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Spiritual Power Fixing His Term Of Years

Books: Sacred Books Of The East

At this time the great men among the Likkhavis, hearing that the lord of

the world had entered their country and was located in the Amra garden,

went thither riding in their gaudy chariots with silken canopies, and

clothed in gorgeous robes, both blue and red and yellow and white, each

one with his own cognizance. Accompanied by their body guard surrounding

them, they went; others prepared the road in front; and with their
/> heavenly crowns and flower-bespangled robes they rode, richly dight with

every kind of costly ornament. Their noble forms resplendent increased

the glory of that garden grove; now taking off the five distinctive

ornaments, alighting from their chariots, they advanced afoot. Slowly

thus, with bated breath, their bodies reverent they advanced. Then they

bowed down and worshipped Buddha's foot, and, a great multitude, they

gathered round the lord, shining as the sun's disc, full of radiance.

There was the lion Likkhavi, among the Likkhavis the senior, his noble

form bold as the lion's, standing there with lion eyes, but without the

lion's pride, taught by the Sakya lion, who thus began: "Great and

illustrious personages, famed as a tribe for grace and comeliness! put

aside, I pray, the world's high thoughts, and now accept the abounding

lustre of religious teaching. Wealth and beauty, scented flowers and

ornaments like these, are not to be compared for grace with moral

rectitude! Your land productive and in peaceful quiet--this is your

great renown; but true gracefulness of body and a happy people depend

upon the heart well-governed. Add but to this a reverent feeling for

religion, then a people's fame is at its height! a fertile land and all

the dwellers in it, as a united body, virtuous! To-day then learn this

virtue, cherish with carefulness the people, lead them as a body in the

right way of rectitude, even as the ox-king leads the way across the

river-ford. If a man with earnest recollection ponder on things of this

world and the next, he will consider how by right behavior right morals

he prepares, as the result of merit, rest in either world. For all in

this world will exceedingly revere him, his fame will spread abroad

through every part, the virtuous will rejoice to call him friend, and

the outflowings of his goodness will know no bounds forever. The

precious gems found in the desert wilds are all from earth engendered;

moral conduct, likewise, as the earth, is the great source of all that

is good. By this, without the use of wings, we fly through space, we

cross the river needing not a handy boat; but without this a man will

find it hard indeed to cross the stream of sorrow or stay the rush of

sorrow. As when a tree with lovely flowers and fruit, pierced by some

sharp instrument, is hard to climb, so is it with the much-renowned for

strength and beauty, who break through the laws of moral rectitude!

Sitting upright in the royal palace, the heart of the king was grave and

majestic; with a view to gain the merit of a pure and moral life, he

became a convert of a great Rishi. With garments dyed and clad with

hair, shaved, save one spiral knot, he led a hermit's life, but, as he

did not rule himself with strict morality, he was immersed in suffering

and sorrow. Each morn and eve he used the three ablutions, sacrificed to

fire and practised strict austerity, let his body be in filth as the

brute beast, passed through fire and water, dwelt amidst the craggy

rocks, inhaled the wind, drank from the Ganges' stream, controlled

himself with bitter fasts--but all! far short of moral rectitude. For

though a man inure himself to live as any brute, he is not on that

account a vessel of the righteous law; whilst he who breaks the laws of

right behavior invites detraction, and is one no virtuous man can love;

his heart is ever filled with boding fear, his evil name pursues him as

a shadow. Having neither profit nor advantage in this world, how can he

in the next world reap content? Therefore the wise man ought to practise

pure behavior; passing through the wilderness of birth and death, pure

conduct is to him a virtuous guide. From pure behavior comes self-power,

which frees a man from many dangers; pure conduct, like a ladder,

enables us to climb to heaven. Those who found themselves on right

behavior, cut off the source of pain and grief; but they who by

transgression destroy this mind, may mourn the loss of every virtuous

principle. To gain this end first banish every ground of 'self'; this

thought of 'self' shades every lofty aim, even as the ashes that conceal

the fire, treading on which the foot is burned. Pride and indifference

shroud this heart, too, as the sun is obscured by the piled-up clouds;

supercilious thoughts root out all modesty of mind, and sorrow saps the

strongest will. As age and disease waste youthful beauty, so pride of

self destroys all virtue; the Devas and Asuras, thus from jealousy and

envy, raised mutual strife. The loss of virtue and of merit which we

mourn, proceeds from 'pride of self' throughout; and as I am a conqueror

amid conquerors, so he who conquers self is one with me. He who little

cares to conquer self, is but a foolish master; beauty, or earthly

things, family renown and such things, all are utterly inconstant, and

what is changeable can give no rest of interval. If in the end the law

of entire destruction is exacted, what use is there in indolence and

pride? Covetous desire is the greatest source of sorrow, appearing as a

friend in secret 'tis our enemy. As a fierce fire excited from within a

house, so is the fire of covetous desire: the burning flame of covetous

desire is fiercer far than fire which burns the world. For fire may be

put out by water in excess, but what can overpower the fire of lust? The

fire which fiercely burns the desert grass dies out, and then the grass

will grow again; but when the fire of lust burns up the heart, then how

hard for true religion there to dwell! for lust seeks worldly pleasures,

these pleasures add to an impure karman; by this evil karman a man falls

into perdition, and so there is no greater enemy to man than lust.

