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...
At this time there was a great householder whose name was 'Friend of the Orphan and Destitute;' he was very rich and of unbounded means, and widely charitable in helping the poor and needy. . 1432
Tathāgata, well aware of his character, and that he was prepared to bring forth purity and faith, according to the case, called him by his true (name), and for his sake addressed him in words of religion: . 1435
'Hearing now the name of Buddha, you rejoiced because you are a vessel fit for righteousness, humble in mind, but large in gracious deeds, abundant in your charity to the poor and helpless— 1438
'The name you possess wide spread and famous, (this is) the just reward (fruit) of former merit. The deeds you now perform are done of charity, done with the fullest purpose and of single heart. . 1439
'Now, therefore, take from me the charity of perfect rest (Nirvāṇa), and for this end accept my rules of purity. My rules are full of grace, able to rescue from destruction (evil ways of birth), . 1440
'And cause a man to ascend to heaven and share in all its pleasures. But yet to seek for these (pleasures) is a great evil, for lustful longing in its increase brings much sorrow. . 1441
Practise then the art of "giving up" all search, for "giving up" desire is the joy of perfect rest (Nirvāṇa). Know then! that age, disease, and death, these are the great sorrows of the world. . 1442
'Rightly considering the world, we put away birth and old age, disease and death; (but now) because we see that men at large inherit sorrow caused by age, disease, and death, . 1443
'(We gather that) when born in heaven, the case is also thus; for there is no continuance there for any, and where there is no continuance there is sorrow, and having sorrow there is no "true self." . 1444
'And if the state of "no continuance" and of sorrow is opposed to "self," what room is there for such idea or ground for "self?" Know then! that "sorrow" is this very sorrow (viz. of knowledge), and its repetition is "accumulation;" . 1445
'All is empty! neither "self," nor place for "self," but all the world is like a phantasy; this is the way to regard ourselves, as but a heap of composite qualities (saṃskāra).' . 1449
For he who does not banish sorrow-causing saṃskāras does but involve himself in every kind of question; and though he reaches to the highest form of being, yet grasps not the one and only truth; . 1452
Erroneous thoughts as to the joy of heaven are still entwined by the fast cords of lust. The nobleman attending to the spoken law the cloud of darkness opened before the shining splendour; . 1453
Thus he attained true sight, erroneous views for ever dissipated; even as the furious winds of autumn sway to and fro and scatter all the heaped-up clouds. . 1454
'If the world was made by Īśvara deva, there should be neither young nor old, first nor after, nor the five ways of birth (transmigration); and when once born there should be no destruction. . 1456
'Nor should there be such thing as sorrow or calamity, nor doing wrong nor doing right; for all, both pure and impure deeds, these must come from Īśvara deva. . 1457
'Again, if Īśvara deva made the world there should be never question (doubt) about the fact, even as a son born of his father ever confesses him and pays him reverence. . 1458
'Men when pressed by sore calamity ought not (if Īśvara be creator) to rebel against him, but rather reverence him completely, as the self-existent. Nor ought they to adore more gods than one (other spirits). . 1459
'Again, if Īśvara be the maker he should not be called the self-existent, because in that he is the maker now he always, should have been the maker (ever making). . 1460
'But if ever making, then ever self-remembering, and therefore not the self-existent one. And if he made without a mind (purpose) then is he like the sucking child; . 1461
'But if he made having an (ever prompting) purpose, then is he not, with such a purpose, self-existent. Sorrow and joy spring up in all that lives, these at least are not the works of Īśvara; . 1462
'For if he causes grief and joy, he must himself have love (preference) and hate; but if he loves unduly, or has hatred, he cannot properly be named the self-existent. . 1463
'Again, if Īśvara be the maker, all living things should silently submit, patient beneath the maker's power, and then what use to practise virtue? . 1464
'’Twere equal, then, the doing right or wrong, there should be no reward of works; the works themselves being his making, then all things are the same with him, the maker. . 1465
'But if all things are one with him, then our deeds, and we who do them, are also self-existent. But if Īśvara be uncreated, then all things (being one with him) are uncreated. . 1466
'But if you say there is another cause beside him as creator, then Īśvara is not the "end of all" (Īśvara, who ought to be inexhaustible, is not so), and therefore all that lives may after all be uncreated (without a maker). . 1467
'That which depends on nothing cannot as a cause make that which is; but all things round us come from a cause, as the plant comes from the seed; . 1470
'We cannot therefore say that all things are produced by self-nature. Again, all things which exist (are made) spring not from one (nature) as a cause; . 1471
