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 Brahmacārin whose name was Su-po-to-lo (Subhadra); he was well known for his virtuous qualities (bhadra), leading a pure life according to the rules of morality, and protecting all living things. . 1984
'I hear that the system of Tathāgata is of a singular character and very profound (difficult to fathom), and that he (has reached) the highest wisdom (anuttarā(sam)bodhi) in the world, the first of all horse-tamers. . 1986
'(I hear moreover) that he is now about to die (reach Nirvāṇa), it will be difficult indeed to meet with him again, and difficult to see those who have seen him with difficulty, even as it is to catch in a mirror the reflection of the moon. . 1987
'I now desire respectfully to see him the greatest and most virtuous guide (of men), because I seek to escape this mass of sorrow (accumulated sorrow) and reach the other shore of birth and death, . 1988
'The sun of Buddha now about to quench its rays, O! let me for a moment gaze upon him.' The feelings of Ānanda now were much affected, thinking that this request was made with a view to controversy, . 1989
Or that he (i.e. Subhadra) felt an inward joy because the lord was on the eve of death. He was not willing therefore to permit the interview with Buddha (the Buddha-sight). Buddha, knowing the man's (that one's) earnest desire and that he was a vessel fit for true religion (right doctrine), . 1990
Therefore addressed Ānanda thus: 'Permit that heretic to advance; I was born to save mankind, make no hindrance therefore or excuse!' . 1991
Subhadra, hearing this, was overjoyed at heart, and his religious feelings (his feelings of joy in religion) were much enlarged, as with increased reverence he advanced to Buddha's presence. . 1992
Then, as the occasion required, he spoke becoming words and with politeness made his salutation, his features pleasing and with hands conjoined (he said): 'Now I desire to ask somewhat from thee; . 1993
'The world has many teachers of religion (those who know the law) as I am myself; but I hear that Buddha has attained a way which is the end of all, complete emancipation. . 1994
'O that you would, on my account, briefly explain (your method), moisten my empty, thirsty soul (heart)! not with a view to controversy or from a desire to gain the mastery (but with sincerity I ask you so to do).' . 1995
Then Buddha, for the Brahmacārin's sake, in brief recounted the eight 'right ways' (noble paths)—on hearing which, his empty soul (meek heart) accepted it, as one deceived accepts direction in the right road. 1996}
Perceiving now, he knew that what he had before perceived was not the final way (of salvation), but now he felt he had attained what he had not before attained, and so he gave up and forsook his books of heresy. . 1997
Moreover, now he rejected (turned his back) on the gloomy hindrances of doubt (moha), reflecting how by his former practices, mixed up with anger, hate, and ignorance, he had long cherished no real (good) joy. . 1998
For if (he argued) the ways of lust and hate and ignorance are able to produce a virtuous karman (good works), then 'hearing much' and 'persevering wisdom' (or, wisdom and perseverance (vīrya)) these, too, are born from lust, (which cannot be.) . 1999
But if a man is able to cut down hate and ignorance, then also he puts off all consequences of works (karman), and these being finally destroyed, this is complete emancipation. . 2000
Those thus freed from works are likewise freed from subtle questionings (investigation of subtle principles), (such as) what the world says 'that all things, everywhere, possess a self-nature.' . 2001
But if this be the case and therefore lust, hate, and ignorance possess a self-implanted nature, then this nature must inhere in them; what then means the word 'deliverance?' . 2002
For even if we rightly cause the overthrow (destruction) of hate and ignorance, yet if lust (love) remains, then there is a return of birth; even as water, cold in its nature, may by fire be heated, . 2003
But when the fire goes out then it becomes cold again, because this is its constant nature; so (we may) ever know that the nature which lust has is permanent [or, 'endurance, we may know, is the nature of lust'], and neither hearing, wisdom, or perseverance can alter it. . 2004
Neither capable of increase or diminution, how can there be deliverance? I held aforetime (thus he thought) that (those things capable of) birth and death resulted thus, from their own innate nature; . 2005
But now I see that such a belief excludes deliverance; for what is (born) by nature must endure so, what end can such things have? . 2006
Just as a burning lamp cannot but give its light; the way (doctrine) of Buddha is the only true one, that lust, as the root-cause, brings forth the things that live (the world); . 2007
