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p. 257



At this time the great men among the Likkhavis 2, hearing that the lord of the world had entered their country and was located in the Âmra garden, . 1783

(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. . 1784

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. . 1785

Their noble forms resplendent increased the glory of that garden grove; now taking off the five distinctive

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ornaments 1, alighting from their chariots, they advanced afoot. . 1786

Slowly thus with bated breath, their bodies reverent (they advanced). Then they bowed down and worshipped Buddha's foot 2, and, a great multitude, they gathered round the lord, shining as the sun's disc, full of radiance. . 1787

(There was) the lion Likkhavi 3, among the Likkhavis the senior, his noble form (bold) as the lion's, standing there with lion eyes, . 1788

But without the lion's pride, taught by the Sâkya lion 4 (who thus began): 'Great and illustrious personages, famed as a tribe for grace and comeliness! . 1789

'Put aside, I pray, the world's high thoughts, and now accept the abounding lustre 5 of religious teaching. Wealth and beauty, scented flowers and ornaments like these, are not to be compared for grace with moral rectitude! . 1790

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'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. . 1791

'Add but to this a reverent (joyful) 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 1! . 1792

'To-day then learn this virtue 2, cherish with carefulness the people, lead them as a body in the right way of rectitude 3, even as the ox-king leads the way across the river-ford. . 1793

'If a man with earnest recollection ponder on things of this world and the next, he will consider how by right behaviour 4 (right morals) he prepares, as the result of merit, rest in either world. . 1794

'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 for ever. . 1795

'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 5. . 1796

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'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). . 1797

'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! . 1798

'Sitting upright in the royal palace (the palace of the conqueror) the heart of the king was grave and majestic 1; with a view to gain the merit of a pure and moral life, he became a convert of a great Rishi. . 1799

'With garments dyed and clad with hair, shaved, save one spiral knot 2 (he led a hermit's life), but, as he did not rule himself with strict morality, he was immersed in suffering and sorrow. . 1800

'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, . 1801

'Inhaled the wind, drank from the Ganges' stream, controlled himself with bitter fasts--but all! far short of moral rectitude 3. . 1802

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'For though a man inure himself to live as any brute, he is not on that account a vessel of the righteous law 1; whilst he who breaks the laws of right behaviour invites detraction, and is one no virtuous man can love; . 1803

'His heart is ever filled (ever cherishes) 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 (rest)? . 1804

'Therefore the wise man ought to practise pure behaviour (morals); passing through the wilderness of birth and death, pure conduct is to him a virtuous guide. . 1805

'From pure behaviour comes self-power, which frees a man from (many) dangers; pure conduct, like a ladder, enables us to climb to heaven. . 1806

'Those who found themselves on right behaviour, cut off the source of pain and grief; but they who by transgression destroy this mind, may mourn the loss of every virtuous principle. . 1807

'(To gain this end) 2 first banish every ground of

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[paragraph continues] "self;" this thought of "self" shades every lofty (good) aim, even as the ashes that conceal the fire, treading on which the foot is burned. . 1808

'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. . 1809

'(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. . 1810

'The loss of virtue and of merit which we mourn proceeds from "pride of self," throughout; and as I am a conqueror (Gina) amid conquerors 1, so he who (they who) conquers self, is one with me. . 1811

'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  2. . 1812

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'If in the end the law of entire destruction (is exacted) what use is there in indolence and pride? Covetous desire (lust) is the greatest (source of) sorrow, appearing as a friend in secret ’tis our enemy. . 1813

'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 (world-fire). . 1814

'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; . 1815

'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 1; . 1816

'By this evil karman a man falls into perdition (evil way), and so there is no greater enemy to man than lust. Lusting, man gives way to amorous indulgence (lit. "lust, then it brings forth love"), by this he is led to practise (indulge in) every kind of lustful longing; . 1817

'Indulging thus, he gathers frequent sorrow (all sorrow, or accumulated sorrow, referring to the second of the "four truths"). No greater evil (excessive evil) is there than lust. Lust is a dire disease, and the foolish master stops (i.e. neglects) the medicine of wisdom. . 1818

'(The study of) heretical books not leading to

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right thought, causes the lustful heart to increase and grow, for these books are not correct (pure) on the points of impermanency, the non-existence of self, and any object (ground) for "self 1." . 1819

'But a true and right apprehension through the power of wisdom, is effectual to destroy that false desire (heretical longing), and therefore our object (aim or purpose) should be to practise this true apprehension. . 1820

'Right apprehension (views) 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); . 1821

'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! . 1822

'Anger dulls (clouds) the brightness of the eye (or, the bright eye), chokes all desire to hear the principles of truth, cuts and divides the principle of family affection, impoverishes and weakens every worldly aim 2. . 1823

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'Therefore let anger be subdued, yield not (a moment) to the angry impulse (heart); he who can hold his wild and angry heart is well entitled "illustrious charioteer." . 1824

