khuddaka masthead

[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


The Questions of King Milinda




Chapter 1



1. Master of words and sophistry, clever and wise
Milinda tried to test great Nāgasena's skill.
Leaving him not,[1] again and yet again,
He questioned and cross-questioned him, until
His own skill was proved foolishness.
Then he became a student of the Holy Writ.
All night, in secrecy, he pondered o'er
The ninefold Scriptures, and therein he found
Dilemmas hard to solve, and full of snares.
And thus he thought: 'The conquering Buddha's words
Are many-sided, some explanatory,
Some spoken as occasion rose to speak,
Some dealing fully with essential points.
Through ignorance of what, each time, was meant
There will be strife hereafter as to what
The King of Righteousness has thus laid down
In these diverse and subtle utterances.
Let me now gain great Nāgasena's ear,
And putting to him that which seems so strange
And hard--yea contradictory--get him
To solve it. So in future times, when men
Begin to doubt, the light of his solutions
Shall guide them, too, along the path of Truth.'

[138] 2. Now Milinda the king, when the night was turning into day, and the sun had risen, bathed, and with hands clasped and raised to his forehead, called to mind the Buddhas of the past, the present, and the future, and solemnly undertook the observance of the eightfold vow, saying to himself: 'For seven days from now will I do penance by taking upon myself the observance of the eight rules, and when my vow is accomplished will I go to the teacher and put to him, as questions, these dilemmas.' So Milinda, the king laid aside his usual dress, and put off his ornaments; and clad in yellow robes, with only a recluse's turban[2] on his head, in appearance like a hermit, did he carry out the eightfold abstinence, keeping in mind the vow--'For this seven days I am to decide no case at law. I am to harbour no lustful thought, no thought of ill-will, no thought tending to delusion. Towards all slaves, servants, and dependents I am to show a meek and lowly disposition. [91] I am to watch carefully over every bodily act, and over my six organs, of sense. And I am to fill my heart with thoughts of love towards all beings.' Keeping this eightfold vow, establishing his heart in this eightfold moral law, for seven days he went not forth. But as the night was passing into day, at sunrise of the eighth day, he took his breakfast early, and then with downcast eyes and measured words, gentle in manner, collected in thought, glad and pleased and rejoicing in heart, did he go to Nāgasena. And bowing down at his feet, he stood respectfully on one side, and said:

3. 'There is a certain matter, venerable Nāgasena, [139] that I desire to talk over with you alone. I wish no third person to be present. In some deserted spot, some secluded place in the forest, fit in all the eight respects for a recluse, there should this point of mine be put. And therein let there be nothing hid from me, nothing kept secret. I am now in a fit state to hear secret things when we are deep in consultation. And the meaning of what I say can be made clear by illustration. As it is to the broad earth, O Nāgasena, that it is right to entrust treasure when occasion arises for laying treasure by, so is it to me that it is right to entrust secret things when we are deep in consultation.'

4. Then having gone with the master to a secluded spot he further said: 'There are eight kinds of places, Nāgasena, which ought to be altogether avoided by a man who wants to consult. No wise man will talk a matter over in such places, or the matter falls to the ground and is brought to no conclusion. And what are the eight? Uneven ground, spots unsafe by fear of men, windy places, hiding spots, sacred places, high roads, light bambū bridges, and public bathing places.'

The Elder asked: 'What is the objection to each of these?'

The king replied: 'On uneven ground, Nāgasena, [92] the matter discussed becomes jerky, verbose, and diffuse, and comes to nothing. In unsafe places the mind is disturbed, and being disturbed does not follow the point clearly. In windy spots the voice is indistinct. In hiding places there are eavesdroppers. In sacred places the question discussed is apt to be diverted to the serious surroundings. On a high road it is apt to become frivolous, on a [140] bridge unsteady and wavering, at a public bathing place the discussion would be matter of common talk. Therefore is it said:[3]

"Uneven ground, unsafe and windy spots,
And hiding places, and god-haunted shrines,
High roads, and bridges, and all bathing ghāts--
These eight avoid when talking of high things."'




5. 'There are eight kinds of people, Nāgasena, who when talking a matter over, spoil the discussion. And who are the eight? He who walks in lust, he who walks in ill-will, he who walks in delusion, he who walks in pride, the greedy man, the sluggard, the man of one idea, and the fool.'

'What is the objection to each of these?' asked the Elder.

'The first spoils the discussion by his lust, the next by his ill-will, the third by his delusions, the fourth by his pride, the fifth by his greed, the sixth by his sloth, the seventh by his narrowness, and the last by his folly. Therefore is it said:

"The lustful, angry, or bewildered man,
The proud, the greedy, or the slothful man,
The man of one idea, and the poor fool--
These eight are spoilers of high argument."'




6. 'There are nine kinds of people, Nāgasena, who let out a secret that has been talked over with them, and treasure it not up in their hearts. And who are the nine? The lustful man reveals it in obedience to some lust, the ill-tempered man in consequence [141] of some ill-will, the deluded man under some mistake. [93] The timid man reveals it through fear, and the man greedy for gain to get something out of it. A woman reveals it through infirmity, a drunkard in his eagerness for drink, a eunuch because of his imperfection, and a child through fickleness. Therefore is it said:

"The lustful, angry, or bewildered man,
The timid man, and he who seeks for gain,
A woman, drunkard, eunuch, or a child--
These nine are fickle, wavering, and mean.
When secret things are talked over to them
They straightway become public property."'




7. 'There are eight causes, Nāgasena, of the advance, the ripening of insight. And what are the eight? The advance of years, the growth of reputation, frequent questioning, association with teachers, one's own reflection, converse with the wise, cultivation of the loveable, and dwelling in a pleasant land. Therefore is it said:

"By growth in reputation, and in years,
By questioning, and by the master's aid,
By thoughtfulness, and converse with the wise,
By intercourse with men worthy of love,
By residence within a pleasant spot--
By these nine is one's insight purified.
They who have these, their wisdom grows."'[4]




8. 'This spot, Nāgasena, is free from the objections to talking matters over. And I am a model companion for any one desiring to do so. I can keep a [142] secret, and will keep yours as long as I live. In all the eight ways just described my insight has grown ripe. It would be hard to find such a pupil as you may have in me.

'Now towards a pupil who conducts himself thus aright the teacher ought to conduct himself in accordance with the twenty-five virtues of a teacher. And what are the twenty-five? He must always and without fail keep guard over his pupil. He must let him know what to cultivate, and what to avoid; about what he should be earnest, and what he may neglect. He must instruct him as to sleep, and as to keeping himself in health, and as to what food he may take, and what reject. He should teach him discrimination[5] (in food), and share with him all that is put, as alms, into his own bowl. He should encourage him, saying: "Be not afraid. You will gain advantage (from what is here taught you)." He should advise him as to the people whose company he should keep, and as to the villages and Vihāras he should frequent. He should never indulge in (foolish) talk[6] with him. When he sees any defect in him he should easily pardon it. He should be zealous, he should teach nothing partially, keep nothing secret, and hold nothing back.[7] He should look upon him in his heart as a son, saying to himself: "I have begotten him in [143] learning."[8] He should strive to bring him forward, saying to himself: "How can I keep him from going back? "He should determine in himself to make him strong in knowledge, saying to himself: "I will make him mighty." He should love him, never desert him in necessity, never neglect him in anything he ought to do for him, always befriend him--so far as he can rightly do so[9] -- when he does wrong. These, Sir, are the twenty-five good qualities in a teacher. Treat me altogether in accordance therewith. Doubt, Lord, has overcome me. There are apparent contradictions in the word of the Conqueror. About them strife will hereafter arise, and in future times it will be hard to find a teacher with insight such as yours. Throw light for me on these dilemmas, to the downfall of the adversaries.'

9. Then the Elder agreed to what he had said, and in his turn set out the ten good qualities which ought to be found in a lay disciple: 'These ten, O king, are the virtues of a lay disciple. He suffers like pain and feels like joy as the Order does. He takes the Doctrine (Dhamma) as his master. He delights in giving so far as he is able to give. On seeing the religion (Dhamma) of the Conqueror decay, he does his best to revive it. He holds right views. Having no passion for excitement,[10] he runs [144] not after any other teacher his life long. He keeps guard over himself in thought and deed. He delights in peace, is a lover of peace. He feels no jealousy, and walks not in religion in a quarrelsome spirit. He takes his refuge in the Buddha, he takes his refuge in the Doctrine, he takes his refuge in the Order. These, great king, are the ten good qualities of a lay disciple. They exist all of them in you. Hence is it fit, and right, and becoming in you that, seeing the decay of the religion of the Conqueror, you desire its prosperity. I give you leave. Ask of me whatever you will.'

Here ends the introduction to the solving of dilemmas


On Honours Paid to the Buddha

10. Then Milinda the king, having thus been granted leave, fell at the feet of the teacher, and raising his clasped hands to his forehead, said: 'Venerable Nāgasena, these leaders of other sects say thus: "If the Buddha accepts gifts he cannot have passed entirely away. He must be still in union with the world, having his being somewhere in it, in the world, a shareholder in the things of the world; and therefore any honour paid to him becomes empty and vain.[11] On the other hand if he [145] be entirely passed away (from life), unattached to the world, escaped from all existence, then honours would not be offered to him. For he who is entirely set free accepts no honour, and any act done to him who accepts it not becomes empty and vain." This is a dilemma which has two horns. It is not a matter within the scope of those who have no mind,[12] it is a question fit for the great. Tear asunder this net of heresy, put it on one side. To you has this puzzle been put. Give to the future sons of the Conqueror eyes wherewith to see the riddle to the confusion of their adversaries.'

'The Blessed One, O king,' replied the Elder, 'is entirely set free. And the Blessed One accepts no gift. Even at the foot of the Tree of Wisdom he abandoned all accepting of gifts, how much more then now when he has passed entirely away by that kind of passing away which leaves no root over (for the formation of a new existence). For this, O king, has been said by Sāriputta, the commander of the faith:[13]

"Though worshipped, these Unequalled Ones, alike
By gods and men, unlike them all they heed
Neither a gift nor worship. They accept
It not, neither refuse it. Through the ages
All Buddhas were so, so will ever be!"'[14]

[146] 11. The king said: 'Venerable Nāgasena, a father may speak in praise of his son, or a son of his father. But that is no ground for putting the adversaries to shame. It is only an expression of their own belief, Come now! Explain this matter to me fully to the establishing of your own doctrine, [96] and to the unravelling of the net of the heretics.'

The Elder replied: 'The Blessed One, O king, is entirely set free (from life). And the Blessed One accepts no gift. If gods or men put up a building to contain the jewel treasure of the relics of a Tathāgata who does not accept their gift, still by that homage paid to the attainment of the supreme good under the form of the jewel treasure of his wisdom do they themselves attain to one or other of the three glorious states.[15] Suppose, O king, that though a great and glorious fire had been kindled, it should die out, would it then again accept any supply of dried grass or sticks?'