Destroy this lust (love) then there is Nirvāṇa (quiet extinction); the cause destroyed then the fruit is not produced. I formerly maintained that 'I' (self) was a distinct entity (body), not seeing that it has no maker. . 2008
But now I hear the right doctrine preached by Buddha, there is no 'self' (personal self) in all the world, for all things are produced by cause, and therefore there is no creator (Īśvara). . 2009
If then sorrow is produced by cause (or, if then cause producing things, there is sorrow), the cause may likewise be destroyed; for if the world is cause-produced, then is the view correct, that by destruction of the cause, there is an end. . 2010
The cause destroyed, the world brought to an end, there is no room for such a thought as permanence, and therefore all my former views (he said) are 'done away,' and so he deeply 'saw' the true doctrine taught by Buddha. . 2011
Because of seeds well sown in former times, he was enabled thus to understand the law on hearing it; thus he reached the good and perfect state of quietness, the peaceful, never-ending place (of rest). . 2012
His heart expanding to receive the truth, he gazed with earnest look on Buddha as he slept, nor could he bear to see Tathāgata depart and die (leave the world and attain Nirvāṇa); . 2013
'Ere yet,' he said, 'Buddha shall reach the term (of life) I will myself first leave the world (become extinct);' and then with hands close joined, retiring from the holy form (face or features), he took his seat apart, and sat composed and firm. . 2014
Then giving up his life (years), he reached Nirvāṇa, as when the rain puts out a little fire. Then Buddha spake to all his followers (Bhikṣus): 'This my very last disciple . 2015
'Has now attained Nirvāṇa, cherish him (his remains) properly.' Then Buddha the first night (watch) passed, the moon bright shining and all the stars clear in their lustre, . 2016
The quiet grove without a sound, moved by his great compassionate heart, declared to his disciples this his bequeathed precepts (his testamentary rules). 'After my Nirvāṇa, . 2017
'Ye ought to reverence and obey the Pratimokṣa, (receive it) as your master, a shining lamp in the dark night, . 2018
'Or as a great jewel (treasured by) a poor man. The injunctions I have ever given, these you ought to obey and follow carefully, and treat in no way different from myself. . 2019
'Keep pure your body, words, and conduct, put from you all concerns of daily life (business), lands, houses, cattle, storing wealth or hoarding grain. . 2020
'All these should be avoided as we avoid a fiery pit; (so also) sowing the land, cutting down shrubs, healing of wounds or the practice of medicine, . 2021
'Star-gazing and astrology, forecasting lucky or unfortunate events by signs (palm signs), prognosticating good or evil, all these are things forbidden. . 2022
'Keeping the body temperate, eat at proper times; receive no mission as a go-between; compound no philteries; abhor dissimulation; . 2023
'Follow right doctrine, and be kind to all that lives; receive in moderation what is given; receive but hoard not up; these are, in brief, my spoken precepts. . 2024
'These form the groundwork of my rules, these also are the ground of full emancipation. Enabled thus to live (relying on this law, able to live) this is rightly to receive all (other things). . 2025
'This is true wisdom which embraces all, this is the way (cause) to attain the end; this code of rules, therefore, ye should hold and keep, and never let it slip or be destroyed. . 2026
'For when pure rules of conduct are observed (not broken), then there is true religion; without these, virtue languishes; found yourselves therefore well on these my precepts (moral rules); . 2027
'Grounded thus in rules of purity, the springs of feeling (animal feeling) will be well controlled, even as the well-instructed cowherd guides well his cattle (permits them neither to loiter nor hurry on). . 2028
'Ill-governed feelings (senses), like the horse, run wild through all the six domains of sense, bringing upon us in the present world unhappiness, and in the next, birth in an evil way. . 2029
'So, like the horse ill-broken, these land us in the ditch; therefore the wise and prudent man will not allow his senses licence. . 2030
'For these senses (organs of sense) are, indeed, our greatest foes, causes of misery; for men enamoured thus by sensuous things cause all their miseries to recur. . 2031
'Destructive as a poisonous snake, or like a savage tiger, or like a raging fire, the greatest evil in the world, he who is wise, is freed from fear of these. . 2032
'But what he fears is only this—a light and trivial heart, which drags a man to future misery (evil way of birth) just for a little sip of pleasure not looking at the yawning gulf (before us); . 2033
