. But the stone has no consciousness.4

There is truth in the plant and its life can expand; the plant grows and blossoms and bears fruit. Its beauty is marvellous, but it has no consciousness.5

There is truth in the animal; it moves about and perceives its surroundings; it distinguishes and learns to choose. There is consciousness, but it is not yet the consciousness of Truth. It is a consciousness of self only.6

The consciousness of self dims the eyes of the mind and hides the truth. It is the origin of error, it is the source of illusion, it is the germ of evil.7

Self begets selfishness. There is no evil but what flows from self. There is no wrong but what is done by the assertion of self.8

Self is the beginning of all hatred, of iniquity and slander, of impudence and indecency, of theft and robbery, of oppression and bloodshed. Self is Māra, the tempter, the evil-doer, the creator of mischief.9

Self entices with pleasures. Self promises a fairy's paradise. Self is the veil of Māyā, the enchanter. But the pleasures of self are unreal, its paradisian labyrinth is the road to misery, and its fading beauty kindles the flames of desires that never can be satisfied.10

Who shall deliver us from the power of self? Who shall save us from misery? Who shall restore us to a life of blessedness?11

There is misery in the world of Samsāra; there is much misery and pain. But greater than all the misery is the bliss of truth. Truth gives peace to the yearning mind; it conquers error; it quenches the flames of desires; it leads to Nirvāna.12

Blessed is he who has found the peace of Nirvāna. He is at rest in the struggles and tribulations of life; he is above all changes; he is above birth and death; he remains unaffected by the evils of life.13

Blessed is he who has found enlightenment. He conquers, although he may be wounded; he is glorious and happy, although he may suffer; he is strong, although he may break down under the burden of his work; he is immortal, although he may die. The essence of his being is purity and goodness.14

Blessed is he who has attained the sacred state of Buddhahood, for he is fit to work out the salvation of his fellow-beings. The truth has taken its abode in him. Perfect wisdom illumines his understanding, and righteousness ensouls the purpose of all his actions.15

The truth is a living power for good, indestructible and invincible! Work the truth out in your mind, and spread it among mankind, for truth alone is the saviour from evil and misery. The Buddha has found the truth and the truth has been proclaimed by the Buddha! Blessed be the Buddha!
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:27 am



There was in Kapliavatthu a Sakya king, strong of purpose and reverenced by all men, a descendant of the Okkākas, who call themselves Gotama, and his name was Suddhodana or Pure-Rice.1

His wife Māyā-devī was beautiful as[Pg 8] the water-lily and pure in mind as the lotus. As the Queen of Heaven, she lived on earth, untainted by desire, and immaculate.2

The king, her husband, honored her in her holiness, and the spirit of truth, glorious and strong in his wisdom like unto a white elephant, descended upon her.3

When she knew that the hour of motherhood was near, she asked the king to send her home to her parents; and Suddhodana, anxious about his wife and the child she would bear him, willingly granted her request.4

At Lumbinī there is a beautiful grove, and when Māyā-devī passed through it the trees were one mass of fragrant flowers and many birds were warbling in their branches. The Queen, wishing to stroll through the shady walks, left her golden palanquin, and, when she reached the giant Sāla tree in the midst of the grove, felt that her hour had come. She took hold of a branch. Her attendants hung a curtain about her and retired. When the pain of travail came upon her, four pure-minded angels of the great Brahmā held out a golden net to receive the babe, who came forth from her right side (like the rising sun, bright and perfect.5

The Brahmā-angels took the child and placing him before the mother said: "Rejoice, O queen, a mighty son has been born unto thee."6

At her couch stood an aged woman imploring the heavens to bless the child.7

All the worlds were flooded with light. The blind received their sight by longing to see the coming glory of the Lord; the deaf and dumb spoke with one another of the good omens indicating the birth of the Buddha to be. The crooked became straight; the lame walked. All prisoners were freed from their chains and the fires of all the hells were extinguished.8