'Even as it burned, Sir, it could not be said to accept fuel, how much less when it had died away, and ceased to burn, could it, an unconscious thing, accept it?'

'And when that one mighty fire had ceased, and gone out, would the world be bereft of fire?'

'Certainly not. Dry wood is the seat, the basis of fire, and any men who want fire can, by the exertion of their own strength and power, such as resides in individual men, once more, by twirling the firestick, produce fire, and with that fire do any work for which fire is required.'

[147] 'Then that saying of the sectarians that "an act done to him who accepts it not is empty and vain" turns out to be false. As that great and glorious fire was set alight, even so, great king, was the Blessed One set alight in the glory of his Buddhahood over the ten thousand world systems. As it went out, so has he passed away into that kind of passing away in which no root remains. As the fire, when gone out, accepted no supply of fuel, just so, and for the good of the world, has his accepting of gifts ceased and determined. As men, when the fire is out, and has no further means of burning, then by their own strength and effort, such as resides in individual men, twirl the fire-stick and produce fire, and do any work for which fire is required--so do gods and men, though a Tathāgata has passed away and no longer accepts their gifts, yet put up a house for the jewel treasure of his relics, and doing homage to the attainment of supreme good under the form of the jewel treasure of his wisdom, they attain to one or other of the three glorious states. Therefore is it, great king, that acts done to the Tathāgata, notwithstanding his having passed away and not accepting them, are nevertheless of value and bear fruit.'

12. 'Now hear, too, another reason for the same thing. Suppose, O king, there were to arise a great and mighty wind, and that then it were to die away. Would that wind acquiesce in being produced again?'

'A wind that has died away can have no thought or idea of being reproduced. And why? Because the element wind is an unconscious thing.'

'Or even, O king, would the word "wind" be [148] still applicable to that wind, when it had so died away?'

'Certainly not, Sir. But fans and punkahs are means for the production of wind. Any men who are oppressed by heat, or tormented by fever, can by means of fans and punkahs, and by the exertion of their own strength and power, such as resides in individual men, produce a breeze, and by that wind allay their heat, or assuage their fever.'

'Then that saying of the sectarians that "an act done to him who accepts it not is empty and vain" turns out to be false. As the great and mighty wind which blew, even so, great king, has the Blessed One blown over the ten thousand world systems with the wind of his love, so cool, so sweet, so calm, so delicate. As it first blew, and then died away, so has the Blessed One, who once blew with the wind so cool, so sweet, so calm, so delicate, of his love, now passed away with that kind of passing away in which no root remains. As those men were oppressed by heat and tormented with fever, even so are gods and men tormented and oppressed with threefold fire and heat.[16] As fans and punkahs are means of producing wind, so the relics and the jewel treasure of the wisdom of a Tathāgata are means of producing the threefold attainment. And as men oppressed by heat and tormented by fever can by fans and punkahs produce a breeze, and thus allay the heat and assuage the fever, so can gods and men by offering reverence to the relics, and the [149] jewel treasure of the wisdom of a Tathāgata, though he has died away and accepts it not, cause goodness to arise within them, and by that goodness can assuage and can allay the fever and the torment of the threefold fire. Therefore is it, great king, that acts done to the Tathāgata, notwithstanding his having passed away and not accepting them, are nevertheless of value and bear fruit.'

13. 'Now hear another reason. for the same thing. Suppose, O king, a man were to make a drum sound, and then that sound were to die away. Would that sound acquiesce in being produced again?'

'Certainly not, Sir. The sound has vanished. It can have no thought or idea of being reproduced. The sound of a drum when it has once been produced and died away, is altogether cut off. But, Sir, a drum is a means of producing sound. And any man, as need arises, can by the effort of power residing in himself, beat on that drum, and so produce a sound.'

'Just so, great king, has the Blessed One--except the teacher and the instruction he has left in his doctrine and discipline, and the jewel treasure of his relics whose value is derived from his righteousness, and contemplation, and wisdom, and emancipation, and insight given by the knowledge of emancipation--just so has he passed away by that kind of passing away in which no root remains. But the possibility of receiving the three attainments is not cut off because the Blessed One has passed away. Beings oppressed by the sorrow of becoming can, when they desire the attainments, still receive them by means of the jewel treasure of his relics and of his doctrine and discipline and teaching. Therefore is it, great king, that [150] all acts done to the Tathāgata, notwithstanding his having passed away and not accepting, are nevertheless of value and bear fruit. And this future possibility, great king, has been foreseen by the Blessed One, and spoken of, and declared, and made known, when he said: "It may be, Ānanda, that in some of you the thought may arise: 'The word of the Master is ended. We have no Teacher more!' But it is not thus, Ānanda, that you should regard it. The Truth which I have preached to you, the Rules which I have laid down for the Order, let them, when I am gone, be the Teacher to you."[17] So that because the Tathāgata has passed away and consents not thereto, that therefore any act done to him is empty and vain--this saying of the enemy is proved false. It is untrue, unjust, not according to fact, wrong, and perverse. It is the cause of sorrow, has sorrow as its fruit, and leads down the road to perdition!'

14. 'Now hear another reason for the same thing. Does the broad earth acquiesce, O king, in all kinds of seeds being planted all over it?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Then how is it those seeds, planted without the earth's consent, do yet stand fast and firmly rooted, and expand into trees with great trunks and sap and branches, and bearing fruits and flowers?'

'Though the earth, Sir, gives no consent, yet it acts as a site for those seeds, as a means of their development. Planted on that site they grow, by

[151] its means, into such great trees with branches, flowers, and fruit.'

'Then, great king, the sectaries are destroyed, defeated, proved wrong by their own words when they say that "an act done to him who accepts it not is empty and vain." As the broad earth, O king, is the Tathāgata, the Arahat, the Buddha supreme. Like it he accepts nothing. Like the seeds which through it attain to such developments are the gods and men who, through the jewel treasures of the relics and the wisdom of the Tathāgata--though he have passed away and consent not to it--being firmly rooted by the roots of merit, become like unto trees casting a goodly shade by means of the trunk of contemplation, the sap of true doctrine, and the branches of righteousness, and bearing the flowers of emancipation, and the fruits of Samaṇaship. Therefore is it, great king, that acts done to the Tathāgata, notwithstanding his having passed away and not accepting them, are still of value and bear fruit.'

15. 'Now hear another and further reason for the same thing. Do camels, buffaloes, asses, goats, oxen, or men acquiesce in the birth of worms inside them?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Then how is it then, that without their consent worms are so born, and spread by rapid reproduction of sons and grandsons?'

'By the power of evil Karma, Sir.'

'Just so, great king, is it by the power of the relics and the wisdom of the Tathāgata, who has passed away and acquiesces in nothing, that an act done to him is of value and bears fruit.'

[152] 16. 'Now hear another and further reason for the same thing. Do men consent, O king, that the ninety-eight diseases should be produced in their bodies?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Then how is it the diseases come?'

'By evil deeds done in former births.'

'But, great king, if evil deeds done in a former birth have to be suffered here and now, then both good and evil done here or done before has weight and bears fruit. Therefore is it that acts done to the Tathāgata, notwithstanding his having passed away and not consenting, are nevertheless of value and bear fruit.'

17. 'Now hear another and further reason for the same thing. Did you ever hear, O king, of the ogre named Nandaka, who, having laid hands upon the Elder Sāriputta, was swallowed up by the earth?'

'Yes, Sir, that is matter of common talk among men.'

'Well, did Sāriputta acquiesce in that?'

'Though the world of gods and men, Sir, were to be destroyed, though the sun and moon were to fall upon the earth, though Sineru the king of mountains were to be dissolved, yet would not Sāriputta the Elder have consented to any pain being inflicted on a fellow creature. And why not? Because every condition of heart which could cause him to be angry or offended has been in him destroyed and rooted out. And as all cause thereof had thus been removed, Sir, therefore could not Sāriputta be angered even with those who sought to deprive him of his life.'

[153] 'But if Sāriputta, O king, did not consent to it, how was it that Nandaka was so swallowed up?'

'By the power of his evil deeds.'

'Then if so, great king, an act done to him who consents not is still of power and bears fruit. And if this is so of an evil deed, how much more of a good one? Therefore is it, O king, that acts done to the Tathāgata, notwithstanding his having passed away and not accepting them, are nevertheless of value and bear fruit.'

18. 'Now how many, O king, are those men who, in this life, have been swallowed up by the earth? Have you heard anything on that point?'

'Yes, Sir, I have heard how many there are.'

'Then tell me.'

'Kiñka the Brahmin woman, and SuppaBuddha the Sākyan, and Devadatta the Elder, and Nandaka the ogre, and Nanda the Brahman--these are the five people who were swallowed up by the earth.'

'And whom, O king, had they wronged?'

'The Blessed One and his disciples.'

'Then did the Blessed One or his disciples consent to their being so swallowed up?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Therefore is it, O king, that an act done to the Tathāgata, notwithstanding his having passed away and not consenting thereto, is nevertheless of value and bears fruit.'

'Well has this deep question been explained by you, venerable Nāgasena, and made clear. You have made the secret thing plain, you have loosed the knot, you have made in the jungle an open space, the adversaries are overthrown, the wrong opinion has been proved false, the sectaries have been covered [154] with darkness when they met you, O best of all the leaders of schools!'

Here ends the question as to not consenting to honours paid[18]


The Omniscience of the Buddha


19. 'Venerable Nāgasena, was the Buddha omniscient?'

'Yes, O king, he was. But the insight of knowledge was not always and continually (consciously) present with him. The omniscience of the Blessed One was dependent on reflection.' But if he did reflect he knew whatever he wanted to know.[19]

'Then, Sir, the Buddha cannot have been omniscient, if his all-embracing knowledge was reached through investigation.'

'[If so, great king, our Buddha's knowledge must have been less in degree of fineness than that of the other Buddhas. And that is a conclusion hard to draw. But let me explain a little further.] Suppose, O king, you had a hundred cart-loads of rice in the husk, and each cart-load was of seven ammaṇas[20] and a half. Would a man without consideration be able to tell you in a moment how many laks of grains there were in the whole?'[21]

[155] 20. 'Now there are these, seven classes of minds. Those, great king, who are full of lust, ill-will, delusion, or wrong doing, who are untrained in the management of their body, or in conduct, or in thought, or in wisdom,--their thinking powers are brought into play with difficulty, and act slowly. And why is it so? Because of the untrained condition of their minds. It is like the slow and heavy movements of a giant bambū--when it is being dragged along with its wide-spreading, extensive, overgrown, and interlaced vegetation, and with its branches intricately entangled one with the other. So slow and heavy are the movements of the minds of those men, O king. And why? Because of the intricate entanglements of wrong dispositions. This is the first class of minds.'

