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...
Then the king, having perceived the truth, offered his adoration and returned to his palace. The world-honoured, with the great congregation, proceeded on foot, to rest for awhile in the bamboo garden. . 1381
Unrivalled in the world were they for grace of person, and in dignity of carriage excelling all. The lords and ladies of the city seeing them, were filled with joy; . 1384
Those who were walking stood still, those before waited, those behind hastened on. Now the Ṛṣi: Kapila amongst all his numerous disciples . 1385
Their dignified walk and carriage, raising his hands, enquiring, said: 'Young in years, but pure and graceful in appearance, such as I before have never seen, . 1387
'What law most excellent (have you obeyed)? and who your master that has taught you? and what the doctrine you have learned? Tell me, I pray you, and relieve my doubts.' . 1388
Then of the Bhikṣus, one, rejoicing at his question, with pleasing air and gracious words, replied: 'The omniscient, born of the Ikṣvāku family, . 1389
'The very first ’midst gods and men, this one is my great master. I am indeed but young, the sun of. wisdom has but just arisen, . 1390
'How can I then explain the master's doctrine? Its meaning is deep and very hard to understand, but now, according to my poor capability (wisdom), I will recount in brief the master's doctrine: . 1391
'"Whatever things exist all spring from cause, the principles (cause) of birth and death (may be) destroyed, the way is by the means he has declared."' . 1392
The former explanations he had trusted, respecting cause and what was not the cause, that there was nothing that was made, but was made by Īśvara, . 1394
All this, now that he had heard the rule of true causation, understanding (penetrating) the wisdom of the no-self, adding thereto the knowledge of the minute (dust) troubles, which can never be overcome in their completeness (completely destroyed), . 1395
'Who, when the brightness of the sun gives light, would call for the dimness of the lamp? for, like the severing of the lotus, the stem once cut, the pods (?) will also die; . 1397
'So Buddha's teaching cutting off the stem of sorrow, no seeds are left to grow or lead to further increase.' Then bowing at the Bhikṣu's feet, with grateful mien, he wended homewards. . 1398
The Bhikṣus after having begged their food, likewise went back to the bamboo grove. Sāriputra on his arrival home, (rested) with joyful face and full of peace. . 1399
Spoke thus: 'As I now see thee, there is an unusual look I notice, your former nature seems quite changed, the signs of happiness I now observe, . 1401
'All indicate the possession of eternal truth, these marks are not uncaused.' Answering he said: The words of the Tathāgata are such as never yet were spoken;' . 1402
And then, requested, he declared (what he had heard). Hearing the words and understanding them, he too put off the world's defilement, and gained the eyes of true religion, . 1403
The reward of a long-planted virtuous cause; and, as one sees by a lamp that comes to hand, so he obtained an unmoved faith in Buddha; and now they both set out for Buddha's presence, . 1404
With a large crowd of followers, two hundred men and fifty. Buddha seeing the two worthies coming, spoke thus to his disciples: . 1405
'These two men who come shall be my two most eminent followers, one unsurpassed for wisdom, the other for powers miraculous;' . 1406
And then with Brahma's voice, profound and sweet, he forthwith bade them 'Welcome!' Here is the pure and peaceful law (he said); here the end of all discipleship! . 1407
The leaders two and all their followers, assuming the complete appearance of Bhikṣus, with prostrate forms fell down at Buddha's feet, then rising, sat beside him: . 1409
Celebrated and perfect in person, rich in possessions, and his wife most virtuous. But all this he had left and become a hermit, seeking the way of salvation. . 1411
Respectfully and reverently approaching, with head bowed down, he worshipped his feet, whilst he said: 'Truly, honoured one, you are my teacher, and I am your follower, . 1413
'Much and long time have I been harassed with doubts, oh! would that you would light the lamp (of knowledge).' Buddha knowing that this twice-(born) sage was heartily desirous of finding the best mode of escape, . 1414
With soft and pliant voice, he bade him come and welcome. Hearing his bidding and his heart complying, losing all listlessness of body or spirit, . 1415
His soul embraced the terms of this most excellent salvation. Quiet and calm, putting away defilement, the great merciful, as he alone knew how, briefly explained the mode of this deliverance, . 1416
His original faith was that 'body and soul are different,' but he had also held that they are the same, that there was both 'I' and a place for I; but now he for ever cast away his former faith, . 1418
And considered only (the truth) that 'sorrow' is ever accumulating; so (he argued) by removing sorrow there will be 'no remains' (i.e. no subject for suffering); obedience to the precepts and the practice of discipline, though not themselves the cause, yet he considered these the necessary mode by which to find deliverance. . 1419
With equal and impartial mind, he considered the nature of sorrow, for evermore freed from a cleaving heart. Whether we think 'this is,' or 'this is not' (he thought), both tend to produce a listless (idle) mode of life; . 1420
