Book One, Part VII—Comparison and Contrast
1. *What HE Rejected* — 2. *What HE Modified* — 3. *What HE Accepted*
1. This survey of the philosophical and religious thought shows that at the time when the Buddha formulated his Sasana, certain ideas had a firm grip on the mind of the people. They were:
(i) Belief in the infallibility of the Vedas
(ii) Belief in Moksha, or Salvation of the soul, i.e., its ceasing to be born again
(iii) Belief in the efficacy of rites, ceremonies and sacrifices as means of obtaining moksha
(iv) Belief in Chaturvarna as the ideal for social organization
(v) Belief in Iswara as the creator of, and in Brahmana as the principle underlying, the universe
(vi) Belief in Atmana, or the soul
(vii) Belief in Sansara (wandering together), i.e., transmigration of the soul
(viii) Belief in Karma, i.e., the determination of man’s position in present life by deeds done by him in his past life.
2. In formulating the principles of his Sasana, the Buddha dealt with this old stock of ideas in his own way.
3. The following are the ideas which he rejected:
(i) He condemned indulging in speculation as to the whence, whither, and what am I?
(ii) He discarded heresies about the soul, and refrained from identifying it with either the body, sensations, volitions, and [=or] consciousness.
(iii) He discarded all the Nihilistic views which were promulgated by certain religious teachers.
(iv) He condemned such views as were held by heretics.
(v) He discarded the theory that the cosmic progress had a known beginning.
(vi) He repudiated the theory that a God created man, or that he came out of the body of some Bramha.
(vii) The existence of the soul he either ignored or denied.
1. He accepted the great grand law of cause and effect with its corollaries.
2. He repudiated the fatalistic view of life, and [the] other equally foolish view that a God predestined as to what should happen for man and the world.
3. He discarded the theory that all deeds committed in some former birth have the potency to produce suffering, making present activity impotent. He denied the fatalistic view of Karma. He replaced the view of Karma by a much more scientific view of Karma. He put new wine in old bottle[s].
4. Transmigration (sansara) was replaced by the doctrine of re-birth.
5. He replaced the doctrine of moksha or salvation of the soul by the doctrine of Nibbana.
6. The Buddha Sasana is thus an original piece [of thought]. The little in it which is old is either modified or restated.
1. The first distinguishing feature of his teachings lay in the recognition of the mind as the centre of everything.
2. Mind precedes things, dominates them, creates them. If mind is comprehended, all things are comprehended.
3. Mind is the leader of all its faculties. Mind is the chief of all its faculties. The very mind is made up of those faculties.
4. The first thing to attend to is the culture of the mind.
5. The second distinguishing feature of his teachings is that mind is the fount of all the good and evil that arises within, and befalls us from without.
6. Whatsoever there is of evil, connected with evil, belonging to evil–that issues from the mind. Whatsoever there is of good, connected with good, belonging to good–all issues from mind.
7. If one speaks or acts with a pounded [=polluted?] mind, then affliction follows him as the wheels of the cart follow the feet of the bullocks who pull the cart. The cleaning of the mind is, therefore, the essence of religion.
8. The third distinguishing feature of his teachings is the avoidance of all sinful acts.
9. The fourth distinguishing feature of his teaching is that real religion lies not in the books of religion, but in the observance of the tenets of the religion.
10. Can anyone say that the Buddha’s religion was not his own creation?
BOOK TWO: CAMPAIGN OF CONVERSION
Book Two, Part I—Buddha and His Vishad Yoga
1. *To preach or not to preach* — 2. *Proclamation of good news by Bramha Sahampati* — 3. *Two types of conversion*
1. To Preach or Not to Preach
1. After having attamed enlightenment and after having formulated his way, doubt arose in the mind of the Buddha. Should he go forth and preach his doctrine, or should he continue to devote himself to his own personal perfection?
2. He said to himself, “True, I have gained a new doctrine. But it is too difficult for the common man to accept it and follow it. It is too subtle even for the wise.
3. “It is hard for mankind to liberate itself from the entanglement of God and Soul. It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in rites and ceremonies. It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in Karma.
4. “It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in the immortality of the Soul, and accept my doctrine that the Soul as an independent entity does not exist and does not survive after death.
5. “Mankind is intent on its selfishness, and takes delight and pleasure in it. It is hard for mankind to accept my doctrine of righteousness overriding selfishness.
6. “If I were to teach my doctrine, and others did not understand it; or, understanding it, did not accept; or, accepting it, did not follow it, it would be weariness to others and a vexation to me.
7. “Why not remain a sanyasi away from the world, and use my gospel to perfect my own self?” he asked himself. “At least I can do good to myself.”
8. Thus as he reflected, his mind turned to inaction, not to teaching of the gospel.
9. Then Brahma Sahampati, knowing what was passing in the mind of the Buddha, thought, “Verily the world is being destroyed, verily the world is going to destruction, if the Tathagata, the fully enlightened, turns to inaction and not to teaching his doctrine.”
10. Filled with anxiety, Brahma Sahampati left the Brahma world and appeared before the Buddha. And arranging his upper robe on one shoulder, he bent down and with clasped hands said, “Thou art no longer Siddharth Gautama, Thou art Buddha. Thou art the Blessed One who is blessed with the fullest enlightenment. Thou art the Tathagatha. How can thou refuse to enlighten the world? How can thou refuse to save erring humanity?
11. “There are beings full of impurity that are falling away through not hearing the doctrine.
12. “As the Lord knows,” proceeded Brahma Sahampati, “Among the Magadhas arose in ancient times, doctrine impure, with many blemishes devised.
13. “Will not the Lord open for them the door of his immortal doctrine?
14. “As one upon a rocky mountain standing beholdeth all the people round about him, even thus, O thou, with wisdom distilled, ascending all, behold, look down, thou griefless one, upon those plunged in their griefs.
15. “Rise up, O hero, victor in battle, O caravan-leader, free from the debt of birth, go to the world and [do] not turn away from it.
16. “May the Lord in his compassion design to teach his gospel to men and to gods.”
17. “O Brahma, Eminent and Excellent among men, if I did not give public utterance to my gospel, it is because I perceived vexation,” was the reply of the Buddha.
