The lord of the world having finished his wide work of conversion conceived in himself a desire (heart) for Nirvâna. Accordingly proceeding from the city of Râgagriha, he went on towards the town of Pa-lin-fo (Pâtaliputra) 3. . 1735
Having arrived there, he dwelt in the famous Pâtali ketiya 4. Now this (town of Pâtaliputra) is
the frontier town of Magadha, defending the outskirts of the country. . 1736
Ruling the country was a Brahman 1 of wide renown and great learning in the scriptures (sûtras); and (there was also) an overseer of the country, to take the omens of the land with respect to rest or calamity. . 1737
At this time the king of Magadha sent to that officer of inspection (overseer) a messenger to warn and command him to raise fortifications in the neighbourhood (round) of the town for its security and protection. . 1738
And now the lord of the world, as they were raising the fortifications, predicted that in consequence of the Devas and spirits who protected and kept (the land), the place should continue strong and free from calamity (destruction). . 1739
On this the heart of the overseer greatly rejoiced 1, and he made religious offerings to Buddha, the law, and the church. Buddha now leaving the city gate went on towards the river Ganges. . 1740
The overseer from his deep reverence for Buddha named the gate (through which the lord had passed) the 'Gautama gate 2.' Meanwhile the people all by the side of the river Ganges went forth to pay reverence to the lord of the world. . 1741
They prepared for him every kind of religious offering, and each one with his gaudy boat (decorated boat) 3 invited him to cross over. The lord of the world, considering the number of the boats, feared lest by an appearance of partiality in accepting one, he might hurt the minds of all the rest. . 1742
Therefore in a moment by his spiritual power he transported himself and the great congregation (across the river), leaving this shore he passed at once to that, . 1743
Signifying thereby the passage in the boat of wisdom 4 (from this world to Nirvâna), a boat large enough to transport all that lives (to save the world), even as without a boat he crossed without hindrance the river (Ganges). . 1744
Then all the people on the bank of the river, with one voice, raised a rapturous shout 1, and all declared this ford should be called the Gautama ford. . 1745
As the city gate is called the Gautama gate, so this Gautama ford is so known through ages; and shall be so called through generations to come 2. . 1746
Then Tathâgata, going forward still, came to that celebrated Kuli 3 village, where he preached and converted many; again he went on to the Nâdi 4 village, . 1747
Where many deaths had occurred among the people. The friends of the dead then came (to the lord) and asked, 'Where have our friends and relatives deceased, now gone to be born, after this life ended 5?' . 1748
Buddha, knowing well the sequence of deeds, answered each according to his several case. Then going forward to Vaisâlî 6, he located himself in the Âmra grove 7. . 1749
The celebrated Lady Âmrâ, well affected to Buddha, went to that garden followed by her waiting
women, whilst the children from the schools 1 paid her respect. . 1750
Thus with circumspection and self-restraint, her person lightly and plainly clothed, putting away all her ornamented robes and all adornments of scent and flowers, . 1751
As a prudent and virtuous woman goes forth to perform her religious duties, so she went on, beautiful to look upon, like any Devî in appearance. . 1752
Buddha seeing the lady in the distance approaching, spake thus to all the Bhikshus 2: 'This woman is indeed exceedingly beautiful, able to fascinate the minds (feelings) of the religious; . 1753
'Now then, keep your recollection straight! let wisdom keep your mind in subjection! Better fall into the fierce tiger's mouth, or under the sharp knife of the executioner, . 1754
'Than to dwell with a woman and excite in yourselves lustful thoughts. A woman is anxious to exhibit her form and shape 3, whether walking, standing, sitting, or sleeping. . 1755
'Even when represented as a picture, she desires most of all to set off the blandishments of her beauty, and thus to rob men of their steadfast heart! How then ought you to guard yourselves? . 1756
'By regarding her tears and her smiles as enemies, her stooping form, her hanging arms, and all her disentangled hair as toils designed to entrap man's heart. . 1757
'Then how much more (should you suspect) her studied, amorous beauty! when she displays her dainty outline, her richly ornamented form, and chatters gaily with the foolish man! . 1758
'Ah, then! what perturbation and what evil thoughts, not seeing underneath the horrid, tainted shape, the sorrows of impermanence, the impurity, the unreality! . 1759
'Considering these as the reality, all lustful thoughts die out; rightly considering these, within their several limits, not even an Apsaras would give you joy. . 1760
'But yet the power of lust is great with men, and is to be feared withal; take then the bow of earnest perseverance, and the sharp arrow points of wisdom, . 1761
'Cover your head with the helmet of right-thought, and fight with fixed resolve against the five desires. Better far with red-hot iron pins bore out both your eyes, . 1762
'Than encourage in yourselves lustful thoughts, or look upon a woman's form with such desires. Lust beclouding a man's heart, confused with woman's beauty, . 1763
'The mind is dazed, and at the end of life that man must fall into an "evil way." Fear then the sorrow of that "evil way!" and harbour not the deceits of women. . 1764
'The senses not confined within due limits, and the objects of sense not limited as they ought to be, lustful and covetous thoughts grow up between the two, because the senses and their objects are unequally yoked. . 1765
'Just as when two ploughing oxen are yoked
together to one halter and cross-bar, but not together pulling as they go, so is it when the senses and their objects are unequally matched. . 1766
'Therefore, I say, restrain the heart, give it no unbridled license.' Thus Buddha, for the Bhikshus' sake, explained the law in various ways. . 1767
And now that Âmrâ lady gradually approached the presence of the lord; seeing Buddha seated beneath a tree, lost in thought and wholly absorbed by it, . 1768
