by Samuel Beal | 1883 | 108,941 words
This book is called “A Life of Buddha” by Asvaghosha Bodhisattva, in Chinese known as the “Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King”. It was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Dharmaraksha (or Dharmakshara) A.D. 420. The most reliable of the lives of Buddha known in China is that translated in the present volume, the Buddhacarita-kavya. It was no doubt written...
And now the night was in a moment gone, and sight restored to all created things, (when the royal prince) looked thro’ the wood, and saw the abode of Po-ka, the Ṛṣi; [the hermitage of the Bhārgavides, see Burnouf, Introduction to Ind. Bud. p. 385]; . 418
The purling streams so exquisitely pure and sparkling, and the wild .beasts all unalarmed at man, caused the royal prince's heart to exult. Tired, the horse stopped of his own will, to breathe. . 419
And (other things) arranged by him in order, without the slightest trace of negligence. Dismounting then he stroked his horse's head, and cried, 'You now have borne me (well)!' . 421
With loving eyes he looked at Candaka, (eyes) like the pure cool surface of a placid lake (and said), 'Swift-footed! like a horse in pace, yea! swift as any light-winged bird, . 422
'Ever have you followed after me when riding, and deeply have I felt my debt of thanks, but not yet had you been tried in other ways; I only knew you as a man true-hearted, . 423
'My mind now wonders at your active powers of body; these two I now begin to see (are yours); a man may have a heart most true and faithful, but strength of body may not too be his; . 424
'Bodily strength and perfect honesty of heart, I now have proof enough are yours. (To be content) to leave the tinselled world, and with swift foot to follow me, . 425
'Who would do this but for some profit, if without profit to his kin, who would not shun it? but you, with no private aim, have followed me, not seeking any present recompense; . 426
'As we nourish and bring up a child, to bind together and bring honour to a family; so we also reverence and obey a father, to gain (obedience and attention) from a begotten son; . 427
'In this way all think of their own advantage; but you have come with me disdaining profit; with many words I cannot hold you here, so let me say in brief to you, . 428
'We have now ended our relationship; take, then, my horse and ride back again; for me, during the long night past, that place I sought to reach now I have obtained.' . 429
Then taking off his precious neck-chain, he handed it to Candaka, 'Take this,' he said, 'I give it you, let it console you in your sorrow;' . 430
He said, 'O Candaka! take this gem, and going back to where my father is, take the jewel and lay it reverently before him, to signify my heart's relation to him; . 432
'And then, for me, request the king to stifle every fickle feeling of affection, and. say that I, to escape from birth and age and death, have entered on the wild (forest) of painful discipline, . 433
'Not that I may get a heavenly birth, much less because I have no tenderness of heart, or that I cherish any cause of bitterness, but only that I may escape this weight of sorrow; . 434
'The accumulated long-night weight of covetous desire (love), I now desire to ease the load (cause a break), so that it may be overthrown for ever; therefore I seek the way (cause) of ultimate escape; . 435
'If I should obtain emancipation, then shall I never need to put away my kindred, to leave my home, to sever ties of love. O! grieve not for your son! . 436
'The five desires of sense beget the sorrow; those held by lust themselves induce the sorrow; my very ancestors, victorious kings, thinking (their throne) established and immovable, . 437
'Have handed down to me their kingly wealth; I, thinking only on religion, put it all away; the royal mothers at the end of life their cherished treasures leave for their sons, . 438
'Those sons who covet much such worldly profit; but I rejoice to have acquired religious wealth; if you say that I am young and tender, and that the time for seeking wisdom is not come, . 439
'You ought to know that to seek true religion, there never is a time not fit; impermanence and fickleness, the hate of death, these ever follow us, . 440
'And therefore I (embrace) the present day, convinced that now is time to seek religion. With such entreaties as the above, you must make matters plain on my behalf; . 441
'But, pray you cause my father not to think longingly after me; let him destroy all recollection of me, and cut out from his soul the ties of love; . 442
'And you, grieve not because of what I say, but recollect to give the king my message.' Candaka hearing respectfully the words of exhortation, blinded and confused through choking sorrow, . 443
With hands outstretched did worship; and answering the prince, he spoke, 'The orders that you give me, will, I fear, add grief to grief; . 444
'And sorrow thus increased will deepen, as the elephant who struggles into deeper mire. When the ties of love are rudely snapped, who, that has any heart, would not grieve! . 445
'And now he gives his body to the rough and thorny forest; how will he be able to bear a life of privation? When first you ordered me to equip your steed, my mind was indeed sorely troubled, . 447
'But the heavenly powers urged me on, causing me to hasten the preparation (of the horse), but what is the intention that urges the prince, to resolve thus to leave his secure palace? . 448
'Surely this determination to leave your home, this is not according to duty; it is wrong, surely, to disregard father and mother,—we cannot speak of such a thing with propriety! . 450
'Gotamī, too, who has nourished you so long, fed you with milk when a helpless child, such love as hers cannot easily be forgotten; it is impossible surely to turn the back on a benefactor; . 451
'The highly gifted (virtuous) mother of a child, is ever respected by the most distinguished families; to inherit distinction and then to turn round, is not the mark of a distinguished man: . 452
The illustrious child of Yaśodharā, who has inherited a kingdom, rightly governed, his years now gradually ripening, should not thus go away from and forsake his home; . 453
But though he has gone away from his royal father, and forsaken his family and his kin, forbid it he should still drive me away, let me not depart from the feet of my master; . 454
