There  was in Kapilavatthu a Sakya king,  strong  of  purpose  and

reverenced  by  all  men,  a  descendant  of  the  Okkakas,  who  call

themselves Gotama, and his name was Suddhodana or Pure-Rice.         1

His wife Maya-devi was beautiful as 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, honoured 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 Lumbini there is a beautiful grove,  and when Maya-devi  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  Sala  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 Brahma held our a golden net to receive the

babe,  who  came forth from her right side like the rising sun  bright

and perfect.                                                         5

The Brahma-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 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.   Mara, the evil one, alone

was grieved and rejoiced not.                                       10

The Naga kings,  earnestly desiring to show their reverence for the

most  excellent law,  as they had paid honour to former  Buddhas,  now

went  to  greet the Bodhisatta.   They scattered  before  him  mandara

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 there was at that time in a grove near Lumbini 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 the

has begotten a wondrously noble son.                                17

“I do not worship Brahma, but I worship this child; and the gods in

the temples will descend from their places of honour to adore him.  18

“Banish  all anxiety and doubt.   The spiritual  omens  manifested

indicate that the child now born will bring delliverance to the  whole

world.                                                              19

“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  ship-

wrecked.   His power of meditation will be like a cool lake;  and  all

creatures parched with the drought of lust may freely dring 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 be open,  and  give  deliverance  to  all

creatures   ensnared  in  the  self-entwined  meshes  of   folly   and

ignorannce.                                                         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, Pajapati: “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 Pajapati wept and promised.                                  27

When the queen had departed from the living,  Pajapati 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 Suddhadana the king made Pajapati his  queen

and there was never a better stepmother than she.                   29


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 Yasodhara,  his

cousin,  the gentle daughter of the king of Koli.   And Yasodhara  was

betrothed to the prince.                                             7

In their wedlock was born a son whom they named Rahula 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


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,  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 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!   Inevitable 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 passes by the palaces of the nobility,  Kisa  Gotami,  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 Nirvana.”                                                        20

   Then  asked Kisa Gotami:  “How is Nirvana 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 Nirvana is gained; when

the fires of hatred and delusion are gone out, then Nirvana is gained;

when the troubles of mind, arising from blind credulity, and all other

evils have ceased, then Nirvana 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


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 ecstacy 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 lofty figure endowed  with

majesty, calm and dignified.  “Whence comest thou, and who mayest 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 Nirvana 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 Nirvana,  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 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 honour 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  shouldest

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 wonder 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 Tathagata, the great master, for thou wilt fulfil all

righteousness  and  be  Dharmaraja,  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

bequile 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

“Persevere  in thy quest and thou shalt find  what  thou  seekest.  Pursue they 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 Siddhatta’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 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,  Mara stood in the gate and stopped him: “Depart not, O my

Lord,”  exclaimed Mara.   “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.                                                            26


Siddhattha had cut his waving hair and had exchanged his royal robe

for  a  mean  dress of the colour 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  begger’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.   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 Rajagaha,  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 Bimbisara,  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 counsellors  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, Bimbisara 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 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  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 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


Alara and Uddaha were renowed 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 atman 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 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 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 ecstacy.                2

Alara 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.’ They 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  and unbelief;  but a purification of the soul leads to the way of  escape.

True  deliverance is reached by removing from the croud 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

life.   As the munja 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 of 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 atman 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 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 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 combinations 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  it

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.   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 Tathagata 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 effent.   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 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  that  were an atman that performs the  actions  of  the

senses,  then if the door of sight were torn down and the eye  plucked

out,  that atman would be able to peep throught he 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  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 atman whom your doctrine makes

the doer of your deeds.   There is rebirth without the  transmigration

of a self.   For this atman, 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 desturction  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


The  Bodhisatta went in search of a better system and  came  to  a

settlement  of five bhikkhus in the jungle of Uruvela;  and  when  the

Blessed  One  saw the life of those five men,  virtuously  keeping  in

check their senses,  subduing their passions,  and practising  austere

self-discipline,   he  admired  their  earnestness  and  joined  their

company.                                                             1

With holy zeal and a strong heart, the Sakyamuni gave himself up to

meditative  thought and rigorous mortification of the  body.   Whereas

the five bhikkhus were severe,  the Sakyamuni was severer  still,  and

they revered him, their junior, as their master.                     2

So  the  Bodhisatta continued for six  years  patiently  torturing

himself and suppressing the wants of nature.   He trained his body and

exercised his mind in the modes of the most regorous ascetic life.  At

last,  he ate each day one hemp-grain only, seeking to cross the ocean

of birth and death and to arrive at the shore of deliverance.        3

And when the Bodhisatta was ahungered,  lo!  Mara,  the Evil  One, approached him and said: “Thou art emanciated from fasts, and death is near.   What good is thy exertion?   Deign to live,  and thou wilt  be able to do good works.”  But the Sakyamuni made reply:  “O thou friend of  the indolent,  thou wicked one;  for what purpose hast thou  come?