'For men call such a one "illustrious team-breaker 1" (who can) with bands restrain the unbroken steed; so anger not subdued, its fire unquenched, the sorrow of repentance burns like fire. . 1825

'A man who allows wild passion to arise within, himself first burns his heart, then after burning adds the wind 2 thereto which ignites the fire again, or not (as the case may be) 3. . 1826

'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? . 1827

'But rather, seeing how the world is pressed by throngs of grief, we ought to encourage in us love 4 (a loving heart), and as the world (all flesh) produces grief on grief, so should we add as antidotes unnumbered remedies.' . 1828

Tathâgata, illustrious in expedients, according to

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the disease, thus briefly spoke; even as a good physician in the world, according to the disease, prescribes his medicine. . 1829

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 1. . 1830

Then they asked both Buddha and the congregation on the morrow to accept their poor religious offerings. But Buddha told them that already Âmrâ (the lady) had invited him. . 1831

On this the Likkhavis, harbouring thoughts of pride and disappointment 2, (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. . 1832

Tathâgata, moreover, nobly (virtuously or illustriously) seizing the occasion (or, following the right plan), 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. . 1833

And now, the night being passed, the signs of dawn appearing, Buddha and the great assembly go to the abode of Âmrâ, and having received her entertainment, . 1834

They went on to the village of Pi-nau 3 (Beluva),

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and there he rested during the rainy season; the three months' rest being ended, again he returned to Vaisâlî, . 1835

And dwelt beside the Monkey 1 Tank; sitting there in a shady grove, he shed a flood of glory from his person; aroused thereby, Mâra Pisuna . 1836

Came to the place where Buddha was, and with closed palms 2 exhorted him thus: 'Formerly, beside the 'Nairañganâ river, when you had accomplished your true and steadfast aim, . 1837

(You said), "When I have done all I have to do, then will I pass at once to Nirvâna;" and now you have done all you have to do, you should, as then you said, pass to Nirvâna: . 1838

Then Buddha spake to Pisuna 3: 'The time of my complete deliverance is at hand, but let three months elapse, and I shall reach Nirvâna.' . 1839

Then Mâra, knowing that Tathâgata had fixed the time for his emancipation, his earnest wish being thus fulfilled, joyous returned to his abode in heaven 4. . 1840

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Tathâgata, 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. . 1841

On this, Tathâgata 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, . 1842

The tops of Sumeru were shaken (fell), from heaven there rained showers of flying stones, a whirling tempest rose on every side, the trees were rooted up and fell, . 1843

Heavenly music rose with plaintive notes, whilst angels for a time were joyless. Buddha rising from out his ecstasy, announced to all the world: . 1844

'Now have I given up my term of years; I live henceforth by power of Samâdhi 1 (faith); my body like a broken chariot stands, no further cause of "coming" or of "going;" . 1845

'Completely freed from the three worlds, I go enfranchised, as a chicken from its egg.' . 1846


257:1 This title may also be rendered, 'By spiritual power stopping his years of life.' It probably refers to the incident related by Mr. Rhys Davids (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 35), 'Let me now, by a strong effort of the will, bend this sickness down and keep my hold on life till the allotted time be come.' There is no mention, however, in the text of Buddha's sickness, which caused the determination here referred to. The sickness is mentioned in the Chinese copy of the Parinirvâna Sutra, which in the main agrees with the Pâli.

257:2 The Likkhavis were residents of Vaisâlî. I have shown else-where (Journal of the R. A. S., Jan. 1882) that they were probably of Scythic origin. The account given in the text of their gorgeous chariots, cognizances, &c. is quite in keeping with the customs of the Northern nations. The account given in the Mahâ-parinibbâna-Sutta is in agreement with the text (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 31).

258:1 These five distinctive ornaments were, probably, crowns, earrings, necklets, armlets, and sandals.

258:2 The worship of the foot of Buddha is exemplified in many of the plates of the Sanchi and Amarâvatî sculptures, where we see worshippers adoring the impression of his foot on the stool before the throne (plates lxxi, &c.)

258:3 This and following lines are somewhat obscure, as it is not plain whether the reference is to one, or all the Likkhavis. I have preferred to refer it to one of them, the chief or leader; for so we read in Spence Hardy's Manual, p. 282 'A number of the Lichawi princes then went to the king (i.e. the chief of their tribe), whose name was Maha-li.' It would seem as if 'li' were a component part of the name Likkhavi, and meant 'a lion,'--the chief would then be 'the great lion.' Compare the root 'ur' in the Assyrian urmakh, 'great lion;' and the Hebrew layish, 'a great or strong lion.'

258:4 The Sâkya lion was Buddha, the lion of the Sâkyas (Sâkyasimha).

258:5 The 'abounding lustre,' that is, the additional glory or lustre of religion. The sermon appears to be addressed principally against pride of person, and anger.

259:1 Much of this discourse seems to refer to the fertility of the land occupied by these Likkhavis in the valley of the Ganges, and to their good rules of government. The character of their government is alluded to in pp. 3, 4, Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi.