21. 'From it the second class is to be distinguished. Those, O king, who have been converted, for whom the gates of purgatory are closed, who have attained to right views, who have grasped the doctrine of the Master--their thinking powers, so far as the three lower stages[22] are concerned, are brought quickly [156] into play, and act with ease. But as regards the higher regions they are brought into play with difficulty, and act slowly. And why is this so? Because of their minds having been made clear as regards those three stages, and because of the failings (to be vanquished in the higher stages) still existing within them. It is like the movement of a giant bambū which has a clean trunk as far as the third knot, but above that has its branches intricately, entangled. So far as regards the smooth trunk it would travel easily when dragged along, but it would stick obstinately as regards its upper branches. This is the second class of minds.'

22. 'From these the third class is to be distinguished. Those, O king, who are Sakad ṭgāmins,[23] in whom lust, ill-will, and delusion are reduced to a minimum,--their thinking powers, so far as the five lower stages are concerned, are brought quickly into play, and act with ease. But as regards the higher regions they are brought into play with difficulty, and act slowly. And why is this so? Because of their minds having been made clear as regards those five stages, and because of the failings (to be vanquished in the higher stages) still existing within them. It is like the movement of a giant bambū which has a clean trunk as far as the fifth knot, but above that has its branches intricately entangled. So far as regards the smooth trunk it would travel easily when dragged along, but it would be moved with difficulty as far as its upper branches are concerned. This is the third class of minds.'

[157] 23. 'From these the fourth class is to be distinguished. Those, O king, who are Anāgāmins,[24] who have completely got rid of the five lower fetters,--their thinking powers, so far as the ten stages[25] are concerned, are brought quickly into play, and act with ease. But as regards the higher regions they are brought into play with difficulty, and act slowly. And why is this so? Because of their minds having been made clear as regards those ten stages, and because of the failings (to be vanquished in the higher stages) still existing within them. It is like the movement of a giant bambū which has a smooth trunk as far as the tenth knot, but above that has its branches intricately entangled. This is the fourth class of minds.'

24. 'From these the fifth class is to be distinguished. Those, O king, who are Arahats, in whom the four Great Evils[26] have ceased, whose stains have been washed away, whose predispositions to evil[27] have been put aside, who have lived the life, and accomplished the task, and laid aside every burden, and reached up to that which is good, for whom the Fetter of the craving after any kind of future life has been broken to pieces,[28] who have reached the higher insight,[29] who are purified as regards all those conditions of heart in which a

[158] hearer can be pure,--their thinking powers, as regards all that a disciple can be or do, are brought quickly into play, and act with ease. But as to those things which are within the reach of the Pakkeka-Buddhas (of those who are Buddhas, but for themselves alone) they are brought into play with difficulty, and act slowly. And why is this so? Because of their having been made pure as regards all within the province of a hearer, but not as regards that within the reach of those who are Buddhas (though for themselves alone). It is like the movement of a giant bambū which has been pruned of the branches arising out of all its knots--and which, therefore, when dragged along moves quickly and with ease, because of its smoothness all along, and because of its being unencumbered with the jungly growth of vegetation. This is the fifth class of minds.'

25. 'From these the sixth class is to be distinguished. Those, O king, who are Pakkeka-Buddhas, dependent on themselves alone, wanting no teacher, dwellers alone like the solitary horn of the rhinoceros, who so far as their own higher life is concerned, have pure hearts free from stain,--their thinking powers, so far as their own province is concerned, are brought quickly into play, and act with ease. But as regards all that is specially within the province of a perfect Buddha (one who is not only Buddha, that is enlightened, himself, but can lead others to the light) they are brought with difficulty into play, and move slowly. And why is this so? Because of their purity as regards all within their own province, and because of the immensity of the province of the omniscient Buddhas. It is like a man, O king, who would fearlessly cross, and at will, [159] by day or night, a shallow brook on his own property. But when he comes in sight of the mighty ocean, deep and wide and ever-moving, and sees no further shore to it, then would he stand hesitating and afraid, and make no effort even to get over it. And why? Because of his familiarity with his own, and because of the immensity of the sea. This is the sixth class of minds.'

26. 'From these the seventh class is to be distinguished. Those, O king, who are complete Buddhas,[30] having all knowledge, bearing about in themselves the tenfold power (of the ten kinds of insight), confident in the four modes of just self-confidence, endowed with the eighteen characteristics of a Buddha, whose mastery knows no limit, from whose grasp nothing is hid,--their thinking powers are on every point brought quickly into play, and act with ease. Suppose, O king, a dart well burnished, free from rust, perfectly smooth, with a fine edge, straight, without a crook or a flaw in it, were to be set on a powerful crossbow. Would there be any clumsiness in its action, any retarding in its movement, if it were discharged by a powerful man against a piece of fine linen, or cotton stuff, or delicate woolwork?'

'Certainly not, Sir. And why? Because the stuff is so fine, and the dart so highly tempered, and the discharge so powerful.'

'And just in the same way, great king, are the thinking powers of the Buddhas I have described brought quickly into play, and act with ease.

[160] And why? Because of their being purified in every respect. This is the seventh class of minds.'

27. 'Now of these, O king, the last--the thinking powers of the omniscient Buddhas--altogether outclasses the other six, and is clear and active in its high quality that is beyond our ken. It is because the mind of the Blessed One is so clear and active that the Blessed One, great king, displays the double miracle. From that we may get to know, O king, how clear and active His mental powers are. And for those wonders there is no further reason that can be alleged. (Yet) those wonders, O king, [caused by means of the mind (alone) of the omniscient Buddhas[31] cannot be counted, or calculated, or divided, or separated, (For) the knowledge of the Blessed One, O king, is dependent upon reflection,[32] and it is on reflection that he knows whatever he wishes to know. (But) it is as when a man passes something he already has in one hand to the other, or utters a sound when his mouth is open, or swallows some food that he has already in his mouth, or opens his eyes when they are shut, or shuts them when open, or stretches forth his arm when it is bent in, or bends it in when stretched out--more rapid than that, great king, and more easy in its action, is the all-embracing knowledge of the Blessed One, more rapid than that his reflection. And although it is by reflection that they know whatever they want to know, yet even when they [161] are not reflecting the Blessed Buddhas are not, even then, anything other than omniscient.'

'But, venerable Nāgasena, reflection is carried on for the purpose of seeking (that which is not clear when the reflection begins). Come now. Convince me in this matter by some reason.'

'Suppose, O king, there were a rich man, great in wealth and property--one who had stores of gold and silver and valuables, and stores of all kinds of wheat, one who had rice, and paddy, and barley, and dry grain, and oilseed, and beans, and peas, and every other edible seed, who had ghee, and oil, and butter, and milk, and curds, and honey, and sugar, and molasses, all put away in store-rooms in jars, and pots, and pans, and every sort of vessel. Now if a traveller were to arrive, one worthy of hospitality, and expecting to be entertained; and all the prepared food in the house had been finished, and they were to get out of the jar some rice ready for cooking, and prepare a meal for him. Would that wealthy man merely by reason of the deficiency in eatable stuff at that unusual time be rightly called poor or needy?'

'Certainly not, Sir. Even in the palace of a mighty king of kings there might be no food ready out of time, how much less in the house of an ordinary man.'

'Just so, great king, with the all-embracing knowledge of a Tathāgata when reflection only is wanting; but which on reflection grasps whatever he wants. Now suppose, O king, there were a tree in full fruit, with its branches bending this way and that by the weight of the burden of the bunches of its fruit, but no single fruit had fallen from it.

[162] Could that tree rightly, under the circumstances of the case, be called barren, merely because of the want of a fallen fruit?'

'No, Sir. For though the falling of the fruit is a condition precedent to its enjoyment, yet when it has fallen one can take as much as one likes.'

'Just so, great king, though reflection is a necessary condition of the knowledge of the Tathāgata, yet on reflection it perceives whatever he wants to know.'

'Does that happen always, Nāgasena, at the moment of reflection?'

'Yes, O king. just as when the mighty king of kings (the Kakkavatti) calling to mind his glorious wheel of victory wishes it to appear, and no sooner is it thought of than it appears--so does the knowledge of the Tathāgata follow continually on reflection.'

'Strong is the reason you give, Nāgasena, for the omniscience of the Buddha. I am convinced that that is so.'

Here ends the question as to the omniscience of the Buddha being dependent on reflection[33]


Why Devadatta Was Admitted to the Order


28. 'Venerable Nāgasena, who was it that admitted Devadatta[34] to the Order?'

[163]'Those six young nobles, O king, Bhaddiya and Anuruddha and Ānanda and Bhagu and Kimbila and Devadatta, together with Upāli the barber as a seventh--they all, when the Master had attained to Buddhahood, left the Sākya home out of the delight they felt in him, and following the Blessed One renounced the world.[35] So the Blessed One admitted them all to the Order.'

'But was it not Devadatta who, after he had entered the Order, raised up a schism within it?'

'Yes. No layman can create a schism, nor a sister of the Order, nor one under preparatory instruction, nor a novice of either sex. It must be a Bhikkhu, under no disability, who is in full communion, and a co-resident.'[36]

'And what Karma does a schismatical person gain?'

'A Karma that continues to act for a Kalpa (a very long period of time).'

'What then, Nāgasena! Was the Buddha aware that Devadatta after being admitted to the Order would raise up a schism, and having done so would suffer torment in purgatory for a Kalpa?'

'Yes, the Tathāgata, knew that.'

'But, Nāgasena, if that be so, then the statement that the Buddha was kind and pitiful, that he sought after the good of others, that he was the remover of that which works harm, the provider of that which works well to all beings--that statement must be wrong. If it be not so--if he knew not that Devadatta [164] after he had been admitted to the Order would stir up a schism--then he cannot have been omniscient. This other double-pointed dilemma is put to you. Unravel this tough skein, break up the argument of the adversaries. In future times it will be hard to find Bhikkhus like to you in wisdom. Herein then show your skill!'

29. 'The Blessed One, O king, was both full of mercy and had all knowledge. It was when the Blessed One in his mercy and wisdom considered the life history of Devadatta that he perceived how, having heaped up Karma on Karma, he would pass for an endless series of Kalpas from torment to torment, and from perdition to perdition. And the Blessed One knew also that the infinite Karma of that man would, because he had entered the Order, become finite, and the sorrow caused by the previous Karma would also therefore become limited. But that if that foolish person were not to enter the Order then he would continue to heap up Karma which would endure for a Kalpa. And it was because he knew that that, in his mercy, he admitted him to the Order.'

'Then, Nāgasena, the Buddha first wounds a man and then pours oil on the wound, first throws a man down a precipice and then reaches out to him an assisting hand, first kills him and then seeks to give him life, first gives pain and then adds a subsequent joy to the pain he gave.'

'The Tathāgata, O king, wounds people but to their good, he casts people down but to their profit, he kills people but to their advantage. just as mothers and fathers, O king, hurt their children and even knock them down, thinking the while of their [165] good; so by whatsoever method an increase in the virtue of living things can be brought about, by that method does he contribute to their good. If Devadatta, O king, had not entered the Order, then as a layman he would have laid up much Karma leading to states of woe, and so passing for hundreds of thousands of Kalpas from torment to misery, and from one state of perdition to another, he would have suffered constant pain. It was knowing that, that in his mercy, the Blessed One admitted Devadatta to the Order. It was at the thought that by renouncing the world according to His doctrine Devadatta's sorrow would become finite that, in his mercy, he adopted that means of making his heavy sorrow light.