No clouds gathered in the skies and the polluted streams became clear, whilst celestial music rang through the air and the angels rejoiced with gladness. With no selfish or[Pg 9] partial joy but for the sake of the law they rejoiced, for creation engulfed in the ocean of pain was now to obtain release.9

The cries of beasts were hushed; all malevolent beings received a loving heart, and peace reigned on earth. Māra, the evil one, alone was grieved and rejoiced not.10

The Nāga kings, earnestly desiring to show their reverence for the most excellent law, as they had paid honor to former Buddhas, now went to greet the Bodhisatta. They scattered before him mandāra flowers, rejoicing with heartfelt joy to pay their religious homage.11

The royal father, pondering the meaning of these signs, was now full of joy and now sore distressed.12

The queen mother, beholding her child and the commotion which his birth created, felt in her timorous heart the pangs of doubt.13

Now the re was at that time in a grove near Lumbinī Asita, a rishi, leading the life of a hermit. He was a Brahman of dignified mien, famed not only for wisdom and scholarship, but also for his skill in the interpretation of signs. And the king invited him to see the royal babe.14

The seer, beholding the prince, wept and sighed deeply. And when the king saw the tears of Asita he became alarmed and asked: "Why has the sight of my son caused thee grief and pain?"15

But Asita's heart rejoiced, and, knowing the king's mind to be perplexed, he addressed him, saying:16

"The king, like the moon when full, should feel great joy, for he has begotten a wondrously noble son.17

"I do not worship Brahmā, but I worship this child; and the gods in the temples will descend from their places of honor to adore him.18

"Banish all anxiety and doubt. The spiritual omens manifested indicate that the child now born will bring deliverance to the whole world.19

[Pg 10]"Recollecting that I myself am old, on that account I could not hold my tears; for now my end is coming on and I shall not see the glory of this babe. For this son of thine will rule the world.20

"The wheel of empire will come to him. He will either be a king of kings to govern all the lands of the earth, or verily will become a Buddha. He is born for the sake of everything that lives.21

"His pure teaching will be like the shore that receives the shipwrecked. His power of meditation will be like a cool lake; and all creatures parched with the drought of lust may freely drink thereof.22

"On the fire of covetousness he will cause the cloud of his mercy to rise, so that the rain of the law may extinguish it. The heavy gates of despondency will he open, and give deliverance to all creatures ensnared in the selfentwined meshes of folly and ignorance.23

"The king of the law has come forth to rescue from bondage all the poor, the miserable, the helpless."24

When the royal parents heard Asita's words they rejoiced in their hearts and named their new-born infant Siddhattha, that is, "he who has accomplished his purpose."25

And the queen said to her sister, Pajāpatī: "A mother who has borne a future Buddha will never give birth to another child. I shall soon leave this world, my husband, the king, and Siddhattha, my child. When I am gone, be thou a mother to him."26

And Pajāpatī wept and promised.27

When the queen had departed from the living, Pajāpatī took the boy Siddhattha and reared him. And as the light of the moon increases little by little, so the royal child grew from day to day in mind and in body; and truthfulness and love resided in his heart.28

When a year had passed Suddhodana the king made Pajāpatī his queen and there was never a better stepmother than she.
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:27 am


When Siddhattha had grown to youth, his father desired to see him married, and he sent to all his kinsfolk, commanding them to bring their princesses that the prince might select one of them as his wife.1

But the kinsfolk replied and said: "The prince is young and delicate; nor has he learned any of the sciences. He would not be able to maintain our daughter, and should there be war he would be unable to cope with the enemy."2

The prince was not boisterous, but pensive in his nature. He loved to stay under the great jambu-tree in the garden of his father, and, observing the ways of the world, gave himself up to meditation.3

And the prince said to his father: "Invite our kinsfolk that they may see me and put my strength to the test." And his father did as his son bade him.4