18. Knowing that there was so much unhappiness in the world, the Buddha realised that it was wrong for him to sit as a sanyasi with folded arms and allow things to remain as they were.
19. Asceticism he found to be useless. It was vain to attempt to escape from the world. There is no escape from the world even for an ascetic. He realised that what is necessary is not escape from the world. What is necessary is to change the world and to make it better.
20. He realised that he left the world because there was so much conflict, resulting in misery and unhappiness, and for which he knew no remedy. If he can [=could] banish misery and unhappiness from the world by the propagation of his doctrine, it was his duty to return to the world and serve it, and not sit silent as the personification of inactive impassivity.
21. The Buddha therefore agreed to the request of Brahma Sahampati and decided to preach his doctrine to the world.
§ 2. Proclamation of Good News by Brahma Sahampati
1. Then, Brahma Sahampati, thinking, “I have been instrumental in persuading the Buddha to agree to preach his doctrine to the masses,” felt extremely happy. He saluted the Buddha, went round him passing to the right, took a look, and departed.
2. On his way back he kept on proclaiming to the world, “Rejoice at the glad tidings. The Buddha, our Lord, has found the root of all evil and unhappiness in the world. He knows the way out.
3. “The Buddha will bring comfort to the weary and sorrow-laden. He will give peace to those stricken by war. He will give courage to those who are broken in heart. He will give to those who are suppressed and oppressed, faith and hope.
4. “Ye that suffer from the tribulations of life, ye that have to struggle and endure, ye that yearn for justice, rejoice at the glad tidings.
5. “Heal your wounds, ye that are wounded. Eat your fill, ye that are hungry. Rest, ye that are weary, and quench your thirst, ye that are thirsty. Seek the light, ye that are in darkness. Be of good cheer, ye that are forlorn.
6. “In his doctrine there is love to create a longing to own [=acknowledge] those who are disowned or unowned; to the degraded there is the ennoblement ever present to raise them; to the disinherited and the downtrodden there is equality blazing forth their path to advancement.
7. “His doctrine is the doctrine of righteousness, and his aim is to establish the kingdom of righteousness on earth.
8. “His doctrine is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9. “Blessed is the Buddha, for his is the path of reason, and his is the way of emancipation from superstition. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the middle way. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the law of righteousness. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the peace of Nibbana. Blessed is the Buddha who preaches love, kindness, and fellowship to help fellow beings to obtain salvation.”
§ 3. Two Types of Conversion
1. In the Buddha’s scheme of things conversion has two meanings.
2. Conversion to the Order of Bhikkus, called Sangh.
3. Secondly, it means conversion of a householder as an Upasaka, or lay follower of the Buddha’s Dhamma.
4. Except on four points, there is no difference in the way of life of the Bhikku and the Upasaka.
5. An Upasaka remains a householder. A Bhikku becomes a homeless wanderer.
6. Both the Upasakas and the Bhikkus must observe in their life certain rules.
7. Here again to the Bhikku they are vows, the breach of which ends in punishment. To the Upasaka they are precepts. They must be observed to the best of his ability.
8. An Upasaka can have property. A Bhikku cannot have.
9. To become an Upasaka, there is no ceremony.
10. To become a Bhikku, he must undergo a ceremony called Upasampada.
11.The Buddha converted those who came to him according to their wish, either as Bhikku or as Upasaka.
12. An Upasaka could become a Bhikku whenever he felt like it.
13. And a Bhikku had to cease to be a Bhikku when he committed a breach of the major vows, or whenever he wished to give up his membership of the Order.
14. It must not be understood that the Buddha converted only those whose names occur in the following pages.
15. The instances are chosen only to show that he did not observe any distinction as to caste or sex in admitting persons to his Sangh or preaching his Dhamma.
Book Two, Part II—The Conversion of the Parivrajakas
1. *Arrival at Sarnath* — 2. *The Buddha’s First Sermon* — 3. *The Buddha’s First Sermon (cont’d)* — 4. *The Buddha’s First Sermon (cont’d)* — 5. *The Buddha’s First Sermon (cont’d)* — 6. *The Buddha’s First Sermon (concluded)* — 7. *The Response of the Parivrajakas*
1. Having decided to preach his doctrine, the Buddha asked himself “To whom shall I first teach the doctrine?” The thought [came to him] of Alara Kalam, whom the Buddha adored as the learned, wise, intelligent, and of little impurity; “What if I first teach him the doctrine?” But he was told that Alara Kalam was dead.
2. Then thought he of preaching it to Uddaka Ramputta. But he too was dead.
3. Then he thought of the five old companions of his who were with him at Niranjana when he was practising austerities, and who had left him in anger on his abandonment of austerities.
4. “They did much for me, attended me and looked after me; what if I first teach the doctrine to them?” said he to himself.
5. He asked for their whereabouts. Having learnt that they were dwelling at Sarnath, in the deer park of Isipatana, he left in search of them.
6. The five, seeing him coming, decided among themselves not to welcome him. Said one of them, “This, friends, is the ascetic Gautama coming, who has abandoned austerities and has turned to [a] life of abundance and luxury. He has committed a sin. We must not therefore greet him, nor rise in respect, nor take his bowl and robe. We will only set apart a seat for him. If he wishes, he may sit down.” And they all agreed.
7. But when the Buddha approached, the five Parivrajakas were not able to abide by their decision; so greatly impressed were they by his personality that they all rose in their seats. One took his bowl, one took his robe, and one prepared a seat, and one brought water to wash his feet.
8. It was really a great welcome to an unwelcome guest.
9. Thus those who intended to scoff remained to pray.
§ 2. The Buddha’s First Sermon
1. After [the] exchange of greetings, the five Parivrajakas asked the Buddha whether he still believed in asceticism. The Buddha replied in the negative.
2. He said there were two extremes, a life of pleasure and a life of self-mortification.
3. One says let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. The other says, kill all vasanas (desires) because they bring rebirth. He rejected both as unbecoming to man.
4. He was a believer in the Madhyama Marga (Majjhima Patipada), the middle path, which is neither the path of pleasure nor the path of self-mortification.
5. “Answer me this,” he said to the Parivrajakas. “So long as your self remains active and continues to lust after either worldly or heavenly pleasures, is not all mortification vain?” And they answered, “It is as thou sayest.”
