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Buddhist Scriptures, by E.J. Thomas, [1913], at

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Gotama, the future Buddha, was born about 567 B.C. as the son of the Raja of the tribe of Sakyas, at Kapilavatthu on the borders of Nepal, and about 130 miles north of Benares. This date is only a calculation made by reckoning back from the dates of the reigns of various kings, but there is a general agreement that it is approximately correct.

The story of Queen Māyā's dream, as well as the three following passages, are from the introduction to the Jātakas, which contains an account of Gotama's early life. The Lalita Vistara, the later Sanskrit account, shows the development of the legend. The event of the dream is there recorded as an actual occurrence, in which the Bodhisatta descends from the Tusita heaven in the form of an elephant. In the earlier legend there is no mention of a virgin birth, but in the later story the queen takes a vow of abstinence, to which the king gives his consent.

Then was proclaimed in the city of Kapilavatthu the midsummer festival of the month Āsālha, and many people celebrated the festivities. The queen Mahāmāyā, beginning from the seven days before the full moon, celebrated the festival with the splendour of garlands and perfumes, and without the drinking of intoxicants. On the seventh day she rose early, bathed in scented

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water, bestowed a great gift of 400,000 pieces of money as alms, being adorned with all kinds of ornaments, ate of choice food, performed the holy-day vows, and entered the splendidly adorned royal bedchamber, And lying on the royal bed she fell asleep, and dreamt this dream: The four kings 1 raised her together with the bed, and took her to the Himalaya to the Manosilā tableland, sixty leagues in length, and placing her beneath a great sal-tree, seven leagues high, they stood on one side.

Then their queens took the queen to the lake Anotattā, bathed her to remove human stain, robed her in a divine dress, anointed her with perfumes, and decked her with divine flowers. Not far from there is Silver mountain, and on it a golden palace. There they prepared and set a divine bed with its head to the east. Then the Bodhisatta became a white elephant. Not far from there is a certain Golden mountain, and the Bodhisatta went there, descended from it, ascended Silver mountain, approaching it from the north, and in his trunk, like a silver chain, he bore a white lotus. He trumpeted, entered the golden palace, made a rightwise circle three times round his mother's bed, smote her right side, and seemed to enter her womb. Thus at the end of the midsummer festival he received a new existence.

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The next day, on awaking, the queen told her dream to the king. The king summoned sixty-four famous brahmins, caused the ground to be strewn with festive lāja-flowers, prepared splendid seats, filled the gold and silver bowls of the brahmins seated there with cooked ghee, honey, sugar, and excellent rice, and gave it to them covered with gold and silver covers. He also delighted them with other gifts, such as new clothes and tawny cows. Then, when they were delighted with all these pleasures, he related the dream. "What will take place?" he asked. The brahmins said, "King, be not anxious, the queen has conceived, and the child will be a male, not a female. You will have a son, and if he lives a household life, he will become a universal monarch; and if he leaves his house and goes forth from the world, he will become a Buddha, a dispeller of illusion in the world. (Jāt. Introd, I. 50 ff.)


24:1 The four guardian deities of the world.

Next: II. The Birth of Gotama