When the kinsfolk came, and the people of the city Kapilavatthu had assembled to test the prowess and scholarship of the prince, he proved himself manly in all the exercises both of the body and of the mind, and there was no rival among the youths and men of India who could surpass him in any test, bodily or mental.5

He replied to all the questions of the sages; but when he questioned them, even the wisest among them were silenced.6

Then Siddhattha chose himself a wife. He selected Yasodharā, his cousin, the gentle daughter of the king of Koli. And Yasodharā was betrothed to the prince.7[Pg 14]

In their wedlock was born a son whom they named Rāhula which means "fetter" or "tie", and King Suddhodana, glad that an heir was born to his son, said:8

"The prince having begotten a son, will love him as I love the prince. This will be a strong tie to bind Siddhattha's heart to the interests of the world, and the kingdom of the Sakyas will remain under the sceptre of my descendants."9

With no selfish aim, but regarding his child and the people at large, Siddhattha, the prince, attended to his religious duties, bathing his body in the holy Ganges and cleansing his heart in the waters of the law. Even as men desire to give happiness to their children, so did he long to give peace to the world.10
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:28 am


The palace which the king had given to the prince was resplendent with all the luxuries of India; for the king was anxious to see his son happy.1

All sorrowful sights, all misery, and all knowledge of misery were kept away from Siddhattha, for the king desired that no troubles should come nigh him; he should not know that there was evil in the world.2

But as the chained elephant longs for the wilds of the jungles, so the prince was eager to see the world, and he asked his father, the king, for permission to do so.3

And Suddhodana ordered a jewel-fronted chariot with four stately horses to be held ready, and commanded the roads to be adorned where his son would pass.4

The houses of the city were decorated with curtains and banners, and spectators arranged themselves on either side,[Pg 15] eagerly gazing at the heir to the throne. Thus Siddhattha rode with Channa, his charioteer, through the streets of the city, and into a country watered by rivulets and covered with pleasant trees.5

There by the wayside they met an old man with bent frame, wrinkled face and sorrowful brow, and the prince asked the charioteer: "Who is this? His head is white, his eyes are bleared, and his body is withered. He can barely support himself on his staff."6

The charioteer, much embarrassed, hardly dared speak the truth. He said: "These are the symptoms of old age. This same man was once a suckling child, and as a youth full of sportive life; but now, as years have passed away, his beauty is gone and the strength of his life is wasted."7

Siddhattha was greatly affected by the words of the charioteer, and he sighed because of the pain of old age. "What joy or pleasure can men take," he thought to himself, "when they know they must soon wither and pine away!"8

And lo! while they were passing on, a sick man appeared on the way-side, gasping for breath, his body disfigured, convulsed and groaning with pain.9

The prince asked his charioteer: "What kind of man is this?" And the charioteer replied and said: "This man is sick. The four elements of his body are confused and out of order. We are all subject to such conditions: the poor and the rich, the ignorant and the wise, all creatures that have bodies, are liable to the same calamity."10

And Siddhattha was still more moved. All pleasures appeared stale to him, and he loathed the joys of life.11

The charioteer sped the horses on to escape the dreary sight, when suddenly they were stopped in their fiery course.12

Four persons passed by, carrying a corpse; and the prince, shuddering at the sight of a lifeless body, asked the charioteer: "What is this they carry? There are streamers[Pg 16] and flower garlands; but the men that follow are overwhelmed with grief!"13

The charioteer replied: "This is a dead man: his body is stark; his life is gone; his thoughts are still; his family and the friends who loved him now carry the corpse to the grave."14

And the prince was full of awe and terror: "Is this the only dead man," he asked, "or does the world contain other instances?"15

With a heavy heart the charioteer replied: "All over the world it is the same. He who begins life must end it. There is no escape from death."16

With bated breath and stammering accents the prince exclaimed: "O worldly men! How fatal is your delusion! Inevitably your body will crumble to dust, yet carelessly, unheedingly, ye live on."17

The charioteer observing the deep impression these sad sights had made on the prince, turned his horses and drove back to the city.18