'And yet you say self-nature is but one, it cannot then be cause of all. If you say that that self-nature pervades and fills all places, . 1472
'If it pervades and fills all things, then certainly it cannot make them too; for there would be nothing, then, to make, and therefore this cannot be the cause. . 1473
If, again, it fills all places and yet makes all things that exist, then it should throughout "all time" have made for ever that which is, . 1474
But if you say it made things thus, then there is nothing to be made "in time;" know then for certain self-nature cannot be the cause of all. . 1475
'But we see, in fact, that all things in the world are fettered throughout by guṇas, therefore, again, we say that self-nature cannot be the cause of all. . 1477
'If, again, you say that that self-nature is different from such qualities (guṇas), (we answer), since self-nature must have ever caused, it cannot differ in its nature (from itself); . 1478
'But if the world (all living things) be different from these qualities (guṇas), then self-nature cannot be the cause. Again, if self-nature be unchangeable, so things should also be without decay; . 1479
'If we regard self-nature as the cause, then cause and consequence of reason should be one; but because we see decay in all things, we know that they at least are caused. . 1480
'Again, if self-nature be the cause, why should we seek to find "escape?" for we ourselves possess this nature; patient then should we endure both birth and death. . 1481
'For let us take the case that one may find "escape," self-nature still will re-construct the evil of birth. If self-nature in itself be blind, yet ’tis the maker of the world that sees. . 1482
'On this account again it cannot be the maker, because, in this case, cause and effect would differ in their character, but-in all the world around us, cause and effect go hand in hand. . 1483
'Again, if self-nature have no purpose (aim), it cannot cause that which has such purpose. We know on seeing smoke there must be fire, and cause and result are ever classed together thus. . 1484
'We are forbidden, then, to say an unthinking cause can make a thing that has intelligence. The gold of which the cup is made is gold throughout from first to last. . 1485
'Self-nature then that makes these things from first to last must permeate all it makes. Once more, if "time" is maker of the world, ’twere needless then to seek "escape," . 1486
'For "time" is constant and unchangeable, let us in patience bear the "intervals" of time. The world in its successions has no limits, the "intervals" of time are boundless also. . 1487
'Although it has so many theories (utterings), yet still, be it known, it is opposed to any single cause. But if, again, you say that "self" is maker, then surely self should make things pleasingly, . 1489
'But now things are not pleasing for oneself, how then is it said that self is maker? But if he did not wish to make things so, then he who wishes for things pleasing, is opposed to self, the maker. . 1490
'But yet our deeds produce results both good and evil, know then that "self" cannot be maker. But perhaps you say "self" is the maker according to occasion (time), and then the occasion ought to be for good alone; . 1492
'But as good and evil both result from "cause," it cannot be that "self" has made it so. But if you adopt the argument—there is no maker—then it is useless practising expedients; . 1493
'All things are fixed and certain of themselves, what good to try to make them otherwise? Deeds of every kind, done in the world, do, notwithstanding, bring forth every kind of fruit; . 1494
'Therefore we argue all things that exist are not without some cause or other. There is both "mind" and "want of mind," all things come from fixed causation; . 1495
'The world and all therein is not the result of "nothing" as a cause.' The nobleman (householder), his heart receiving light, perceived throughout the most excellent system of truth, . 1496
Simple, and of wisdom born; thus firmly settled in the true doctrine he lowly bent in worship at the feet of Buddha and with closed hands made his request: . 1497
'His high renown and fame spread everywhere, reverenced by all both far and near. Now am I wishful there to found a Vihāra, I pray you of your tenderness accept it from me. . 1499
'I know the heart of Buddha has no preferences, nor does he seek a resting-place from labour, but on behalf of all that lives refuse not my request.' . 1500
Buddha, knowing the householder's heart, that his great charity was now the moving cause, untainted and unselfish charity, nobly considerate of the heart of all that lives . 1501
(He said), 'Now you have seen the true doctrine, your guileless heart loves to exercise its charity, for wealth and money are inconstant treasures, ’twere better quickly to bestow such things on others. . 1502
'For when a treasury has been burnt, whatever precious things may have escaped the fire, the wise man, knowing their inconstancy, gives freely, doing acts of kindness with his saved possessions. . 1503
'But the niggard guards them carefully, fearing to lose them, worn by anxiety, but never fearing (worst of all!) "inconstancy," and that accumulated sorrow, when he loses all! . 1504