259:2 The symbol 'tih,' which I have translated by 'virtue,' means 'quality' (guna) or 'lustre' (tegas).

259:3 The literal rendering of this line is 'lead the body of them all in the clear and right (path).'

259:4 Right behaviour, right morality, here refer to the Buddhist rules of right conduct (sîla).

259:5 All that is illustrious (shen).

260:1 This line is difficult; I was prepared to regard as a proper name. Dr. Legge, however, has kindly suggested the translation in the text. But who is the king referred to?

260:2 The spiral knot of hair may be seen in many of the sculptures (e. g. plate lxx, Tree and Serpent Worship).

260:3 This is a free rendering; I have supposed that the description throughout refers to the 'king' alluded to above; this line may mean, '(he did all this) having put aside right morals.'

261:1 A vessel of righteousness.

261:2 I have supplied this, although the sentence would make complete sense without it. In the context 'every ground of self' (’ngo sho) seems to refer to the aim after selfish ends. The sermon from this point refers to 'pride of self,' and its evil consequences; in the latter portion he joins hatred or anger with pride; the whole reminds us of Milton's description:

         'Round he throws his baleful eyes
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate.'
                                 Paradise Lost, I; 57, 58.

[paragraph continues] Whilst the war of Devas and Asuras is just Milton's idea when he says, p. 262

                           'Storming fury rose
And clamour, such as heard in heaven till now
Was never.'
                                     Ibid. VI, 207-209.

262:1 Here there is allusion to Buddha's name 'Deva among Devas.' The construction of these sentences is obscure on account of the varied use of the word 'I' ('ngo); this symbol is used sometimes, as in the line under present consideration, as a pronoun, but in the next line it means the evil principle of 'self.' I have found it difficult to avoid comparing this use of the word 'I,' meaning the 'evil self,' with the phrase the 'carnal mind.' The question, in fact, is an open one, whether the Buddhist teaching respecting the non-existence of 'I,' i.e. a personal self or soul, may not justly be explained as consisting in the denial of the reality of the 'carnal self.'

262:2 I should like to translate it no 'interval of rest,' but it seems to p. 263 mean the only rest given is momentary, no rest from interval, i.e. constant change.

263:1 The impure karma' is, of course, the power of evil (in the character) to bring about suffering by an evil birth.

264:1 The meaning is, that heretical books, i.e. books of the Brahmans and so on, teach no sound doctrine as to the unreality of the world, the non-existence of a 'personal self,' and the impropriety of any personal selfish aim, and therefore not teaching these, men who follow them are taken up with the idea that there is reality in worldly pleasures, that there is a personal self capable of enjoying them, and that the aim after such enjoyment is a right aim. All this Buddha and his doctrine exclude.

264:2 I am not sure whether this is a right translation, it appears rather to contradict Buddha's teaching about the unreality of the world; literally the line is this, 'it makes the world what is light and poor.'

265:1 This expression and that in the verse preceding is allied to the Pâli purisadammasârathi, 'trainer or breaker-in of the human steer,' the unconverted man being (as Childers says, Dict. sub voce puriso) like to a refractory bullock. In the Northern books the comparison generally refers to a 'breaker-in of horses,' derived doubtless from the associations of the Northern people (converts to Buddhism), who excelled in chariot racing.

265:2 The wind of repentance, the frequent 'sighs' and moans of penitence.

265:3 It seems to mean that the wind may sometimes revive the fire, but sometimes not.

265:4 This remedy of 'love' is a singular feature in the Buddhist doctrine.

266:1 Placing the foot on the head is a symbol of submission--the custom of putting relic-caskets on the head is illustrated in Tree and Serpent Worship, plate xxxviii.

266:2 'We are outdone by this mango girl,' Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. 31.

266:3 'Now when the Blessed One had remained as long as he wished at Ambapâli's grove, he addressed Ânanda, and said, "Come, p. 267 Ânanda, let us go on to Beluva,"' Sacred Books of the East, vol. Xi, p. 34.

267:1 The Markatahrada.

267:2 Here the description of Mâra, 'with closed palms,' leaves no doubt that the figure in Tree and Serpent Worship (plate xxvi, fig. 1, 1st ed.) represents Mâra in this scene, 'requesting Buddha to depart.' It is satisfactory to know that the Buddhist idea of the appearance of 'the Wicked One' (Pisuna) was not in agreement with our modern conception of the form of Satan. He is here represented as a Deva, 'lord of the world of desires' (kâmaloka).

267:3 Compare this account of Mâra's appeal with Rhys Davids (Pâli Suttas, p. 53).

267:4 His abode in heaven. He is represented in Tree and Serpent Worship (plate xxx, fig. I) as standing on the platform above the p. 268 Trayastrimsas heaven (where the Devas are worshipping the tiara),--this is his right place as lord of the world of desires.

268:1 Rhys Davids says samâdhi corresponds to the Christian faith, Buddhist Suttas, p. 145.

Next: Varga 24. The Differences of the Likkhavis