6. “How can ye be free from self by leading a wretched life of self-mortification, if ye do not thereby succeed in quenching the fires of lust?” And they replied, “It is as thou sayest.”
7. “Only when the self in ye has been conquered [so] that ye are free from lust; ye will then not desire worldly pleasures, and the satisfaction of your natural wants will not defile ye. Let ye eat and drink according to the needs of your body.
8. “Sensuality of all kinds is enervating. The sensual man is a slave of his passion. All pleasure-seeking is degrading and vulgar. But I say unto you that to satisfy the needs of life is not an evil: to keep the body in good health is a duty, or otherwise you shall not be able to keep your mind strong and clear and have the lamp of wisdom burning.
9. “Know ye, O Parivrajakas, that there are these two extremes which man ought not to follow–the habitual indulgence on the one hand, of those things whose attraction depends upon the passions, and especially of sensuality–a low and pagan way of seeking satisfaction, unworthy, unprofitable, and the habitual practice thereof; and on the other hand, of asceticism or self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable.
10. “There is a middle path which avoids both these extremes. Know ye, that, this is the path which I preach.”
11. The five Parivrajakas listened to him with attention. Not knowing what to say in reply to the Buddha’s middle path, they asked him what he was [=had been] doing after they had left him. Then the Buddha told them how he left for Gaya, how he sat in contemplation under the Banyan Tree, and how after four weeks of contemplation he obtained enlightenment, as a result of which he was able to discover a new path of life.
12. On hearing this, the Parivrajakas became extremely impatient to know what the path was, and requested the Buddha to expound it to them.
13. The Buddha agreed.
14. He began by saying that his path which is his Dhamma (religion) had nothing to do with God and [the] Soul. His Dhamma had nothing to do with life after death. Nor has his Dhamma any concern with rituals and ceremonies.
15. The centre of his Dhamma is man, and the relation of man to man in his life on earth.
16. This, he said, was his first postulate.
17. His second postulate was that men are living in sorrow, in misery and poverty. The world is full of suffering and that [discovering] how to remove this suffering from the world is the only purpose of Dhamma. Nothing else is Dhamma.
18. The recognition of the existence of suffering, and to show the way to remove suffering, is the foundation and basis of his Dhamma.
19. This can be the only foundation and justification for Dhamma. A religion which fails to recognise this is no religion at all.
20. “Verily, Parivrajakas! whatsoever recluses or Brahmins (i.e., preachers of religion) understand not, as it really is, that the misery in the world and the escape therefrom, is the main problem of Dhamma–such recluses and Brahmins in my opinion are not to be regarded as recluses and Brahmin ; nor have those worthies come to know fully of themselves what in this very life is the real meaning of Dhamma.”
21. The Parivrajakas then asked him, “If the foundation of your Dhamma is the recognition of the existence of suffering and the removal of suffering, tell us, how does your Dhamma remove suffering!”
22. The Buddha then told them that according to his Dhamma if every person followed (1) the Path of Purity; (2) the Path of Righteousness; and (3) the Path of Virtue, it would bring about the end of all suffering.
23. And he added that he had discovered such a Dhamma.
§ 3. The Buddha’s First Sermon—(contd.) The Path of Purity
1. The Parivrajakas then asked the Buddha to explain to them his Dhamma.
2. And the Buddha was pleased to do so.
3. He addressed them first on the Path of Purity.
4. “The Path of Purity,” he told the Parivrajakas, “teaches that a person who wishes to be good must recognise some principles as principles of life.
5. “According to my Path of Purity, the principles of life recognised by it are: Not to injure or kill; Not to steal or appropriate to oneself anything which belongs to another; Not to speak untruth; Not to indulge in lust; Not to indulge in intoxicating drinks.
6. “The recognition of these principles, I say, is most essential for every man. For every man must have a standard by which to judge whatever he does. And these principles, according to my teachings, constitute the standard.
7. “There are everywhere people who are patit (fallen). But there are two classes of the patit: the patit who has a standard, and a patit who has no standard.
8. “The patit who has no standard does not know that he has fallen. Consequently he always remains fallen. On the other hand, a patit who has a standard tries to rise from his fallen state. Why? The answer is, because he knows that he has fallen.
9. “This is the difference between having a standard, and having no standard, for regulating a man’s life. What matters is not so much the fall of the man, but the absence of any standard.
10. “You may ask, ye Parivrajakas! Why are these principles worthy of recognition as a standard of life?
11. “The answer to this question you will find for yourselves, if you ask: “Are these principles good for the individual?” also if you ask: “Do they promote social good?”
12. “If your answers to these questions are in the affirmative, then it follows that the principles of my Path of Purity are worthy of recognition as forming a true standard of life.”
§ 4. The Buddha’s First Sermon (cont’d)—Ashtanga Marga or the Path of Righteousness
1. The Buddha next addressed the Parivrajakas on the Ashtangamarga. He said that there are eight constituents in the Ashtangamarga.
2. He began his discourse with the exposition of Samma Ditti (Right Views), the first and foremost element in the Ashtangmarga,
3. “To realise the importance of Samma Ditti,” the Buddha said to the Parivrajakas:
4. “O, ye Parivrajakas, you must realise that the world is a dungeon, and man is a prisoner in the dungeon.
5. “This dungeon is full of darkness. So dark is it that scarce anything at all can rightly be seen by the prisoner. The prisoner cannot see that he is a prisoner.
6. “Indeed, man has not only become blind by living too long in the darkness, but he very much doubts if any such strange thing as light is said to be, can ever exist at all.
7. “Mind is the only instrument through which light can come to man.
8. “But the mind of these dungeon-dwellers is by no means a perfect instrument for the purpose.
9. “It lets through only a little light, just enough to show to those with sight that there is such a thing as darkness.
10. Thus defective in its nature, such understanding as this is.
11. “But know ye, Parivrajakas! the case of the prisoner is not as hopeless as it appears.
12. “For there is in man a thing called will. When the appropriate motives arise, the will can be awakened and set in motion.
13. “With the coming of just enough light to see in what directions to guide the motions of the will, man may so guide them that they shall lead to liberty.