30. 'As a man of influence, O king, by the power of his wealth or reputation or prosperity or birth, when a grievous penalty has been imposed by, the king on some friend or relative of his, would get it made light by the ability arising from the trust reposed in him; just so did the Blessed One, by admitting him to the Order, and by the efficacy of the influence of righteousness and meditation and wisdom and emancipation of heart, make light the heavy sorrow of Devadatta, who would have had to suffer many hundreds of thousands of Kalpas. As a clever physician and surgeon, O king, would make a grievous sickness light by the aid of a powerful medicinal drug, just so did the Blessed One, in his knowledge of the right means to an end, admit Devadatta to the Order and thus make his grievous pain light by the aid of the medicine of the Dhamma, strong by the power of mercy.[37] Was then, O king, [166] the Blessed One guilty of any wrong in that he turned Devadatta from being a man of much sorrow into being a man of less sorrow?'

'No indeed, Sir. He committed no wrong, not even in the smallest degree.'[38]

'Then accept this, great king, to the full as the reason for which the Blessed One admitted Devadatta to the Order.'

31. 'Hear another and further reason, O king, for the Blessed One's having admitted Devadatta. Suppose men were to seize and hurry before the king some wicked robber, saying: "This is the wicked robber, your Majesty. Inflict upon him such punishment as you think fit!" And thereupon the king were to say to them: "Take this robber then, my men, outside the town, and there on the place of execution cut off his head." And they in obedience to his orders were to take that man accordingly towards the place of execution. And some man who was high in office near the king, and of great reputation and wealth and property, whose word was held of weight,[39] and whose influence was great, should see him. And he were to have pity on him, and were to say to those men: "Stay, good fellows. What good will cutting off his head do to you? Save him alive, and cut off only a hand or a foot. I will speak on his behalf to the king." And they at the word of that influential person were to do so. Now would the officer who had acted so towards him have been a benefactor to that robber?'

[167] 'He would have saved his life, Sir. And having done that, what would he not have done?'

'But would he have done no wrong on account of the pain the man suffered when his hand or foot was cut off?'

'The pain the thief suffered, Sir, was his own fault. But the man who saved his life did him no harm.'

'Just so, great king, was it in his mercy that the Blessed One admitted Devadatta, with the knowledge that by that his sorrow would be mitigated.'

32. 'And Devadatta's sorrow, O king, was mitigated. For Devadatta at the moment of his death took refuge in Him for the rest of his existences when he said:

"In him, who of the best is far the best,[40]
The god of gods, the guide of gods and men,
Who see'th all, and bears the hundred marks
Of goodness,--'tis in him I refuge take
Through all the lives that I may have to live."

[41]'If you divide this Kalpa, O king, into six parts, it was at the end of the first part that Devadatta created schism in the Order. After he has suffered the other five in purgatory he will be released, and will become a Pakkeka-Buddha[42] under the name of Atthissara.'

'Great is the gift bestowed, Nāgasena, by the Blessed One on Devadatta. In that the Tathāgata [168] has caused him to attain to the state of a Pakkeka-Buddha, what has he not done for him?'

'But inasmuch as Devadatta, O king, having made a schism in the Order, suffers pain in purgatory, has not therefore the Blessed One done him wrong?'

'No, Sir. That is Devadatta's own fault; and the Blessed One who mitigated his suffering has done him no harm.'

'Then accept this, O king, to the full as the reason for the Blessed One admitting Devadatta to the Order.

33. 'Hear another and further reason, O king, for his having done so. Suppose in treating a wound full of matter and blood, in whose grievous hollow the weapon which caused it remained, which stank of putrid flesh, and was made worse by the pain that varied with constantly changing symptoms, by variations in temperature, and by the union of the three humours,--windy, bilious, and phlegmatic,[43] -- an able physician and surgeon were to anoint it with a rough, sharp, bitter, stinging ointment, to the end that the inflammation should be allayed. And when the inflammation had gone down, and the wound had become sweet, suppose he were then to cut into it with a lancet, and burn it with caustic. And when he had cauterised it, suppose he were to prescribe an alkaline wash, and anoint it with some drug to the end that the wound might heal up, and the sick man recover his health--now tell me, O king, would it be out of cruelty that the surgeon thus smeared with ointment, and cut with the lancet, and cauterised [169] with the stick of caustic, and administered a salty wash?'

'Certainly not, Sir; it would be with kindness in his heart, and intent on the man's weal, that he would do all those things.'

'And the feelings of pain produced by his efforts to heal--would not the surgeon be guilty of any wrong in respect of them?'

'How so? Acting with kind intent and for the man's weal, how could he therein incur a wrong? It is of heavenly bliss rather that that kindly surgeon would be worthy.'

'Just so, great king, was it in his mercy that the Blessed One admitted Devadatta, to the end to release him from pain.'

34. 'Hear another and further reason, O king, why the Blessed One did so. Suppose a man had been pierced by a thorn. And another man with kindly intent and for his good were to cut round the place with another sharp thorn or with a lancet, and the blood flowing the while, were to extract that thorn. Now would it be out of cruelty that he acted so?'

'Certainly not, Sir. For he acted with kindly intent, and for the man's good. And if he had not done so the man might have died, or might have suffered such pain that he would have been nigh to death.'

'Just even so, great king, was it of his mercy that the Tathāgata admitted Devadatta, to the end to release him of his pain. If he had not done so Devadatta would have suffered torment in purgatory through a succession of existences, through hundreds of thousands of Kalpas.'

[170] 'Yes, Nāgasena, the Tathāgata turned Devadatta, who was being carried down with the flood, with his head against the stream; he again pointed out the road to Devadatta when he was lost in the jungle; he gave a firm foothold to Devadatta when he was falling down the precipice: he restored Devadatta to peace when he was swallowed up of desolation. But the reason and the meaning of these things could no one have pointed out, Nāgasena, unless he were wise as you!'

Here ends the dilemma about Devadatta


Vessantara's Earthquake


35. 'Venerable Nāgasena, the Blessed One said thus: "There are these eight causes, O Bhikkhus, proximate or remote, for a mighty earthquake."[44] This is an inclusive statement, a statement which leaves no room for anything to be, supplemented, a statement to which no gloss can be added. There can be no ninth reason for an earthquake. If there were, the Blessed One would have mentioned it. It, is because there is no other, that he left it unnoticed. But we find another, and a ninth reason, when we are told that on Vessantara's giving his mighty largesse the earth shook seven times.[45] If, Nāgasena, there are eight causes for an earthquake, then what we hear of the earthquake at Vessantara's largesse is false. And if that is true, then the statement as to the eight [171] causes of earthquakes is false. This double-headed question, too, is subtle, hard to unravel, dark, and profound. It is now put to you. No one of less knowledge can solve it, only one wise as you.'

36. 'The Blessed One made the statement you refer to, O king, and yet the earth shook seven times at Vessantara's largesse. But that was out of season, it was an isolated occurrence, it was not included in the eight usual causes, and was not therefore reckoned as one of them. just, O king, as there are three kinds of well-known rains reckoned in the world-that of the rainy season, that of the winter months, and that of the two months ṭsālha and Sāvana. If, besides these, any other rain falls, that is not reckoned among the usual rains, but is called "a rain out of season." And again, O king, just as there are five hundred rivers which flow down from the Himālayas, but of these ten only are reckoned in enumerations of rivers--the Ganges, the Jumna, the Akiravatī, the Sarabhū, the Mahī, the Indus, the Sarasvatī, the Vetravatī, the Vītaɱsā, and the Kandabhāgā--the others not being included in the catalogue because of their intermittent flow of water. And again, O king, just as there are a hundred or two of officers under the king, but only six of them are reckoned as officers of state--the commander-in-chief, the prime minister, and the chief judge, and the high treasurer, and the bearer of the sunshade of state, and the state sword-bearer. And why? Because of their royal prerogatives. The rest are not reckoned, they are all called simply officers. Just as in all these cases, great king, the seven times repeated earthquake at the largesse of Vessantara was, as an isolated and extra [172] ordinary occurrence, and distinct from the eight usual ones, not reckoned among those eight causes.'

37. 'Now have you heard, O king, in the history of our faith of any act of devotion being done so as to receive its recompense even in this present life, the fame of which has reached up to the gods?'

'Yes, Lord, I have heard of such. There are seven cases of such actions.'

'Who were the people who did those things?'

'Sumana the garland maker, and Eka-sāṭaka the brahman, and Punna the hired servant, and Mallikā the queen, and the queen known as the mother of Gopāla, and Suppiyā the devoted woman, and Punnā the slave-girl. It was these seven who did acts of devotion which bare fruit even in this life, and the fame of which reached even to the gods.'

'And have you heard of others, O king, who, even in their human body, mounted up to the blessed abode of the great Thirty-three?'

'Yes, I have heard, too, of them.'

'And who were they?'

'Guttila the musician, and Sādhīna the king, and king Nimi, and king Mandhātā--these four. Long ago was it done, this glorious deed and difficult.'

'But have you ever heard, O king, of the earth shaking, either now or in the past, and either once or twice or thrice, when a gift had been given?'

'No, Sir, that I have not heard of.'