Let  the flesh waste away,  if but the mind becomes more tranquil  and

attention  more  steadfast.   What is life in this  world?   Death  in

battle is better to me than that I should live defeated.”            4

And Mara withdrew,  saying:  “For seven years I have followed  the

Blessed  One  step  by  step,  but  I  have  found  no  fault  in  the

Tathagata.”                                                          5

The Bodhisatta was shrunken and attenuated, and his body was like a

withered  branch;   but  the  fame  of  his  holiness  spread  in  the

surrounding countries and people came from great distances to see  him

and receive his blessing.                                            6

However,  the Holy One was not satisfied.   Seeking true wisdom  he

did  not  find it,  and he came to the conclusion  that  mortification

would  not  extinguish  desire nor afford  enlightenment  in  ecstatic

contemplation.                                                       7

Seated beneath a jambu-tree,  he considered the state of his  mind

and the fruits of his mortification.   His body had become weaker, nor

had his fasts advanced him in his search for salvation,  and therefore

when  he saw that is was not the right path,  he proposed  to  abandon

it.                                                                  8

He went to bathe in the Neranyjaro river,  but when he  strove  to

leave  the water he could not rise on account of his  weakness.   Then

espying the branch of a tree and taking hold of it,  he raised himself

and left the stream.   But while returning to his abode,  he staggered

and fell to the ground, and the fove bhikkhus thought he was dead.   9

There  was  a chief herdsman living near the  grove  whose  eldest daughter  was  called Nanda;  and Nanda happened to pass by  the  spot where  the  Blessed One had swooned,  and bowing down before  him  she offered him rice-milk and he accepted the gift.   When he had partaken of  the rice-milk is  all his limbs were refreshed,  his  mind  became clear agin, and he was strong to receive the highest enlightenment.

After this occurrence,  the Bodhisatta again took some  food.   His

disciples,  having  witnessed  the scene of Nanda  and  observing  the

change in his mode of living,  were filled with suspicion.   They were

convinced  that Siddhattha’s religious zeal was flagging and  that  he

whom they had hitherto revered as their Master had become oblivious of

his high purpose.                                                   11

When the Bodhisatta saw the bhikkhus turning away from him, he felt

sorry for their lack of confidence, and was aware of the loneliness in

which he lived.                                                     12

Suppressing his grief he wandered on alone, and his disciples said:

“Siddhattha leaves us to seek a more pleasant abode.”               13


The Holy One directed his steps to that blessed Bodhi-tree  beneath

whose shade he was to accomplish his search.                         1

As he walked,  the earth shook and a brilliant light  transfigured

the world.                                                           2

When  he sat down the heavens resounded with joy  and  all  living

beings were filled with good cheer.                                  3

Mara alone, lord of the five desires, bringer of death and enemy of

truth, was grieved and rejoiced not.  With his three daughters, Tanha,

Raga and Arati,  the tempters,  and with his host of evil  demons,  he

went  to the place where the great samana sat.   But Sakyamuni  heeded

him not.                                                             4

Mara uttered fear-inspiring threats and raised a whirl-wind so that

the  skies were darkened and the ocean roared and trembled.   But  the

Blessed  One under the Bodhi-tree remained calm and feared  not.   The

Enlightened One knew that no harm could befall him.                  5

The three daughters of Mara tempted the Bodhisatta,  but he paid no

attention to them, and when Mara saw that he could kindle no desire in

the heart of the victorious samana, he ordered all the evil spirits at

his command to attack him and overawe the great muni.                6

But the Blessed One watched them as one would watch  the  harmless

games of children.   All the fierce hatred of the evil spirits was  of

no avail.  The flames of hell became wholesome breezes of perfume, and

the angry thunderbolts were changed into lotus-blossoms.             7

When Mara saw this, he fled away with his army from the Bodhi-tree,

whilst from above a rain of heavenly flowers fell,  and voices of good

spirits were heard:                                                  8

“Behold the great muni!  his heart unmoved by hatred.   The  wicked

Mara’s host ‘gainst him did not prevail.   Pure is he and wise, loving

and full of mercy.                                                   9

“As the rays of the sun drown the darkness of the world, so the who

perseveres  in  his  search will find the truth  and  the  truth  will

enlighten him.”                                                     10


The  Bodhisatta,  having put Mara to flight,  gave himself  up  to

meditation.  All the miseries of the world, the evils produced by evil

deeds and the sufferings arising therefrom,  passed before his  mental

eye, and he thought:                                                 1

“Surely  if  living creatures saw the results of  all  their  evil

deeds, they would turn away from them in disgust.  But selfhood blinds

them, and they cling to their obnoxious desires.                     2

“They crave pleasure for themselves and they cause pain to  others;