Lusting, man gives way to amorous indulgence, by this he is led to

practise every kind of lustful longing; indulging thus, he gathers

frequent sorrow. No greater evil is there than lust. Lust is a dire

disease, and the foolish master stops the medicine of wisdom. The study

of heretical books not leading to right thought, causes the lustful

heart to increase and grow, for these books are not correct on the

points of impermanency, the non-existence of self, and any object ground

for 'self.' But a true and right apprehension through the power of

wisdom, is effectual to destroy that false desire, and therefore our

object should be to practise this true apprehension. Right apprehension

once produced then there is deliverance from covetous desire, for a

false estimate of excellency produces a covetous desire to excel, whilst

a false view of demerit produces anger and regret; but the idea of

excelling and also of inferiority (in the sense of demerit) both

destroyed, the desire to excel and also anger (on account of

inferiority) are destroyed. Anger! how it changes the comely face, how

it destroys the loveliness of beauty! Anger dulls the brightness of the

eye, chokes all desire to hear the principles of truth, cuts and divides

the principle of family affection, impoverishes and weakens every

worldly aim. Therefore let anger be subdued, yield not to the angry

impulse; he who can hold his wild and angry heart is well entitled

'illustrious charioteer.' For men call such a one 'illustrious

team-breaker' who can with bands restrain the unbroken steed; so anger

not subdued, its fire unquenched, the sorrow of repentance burns like

fire. A man who allows wild passion to arise within, himself first burns

his heart, then after burning adds the wind thereto which ignites the

fire again, or not, as the case may be. The pain of birth, old age,

disease, and death, press heavily upon the world, but adding 'passion'

to the score, what is this but to increase our foes when pressed by

foes? But rather, seeing how the world is pressed by throngs of grief,

we ought to encourage in us love, and as the world produces grief on

grief, so should we add as antidotes unnumbered remedies." Tathagata,

illustrious in expedients, according to the disease, thus briefly spoke;

even as a good physician in the world, according to the disease,

prescribes his medicine. And now the Likkhavis, hearing the sermon

preached by Buddha, arose forthwith and bowed at Buddha's feet, and

joyfully they placed them on their heads. Then they asked both Buddha

and the congregation on the morrow to accept their poor religious

offerings. But Buddha told them that already Amra had invited him. On

this the Likkhavis, harboring thoughts of pride and disappointment,

said: "Why should that one take away our profit?" But, knowing Buddha's

heart to be impartial and fair, they once again regained their

cheerfulness. Tathagata, moreover, nobly seizing the occasion, appeasing

them, produced within a joyful heart; and so subdued, their grandeur of

appearance came again, as when a snake subdued by charms glistens with

shining skin. And now, the night being passed, the signs of dawn

appearing, Buddha and the great assembly go to the abode of Amra, and

having received her entertainment, they went on to the village of

Pi-nau, and there he rested during the rainy season; the three months'

rest being ended, again he returned to Vaisali, and dwelt beside the

Monkey Tank; sitting there in a shady grove, he shed a flood of glory

from his person; aroused thereby, Mara Pisuna came to the place where

Buddha was, and with closed palms exhorted him thus: "Formerly, beside

the Nairangana river, when you had accomplished your true and steadfast

aim, you said, 'When I have done all I have to do, then will I pass at

once to Nirvana'; and now you have done all you have to do, you should,

as then you said, pass to Nirvana."

Then Buddha spake to Pisuna: "The time of my complete deliverance is at

hand, but let three months elapse, and I shall reach Nirvana." Then

Mara, knowing that Tathagata had fixed the time for his emancipation,

his earnest wish being thus fulfilled, joyous returned to his abode in

heaven. Tathagata, seated beneath a tree, straightway was lost in

ecstasy, and willingly rejected his allotted years, and by his spiritual

power fixed the remnant of his life. On this, Tathagata thus giving up

his years, the great earth shook and quaked through all the limits of

the universe; great flames of fire were seen around, the tops of Sumeru

were shaken, from heaven there rained showers of flying stones, a

whirling tempest rose on every side, the trees were rooted up and fell,

heavenly music rose with plaintive notes, whilst angels for a time were

joyless. Buddha rising from out his ecstasy, announced to all the world:

"Now have I given up my term of years; I live henceforth by power of

faith; my body like a broken chariot stands, no further cause of

'coming' or of 'going'; completely freed from the three worlds, I go

enfranchised, as a chicken from its egg."

The Differences of the Likkhavis

The venerable Ananda, seeing the earth shaking on every side, his heart

was tearful and his hair erect; he asked the cause thereof of Buddha.

Buddha replied: "Ananda! I have fixed three months to end my life, the

rest of life I utterly give up; this is the reason why the earth is

greatly shaken."

Ananda, hearing the instruction of Buddha, was moved with pity and the

tears flowed down his face, even as when an elephant of mighty strength

shakes the sandal-wood tree. Thus was Ananda shaken and his mind

perturbed, whilst down his cheeks the tears, like drops of perfume,

flowed; so much he loved the lord his master, so full of kindness was

he, and, as yet, not freed from earthly thoughts. Thinking then on these

four things alone, he gave his grief full liberty, nor could he master

it, but said, "Now I hear the lord declare that he has fixed for good

his time to die, my body fails, my strength is gone, my mind is dazed,

my soul is all discordant, and all the words of truth forgotten; a wild

deserted waste seems heaven and earth. Have pity! save me, master!

perish not so soon! Perished with bitter cold, I chanced upon a

fire--forthwith it disappeared. Wandering amid the wilds of grief and

pain, deceived, confused, I lost my way--suddenly a wise and prudent

guide encountered me, but hardly saved from my bewilderment, he once

more vanished. Like some poor man treading through endless mud, weary

and parched with thirst, longs for the water, suddenly he lights upon a

cool refreshing lake, he hastens to it--lo! it dries before him. The

deep blue, bright, refulgent eye, piercing through all the worlds, with

wisdom brightens the dark gloom, the darkness for a moment is dispelled.

As when the blade shoots through the yielding earth, the clouds collect

and we await the welcome shower, then a fierce wind drives the big

clouds away, and so with disappointed hope we watch the dried-up field!

Deep darkness reigned for want of wisdom, the world of sentient

creatures groped for light, Tathagata lit up the lamp of wisdom, then

suddenly extinguished it--ere he had brought it out."