'My heart is bound to thee, as the heat is (bound up) in the boiling water; I cannot return without thee to my country; to return and leave the prince thus, in the midst of the solitude of the desert, . 455
'How can I reply to the reproaches of all the dwellers in the palace with suitable words? Therefore let the prince rather tell me, how I may truly describe, . 457
'And with what device, the disfigured body, and the merit-seeking condition of the hermit! I am full of fear and alarm, my tongue can utter no words; . 458
'Tell me then what words to speak; but who is there in the empire will believe me? If I say that the moon's rays are scorching, there are men, perhaps, who may believe me; . 459
'But they will not believe that the prince, in his conduct, will act without piety; (for) the prince's heart is sincere and refined, always actuated with pity and love to men. . 460
'To be deeply affected with love, and yet to forsake (the object of love), this surely is opposed to a constant mind. O then, for pity's sake! return to your home, and thus appease my foolish longings.' . 461
The prince having listened to Candaka, pitying his grief expressed in so many words, with heart resolved and strong in its determination, spoke thus to him once more, and said: . 462
'Why thus on my account do you feel the pain of separation? you should overcome this sorrowful mood, it is for you to comfort yourself; . 463
'All creatures, each in its way, foolishly arguing that all things are constant, would influence me to-day not to forsake my kin and relatives; . 464
'But when dead and come to be a ghost, how then, let them say, can I be kept? My loving mother when she bore me, with deep affection painfully carried me, . 465
'And then when born she died, not permitted to nourish me. One alive, the other dead, gone by different roads, where now shall she be found? . 466
'Like as in a wilderness on some high tree all the birds living with their mates assemble in the evening and at dawn disperse, so are the separations of the world; . 467
'The floating clouds rise (like) a high mountain, from the four quarters they fill the void, in a moment again they are separated and disappear; so is it with the habitations of men; . 468
'People from the beginning have erred thus, binding themselves in society and by the ties of love, and then, as after a dream, all is dispersed; do not then recount the names of my relatives; . 469
'For like the wood which is produced in spring, gradually grows and brings forth its leaves, which again fall in the autumn-chilly-dews—if the different parts of the same body are thus divided— 470
'How much more men who are united in society! and how shall the ties of relationship escape rending? Cease therefore your grief and expostulation, obey my commands and return home; . 471
'The thought of your return alone will save me, and perhaps after your return I also may come back. The men of Kapilavastu, hearing that my heart is fixed, . 472
'Will dismiss from their minds all thought of me, but you may make known my words, "when I have escaped from the sad ocean of birth and death, then afterwards I will come back again; . 473
'"But I am resolved, if I obtain not my quest, my body shall perish in the mountain wilds."' The white horse hearing the prince, as he uttered these true and earnest words, . 474
'Bent his knee and licked his foot, whilst he sighed deeply and wept. Then the prince with his soft and glossy palm, (fondly) stroking the head of the white, horse, . 475
these precious jewels and this glittering sword, and with them follow closely after Candaka.' . 477
The prince then drawing forth his sword, glancing in the light as the dragon's eye, (cut off) the knot of hair with its jewelled stud, and forthwith cast it into space; . 478
Desiring always to adore the feet (offer religious service), how much rather now possessed of the crowning locks, with unfeigned piety do they increase their adoration, and shall do till the true law has died away. . 480
Then the royal prince thought thus, 'My adornments now are gone for ever, there only now remain these silken garments, which are not in keeping with a hermit's life.' . 481
Then the Deva of the Pure abode, knowing the heart-ponderings of the prince, transformed himself into a hunter's likeness, holding his bow, his arrows in his girdle, . 482
Becoming to the utmost the person of a Ṛṣi, not fit for a hunter's dress, forthwith called to the hunter, as he stood before him, in accents soft, and thus addressed him: . 484
'That dress of thine belikes me much, as if it were not foul, and this my dress I'll give thee in exchange, so please thee.' . 485
The hunter then addressed the prince, Although I ill can spare (am not unattached to) this garment, which I use as a disguise among the deer, that alluring them within reach I may kill them, . 486
'Notwithstanding, as it so pleases you, I am now willing to bestow it in exchange for yours.' The hunter having received the sumptuous dress, took again his heavenly body. . 487
The prince and Candaka, the coachman, seeing this, thought deeply thus, 'This garment is of no common character, it is not what a worldly man has worn;' . 488
And in (the prince's) heart great joy arose, as he regarded the coat with double reverence, and forthwith giving all the other things to Candaka, he himself was clad in it, of Kaṣāya colour; . 489
Then like the dark and lowering cloud, that surrounds the disc of the sun or moon, he for a moment gazed, scanning his steps (way), then entered on the hermit's grot; .490
Candaka following him with (wistful) eyes, his body disappeared, nor was it seen again. 'My lord and master now has left his father's house, his kinsfolk and myself (he cried), . 491
Till holding by the white steed's neck, he tottered forward on the homeward road, turning again and often looking back, his steps (body) going on, his heart back-hastening, . 493
Now lost in thought and self-forgetful, now looking down to earth, then raising up his drooping (eye) to heaven, falling at times and then rising again, thus weeping as he went, he pursued his way homewards. . 494
Footnotes and references:
There was a tower erected on the spot where Bodhisattva dismissed his coachman. See Fah-hien, p. 92. The distance given by Aśvaghoṣa, viz. three yojanas, or about twenty miles, is much more probable than the eight hundred lis, given in later accounts as the length of Bodhisattva's journey. Compare Fah-hien p. 92, note 2.
