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p. 115


1. The king said: 'Is the body, Nâgasena, dear to you recluses?'

'No, they love not the body.'

'Then why do you nourish it and lavish attention upon it?'

'In all the times and places, O king, that you have gone down to battle, did you never get wounded by an arrow?'

'Yes, that has happened to me.'

'In such cases, O king, [74] is not the wound anointed with salve, and smeared with oil, and bound up in a bandage.'

'Yes, such things are done to it.'

'What then? Is the wound dear to you that you treat it so tenderly, and lavish such attention upon it?'

'No, it is not dear to me in spite of all that, which is only done that the flesh may grow again.'

'Just so, great king, with the recluses and the body. Without cleaving to it do they bear about the body for the sake of righteousness of life. The body, O king, has been declared by the Blessed One to be like a wound. And therefore merely as a sore, and without cleaving to it, do the recluses bear about the, body. For it has been said by the Blessed One:

"Covered with clammy skin, an impure thing and foul,
Nine-apertured, it oozes, like a sore 1."'

'Well answered, Nâgasena!'

p. 116

2. The king said: 'Did the Buddha, Nâgasena, the omniscient one, foresee all things?'

'Yes. The Blessed One was not only omniscient. He foresaw all things.'

'Then why was it that he was in the habit only from time to time, and as occasion arose, of laying down rules for the members of the Order 1?'

'Is there any physician, O king, who knows all the medicinal drugs to be found on the earth?'

'Yes, there may be such a man.'

'Well, O king, does he give his decoctions to the patient to drink at a time when illness has already set in, or before that?'

'When the malady has arisen.'

'Just so, great king, the Blessed One, though he was omniscient and foresaw all things, laid down no rule at an unseasonable time, but only when need arose did he establish a regulation which his disciples were not to transgress as long as they lived.'

'Well answered, Nâgasena!'


3. [75] The king said: 'Is it true, Nâgasena, that the Buddha was endowed with the thirty-two bodily marks of a great man, and graced with the eighty subsidiary characteristics; that he was golden in colour with a skin like gold, and that there spread around him a glorious halo of a fathom's length?'

'Such, O king, was the Blessed One.'

'But were his parents like that?'

'No, they were not.'

'In that case you must say that he was born so. But surely a son is either like his mother, or those on

p. 117

the mother's side, or he is like his father, or those on the father's side!'

The Elder replied: 'Is there such a thing, O king, as a lotus flower with a hundred petals?'

'Yes, there is.'

'Where does it grow up?'

'It is produced in mud, and in water it comes to perfection 1.'

'But does the lotus resemble the mud of the lake, whence it springs up, either in colour, or in smell, or in taste?'

'Certainly not.'

'Then does it resemble the water?'

'Nor that either.'

'Just so, great king, is it that the Blessed One had the bodily signs and marks you have mentioned, though his parents had them not.'

'Well answered, Nâgasena!'


4. The king said: 'Was the Buddha, Nâgasena, pure in conduct (was he a Brahma-kârin)?'

'Yes, the Blessed One was pure.'

'Then, Nâgasena, it follows that he was a follower of Brahmâ 2.'

p. 118

'Have you a state elephant, O king?'

'Certainly.' [76]

'Well now, does that elephant ever trumpet (literally "cry the heron's cry 1")?'

'Oh, yes.'

'But is he, then, on that account a follower of the herons?'

'Of course not.'

'Now tell me, great king, has Brahma wisdom (Buddhi), or has he not?'

'He is a being with wisdom.'

'Then (on your argument) he is surely a follower of Buddha 2.'

'Well answered, Nâgasena!'


5. The king said: 'Is ordination 3 a good thing?'

'Yes, a good thing and a beautiful.'

'But did the Buddha obtain it, or not?'

'Great king, when the Blessed One attained omniscience at the foot of the tree of Knowledge, that was to him an ordination. There was no conferring of ordination upon him at the hands of others--in the way that the Blessed One laid down regulations for his disciples, never to be transgressed by them their lives long 4!'

'Very true, Nâgasena!'

p. 119

6. The king said: 'To which of these two, Nâgasena,--the man who weeps at the death of his mother, and the man who weeps out of love for the Truth (Dhamma),--are his tears a cure?'