When they passed by the palaces of the nobility, Kisā Gotamī, a young princess and niece of the king, saw Siddhattha in his manliness and beauty, and, observing the thoughtfulness of his countenance, said: "Happy the father that begot thee, happy the mother that nursed thee, happy the wife that calls husband this lord so glorious."19

The prince hearing this greeting, said: "Happy are they that have found deliverance. Longing for peace of mind, I shall seek the bliss of Nirvāna."20

Then asked Kisā Gotamī: "How is Nirvāna attained?" The prince paused, and to him whose mind was estranged from wrong the answer came: "When the fire of lust is gone out, then Nirvāna is gained; when the fires of hatred and delusion are gone out, then Nirvāna is gained; when the troubles of mind, arising from blind credulity, and all other evils have ceased, then Nirvāna is gained!" Siddhattha handed her his precious pearl necklace as a reward for the instruction she had given him, and having returned home looked with disdain upon the treasures of his palace.21

His wife welcomed him and entreated him to tell her the cause of his grief. He said: "I see everywhere the impression of change; therefore, my heart is heavy. Men grow old, sicken, and die. That is enough to take away the zest of life."22

The king, his father, hearing that the prince had become estranged from pleasure, was greatly overcome with sorrow and like a sword it pierced his heart.23
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:29 am


It was night. The prince found no rest on his soft pillow; he arose and went out into the garden. "Alas!" he cried, "all the world is full of darkness and ignorance; there is no one who knows how to cure the ills of existence." And he groaned with pain.1

Siddhattha sat down beneath the great jambu-tree and gave himself to thought, pondering on life and death and the evils of decay. Concentrating his mind he became free from confusion. All low desires vanished from his heart and perfect tranquillity came over him.2

In this state of ecstasy he saw with his mental eye all the misery and sorrow of the world; he saw the pains of pleasure and the inevitable certainty of death that hovers over every being; yet men are not awakened to the truth. And a deep compassion seized his heart.3

While the prince was pondering on the problem of evil, he beheld with his mind's eye under the jambu-tree a[Pg 20] lofty figure endowed with majesty, calm and dignified. "Whence comest thou, and who mayst thou be?" asked the prince.4

In reply the vision said: "I am a samana. Troubled at the thought of old age, disease, and death I have left my home to seek the path of salvation. All things hasten to decay; only the truth abideth forever. Everything changes, and there is no permanency; yet the words of the Buddhas are immutable. I long for the happiness that does not decay; the treasure that will never perish; the life that knows of no beginning and no end. Therefore, I have destroyed all worldly thought. I have retired into an unfrequented dell to live in solitude; and, begging for food, I devote myself to the one thing needful."5

Siddhattha asked: "Can peace be gained in this world of unrest? I am struck with the emptiness of pleasure and have become disgusted with lust. All oppresses me, and existence itself seems intolerable."6

The samana replied: "Where heat is, there is also a possibility of cold; creatures subject to pain possess the faculty of pleasure; the origin of evil indicates that good can be developed. For these things are correlatives. Thus where there is much suffering, there will be much bliss, if thou but open thine eyes to behold it. Just as a man who has fallen into a heap of filth ought to seek the great pond of water covered with lotuses, which is near by: even so seek thou for the great deathless lake of Nirvāna to wash off the defilement of wrong. If the lake is not sought, it is not the fault of the lake. Even so when there is a blessed road leading the man held fast by wrong to the salvation of Nirvāna, if the road is not walked upon, it is not the fault of the road, but of the person. And when a man who is oppressed with sickness, there being a physician who can heal him, does not avail himself of the physician's help, that is not the fault of the physician. Even so when[Pg 21] a man oppressed by the malady of wrong-doing does not seek the spiritual guide of enlightenment, that is no fault of the evil-destroying guide."7