'Like the wild elephant freed from the iron curb (aṅkusa), or like the ape that has regained the forest trees, such is the light and trivial heart;—the wise man should restrain and hold it therefore. . 2034
'Letting the heart go loose without restraint, that man shall not attain Nirvāṇa; therefore we ought to hold the heart in cheek, and go apart from men and seek a quiet resting-place (hermit's abode). . 2035
'Know when to eat and the right measure; and so with reference to the rules of clothing and of medicine; take care you do not by the food you take, encourage in yourselves a covetous or an angry mind. . 2036
'Eat your food to satisfy your hunger and (drink to satisfy) your thirst, as we repair an old or broken chariot, or like the butterfly that sips the flower destroying not its fragrance or its texture. . 2037
'For ’tis not well to calculate too closely the strength of the ox, lest by loading him (beyond his strength) you cause him injury. At morning, noon, and night, successively, store up good works. . 2039
'During the first and after watch at night be not overpowered by sleep, but in the middle watch, with heart composed, take sleep (and rest)—-be thoughtful towards the dawn of day. . 2040
'Sleep not the whole night through, making the body and the life relaxed and feeble; think! when the fire shall burn the body always, what length of sleep will then be possible? . 2041
'For when the hateful brood of sorrow rising through space, with all its attendant horrors, meeting the mind o’erwhelmed by sleep and death, shall seize its prey, who then shall waken it? . 2042
'The poisonous snake dwelling within a house can be enticed away by proper charms, so the black toad that dwells within his heart, the early waker disenchants and banishes. . 2043
'He who sleeps on heedlessly (without plan), this man has no modesty; but modesty is like a beauteous robe, or like the curb that guides the elephant. . 2044
'Modest behaviour keeps the heart composed, without it every virtuous root will die. Who has this modesty, the world applauds (calls him excellent); without it, he is but as any beast. . 2045
'If a man with a sharp sword should cut the (another's) body bit by bit (limb by limb), let not an angry thought, or of resentment, rise, and let the mouth speak no ill word. . 2046
'Your evil thoughts and evil words but hurt yourself and not another; nothing so full of victory as patience, though your body suffer the pain of mutilation. . 2047
'For recollect that he who has this patience cannot be overcome, his strength being so firm; therefore give not way to anger or evil words towards men in power. . 2048
'Anger and hate destroy the true law; and they destroy dignity and beauty of body; as when one dies we lose our name for beauty, so the fire of anger itself burns up the heart. . 2049
'Anger is foe to all religious merit, he who loves virtue let him not be passionate; the layman who is angry when oppressed by many sorrows is not wondered at, . 2050
'If indolence (an indolent mind) arises in your heart, then with your own hand smooth down your head, shave off your hair, and clad in sombre (dyed or stained) garments, in your hand holding the begging-pot, go ask for food; . 2052
'On every side the living perish, what room for indolence? the worldly man, relying on his substance or his family, indulging in indolence, is wrong; . 2053
'How much more the religious man, whose purpose is to seek the way of rescue, who encourages within an indolent mind; this surely is impossible! . 2054
'Crookedness and truth (straightness) are in their nature opposite and cannot dwell together more than frost and fire; for one who has become religious, and practises the way of straight behaviour, a false and crooked way of speech is not becoming. . 2055
'False and flattering speech is like the magician's art; but he who ponders on religion cannot speak falsely (wildly). To "covet much," brings sorrow; desiring little, there is rest and peace. . 2056
'To procure rest (peace of mind), there must be small desire—much more in case of those who seek deliverance (salvation). The niggard dreads the much-seeking man lest he should filch away his property (wealth and jewels), . 2057
'But he who loves to give has also fear, lest he should not possess enough to give; therefore we ought to encourage small desire, that we may have to give to him who wants, without such fear. . 2058
From this desiring-little-mind we find the way of true deliverance; desiring true deliverance (seeking salvation) we ought to practise knowing-enough (contentment). . 2059
'A contented mind is always joyful, but joy like this is but religion; the rich and poor alike, having contentment, enjoy perpetual rest. . 2060