The text here seems to require the alteration of into .
Mi-tsang-li, not-yet-advantage; or, unheard of, or miraculous, profit.
'Ying' is often used for 'a proper measure vessel,' i.e. an alms dish.
To reject and leave. for .
It may also be, 'to himself and kin.'
The long night is the dark passage of continued transmigration, or change; the sense is, that Bodhisattva having sought for the condition of being, or life, he now has reached through a succession of previous births, the relationship or connection with his charioteer as master and man, is at an end.
The head-jewel, or kūḍā-māṇi. This crest-jewel is figured in various ways in Buddhist art; as a rule it may be taken to indicate 'the highest' (the head), and in this form it is placed on the head of the figures of Buddha (in Ceylon); and is found at Sanchi and Amarāvati as an object of reverence; it symbolises the supreme authority of Buddha, Dharma, Saṅgha.
Or, holding the jewel, worship reverently at the king's feet.
The 'forest of mortification,' i.e. the place where mortification was to be endured. For an account of Bodhisattva's penance (six years' penance [Ṣaḍvarṣika-vrata]), see Rājendralāla Mitra's Buddha Gayā, p. 26.
The 'long night' of previous life.
As, for instance, in the Vessantara Jātaka (birth), in which Bodhisattva gave up home, children, and wife, in pursuance of religious perfection.
The five desires are the root of sorrow.
This line may also be rendered, impermanence, no fixed condition, this!'
Convinced (resolved) that this is the time to seek the practice of the law, i.e. to engage in the work of religion.
Let him destroy all recollection of me as a form, or, a living perm: this does not forbid him to recollect the office and dignity of Bodhisattva.
Or, let not slip my words.
How much rather, may the heart be broken, choked with sorrow!
Concealed or kept securely in his palace.
Fu-hing; the practice of austerities, or mortification.
To hasten on the decoration, i.e. the harnessing, of the horse.
Or, thinking his son beloved and in security.
Illustrious families or tribes are strong, or able, to wait upon or respect. There seems to be a play here on two words: first, shing, illustrious or distinguished, alluding to the Śākyas as a race of Jinas or conquerors; secondly, neng, able, alluding to the origin of the word Śākya, i.e. able.
To obtain 'distinction;' still referring to the word shing; also in the next lines. Consult also p. 28, note 2 supra.
Or, my heart is bound to thee, or cherishes thee, as the fire embraces the vessel set over it.
I have here inverted the order of the lines, to bring out the sense.
Sumantra, the minister and charioteer of Daśaratha (Rāmāyaṇa II, 14, 30).
The order of these lines is again inverted, as they are complicated in the original. The word 'hu,' which I have translated 'truly,' may mean 'dumbly,' or, 'unfeelingly.
Or, my gentle horse!
This merit, or, meritorious deed, is now completed.
The idea is, that the horse, in consequence of the merit he has acquired by bearing the prince from his home, shall enjoy henceforward a higher state of existence.
'A superior reward now, for the present,' or, 'a better reward than that I now bestow,' viz. the jewels &c.
That is, the 'cūḍā maṇi,' or hair ornament. This ornament is represented at Sanchi and Bharhut (plates xxx and xvi respectively ['Tree and Serpent Worship' and 'The Stūpa of Bharhut'). In the former plate the figure on the upper floor with the women is probably Māra seeing Bodhisattva fulfilling his purpose).
That is, the heaven of the thirty-three gods supposed to be on the top of Sumeru.
Kaṣāya, the dark colour of the ground, adopted as the colour for their robes by the Buddhists.
This may also be translated, 'a suitable colour for one who is the opposite of, i.e. opposed to the occupation of, a hunter.'
That is, as if it were pure; there is a play on the expression 'not foul' or 'impure,' meaning that the dress was itself of a dark or impure colour, and that the occupation of the hunter made it more so.
Thought 'deeply;' the expression means 'rare,' or, 'seldom-felt thought.'
That is, as I understand it, giving the remaining articles of his dress to Candaka.
I have supposed that is for . The robe is represented as the cloud surrounding the bright person of Bodhisattva.
He now has put on a dark-colour’d robe.
The painful forest; that is, the forest or wood where painful mortification is practised.