Apadana commentary (Atthakatha)

by U Lu Pe Win | 216,848 words

This is the English translation of the commentary on the Apadana (Atthakatha), also known as the Visuddhajana-Vilasini. The Buddhist stories known as apadanas refer to biographies of Buddhas, Buddhist monks and nuns. They are found in the Pali Canon (Khuddaka Nikaya), which is the primary canon of Theravada Buddhism. Alternative titles: Visuddhaja...

Becoming of Buddha and Defeating Sensual Pleasure

3. "The proximate preface is to be construed in these contexts, in this way: 'On one occasion, the Glorious One was dwelling in Sāvatthi, at Jeta grove, in the monastery of Anāthapiṇḍika. 'He dwelt in Vesālī at the great forest in the pinnacle-roofed monastery, (Kutagārasālā) hall." Thus, it was stated in spite of being stated thus, then starting from that beginning, it should be understood in this light. To the glorious Buddha, who was seated on the victory pedestal (pallaṅka), indeed, after He had made His joyous utterance, this idea occurred: "I had my self run over a hundred thousand kappas over and above four innumerable number of kappas for the sake of this pallaṅka, On, so many an occasion, for the sake of this self-same pallaṅka, my decorated head cut off from my neck had been given; my well-pulled out collyrium-smeared eyes and heart-flesh had been offered as charity; my such sons as young prince Jālī, my such daughters as young princess Kaṇājinā and my such wives as queen maddī had been given away to others for their slaves; this pallaṅka of mine is my victory pedestal, my firm pallaṅka of mine is my victory pedestal, my firm pallaṅka; seated here all my intentions became fully accomplished; I shall not, for the time being, rise up from here." He, therefore, continued sitting there and there only for seven days actually attaining many a hundred thousand crores of jhyāna attainments. It is in this connection, that it has been stated thus: "Then, indeed, the glorious Buddha kept Himself seated in a single cross-legged posture for seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation."

3.1. Then there arose this reflection to some of the divinities: "Today (or now) also there is surely some suitable deed to be done for Siddhattha; He does not give up His attachment, indeed, to the pallaṅka". The Master, knowing the contemplations of the divinities, went up the sky, and exhibited the twin miracle in order to allay their anxieties. Indeed, the twin-miracle performed at the terrace of the great Bodhi tree, the twin-miracle performed at the assembly of His relatives and the twin-miracle performed at the coming together of the sons of Pathika, all of them were the same as the twin-miracle performed at the foot of the mango-tree of Kaṇḍa.

3.2. Having thus allayed the anxiety of the divinities, by means of this miracle, the Master stood on the northern side slightly due east and spent seven days looking on, without winking His eyes, the pallaṅka as well as the Bodhi tree as the place of acquisition of vigour for the perfections fulfilled throughout a hundred thousand kappas over and above the four innumerable numbers of kappas saying: "Indeed, in this very pallaṅka, the omniscient knowledge had been comprehended by me."At that site there arose, the shrine of unwinking eyes, (Animisa). Then the Master made a cloister between the pallaṅka and the spot where He stood and spent seven days walking to and fro on the gem-jeweled cloister-walk which stretched at length from east to west. On that site there sprang up a shrine known as the gem-jewel cloister walk (Ratanacaṅkama).

3.3. In the fourth week, however the divinities erected a gem-jewel house on the northwest side of the Bodhi tree. There, the glorious Buddha sat cross-legged and spent seven days investigating the Abhidhamma piṭaka, particularly the paṭṭhāna containing therein, with its allround endless ways of approach. The reciters of Abhidhamma, however, said thus: "The name Ratanaghara is not that of a house, built of seven kinds of gems; the place where, however, the seven books of abhidhamma were meditated upon is said to be 'Ratanaghara'. Since, here, however, both these interpretations are applicable, both of them should, therefore, be accepted, accordingly. Beginning from that time onward, there arose on that site a shrine known as Ratanagharacetiva. Having thus spent four weeks near the Bodhi tree to the goat-herd banyan tree, (Ajapāla-nigrodha). There also, Buddha sat down investigating the dhamma and enjoying the bliss of emancipation.

3.4. On that occasion, Māra, the Evil One, became unhappy at heart, saying thus: "Following Him closely from behind for so long a time, I did not find any defect of this One although I looked for His fault," sat down on the high road and pondering upon sixteen causes, he drew sixteen lines on the ground as follows: "I had not fulfilled the perfection of offering charity like this One; therefore I was not born like this One." so saying, he drew one line. In that self-same way, Māra drew up to the tenth line saying: "I had not fulfilled, like this One, the perfection in precepts, the perfection in renunciation, the perfection in knowledge, the perfection in exertion, the perfection in impatience, the perfection in truth, the perfection in resolution, the perfection in loving kindness, the perfection in equanimity; therefore, I was not born like this One". Likewise, Māra drew the eleventh line saying: "I had not fulfilled like unto this One ten perfections, which are conducive towards comprehending the knowledge of diagnosing the maturity or otherwise of the controlling faculties (indriya), one of the six kinds of unique knowledge. In the same way, he drew eventually the sixteenth line saying: I had not fulfilled the ten perfections which are conducive towards gaining the comprehension of the knowledge of inclinations, hankerings and disposition of living beings, which is one of the six kinds of unique knowledge the knowledge of attainment of jhāna based on great pity, knowledge of performing the twin miracle, knowledge of absence of hindrance and knowledge of omniscience; therefore, I was not born like this One. In this way, Māra drew sixteen lines on the high road in these circumstances and sat himself down.