'There is a proper time and a proper mode in charity, just as the vigorous warrior goes to battle, so is the man "able to give," he also is an able warrior; a champion strong and wise in action. . 1505
'The charitable man is loved by all, well-known and far-renowned! his friendship prized by the gentle and the good, in death his heart at rest and full of joy! . 1506
'He suffers no repentance, no tormenting fear, nor is he born a wretched ghost or demon! this is the opening flower of his reward, the fruit that follows—hard to conjecture! . 1507
'In all the six conditions born there is no sweet companion like pure charity; if born a Deva or a man, then charity brings worship and renown on every hand; . 1508
'If born among the lower creatures (beasts), the result of charity will follow in contentment got; wisdom leads the way to fixed composure without dependence and without number. . 1509
'And if we even reach the immortal path, still by continuous acts of charity we fulfil ourselves in consequence of kindly charity done elsewhere. Training ourselves in the eightfold path of recollection, . 1510
'In every thought the heart is filled with joy, firm fixed in holy contemplation (samādhi), by meditation still we add to wisdom, able to see aright (the cause of) birth and death; . 1511
'Having beheld aright the cause of these, then follows in due order perfect deliverance. The charitable man discarding earthly wealth, nobly excludes the power of covetous desire; . 1512
'Loving and compassionate now, he gives with reverence and banishes all hatred, envy, anger. So plainly may we see the fruit of charity, putting away all covetous and unbelieving ways, . 1513
'The bands of sorrow all destroyed, this is the fruit of kindly charity. Know then! the charitable man has found the cause of final rescue; . 1514
'Even as the man who plants the sapling, thereby secures the shade, the flowers, the fruit (of the tree full grown); the result of charity is even so, its reward is joy and, the great Nirvāṇa. . 1515
'The charity which unstores wealth leads to returns of well-stored fruit. Giving away our food we get more strength, giving away our clothes we get more beauty, . 1516
'Founding religious rest-places (pure abodes) we reap the perfect fruit of the best charity. There is a way of giving, seeking pleasure by it; there is a way of giving, coveting to get more; . 1517
'Some also give away to get a name for charity, others to get the happiness of heaven, others to avoid the pain of being poor (hereafter), but yours, O friend! is a charity without such thoughts, . 1518
'The highest and the best degree of charity without self-interest or thought of getting more. What your heart inclines you now to do, let it be quickly done and well completed! . 1519
'The uncertain and the lustful heart goes wandering here and there, but the pure eyes (of virtue) Opening, the heart comes back and rests!' The nobleman accepting Buddha's teaching, his kindly heart receiving yet more light, . 1520
He saw the garden of the heir-apparent, Jeta, the groves and limpid streams most pure. Proceeding where the prince was dwelling, he asked for leave to buy the ground; . 1522
The prince, because he valued it so much, at first was not inclined to sell, but said at last: 'If you can cover it with gold then, but not else, you may possess it.' . 1523
The nobleman, his heart rejoicing, forthwith began to spread his gold. Then Jeta said: 'I will not give, why then spread you your gold?' . 1524
The nobleman replied, 'Not give; why then said you, "Fill it with yellow gold?"' And thus they differed and contended both, till they resorted to the magistrate. . 1525
Meanwhile the people whispered much about his unwonted (charity), and Jeta too, knowing the man's sincerity, asked more about the matter: what his reasons were. On his reply, 'I wish to found a Vihāra, . 1526
'And offer it to the Tathāgata and all his Bhikṣu followers,' the prince, hearing the name of Buddha, received at once illumination, . 1527
And only took one half the gold, desiring to share in the foundation: 'Yours is the land (he said), but mine the trees; these will I give to Buddha as my share in the offering.' . 1528
Then the noble took the land, Jeta the trees, and settled both in trust on Śāriputra. Then they began to build the hall, labouring night and day to finish it; . 1529
Lofty it rose and choicely decorated, as one of the four kings' palaces, in just proportions, following the directions which Buddha had declared the right ones; . 1530
Never yet so great a miracle as this! the priests shone in the streets of Śrāvastī! Tathāgata, seeing the divine shelter, with all his holy ones resorted to the place to rest; . 1531
No followers there to bow in prostrate service, his followers rich in wisdom only. The nobleman reaping his reward, at the end of life ascended up to heaven, . 1532
Leaving to sons and grandsons a good foundation, through successive generations, to plough the field of merit. . 1533
Footnotes and references:
Literally, 'he converts,' &c.
This is the Chinese explanation of the name of Anāthapiṇḍada (or Anāthapiṇḍika), 'the protector or supporter of the destitute.' He is otherwise called Sudatta (see Jul. II, 294).