14. “Thus though man is bound, yet he may be free; he may at any moment begin to take the first steps that will ultimately bring him to freedom.
15. “This is because it is possible to train the mind in whatever directions one chooses. It is mind that makes us to be prisoners in the house of life, and it is mind that keeps us so.
16. “But what mind has done, that mind can undo. If it has brought man to thraldom, it can also, when rightly directed, bring him to liberty.
17. “This is what Samma Ditti can do.”
18. “What is the end of Samma Ditti?” asked the Parivrajakas. “The end of Samma Ditti,” replied the Buddha, “is the destruction of Avijja (Nescience). It is opposed to Miccha Ditti.
19. “And Avijja means the failure to understand the noble truths, of the existence of suffering and the removal of suffering.
20. “Samma Ditti requires [the] giving up of belief in the efficacy of rites and ceremonies, to have disbelief in the sanctity of the Shastras.
21. “Samma Ditti requires the abandonment of superstition and supernaturalism.
22. “Samma Ditti requires the abandonment of all doctrines which are mere speculations without any basis in fact or experience.
23. “Samma Ditti requires [a] free mind and free thought.
24. “Every man has aims, aspirations, and ambitions. Samma Sankappo teaches that such aims, aspirations, and ambitions shall be noble and praiseworthy and not ignoble and unworthy.
25. “Samma Vacca (Right Speech) teaches:
(1) that one should speak only that which is true;
(2) that one should not speak what is false;
(3) that one should not speak evil of others;
(4) that one should refrain from slander;
(5) that one should not use angry and abusive language towards any fellow man;
(6) that one should speak kindly and courteously to all;
(7) that one should not indulge in pointless, foolish talk, but let his speech be sensible and to the purpose.
26. “The observance of Right Speech, as I have explained, is not to be the result of fear or favour. It is not to have the slightest reference to what any superior being may think of his action, or to any loss which Right Speech may involve.
27. “The norm for Right Speech is not the order of the superior or the personal benefit to the individual.
28. “Samma Kamanto teaches right behaviour. It teaches that every action should be founded on respect for the feelings and rights of others.
29. “What is the norm for Samma Kamanto? The norm is that course of conduct which is most in harmony with the fundamental laws of existence.
30. “When his [=one’s] actions are in harmony with these laws, they may be taken to be in accord with Samma Kamanto.
31. “Every individual has to earn his livelihood. But there are ways and ways of earning one’s livelihood. Some are bad; some are good. Bad ways are those which cause injury or injustice to others. Good ways are those by which the individual earns his livelihood without causing injury or injustice to others. This is Samma Ajivo.
32. “Samma Vyayamo (Right Endeavour) is primary endeavour to remove Avijja; to reach the door that leads out of this painful prison house, to swing it open.
33. “Right endeavour has four purposes.
34. “One is to prevent states of mind which are in conflict with the Ashtangamarga.
35. “Second is to suppress such states of mind which may already have arisen.
36. “Third is to bring into existence states of mind which will help a man to fulfil the requirements of the Ashtangamarga.
37. “Fourth is to promote the further growth and increase of such states of mind as already may have arisen.
38. “Samma Satti calls for mindfulness and thoughtfulness. It means constant wakefulness of the mind. Watch and ward by the mind over the evil passions is another name for Samma Satti.
39. “There are, ye Parivrajakas, five fetters or hindrances which come in the way of a person trying to achieve Samma Ditti, Samma Sankappo, Samma Vacca, Samma Kamanto, Samma Ajeevo, Samma Vyayamo and Samma Satti.
40. “These five hindrances are covetousness, ill-will, sloth and torpor, doubt, and indecision. It is, therefore, necessary to overcome these hindrances, which are really fetters, and the means to overcome them is through Samadhi. But know ye, Parivrajakas, Samma Samadhi is not the same as Samadhi. It is quite different.
41. “Samadhi is mere concentration. No doubt it leads to Dhyanic states which are self-induced, holding the five hindrances in suspense.
42. “But these Dhyana states are temporary. Consequently the suspension of the hindrances is also temporary. What is necessary is a permanent turn to the mind. Such a permanent turn can be achieved only by Samma Samadhi.
43. “Mere Samadhi is negative, inasmuch as it leads to temporary suspension of the hindrances. In it there is no training to the mind. Samma Samadhi is positive. It trains the mind to concentrate and to think of some Kusala Kamma (Good Deeds and Thoughts) during concentration, and thereby eliminate the tendency of the mind to be drawn towards Akusala Kamma (Bad Deeds and Bad Thoughts) arising from the hindrances.
44. “Samma Samadhi gives a habit to the mind to think of good, and always to think of good. Samma Samadhi gives the mind the necessary motive power to do good.”
§ 5. The Buddha’s First Sermon (cont’d)—The Path of Virtue
1. The Buddha then explained to the Parivrajakas the Path of Virtue.
2. He told them that the path of virtue meant the observance of the virtues called: (1) Sila; (2) Dana; (3) Uppekha; (4) Nekkhama; (5) Virya; (6) Khanti; (7) Succa; (8) Adhithana; (9) Karuna; and (10) Maitri.
3. The Parivrajakas asked the Buddha to tell them what these virtues meant.
4. The Buddha then proceeded to satisfy their desire.
5. “Sila is moral temperament, the disposition not to do evil and the disposition to do good; to be ashamed of doing wrong. To avoid to do [=doing] evil for fear of punishment is Sila. Sila means fear of doing wrong.
6. “Nekkhama is renunciation of the pleasures of the world.
7. “Dana means the giving of one’s possessions, blood and limbs, and even one’s life, for the good of others, without expecting anything in return.
8. “Virya is right endeavour. It is doing with all your might whatever you have undertaken to do, with never a thought of turning back, whatever you have undertaken to do.
9. “Khanti is forbearance. Not to meet hatred by hatred is the essence of it. For hatred is not appeased by hatred. It is appeased only by forbearance.
10. “Succa is truth. A person must never tell a lie. His speech must be truth and nothing but truth.
11. “Adhithana is resolute determination to reach the goal.
12. “Karuna is loving kindness to human beings.
13. “Maitri is extending fellow feeling to all beings, not only to one who is a friend, but also to one who is a foe; not only to man, but to all living beings.