Buddha, hearing Ananda speaking thus, grieved at his words, and pitying

his distress, with soothing accents and with gentle presence spake with

purpose to declare the one true law:--

"If men but knew their own nature, they would not dwell in sorrow;

everything that lives, whate'er it be, all this is subject to

destruction's law; I have already told you plainly, the law of things

'joined' is to 'separate'; the principle of kindness and of love is not

abiding, 'tis better then to reject this pitiful and doting heart. All

things around us bear the stamp of instant change; born, they perish; no

self-sufficiency; those who would wish to keep them long, find in the

end no room for doing so. If things around us could be kept for aye, and

were not liable to change or separation, then this would be salvation!

where then can this be sought? You, and all that lives, can seek in me

this great deliverance! That which you may all attain I have already

told you, and tell you, to the end. Why then should I preserve this

body? The body of the excellent law shall long endure! I am resolved; I

look for rest! This is the one thing needful. So do I now instruct all

creatures, and as a guide, not seen before, I lead them; prepare

yourselves to cast off consciousness, fix yourselves well in your own

island. Those who are thus fixed mid-stream, with single aim and

earnestness striving in the use of means, preparing quietly a quiet

place, not moved by others' way of thinking, know well, such men are

safe on the law's island. Fixed in contemplation, lighted by the lamp of

wisdom, they have thus finally destroyed ignorance and gloom. Consider

well the world's four bounds, and dare to seek for true religion only;

forget 'yourself,' and every 'ground of self,' the bones, the nerves,

the skin, the flesh, the mucus, the blood that flows through every vein;

behold these things as constantly impure, what joy then can there be in

such a body? every sensation born from cause, like the bubble floating

on the water. The sorrow coming from the consciousness of birth and

death and inconstancy, removes all thought of joy--the mind acquainted

with the law of production, stability, and destruction, recognizes how

again and once again things follow or succeed one another with no

endurance. But thinking well about Nirvana, the thought of endurance is

forever dismissed; we see how the samskaras from causes have arisen, and

how these aggregates will again dissolve, all of them impermanent. The

foolish man conceives the idea of 'self,' the wise man sees there is no

ground on which to build the idea of 'self,' thus through the world he

rightly looks and well concludes, all, therefore, is but evil; the

aggregate amassed by sorrow must perish in the end! if once confirmed in

this conviction, that man perceives the truth. This body, too, of Buddha

now existing soon will perish: the law is one and constant, and without

exception." Buddha having delivered this excellent sermon, appeased the

heart of Ananda.

Then all the Likkhavis, hearing the report, with fear and apprehension

assembled in a body; devoid of their usual ornaments, they hastened to

the place where Buddha was. Having saluted him according to custom, they

stood on one side, wishing to ask him a question, but not being able to

find words. Buddha, knowing well their heart, by way of remedy, in the

right use of means, spake thus:--

"Now I perfectly understand that you have in your minds unusual

thoughts, not referring to worldly matters, but wholly connected with

subjects of religion; and now you wish to hear from me, what may be

known respecting the report about my resolve to terminate my life, and

my purpose to put an end to the repetition of birth. Impermanence is the

nature of all that exists, constant change and restlessness its

conditions; unfixed, unprofitable, without the marks of long endurance.

In ancient days the Rishi kings, Vasishtha Rishi, Mandhatri, the

Kakravartin monarchs, and the rest, these and all others like them, the

former conquerors, who lived with strength like Isvara, these all have

long ago perished, not one remains till now; the sun and moon, Sakra

himself, and the great multitude of his attendants, will all, without

exception, perish; there is not one that can for long endure; all the

Buddhas of the past ages, numerous as the sands of the Ganges, by their

wisdom enlightening the world, have all gone out as a lamp; all the

Buddhas yet to come will also perish in the same way; why then should I

alone be different? I too will pass into Nirvana; but as they prepared

others for salvation, so now should you press forward in the path;

Vaisali may be glad indeed, if you should find the way of rest! The

world, in truth, is void of help, the 'three worlds' not enough for

joy--stay then the course of sorrow, by engendering a heart without

desire. Give up for good the long and straggling way of life, press

onward on the northern track, step by step advance along the upward

road, as the sun skirts along the western mountains."

At this time the Likkhavis, with saddened hearts, went back along the

way; lifting their hands to heaven and sighing bitterly: "Alas! what

sorrow this! His body like the pure gold mountain, the marks upon his

person so majestic, ere long and like a towering crag he falls; not to

live, then why not, 'not to love'? The powers of birth and death,

weakened awhile, the lord Tathagata, himself the fount of wisdom

appeared, and now to give it up and disappear! without a saviour now,

what check to sorrow? The world long time endured in darkness, and men

were led by a false light along the way--when lo! the sun of wisdom

rose; and now, again, it fades and dies--no warning given. Behold the

whirling waves of ignorance engulfing all the world! Why is the bridge

or raft of wisdom in a moment cut away? The loving and the great

physician king came with remedies of wisdom, beyond all price, to heal

the hurts and pains of men--why suddenly goes he away? The excellent and

heavenly flag of love adorned with wisdom's blazonry, embroidered with

the diamond heart, the world not satisfied with gazing on it, the

glorious flag of heavenly worship! Why in a moment is it snapped? Why

such misfortune for the world, when from the tide of constant

revolutions a way of escape was opened--but now shut again! and there is

no escape from weary sorrow! Tathagata, possessed of fond and loving

heart, now steels himself and goes away; he holds his heart so patient

and so loving, and, like the Wai-ka-ni flower, with thoughts cast down,

irresolute and tardy, he goes depressed along the road. Or like a man

fresh from a loved one's grave, the funeral past and the last farewell

taken, comes back with anxious look."


When Buddha went towards the place of his Nirvana, the city of Vaisali

was as if deserted, as when upon a dark and cloudy night the moon and

stars withdraw their shining. The land that heretofore had peace, was

now afflicted and distressed; as when a loving father dies, the orphan

daughter yields to constant grief. Her personal grace unheeded, her

clever skill but lightly thought of, with stammering lips she finds

expression for her thoughts; how poor her brilliant wit and wisdom now!

Her spiritual powers ill regulated without attractiveness, her loving

heart faint and fickle, exalted high but without strength, and all her

native grace neglected; such was the case at Vaisali; all outward show

now fallen, like autumn verdure in the fields bereft of water, withered

up and dry; or like the smoke of a half-smouldering fire, or like those

who having food before them yet forget to eat, so these forgot their

common household duties, and nought prepared they for the day's

emergencies. Thinking thus on Buddha, lost in deep reflection, silent

they sat nor spoke a word. And now the lion Likkhavis manfully enduring

their great sorrow, with flowing tears and doleful sighs, signifying

thereby their love of kindred, destroyed forever all their books of

heresy, to show their firm adherence to the true law. Having put down

all heresy, they left it once for all; severed from the world and the

world's doctrines, convinced that non-continuance was the great disease.