The Chinese is simply 'ta cang cé,' but this is evidently the equivalent of 'Mahā-seṭṭhi,' a term applied emphatically to Anāthapiṇḍada (see Rhys Davids, Sacred Books of the East, vol. xiii, p. 202, note 2). Where I have translated it 'nobleman,' the word 'treasurer' might be substituted; the term 'elder' cannot be allowed. Yasa the son of a seṭṭhi is called by Rh. D. a 'noble youth' (op. cit., p. 102, § 7).
That is, Uttara Kośala (Northern Kośala), the capital of which was Śrāvastī.
Rhys Davids gives the name of one of the rich merchant's daughters, Cūla-Subhaddā (Birth Stories, p. 130; perhaps his friend at Rājagṛha was called Sūla or Kūla (see also Manual of Buddhism, p. 219).
The statements that he came 'by night,' and that Buddha called him by his name--or, as the Chinese might be translated, called him 'true' (? guileless)--appear as though borrowed from the Gospel narrative. Nicodemus was rich, and Nathaniel (Bartholomew) preached in India (Euseb. Lib. v. cap. 10). He is said to have carried the Gospel of St. Matthew there, where it was discovered by Pantaenus.
That is, that he was ripe for conversion.
The name by which he was called, according to Spence Hardy (Manual of Buddhism, p. 217), was Sudatta.
That is, 'because' you have rejoiced. The 'true law' is the same as 'religious truth.'
Literally, 'pure and truthful of heart, with meekness thirsting (after knowledge).'
The meaning is, as we have now met for the first time, I will explain my doctrine (preach) in a formal (polite) way.
That is, your merit in former births has caused you to reap a reward in your present condition.
The construction here is difficult. There seems to be a play on the word 'shi,' religious charity; the sense is, that as Anāthapiṇḍada was remarkable for his liberality now, he should be liberally rewarded by gaining a knowledge of salvation (Nirvāṇa).
Instead of 'my rules,' it would be better to understand the word in an indefinite sense as 'rules of morality' (śīla).
'Giving up,' that is, putting away all desire and giving up 'self,' even in relation to future reward; compare the hymn of S. Francis Xavier,
This definition of Nirvāṇa, as a condition of perfect rest resulting from 'giving up' desire, is in agreement with the remarks of Mr. Rhys Davids and others, who describe Nirvāṇa as resulting from the absence of a 'grasping' disposition.
It would seem, from the context, that the word 'ci' (know), in this line, is a mistake for 'sing,' birth.
The argument is, that there can be no personal self, in other words, no 'soul,' where there is no continuance, or power of independent existence. This is one of the principles of Buddhism, viz. that what has had a beginning must come to an end; the 'soul,' therefore, as it began with the birth of the individual, must die (and as the Buddhists said) with the individual. If we put this into modern phraseology, it will be something like this, 'the very nature of phenomena demonstrates that they must have had a beginning, and that they must have an end' (Huxley, Lay Sermons, p. 17).
The sorrow of 'accumulation' is the second of the 'four truths' (according to Northern accounts).
'Destruction' is the third great truth.
The 'way' is the fourth truth.
The sentiment here enunciated is repeated, under various forms, in Dhammapada; the first paragraph in the Sūtra of Forty-two Sections, also, exhibits the same truth.
Sammata or Sammati seems to be the same as Samatha in Pāli (concerning which, see Childers, Pāli Dict. sub voce). The Chinese expression 'yih sin' (one heart) is generally equivalent to 'sammata,' ecstatic union. It cannot here be rendered by samādhi.
The place of 'sweet dew' (amṛta).
That is, of a Srotāpanna. Spence Hardy, in his Manual of Buddhism, p. 218, also says that Anāthapiṇḍada entered the first path after hearing the sermon; but in his account the sermon consisted of two stanzas only, 'He who is free from evil desire attains the highest estate and is always in prosperity. He who cuts off demerit, who subdues the mind and attains a state of perfect equanimity, secures Nirvāṇa; this is his prosperity.' In this account the idea of 'prosperity' is the same as the 'charity of Nirvāṇa' in our version.
This appears to allude to the circumstance that at the dedication of the Vihāra Anāthapiṇḍada arrived at the third degree of holiness, after which there was but one birth (drop) more to experience before reaching Nirvāṇa (Manual of Buddhism, p. 220).
These lines appear to be by way of reflection.
'Lust' in the sense of 'appetite.'
Here follows a long dissertation on the subject of the 'maker' of the world. The theories refuted are (1) that Īśvara is maker, (2) that self-nature is the cause, (3) that time is the maker, (4) that self (in the sense of 'universal self') is the cause, (5) that there is no cause.
Here I begin with inverted commas, as if the discourse were either spoken by Buddha or interpolated by Aśvaghoṣa.
