Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari-Paṇṇāsa
3. Suññata Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume VI
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part V

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume II

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1927
Public Domain

Sutta 123

Acchariya-abbhūta Suttaɱ

Wonders of the Nativity

 


[118] [222]

[1][pts] [upal] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
there arose the following talk
among a large mumber of Almsmen
who were sitting together in [223] hall
after their alms-round and meal: -

It is wonderful, sirs,
it is marvellous
what powers and might belong to the Truth-finder,
seeing that he can know
all about former Buddhas who passed away
with all lets and hindrances excised,
with nothing to tie them to rebirth
and the round of existences,
and in triumph over all Ill.

He knows the families from which they came,
their names and septs,
their virtues and characters,
their attainments and outlook,
and the five modes of Deliverance they respectively won.

Yes, said Ānanda;
Truth-finders are wonderful
and of wonderful nature,
marvellous
and of marvellous nature.

[119] This conversation of those Almsmen was interrupted;
for the Lord,
rising up towards evening from his meditations,
came into hall and,
seating himself on the seat set for him,
asked what they had been talking about
and what discussion had been broken off.

Word for word,
they told him what had passed.

Then turning to Ānanda,
the Lord bade him expand more fully
the wonders and marvels of a Truth-finder's nature.

With my own ears
and from the Lord's own lips, sir,
have I heard and received
the Lord's testimony to me that,
mindful and fully aware
of what should happen to him,
the Bodhisatta passed to don form in the Tusita heaven;
and this I hold to be wonderful
and a marvel in the Lord.

With my own ears
and from the Lord's own lips, sir,
have I heard and received
the Lord's own testimony to me that,
mindful and fully aware,
the Bodhisatta abode in his Tusita form;
and this too I hold to be wonderful
and a marvel in the Lord.

With my own ears
and from the Lord's own lips, sir,
have I heard and received
the Lord's own testimony to me that
the Bodhisatta abode in his Tusita form
for the whole term of his existence there;
and this too I hold to be wonderful
and a marvel in the Lord.

With my own ears
and from the Lord's own lips, sir,
have I heard and received
the Lord's own testimonies to me that -

[224] Mindful and fully aware of what should happen,
the Bodhisatta passed from his Tusita form
and entered his mother's womb;

[120] When the Bodhisatta thus passed into his mother s womb,
then, throughout the entire world
with its gods
and Māras and Brahmās,
there appeared, to all recluses and brahmins
and to all gods and men,
a measureless vast effulgence, -
surpassing the gods' own celestial splendour,
and penetrating even those vasty and murky
interspaces between worlds
where gloomy darkness reigns
and no light may enter of sun and moon
for all their power and might,
so that by this effulgence
the denizens of those interspaces
could behold one another
and recognize that
other creatures dwell with them there;
and withal the ten thousand worlds
trembled and shook and quaked;[1]

As soon as the Bodhisatta has entered his mother's womb,
four deities draw nigh him
to guard the four cardinal points
so that no one -
human, non-human or whatever he might be -
should do a mischief
to either the Bodhisatta or his mother;

As soon as the Bodhisatta has entered his mother's womb,
she becomes intrinsically virtuous, -
eschewing the taking of life
and the taking of anything not given to her,
eschewing pleasures of sense and incontinence,
eschewing lies
and all temptation to strong drink;

[121] As soon as the Bodhisatta has entered into his mother's womb,
she has no carnal mind for any man,
nor can she yield to any man's passion for her;

As soon as the Bodhisatta has entered his mother's womb,
all the five pleasures of sense become hers;
she is lapped and wrapped
in all the enjoyment they can bring;

As soon as the Bodhisatta has entered his mother's womb,
no ailments can come upon her;
comfortable and unwearied of body,
she views within her womb [225] the Bodhisatta
with all his limbs and faculties complete; -
just as a sparkling veluriya gem of finest water,
which has been cut with eight facets
and marvellously wrought,
and through which passes a blue,
yellow,
red,
white,
or yellowish thread,
is seen as being what it is
by a man with eyes to see
who takes it in his hand to examine it;

[122] Seven days after his birth
the mother of the Bodhisatta dies
and passes to the Tusita heaven;

While other women carry their child
some nine or ten months,
it is otherwise with a Bodhisatta's mother,
who brings forth her child
after exactly ten months;

While other women give birth to their child
sitting or lying,
it is otherwise with a Bodhisatta's mother,
who gives birth standing erect;

When the Bodhisatta issues from his mother's womb,
he is received into the hands
first of gods
and afterwards of human beings;

When the Bodhisatta issues from his mother's womb,
he never touches the ground
but is received by the four deities
who present him to his mother
with these words:

Rejoice, o queen!
you have borne indeed a lordly son!

When the Bodhisatta issues from his mother's womb,
he issues without stain
and without defilement
from waters
or humours
or blood
or any [128] uncleanness,
but pure and stainless, -
just like a gem on Benares muslin,
where neither defiles the other
because both are pure;

When the Bodhisatta issues from his mother's womb,
there start from mid-air
two jets of water,
one cold and the other warm,
wherewith they bathe the Bodhisatta and his mother;

As soon as he is born,
the Bodhisatta firmly plants both feet flat on the ground,
takes seven strides to the North,
with a white canopy carried above his head,
and surveys each quarter of the world,
exclaiming in peerless tones:

In all the world I am chief,
best and foremost;
this is my last birth;
I shall never be born again;

[226] As soon as the Bodhisatta issues from his mother's womb,
throughout the entire world
with its gods
and Māras and Brahmās
there appears, to all recluses and brahmins
and to all gods and men,
a measureless and vast effulgence, -
surpassing the gods' own celestial splendour
and penetrating even those vasty and murky
interspaces between worlds
where gloomy darkness reigns
and no light may enter of sun and moon
for all their power and might,
so that [124] by this effulgence
the denizens of those interspaces
could behold one another
and recognize that
other creatures dwell with them there;
and withal the ten thousand worlds
trembled and shook and quake;

and this too, sir,
I hold to be - like all the foregoing -
wonderful and a marvel in the Lord.

Add this too, Ānanda, -
that the Truth-finder has full knowledge of feelings -
and perceptions -
and thoughts -
as they arise and appear and pass away.

Add this, Ānanda,
to your tale of the Truth-finder's wonders and marvels.

Inasmuch, sir, as the Lord has full knowledge
of feelings and perceptions and thoughts
as they arise and appear and pass away, -
this too, sir,
do I hold to be wonderful and a marvel in the Lord.

Thus spoke the reverendĀnanda
and the Master approved.

Glad at heart,
those Almsmen rejoiced in what the reverend Ānanda had said.

 


[1] Cf. Dīgha II. 12 et seqq., and the notes to Dialogues II. 9-12, for this and foll. paras. relating to the physical birth of a future Buddha.


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