14. “Upekka is detachment as distinguished from indifference. It is a state of mind where there is neither like nor dislike. Remaining unmoved by the result, and yet engaged in the pursuit of it.
15. “These virtues one must practice to his utmost capacity. That is why they are called Paramitas (States of Perfection).
§ 6. The Buddha’s First Sermon (concluded)
1. Having explained His Dhamma and what it involved, the Buddha then asked the Parivrajakas:
2. “Is not personal purity the foundation of good in the world?” And they answered, “It is as thou sayest.”
3. And he continued, “Is not personal purity undermined by covetousness, passion, ignorance, the destruction of life, theft, adultery, and lying? Is it not necessary for personal purity to build up sufficient strength of character so that these evils should be kept under control? How can a man be the instrument of good if he has no personal purity in him?” And they replied, “It is as thou sayest.”
4. “Again, why do men not mind enslaving or dominating others? Why do men not mind making the lives of others unhappy? Is it not because men are not righteous in their conduct towards one another?” And they answered in the affirmative.
5. “Will not the practice of the Ashtanga Marga, the path of right views, right aims, right speech, right livelihood, right means, right mindfulness, right perseverance, and right contemplation, in short, the Path of Righteousness, if followed by every one, remove all injustice and inhumanity that man does to man?” And they said, “Yes.”
6. Turning to the path of virtue, he asked, “Is not Dana necessary to remove the suffering of the needy and the poor, and to promote general good? Is not Karuna necessary, to be drawn to the relief of poverty and suffering wherever it exists? Is not Nekkamma necessary to selfless work? Is not Uppekka necessary, for sustained endeavour even though there is no personal gain?
7. “Is not love for man necessary?” And they said “Yes.”
8. “I go further and say, “Love is not enough; what is required is Maitri. It is wider than love. It means fellowship not merely with human beings but with all living beings. It is not confined to human beings. Is not such Maitri necessary? What else can give to all living beings the same happiness which one seeks for one’s own self, to keep the mind impartial, open to all, with affection for every one and hatred for none?”
9. They all said “Yes.”
10. “The practice of these virtues must, however, be accompanied by Prajna, i.e., intelligence.
11. “Is not Prajna necessary?” The Parivrajakas gave no answer. To force them to answer his question, the Buddha went on to say that the qualities of a good man are: “do no evil, think nothing that is evil, get his livelihood in no evil way, and say nothing. that is evil or is likely to hurt anyone.” And they said, “Yes, so it is.”
12. “But is doing good deeds blindly to be welcomed?” asked the Buddha “I say, ‘no’. This is not enough,” said the Buddha to the Parivrajakas. “If it was enough,” said the Buddha to the Parivrajakas, “then a tiny babe could be proclaimed to be always doing good. For as yet the babe does not know what a body means, much less will it do evil with its body beyond kicking about; it does not know what speech is, much less will it say anything evil beyond crying; it does not know what thought is, beyond crying with delight; it does not know what livelihood is, much less will it get its living in an evil way, beyond sucking its mother.
13. “The Path of Virtue must, therefore, be subject to [the] test of Prajna, which is another name for understanding and intelligence.
14. “There is also another reason why Prajna-paramita is so important and so necessary. There must be Dana. But without Prajna, Dana may have a demoralizing effect. There must be Karuna. But without Prajna, Karuna may end in supporting evil. Every act of Paramita must be tested by Prajna Paramita, which is another name for wisdom.
15. “I premise that there must be knowledge and consciousness of what wrong conduct is, how it arises; similarly, there must also be knowledge and consciousness of what is right conduct and wrong conduct. Without such knowledge there cannot be real goodness, though the act may be good. That is why I say Prajna is a necessary virtue.”
16. The Buddha then concluded his sermon by addressing the following admonition to the Parivrajakas.
17. “You are likely to call my Dhamma pessimistic, because it calls the attention of mankind to the existence of suffering. I tell you such a view of my Dhamma would be wrong.
18. “No doubt my Dhamma recognises the existence of suffering, but forget not that it also lays equal stress on the removal of suffering.
19. “My Dhamma has in it both hope and purpose.
20. “Its purpose is to remove Avijja, by which I mean ignorance of the existence of suffering.
21. “There is hope in it because it shows the way to put an end to human suffering.
22. “Do you agree with this or not?” And the Parivrajakas said , “Yes, we do.”
§ 7. The Response of the Parivrajakas
1. The five Parivrajakas at once realised that this was really a new Dhamma. They were so struck by this new approach to the problems of life that they were unanimous in saying, “Never in the history of the world has any founder of religion taught that the recognition of human suffering was the real basis of religion.
2. “Never in the history of the world has any founder of religion taught that the removal of this misery is the real purpose of it!
3. “Never in the history of the world had a scheme of salvation been put forth, so simple in its nature; so free from supernatural and superhuman agency; so independent of, even so antagonistic to, the belief in a soul, to the belief in God and to the belief in life after death!
4. “Never in the history of the world had a scheme of religion been put forth which had nothing to do with revelation, and whose commands are born of the examination of the social needs of man and which are not the orders of a God !
5. “Never in the history of the world has salvation been conceived as the blessing of happiness to be attained by man in this life and on this earth, by righteousness born out of his own efforts!”
6. These were the sentiments which the Parivrajakas uttered after they had heard the Buddha’s Sermon on his new Dhamma.
7. They felt that in him they had found a reformer, full of the most earnest moral purpose and trained in all the intellectual culture of his time, who had the originality and the courage to put forth deliberately and with a knowledge of opposing views, the doctrine of a salvation to be found here, in this life, in inward change of heart to be brought about by the practice of self-culture and self-control.
8. Their reverence for him became so unbounded that they at once surrendered to him and requested him to accept them as his disciples.
9. The Buddha admitted them into his order by uttering the formula “Ehi Bhikkave” (come in Bhikkus). They were known as the Panchavargiya Bhikkus.
