THE MAHÂVAGGA.

THE MAHÂVAGGA.


REVERENCE TO THE BLESSED ONE, THE HOLY ONE, THE FULLY ENLIGHTENED ONE.


FIRST KHANDHAKA.

(THE ADMISSION TO THE ORDER OF BHIKKHUS.)

11.

   1. At that time the blessed Buddha dwelt at p. 74 Uruvelâ, on the bank of the river Nerañgarâ1 at the foot of the Bodhi tree (tree of wisdom), just after he had become Sambuddha. And the blessed Buddha sat cross-legged at the foot of the Bodhi tree uninterruptedly during seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation2.

p. 75

2. Then the Blessed One (at the end of these seven days) during the first watch of the night fixed his mind upon the Chain of Causation1, in direct and in reverse order: ‘From Ignorance2 spring the p. 76 samkhâras1, from the samkhâras springs Consciousness, from Consciousness spring Name-and-Form, from Name-and-Form spring the six Provinces (of the p. 77 six senses1), from the six Provinces springs Contact, from Contact springs Sensation, from Sensation springs Thirst (or Desire), from Thirst springs Attachment, from Attachment springs Existence, from Existence springs Birth, from Birth spring Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair. Such is the origination of this whole mass of suffering. Again, by the destruction of Ignorance, which consists in the complete absence of lust, the samkhâras are destroyed, by the destruction of the samkhâras Consciousness is destroyed, by the destruction of Consciousness Name-and-Form are destroyed, by the destruction of Name-and-Form the six Provinces are destroyed, by the destruction of the six Provinces Contact is destroyed, by the destruction of Contact Sensation is destroyed, by the destruction of Sensation Thirst is destroyed, by the destruction of Thirst Attachment is destroyed, by the destruction of Attachment Existence is destroyed, by the destruction of Existence Birth is destroyed, by the destruction of Birth Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair are p. 78 destroyed. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.’

3. Knowing this the Blessed One then on that occasion pronounced this solemn utterance: ‘When the real nature of things becomes clear to the ardent, meditating Brâhmana, then all his doubts fade away, since he realises what is that nature and what its cause.’

4. Then the Blessed One during the middle watch of the night fixed his mind upon the Chain of Causation, in direct and reverse order: ‘From Ignorance spring the samkhâras, &c. Such is the origination of this whole mass of suffering, &c. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.’

5. Knowing this the Blessed One then on that occasion pronounced this solemn utterance: ‘When the real nature of things becomes clear to the ardent, meditating Brâhmana, then all his doubts fade away, since he has understood the cessation of causation.’

6. Then the Blessed One during the third watch of the night fixed his mind, &c.

7. Knowing this the Blessed One then on that occasion pronounced this solemn utterance: ‘When the real nature of things becomes clear to the ardent, meditating Brâhmana, he stands, dispelling the hosts of Mâra, like the sun that illuminates the sky.’


Here ends the account of what passed under the Bodhi tree.



p. 79

2.

   1. Then the Blessed One, at the end of those seven days, arose from that state of meditation, and went from the foot of the Bodhi tree to the Agapâla banyan tree (banyan tree of the goat-herds1). And when he had reached it, he sat cross-legged at the foot of the Agapâla banyan tree uninterruptedly during seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation.

2. Now a certain Brâhmana, who was of a haughty disposition2, went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he exchanged greeting with the Blessed One; having exchanged with him greeting and complaisant words, he stationed himself near him; then standing near him that Brâhmana thus spoke to the Blessed One: ‘By what, Gotama; does one become a Brâhmana, and what are the characteristics that make a man a Brâhmana?’

3. And the Blessed One, having heard that, on this occasion pronounced this solemn utterance: ‘That Brâhmana who has removed (from himself) all sinfulness, who is free from haughtiness, free from impurity, self-restrained, who is an accomplished master of knowledge (or, of the Veda), who has fulfilled the duties of holiness, such a Brâhmana may p. 80 justly call himself a Brâhmana, whose behaviour is uneven to nothing in the world.’


Here ends the account of what passed under the Agapâla tree.



3.

   1. Then the Blessed One, at the end of those seven days, arose from that state of meditation, and went from the foot of the Agapâla banyan tree to the Mukalinda tree. And when he had reached it, he sat cross-legged at the foot of the Mukalinda tree uninterruptedly during seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation.