She recollected that he had a great compassionate heart, and therefore she believed he would in pity receive her garden grove. With steadfast heart and joyful mien and rightly governed feelings, . 1769
Her outward form restrained, her heart composed, bowing her head at Buddha's feet, she took her place as the lord bade her, whilst he in sequence right declared the law: . 1770
'Your heart (O lady!) seems composed and quieted, your form without external ornaments; young in years and rich, you seem well-talented as you are beautiful. . 1771
'That one, so gifted, should by faith be able to receive the law of righteousness is, indeed, a rare thing in the world! The wisdom of a master 1, derived from former births, enables him to accept the law with joy, this is not rare; . 1772
'But that a woman, weak of will, scant in wisdom, deeply immersed in love, should yet be able to delight in piety, this, indeed, is very rare. . 1773
'A man born in the world, by proper thought comes to delight in goodness, he recognises the
impermanence of wealth and beauty, and looks upon religion as his best ornament. . 1774
'He feels that this alone can remedy the ills of life and change the fate of young and old; the evil destiny that cramps another's life cannot affect him, living righteously; . 1775
'Always removing that which excites desire, he is strong in the absence of desire; seeking to find, not what vain thoughts suggest, but that to which religion points him. . 1776
'Relying on external help, he has sorrow; self-reliant, there is strength and joy. But in the case of woman, from another comes the labour, and the nurture of another's child. . 1777
'Thus then should every one consider well, and loath and put away the form of woman.' Âmrâ the lady, hearing the law, rejoiced. . 1778
Her wisdom strengthened, and still more enlightened, she was enabled to cast off desire, and of herself dissatisfied with woman's form, was freed from all polluting thoughts. . 1779
Though still constrained to woman's form, filled with religious joy, she bowed at Buddha's feet and spoke: 'Oh! may the lord, in deep compassion, receive from me, though ignorant, . 1780
'This offering, and so fulfil my earnest vow.' Then Buddha knowing her sincerity, and for the good of all that lives, . 1781
Silently accepted her request, and caused in her full joy, in consequence; whilst all her friends attentive, grew in knowledge, and, after adoration, went back home. . 1782
249:2 This lady is called Ambapâlî, the courtezan, in the southern records.
249:3 Pâtaliputra, so called, as it seems, from a flower, pâtali (Bignonia suaveolens). It was otherwise called Kusumapura, 'the city of flowers.' The Palimbothra of the Greeks, Arrian, Hist. Ind. p. 324 (ed. Gronovii); supposed to be the modern Patna. The story found in the text, viz. that the place was an unfortified village or frontier station of Magadha when Buddha was seventy-nine years old, compared with the statement that in the time of Megasthenes it was one of the largest and most prosperous towns of India (Arrian, as above), seems to show that some considerable time had elapsed between the Nirvâna and the period of the Greek conquest. It is singular however (as I stated in Buddhist Pilgrims, p. lxiv) that Fă-hien in his account of this town (cap. xxvii) makes no allusion to the Buddhist council said to have been held there under Dharmâsoka. (For further notice of Pâtaliputra, compare Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, pp. 16, 17; also Bigandet, p. 257, and Spence Hardy, passim.)
249:4 There is no mention of the Pâtali ketiya (unless the rest-house is the same as the Ketiya hall) in the Mahâ-parinibbâna-Sutta, but in Bigandet, p. 257, it is stated that the people prepared the 'dzeat,' or hall, for his use. This 'dzeat' had been erected by p. 250 king Agâtasatru for receiving the Likkhavi princes of Vaisâlî, who had come to a conference at this place to settle their affairs with the king. This hall is probably represented at Agantâ, Cave xvi (see Burgess' Report, vol. i, plate xiii, fig. 2; also Mrs. Speirs' Ancient India, p. 197); at least it would seem so from the exact account left us of the position Buddha took on this occasion, 'he entered the hall and took his seat against the central pillar of the hall' (Rhys Davids and Bigandet in loc.) Does this hall, built by king Agâtasatru, and called in our text a 'Ketiya hall,' bear any resemblance to a Basilica?
250:1 Rhys Davids (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 18) tells us that 'the chief magistrates of Magadha Sunîdha and Vassakâra were building a fortress at Pâtaligâma to repel the Vaggians;' I have therefore in my translation supposed the 'ku kwŏ' and the 'yang kwan' to be the two officers referred to. It would seem that these titles 'ruling the country' and 'overseer' were recognised at the time. The text, however, would bear another translation, making the Brahman ruler the same as the omen-taking overseer.
251:1 The account here given is less exact than that of the Mahâ-parinibbâna-Sutta, and it would seem as if it were borrowed from a popular form of that work.
251:2 This is in agreement with the Southern account (see Rhys Davids, Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 2 r).
251:3 There is no mention here made of the river being 'brimful and overflowing' as in the Southern books, nor of the search for rafts of wood or basket-work.
251:4 Compare the account given by Rhys Davids (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 21) and the verse or song there preserved.
252:1 Or rather 'shouted out, "miraculous!"'
252:2 Is there any name corresponding to the 'Gautama' ford known near Patna?
252:3 No doubt the same as Kotigâma (op. cit., p. 23) called Kantikama by Bigandet, p. 259.
252:4 'Come, Ânanda, let us go to the villages of Nâdika,' Rhys Davids, p. 24.
252:5 The names of the dead are given in the Pâli; the account here is evidently an abstract only.
252:6 'Come, Ânanda, let us go on to Vesâli.' Rh. D., p. 28.
252:7 'And there at Vesâli the Blessed One stayed at Ambapâlî's grove,' Rh. D., p. 28.
253:1 So I translate ts’iang tsin; it may mean grown-up scholars, however, or 'students.'
253:2 This sermon against 'woman's wiles' is not found in the Pâli.
253:3 Tsz’ t’ai, her bewitching movements or airs.
255:1 That is, of a man.