The ill-contented man though he be born to heavenly joys, because he is not contented would ever have a mind burned up by the fire of sorrow. . 2061
'The rich, without contentment, endures the pain of poverty; though poor, if yet he be contented, then he is rich indeed! . 2062
'That ill-contented man, the bounds of the five desires extending further still, (becomes) insatiable in his requirements, (and so) through the long night (of life) gathers increasing sorrow. . 2063
'Without cessation thus he cherishes his careful (anxious) plans, whilst he who lives contented, freed from anxious thoughts about relationships (family concerns), his heart is ever peaceful and at rest. . 2064
'And so because he rests and is at peace within, the gods and men revere and do him service. Therefore we ought to put away all cares about relationship (the encumbrance of close or distant relationships). . 2065
'For like a solitary desert tree in which the birds and monkeys gather. so is it when we are cumbered much with family associations; through the long night we gather many sorrows. . 2066
'Many dependents (relationships) are like the many bands (that bind us), or like the old elephant that struggles in the mud. By diligent perseverance a man may get much profit; . 2067
'Therefore night and day men ought with ceaseless effort to exert themselves; the tiny streams that trickle down the mountain slopes (valleys) by always flowing eat away the rock. . 2068
'If we use not earnest diligence in drilling wood in wood for fire, we shall not obtain the spark, so ought we to be diligent and persevere, as the skilful master drills the wood for fire. . 2069
'A "virtuous friend" though he be gentle is not to be compared with right reflection (thought)—right thought kept well in the mind, no evil thing can ever enter there. . 2070
'Wherefore those who practise (a religious life) should always think about "the body" (their true condition—themselves); if thought upon oneself be absent, then all virtue (virtuous intentions or purposes) dies. . 2071
'For as the champion warrior relies for victory upon his armour's strength, so "right thought" is like a strong cuirass able to withstand the six sense-robbers (the robber-objects of the six senses). . 2072
'Right faith (samādhi) enwraps the enlightened heart, (so that a man) perceives the world throughout (is liable to) birth and death; therefore the religious man should practise "samādhi." . 2073
'Having found peace (quietness and peace) in samādhi, we put an end to all the mass of sorrows, wisdom then can enlighten us, and so we put away the rules by which we acquire (knowledge by the senses). . 2074
'By inward thought and right consideration following with gladness the directions of the "true law," this is the way in which both lay (men of the world) and men who have left their homes (religious men) should walk. . 2075
'Across the sea of birth and death, "wisdom" is the handy bark; "wisdom" is the shining lamp that lightens up the dark and gloomy (world). . 2076
'"Wisdom" is the grateful medicine for all the defiling ills [of life] (āśravas); "wisdom" is the axe wherewith to level all the tangled (prickly) forest trees of sorrow. . 2077
'"Wisdom" is the bridge that spans the rushing stream of ignorance and lust—therefore, in every way, by thought and right attention (listening), a man should diligently inure himself to engender "wisdom." . 2078
'Having acquired the threefold wisdom, then, though blind, the eye of wisdom sees throughout; but without wisdom the mind is poor and insincere (false); such things cannot suit (agree with) the man who has left his home. . 2079
'Wherefore let the enlightened man lay well to heart that false and fruitless (vain) things become him not, and let him strive with single mind for that pure (refined and excellent) joy which can be found alone in perfect rest and quietude (the place of rest and peace, i.e. Nirvāṇa). . 2080
'He who gives way to carelessness of mind must have his lot where the Asuras dwell. Thus have I done my task, my fitting task, (in setting forth the way of) quietude, the proof (work) of love. . 2082
'On your parts be diligent (earnest)! with virtuous purpose practise well these rules (works), in quiet solitude of desert hermitage nourish and cherish a still and peaceful heart. . 2083
'Exert yourselves to the utmost, give no place to remissness, for as in worldly matters when the considerate physician prescribes fit medicine for the disease he has detected, . 2084
'Should the sick man neglect to use it, this cannot be the physician's fault, so I have told you (now) the truth, and set before you this the one and level road (the road of plain duty). . 2085
'Hearing my words and not with care obeying them, this is not the fault of him who speaks; if there be anything not clearly understood in the principles of the "four truths," . 2086
