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Hinduism And Buddhism Vol. 1

An Historical Sketch

Part 3

It now becomes difficult to give dates but the Mahâvagga{GL_NOTE::} relates that the Buddha stopped some time at Râjagaha and then revisited his native town, Kapilavatthu. That he should have done so is natural enough but there is little trace of sentiment in the narrative of the Vinaya. Its object is to state the occasion on which the Buddha laid down the rules of the order. Irrelevant incidents are ignored and those which are noticed are regarded simply as the circumstances which led to the formulation of certain regulations.

"The Lord dwelt in the Sakka country near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Grove. And in the forenoon having put on his robes and taken his alms bowl he went to the home of the Sakka Suddhodana1 and sat down on a seat prepared for him.

Then the princess who was the mother of Râhula2 said to him

'This is your father, Râhula, go and ask him for your inheritance.'

Then young Râhula went to the place where the Lord was, and standing before him said

'Your shadow, Monk, is a place of bliss.'

Then the Lord rose from his seat and went away but Râhula followed him saying

'Give me my inheritance, Monk.'

Then the Lord said to Sâriputta (who had already become his chief disciple)

'Well, Sâriputta, confer the preliminary ordination on young Râhula.'

Sâriputta asked how he should do so and the Buddha explained the forms.

"Then the Sakka Suddhodana went to the place where the Lord was and after respectfully saluting him asked for a boon.

'Lord, when the Blessed One gave up the world, it was great pain to me and so it was when Nanda3 did the same. Great too was my pain when Râhula did it. The love for a son, Lord, cuts into the skin, the flesh, the bones, and reaches the marrow. Let not the preliminary ordination be conferred on a son without his parents' permission.'

The Buddha assented. Three or four years later Suddhodana died."

From Kapilavatthu the Buddha is said to have gone to Sâvatthî, the capital of Kosala where Pasenadi was king, but now we lose the chronological thread and do not find it again until the last years of his life. Few of the numerous incidents recorded in the Pitakas can be dated.

The narrators resemble those Indian artists who when carving a story in relief place all the principal figures in one panel without attempting to mark the sequence of the incidents which are represented simultaneously. For the connection of events with the Buddha's teaching the compilers of the Pitakas had an eye; for their connection with his life none at all. And though this attitude is disquieting to the historic sense it is not unjustifiable. The object and the achievement of the Buddha was to preach a certain doctrine and to found an order.

All the rest—years and countries, pains and pleasures—was of no importance. And it would appear that we have not lost much: we should have a greater sense of security if we had an orderly account of his wanderings and his relations with the kings of his time, but after he had once entered on his ministry the events which broke the peaceful tenour of his long life were few and we probably know most of them though we cannot date them.

For about forty-five years he moved about Kosala, Magadha and Anga visiting the two capitals Sâvatthî and Râjagaha and going as far west as the country of the Kurus. He took little part in politics or worldly life, though a hazy but not improbable story4 represents him as pacifying the Sâkyas and Koliyas, who were on the point of fighting about the water of the Rohini which irrigated the lands of both clans. He uniformly enjoyed the respect and attention of kings and the wealthy classes.

Doubtless he was not popular with the Brahmans or with those good people who disliked seeing fine young men made into monks. But it does not appear that his teaching provoked any serious tumults or that he was troubled by anything but schism within the order. We have, if not a history, at least a picture of a life which though peaceful was active and benevolent but aloof, majestic and authoritative.

We are told5 that at first his disciples wandered about at all seasons but it was not long before he bade them observe the already established routine for itinerant monks of travelling on foot during the greater part of the year but of resting for three months during the rainy season known as Vassa and beginning some time in June. When moving about he appears to have walked from five to ten miles a day, regulating his movements so as to reach inhabited places in time to collect food for the midday meal.

The afternoon he devoted to meditation and in the evening gave instruction. He usually halted in woods or gardens on the outskirts of villages and cities, and often on the bank of a river or tank, for shade and water would be the first requisites for a wandering monk. On these journeys he was accompanied by a considerable following of disciples: five hundred or twelve hundred and fifty are often mentioned and though the numbers may be exaggerated there is no reason to doubt that the band was large. The suttas generally commence with a picture of the surroundings in which the discourse recorded was delivered.

The Buddha is walking along the high road from Râjagaha to Nâlanda with a great company of disciples. Or he is journeying through Kosala and halting in a mango-grove on the banks of the Aciravatî river. Or he is stopping in a wood outside a Brahman village and the people go out to him.