Moreover thus they thought: "The lord of men now enters the great quiet

place (Nirvana), and we are left without support, and with no saviour;

the highest lord of 'means' is now about to extinguish all his glory in

the final place of death. Now we indeed have lost our steadfast will, as

fire deprived of fuel; greatly to be pitied is the world, now that the

lord gives up his world-protecting office, even as a man bereft of

spiritual power throughout the world is greatly pitied. Oppressed by

heat we seek the cooling lake, nipped by the cold we use the fire; but

in a moment all is lost, the world is left without resource; the

excellent law, indeed, is left, to frame the world anew, as a

metal-caster frames anew his work. The world has lost its master-guide,

and, men bereaved of him, the way is lost; old age, disease, and death,

self-sufficient, now that the road is missed, pervade the world without

a way. What is there now throughout the world equal to overcome the

springs of these great sorrows? The great cloud's rain alone can make

the raging and excessive fire, that burns the world, go out. So only he

can make the raging fire of covetous desire go out; and now he, the

skilful maker of comparisons, has firmly fixed his mind to leave the

world! And why, again, is the sword of wisdom, ever ready to be used for

an uninvited friend, only like the draught of wine given to him about to

undergo the torture and to die? Deluded by false knowledge the mass of

living things are only born to die again; as the sharp knife divides the

wood, so constant change divides the world. The gloom of ignorance like

the deep water, lust like the rolling billow, sorrow like the floating

bubbles, false views like the Makara fish, amidst all these the ship of

wisdom only can carry us across the mighty sea. The mass of ills are

like the flowers of the sorrow-tree, old age and all its griefs, the

tangled boughs; death the tree's tap-root, deeds done in life the buds,

the diamond sword of wisdom only strong enough to cut down the mundane

tree! Ignorance the burning-glass, covetous desire the scorching rays,

the objects of the five desires the dry grass, wisdom alone the water to

put out the fire. The perfect law, surpassing every law, having

destroyed the gloom of ignorance, we see the straight road leading to

quietness and rest, the end of every grief and sorrow. And now the

loving one, converting men, impartial in his thoughts to friend or foe,

the all-knowing, perfectly instructed, even he is going to leave the

world! He with his soft and finely modulated voice, his compact body and

broad shoulders, he, the great Rishi, ends his life! Who then can claim

exemption? Enlightened, now he quickly passes hence! let us therefore

seek with earnestness the truth, even as a man meets with the stream

beside the road, then drinks and passes on. Inconstancy, this is the

dreaded enemy--the universal destroyer--sparing neither rich nor poor;

rightly perceiving this and keeping it in mind, this man, though

sleeping, yet is the only ever-wakeful."

Thus the Likkhavi lions, ever mindful of the Buddha's wisdom, disquieted

with the pain of birth and death, sighed forth their fond remembrance of

the man-lion. Retaining in their minds no love of worldly things, aiming

to rise above the power of every lustful quality, subduing in their

hearts the thought of light or trivial matters, training their thoughts

to seek the quiet, peaceful place; diligently practising the rules of

unselfish, charitable conduct; putting away all listlessness, they found

their joy in quietness and seclusion, meditating only on religious

truth. And now the all-wise, turning his body round with a lion-turn,

once more gazed upon Vaisali, and uttered this farewell verse:--

"Now this, the last time this, I leave Vaisali--the land where heroes

live and flourish! Now am I going to die." Then gradually advancing,

stage by stage he came to Bhoga-nagara, and there he rested in the Sala

grove, where he instructed all his followers in the precepts:--

"Now having gone on high I shall enter on Nirvana: ye must rely upon the

law--this is your highest, strongest, vantage ground. What is not found

in Sutra, or what disagrees with rules of Vinaya, opposing the one true

system of my doctrine, this must not be held by you. What opposes

Dharma, what opposes Vinaya, or what is contrary to my words, this is

the result of ignorance: ye must not hold such doctrine, but with haste

reject it. Receiving that which has been said aright, this is not

subversive of true doctrine, this is what I have said, as the Dharma and

Vinaya say. Accepting that which I, the law, and the Vinaya declare,

this is to be believed. But words which neither I, the law, nor the

Vinaya declare, these are not to be believed. Not gathering the true and

hidden meaning, but closely holding to the letter, this is the way of

foolish teachers, but contrary to my doctrine and a false way of

teaching. Not separating the true from false, accepting in the dark

without discrimination, is like a shop where gold and its alloys are

sold together, justly condemned by all the world. The foolish masters,

practising the ways of superficial wisdom, grasp not the meaning of the

truth; but to receive the law as it explains itself, this is to accept

the highest mode of exposition. Ye ought, therefore, thus to investigate

true principles, to consider well the true law and the Vinaya, even as

the goldsmith does who melts and strikes and then selects the true. Not

to know the Sutras and the Sastras, this is to be devoid of wisdom; not

saying properly that which is proper, is like doing that which is not

fit to see. Let all be done in right and proper order, according as the

meaning of the sentence guides, for he who grasps a sword unskilfully,

does but inflict a wound upon his hand. Not skilfully to handle words

and sentences, the meaning then is hard to know; as in the night-time

travelling and seeking for a house, if all be dark within, how difficult

to find. Losing the meaning, then the law is disregarded, disregarding

the law the mind becomes confused; therefore every wise and prudent

master neglects not to discover the true and faithful meaning."