3.5. At that time also, three daughters of Māra, Tanhā, Aratī and Rāga, saying to themselves: "Our father is not to be seen; where, indeed, is he?" and looking out for their father, saw him seated writing on the ground with an unhappy heart, went to the presence of their father, and asked: "Dear father! Why are you distressed and down-hearted?" He replied; "Dear daughters! This great Monk had escaped my influence; I was unable to find His weakness in spite of my looking for it for so long a time; on that account, I am distressed and down-hearted." The daughters said: "If this is the case, do not be anxious we shall over-power Him ourselves and come back to you bringing Him." Māra replied: "Dear daughters! Nobody is able to have Him under anyone's influence; this Man is established in unshakeable faith."They said" "Dear father! Please do not be anxious; we, women shall bring Him with snares of lust (rāga0, immediately. Having said so, they went near the glorious Buddha and said to Him thus "O Monk!. We shall be your wives, who go round your feet." The glorious Buddha kept on sitting, simply experiencing the bliss of solitude for the emancipation over the incomparable destruction of substratum of existence, but did not pay any attention to their words; neither did He open His eyes and look at them.

3.6. Again the daughters of Māra, saying to themselves: "High and low, indeed, are the desires of men-folks; in the young ladies, the hair is, indeed, lovely; it is, indeed, the hair in young ladies, who are established in the first stage of life; it is, indeed, the hair in the ladies of middle age; it is, indeed, the hair in the ladies of the last stage of life would it not be well if we were to catch hold of Him by alluring Him with all kinds of good looks, "created themselves on after another in the guise of young ladies individually and becoming young girls, barren ladies, a child's mother, a mother of two children, middle-aged ladies and elderly ladies, went near the glorious Buddha six times and said: "O Monk! At your feet we do attend upon you as your wives". To it also the glorious Buddha did not pay any attention, since he had become emancipated through it in the incomparable destruction of all substrata of existence. Some scholar-teachers, however, said: "When he saw them coming near him in the guise of big women, the glorious Buddha willed himself: 'Let them become ones of broken teeth wearing grey hair.' It should not be taken in that light. Indeed, the glorious Buddha did not make such a self-will. However, the glorious Buddha, taking into consideration his own abandonment of depravity (kilesa), said:"You all should go elsewhere; after seeing what, do you put forth this effort? Such a thing should be done, before those who are not devoid of lust (rāga) etc., as for the Tathāgata, however, the lust (rāga) has been forsaken, hatred (dosa) has been abandoned and delusion (moha) has been done away with."

"With what foot-print are you all going to trace that Buddha who leaves no foot-mark, who has endless sphere of influence, whose conquest could not be reversed and whose victory nobody in the world could emulate. With what foot-trace are you all going to trace that Buddha who leaves no foot-trace, who has endless sphere of influence whose tangles have been disentangled and whose craving (taṇhā) does not exist to lead Him anywhere, indeed."

Reciting these two stanzas as contained in the chapter on Buddha of the Dhammapada, the Glorious one preached the Dhamma. They, the daughters of Māra saying to themselves: "Our father, we must say, spoke the truth when he said: 'The Worthy One, Speaker of well-spoken words, (Sugata), is the Buddha; He is not easily brought by lust (rāga), etc." returned to the presence of their father.

3.7. Buddha also, having spent there a week, seven days, went thence to the foot of Mucalinda. There Buddha spent seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation, as if residing in an unrestricted scented chamber, within the coils made by the dragon-king (nāgarājā) named Mucalinda, in order to ward off cold etc., when a week-lasting rainy weather arose, and went towards Rājāyatana, where also, He spent seven days experiencing the happiness of emancipation. So far, to this extent, the seven weeks became fully completed. Here, during such an interval as this, there was no face (or mouth) washing, no bodily ablutions, no taking of meals;He passed his time with the bliss of fruition of jhāna.

3.8. Then, on the expiry of these seven seeks, on the forty-ninth day, there occurred to him mind to wash his face and mouth. Sakka, king of devas, brought fresh medicinal drug and gave the same to him. The Master partook of it. On that account there was bodily ablution for him. Then, Sakka again offered him made of (nāgalatā), tooth-pick made of the dragon creeper as well as water for washing face and mouth. The Master chewed that tooth-stick, cleaned His teeth, washed his face with water from Anotatta lake and sat himself down at the foot of the Rājāyatana tree.

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