'The tears of the one, O king, are stained and hot with the three fires of passion. The tears of the other are stainless and cool. Now there is cure in coolness and calm, but in heat and passion there can be no cure 1.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


7. The king said: 'What is the distinction, Nâgasena, between him who is full of passion, and him who is void of passion?'

'The one is overpowered by craving, O king, and the other not.'

'But what does that mean?'

'The one is in want, O king, and the other not.'

'I look at it, Sir, in this way. He who has passion and he who has not--both of them alike--desire what is good to eat, either hard or soft. And neither of them desires what is wrong.'

'The lustful man, O king, in eating his food enjoys both the taste and the lust that arises from taste, [77] but the man free from lusts experiences the taste only, and not the lust arising therefrom.'

'Well answered, Nâgasena!'

p. 120

8. The king said: 'Venerable Nâgasena, where does wisdom dwell?'

'Nowhere, O king.'

'Then, Sir, there is no such thing as wisdom.'

'Where does the wind dwell, O king?'

'Not anywhere, Sir.'

'So there is no such thing as wind.'

'Well answered, Nâgasena!'


9. The king said: 'When you speak of transmigration 1, Nâgasena, what does that mean?'

'A being born here, O king, dies here. Having died here, it springs up elsewhere. Having been born there, there it dies. Having died there, it springs up elsewhere. That is what is meant by transmigration.'

'Give me an illustration.'

'It is like the case of a man who, after eating a mango, should set the seed in the ground. From that a great tree would be produced and give fruit. And there would be no end to the succession, in that way, of mango trees.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


10. The king said: 'By what, Nâgasena, does one recollect what is past and done long ago?'

'By memory.'

'But is it not by the mind 2, not by the memory 2, that we recollect?'

'Do you recollect any business, O king, that you have done and then forgotten?'


'What then? Were you then without a mind?'

p. 121

'No. But my memory failed me.'

'Then why do you say that it is by the mind, not by the memory, that we recollect?'

'Very good, Nâgasena 1'


11. The king said: 'Does memory, Nâgasena, always arise subjectively, [78] or is it stirred up by suggestion from outside 1?'

'Both the one and the other.'

'But does not that amount to all memory being subjective in origin, and never artificial?'

'If, O king, there were no artificial (imparted) memory, then artisans would have no need of practice, or art, or schooling, and teachers would be useless. But the contrary is the case.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


Here ends the Sixth Chapter.



115:1 I have not been able to trace this couplet. On the sentiment compare the eloquent words of the young wife at vol. i, p. 200 of my 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' and Sutta Nipâta I, 11.

116:1 This is how Hînati-kumburê understands the passage.

117:1 Âsîyati. See Dr. Morris in the 'Journal of the Pâli Text Society,' 1884, p. 72.

117:2 There is an untranslatable play here upon the name of the god, which is used in its sense of 'pure, best,' in the expression 'pure in conduct.' The first question really amounts to: Was the Buddha's conduct 'Brahma,' that is, 'best,' which has come to have the meaning 'pure' for the same reason that our expression 'a moral man' has often that particular connotation? It is quite true that the etymological meaning of the word is neither 'best' nor 'pure'; but when our author wrote the secondary sense had completely, in Pâli, driven out the etymological sense.

118:1 This technical term for an elephant's trumpeting is not infrequent. See, for instance, Gâtaka I, 50.

118:2 As a matter of fact Brahmâ, the nearest approach in the Indian thought of that time to our idea of God, is always represented, in Buddhism, as a good Buddhist, See, for instance, 'Buddhist Suttas,' p. 116, and my note at p. 117.

118:3 'Upasampadâ. Admission to the higher grade in the Order.

118:4 Mr. Trenckner again suspects something dropped out in this reply. But the connection of ideas seems to me quite sufficient. p. 119 The Simhalese follows the Pâli, but that of course only shows that the text before the translator was here the same as in Mr. Trenckner's edition.

119:1 The point of this lies in the allusion to the coolness and calm of Nirvâna, or Arahatship, which is the dying out of the three fires of lust, ill-will, and delusion. The word used for coolness, Sîtala, is one of the many epithets of Arahatship.

120:1 Samsâra.

120:2 Kittena, no satiyâ.

121:1 I follow Hînati-kumburê's interpretation of the difficult words in the text, which Mr. Trenckner says is corrupt. Katumika is 'artificial,' like the Sanskrit kritrima. It has only been found as yet in our author.

Next: Chapter 7