Having spoken these words respecting the precepts of religion, he

advanced to the town of Pava, where all the Mallas prepared for him

religious offerings of every kind. At this time a certain householder's

son whose name was Kunda, invited Buddha to his house, and there he gave

him, as an offering, his very last repast. Having partaken of it and

declared the law, he onward went to the town of Kusi, crossing the river

Tsae-kieuh and the Hiranyavati. Then in that Sala grove, a place of

quiet and seclusion, he took his seat: entering the golden river he

bathed his body, in appearance like a golden mountain. Then he spake his

bidding thus to Ananda: "Between those twin Sala trees, sweeping and

watering, make a clean space, and then arrange my sitting-mat. At

midnight coming, I shall die."

Ananda hearing the bidding of his master, his breath was choked with

heart-sadness; but going and weeping he obeyed the instruction, and

spreading out the mat he came forthwith back to his master and

acquainted him. Tathagata having lain down with his head towards the

north and on his right side, slept thus. Resting upon his hand as on a

pillow with his feet crossed, even as a lion-king; all grief is passed,

his last-born body from this one sleep shall never rise. His followers

round him, in a circle gathered, sigh dolefully: "The eye of the world

is now put out!" The wind is hushed, the forest streams are silent, no

voice is heard of bird or beast. The trees sweat out large flowing

drops, flowers and leaves out of season singly fall, whilst men and

Devas, not yet free from desire, are filled with overwhelming fear. Thus

were they like men wandering through the arid desert, the road full

dangerous, who fail to reach the longed-for hamlet; full of fear they go

on still, dreading they might not find it, their heart borne down with

fear they faint and droop. And now Tathagata, aroused from sleep,

addressed Ananda thus: "Go! tell the Mallas, the time of my decease is

come; they, if they see me not, will ever grieve and suffer deep

regret." Ananda listening to the bidding of his master, weeping went

along the road. And then he told those Mallas all--"The lord is near to

death." The Mallas hearing it, were filled with great, excessive grief.

The men and women hurrying forth, bewailing as they went, came to the

spot where Buddha was; with garments torn and hair dishevelled, covered

with dust and sweat they came. With piteous cries they reached the

grove, as when a Deva's day of merit comes to an end, so did they bow

weeping and adoring at the feet of Buddha, grieving to behold his

failing strength. Tathagata, composed and quiet, spake: "Grieve not! the

time is one for joy; no call for sorrow or for anguish here; that which

for ages I have aimed at, now am I just about to obtain; delivered now

from the narrow bounds of sense, I go to the place of never-ending rest

and peace. I leave these things, earth, water, fire, and air, to rest

secure where neither birth nor death can come. Eternally delivered there

from grief, oh! tell me! why should I be sorrowful? Of yore on Sirsha's

mount, I longed to rid me of this body, but to fulfil my destiny I have

remained till now with men in the world; I have kept this sickly,

crumbling body, as dwelling with a poisonous snake; but now I am come to

the great resting-place, all springs of sorrow now forever stopped. No

more shall I receive a body, all future sorrow now forever done away; it

is not meet for you, on my account, for evermore, to encourage any

anxious fear."

The Mallas hearing Buddha's words, that he was now about to die, their

minds confused, their eyes bedimmed, as if they saw before them nought

but blackness, with hands conjoined, spake thus to Buddha: "Buddha is

leaving now the pain of birth and death, and entering on the eternal joy

of rest; doubtless we ought to rejoice thereat. Even as when a house is

burnt a man rejoices if his friends are saved from out the flames; the

gods! perhaps they rejoice--then how much more should men! But--when

Tathagata has gone and living things no more may see him, eternally cut

off from safety and deliverance--in thought of this we grieve and

sorrow. Like as a band of merchants crossing with careful steps a

desert, with only a single guide, suddenly he dies! Those merchants now

without a protector, how can they but lament! The present age, coming to

know their true case, has found the omniscient, and looked to him, but

yet has not obtained the final conquest; how will the world deride! Even

as it would laugh at one who, walking o'er a mountain full of treasure,

yet ignorant thereof, hugs still the pain of poverty."

So spake the Mallas, and with tearful words excuse themselves to Buddha,

even as an only child pleads piteously before a loving father. Buddha

then, with speech most excellent, exhibited and declared the highest

principle of truth, and thus addressed the Mallas:--

"In truth, 'tis as you say; seeking the way, you must exert yourselves

and strive with diligence--it is not enough to have seen me! Walk, as I

have commanded you; get rid of all the tangled net of sorrow; walk in

the way with steadfast aim; 'tis not from seeing me this comes--even as

a sick man depending on the healing power of medicine, gets rid of all

his ailments easily without beholding the physician. He who does not do

what I command sees me in vain, this brings no profit; whilst he who

lives far off from where I am, and yet walks righteously, is ever near

me! A man may dwell beside me, and yet, being disobedient, be far away

from me. Keep your heart carefully--give not place to listlessness!

earnestly practise every good work. Man born in this world is pressed by

all the sorrows of the long career, ceaselessly troubled--without a

moment's rest, as any lamp blown by the wind!" The Mallas all, hearing

Buddha's loving instruction, inwardly composed, restrained their tears,

and, firmly self-possessed, returned.


At this time there was a Brahmakarin whose name was Su-po-to-lo; he was

well-known for his virtuous qualities, leading a pure life according to

the rules of morality, and protecting all living things. When young he

had adopted heretical views, and become a recluse among

unbelievers--this one, wishing to see the lord, spake to Ananda thus:--

"I hear that the system of Tathagata is of a singular character and very

profound, and that he has reached the highest wisdom in the world, the

first of all horse-tamers. I hear moreover that he is now about to die,

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. I now desire respectfully to see him

the greatest and most virtuous guide of men, because I seek to escape

this mass of sorrow and reach the other shore of birth and death. The

sun of Buddha now about to quench its rays, O! let me for a moment gaze

upon him." The feelings of Ananda now were much affected, thinking that

this request was made with a view to controversy, or that he felt an

inward joy because the lord was on the eve of death. He was not willing

therefore to permit the interview with Buddha. Buddha, knowing the man's

earnest desire and that he was a vessel fit for true religion, therefore

addressed Ananda thus: "Permit that heretic to advance; I was born to

save mankind, make no hindrance therefore, or excuse!"