2. At that time a great cloud appeared out of season, rainy weather which lasted seven days, cold weather, storms, and darkness. And the Nâga (or Serpent) king Mukalinda came out from his abode, and seven times encircled the body of the Blessed One with his windings, and kept extending his large hood over the Blessed One’s head, thinking to himself: ‘May no coldness (touch) the Blessed One! May no heat (touch) the Blessed One! May no vexation by gadflies and gnats, by storms and sun heat and reptiles (touch) the Blessed One!’

3. And at the end of those seven days, when the Nâga king Mukalinda saw the open, cloudless sky, he loosened his windings from the body of the Blessed One, made his own appearance disappear, created the appearance of a youth, and stationed himself in front of the Blessed One, raising his clasped hands, and paying reverence to the Blessed One.

p. 81

4. And the Blessed One, perceiving that, on this occasion, pronounced this solemn utterance: ‘Happy is the solitude of him who is full of joy, who has learnt the Truth, who sees (the Truth). Happy is freedom from malice in this world, (self-)restraint towards all beings that have life. Happy is freedom from lust in this world, getting beyond all desires; the putting away of that pride which comes from the thought “I am!” This truly is the highest happiness!’


Here ends the account of what passed under the Mukalinda tree.



4.

   1. Then the Blessed One, at the end of those seven days, arose from that state of meditation, and went from the foot of the Mukalinda tree to the Râgâyatana (tree1); when he had reached it, he sat cross-legged at the foot of the Râgâyatana tree uninterruptedly during seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation.

2. At that time Tapussa and Bhallika, two merchants, came travelling on the road from Ukkala (Orissa) to that place. Then a deity who had been (in a former life) a blood-relatian of the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika, thus spoke to the merchants p. 82 Tapussa and Bhallika: ‘Here, my noble friends, at the foot of the Râgâyatana tree, is staying the Blessed One, who has just become Sambuddha. Go and show your reverence to him, the Blessed One, by (offering him) rice-cakes and lumps of honey. Long will this be to you for a good and for a blessing.’

3. And the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika took rice-cakes and lumps of honey, and went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him and respectfully saluted the Blessed One, they stationed themselves near him; standing near him, the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika thus addressed the Blessed One: ‘May, O Lord, the Blessed One accept from us these rice-cakes and lumps of honey, that that may long be to us for a good and for a blessing!

4. Then the Blessed One thought: ‘The Tathâgatas1 do not accept (food) with their hands. Now p. 83 with what shall I accept the rice-cakes and lumps of honey?’ Then the four Mahârâga gods1, understanding by the power of their minds the reflection which had arisen in the mind of the Blessed One, offered to the Blessed One from the four quarters (of the horizon) four bowls made of stone (saying), ‘May, O Lord, the Blessed One accept herewith the rice-cakes and the lumps of honey!’ The Blessed One accepted those new stone bowls; and therein be received the rice-cakes and honey lumps, and those, when he had received, he ate.

5. And Tapussa and Bhallika, the merchants, when they saw that the Blessed One had cleansed2 his bowl and his hands, bowed down in reverence p. 84 at the feet of the Blessed One and thus addressed the Blessed One: ‘We take our refuge, Lord, in the Blessed One and in the Dhamma; may the Blessed One receive us as disciples who, from this day forth while our life lasts, have taken their refuge (in him).’ These were the first in the world to become lay-disciples (of the Buddha) by the formula which contained (only) the dyad1.


Here ends the account of what passed under the Râgâyatana tree.



5.

   1. Then the Blessed One, at the end of those seven days, arose from that state of meditation, and went from the foot of the Râgâyatana tree to the Agapâla banyan tree. And when he had reached it, the Blessed One stayed there at the foot of the Agapâla banyan tree.

2. Then in the mind of the Blessed One, who was alone, and had retired into solitude, the following thought arose: ‘I have penetrated this doctrine which is profound, difficult to perceive and to understand, which brings quietude of heart, which is exalted, which is unattainable by reasoning, abstruse, intelligible (only) to the wise. This people, on the other hand, is given to desire, intent upon desire, delighting in desire. To this people, therefore, who p. 85 are given to desire, intent upon desire, delighting in desire, the law of causality and the chain of causation will be a matter difficult to understand; most difficult for them to understand will be also the extinction of all samkhâras, the getting rid of all the substrata (of existence1), the destruction of desire, the absence of passion, quietude of heart, Nirvâna! Now if I proclaim the doctrine, and other men are not able to understand my preaching, there would result but weariness and annoyance to me.’

3. And then the following . . . .2 stanzas, unheard before, occurred to the Blessed One: ‘With great pains have I acquired it. Enough! why should I now proclaim it? This doctrine will not be easy to understand to beings that are lost in lust and hatred.