The principal Brahmans, taking their siesta on the upper terraces of their houses, see the crowd and ask their doorkeepers what it means. On hearing the cause they debate whether they or the Buddha should pay the first call and ultimately visit him. Or he is halting on the shore of the Gaggarâ Lake at Campâ in Western Bengal, sitting under the fragrant white flowers of a campaka tree. Or he visits the hills overlooking Râjagaha haunted by peacocks and by wandering monks.

Often he stops in buildings described as halls, which were sometimes merely rest houses for travellers. But it became more and more the custom for the devout to erect such buildings for his special use and even in his lifetime they assumed the proportions of monasteries6. The people of Vesâlî built one in a wood to the north of their city known as the Gabled Hall. It was a storied house having on the ground floor a large room surrounded by pillars and above it the private apartments of the Buddha. Such private rooms (especially those which he occupied at Sâvatthî), were called Gandhakûṭî or the perfumed chamber.

At Kapilavatthu7 the Sâkyas erected a new building known as Santhagâra. The Buddha was asked to inaugurate it and did so by a discourse lasting late into the night which he delivered sitting with his back against a pillar. At last he said his back was tired and lay down, leaving Ânanda to continue the edification of the congregation who were apparently less exhausted than the preacher.

But perhaps the residence most frequently mentioned is that in the garden called Jetavana at Sâvatthî. Anâthapiṇḍika, a rich merchant of that town, was converted by the Buddha when staying at Râjagaha and invited him to spend the next rainy season at Sâvatthî8. On returning to his native town to look for a suitable place, he decided that the garden of the Prince Jeta best satisfied his requirements. He obtained it only after much negotiation for a sum sufficient to cover the whole ground with coins.

When all except a small space close to the gateway had been thus covered Jeta asked to be allowed to share in the gift and on receiving permission erected on the vacant spot a gateway with a room over it.

"And Anâthapiṇḍika the householder built dwelling rooms and retiring rooms and storerooms and halls with fireplaces, and outside storehouses and closets and cloisters and halls attached to the bath rooms and ponds and roofed open sheds9."

Buddhaghosa has given an account10 of the way in which the Buddha was wont to spend his days when stopping in some such resting-place, and his description is confirmed by the numerous details given in the Pitakas. He rose before dawn and would often retire and meditate until it was time to set out on the round for alms but not unfrequently he is represented as thinking that it was too early to start and that he might first visit some monk of the neighbourhood. Then he went round the town or village with his disciples, carrying his almsbowl and accepting everything put into it. Sometimes he talked to his disciples while walking11.

Frequently, instead of begging for alms, he accepted an invitation to dine with some pious person who asked the whole band of disciples and made strenuous culinary efforts. Such invitations were given at the conclusion of a visit paid to the Buddha on the previous day and were accepted by him with silence which signified consent. On the morning of the next day the host announced in person or through a messenger that the meal was ready and the Buddha taking his mantle and bowl went to the house. The host waited on the guests with his own hands, putting the food which he had prepared into their bowls. After the repast the Buddha delivered a discourse or catechized the company. He did the same with his own disciples when he collected food himself and returned home to eat it.

He took but one meal a day12, between eleven and twelve, and did not refuse meat when given to him, provided that he did not know the animals had been slaughtered expressly for his food. When he had given instruction after the meal he usually retired to his chamber or to a quiet spot under trees for repose and meditation. On one occasion13 he took his son Râhula with him into a wood at this hour to impart some of the deepest truths to him, but as a rule he gave no further instruction until the late afternoon.

The Pitakas represent all believers as treating the Buddha with the greatest respect but the salutations and titles which they employ hardly exceed those ordinarily used in speaking to eminent persons14. Kings were at this time addressed as Deva, whereas the Buddha's usual title is Bhagavâ or Bhante, Lord. A religious solemnity and deliberation prevails in the interviews which he grants but no extravagance of adoration is recorded.

Visitors salute him by bowing with joined hands, sit respectfully on one side while he instructs them and in departing are careful to leave him on their right hand. He accepts such gifts as food, clothes, gardens and houses but rejects all ceremonial honours. Thus Prince Bodhi15 when receiving him carpeted his mansion with white cloths but the Buddha would not walk on them and remained standing at the entrance till they were taken up.