Subhadra, hearing this, was overjoyed at heart, and his religious

feelings were much enlarged, as with increased reverence he advanced to

Buddha's presence. 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; 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. O that

you would, on my account, briefly explain your method, moisten my empty,

thirsty soul! not with a view to controversy or from a desire to gain

the mastery, but with sincerity I ask you so to do."

Then Buddha, for the Brahmakarin's sake, in brief recounted the eight

"right ways"--on hearing which, his empty soul accepted it, as one

deceived accepts direction in the right road. 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. Moreover, now he rejected

the gloomy hindrances of doubt, reflecting how by his former practices,

mixed up with anger, hate, and ignorance, he had long cherished no real

joy. For if, he argued, the ways of lust and hate and ignorance are able

to produce a virtuous karman, then "hearing much" and "persevering

wisdom," these, too, are born from lust, which cannot be. But if a man

is able to cut down hate and ignorance, then also he puts off all

consequences of works, and these being finally destroyed, this is

complete emancipation. Those thus freed from works are likewise freed

from subtle questionings, such as what the world says "that all things,

everywhere, possess a self-nature." 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"? For even if we rightly cause the overthrow of hate and

ignorance, yet if lust remains, then there is a return of birth; even as

water, cold in its nature, may by fire be heated, 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, and

neither hearing wisdom nor perseverance can alter it. Neither capable of

increase or diminution, how can there be deliverance? I held aforetime

that birth and death resulted thus, from their own innate nature; 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? Just as a burning

lamp cannot but give its light; the way of Buddha is the only true one,

that lust, as the root-cause, brings forth the things that live; destroy

this lust then there is Nirvana; the cause destroyed then the fruit is

not produced. I formerly maintained that "I" was a distinct entity, not

seeing that it has no maker. But now I hear the right doctrine preached

by Buddha, there is no "self" in all the world, for all things are

produced by cause, and therefore there is no creator. If then sorrow is

produced by cause, 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. 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 are "done away," and so he deeply "saw" the true

doctrine taught by Buddha.

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. His heart

expanding to receive the truth, he gazed with earnest look on Buddha as

he slept, nor could he bear to see Tathagata depart and die; "ere yet,"

he said, "Buddha shall reach the term I will myself first leave the

world;" and then with hands close joined, retiring from the holy form,

he took his seat apart, and sat composed and firm. Then giving up his

life, he reached Nirvana, as when the rain puts out a little fire. Then

Buddha spake to all his followers: "This my very last disciple has now

attained Nirvana, cherish him properly."

Then Buddha, the first night watch passed, the moon bright shining and

all the stars clear in their lustre, the quiet grove without a sound,

moved by his great compassionate heart, declared to his disciples this

his bequeathed precepts: "After my Nirvana, ye ought to reverence and

obey the Pratimoksha, as your master, a shining lamp in the dark night,

or as a great jewel treasured by a poor man. These injunctions I have

ever given, these you ought to obey and follow carefully, and treat in

no way different from myself. Keep pure your body, words, and conduct,

put from you all concerns of daily life, lands, houses, cattle, storing

wealth or hoarding grain. All these should be avoided as we avoid a

fiery pit; sowing the land, cutting down shrubs, healing of wounds or

the practice of medicine, star-gazing and astrology, forecasting lucky

or unfortunate events by signs, prognosticating good or evil, all these

are things forbidden. Keeping the body temperate, eat at proper times;

receive no mission as a go-between; compound no philteries; abhor

dissimulation; 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. These form the groundwork of my

rules, these also are the ground of full emancipation. Enabled thus to

live this is rightly to receive all other things. This is true wisdom

which embraces all, this is the way to attain the end; this code of

rules, therefore, ye should hold and keep, and never let it slip or be

destroyed. For when pure rules of conduct are observed then there is

true religion; without these, virtue languishes; found yourselves

therefore well on these my precepts; grounded thus in rules of purity,

the springs of feeling will be well controlled, even as the

well-instructed cow-herd guides well his cattle. Ill-governed feelings,

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. So, like the horse ill-broken, these land us in the ditch;

therefore the wise and prudent man will not allow his senses license.

For these senses are, indeed, our greatest foes, causes of misery; for

men enamoured thus by sensuous things cause all their miseries to recur.

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. But what he fears is only this--a light and trivial

heart, which drags a man to future misery--just for a little sip of

pleasure, not looking at the yawning gulf before us; like the wild

elephant freed from the iron curb, 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. Letting the heart go loose without

restraint, that man shall not attain Nirvana; therefore we ought to hold

the heart in check, and go apart from men and seek a quiet

resting-place. 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. 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. The

Bhikshu, in begging food, should beware of injuring the faithful mind of

another; if a man opens his heart in charity, think not about his

capabilities, 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. 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. 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? 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?

"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. 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. Modest behavior keeps the heart

composed, without it every virtuous root will die. Who has this modesty,

the world applauds; without it, he is but as any beast. If a man with a

sharp sword should cut the body bit by bit, let not an angry thought, or

of resentment, rise, and let the mouth speak no ill word. 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. 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. 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.

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. But he who has 'left his home' indulging anger, this is

indeed opposed to principle, as if in frozen water there were found the

heat of fire. If indolence arises in your heart, then with your own hand

smooth down your head, shave off your hair, and clad in sombre garments,

in your hand holding the begging-pot, go ask for food; 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; 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!

"Crookedness and 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 behavior, a false and

crooked way of speech is not becoming. False and flattering speech is

like the magician's art; but he who ponders on religion cannot speak

falsely. To 'covet much,' brings sorrow; desiring little, there is rest

and peace. To procure rest, there must be small desire--much more in

case of those who seek salvation. The niggard dreads the much-seeking

man lest he should filch away his property, 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. From this desiring-little-mind we find the way of

true deliverance; desiring true deliverance we ought to practise

knowing-enough contentment.

"A contented mind is always joyful, but joy like this is but religion;

the rich and poor alike, having contentment, enjoy perpetual rest. 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. The

rich, without contentment, endures the pain of poverty; though poor, if

yet he be contented, then he is rich indeed! 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. Without cessation thus he cherishes his careful

plans, whilst he who lives contented, freed from anxious thoughts about

relationships, his heart is ever peaceful and at rest. 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.

