A Sketch of the Buddha's Life

Readings from the Pali Canon

13,055 words

This modest selection of excerpts from the Pali Canon provides a rough sketch of the life of the Buddha. I hope you will find enough in this rather sparse selection to gain at least an inkling both of the range of the Buddhas teachings and of the sweeping trajectory of his extraordinary life....

Passers-by Take Notice

Of His Serene Radiance And Mindfulness

On going forth,
he avoided evil deeds in body.
Abandoning verbal misconduct,
he purified his livelihood.
Then he, the Buddha, went to Rajagaha,
the mountain fortress of the Magadhans,
and wandered for alms,
endowed with all the foremost marks.
King Bimbisara, standing in his palace, saw him,
and on seeing him, consummate in marks,
said: "Look at this one, sirs.
How handsome, stately, pure!
How consummate his demeanor!
Mindful, his eyes downcast,
looking only a plow length before him,
as one whos not from a lowly lineage:
Send the royal messengers at once
to see where this monk will go."

They -- the messengers dispatched --
followed behind him.
"Where will this monk go?
Where will his dwelling place be?"
As he went from house to house --
well restrained, his sense doors guarded,
mindful, alert --
his bowl filled quickly.
Then he, the sage, completing his alms round,
left the city, headed for Mount Pandava.
"Thats where his dwelling will be."
Seeing him go to his dwelling place,
three messengers sat down,
while one returned to tell the king.
"That monk, your majesty,
on the flank of Pandava,
sits like a tiger, a bull,
a lion in a mountain cleft."

[Snp III.1]

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