But when with equal mind we see the truth, then certainty is produced and no more doubt. If we rely for support on wealth or form, then wild confusion and concupiscence result, . 1421
Inconstant and impure. But lust and covetous desire removed, the heart of love and equal thoughts produced, there can be then no enemies or friends (variance), . 1422
But the heart is pitiful and kindly disposed to all, and thus is destroyed the power of anger and of hate. Trusting to outward things and their relationships, then crowding thoughts of every kind are gendered; . 1423
Reflecting well, and crushing out confusing thought, then lust for pleasure is destroyed. Though born in the Arūpa world (he saw) that there would be a remnant of life still left; . 1424
Unacquainted with the four right truths, he had felt an eager longing for this deliverance, for the quiet resulting from the absence of all thought. And now putting away for ever covetous desire for such a formless state of being, . 1425
His restless heart was agitated still, as the stream is excited by the rude wind. Then entering on deep reflection in quiet he subdued his troubled mind, . 1426
And realised the truth of there being no 'self,' and that therefore birth and death are no realities; but beyond this point he rose not, his thought of 'self' destroyed, all else was lost. . 1427
But now the lamp of wisdom lit, the gloom of every doubt dispersed, he saw an end to that which seemed without an end; ignorance finally dispelled, . 1428
He considered the ten points of excellence; the ten seeds of sorrow destroyed, he came once more to life, and what he ought to do, he did. And now regarding with reverence the face of his lord, . 1429
Waiting upon the three and five, so the three wait on Buddha. . 1431
Footnotes and references:
This garden, called the Karaṇḍa Veṇuvana, was a favourite residence of Buddha. For an account of it, see Spence Hardy, Manual of Buddhism, p. 194. It was situated between the old city of Rājagṛha and the new city, about three hundred yards to the north of the former (see Fă-lien, chap. xxx, Beal's translation, p. 117 and note 2).
I have translated Ku’an 'to rest awhile,' it might be supposed to refer to the rest of the rainy season. But it is doubtful whether this ordinance was instituted so early.
All living things.
To establish and settle the brightness of the lamp of wisdom.
To establish the settlement of sages and saints.
He is sometimes called Daśabala Kāśyapa (Eitel, Handbook, p. 158 b).
In the Pāli account of this incident Aśvajit alone is represented as begging his food; but here Aśvajit and Vāṣpa are joined according to the later rule (as it would seem) which forbad one mendicant to proceed alone through a town. (Compare Sacred Books of the East, vol. xiii, p. 344.)
For the Southern version of this famous stanza, see Sacred Books of the East, vol. xiii, p. 146; also Manual of Buddhism, p. 196. For a similar account from the Chinese, see Wong Puh, § 77.
The 'dust troubles' are the troubles caused by objects of sense, as numerous as motes in a sunbeam.
'Look upon the world as void, O Mogharājan, being always thoughtful; having destroyed the view of oneself-(as really existing), so one may overcome death; the king of death will not see him who thus regards the world,' Sutta Nipāta, Fausböll, p. 208.
'Then the paribbājaka Sāriputta went to the place where the paribbājaka Moggallāna was,' Sacred Books of the East, vol. xiii, p. 147.
The two 'bhadras,' i.e. 'sages,' or 'virtuous ones.'
Or, with 'Brahma-voice' (Brahmaghoṣa), for which, see Childers sub voce.
This triple (three-wonderful) staff is, I suppose, a mark of a Brahman student.
Twisted hair holding the pitcher; this may also refer to some custom among the Brahmans. Or the line may be rendered, 'their hair twisted and holding their pitchers.'
This sudden transformation from the garb and appearance of laymen into shorn and vested Bhikṣus, is one often recounted in Buddhist stories.
Or, sat on one side (ekamantam).
This expression, which might also be rendered 'two religious leaders' (’rh sse), may also, by supplying the word 'sing,' be translated a 'twice-born sage,' i.e. a Brahman; and this appears more apposite with what follows, and therefore I have adopted it. The Brahman alluded to would then be called Kāśyapa Agnidatta. The story of Eggidatta is given by Bigandet (Legend, p. 180, first edition), but there is nothing said about his name Kāśyapa. Eitel (Handbook, sub voce Mahākāśyapa) gives an explanation of the name Kāśyapa,' he who swallowed light;' but the literal translation of the words in our text is, 'Kāśyapa giving in charity a bright lamp.'
This 'many children' tower is perhaps the one at Vaiśālī alluded to by Fă-hien, chap. xxv.
Here the phrase 'teng ming,' light of the lamp, seems to be a play on the name 'ming teng,' bright lamp. The method and way in which a disciple (saddhivihārika) chooses a master (upajjhāya) is explained, Sacred Books of the East, vol. xiii, p. 154.
Literally, '(had) a heart rejoicing in the most complete method of salvation (mokṣa).'
Or, 'the mode of salvation explained by the most excellent (Buddha).'
'the place of.'
The three poisons, lust, hatred, ignorance.
The three treasures (triratna), Buddha, the law, the community.
The three disciples, as it seems, were Śāriputra, Maudgalyāyana, and Agnidatta (Kāśyapa).
In addition to the three brothers (the Kāśyapas).
The allusion here is obscure; there may be a misprint in the text.