"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. Many dependents 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; therefore night and

day men ought with ceaseless effort to exert themselves; the tiny

streams that trickle down the mountain slopes by always flowing eat away

the rock. 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. A 'virtuous

friend' though he be gentle is not to be compared with right

reflection--right thought kept well in the mind, no evil thing can ever

enter there.

"Wherefore those who practise a religious life should always think about

'the body'; if thought upon one's self be absent, then all virtue dies.

For as the champion warrior relies for victory upon his armor's

strength, so 'right thought' is like a strong cuirass, able to withstand

the six sense-robbers. Right faith enwraps the enlightened heart, so

that a man perceives the world throughout is liable to birth and death;

therefore the religious man should practise faith.

"Having found peace in faith, 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. By inward thought and right

consideration following with gladness the directions of the 'true law,'

this is the way in which both laymen of the world and men who have left

their homes should walk.

"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. 'Wisdom'

is the grateful medicine for all the defiling ills of life; 'wisdom' is

the axe wherewith to level all the tangled forest trees of sorrow.

'Wisdom' is the bridge that spans the rushing stream of ignorance and

lust--therefore, in every way, by thought and right attention, a man

should diligently inure himself to engender wisdom. Having acquired the

threefold wisdom, then, though blind, the eye of wisdom sees throughout;

but without wisdom the mind is poor and insincere; such things cannot

suit the man who has left his home.

"Wherefore let the enlightened man lay well to heart that false and

fruitless things become him not, and let him strive with single mind for

that pure joy which can be found alone in perfect rest and quietude.

"Above all things be not careless, for carelessness is the chief foe of

virtue; if a man avoid this fault he may be born where Sakra-raga

dwells. 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 of love. On your parts be diligent!

with virtuous purpose practise well these rules, in quiet solitude of

desert hermitage nourish and cherish a still and peaceful heart. 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, should the sick man neglect to use it, this

cannot be the physician's fault, so I have told you the truth, and set

before you this the one and level road. 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,'

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


Then Anuruddha, observing that the great congregation continued silent

and expressed no doubt, with closed hands thus spake to Buddha:--

"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 in the

world, may happen; but this assembly never can have doubt about the

principles of sorrow, accumulation, destruction, and the

incontrovertible truths, as declared by the lord. But because the lord

is going to die, we all have sorrow; and we cannot raise our thoughts to

the high theme of the lord's preaching. 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. Passed the sea of birth and

death, without desire, with nought to seek, we only know how much we

love, and, grieving, ask why Buddha dies so quickly?"

Buddha regarding Anuruddha, perceiving how his words were full of

bitterness, again with loving heart, appeasing him, replied:--

"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. But when all mutual purposes be

answered, what then shall chaos and creation do! the gods and men alike

that should be saved, shall all have been completely saved! Ye then! my

followers, who know so well the perfect law, remember! the end must

come; give not way again to sorrow!

"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. The world is not

forever fixed! Ye should rejoice therefore! as when a friend, afflicted

grievously, his sickness healed, escapes from pain. For I have put away

this painful vessel, I have stemmed the flowing sea of birth and death,

free forever now, from pain! for this you should exult with joy! Now

guard yourselves aright, let there be no remissness! that which exists

will all return to nothingness! and now I die. From this time forth my

words are done, this is my very last instruction."

Then entering the Samadhi of the first Dhyana, he went successively

through all the nine in a direct order; then inversely he returned

throughout and entered on the first, and then from the first he raised

himself and entered on the fourth. Leaving the state of Samadhi, his

soul without a resting-place, forthwith he reached Nirvana. And then, as

Buddha died, the great earth quaked throughout. In space, on every hand,

was fire like rain, no fuel, self-consuming. And so from out the earth

great flames arose on every side.

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, 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.

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. The

flying dragons, carried on pitchy clouds, wept down their tears; the

four kings and their associates, moved by pity, forgot their works of

charity. The pure Devas came to earth from heaven, halting mid-air they

looked upon the changeful scene, not sorrowing, not rejoicing. 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: cast down at heart and grieving, they scattered flowers as

offerings. Only Mara-raga rejoiced, and struck up sounds of music in his

exultation. Whilst Gambudvipa 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; or heaven

without the sun and moon, or as the lily beaten by the hail; thus was

the world bereaved when Buddha died!

Praising Nirvana

At this time there was a Devaputra, riding on his thousand white-swan

palace in the midst of space, who beheld the Parinirvana of Buddha. This

one, for the universal benefit of the Deva assembly, sounded forth at

large these verses on impermanence:--

"Impermanency is the nature of all things, quickly born, they quickly

die. With birth there comes the rush of sorrows, only in Nirvana is

there joy. The accumulated fuel heaped up by the power of karman, this

the fire of wisdom alone can consume. Though the fame of our deeds reach

up to heaven as smoke, yet in time the rains which descend will

extinguish all, as the fire that rages at the kalpa's end is put out by

the judgment of water."

Again there was a Brahma-Rishi-deva, like a most exalted Rishi, dwelling

in heaven, possessed of superior happiness, with no taint in his bliss,

who thus sighed forth his praises of Tathagata's Nirvana, with his mind

fixed in abstraction as he spoke:

"Looking through all the conditions of life, from first to last nought

is free from destruction. But the incomparable seer dwelling in the

world, thoroughly acquainted with the highest truth, whose wisdom grasps

that which is beyond the world's ken, he it is who can save the

worldly-dwellers. He it is who can provide lasting escape from the

destructive power of impermanence. But, alas! through the wide world,

all that lives is sunk in unbelief."