The introduction to the Ariyapariyesana-Sutta gives a fairly complete picture of a day in his life at Sâvatthî. It relates how in the morning he took his bowl and mantle and went to the town to collect food. While he was away, some monks told his personal attendant Ânanda that they wished to hear a discourse from him, as it was long since they had had the privilege. Ânanda suggested that they had better go to the hermitage of the Brahman Rammaka near the town.

The Buddha returned, ate his meal and then said

"Come, Ânanda, let us go to the terrace of Migâra's mother16 and stay there till evening."

They went there and spent the day in meditation. Towards evening the Buddha rose and said

"Let us go to the old bath to refresh our limbs."

After they had bathed, Ânanda suggested that they should go to Rammaka's hermitage: the Buddha assented by his silence and they went together. Within the hermitage were many monks engaged in instructive conversation, so the Buddha waited at the door till there was a pause in the talk. Then he coughed and knocked. The monks opened the door, and offered him a seat. After a short conversation, he recounted to them how he had striven for and obtained Buddhahood.

These congregations were often prolonged late into the night. We hear for instance how he sat on the terrace belonging to Migâra's mother17 in the midst of an assembly of monks waiting for his words, still and silent in the light of the full moon; how a monk would rise, adjusting his robe so as to leave one shoulder bare, bow with his hands joined and raised to his forehead and ask permission to put a question and the Lord would reply, Be seated, monk, ask what you will. But sometimes in these nightly congregations the silence was unbroken.

When King Ajâtasattu went to visit him18 in the mango grove of Jîvaka he was seized with sudden fear at the unearthly stillness of the place and suspected an ambush.

"Fear not, O King,"

said Jîvaka,

"I am playing you no tricks. Go straight on. There in the pavilion hall the lamps are burning ... and there is the Blessed One sitting against the middle pillar, facing the east with the brethren round him."

And when the king beheld the assembly seated in perfect silence, calm as a clear lake, he exclaimed

"Would that my son might have such calm as this assembly now has."

The major part of the Buddha's activity was concerned with the instruction of his disciples and the organization of the Sangha or order. Though he was ready to hear and teach all, the portrait presented to us is not that of a popular preacher who collects and frequents crowds but rather that of a master, occupied with the instruction of his pupils, a large band indeed but well prepared and able to appreciate and learn by heart teaching which, though freely offered to the whole world, was somewhat hard to untrained ears. In one passage19 an enquirer asks him why he shows more zeal in teaching some than others.

The answer is, if a landowner had three fields, one excellent, one middling and one of poor soil, would he not first sow the good field, then the middling field, and last of all the bad field, thinking to himself; it will just produce fodder for the cattle? So the Buddha preaches first to his own monks, then to lay-believers, and then, like the landowner who sows the bad field last, to Brahmans, ascetics and wandering monks of other sects, thinking if they only understand one word, it will do them good for a long while.

It was to such congregations of disciples or to enquirers belonging to other religious orders that he addressed his most important discourses, iterating in grave numbered periods the truths concerning the reality of sorrow and the equal reality of salvation, as he sat under a clump of bamboos or in the shade of a banyan, in sight perhaps of a tank where the lotuses red, white and blue, submerged or rising from the water, typified the various classes of mankind.

He did not start by laying down any constitution for his order. Its rules were formed entirely by case law. Each incident and difficulty was referred to him as it arose and his decision was accepted as the law on that point. During his last illness he showed a noble anxiety not to hamper his followers by the prestige of his name but to leave behind him a body of free men, able to be a light and a help to themselves. But a curious passage20 represents an old monk as saying immediately after his death

"Weep not, brethren; we are well rid of the Great Monk. We used to be annoyed by being told,

'This beseems you and this does not beseem you. But now we shall be able to do what we like and not have to do what we don't like.'"

Clearly the laxer disciples felt the Master's hand to be somewhat heavy and we might have guessed as much. For though Gotama had a breadth of view rare in that or in any age, though he refused to multiply observances or to dogmatize, every sutta indicates that he was a man of exceptional authority and decision; what he has laid down he has laid down; there is no compulsion or punishment, no vow of obedience or sacrificium intellectus; but it is equally clear that there is no place in the order for those who in great or small think differently from the master.