'And I too, O king--though I have received the traditions, and been devoted to study, and to hearing the law, and to learning by heart, and to the acquirements of discipleship, and though I have been ready to learn, and to ask and to answer questions, and to sit at the feet of teachers--I too have never heard [173] of such a thing, except only in the case of the splendid gift of Vessantara the glorious king. And between the times of Kassapa the Blessed One, and of the Blessed One the Sākya sage, there have rolled by hundreds of thousands of years, but in all that period I have heard of no such case. It is at no common effort, O king, at no ordinary struggle, that the great earth is moved. It is when overborne by the weight of righteousness, overpowered by the burden of the goodness of acts which testify of absolute purity, that, unable to support it, the broad earth quakes and trembles and is moved. Then it is as when a wagon is overladen with a too heavy weight, and the nave and the spokes are split, and the axletree is broken in twain. Then it is as when the heavens, overspread with the waters of the tempest driven by the wind, and overweighted with the burden of the heaped-up rain-clouds, roar and creak and rage at the onset of the whirlwind. Thus was it, great king, that the broad earth, unable to support the unwonted burden of the heaped-up and wide-reaching force of king Vessantara's largesse, quaked and trembled and was moved. For the heart of king Vessantara was not turned in the way of lust, nor of ill-will, nor of dullness, nor of pride, nor of delusion, nor of sin, nor of disputation, nor of discontent, but it was turned mightily to generosity. And thinking: "Let all those who want, and who have not yet come, now arrive! Let all who come receive whate'er they want, and be filled with satisfaction!" it was on giving, ever and without end, that his mind was set. And on these ten conditions of heart, O king, was his mind too fixed--on self-control, and on inward calm, and on [174] long-suffering, and on self-restraint, and on temperance, and on voluntary subjugation to meritorious vows, and on freedom from all forms of wrath and cruelty, and on truthfulness, and on purity of heart. He had abandoned, O king, all seeking after the satisfaction of his animal lusts, he had overcome all craving after a future life, his strenuous effort was set only towards the higher life. He had given up, O king, the caring for himself, and devoted himself thenceforth to caring for others alone. His mind was fixed immovably on the thought: "How can I make all beings to be at peace, healthy, and wealthy, and long lived?" And when, O king, he was giving things away, he gave not for the sake of rebirth in any glorious state, he gave not for the sake of wealth, nor of receiving gifts in return, nor of flattery, nor of long life for himself, nor of high birth, nor of happiness, nor of power, nor of fame, nor of offspring either of daughters or of sons--but it was for the sake of supreme wisdom and of the treasure thereof that he gave gifts so immense, so immeasurable, so unsurpassed. It was when he had attained to that supreme wisdom that he uttered the verse:

"Gāli, my son, and the Black Antelope,
My daughter, and my queen, my wife, Maddī,
I gave them all away without a thought--
And 'twas for Buddhahood I did this thing."'[46]

38. 'The angry man, O king, did the great king Vessantara conquer by mildness, and the wicked man by goodness, and the covetous by generosity, [175] and the speaker of falsehood by truth, and all evil did he overcome by righteousness.[47] When he was thus giving away--he who was seeking after righteousness, who had made righteousness his aim--then were the great winds, on which the earth rests below, agitated by the full force of the power of the influence that resulted from his generosity, and little by little, one by one, the great winds began to blow confusedly, and up and down and towards each side the earth swayed, and the mighty trees rooted in the soil[48] began to totter, and masses of cloud were heaped together in the sky, and terrible winds arose laden with dust, and the heavens rushed together, and hurricanes blew with violent blasts, and a great and terrible mighty noise was given forth. And at the raging of those winds, the waters little by little began to move, and at the movement of the waters the great fish and the scaly creatures were disturbed, and the waves began to roll in double breakers, and the beings that dwell in the waters were seized with fear and as the breakers rushed together in pairs the roar of the ocean grew loud, and the spray was lashed into fury, and garlands of foam arose, and the great ocean opened to its depths, and the waters rushed hither and thither, the furious crests of their waves meeting this way and that; and the Asuras, and Garuḷas, and Yakkhas, and Nāgas[49] shook with fear, and thought in their alarm: "What now! How now! is the great ocean being turned upside down?"

[176] and sought, with terrified hearts, for a way of escape. And as the water on which it rests[50] was troubled and agitated, then the broad earth began to shake, and with it the mountain ranges and the ocean depths, and Sineru began to revolve, and its rocky mountain crest became twisted. And at the trembling of the earth, the serpents, and mungooses, and cats, and jackals, and boars, and deer, and birds became greatly distressed, and the Yakkhas of inferior power wept, while those of greater power were merry.

39. 'Just, O king, as when a huge and mighty cauldron[51] is placed in an oven full of water, and crowded with grains of rice, then the fire burning beneath heats first of all the cauldron, and when that has become hot the water begins to boil, and as the water boils the grains of rice are heated and dive hither and thither in the water, and a mass of bubbles arises, and a garland of foam is formed--just so, O king, king Vessantara gave away whatsoever is in the world considered most difficult to bestow, and by reason of the nature of his generosity the great winds beneath were unable to refrain from being agitated throughout, and on the great winds being thrown into confusion the waters were shaken, and on the waters being disturbed the broad earth trembled, and so then the winds and the waters and the earth became all three, as it were, of one accord by the immense and powerful influence that [177] resulted from that mighty giving. And there was never another giving, O king, which had such power as that generosity of the great king Vessantara.

40. 'And just, O king, as there are many gems of value found in the earth--the sapphire, and the great sapphire, and the wish-conferring gem, and the cat's eye, and the flax gem,[52] and the Acacia gem,[53] and the entrancing gem, and the favourite of the sun,[54] and the favourite of the moon,[55] and the crystal, and the kaggopakkamaka,[56] and the topaz, and the ruby, and the Masāra stone[57] -- but the glorious gem of the king of kings is acknowledged to be the chief of all these and surpassing all, for the sheen of that jewel, O king, spreads round about for a league on every side[58] -- just so, O king, of all the gifts that [178] have ever been given upon earth, even the greatest and the most unsurpassed, that giving of the good king Vessantara is acknowledged to surpass them all. And it was on the giving of that gift, O king, that the broad earth shook seven times.'[59]

41. 'A marvellous thing is it, Nāgasena, of the Buddhas, and a most wonderful, that the Tathāgata even when a Bodisat (in the course of becoming a Buddha) was so unequalled in the world, so mild, so kind, and held before him aims so high, and endeavours so grand. You have made evident, Nāgasena, the might of the Bodisats, a most clear light have you cast upon the perfection of the Conquerors, you have shown how, in the whole world of gods and men, a Tathāgata, as he continues the practice of his noble life, is the highest and the best. Well spoken, venerable Nāgasena. The doctrine of the Conqueror has been exalted, the perfection of the Conqueror has been glorified, the knot of the arguments of the adversaries has been unravelled, the jar of the theories of the opponents has been broken in pieces, the dilemma so profound has been made clear, the jungle has been turned into open country, the children of the Conqueror have received the desire of their hearts.[60] It is so, as you say, O best of the leaders of schools, and I accept that which you have said!'

Here ends the dilemma as to the earthquake at Vessantara's gift


King Sivi[61]


[179] 42. 'Venerable Nāgasena, your people say thus: "King Sivi gave his eyes to the man who begged them of him, and when he had thus become blind, new eyes were given to him from heaven."[62] This statement is unpalatable,[63] it lays its speaker open to rebuke, it is faulty. For it is said in the Sutta: "When the cause has been utterly destroyed, when there is no longer any cause, any basis left, then the divine eye cannot arise."[64] So if he gave his eyes away, the statement that he received new (divine) ones must be false: and if divine eyes arose to him; then the statement that he gave his eyes away must be false. This dilemma too is a double-pointed one, more knotty than a knot, more piercing than an arrow, more confusing than a jungle. It is now put to you. Rouse up in yourself the desire to, accomplish the task that is set to you, to the refutation of the adversaries!'

[180] 'King Sivi gave his eyes away, O king. Harbour no doubt on that point. And in stead thereof divine eyes were produced for him. Neither on that point should you harbour doubt.'

'But then, Nāgasena, can the divine eye arise when the cause of it has been utterly destroyed, when no cause for it, no basis, remains?'

'Certainly not, O king.'

'What then is the reason by which in this case it arose, notwithstanding that its cause had been utterly destroyed, and no cause for it, no basis, remained. Come now. Convince me of the reason of this thing.'

43. 'What then, O king? Is there in the world such a thing as Truth, by the asseveration of which true believers can perform the Act of Truth?'[65]

'Yes, Lord, there is. And by it true believers make the rain to fall, and fire to go out,[66] and ward off the effects of poison, and accomplish many other things they want to do.'

'Then, great king, that fits the case, that meets it on all fours. It was by the power of Truth that those divine eyes were produced for Sivi the king. By the power of the Truth the divine eye arose when no other cause was present, for the Truth itself was, in that case, the cause of its production. Suppose, [181] O king, any Siddha (accomplished one[67] on intoning a charm,[68] and saying: "Let a mighty rain now fall!" were to bring about a heavy rainfall by the intoning of his charm--would there in that case be any cause for rain accumulated in the sky by which the rain could be brought about?'

'No, Sir. The charm itself would be the cause.'

'Just so, great king, in the case put. There would be no ordinary cause. The Truth itself would be sufficient reason for the growth of the divine eye!'

44. 'Now suppose, O king, a Siddha were to intone a charm, and say: "Now let the mighty blazing, raging mass of fire go back!" and the moment the charm were repeated it were to retreat--would there be any cause laid by which would work that result?'

'No, Sir. The charm itself would be the cause.'

'Just so, great king, would there in our case be no ordinary cause. The power of the Truth would be sufficient cause in itself!'

45. 'Now suppose, O king, one of those Siddhas were to intone a charm, and were then to say: "Let this malignant poison become as a healing drug!" and the moment the charm were repeated that would be so--would there be any cause in reserve for that effect to be produced?'

'Certainly not, Sir. The charm itself would cause the warding off of that malignant poison.'

'Just so, great king, without any ordinary cause the Truth itself was, in king Sivi's case, a sufficient reason for the reproduction of his eyes.'

[182] 46. 'Now there is no other cause, O king, for the attainment of the four Noble Truths. It is only by means of an Act of Truth that they are attained. In the land of China, O king, there is a king of China, who when he wants to charm the great ocean, performs at intervals of four months a solemn Act of Truth, and then on his royal chariot drawn by lions, he enters a league's distance into the great ocean. Then in front of the head of his chariot the mighty waves roll back, and when he returns they flow once more over the spot. But could the ocean be so drawn back by the ordinary bodily power of all gods and men combined?'

'Sir, even the water in a small tank could not be so made to retire, how much less the waters of the great ocean!'

'By this know then the force of Truth. There is no place to which it does not reach.'

47. 'When Asoka the righteous ruler, O king, as he stood one day at the city of Pātaliputta in the midst of the townsfolk and the country people, of his officers and his servants, and his ministers of state, beheld the Ganges river as it rolled along filled up by freshets from the hills, full to the brim and overflowing--that mighty stream five hundred leagues in length, and a league in breadth--he said to his officers: "Is there any one, my good friends, who is able to make this great Ganges flow backwards and up stream?"

'"Nay, Sire, impossible," said they.

'Now a certain courtesan, Bindumatī by name, was in the crowd there at the river side, and she heard people repeat the question that the king had asked. Then she said to herself: "Here am I, a [183] harlot, in this city of Pāṭaliputta, by the sale of my body do I gain my livelihood, I follow the meanest of vocations. Let the king behold the power of an Act of Truth performed even by such as I." And she performed an Act of Truth.[69] And that moment the mighty Ganges, roaring and raging, rolled back, up stream, in the sight of all the people!

'Then when the king heard the din and the noise of the movement of the waves of the whirlpools of the mighty Ganges, amazed, and struck with awe and wonder, he said to his officers: "How is this, that the great Ganges is flowing backwards?"

'And they told him what had happened. Then filled with emotion the king went himself in haste and asked the courtesan: "Is it true what they say, that it is by your Act of Truth that this Ganges has been forced to flow backwards?"

'"Yes, Sire," said she.

'And the king asked: "How have you such power in the matter? Or who is it who takes your words to heart (and carries them out)? By what authority is it that you, insignificant as you are,[70] have been able to make this mighty river flow backwards?"

'And she replied: "It is by the power of Truth, great king."