The prince listened to the noble words of his visitor and said: "Thou bringest good tidings, for now I know that my purpose will be accomplished. My father advises me to enjoy life and to undertake worldly duties, such as will bring honor to me and to our house. He tells me that I am too young still, that my pulse beats too full to lead a religious life."8

The venerable figure shook his head and replied: "Thou shouldst know that for seeking a religious life no time can be inopportune."9

A thrill of joy passed through Siddhattha's heart. "Now is the time to seek religion," he said; "now is the time to sever all ties that would prevent me from attaining perfect enlightenment; now is the time to wander into homelessness and, leading a mendicant's life, to find the path of deliverance."10

The celestial messenger heard the resolution of Siddhattha with approval.11

"Now, indeed," he added, "is the time to seek religion. Go, Siddhattha, and accomplish thy purpose. For thou art Bodhisatta, the Buddha-elect; thou art destined to enlighten the world.12

"Thou art the Tathāgata, the great master, for thou wilt fulfil all righteousness and be Dharmarāja, the king of truth. Thou art Bhagavat, the Blessed One, for thou art called upon to become the saviour and redeemer of the world.13

"Fulfil thou the perfection of truth. Though the thunderbolt descend upon thy head, yield thou never to the allurements that beguile men from the path of truth. As the sun at all seasons pursues his own course, nor ever goes on another, even so if thou forsake not the straight path of righteousness, thou shalt become a Buddha.14

[Pg 22]"Persevere in thy quest and thou shalt find what thou seekest. Pursue thy aim unswervingly and thou shalt gain the prize. Struggle earnestly and thou shalt conquer. The benediction of all deities, of all saints, of all that seek light is upon thee, and heavenly wisdom guides thy steps. Thou shalt be the Buddha, our Master, and our Lord; thou shalt enlighten the world and save mankind from perdition."15

Having thus spoken, the vision vanished, and Siddhattha's heart was filled with peace. He said to himself:16

"I have awakened to the truth and I am resolved to accomplish my purpose. I will sever all the ties that bind me to the world, and I will go out from my home to seek the way of salvation.17

"The Buddhas are beings whose words cannot fail: there is no departure from truth in their speech.18

"For as the fall of a stone thrown into the air, as the death of a mortal, as the sunrise at dawn, as the lion's roar when he leaves his lair, as the delivery of a woman with child, as all these things are sure and certain—even so the word of the Buddhas is sure and cannot fail.19

"Verily I shall become a Buddha."20

The prince returned to the bedroom of his wife to take a last farewell glance at those whom he dearly loved above all the treasures of the earth. He longed to take the infant once more into his arms and kiss him with a parting kiss. But the child lay in the arms of his mother, and the prince could not lift him without awakening both.21

There Siddhattha stood gazing at his beautiful wife and his beloved son, and his heart grieved. The pain of parting overcame him powerfully. Although his mind was determined, so that nothing, be it good or evil, could shake his resolution, the tears flowed freely from his eyes, and it was beyond his power to check their stream. But the prince tore himself away with a manly heart, suppressing his feelings but not extinguishing his memory.22

The Bodhisatta mounted his noble steed Kanthaka, and when he left the palace, Māra stood in the gate and stopped him: "Depart not, O my Lord," exclaimed Māra. "In seven days from now the wheel of empire will appear, and will make thee sovereign over the four continents and the two thousand adjacent islands. Therefore, stay, my Lord."23

The Bodhisatta replied: "Well do I know that the wheel of empire will appear to me; but it is not sovereignty that I desire. I will become a Buddha and make all the world shout for joy."24

Thus Siddhattha, the prince, renounced power and worldly pleasures, gave up his kingdom, severed all ties, and went into homelessness. He rode out into the silent night, accompanied only by his faithful charioteer Channa.25

Darkness lay upon the earth, but the stars shone brightly in the heavens.
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:29 am


Siddhattha had cut his waving hair and had exchanged his royal robe for a mean dress of the color of the ground. Having sent home Channa, the charioteer, together with the noble steed Kanthaka, to king Suddhodana to bear him the message that the prince had left the world, the Bodhisatta walked along on the highroad with a beggar's bowl in his hand.1