In shepherding his flock he had the assistance of his senior disciples. Of these the most important were Sâriputta and Moggallâna, both of them Brahmans who left their original teacher Sâñjaya to join him at the outset of his ministry. Sâriputta21 enjoyed his confidence so fully that he acted as his representative and gave authoritative expositions of doctrine. The Buddha even compared him to the eldest son of an Emperor who assists his father in the government. But both he and Moggallâna died before their master and thus did not labour independently. Another important disciple Upâli survived him and probably contributed materially to the codification of the Vinaya.

Anuruddha and Ânanda, both of them Sâkyas, are also frequently mentioned, especially the latter who became his personal attendant22 and figures in the account of his illness and death as the beloved disciple to whom his last instructions were committed. These two together with four other young Sâkya nobles and Upâli joined the order twenty-five years before Gotama's death and perhaps formed an inner circle of trusted relatives, though we have no reason to think there was any friction between them and Brahmans like Sâriputta. Upâli is said to have been barber of the Sâkyas. It is not easy to say what his social status may have been, but it probably did not preclude intimacy.

The Buddha was frequently occupied with maintaining peace and order among his disciples. Though the profession of a monk excluded worldly advancement, it was held in great esteem and was hence adopted by ambitious and quarrelsome men who had no true vocation.

The troubles which arose in the Sangha are often ascribed in the Vinaya to the Chabbaggiyas, six brethren who became celebrated in tradition as spirits of mischief and who are evidently made the peg on which these old monkish anecdotes are hung. As a rule the intervention of the Buddha was sufficient to restore peace, but one passage23 indicates resistance to his authority. The brethren quarrelled so often that the people said it was a public scandal.

The Buddha endeavoured to calm the disputants, but one of them replied,

"Lord, let the Blessed One quietly enjoy the bliss which he has obtained in this life. The responsibility for these quarrels will rest with us alone."

This seems a clear hint that the Blessed One had better mind his own business. Renewed injunctions and parables met with no better result.

"And the Blessed One thought"

says the narrative

"'truly these fools are infatuated,' and he rose from his seat and went away."

Other troubles are mentioned but by far the most serious was the schism of Devadatta, represented as occurring in the old age of Gotama when he was about seventy-two. The story as told in the Cullavagga24 is embellished with supernatural incidents and seems not to observe the natural sequence of events but perhaps three features are historical: namely that Devadatta wished to supersede the Buddha as head of the order, that he was the friend of Ajâtasattu, Crown Prince and afterwards King of Magadha25, and that he advocated a stricter rule of life than the Buddha chose to enforce. This combination of piety and ambition is perhaps not unnatural.

He was a cousin of the Buddha and entered the order at the same time as Ânanda and other young Sâkya nobles. Sprung from that quarrelsome breed he possessed in a distorted form some of Gotama's own ability. He is represented as publicly urging the Master to retire and dwell at ease but met with an absolute refusal. Sâriputta was directed to "proclaim" him in Râjagaha, the proclamation being to the effect that his nature had changed and that all his words and deeds were disowned by the order.

Then Devadatta incited the Crown Prince to murder his father, Bimbisâra. The plot was prevented by the ministers but the king told Ajâtasattu that if he wanted the kingdom he could have it and abdicated. But his unnatural son put him to death all the same26 by starving him slowly in confinement. With the assistance of Ajâtasattu, Devadatta then tried to compass the death of the Buddha. First he hired assassins, but they were converted as soon as they approached the sacred presence. Then he rolled down a rock from the Vulture's peak with the intention of crushing the Buddha, but the mountain itself interfered to stop the sacrilege and only a splinter scratched the Lord's foot.

Then he arranged for a mad elephant to be let loose in the road at the time of collecting alms, but the Buddha calmed the furious beast. It is perhaps by some error of arrangement that after committing such unpardonable crimes Devadatta is represented as still a member of the order and endeavouring to provoke a schism by asking for stricter rules. The attempt failed and according to later legends he died on the spot, but the Vinaya merely says that hot blood gushed from his mouth.

That there are historical elements in this story is shown by the narrative of Fa Hsien, the Chinese pilgrim who travelled in India about 400 A.D. He tells us that the followers of Devadatta still existed in Kosala and revered the three previous Buddhas but refused to recognize Gotama. This is interesting, for it seems to show that it was possible to accept Gotama's doctrine, or the greater part of it, as something independent of his personality and an inheritance from earlier teachers.