'But the king said: "How can that power be in you--you, a woman of wicked and loose life, [184] devoid of virtue, under no restraint,[71] sinful, who have overstepped all limits, and are full of transgression, and live on the plunder of fools? "

'"It is true, O king, what you say. That is just the kind of creature I am. But even in such a one as I so great is the power of the Act of Truth that I could turn the whole world of gods and men upside down by it."

'Then the king said: "What is this Act of Truth? Come now, let me hear about it."

'"Whosoever, O king, gives me gold--be he a noble or a brahman or a tradesman or a servant--I regard them all alike. When I see he is a noble I make no distinction in his favour. If I know him to be a slave I despise him not. Free alike from fawning and from dislike do I do service to him who has bought me. This, your Majesty, is the basis of the Act of Truth by the force of which I turned the Ganges back."'

48. 'Thus, O king, is it that there is nothing which those who are stedfast to the truth may not enjoy. And so king Sivi gave his eyes away to him who begged them of him, and he received eyes from heaven, and that happened by his Act of Truth. But what is said in the Sutta that when the eye of flesh is destroyed, and the cause of it, the basis of it, is removed, then can no divine eye arise, that is only said of the eye, the insight, that arises out of contemplation. And thus, O king, should you take it.'

'Well said, Nāgasena! You have admirably [185] solved the dilemma I put to you; you have rightly explained the point in which I tried to prove you wrong; you have thoroughly overcome the adversary. The thing is so, and I accept it thus.'[72]

Here ends the dilemma as to king Sivi's Act of Truth


The Dilemma As to Conception


49. [This dilemma goes into details which can be best consulted in the Pāli.]

This section [self-censored by Rhys Davids c 1890 England] has been translated by Ms. Horner [c 1963 England]. It contains nothing especially kinky by today's [Wednesday, November 14, 2018 6:16 AM USA] standards. It merely discusses the various ways in which insemination can take place under differing conditions. A good measure of the difference between the times as well as between the difference between the mores of the times in the west and those in the India of the Buddha's time [c 500 BC].

p.p. explains it all — p.p.






The Duration of the Faith


55. 'Venerable Nāgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One: "But now the good law, Ānanda, will only stand fast for five hundred years."[73] But on the other hand the Blessed One declared, just before [186] his death, in response to the question put by Subhadda the recluse: "But if in this system the brethren live the perfect life, then the world would not be bereft of Arahats."[74] This last phrase is absolute, inclusive; it cannot be explained away. If the first of these statements be correct, the second is misleading, if the second be right the first must be false. This too is a double-pointed question, more confused than the jungle, more powerful than a strong man, more knotty than a knot. It is now put to you. Show the extent of the power of your knowledge, like a leviathan in the midst of the sea.'

56. 'The Blessed One, O king, did make both those statements you have quoted. But they are different one from the other both in the spirit and in the letter. The one deals with the limit of the duration of the doctrine,[75] the other with the practice of a religious life--two things widely distinct, as far removed one from the other as the zenith is from the surface of the earth, as heaven is from purgatory, as good is from evil, and as pleasure is from pain. But though that be so, yet lest your enquiry should be vain, I will expound the matter further in its essential connection.'

57. 'When the Blessed One said that the good law[76] would only endure for five hundred years, he said so declaring the time of its destruction, limiting the remainder of its existence. For he said: "The good law, Ānanda, would endure for a thousand years if no women had been admitted to the [187] Order. But now, Ānanda, it will only last five hundred years." But in so saying, O king, did the Blessed One either foretell the disappearance of the good law, or throw blame on the clear understanding thereof?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Just so. It was a declaration of injury done, an announcement of the limit of what remained. As when a man whose income had been diminished might announce publicly, making sure of what remained: "So much property have I lost; so much is still left" -- so did the Blessed One make known to gods and men what remained when he announced what had been lost by saying: "The good law will now, Ānanda, endure for five hundred years." In so saying he was fixing a limit to religion. But when in speaking to Subhadda, and by way of proclaiming who were the true Samaṇas, he said: "But if, in this system, the brethren live the perfect life, then the world would not be bereft of Arahats"--in so saying he was declaring in what religion consisted. You have confounded the limitation of a thing with the statement of what it is. But if you like I will tell you what the real connection between the two is. Listen carefully, and attend trustfully to what I say.'

58. 'Suppose, O king, there were a reservoir quite full of fresh cool water, overflowing at the brim, but limited in size and with an embankment running all round it. Now if, when the water had not abated in that tank, a mighty cloud were to rain down rain continually, and in addition, on to the water already in it, would the amount of water in the tank decrease or come to an end?'

[188] 'Certainly not, Sir.'

'But why not, O king?'

'Because of the Continual downpour of the rain.'

'Just so, O king, is the glorious reservoir of the good law of the teaching of the Conqueror ever full of the clear fresh cool water of the practice of duty and virtue and morality and purity of life, and continues overflowing all limits even to the very highest heaven of heavens. And if the children of the Buddha rain down into it continuously, and in addition, the rainfall of still further practice of duty and virtue and morality and purity of life, then will it endure for long, and the world will not be bereft of Arahats. This was the meaning of the Master's words when he said: "But if, Subhadda, in this system the brethren continue in perfectness of life, then will the world not be bereft of Arahats."'

59. 'Now suppose again, O king, that people were to continually supply a mighty fiery furnace with dried cow-dung, and dry sticks, and dry leaves--would that fire go out?'

'No indeed, Sir. Rather would it blaze more fiercely, and burn more brightly.'

'Just so, O king, does the glorious teaching of the Conqueror blaze and shine over the ten thousand world systems by the practice of duty and virtue and morality and purity of life. And if, O king, in addition to that, the children of the Buddha, devoting themselves to the five[77] kinds of spiritual exertion, continue zealous in effort--if cultivating a longing for the threefold discipline, they train themselves therein -- [189] if without ceasing they carry out to the full the conduct that is right, and absolutely avoid all that is wrong, and practise righteousness of life--then will this glorious doctrine of the Conqueror stand more and more stedfast as the years roll on, and the world will not be bereft of Arahats. It was in reference to this, O king, that the Master spake when he said: "But if, Subhadda, in this system the brethren continue in perfectness of life, then will the world not be bereft of Arahats."'

60. 'Again, O king, suppose people were to continually polish with fine soft red powder a stainless mirror that was already bright and shining, well polished, smooth, and glossy, would dirt and dust and mud arise on its surface?'

'No indeed,--Sir. Rather would it become to a certainty even more stainless than before.'

'Just so, O king, is the glorious doctrine of the Conqueror stainless by nature, and altogether free from the dust and dirt of evil. And if the children of the Buddha cleanse it by the virtue arising from the shaking off, the eradication of evil, from the practice of duty and virtue and morality and purity of life, then will this glorious doctrine endure for long, and the world will not be bereft of Arahats. It was in reference to this that the Blessed One spake when he said: "But if, Subhadda, in this system the brethren continue in righteousness of life, then will not the world be bereft of Arahats." For the teaching of the Master, O king, has its root in conduct, has conduct as its essence, and stands fast so long as conduct does not decline.'[78]

[190] 61. 'Venerable Nāgasena, when you speak of the disappearance of the good law, what do you mean by its disappearance?'

'There are three modes of the disappearance, O king, of a system of doctrine. And what are the three? The decline of attainment to an intellectual grasp of it, the decline of conduct in accordance with it, and the decline of its outward form.[79] When the attainment of it ceases, then even the man who conducts himself aright in it has no clear understanding of it. By the decline of conduct the promulgation of the rules of discipline ceases, only the outward form of the religion remains. When the outward form has ceased, the succession of the tradition is cut off. These are the three forms of the disappearance of a system of doctrine.'

'You have well explained, venerable Nāgasena, this dilemma so profound, and have made it plain. You have loosed the knot; you have destroyed the arguments of the adversary, broken them in pieces, proved them wrong--you, O best of the leaders of schools!'

Here ends the dilemma as to the duration of the faith.


The Buddha's Sinlessness


62. 'Venerable Nāgasena, had the Blessed One, when he became a Buddha, burnt out all evil in himself, or was there still some evil remaining in him?'

[191] 'He had burnt out all evil. There was none left.'

'But how, Sir? Did not the Tathāgata get hurt in his body?'

'Yes, O king. At Rāgagaha a splinter of rock pierced his foot,[80] and once he suffered from dysentery,[81] and once when the humours of his body were disturbed a purge was administered to him,[82] and once when he was troubled with wind the Elder who waited on him (that is Ānanda) gave him hot water.'[83]

'Then, Sir, if the Tathāgata, on his becoming a Buddha, has destroyed all evil in himself--this other statement that his foot was pierced by a splinter, that he had dysentery, and so on, must be false. But if they are true, then he cannot have been free from evil, for there is no pain without Karma. All pain has its root in Karma, it is on account of Karma that suffering arises.[84] This double-headed dilemma is put to you, and you have to solve it.'

63. 'No, O king. It is not all suffering that has its root in Karma. There are eight causes by which sufferings arise, by which many beings suffer pain. And what are the eight? Superabundance of wind, and of bile, and of phlegm, the union of these humours, variations in temperature, the avoiding of [192] dissimilarities, external agency, and Karma. From each of these there are some sufferings that arise, and these are the eight causes by which many beings suffer pain. And therein whosoever maintains that it is Karma that injures beings, and besides it there is no other reason for pain, his proposition is false.'

'But, Sir, all the other seven kinds of pain have each of them also Karma as its origin, for they are all produced by Karma.'

'If, O king, all diseases were really derived from Karma then there would be no characteristic marks by which they could be distinguished one from the other. When the wind is disturbed, it is so in one or other of ten ways--by cold, or by heat, or by hunger, or by thirst, or by over eating, or by standing too long, or by over exertion, or by walking too fast, or by medical treatment, or as the result of Karma. Of these ten, nine do not act in a past life or in a future life, but in one's present existence. Therefore it is not right to say that all pain is due to Karma. When the bile, O king, is deranged it is so in one or other of three ways--by cold, or by heat, or by improper food. When the phlegm is disturbed it is so by cold, or by heat, or by food and drink. When either of these three humours are disturbed or mixed, it brings about its own special, distinctive pain. Then there are the special pains arising from variations in temperature, avoidance of dissimilarities, and external agency.[85] And there is the act that has Karma as its fruit, and the pain so brought about arising from the act done. So what [193] arises as the fruit of Karma is much less than that which arises from other causes. And the ignorant go too far when they say that every pain is produced as the fruit of Karma. No one without a Buddha's insight can fix the extent of the action of Karma.'

64. 'Now when the Blessed One's foot was torn by a splinter of rock, the pain that followed was not produced by any other of the eight causes I have mentioned, but only by external agency. For Devadatta, O king, had harboured hatred against the Tathāgata during a succession of hundreds of thousands of births.[86] It was in his hatred that he seized hold of a mighty mass of rock, and pushed it over with the hope that it would fall upon his head. But two other rocks came together, and intercepted it before it had reached the Tathāgata; and by the force of their impact a splinter was torn off, and fell upon the Blessed One's foot, and made it bleed. Now this pain must have been produced in the Blessed One either as the result of his own Karma, or of some one else's act. For beyond these two there can be no other kind of pain. It is as when a seed does not germinate--that must be due either to the badness of the soil, or to a defect in the seed. Or it is as when food is not digested--that must be due either to a defect in the stomach, or to the badness of the food.'