At this time Anuruddha, "not stopped" by the world, "not stopped" from

being delivered, the stream of birth and death forever "stopped," sighed

forth the praises of Tathagata's Nirvana:--

"All living things completely blind and dark! the mass of deeds all

perishing, even as the fleeting cloud-pile! Quickly arising and as

quickly perishing! the wise man holds not to such a refuge, for the

diamond mace of inconstancy can overturn the mountain of the Rishi

hermit. How despicable and how weak the world! doomed to destruction,

without strength! Impermanence, like the fierce lion, can even spoil the

Naga-elephant-great-Rishi. Only the diamond curtain of Tathagata can

overwhelm inconstancy! How much more should those not yet delivered from

desire, fear and dread its power? From the six seeds there grows one

sprout, one kind of water from the rain, the origin of the four points

is far removed: five kinds of fruit from the two 'Koo'--the three

periods, past, present, future, are but one in substance; the

Muni-great-elephant plucks up the great tree of sorrow, and yet he

cannot avoid the power of impermanence. For like the crested bird

delights within the pool to seize the poisonous snake, but when from

sudden drought he is left in the dry pool, he dies; or as the prancing

steed advances fearlessly to battle, but when the fight has passed goes

back subdued and quiet; or as the raging fire burns with the fuel, but

when the fuel is done, expires; so is it with Tathagata, his task

accomplished he returns to find his refuge in Nirvana: just as the

shining of the radiant moon sheds everywhere its light and drives away

the gloom, all creatures grateful for its light, it disappears concealed

by Sumeru; such is the case with Tathagata, the brightness of his wisdom

lit up the gloomy darkness, and for the good of all that lives drove it

away, when suddenly it disappears behind the mountain of Nirvana. The

splendor of his fame throughout the world diffused, had banished all

obscurity, but like the stream that ever flows, it rests not with us;

the illustrious charioteer with his seven prancing steeds flies through

the host and disappears.

"The bright-rayed Surya-deva, entering the Yen-tsz' cave, was, with the

moon, surrounded with fivefold barriers; 'all things that live,'

deprived of light, present their offerings to heaven; but from their

sacrifice nought but the blackened smoke ascends; thus it is with

Tathagata, his glory hidden, the world has lost its light. Rare was the

expectancy of grateful love that filled the heart of all that lives;

that love, reached its full limit, then was left to perish! The cords of

sorrow all removed, we found the true and only way; but now he leaves

the tangled mesh of life, and enters on the quiet place! His spirit

mounting through space, he leaves the sorrow-bearing vessel of his body!

the gloom of doubt and the great darkness all dispelled, by the bright

rays of wisdom! The earthy soil of sorrow's dust his wisdom's water

purifies! no more, no more, returns he here! forever gone to the place

of rest!

"The power of birth and death destroyed, the world instructed in the

highest doctrine! he bids the world rejoice in knowledge of his law, and

gives to all the benefit of wisdom! Giving complete rest to the world,

the virtuous streams flow forth! his fame known throughout the world,

shines still with increased splendor! How great his pity and his love to

those who opposed his claims, neither rejoicing in their defeat nor

exulting in his own success. Illustriously controlling his feelings, all

his senses completely enlightened, his heart impartially observing

events, unpolluted by the six objects of sense! Reaching to that

unreached before! obtaining that which man had not obtained! with the

water which he provided filling every thirsty soul! Bestowing that which

never yet was given, and providing a reward not hoped for! his peaceful,

well-marked person, perfectly knowing the thoughts of all.

"Not greatly moved either by loving or disliking! overcoming all enemies

by the force of his love! the welcome physician for all diseases, the

one destroyer of impermanency! All living things rejoicing in religion,

fully satisfied! obtaining all they need, their every wish fulfilled!

The great master of holy wisdom once gone returns no more! even as the

fire gone out for want of fuel! Declaring the eight rules without taint;

overcoming the five senses, difficult to compose! with the three powers

of sight seeing the three precious ones; removing the three robbers

(i.e. lust, anger, ignorance); perfecting the three grades of a holy

life, concealing the one (himself) and obtaining the one

saintship--leaping over the seven 'bodhyangas' and obtaining the long

sleep; the end of all, the quiet, peaceful way; the highest prize of

sages and of saints!

"Having himself severed the barriers of sorrow, now he is able to save

his followers, and to provide the draught of immortality for all who are

parched with thirst! Armed with the heavy cuirass of patience, he has

overcome all enemies! by the subtle principles of his excellent law to

satisfy every heart. Planting a sacred seed in the hearts of those

practising virtue; impartially directing and not casting off those who

are right or not right in their views! Turning the wheel of the

superlative law! received with gladness through the world by those who

have in former conditions implanted in themselves a love for religion,

these all saved by his preaching! Going forth among men converting those

not yet converted; those who had not seen the truth, causing them to see

the truth! All those practising a false method of religion, delivering

to them deep principles of his religion! preaching the doctrines of

birth and death and impermanency; declaring that without a master

teacher there can be no happiness! Erecting the standard of his great

renown, overcoming and destroying the armies of Mara! advancing to the

point of indifference to pleasure or pain, caring not for life, desiring

only rest! Causing those not yet converted to obtain conversion! those

not yet saved to be saved! those not yet at rest to find rest! those not

yet enlightened to be enlightened!

"Thus the Muni taught the way of rest for the direction of all living

things! alas! that any transgressing the way of holiness should practise

impure works. Even as at the end of the great kalpa, those holding the

law who die, when the rolling sound of the mysterious thunder-cloud

severs the forests, upon these there shall fall the rain of immortality.

The little elephant breaks down the prickly forest, and by cherishing it

we know that it can profit men; but the cloud that removes the sorrow of

the elephant old-age, this none can bear. He by destroying systems of

religion has perfected his system, in saving the world and yet saving!

he has destroyed the teaching of heresy, in order to reach his

independent mode of doctrine.

"And now he enters the great quiet place! no longer has the world a

protector or saviour! the great army host of Mara-raga, rousing their

warrior, shaking the great earth, desired to injure the honored Muni:

but they could not move him, whom in a moment now the Mara 'inconstancy'

destroys. The heavenly occupants everywhere assemble as a cloud! they

fill the space of heaven, fearing the endless birth and death! their

hearts are full of grief and dread! His Deva eyes clearly behold,

without the limitations of near or distant, the fruits of works

discerned throughout, as an image perceived in a mirror! His Deva ears

perfect and discriminating th