Yet the majesty of his mind was ill-concealed under the poverty of his appearance. His erect gait betrayed his royal birth and his eyes beamed with a fervid zeal for truth.[Pg 26] The beauty of his youth was transfigured by holiness and surrounded his head like a halo.2

All the people who saw this unusual sight gazed at him in wonder. Those who were in haste arrested their steps and looked back; and there was no one who did not pay him homage.3

Having entered the city of Rājagaha, the prince went from house to house silently waiting till the people offered him food. Wherever the Blessed One came, the people gave him what they had; they bowed before him in humility and were filled with gratitude because he condescended to approach their homes.4

Old and young people were moved and said: "This is a noble muni! His approach is bliss. What a great joy for us!"5

And king Bimbisāra, noticing the commotion in the city, inquired the cause of it, and when he learned the news sent one of his attendants to observe the stranger.6

Having heard that the muni must be a Sakya and of noble family, and that he had retired to the bank of a flowing river in the woods to eat the food in his bowl, the king was moved in his heart; he donned his royal robe, placed his golden crown upon his head and went out in the company of aged and wise counselors to meet his mysterious guest.7

The king found the muni of the Sakya race seated under a tree. Contemplating the composure of his face and the gentleness of his deportment, Bimbisāra greeted him reverently and said:8

"O samana, thy hands are fit to grasp the reins of an empire and should not hold a beggar's bowl. I am sorry to see thee wasting thy youth. Believing that thou art of royal descent, I invite thee to join me in the government of my country and share my royal power. Desire for power is becoming to the noble-minded, and wealth should[Pg 27] not be despised. To grow rich and lose religion is not true gain. But he who possesses all three, power, wealth, and religion, enjoying them in discretion and with wisdom, him I call a great master."9

The great Sakyamuni lifted his eyes and replied:10

"Thou art known, O king, to be liberal and religious, and thy words are prudent. A kind man who makes good use of wealth is rightly said to possess a great treasure; but the miser who hoards up his riches will have no profit.11

"Charity is rich in returns; charity is the greatest wealth, for though it scatters, it brings no repentance.12

"I have severed all ties because I seek deliverance. How is it possible for me to return to the world? He who seeks religious truth, which is the highest treasure of all, must leave behind all that can concern him or draw away his attention, and must be bent upon that one goal alone. He must free his soul from covetousness and lust, and also from the desire for power.13

"Indulge in lust but a little, and lust like a child will grow. Wield worldly power and you will be burdened with cares.14

"Better than sovereignty over the earth, better than living in heaven, better than lordship over all the worlds, is the fruit of holiness.15

"The Bodhisatta has recognized the illusory nature of wealth and will not take poison as food.16

"Will a fish that has been baited still covet the hook, or an escaped bird love the net?17

"Would a rabbit rescued from the serpent's mouth go back to be devoured? Would a man who has burnt his hand with a torch take up the torch after he had dropped it to the earth? Would a blind man who has recovered his sight desire to spoil his eyes again?18

"The sick man suffering from fever seeks for a cooling medicine. Shall we advise him to drink that which will[Pg 28] increase the fever? Shall we quench a fire by heaping fuel upon it?19

"I pray thee, pity me not. Rather pity those who are burdened with the cares of royalty and the worry of great riches. They enjoy them in fear and trembling, for they are constantly threatened with a loss of those boons on whose possession their hearts are set, and when they die they cannot take along either their gold or the kingly diadem.20

"My heart hankers after no vulgar profit, so I have put away my royal inheritance and prefer to be free from the burdens of life.21

"Therefore, try not to entangle me in new relationships and duties, nor hinder me from completing the work I have begun.22

"I regret to leave thee. But I will go to the sages who can teach me religion and so find the path on which we can escape evil.23