The Udâna and Jâtaka relate another plot without specifying the year. Some heretics induced a nun called Sundarî to pretend she was the Buddha's concubine and hired assassins to murder her. They then accused the Bhikkhus of killing her to conceal their master's sin, but the real assassins got drunk with the money they had received and revealed the conspiracy in their cups.

But these are isolated cases. As a whole the Buddha's long career was marked by a peace and friendliness which are surprising if we consider what innovations his teaching contained. Though in contending that priestly ceremonies were useless he refrained from neither direct condemnation nor satire, yet he is not represented as actively attacking27 them and we may doubt if he forbade his lay disciples to take part in rites and sacrifices as a modern missionary might do.

We find him sitting by the sacred fire of a Brahman28 and discoursing, but not denouncing the worship carried on in the place. When he converted Siha29, the general of the Licchavis, who had been a Jain, he bade him continue to give food and gifts as before to the Jain monks who frequented his house—an instance of toleration in a proselytizing teacher which is perhaps without parallel. Similarly in the Sîgâlovâda-sutta it is laid down that a good man ministers to monks and to Brahmans.

If it is true that Ajâtasattu countenanced Devadatta's attempts to murder him, he ignored such disagreeable details with a sublime indifference, for he continued to frequent Râjagaha, received the king, and preached to him one of his finest sermons without alluding to the past. He stands before us in the suttas as a man of amazing power of will, inaccessible to fear, promises and, one may add, to argument but yet in comparison with other religious leaders singularly gentle in taking the offensive against error.

Often he simply ignored it as irrelevant:

"Never mind"

he said on his deathbed to his last convert

"Never mind, whether other teachers are right or wrong. Listen to me, I will teach you the truth."

And when he is controversial his method is often to retain old words in honourable use with new meanings. The Brahmans are not denounced like the Pharisees in the New Testament but the real Brahman is a man of uprightness and wisdom: the real sacrifice is to abstain from sin and follow the Truth.

Women played a considerable part in the entourage of Gotama. They were not secluded in India at that time and he admitted that they were capable of attaining saintship. The work of ministering to the order, of supplying it with food and raiment, naturally fell largely to pious matrons, and their attentive forethought delighted to provide for the monks those comforts which might be accepted but not asked for. Prominent among such donors was Visâkhâ, who married the son of a wealthy merchant at Sâvatthî and converted her husband's family from Jainism to the true doctrine.

The Vinaya recounts how after entertaining the Buddha and his disciples she asked eight boons which proved to be the privileges of supplying various classes of monks with food, clothing and medicine and of providing the nuns with bathing dresses, for, said she, it shocked her sense of propriety to see them bathing naked. But the anecdotes respecting the Buddha and women, whether his wife or others, are not touched with sentiment, not even so much as is found in the conversation between Yâjñavalkya and Maitreyî in the Upanishad.

To women as a class he gave their due and perhaps in his own opinion more than their due, but if he felt any interest in them as individuals, the sacred texts have obliterated the record. In the last year of his life he dined with the courtezan Ambapâlî and the incident has attracted attention on account of its supposed analogy to the narrative about Christ and "the woman which was a sinner." But the resemblance is small.

There is no sign that the Buddha, then eighty years of age, felt any personal interest in Ambapâlî. Whatever her morals may have been, she was a benefactress of the order and he simply gave her the same opportunity as others of receiving instruction. When the Licchavi princes tried to induce him to dine with them instead of with her, he refused to break his promise. The invitations of princes had no attraction for him, and he was a prince himself. A fragment of conversation introduced irrelevantly into his deathbed discourses30 is significant--

"How, Lord, are we to conduct ourselves with regard to womankind? Don't see them, Ânanda. But if we see them, what are we to do? Abstain from speech. But if they should speak to us what are we to do? Keep wide awake."

This spirit is even more evident in the account of the admission of Nuns to the order. When the Buddha was visiting his native town his aunt and foster mother, Mahâprajâpatî, thrice begged him to grant this privilege to women but was thrice refused and went away in tears. Then she followed him to Vesâlî and stood in the entrance of the Kûṭagâra Hall

"with swollen feet and covered with dust, and sorrowful."

Ânanda, who had a tender heart, interviewed her and, going in to the Buddha, submitted her request but received a triple refusal. But he was not to be denied and urged that the Buddha admitted women to be capable of attaining saintship and that it was unjust to refuse the blessings of religion to one who had suckled him. At last Gotama yielded—perhaps the only instance in which he is represented as convinced by argument—but he added

"If, Ânanda, women had not received permission to enter the Order, the pure religion would have lasted long, the good law would have stood fast a thousand years. But since they had received that permission, it will now stand fast for only five hundred years31."