65. 'But although the Blessed One never suffered pain which was the result of his own Karma, or brought about the avoidance of dissimilarity,[87] yet [194] he suffered pain from each of the other six causes. And by the pain he could suffer it was not possible to deprive him of life. There come to this body of ours, O king, compounded of the four elements,[88] sensations desirable and the reverse, pleasant and unpleasant. Suppose, O king, a clod of earth were to be thrown into the air, and to fall again on to the ground. Would it be in consequence of any act it had previously done that it would so fall?'

'No, Sir. There is no reason in the broad earth by which it could experience the result of an act either good or evil. It would be by reason of a present cause independent of Karma that the clod would fall to earth again.'

'Well, O king, the Tathāgata should be regarded as the broad earth. And as the clod would fall on it irrespective of any act done by it, so also was it irrespective of any act done by him that that splinter of rock fell upon his foot.'

66. 'Again, O king, men tear up and plough the earth. But is that a result of any act previously done?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Just so with the falling of that splinter. And the dysentery which attacked him was in the same way the result of no previous act, it arose from the union of the three humours. And whatsoever bodily disease fell upon him, that had its origin, not in Karma, but in one or other of the six causes referred to. For it has been said, O king, by the Blessed One, by him who is above all gods, in the glorious collection called the Samyutta Nikāya in [195] the prose Sutta, called after Moliya Sīvaka: "There are certain pains which arise in the world, Sīvaka, from bilious humour. And you ought to know for a certainty which those are, for it is a matter of common knowledge in the world which they are. But those Samanas and Brahmans, Sīvaka, who are of the opinion and proclaim the view that whatsoever pleasure, or pain, or indifferent sensation, any man experiences, is always due to a previous act--they go beyond certainty, they go beyond knowledge, and therein do I say they are wrong. And so also of those pains which arise from the phlegmatic humour, or from the windy humour, or from the union of the three, or from variation in temperature, or from avoidance of dissimilarity, or from external action, or as the result of Karma. In each case you should know for a certainty which those are, for it is a matter of common knowledge which they are. But those Samanas or Brahmans who are of the opinion or the view that whatsoever pleasure, or pain, or indifferent sensation, any man may experience, that is always due to a previous act--they go beyond certainty, they go beyond common knowledge. And therein do I say they are wrong." So, O king, it is not all pain that is the result of Karma. And you should accept as a fact that when the Blessed One became a Buddha he had burnt out all evil from within him.'

'Very good, Nāgasena! It is so; and I accept it as you say.'

Here ends the dilemma as to the Buddha's sinlessness


On the Advantages of Meditation[89]


[196] 67. 'Venerable Nāgasena, your people say that everything which a Tathāgata has to accomplish that had the Blessed One already carried out when he sat at the foot of the Tree of Wisdom.[90] There was then nothing that he had yet to do, nothing that he had to add to what he had already done. But then there is also talk of his having immediately afterwards remained plunged for three months in ecstatic contemplation.[91] If the first statement be correct, then the second must be false. And if the second be right, then the first must be wrong. There is no need of any contemplation to him who has already accomplished his task. It is the man who still has something left to do, who has to think about it. It is the sick man who has need of medicine, not the healthy; the hungry man who has need of food, not the man whose hunger is quenched. This too is a double-headed dilemma, and you have to solve it!'

68. 'Both statements, O king, are true. Contemplation [197] has many virtues. All the Tathāgatas attained, in contemplation, to Buddhahood, and practised it in the recollection of its good qualities. And they did so in the same way as a man who had received high office from a king would, in the recollection of its advantages, of the prosperity he enjoyed by means of it, remain constantly in attendance on that king--in the same way as a man who, having been afflicted and pained with a dire disease, and having recovered his health by the use of medicine, would use the same medicine again and again, calling to mind its virtue.'

69. 'And there are, O king, these twenty and eight good qualities of meditation in the perception of which the Tathāgatas devoted themselves to it. And which are they? Meditation preserves him who meditates, it gives him long life, and endows him with power, it cleanses him from faults, it removes from him any bad reputation giving him a good name, it destroys discontent in him filling him with content, it releases him from all fear endowing him with confidence, it removes sloth far from him filling him with zeal, it takes away lust and ill-will and dullness, it puts an end to pride, it breaks down all doubt, it makes his heart to be at peace, it softens his mind, it makes him glad, it makes him grave, it gains him much advantage, it makes him worthy of reverence, it fills him with joy, it fills him with delight, it shows him the transitory nature of all compounded things, it puts an end to rebirth, it obtains for him all the benefits of renunciation. These, O king, are the twenty and eight virtues of meditation on the perception of which the Tathāgatas devote themselves to it. But it is because [198] the Tathāgatas, O king, long for the enjoyment of the bliss of attainment, of the joy of the tranquil state of Nirvāna, that they devote themselves to meditation, with their minds fixed on the end they aim at.

70. 'And there are four, reasons for which the Tathāgatas, O king, devote themselves to meditation. And what are the four? That they may dwell at ease, O king--and on account of the abundance of the advantages of meditation, advantages without drawback--and on account of its being the road to all noble things without exception-and because it has been praised and lauded and exalted and magnified by all the Buddhas. These are the reasons for which the Tathāgatas devote themselves to it. So it is not, great king, because they have anything left to do, or anything to add to what they have already accomplished, but because they have perceived how diversified are the advantages it possesses, that they devote themselves to meditation.'

'Very good, Nāgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

Here ends the dilemma as to meditation

The Limit of Three Months


71. 'Venerable Nāgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One: "The Tathāgata, Ānanda, has thought out and thoroughly practised, developed, accumulated, and ascended to the very height of the four paths to saintship,[92] and so mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of mental advancement, and as a basis for edification--and he therefore, Ānanda, [199] should he desire it, might remain alive for a Kalpa, or for that portion of a Kalpa which has yet to run."[93] And again he said: "At the end of three months from this time the Tathāgata will die."[94] If the first of these statements were true, then the limit of three months must have been false. If the second were true, then the first must have been false. For the Tathāgatas boast not without an occasion, the Blessed Buddhas speak no misleading words, but they utter truth, and speak sincerely. This too is a double-headed dilemma, profound, subtle, hard to expound. It is now put to you. Tear in sunder this net of heresy, put it on one side, break in pieces the arguments of the adversary!'

72. 'Both these statements, O king, were made by the Blessed One. But Kalpa in that connection means the duration of a man's life. And the Blessed One, O king, was not exalting his own power when he said so, but he was exalting the power of Saintship. It was as if a king were possessed of a horse most swift of foot, who could run like the wind. And in order to exalt the power of his speed the king were to say in the presence of all his court-townsfolk and country folk, hired servants and men of war, brahmins, nobles, and officers: "If he wished it this noble steed of mine could cross the earth to its ocean boundary, and be back here again, in a moment!"[95]

[200] Now though he did not try to test the horse's speed in the presence of the court, yet it had that speed, and was, really able to go along over the earth to its ocean boundary in a moment. Just so, O king, the Blessed One spake as he did in praise of the power of saintship, and so spake seated in the midst of gods and men, and of the men of the threefold wisdom and the sixfold insight--the Arahats pure and free from stain--when he said: "The Tathāgata, Ānanda, has thought out and practised, developed, accumulated, and ascended to the very height of the four powers of saintship, and so mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of mental advancement, as a basis for edification. And he therefore, Ānanda, should he desire it, might remain alive for a Kalpa, or the part of a Kalpa that has yet to run." And there was that power, O king, in the Tathāgata, he could have remained alive for that time: and yet he did not show that power in the midst of that assembly. The Blessed One, O king, is free from desire as respects all conditions of future life, and has condemned them all. For it has been said, O king, by the Blessed One: "Just, O Bhikkhus, as a very small quantity of excrement is of evil smell, so do I find no beauty in the very smallest degree of future life, not even in such for the time of the snapping of the fingers."[96] Now would the Blessed One, O king, who thus looked upon all sorts and conditions of future life [201] as dung have nevertheless, simply because of his power of Iddhi, harboured a craving desire for future life?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Then it must have been to exalt the power of Iddhi that he gave utterance to such a boast.'

'Very good, Nāgasena! It is so, and I accept it as you say.

Here ends the dilemma as to the three months

Here ends the First Chapter.


[1] Vasanto tassa khāyāya, literally 'abiding under his shadow.' Compare Gātaka I, 91.

[2] Paṭisīsakaɱ. See Gātaka II, 197.

[3] It is not known where the verses here (or the others quoted in these two pages) are taken from.

[4] Pabhiggati in the text appears not to be an old error. The Siɱhalese repeats it, but leaves it untranslated.

[5] Viseso. It does not say in what, and the Siɱhalese simply repeats the word.

[6] Sallāpo na kātabbo. The Siɱhalese merely repeats the word, which is often used without any bad connotation. See, for instance, Gātaka I, 112.

[7] So that, in the author's opinion, there is no 'Esoteric Doctrine' in true Buddhism. See the note, below, on 1V, 4, 8.

[8] So also in the Vinaya (Mahāvagga I, 2 5, 6).

[9] In the well-known passage in the Vinaya in which the mutual duties of pupils and teachers are set out in full (Mahāvagga I, 25, 26, translated in the 'Vinaya Texts,' vol. i, pp. 154 and foll.) there is a similar injunction (25, 22 = 26, 10) which throws light on the meaning of dhammena here.

[10] Apagata-koṭūhala-maṅgaliko. 'Laying aside the erroneous views and discipline called koṭūhala and maṅgaliko,' says the Siɱhalese.

[11] 'Because honours should be paid, in the way of worship, to those who have so passed away, and to them only,' is the implied suggestion, as if it were common ground to the Buddhists and their opponents. But there is no such doctrine in the Pāli Piṭakas, and could not be. The whole discussion breathes the spirit of a later time.

[12] Apatta-mānāsanaɱ. 'Of those who have not attained to the insight of the Arahats,' says the Siɱhalese by way of gloss.

[13] This verse is not found in our printed texts. The Thera Gāthā (981-1017) has preserved thirty-seven of the verses attributed to Sāriputta, but this is not one of them.

[14] Hīnaṭi-kumburê, who quotes the Pāli verses, reads pūgayantā, and sādīyanti.

[15] Tisso sampattiyo. That is, to another life as a man, or as a god, or to Arahatship here, on earth, in this birth.

[16] That is, the three fires of lust, ill-will, and delusion, the going out of which is the state called, par excellence, 'the going out' (Nirvāṇa).

[17] Book of the Great Decease, VI, 1, translated in 'Buddhist Suttas,' p. 112.