In the sense of 'existing in himself' or independently. How entirely Northern Buddhism changed its character shortly after Aśvaghoṣa's time, is evident from the fact that Avalokites.vara, 'the god who looks down' (in the sense of protector), became an object of almost universal worship, and was afterwards regarded as the creating god.
That is, ever 'purposing' to make, and so not complete in himself.
'This question, "unde malum et quare,"' was the question that of old met the thoughtful at every turn. And it has always done so. Many of the arguments used in the text may be found in works treating on the subject of 'evil' and its origin.
So the passage must be translated; but if so, it would appear, as before stated, that this discourse on the 'maker' is introduced here parenthetically by Aśvaghoṣa, not as spoken by Buddha. No doubt the theories and their confutations were such as prevailed in his day.
By self-nature, or, original nature, is evidently meant 'svabhāva.' The theory of such a cause had evidently gained ground at this time in the North, although it seems unknown amongst Southern Buddhists. Nāgasena wrote a Śāstra ('of one śloka') to disprove it.
The usual Chinese expression for 'hetuvidyā' is 'in ming;' here the phrase is 'ming in;' but I suppose this to be either an error, or equivalent with the other. The Hetuvidyā sāstra is a treatise on the 'explanation of causes.'
The argument seems to be that self-nature must have made all things from the first as they are; there is no room therefore for further creation, but things are still made, therefore self-nature cannot be the cause.
That is, that it is nirguṇa, devoid of qualities.
"No purpose'--no heart; if we take the two powers of soul (according to the scholastic method) to be a 'vis cognitiva' and a 'vis effectiva,' the expression in the text appears to correspond with the latter.
I do not know any other way of restoring these symbols than the one I have used. But what is the Tripuna guṇa sāstra?
'Self' in the sense of a 'universal cause' co-extensive with the things made.
There should not be works producing birth in one of the evil ways.
I do not understand the point here; literally the passage is 'saying self according to time makes'--the Chinese 'ts’ui ski' means 'whenever convenient,' or 'at a good time;' so that the passage may mean 'but if you say that self creates only when so prompted by itself.'
That is, using means for salvation or escape from sorrow.
Here the narrative seems to take up the thread dropped at v. 1451.
She-po-ti; evidently a Pāli or Prākrit form of the Sanskrit Śrāvastī. The Chinese explanation of this name is (as found in the next line) a 'country of abundance.' It has been identified by General Cunningham with Sāhet Māhet.
Po-sze-nih, i.e. Prasenajit (victorious army). With respect to this king, we know from Hiouen Thsang (Jul. II, 317) that he did not belong to the Śākya race, but he became a convert to Buddhism. His son Virūdhaka massacred a number of the Śākyas, 'and the ground was covered with their dead bodies as with pieces of straw' (Jul. II, 317). The king is here described as belonging to the Siṃha race; probably he was a Scyth, of the same family as the Vajjis, one tribe of whom was called the 'lion' tribe.
'Inconstancy,' or 'death.'
This is a singular expression, implying that the character of a good man's final condition is difficult to describe: 'it has not entered the heart.'
These two lines appear to be irrelevant; nor do I understand the last phrase 'without number,' in its connection with the context.
The eight recollections (nim); doubtless these are the eight 'samāpattis' (attainments or endowments), concerning which we may consult Childers' Pāli Dict., sub 'samāpatti.'
That is, which does not store up wealth, but unstores it to give away. There seems to be here a tacit allusion to Sudatta's wealth, which he unstored and gave in charity by purchasing the garden of Jeta.
That is, Vihāras.
These two lines are probably proverbial, something of this kind, 'the uncertain, amorous mind is profligate (wandering), the enlightened man comes to himself.'
Upatissa is the same as Śāriputra. Hiouen Thsang (Jul. II, 296) says that Buddha sent Śāriputra with Sudatta, to advise and counsel him.
The famous contract between Sudatta and Jeta, the heir-apparent, is well known, and may be read in all the translations of the lives of Buddha. There is a representation of the proceeding in plate lvii (Bharhut Stūpa). I may observe here that the figure immediately in front (by the side of Jeta, the prince, who is apparently giving away the trees, whilst Sudatta below him is giving the land), whistling with thumb and forefinger, and waving the robe, is typical of a number of others in these sculptures similarly engaged (see ej. plate xiii [outer face]).
Or, the unwonted circumstance; or, the 'unusual' character of Sudatta.
The expression 'to rest' may also mean 'to observe the rainy season rest,' if the ordinance of Wass had been enacted at this time.