He maintained and approved the same hard detached attitude in other domestic relations. His son Râhula received special instruction but is not represented as enjoying his confidence like Ânanda. A remarkable narrative relates how, when the monk Sangâmaji was sitting beneath a tree absorbed in meditation, his former wife (whom he had left on abandoning the world) laid his child before him and said

"Here, monk, is your little son, nourish me and nourish him."

But Sangâmaji took no notice and the woman went away. The Buddha who observed what happened said

"He feels no pleasure when she comes, no sorrow when she goes: him I call a true Brahman released from passion32."

This narrative is repulsive to European sentiment, particularly as the chronicler cannot spare the easy charity of a miracle to provide for the wife and child, but in taking it as an index of the character of Gotama, we must bear in mind such sayings of Christ as

"If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple33."

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- Footnotes:

1.

His father.

2.

I.e. the Buddha's former wife.

3.

Half brother of the Buddha and Suddhodana'a son by Mahâprajâpatî.

4.

Jâtaka, 356.

5.

Mahâvag. III. 1.

6.

Thus we hear how Dasama of Atthakam (Maj. Nik. 52) built one for fifteen hundred monks, and Ghotamukha another in Pataliputta, which bore his name.

7.

Maj. Nik. 53.

8.

Cullavag. VI. 4.

9.

Probably sheds consisting of a roof set on posts, but without walls.

10.

Translated by Rhys Davids, American Lectures, pp. 108 ff.

11.

E.g. Maj. Nik. 62.

12.

But in Maj. Nik. II. 5 he says he is not bound by rules as to eating.

13.

Maj. Nik. 147.

14.

In an exceedingly curious passage (Dig. Nik. IV.) the Brahman Sonadaṇḍa, while accepting the Buddha's teaching, asks to be excused from showing the Buddha such extreme marks of respect as rising from his seat or dismounting from his chariot, on the ground that his reputation would suffer. He proposes and apparently is allowed to substitute less demonstrative salutations.

15.

Cullavagga V. 21 and Maj. Nik. 85.

16.

Visâkhâ, a lady of noted piety. It was probably a raised garden planted with trees.

17.

Maj. Nik. 110.

18.

Dig. Nik. No. 2. Compare Jâtaka 150, which shows how much variation was permitted in the words ascribed to the Buddha.

19.

Sam. Nik. XLII. 7.

20.

Mahâparinib-sutta, 6. 20. The monk Subhadda, in whose mouth these words are put, was apparently not the person of the same name who was the last convert made by the Buddha when dying.

21.

His personal name was Upatissa.

22.

This position was also held, previously no doubt, by Sagata.

23.

Mahavâg. X. 2. Compare the singular anecdote in VI. 22 where the Buddha quite unjustifiably suspects a Doctor of making an indelicate joke. The story seems to admit that the Buddha might be wrong and also that he was sometimes treated with want of respect.

24.

VII. 2 ff.

25.

The introductions to Jâtakas 26 and 150 say that Ajâtasattu built a great monastery for him at Gayâsîsa.

26.

The Buddha says so himself (Dig. Nik. II.) but does not mention the method.

27.

The Dhamma-sangaṇī defines courtesy as being of two kinds: hospitality and considerateness in matters of doctrine.

28.

Maj. Nik. 75.

29.

Mahāv. vi. 31. 11.

30.

Cullavag. x. 1. 3.

31.

Mahâparinib. V. 23. Perhaps the Buddha was supposed to be giving Ânanda last warnings about his besetting weakness.

32.

Udâna 1. 8.

33.

Compare too the language of Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) "By God's will there died my mother who was a great hindrance unto me in following the way of God: my husband died likewise and all my children. And because I had commenced to follow the aforesaid way and had prayed God that he would rid me of them, I had great consolation of their deaths, although I did also feel some grief." Beatae Angelae de Fulginio Visionum et Instructionum Liber. Cap. ix.

34.

No account of this event has yet been found in the earliest texts but it is no doubt historical. The versions found in the Jâtaka and Commentaries trace it back to a quarrel about a marriage, but the story is not very clear or consistent and the real motive was probably that indicated above.

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