when  death destroys their individuality,  they find no  peace;  their

thirst  for  existence  abides and their  selfhood  reappears  in  new

births.                                                              3

“Thus they continue to move in the coil and can find no escape from

the hell of their own making.   And how empty are their pleasures, how

vain are their endeavours!   Hollow like the plantain-tree and without

contents like the bubble.                                            4

“The world is full of evil and sorrow,  because it is full of lust.

Men  go astray because they think that delusion is better than  truth.

Rather than truth they follow error,  which is pleasant to look at  in

the  beginning  but  in  the  end  causes  anxiety,  tribulation,  and

misery.”                                                             5

And the Bodhisatta began to expound the Dharma.   The Dharma is the

truth.   The Dharma is the sacred law.   The Dharma is religion.   The

Dharma alone can deliver us from error, from wrong and from sorrow.  6

Pondering on the origin of birth and death,  the  Enlightened  One

recognized that ignorance was the root of all evil;  and these are the

links in the development of life, called the twelve nidanas:         7

In the beginning there is existence blind and  without  knowledge; and  in  this  sea of ignorance there  are  stirrings,  formative  and organizing.  From stirrings, formative and organizing, rises awareness or feelings.  Feelings beget organisms that live as individual beings.

These organisms develop the six fields,  that is,  the five senses and

the mind.   The six fields come incontact with things.  Contact begets

sensation.  Sensation creates the thirst of individualized being.  The

thirst of being creates a cleaving to things.   The cleaving  produces

the  growth  and  continuation of  selfhood.   Selfhood  continues  in

renewed  births.   The  renewed births of selfhood are  the  cause  of

suffering,  old age,  sickness,  and death.  They produce lamentation,

anxiety, and dispair.                                                8

The cause of all sorrow lies at the very beginning; it is hidden in

the  ignorance from which life grows.   Remove ignorance and you  will

destroy the wrong appetences that rise from ignorance;  destroy  these

appetences and you will wipe out the wrong perception that rises  from

them.   Destroy  wrong  perception and there is an end  of  errors  in

individualized beings.  Destroy the error in individualized beings and

the illusions of the six fields will disappear.  Destroy illusions and

the  contact with things will cease to beget  misconception.   Destroy

misconception  and you do away with thirst.   Destroy thirst  and  you

will  be  free of all morbid cleaving.   Remove the cleaving  and  you

destroy the selfishness of selfhood.   If the selfishness of  selfhood

is destroyed you will be above birth, old age, disease, and death, and

you will escape all suffering.                                       9

The enlightened One saw the four noble truths which point out  the

path that leads to Nirvana or the extinction of self:               10

   The first noble truth is the existence of sorrow.                11

   The second noble truth is the cause of suffering.                12

   The third noble truth is cessation of sorrow.                    13

The  fourth noble truth is the eightfold path that  leads  to  the

cessation of sorrow.                                                14

This is the Dharma.  This is the truth.  This is religion.  And the

Enlightened One uttered this stanza:                                15

“Through many births I sought in vain The Builder of this House of Pain.

Now, Builder, thee I plainly see!

This is the last abode for me.

Thy gable’s yoke and rafters broke,

My heart has peace.  All lust will cease.”              16 There is self and there is truth.   Where self is,  truth is  not.

Where truth is,  self is not.   Self is the fleeting error of samsara; it  is individual separateness and that egotism which begets envy  and hatred.   Self is the yearning for pleasure and the lust after vanity.