'You now may ask me, freely; let not your inward thoughts be longer hid.' The lord in mercy thus instructing them, the whole assembly remained silent. . 2087
Then Anuruddha, observing that the great congregation continued silent and expressed no doubt, with closed hands thus spake to Buddha: . 2088
'The moon may be warm, the sun's rays be cool, the air be still, the earth's nature mobile; these four things, though yet unheard of its the world, (may happen); . 2089
'But this assembly never can have doubt about the principles of sorrow, accumulation, destruction, and the way (the four truths)—the incontrovertible truths, as declared by the lord. . 2090
But because the lord is going to die, we all have sorrow (are deeply affected); and we cannot raise our thoughts to the high theme of the lord's preaching. . 2091
'Perhaps some fresh disciple, whose feelings are yet not entirely freed (from other influences) [might doubt]; but we, who now have heard this tender, sorrowful discourse, have altogether freed ourselves from doubt. . 2092
'Passed the sea of birth and death, without desire, with nought ṭo seek, we only know how much we love, and, grieving, ask, why Buddha dies so quickly?' . 2093
Buddha regarding Anuruddha, perceiving how his words were full of bitterness (sorrow-laden), again with loving heart, appeasing him, replied: . 2094
'In the beginning things were fixed, in the end again they separate; different combinations cause other substances, for there is no uniform and constant principle (in nature). . 2095
'But when all mutual purposes be answered (what is for oneself and for another, be done), what then shall chaos and creation do! the gods and men alike that should be saved, shall all have been completely saved! . 2096
'Ye then! my followers, who know so well the perfect law, remember! the end must come (complete destruction of the universe must come); give not way again to sorrow! . 2097
'Use diligently the appointed means; aim to reach the home where separation cannot come; I have lit the lamp of wisdom, its rays alone can drive away the gloom that shrouds the world. . 2098
'The world is not for ever fixed! Ye should rejoice therefore! as when a friend, afflicted grievously, his sickness healed, escapes from pain. . 2099
'For I have put away this painful vessel (my painful body), I have stemmed the flowing sea (sea current) of birth and death, free for ever now, from pain (the mass of sorrow)! for this you should exult with joy! . 2100
'Now guard yourselves aright, let there be no remissness! that which exists will all return to nothingness! and now I die. . 2101
'From this time forth my words are done, this is my very last instruction.' Then entering the Samādhi of the first Dhyāna, he went successively through all the nine in a direct order; . 2102
Then inversely he returned throughout and entered on the first, and then from the first he raised himself and entered on the fourth. . 2103
Leaving the state of Samādhi, his soul without a resting-place (a house to lodge in), forthwith he reached Nirvāṇa. And then, as Buddha died, the great earth quaked throughout. . 2104
In space, on every hand, was fire like rain (it rained fire) [or, possibly, 'there was rain and fire'], no fuel, self-consuming. And so from out the earth great flames arose on every side (the eight points of the earth), . 2105
Thus up to the heavenly mansions flames burst forth; the crash of thunder shook the heavens and earth, rolling along the mountains and the valleys, . 2106
Even as when the Devas and Asuras fight with sound of drums and mutual conflict. A wind tempestuous from the four bounds of earth arose-whilst from the crags and hills, dust and ashes fell like rain. . 2107
The sun and moon withdrew their shining; the peaceful streams on every side were torrent-swollen; the sturdy forests shook like aspen leaves, whilst flowers and leaves untimely fell around, like scattered rain. . 2108
The pure Devas came to earth from heaven, halting mid-air they looked upon the changeful scene (or, the death scene), not sorrowing, not rejoicing. . 2110
But yet they sighed to think of the world, heedless of its sacred teacher, hastening to destruction. The eightfold heavenly spirits, on every side filled space, . 2111
Cast down at heart and grieving, they scattered flowers as offerings. Only Māra-rāja rejoiced, and struck up sounds of music in his exultation. . 2112
Whilst Jambudvīpa, shorn of its glory, (seemed. to grieve) as when the mountain tops fall down to earth, or like the great elephant robbed of its tusks, or like the ox-king spoiled of his horns; . 2113
Or heaven without the sun and moon, or as the lily beaten by the hail; thus was the world bereaved when Buddha died! . 2114
Footnotes and references:
Called Subhadda in the Southern accounts.