‘Given to lust, surrounded with thick darkness, they will not see what is repugnant (to their minds), abstruse, profound, difficult to perceive, and subtle.’

4. When the Blessed One pondered over this matter, his mind became inclined to remain in quiet, and not to preach the doctrine. Then Brahmâ p. 86 Sahampati1, understanding by the power of his mind the reflection which had arisen in the mind of the Blessed One, thought: ‘Alas! the world perishes! Alas! the world is destroyed! if the mind of the Tathâgata, of the holy, of the absolute Sambuddha inclines itself to remain in quiet, and not to preach the doctrine.’

5. Then Brahmâ Sahampati disappeared from Brahma’s world, and appeared before the Blessed One (as quickly) as a strong man might stretch his bent arm out, or draw back his out-stretched arm.

6. And Brahmâ Sahampati adjusted his upper robe so as to cover one shoulder, and putting his right knee on the ground, raised his joined hands towards the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One: ‘Lord, may the Blessed One preach the doctrine! may the perfect One preach the doctrine! there are beings whose mental eyes are darkened by scarcely any dust; but if they do not hear the doctrine, they cannot attain salvation. These will understand the doctrine.’

7. Thus spoke Brahmâ Sahampati; and when he had thus spoken, he further said: ‘The Dhamma hitherto manifested in the country of Magadha has been impure, thought out by contaminated men. But do thou now open the door of the Immortal2; let them hear the doctrine discovered by the spotless One!

‘As a man standing on a rock, on mountain’s p. 87 top, might overlook the people all around, thus, O wise One, ascending to the highest palace of Truth, look down, all-seeing One, upon the people lost in suffering, overcome by birth and decay,–thou, who hast freed thyself from suffering!

‘Arise, O hero; O victorious One! Wander through the world, O leader of the pilgrim band, who thyself art free from debt. May the Blessed One preach the doctrine; there will be people who can understand it!’

8. When he had spoken thus, the Blessed One said to Brahmâ Sahampati: ‘The following thought, Brahmâ, has occurred to me: “I have penetrated this doctrine, . . . . (&c., down to end of § 2).” And also, Brahmâ, the following . . . .1 stanzas have presented themselves to my mind, which had not been heard (by me) before: “With great pains, . . . . (&c., down to end of § 3).” When I pondered over this matter, Brahmâ, my mind became inclined to remain in quiet, and not to preach the doctrine.’

9. And a second time Brahmâ Sahampati said to the Blessed One: ‘Lord, may the Blessed One preach the doctrine, . . . . (&c., as in §§ 6, 7).’ And for the second time the Blessed One said to Brahmâ Sahampati: ‘The following thought . . . . (&c., as before).’

10. And a third time Brahmâ Sahampati said to the Blessed One: ‘Lord, may the Blessed One preach the doctrine, . . . . (&c., as before).’

Then the Blessed One, when he had heard Brahmâ’s solicitation, looked, full of compassion towards sentient beings, over the world, with his (all-perceiving) eye of a Buddha. And the Blessed One, looking over the world with his eye of a Buddha, p. 88 saw beings whose mental eyes were darkened by scarcely any dust, and beings whose eyes were covered by much dust, beings sharp of sense and blunt of sense, of good disposition and of bad disposition, easy to instruct and difficult to instruct, some of them seeing the dangers of future life and of sin.

11. As, in a pond of blue lotuses, or water-roses, or white lotuses, some blue lotuses, or water-roses, or white lotuses, born in the water, grown up in the water, do not emerge over the water, but thrive hidden under the water; and other blue lotuses, or water-roses, or white lotuses, born in the water, grown up in the water, reach to the surface of the water; and other blue lotuses, or water-roses, or white lotuses, born in the water, grown up in the water, stand emerging out of the water, and the water does not touch them,–

12. Thus the Blessed One, looking over the world with his eye of a Buddha, saw beings whose mental eyes were darkened, . . . . (&c., the text repeats § 10); and when he had thus seen them, he addressed Brahmâ Sahampati in the following stanza: ‘Wide opened is the door of the Immortal to all who have ears to hear; let them send forth faith to meet it. The Dhamma sweet and good I spake not, Brahmâ, despairing of the weary task, to men.’

13. Then Brahmâ Sahampati understood: ‘The Blessed One grants my request that He should preach the doctrine.’ And he bowed down before the Blessed One, and passed round him with his right side towards him; and then he straightway disappeared.


Here ends the story of Brahmâ’s request.

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