Truth is the correct comprehension of things;  it is the permanent and

everlasting,    the   real   in   all   existence,    the   bliss   of

righteousness.                                                      17

The existence of self is an illusion, and there is no wrong in this

world,  no  vise,  no evil,  except what flows fromt the assertion  of

self.                                                               18

The attainment of truth is possible only when self is recognized as

an illusion.   Righteousness can be practised only when we have  freed

our mind from passions of egotism.  Perfect peace can dwell only where

all vanity has disappeared.                                         19

Blessed is he who has understood the Dharma.   Blessed is  he  who

dies no harm to his fellow-beings.   Blessed is he who overcomes wrong

and  is free from passion.   To the highest bliss has he attained  who

has conquered all selfishness and vanity.   He has become the  Buddha,

the Perfect One, the Blessed One, the Holy One.                     20


The  Blessed  One  tarried in solitude  seven  times  seven  days,

enjoying the bliss of emancipation.                                  1

At that time Tapussa and Bhallika, two merchants, came traveling on

the  road near by,  and when they saw the great samana,  majestic  and

full of peace,  they approached him respectfully and offered him  rice

cakes and honey.                                                     2

This  was  the first food that the Enlightened One  ate  after  he

attained Buddhahood.                                                 3

And the Buddha addressed them and pointed out to them the  way  of

salvation.   The two merchants, conceiving in their minds the holiness

of the conqueror of Mara,  bowed down in reverence and said: “We  take

our refuge, Lord, in the Blessed One and in the Dharma.”             4

Tapussa and Bhallika were the first that became followers  of  the

Buddha and they were lay disciples.                                  5


The Blessed One having attained Buddhahood while resting under  the

shepherd’s  Nigrodha  tree  on  the banks  of  the  river  Neranyjara,

pronounced this solemn utterance:                                    1

“How blest in happy solitude

Is he who hears of truth the call!

How blest to be both kind and good,

To practice self-restraint to all!

How blest from passion to be free,

All sensuous joys to let pass by!

Yet highest bliss enjoyeth he

Who quits the pride of ‘I am I.’                         2

“I have recognized the deepest truth,  which is sublime and  peace-

giving,  but difficult to understand; for most men move in a sphere of

worldly interests and find their delights in worldly desires.        3

“The worldling will not understand the doctrine,  for to him  there

is happiness in selfhood only,  and the bliss that lies in a  complete

surrender to truth is unintelligible to him.                         4

“He  will  call resignation what to the enlightened  mind  is  the

purest  joy.   He will see annihilation where the perfected one  finds

immortality.  He will regard as death what the conqueror of self knows

to be life everlasting.                                              5

“The truth remains hidden from him who is in the bondage  of  hate

and  desire.   Nirvana remains incomprehensible and mysterious to  the

vulgar  whose minds are beclouded with worldly  interests.   Should  I

preach the doctrine and mankind not comprehend it,  it would bring  me

only fatigue and trouble.”                                           6

Mara,  the Evil One,  on hearing the words of the Blessed  Buddha,

approached and said:  “Be greeted,  thou Holy One.  Thou hast attained

the  highest  bliss and it is time for thee to enter  into  the  final

Nirvana.”                                                            7

Then  Brahma  Sahampati descended from  the  heavens  and,  having

worshipped the Blessed One, said:                                    8

“Alas!  the world must perish,  should the Holy One, the Tathagata,

decide not to teach the Dharma.                                      9

“Be  merciful to those that struggle;  have  compassion  upon  the

sufferers;  pity  the  creatures who are hopelessly entangled  in  the

snares of sorrow.                                                   10

“There  are  some beings that are almost free  from  the  dust  of

worldliness.   If  they hear not the doctrine preached,  they will  be

lost.  But if they hear it, they will believe and be saved.”        11

The  Blessed One,  full of compassion,  looked with the eye  of  a

Buddha upon all sentient creatures, and he saw among them beings whose

minds were but scarcely covered by the dust of worldliness,  who  were

of  good  disposition  and easy to instruct.   He saw  some  who  were

conscious of the dangers of lust and wrong doing.                   12

And the Blessed One said to Brahma Sahampati:  “Wide open  be  the

door  of immortality to all who have ears to hear.   May they  receive

the Dharma with faith.”                                             13

And the Blessed One turned to Mara,  saying: “I shall not pass into

the final Nirvana,  O Evil One,  until there be not only brethren  and

sisters of an Order,  but also lay-disciples of both sexes,  who shall

have  become true hearers,  wise,  well-trained,  ready  and  learned,

versed  in  the  scriptures,  fulfilling all the  greater  and  lesser

duties,  correct  in life,  walking according to the precepts -  until

they,  having thus themselves learned the doctrine,  shall be able  to

give information to others concerning it,  preach it,  make it  known,

establish it,  open it, minutely explain it, and make it clear - until

they,  when others start vain doctrines, shall be able to vanquish and

refute them, and so to spread the wonder-working truth abroad. I shall

not die until the pure religion of truth shall have become successful,

prosperous, wide-spread and popular in all its full extent - until, in

a word, it shall have been well proclaimed among men!”              14

Then Brahma Sahampati understood that the Blessed One had  granted

his request and would preach the doctrine.                          15