[18] This title and the subsequent ones to the various questions are added from the Siɱhalese. They are probably the same titles as those referred to by Mr. Trenckner in his preface as being in his Burmese MS.

[19] So again below, § 27.

[20] An ammaṇa is about four bushels.

[21] Mr. Trenckner has marked this passage as corrupt, and I do not pretend to understand it either. The Siɱhalese is also very involved and confused. I have added the words in brackets from the Siɱhalese, and translated the rest according to the general sense of the Siɱhalese and the figures of the Pāli. Hardy gives his 'version' at p. 386 of the 'Manual of Buddhism.' It says, 'In one load of rice there are 63,660,000 grains. Each of these grains can be separately considered by Buddha in a moment of time. In that moment the seven-times gifted mind exercises this power.' The last sentence is a misunderstanding of the opening words of our next section (IV, i, 20).

[22] That is, of the Excellent Way. They are the three Fetters--Delusion of self, Doubt, and Dependence on rites and ceremonies and outward morality--which the Sotāpanno has conquered, broken.

[23] Disciples who will return only once to this world, there attain Arahatship, and therefore pass away.

[24] Who will not return even once to this world, but attain Arahatship in heaven.

[25] This is noteworthy, for their mind is not yet quite clear as regards the higher five stages. But it is on all fours with the last section.

[26] Lust, becoming, delusion, and ignorance.

[27] Kilesā.

[28] Parikkīṇa-bhava-saɱyoganā.

[29] Patta-paṭisambhidā.

[30] That is as distinguished from the last--not only themselves enlightened, but able to teach, leaders of men.

[31] There is surely something wrong here; either in the Pāli, or in my interpretation of it, which follows the Siɱhalese (p. 130).

[32] Here the opening argument of § 17 is again taken up.

[33] At III, 6, 2 there is another problem raised as to the omniscience of the Buddha.

[34] He is the Judas of the Buddhist story, who tried to have the Buddha killed, and to seduce his disciples from him.

[35] Hīnaṭi-kumburê takes kulā as an ablative.

[36] These are all termini technici in Buddhist canon law. The meaning is that other divisions in the Order do not amount technically to schism. See the Kullavagga VII, 1, 27, &c.

[37] Kāruññabalopatthaddha. Compare Gātaka, vol. i, verse 267, and Sutta Vibhaṅga I, 10, 7.

[38] Gaddūhanam pi. It is the Sanskrit dadrūghna.

[39] Ādeyya-vakano. See my note, Kullavagga VI, 4, 8, and also Puggala Paññatti III, 12, and Pañka Gati Dīpana, 98.

[40] Literally, 'is the best of these eight'--the eight being those walking in the Excellent Way, the four magga-samaṅgino and the four phala-samaṅgino. See Puggala Paññatti VIII, 1.

[41] The Siɱhalese inserts a paragraph here not found in Mr. Trenckner's text.

[42] See above, p. 158.

[43] The interpretation of some of the medical terms in this paragraph is very uncertain. See pp. 134, 252, 304 of the text.

[44] From the Book of the Great Decease, III, 13, translated at p. 45 of my 'Buddhist Suttas,' vol. xi in this series.

[45] See the Vessantara Gātaka, and compare Gātaka I, p. 74.

[46] From the Kariyā Piṭaka I, ix, 52. See Dr. Morris's edition for the Pāli Text Society, p. 81.

[47] On this sentiment Mr. Trenckner calls attention to the analogous phrases at Dhammapada, verse 223.

[48] Sīnapattā: which the Siɱhalese renders polo talehi kal gewī patra wœṭīmaṭa pœminiyāwu wrikshayo.

[49] Fabulous beings supposed to occupy these fabulous waters.

[50] This conception of the earth resting on water and the water on air is Indian, and forms no part of distinctively Buddhist teaching.

[51] Mahati-mahā-pariyogo; not in Childers nor in the Sanskrit Petersburg Dictionary. Hīnaṭi-kumburê renders it itā mahat wu mahā bhāganayak.

[52] Ummā-puppha; rendered diya-mendiri-pushpa in the Siɱhalese. Clough gives diyameneri as a plant 'commelina cucullata.'

[53] Sirīsa-puppha; rendered mārā-pushpa in the Siɱhalese, mārā being the seed of the 'adenanthera pavonia.'

[54] Suriya-kanto, which the Siɱhalese merely repeats.

[55] Kanda-kanta; and so also in the Siɱhalese. These are mythic gems, supposed to be formed out of the rays of the sun and moon respectively, and visible only when they shine.

[56] The Siɱhalese has kaggopakramaya, which is not in Clough.

[57] Masāra-galla, which the Siɱhalese renders by masāra-galya, which Böhtlingk-Roth think is sapphire or smaragd, and Clough renders 'emerald,' and the commentary on the Abhidhāna Padīpikā, quoted by Childers, says is a stone produced in the hill of Masāra (otherwise unknown).

On similar lists of gems elsewhere see the Kullavagga IX, 1, 3, and my note at pp. 249, 250 of the 'Buddhist Suttas' (vol. xi of the 'Sacred Books of the East').

[58] So also in the Mahā-Sudassana Sutta I, 32, translated in the 'Buddhist Suttas,' p. 256. Compare above, p. 35 of the text.

[59] There is here a long paragraph in the Siɱhalese omitted in the Pāli.

[60] Nibbāhana; rendered abhiwarddhiya in the Siɱhalese.

[61] The story is given at length in the Sivi Gātaka, No. 499 (vol. iv) pp. 401-412 of Professor Fausböll's edition).

[62] There is nothing in the text of the Gātaka (p. 410) of the new eyes being 'divine' or 'from heaven.' There new, ordinary eyes arose to him as the result of his virtue.

[63] Sa-kasataɱ. 'Kasaṭa cannot mean simply 'insipid' as Dr. Edward Müller suggests at p. 43 of his 'Pāli Grammar,' for it is opposed to dullness, insipidity (manda) at Aṅguttara II, 5, 5. It must mean there 'wrong, not only by omission, but by commission.' Compare its use in the Dhammapada Commentary, p. 275; Gātaka I, 108, II, 97; and in the commentary on the Puggala IV, 24. Mr. Trenckner points out in his note that it is often written sakaṭa, and is no doubt the same as the Sanskrit word so spelt, and given by Wilson. (It is not in Böhtlingk-Roth.)

[64] This paragraph is very different in the Siɱhalese, and much longer than the Pāli.

[65] I don't know which Sutta is referred to.

[66] See the beautiful story of the Holy Quail (translated in my 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' p. 302), where even so weak a creature as a baby quail is able, by such a mystic Act of Truth, to drive back the great and powerful Agni, the god of fire, whom the Brahmans so much feared and worshipped.

[67] 'One who knows a powerful charm (or perhaps Vedic verse, mantra),' says Hīnaṭi-kumburê.

[68] Sakka, literally truth. (Satya-gāyanā in the Siɱhalese.)

[69] That is to say, in the words of the Quail story (loc. cit. p. 305), she 'called to mind the attributes of the Buddhas who had passed away, and made a solemn asseveration of the faith' that she had in the truth they had taught.

[70] Anummatto, which the Siɱhalese translates as a feminine.

[71] Khinnikāya. Compare Gātaka II, 114, and the Sutta Vibhaṅga on Pākittiya 26.

[72] This idea of the power of an Act of Truth which Nāgasena here relies on is most interesting and curious. The exact time at which it was introduced into Buddhism is as yet unknown. It has not been found in the Piṭakas themselves, and is probably an incorporation of an older, pre-Buddhistic, belief. The person carrying it out is supposed to have some goodness, to call that virtue (and perhaps, as in the case of the quail, the goodness of the Buddhas also) to mind, and then to wish something, and that thing, however difficult, and provided there is nothing cruel in it, then comes to pass. It is analogous to the mystic power supposed to reside in names. Childers very properly points out that we have a very remarkable instance of an Act of Truth (though a very un-Buddhistic one) in the Hebrew book of the Kings II. i. 10. 'And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty: "If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty!" And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.' A great point, both in this legend and in the story of the quail, is that the power of nature to be overcome is one looked upon by the Brahmans as divine.

[73] Kullavagga X, 1, 6, translated in 'Vinaya Texts,' vol. iii, p. 325.

[74] Book of the Great Decease, V, 62, translated in 'Buddhist Suttas,' p. 108.

[75] Sāsana.

[76] Saddhammo.

[77] Pañka-padhānaṅgani. This is curious. In the Piṭakas there are four kinds only.

[78] There is a paragraph here in the Siɱhalese not found in the Pāli.

[79] Liṅga, possibly 'uniform.' Either the Order or the yellow robe, for instance, if the system were Buddhism. See below, IV, (?--JBH)

[80] See Kullavagga VII, 3, 9.

[81] See Mahāparinibbāna Sutta IV, 21.

[82] Mahāvagga VIII, 1, 30-33.

[83] This is, no doubt, the occurrence recounted in the Mahāvagga VI, 17, 1-4. Childers translates vātābādha by 'rheumatism,' but I adhere here to the translation adopted there. It is said in the Mahāvagga that Ānanda gave him, not hot water, but gruel. But the two are very similar, and in the Theri Gāthā 185, referring to the same event, it is hot water that is mentioned.

[84] That is, there can be no suffering without sin. Compare the discussion in St. John's Gospel, ch. ix.

[85] As was pointed out above, IV, 1, 33, many of these medical terms are very doubtful.

[86] So below, IV, 3, 28.

[87] Visama-parihāra-gā both in the Siɱhalese and the Pāli.

[88] Water, fire, air, and earth (āpo, tego, vayo, pathavī).

[89] Paṭisallāṇa (not samādhi), rendered throughout in the Siɱhalese by wiweka.

[90] I have not been able to find this statement in any of the Piṭaka texts.

[91] Here again our author seems to be referring to a tradition later than the Piṭakas. In the Mahāvagga (see our version in the 'Vinaya Texts,' vol. i, pp. 74-81) there is mention only of four periods of seven days, and even during these not of paṭisallāṇa, but of samādhi. The former of these two terms only occurs at the conclusion of the twenty-eight days (Mahāvagga I, 5, 2). Even in the later orthodox literature the period of meditation is still not three months, but only seven times seven days. See the passages quoted in Professor Oldenberg's note at p. 75 of the 'Vinaya Texts,' vol. i.

[92] Kattāro iddhi-pādā.

[93] Mahāparinibbāna Sutta III, 60, translated in my 'Buddhist Suttas,' pp. 57, 58.

[94] Ibid. III, 63, translated loc. cit. p. 59.

[95] So it is said of the 'Horse-treasure' of the Great King of Glory in the Mahāsudassana Sutta I, 29 (translated in my 'Buddhist Suttas,' p. 256), that 'it passed over along the broad earth to its very ocean boundary, and then returned again, in time for the morning meal, to the royal city of Kusāvatī.' It is, of course, the sun horse which is meant.

[96] I have not traced this quotation in the Piṭakas, but it is probably there.


Next: Chapter 2

Copyright Statement