Book Two, Part III—Conversion of the High and the Holy
1. *Conversion of Yashas* — 2. *Conversion of the Kassyapas* — 3. *Conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana* — 4. *Conversion of Bimbisara* — 5. *Conversion of Anathapindika* — 6. *Conversion of Pasenjit* — 7. *Conversion of Jeevaka* — 8. *Conversion of Ratthapala*
1. There lived in the town of Benares a nobleman’s son called Yashas. He was young in years and very attractive in appearance. He was beloved of his parents. He lived in abounding wealth. He had a big retinue and a large harem, and passed his time in nothing but dancing, drinking and carnal pleasures.
2. As time past [=passed], a feeling of disgust came over him. How could he escape from this orgy? Was there any better way of life than the way he was leading? Not knowing what to do, he decided to leave his father’s house.
3. One night he left his father’s house and was wandering about; He happened to wend his way towards Isipathana.
4. Feeling tired, he sat down; and as he was seated he said to himself in loud tones, ‘Where am I, what is the way? Alas! What distress; alas! What danger!’
5. This happened on the night of the same day on which the Blessed One preached his first sermon to the Panchavargiya Bhikkus at Isipathana. Just when Yashas was approaching Isipathana, the Blessed One, who was staying at Isipathana, having arisen at dawn, was walking up and down in the open. air. And the Blessed One saw Yashas, the noble youth coming from [Benares?] after giving utterance to his feelings.
6. And the Blessed One, having heard his cry of distress, said, “There is no distress, there is no danger. Come, I will show you the way,” and the Blessed Lord preached his gospel to Yashas.
7. And Yashas, when he heard it, became glad and joyful; and he put off his gilt slippers, and went and sat down near the Blessed One and respectedly saluted him.
8. Yashas, hearing the Buddha’s words, requested the Blessed One to take him as his disciple.
9. Then he bade him come, and asked him to be a Bhikku, to which Yashas agreed.
10. The parents of Yashas were in great distress on finding that their son had disappeared. The father started in search. Yashas’s father passed by the same spot where the Lord and Yashas in the Bhikku’s garb were seated, and in passing, he asked the Blessed One, “Pray, have you seen Yashas, my son?”
11. The Lord replied, “Come in, Sir, you will find your son.” He went in and sat near his son, but he knew him not.
12. The Lord explained to him how Yashas met him, and how on hearing him he became a Bhikku. The father then recognised his son and was happy his son had chosen the right path.
13. “My son, Yashas,” said the father, “your mother is absorbed in lamentations and grief. Return home and restore your mother to life.”
14. Then Yashas looked at the Blessed One, and the Blessed One said to Yashas’s father, “Is that your wish, that Yashas should return to the world and enjoy the pleasures of a worldly life as he did before?”
15. And Yasha’s father replied, “If Yashas, my son, finds it a gain to stay with you, let him stay.” Yashas preferred to remain a Bhikku.
16. Before departing Yashas’s father said, “May the Blessed One, O Lord, consent to take his meal at my home with the members of my family.”
17. The Blessed One, having donned his robes, took his alms bowl and went with Yashas to the house of his father.
18. When they arrived there, they met the mother and also the former wife of Yashas. After the meal, the Blessed One preached to the members of the family his doctrine. They became very happy and promised to take refuge in it.
19. Now there were four friends of Yashas belonging to the wealthy family [=families] of Benares. Their names were Vimala, Subahu, Punyajit ,and Gavampati.
20. When Yashas’s friends learned that Yashas had taken refuge in the Buddha and his Dhamma, they felt that what is [=was] good for Yashas must be good for them.
21. So they went to Yashas and asked him to approach the Buddha on their behalf, to receive them as his disciples.
22. Yashas agreed and he went to the Buddha, saying, “May the Blessed One preach the Dhamma to these four friends of mine.” The Lord agreed, and Yashas’s friends took refuge in the Dhamma.
§ 2. Conversion of the Kassyapas
1. There lived in Benaras a family known as the Kassyapa family. There were three sons in the family. They were very highly educated, and carried on a rigorous religious life.
2. After some time the eldest son thought of taking up Sannyasa. Accordingly he left his home, took Sannyasa, and went in the direction of Uruvella, where he established his Ashram.
3. His two younger brothers followed him, and they too became Sannyasis.
4. They were all Agnihotris, or worshippers of fire. They were called Jatilas because they kept [=wore] long hair.
5. The three brothers were known as Uruvella Kassyapa, Nadi Kassyapa (Kassyapa of the River, i.e., the Niranjana), and Gaya Kassyapa (of the village Gaya).
6. Of these the Uruvella Kassyapa had a following of five hundred Jatilas; Nadi Kassyapa had three hundred Jatilas as his disciples; and Gaya Kassyapa had two hundred Jatilas. Of these the chief was Uruvella Kassyapa.
7. The fame of Uruvella Kassyapa had spread far and wide. He was known to have obtained Mukti (Salvation) while alive. People from far-away places came to his Ashram, which was located on the banks of the river Falgu.
8. The Blessed Lord, having come to know of the name and fame of Uruvella Kassyapa, thought of preaching his gospel to him and if possible [seeking] to convert him to his Dhamma.
9. Having come to know of his whereabouts, the Blessed Lord went to Uruvella.
10. The Blessed One met him and, wanting to have an opportunity to instruct him and convert him, said, “If it is not disagreeable to you, Kassyapa, let me dwell one night in your Ashram.”
11. “I am not agreeable to this,” said Kassyapa. “There is a savage Naga king called Muchalinda who rules over this place. He is possessed of dreadful powers. He is the deadly enemy of all ascetics performing fire worship. He pays nocturnal visits to their Ashrams and does them great harm. I fear he may do you the same harm as he does to me.”
12. Kassyapa did not know that the Nagas had become the friends and followers of the Blessed One. But the Blessed One knew it.
13. So the Blessed One pressed for his request, saying, “He is not likely to do any harm to me; pray, Kassyapa, allow me a place in your fire room, for one night.”
14. Kassyapa continued to raise many difficulties, and the Blessed One continued to press his request.
15. Then Kassyapa said, “My mind desires no controversy, only I have my fears and apprehensions, but follow your own good pleasure.”
16. The Blessed Lord forthwith stepped into the fire grove and took his seat.
17. The Naga king Muchalinda came into the room at his usual time. But instead of finding Kassyapa, he found the Blessed One seated in his place.
