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...
The first was named Yuh-yen (lust-pollution), the second Neng-yueh-jin (able to delight a man), the third Ngai-loh (love joy). These three, at this time, advanced together, . 1040
And addressed their father Piśuna and said: 'May we not know the trouble that afflicts you?' The father calming his feelings, addressed his daughters thus: . 1041
'The world has now a great Muni, he has taken a strong oath as a helmet, he holds a mighty bow in his hand, wisdom is the diamond shaft he uses, . 1042
'His object is to get the mastery in the world, to ruin and destroy my territory (domain); I am myself unequal to him, for all men will believe in him, . 1043
'And all find refuge in the way of his salvation; then will my land be desert and unoccupied. But as when a man transgresses the laws of morality, his body (or, he himself) is then empty (i.e. unprotected), . 1044
'So now, the eye of wisdom, not yet opened (in this man), whilst my empire still has peace (quiet), I will go and overturn his purpose, and break down and divide the ridge-pole (of his house).' . 1045
Seizing then his bow and his five arrows, with all his retinue of male and female attendants, he went to that grove of 'fortunate rest' with the vow that the world (all flesh) should not find peace. . 1046
Then seeing the Muni, quiet and still (silent), preparing to cross the sea of the three worlds, in his left hand grasping his bow, with his right hand pointing his arrow, . 1047
'But let go this effort after the law of deliverance (for others); wage warfare in the field of charity as a cause of merit, appease the tumultuous world, and so in the end reach your reward in heaven; . 1049
'This is a way renowned and well established, in which former saints (victors) have walked, Ṛṣis and kings and men of eminence; but this system of penury and alms-begging is unworthy of you. . 1050
'Now then if you rise not, you had best consider with yourself, that if you give not up your vow, and tempt me to let fly an arrow, . 1051
'And how the Ṛṣi Vimala, practising austerities, hearing the sound of one of these darts, his heart possessed by great fear, bewildered and darkened he lost his true nature; . 1053
'How much less can you—a late-born one—hope to escape this dart of mine. Quickly arise then! if hardly you may get away! . 1054
'This arrow full of rankling poison, fearfully insidious where it strikes a foe! See now! with all my force, I point it! and are you resting in the face of such calamity? . 1055
'How is it that you fear not this dread arrow? say! why do you not tremble?' Māra uttered such fear-inspiring threats, bent on overawing Bodhisattva. . 1056
But Bodhisattva's heart remained unmoved; no doubt, no fear was present. Then Māra instantly discharged his arrow, whilst the three women came in front; . 1057
Bodhisattva regarded not the arrow, nor considered ought the women three. Māra rāja now was troubled much with doubt, and muttered thus 'twixt heart and mouth: . 1058
'Long since the maiden of the snowy mountains, shooting at Maheśvara, constrained him to change his mind; and yet Bodhisattva is unmoved, . 1059
'And heeds not even this dart of mine, nor the three heavenly women! nought prevails to move his heart or raise one spark of love within him. . 1060
'Now must I assemble my army-host, and press him sore by force;' having thought thus awhile, Māra's army suddenly assembled round; . 1061
Each (severally) assumed his own peculiar form; some were holding spears, others grasping swords, others snatching up trees, others wielding diamond maces; (thus were they) armed with every sort of weapon; . 1062
Some had heads like hogs, others like fishes, others like asses, others like horses; some with forms like snakes or like the ox or savage tiger; lion-headed, dragon-headed, (and like) every other kind of beast; . 1063
Some had many heads on one body-trunk, with faces having but a single eye, and then again with many eyes; some with great-bellied mighty bodies, . 1064
And others thin and skinny, bellyless; others long-legged, mighty-knee’d; others big-shanked and fat-calved; some with long and claw-like nails; . 1065
Some were headless, breastless, faceless; some with two feet and many bodies; some with big faces looking every way; some pale and ashy-coloured, . 1066
Others colour’d like the bright star rising, others steaming fiery vapour, some with ears like elephants, with humps like mountains, some with naked forms covered with hair, . 1067
Some with leather skins for clothing, their faces party-coloured, crimson and white; some with tiger skins as robes, some with snake skins over them, . 1068
Some with tinkling bells around their waists, others with twisted screw-like hair, others with hair dishevelled covering the body, some breath-suckers, . 1069
Others body-snatchers, some dancing and shrieking awhile, some jumping onwards with their feet together, some striking one another as they went, . 1070
Others waving (wheeling round) in the air, others flying and leaping between the trees, others howling, or hooting, or screaming, or whining, with their evil noises shaking the great earth; . 1071
Thus this wicked goblin troop encircled on its four sides the Bodhi tree; some bent on tearing his body to pieces, others on devouring it whole; . 1072
From the four sides flames belched forth, and fiery steam ascended up to heaven; tempestuous winds arose on every side; the mountain forests shook and quaked; . 1073
Wind, fire, and steam, with dust combined, (produced) a pitchy darkness, rendering all invisible. And now the Devas well affected to the law, and all the Nāgas and the spirits (kwei-shin), . 1074
All incensed at this host of Māra, with anger fired, wept tears of blood; the great company of Śuddhavāsa gods, beholding Māra tempting Bodhisattva, . 1075
Free from low-feeling, with hearts undisturbed by passion, moved by pity towards him and commiseration, came in a body to behold the Bodhisattva, so calmly seated and so undisturbed, . 1076