"May thy country enjoy peace and prosperity, and may wisdom be shed upon thy rule like the brightness of the noon-day sun. May thy royal power be strong and may righteousness be the sceptre in thine hand."24

The king, clasping his hands with reverence, bowed down before Sakyamuni and said: "Mayest thou obtain that which thou seekest, and when thou hast obtained it, come back, I pray thee, and receive me as thy disciple."25

The Bodhisatta parted from the king in friendship and goodwill, and purposed in his heart to grant his request.26
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Re: The Gospel of Buddha, by Paul Carus

Postby admin » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:30 am


Alāra and Uddaka were renowned as teachers among the Brahmans, and there was no one in those days who surpassed them in learning and philosophical knowledge.1

The Bodhisatta went to them and sat at their feet. He listened to their doctrines of the ātman or self, which is the ego of the mind and the doer of all doings. He learned their views of the transmigration of souls and of the law of karma; how the souls of bad men had to suffer by being reborn in men of low caste, in animals, or in hell, while those who purified themselves by libations, by sacrifices, and by self-mortification would become kings, or Brahmans, or devas, so as to rise higher and higher in the grades of existence. He studied their incantations and offerings and the methods by which they attained deliverance of the ego from material existence in states of ecstasy.2

Alāra said: "What is that self which perceives the actions of the five roots of mind, touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing? What is that which is active in the two ways of motion, in the hands and in the feet? The problem of the soul appears in the expressions 'I say,' 'I know and perceive,' 'I come,' and 'I go' or 'I will stay here.' Thy soul is not thy body; it is not thy eye, not thy ear, not thy nose, not thy tongue, nor is it thy mind. The I is the one who feels the touch in thy body. The I is the smeller in the nose, the taster in the tongue, the seer in the eye, the hearer in the ear, and the thinker in the mind. The I moves thy hands and thy feet. The I is thy soul. Doubt in the existence of the soul is irreligious, and without discerning this truth there is no way of salvation. Deep speculation will easily involve the mind; it leads to confusion[Pg 30] and unbelief; but a purification of the soul leads to the way of escape. True deliverance is reached by removing from the crowd and leading a hermit's life, depending entirely on alms for food. Putting away all desire and clearly recognizing the non-existence of matter, we reach a state of perfect emptiness. Here we find the condition of immaterial fife. As the muñja grass when freed from its horny case, as a sword when drawn from its scabbard, or as the wild bird escaped from its prison, so the ego, liberating itself from all limitations, finds perfect release. This is true deliverance, but those only who will have deep faith will learn."3

The Bodhisatta found no satisfaction in these teachings. He replied: "People are in bondage, because they have not yet removed the idea of the ego.4

"The thing and its quality are different in our thought, but not in reality. Heat is different from fire in our thought, but you cannot remove heat from fire in reality. You say that you can remove the qualities and leave the thing, but if you think your theory to the end, you will find that this is not so.5

"Is not man an organism of many aggregates? Are we not composed of various attributes? Man consists of the material form, of sensation, of thought, of dispositions, and, lastly, of understanding. That which men call the ego when they say 'I am' is not an entity behind the attributes; it originates by their co-operation. There is mind; there is sensation and thought, and there is truth; and truth is mind when it walks in the path of righteousness. But there is no separate ego-soul outside or behind the thought of man. He who believes that the ego is a distinct being has no correct conception of things. The very search for the ātman is wrong; it is a wrong start and it will lead you in a false direction.6

"How much confusion of thought comes from our interest[Pg 31] in self, and from our vanity when thinking 'I am so great,' or 'I have done this wonderful deed?' The thought of thine ego stands between thy rational nature and truth; banish it, and then wilt thou see things as they are. He who thinks correctly will rid himself of ignorance and acquire wisdom. The ideas 'I am' and 'I shall be' or 'I shall not be' do not occur to a clear thinker.7

"Moreover, if our ego remains, how can we attain true deliverance? If the ego is to be reborn in any of the three worlds, be it in hell, upon earth, or be it even in heaven, we shall meet again and again the same inevitable doom of sorrow. We shall remain chained to the wheel of individuality and shall be implicated in egotism and wrong.8