18. Muchalinda, seeing the Lord seated, his face glowing with peace and serenity, felt as though he was in the presence of a great divinity, and bending his head, began to worship.
19. That night Kassyapa’s sleep was very much disturbed by the thought of what might have happened to his guest. So he got up with great misgivings, fearing that his guest might have been burnt up.
20. Then Kassyapa and his followers at morning light came, one and all, to have a look. Far from the Lord injured by Muchalinda, they found Muchalinda worshipping the Lord.
21. Beholding the scene, Kassyapa felt that he was witnessing a great miracle.
22. Struck by this miracle, Kassyapa requested the Blessed Lord to stay near him and make an Ashram, and promised to look after him.
23. The Blessed Lord agreed to stay on.
24. The two, however, had different motives. Kassyapa’s motive was to obtain protection against Muchalinda Naga. The Blessed Lord thought that one day Kassyapa will [=would] give him [an] opportunity to propound his gospel.
25. But Kassyapa showed no such inclination. He thought that the Blessed Lord was only a miracle maker and nothing more.
26. One day the Blessed Lord thought of himself taking the initiative, and asked Kassyapa, “Are you an Arhant?
27. “If you are not an Arhant, what good is this Agnihotra going to do to you?”
28. Kassyapa said, “I do not know what is to be an Arhant. Will you explain it to me?”
29. The Lord then told Kassyapa, “An Arhant is one who has conquered all the passions which disturb a man from pursuing the eight-fold Path. Agnihotra cannot cleanse a man of his sins.”
30. Kassyapa was a proud person. But he did feel the force of the Blessed Lord’s argument. Making his mind pliant and yielding, until at length prepared to be a vehicle of the true law, he confessed that his poor wisdom could not compare with the wisdom of the world-honoured One.
31. And so, convinced at last, humbly submitting, Uruvella Kassyapa accepted the doctrine of the Lord and became his follower.
32. Following their master, the followers of Kassyapa, virtuously submissive, in turn received the teaching of the law. Kassyapa and all his followers were thus entirely converted.
33. Uruvella Kassyapa then, lifting his goods and all his sacrificial vessels, threw them together into the river, which floated [them] down upon the surface of the current.
34. Nadi and Gaya, who dwelt down the stream, seeing these articles of clothing (and the rest) floating along the stream [all] disorderly, said, “These are the belongings of our brother; why has he thrown them away? Some great change has happened,” and [they] were deeply pained and restless. The two, each with five hundred followers, went up the stream to seek their brother.
35. On seeing him and all his followers now dressed as hermits, strange thoughts engaged their minds, and they inquired into the reasons. Uruvella Kassyapa told them the story of his conversion to the Buddha’s Dhamma.
36. “Our brother having submitted thus, we too should also follow him,” they said.
37. They conveyed their wishes to their eldest brother. Then the two brothers, with all their band of followers, were brought to hear the Lord’s discourse on the comparison of a fire sacrifice with his own gospel.
38. In his discourse to the two brothers the Blessed Lord said: “The dark smoke of ignorance arises, whilst confused thoughts, like wood drilled into wood, create the fire.
39. “Lust, anger, delusion, these are as fire produced, and these enflame and burn all other things which cause grief and sorrow in the world.
40. “If once this way is found, and lust, anger and delusion consumed, then with it is born sight, knowledge, and pure conduct.
41. “So when the heart of a man has once conceived distaste for sin, this distaste removes covetous desire; covetous desire extinguished, there is recluse [=refuge?].”
42. The great Rishis, listening to him, lost all regard for fire worship, and wished to be the disciples of the Buddha.
43. The conversion of the Kassyapas was a great triumph for the Blessed Lord. For they had a very strong hold on the imagination of the people.
§ 3. Conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana
1. While the Blessed Lord was in Rajagraha there resided [there] a well-known person, by name Sanjaya, with a great retinue of Parivrajakas numbering about two hundred and fifty as his disciples.
2. Among his disciples were Sariputta and Moggallana–two young Brahmins.
3. Sariputta and Moggallana were not satisfied with the teachings of Sanjaya, and were in search of something better.
4. Now one day the venerable Assaji, one of the Panchvargiya Bhikkus, in the forenoon, having put on his under-robes, and having taken his alms bowl and outer robe, entered the city of Rajagraha for alms.
5. Sariputta was observing the dignified deportment of Assaji, and was struck by it. On seeing the venerable Assaji, Sariputta thought, “Indeed this person is one of those monks who are the worthy ones in the world. What if I were to approach this monk and to ask him, ‘In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess?’”
6. Now Sariputta thought, ” This is not the time to ask this monk; he has entered the inner yard of a house for alms. What if I were to follow this monk step by step, according to the course recognised by those who want something?”
7. And the venerable Assaji, having finished his alms pilgrimage through Rajagraha, went back with the food he had received. Then Sariputta went to the place where the venerable Assaji was; having approached him, he exchanged greetings; and with complaisant words, he stood at his side.
8. Standing at his side, the wandering ascetic Sariputta said to the venerable Assaji, “Your countenance, friend, is serene; your complexion is pure and bright. In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess?”
9. Assaji replied, “There is, friend, the great recluse of the Sakya’s clan; in this Blessed One’s name have I retired from the world; this Blessed One is my teacher, and it is the Dhamma of this Blessed One that I follow.”
10. “And what, venerable Sir, is the doctrine which your teacher holds? And what does he preach to you?”
11. “I am only a young disciple, friend; I have but recently received ordination; and I have newly adopted this Dhamma and discipline. I cannot explain to you the Dhamma in detail; but I will tell you in short what it means.”
12. Then Sariputta, the wandering ascetic, said to the venerable Assaj, “So be it, friend, tell me as much or as little as you like, but tell me the meaning, I want just meaning. Why make so much of the letter?”
13. Then the venerable Assaji explained to Sariputta the substance of the teachings of the Buddha, and Sariputta was completely satisfied.
14. Sariputta and Moggallana, though not brothers, were bound together as hough they were brothers. They had given their word to each other: he who first attains the truth shall tell the same to the other one. That was their mutual engagement.
15. Accordingly Sariputta went to the place where Moggallana was. Seeing him, he said to Sariputta, “Your countenance, friend, is serene; your complexion is pure and bright. Have you then really reached the truth?”