Surrounded with an uncounted host of devils, shaking the heaven and earth with sounds ill-omened. Bodhisattva silent and quiet in the midst remained, his countenance as bright as heretofore, unchanged; . 1077
Like the great lion-king placed amongst all the beasts howling and growling round him (so he sat), a sight unseen before, so strange and wonderful! . 1078
The host of Māra hastening, as arranged, each one exerting his utmost force, taking each other's place in turns, threatening every moment to destroy him, . 1079
Fiercely staring, grinning with their teeth, flying tumultuously, bounding here and there; but Bodhisattva, silently beholding them, (watched them) as one would watch the games of children; . 1080
And now the demon host waxed fiercer and more angry, and added force to force, in further conflict; grasping at stones they could not lift, or lifting them, they could not let them go; . 1081
Their flying spears, lances, and javelins, stuck fast in space, refusing to descend; the angry thunder-drops and mighty hail, with these, were changed into five-colour’d lotus flowers, . 1082
Whilst the foul poison of the dragon snakes was turned to spicy-breathing air. Thus all these countless sorts of creatures, wishing to destroy the Bodhisattva, . 1083
Unable to remove him from the spot, were with their own weapons wounded. Now Māra had an aunt-attendant whose name was Ma-kia-ka-li (Māha Kālī?), . 1084
Who held a skull-dish in her hands, and stood in front of Bodhisattva, and with every kind of winsome gesture, tempted to lust the Bodhisattva. . 1085
So all these followers of Māra, possessed of every demon-body form, united in discordant uproar, hoping to terrify Bodhisattva; . 1086
But not a hair of his was moved, and Māra's host was filled with sorrow. Then in the air the crowd of angels (spirits), their forms invisible, raised their voices, saying: . 1087
'Behold the great Muni; his mind unmoved by any feeling of resentment, whilst all that wicked Māra race, besotted, are vainly bent on his destruction; . 1088
'Let go your foul and murderous thoughts against that silent Muni, calmly seated! You cannot with a breath move the Sumeru mountain; . 1089
'Fire may freeze, water may burn, the roughened earth may grow soft and pliant, but ye cannot hurt the Bodhisattva! Thro’ ages past disciplined by suffering, . 1090
Bodhisattva rightly trained in thought, ever advancing in the use of "means," pure and illustrious for wisdom, loving and merciful to all, . 1091
'These four conspicuous (excellent) virtues cannot with him be rent asunder, so as to make it hard or doubtful whether he gain the highest wisdom. . 1092
'For as the thousand rays of yonder sun must drown the darkness of the world, or as the boring wood must kindle fire, or as the earth deep-dug gives water, . 1093
'So he who perseveres in the "right means," by seeking thus, will find. The world without instruction, poisoned by lust and hate and ignorance, . 1094
'Because he pitied "flesh," so circumstanced, he sought on their account the joy of wisdom. Why then would you molest and hinder one who seeks to banish sorrow from the world? . 1095
'The ignorance that everywhere prevails is due to false pernicious books (sūtras), and therefore Bodhisattva, walking uprightly, would lead and draw men after him. . 1096
'To obscure and blind the great world-leader, this undertaking is impossible, for ’tis as though in the Great Desert a man would purposely mislead the merchant-guide; . 1097
'So "all flesh" having fallen into darkness, ignorant of where they are going, for their sakes he would light the lamp of wisdom; say then! why would you extinguish it? . 1098
'All flesh engulphed and overwhelmed in the great sea of birth and death, this one prepares the boat of wisdom; say then! why destroy and sink it? . 1099
'Patience is the sprouting of religion, firmness its root, good conduct is the flower, the enlightened heart the boughs and branches, . 1100
'Wisdom supreme the entire tree, the "transcendent law" the fruit, its shade protects all living things; say then! why would you cut it down? . 1101
'Lust, hate, and ignorance, (these are) the rack and bolt, the yoke placed on the shoulder of the world; through ages long he has practised austerities to rescue men from these their fetters, . 1102
'He now shall certainly attain his end, sitting on this right-established throne; (seated) as all the previous Buddhas, firm and compact like a diamond; . 1103
'Though all the earth were moved and shaken, yet would this place be fixed and stable; him, thus fixed and well assured, think not that you can overturn. . 1104
'Bring down and moderate your mind's desire, banish these high and envious thoughts, prepare yourselves for right reflection, be patient in your services.' . 1105
Māra hearing these sounds in space, and seeing Bodhisattva still unmoved, filled with fear and banishing his high and supercilious thoughts, again took up his way to heaven above; . 1106
Whilst all his host (were scattered), o’erwhelmed with grief and disappointment, fallen from their high estate, ’reft of their warrior pride, their warlike weapons and accoutrements thrown heedlessly and cast away 'mid woods and deserts. . 1107
Like as when some cruel chieftain slain, the hateful band is all dispersed and scattered, so the host of Māra disconcerted, fled away. The mind of Bodhisattva (now reposed) peaceful and quiet. . 1108
The morning sun-beams brighten with the dawn, the dust-like mist dispersing, disappears; the moon and stars pale their faint light, the barriers of the night are all removed, . 1109
Whilst from above a fall of heavenly flowers pay their sweet tribute to the Bodhisattva. 1110.
Footnotes and references:
I. e. king of sensuality.
The wicked one.
See Childers, sub Māro, for the name of the daughters. In Sanskrit, Rati, Prīti, and Tṛṣṇā.
'I will return to the house . . . . , he findeth it swept and garnished, but empty.'
Should not find 'rest.' There is a play on the word.
Or, a system of religion for yourself.
Aiḍa, the grandson of Soma (i.e. Purūravas, the lover of Urvaśī?).
Kik for pien?
In the sense of 'not commendable.'