"All combination is subject to separation, and we cannot escape birth, disease, old age, and death. Is this a final escape?"9

Said Uddaka: "Consider the unity of things. Things are not their parts, yet they exist. The members and organs of thy body are not thine ego, but thine ego possesses all these parts. What, for instance, is the Ganges? Is the sand the Ganges? Is the water the Ganges? Is the hither bank the Ganges? Is the farther bank the Ganges? The Ganges is a mighty river and it possesses all these several qualities. Exactly so is our ego".10

But the Bodhisatta replied: "Not so, sir! If we except the water, the sand, the hither bank and the farther bank, where can we find any Ganges? In the same way I observe the activities of man in their harmonious union, but there is no ground for an ego outside its parts."11

The Brahman sage, however, insisted on the existence of the ego, saying: "The ego is the doer of our deeds. How can there be karma without a self as its performer? Do we not see around us the effects of karma? What makes men different in character, station, possessions, and fate? It is their karma, and karma includes merit and demerit.[Pg 32] The transmigration of the soul is subject to its karma. We inherit from former existences the evil effects of our evil deeds and the good effects of our good deeds. If that were not so, how could we be different?"12

The Tathāgata meditated deeply on the problems of transmigration and karma, and found the truth that lies in them.13

"The doctrine of karma," he said, "is undeniable, but thy theory of the ego has no foundation.14

"Like everything else in nature, the life of man is subject to the law of cause and effect. The present reaps what the past has sown, and the future is the product of the present. But there is no evidence of the existence of an immutable ego-being, of a self which remains the same and migrates from body to body. There is rebirth but no transmigration.15

"Is not this individuality of mine a combination, material as well as mental? Is it not made up of qualities that sprang into being by a gradual evolution? The five roots of sense-perception in this organism have come from ancestors who performed these functions. The ideas which I think, came to me partly from others who thought them, and partly they rise from combinations of the ideas in my own mind. Those who have used the same sense-organs, and have thought the same ideas before I was composed into this individuality of mine are my previous existences; they are my ancestors as much as the I of yesterday is the father of the I of to-day, and the karma of my past deeds conditions the fate of my present existence.16

"Supposing there were an ātman that performs the actions of the senses, then if the door of sight were torn down and the eye plucked out, that ātman would be able to peep through the larger aperture and see the forms of its surroundings better and more clearly than before. It would be able to hear sounds better if the ears were torn[Pg 33] away; smell better if the nose were cut off; taste better if the tongue were pulled out; and feel better if the body were destroyed.17

"I observe the preservation and transmission of character; I perceive the truth of karma, but see no ātman whom your doctrine makes the doer of your deeds. There is rebirth without the transmigration of a self. For this ātman, this self, this ego in the 'I say' and in the 'I will' is an illusion. If this self were a reality, how could there be an escape from selfhood? The terror of hell would be infinite, and no release could be granted. The evils of existence would not be due to our ignorance and wrong-doing, but would constitute the very nature of our being."18

And the Bodhisatta went to the priests officiating in the temples. But the gentle mind of the Sakyamuni was offended at the unnecessary cruelty performed on the altars of the gods. He said:19

"Ignorance only can make these men prepare festivals and hold vast meetings for sacrifices. Far better to revere the truth than try to appease the gods by shedding blood.20

"What love can a man possess who believes that the destruction of life will atone for evil deeds? Can a new wrong expiate old wrongs? And can the slaughter of an innocent victim blot out the evil deeds of mankind? This is practising religion by the neglect of moral conduct.21

"Purify your hearts and cease to kill; that is true religion.22

"Rituals have no efficacy; prayers are vain repetitions; and incantations have no saving power. But to abandon covetousness and lust, to become free from evil passions, and to give up all hatred and ill-will, that is the right sacrifice and the true worship."23
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