16. “Yes, friend, I have come to know the truth.” “And how, friend, have you done so?” Then Sariputta told him what happened between him and Assaji.
17. Then Moggallana said to Sariputta, “Let us go, friend, and join the Blessed One; that he, the Blessed One, may be our teacher.”
18. Sariputta replied: “It is on our account, friend, that these two hundred and fifty wandering Parivrajakas live here, and it is we whom they regard; let us first tell them before taking leave of them; they will do what they think fit.”
19. Then Sariputta and Moggallana went to the place where they were; having approached them, they said to them, “Friends, we are going to join the Blessed One; he, the Blessed One, is our teacher.”
20. They replied, “It is on your account. Sirs, that we live here, and it is you whom we regard; if you. Sirs, will lead the holy life under the great Samana, we all will do the same.”
21. Then Sariputta and Moggallana went to the place where Sanjaya was; having approached him, they said, “Friend, we go to join the Blessed One; he, the Blessed One, is our teacher.”
22. Sanjaya replied, “Nay, friends, do not go; we will all three look after this company.”
23. And a second and third time Sariputta and Moggallana said this. and Sanjaya answered as before.
24. Then Sariputta and Moggallana took with them two hundred and fifty wandering ascetics and went to the Veluvana in Rajagraha, where the Blessed One was staying.
25. And the Blessed One saw them–Sariputta and Moggallana, coming from afar; on seeing them he thus addressed the monks: “There, monks, arrive two companions,” pointing towards Sariputta and Moggallana; “these will be my chief pair of disciples, and [an] auspicious pair.”
26. When they had arrived at the bamboo grove, they went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, they prostrated themselves, with their heads at the feet of the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One, “Lord, let us receive ordination from the Blessed One.”
27. The Blessed One then uttered the usual formula indicating admission, “Ehi Bhikku” (Come, Monks), and Sariputta and Moggallana and the two hundred Jatilas became the disciples of the Buddha.
§ 4. Conversion of King Bimbisara
1. Rajagraha was the capital of Seniya Bimbisara, King of Magadha.
2. Having heard of the conversions of this large number of Jatilas, everyone in the city had begun to talk about the Blessed One.
3. Thus King Bimbisara came to know of his arrival in the city.
4. “To have converted the most orthodox and the most obstinate Jatilas was no mean task.” “Truly so,” said King Bimbisara to himself, “he must be the Blessed, holy, absolute Buddha, proficient in knowledge and conduct, the way-farer, who understands the world, the highest one who guides men, the teacher of gods and men. He must be teaching the truth, which he understood himself.
5. “He must be preaching that Dhamma which is lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely at the end, in the spirit and in the letter; he must be proclaiming the consummate perfect, pure, and holy life. It is good to obtain the sight of a man like him.”
6. So King Bimbisara, surrounded by twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, went to the place where the Blessed One was. Having approached him and respectfully saluted the Blessed One, he sat down near him. And of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, some also respectfully saluted the Blessed One and sat down near him; some exchanged greetings with the Blessed One, and having done so they sat down near him with complaisant words; some bent their clasped hands towards the Blessed One and sat down near him; some made known their name and family name before the Blessed One and sat down near him; some sat down near him silently.
7. Now those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders saw Uruvella Kassyapa among the monks who came with the Blessed Lord. They thought, “How now is this? Does the great Samana follow the holy life under Uruvella Kassyapa, or does Uruvella Kassyapa follow the holy life under the great Samana?”
8. And the Blessed One, who understood in his mind the reflection which had arisen in the minds of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, addressed the venerable Uruvella Kassyapa, “What has thou seen, O dweller of Uruvella, that thou who art called the great one has forsaken the fire worship? How is it thou has forsaken the fire sacrifice?”
9. Kassyapa replied, “It is sights and sounds, and also tastes, and women of sense-desire that the sacrifices promise; [it was] because I understood that these things are impure that I took no more delight in sacrifices and offerings.”
10. “But if you don’t mind, tell us what made you think so.”
11. Then the venerable Uruvella Kassyapa rose from his seat, adjusted his upper robe so as to cover one shoulder, prostrated himself, inclining his head to the feet of the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One, “My teacher is the Blessed One, I. am his pupil.” Then those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders understood, “Uruvella Kassyapa follows the holy life under the great Samana.”
12. And the Blessed One, who understood in his mind ‘the reflection that had arisen in the minds of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, preached to them his Dhamma. Just as a clean cloth free from black specks properly takes the dye, thus eleven myriads of those Magadha Brahmins and householders with Bimbisara at their head, while sitting there, obtained the pure and spotless dye of the Dhamma. One myriad announced their having become lay followers.
13. Then the Magadha king, Seniya Bimbisara, having witnessed the scene, having understood the Dhamma, having penetrated the Dhamma, having overcome uncertainty, having dispelled all doubts, having gained full knowledge, said to the Blessed One, “In former days, Lord, when I was a prince, I entertained five aspirations; these are now fulfilled.
14. “In former days. Lord, to me when I was a prince, came this thought: ‘O that I might be inaugurated king!’ That was my first aspiration, Lord; that is now fulfilled. ‘And might then a holy one, a fully Enlightened One, come over into my kingdom!’ This was my second aspiration, Lord; that is now fulfilled. ‘And might I minister to that Blessed One!’ That was my third aspiration. Lord; that is now fulfilled.’ And might he, the Blessed One, preach the Dhamma to me!’ This was my fourth aspiration, Lord ; and that is now fulfilled. ‘And might I understand the Dhamma of that Blessed One!’ This was my fifth aspiration, Lord; this is now fulfilled. These were my five aspirations, Lord, which I entertained in former days when I was a prince.
15. “Wonderful, Lord! Wonderful, just as if one should set up what had been overturned, or should reveal what had been hidden, or should point out the way to one who had lost his way, or should bring a lamp into the darkness, in order that those who had eyes might see things; thus has the Blessed One preached the Dhamma in many ways. I take refuge, Lord, in that Blessed One, and in the Dhamma, and in the fraternity of Bhikkus (monks). May the Blessed One receive me from this day forth, while my life lasts, as a lay disciple who has taken refuge in him.”