This may also be translated 'of small endowments.'
Compare 'Purisa-damma-sārathi,' as before. We observe, again, how the reference here is to taming of 'horses,' in the Southern accounts to the taming of the 'steer,' showing the associations of the people using the figure.
'Sometimes and full seldom do Tathāgatas appear in the world,' Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 104.
Here again the construction is inverted and un-Chinese, but the sense appears plain, ngo wei to jin sing, 'I, to save men am born.' The idea of Buddha as a saviour of men seems to be a development of his character as 'teacher' or 'sage.' It expanded afterwards in Northern Buddhism into the idea of a universal saviour, and was afterwards merged in the character of Avalokites.vara, a being 'engaged by an eternal oath (covenant) to save all living things.' The presence of Western modes of thought cannot be doubted here.
According to the occasion; or, as it was customary on such an occasion.
Compare the Pāli sarāṇiyaṃ vitisāretvā; 'wen sun,' however, in the Chinese, appears to correspond with the Pāli abhivādeti.
These teachers are named in the Pāli.
I think is for , in which case the line would be, 'he had long cherished works (karman) not good' ( ).
This theory of a 'self-nature' (svabhāva) appears to have prevailed widely about the time of Aśvaghoṣa, the Svabhāvika sect of Buddhists perhaps had their origin about this time.
That is, 'by the use of right means.'
Compare this account with the Pāli (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 110, and note).
These 'bequeathed precepts' form a separate tract in the Chinese Buddhist Canon; it is generally bound up with the 'Sūtra of 42 Sections.' I have translated it in my first Report on the Chinese Buddhist Books in the Library of the India Office. [This Sūtra. in Chinese is called 'an epitome of the Vinaya.' Is it the 'substance of the Vinaya' referred to in the Bairāt Edict of Aśoka?]
Full emancipation seems here to be a synonym of 'Pratimokṣa.' The rules of the Pratimokṣa (250 rules) were probably later in their origin than the rules here given.
This seems to refer to the offence given by a Bhikṣu in asking food, either seeking much or of different quality to that offered.
So I translate the symbol 'kia.'
That is, the hermit, or professed disciple.
Does this refer to smoothing the hair previous to shaving it off? But the sense in any case is obscure, for how could a person admit himself to the 'order?'
So the line plainly means fun hi tsih shi fă, 'joy, like this, is but religion.'
This 'virtuous friend' is here, probably, to be taken in its literal sense. The 'right reflection' is samyak smṛti. And so the others that follow are the eight portions of the holy path.
Mr. Rhys Davids (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 145) is of opinion that samādhi in Buddhism corresponds to 'faith' in Christianity. There is much to bear out this opinion.
The ἔνδυμα (in a gnostic sense) of the awakened heart; the atmosphere in which the enlightened heart lives.
Is this the wisdom of Buddha, dharma and saṅgha? or does it refer to the trividyās, the knowledge of impermanence, sorrow, and unreality? See Childers, Pāli Dict. sub vijja; also Mr. Rhys Davids' Tevijja Sutta, Introduction, Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi.
I have finished my task of love in setting forth to you the way of rest.
'Behold now, brethren, I exhort you, saying, "Decay is inherent in all component things! Work out your salvation with diligence!" Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 114.
In the sense of' fixed' or 'solid.'
This is a very singular passage; it refers to the Buddhist theory that the world (universe) is continually renewed and destroyed, but here we have the novel addition that in 'the end' all this will cease, and there will be no chaos ('void,' hung) and no renovation (re-creation).
That is, the fire was self-originated, and was supported without fuel.
This passage is obscure, it may mean the dragons wept tears from their five heads, but it is doubtful.
Here again is an error in the text, the symbol being clearly a misprint.
That is, Nāgas, Kinnaras, and the rest.
That is, 'the world,' as Buddhists count it.