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Buddha and His Dhamma by Dr. Ambedkar [ Book Part- 2 ]

Campaign of Conversion

Buddha and His Dhamma by Dr. Ambedkar [ Book Part- 2 ]

  • Part I — Buddha and His Vishad Yoga.
  • Part II — The Conversion of the Parivrajakas.
  • Part III — Conversion of the High and the Holy.
  • Part IV — Call from Home.
  • Part V — Campaign for Conversion Resumed.
  • Part VI — Conversion of the Low and the Lowly.
  • Part VII — Conversion of Women.
  • Part VIII — Conversion of the Fallen and the Criminals.


 To Preach or Not to Preach

1. After having attamed enlightenment and after having formulated his way, doubt arose in the mind of the Buddha. Should he go forth and preach his doctrine or should he continue to devote himself to his own personal perfection.

2. He said to himself: "True, I have gained a new doctrine. But it is too difficult for the common man to accept it and follow it. It is too subtle even for the wise.

3. " It is hard for mankind to liberate itself from the entanglement of God and Soul. It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in rites and ceremonies. It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in Karma.

4.  " It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in the immortality of the Soul and accept my doctrine that the Soul as an independent entity does not exist and does not survive after death.

5. " Mankind is intent on its selfishness and takes delight and pleasure in it.  It is hard for mankind to accept my doctrine of righteousness overriding selfishness.

6. " If I were to teach my doctrine, and others did not understand it or understanding it did not accept or accepting it did not follow it, it would be weariness to others and a vexation to me.

7. " Why not remain a sanyasi away from the world and use my gospel to perfect my own self ? " He asked himself. " At least I can do good to myself."

8. Thus as he reflected, his mind turned to inaction, not to teaching of the gospel.

9. Then Brahma Sahampati knowing what was passing in the mind of the Buddha thought, " Verily the world is being destroyed, verily the world is going to destruction, if the Tathagata, the fully enlightened, turns to inaction and not to teaching his doctrine." 10. Filled with anxiety Brahma Sahampati leftthe Brahma world and appeared before the Buddha. And arranging his upper robe on one shoulder he bent down and with clasped hands said: " Thou art no longer Siddharth Gautama, Thou art Buddha.     Thou art the Blessed One who is blessed with the fullest enlightenment. Thou art the Tathagatha. How can thou refuse to enlighten the world ? How can thou refuse to save erring humanity?

11. " There are beings full of impurity that are falling away through not hearing the doctrine.

12. "As the Lord knows," proceeded Brahma Sahampati, " Among the Magadhas arose in ancient times, doctrine impure, with many blemishes devised.

13. " Will not the Lord open for them the door of his immortal doctrine ?

14. " As one upon a rocky mountain standing, beholdeth all the people round about him even thus, 0 thou, with wisdom distilled, ascending all, behold, look down, thou griefless one, upon those plunged in their griefs.

15. " Rise up, 0 hero, victor in battle, 0 caravan-leader, free from the debt of birth, go to the world and not turn away from it.

16. " May the Lord in his compassion design to teach his gospel to men and to gods"

17. "0 Brahma, Eminent and Excellent among men, if I did not give public utterance to my gospel, it is because I perceived vexation," was the reply of the Buddha.

18. Knowing that there was so much unhappiness in the world the Buddha realised that it was wrong for him to sit as a sanyasi with folded arms and allow things to remain as they were.

19. Asceticism he found to be useless. It was vain to attempt to escape from the world. There is no escape from the world even for an ascetic. He realised that what is necessary is not escape from the world. What is necessary is to change the world and to make it better.

20. He realised that be left the world because there was so much conflict resulting in misery and unhappiness and for which he knew no remedy. If he can banish misery and unhappiness from the world by the propagation of his doctrine, it was his duty to return to the world and serve it and not sit silent as the personification of inactive impassivity

21. The Buddha therefore agreed to the request of Brahma Sahampati and decided to preach his doctrine to the world.

Proclamation of Good News by Brahma Sahampati

1. Then, Brahma Sahampati, thinking, "I have been instrumental in persuading the Buddha to agree to preach his doctrine to the masses," felt extremely happy. He saluted the Buddha, went round him passing to the right, took a look and departed.

2. On his way back he kept on proclaiming to the world: " Rejoice at the glad tidings. The Buddha, our Lord, has found the root of all evil and unhappiness in the world. He knows the way out.

3. " The Buddha will bring comfort to the weary and sorrow-laden. He will give peace to those stricken by war. He will give courage to those who are broken in heart. He will give to those who are suppressed and oppressed, faith and hope.

4. " Ye that suffer from the tribulations of life, ye that have to struggle and endure, ye that yearn for justice, rejoice at the glad tidings.

5. "Heal your wounds, ye that are wounded. Eat your fill, ye that are hungry. Rest, ye that are weary, and quench your thirst, ye that are thirsty. Seek the light, ye that are in darkness. Be of good cheer, ye that are forlorn.

6. "In his doctrine there is love to create a longing to own those who are disowned or unowned: to the degraded there is the ennoblement ever present to raise them: to the disinherited and the downtrodden there is equality blazing forth their path to advancement.

7. " His doctrine is the doctrine of righteousness and his aim is to establish the kingdom of righteousness on earth.

8. " His doctrine is the truth, the whole truth,     and nothing but the truth.

9. " Blessed is the Buddha for his is the path of reason and his is the way of emancipation from superstition. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the middle way. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the law of righteousness. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the peace of Nibbana. Blessed is the Buddha who preaches love, kindness and fellowship to help fellow beings to obtain salvation."

Two Types of Conversion

1. In the Buddha's scheme of things conversion has two meanings.

2. Conversion to the Order of Bhikkus called Sangh.

3. Secondly, it means conversion of a householder as an Upasaka or lay follower of the Buddha's Dhamma.

4. Except on four points there is no difference in the way of life of the Bhikku and the Upasaka.

5. An Upasaka remains a householder. A Bhikku becomes a homeless wanderer.

6. Both the Upasakas and the Bhikkus must observe in their life certain rules.

7. Here again to the Bhikku they are vows the breach of which ends in punishment. To the Upasaka they are precepts. They must be observed to the best of his ability.

8. An Upasaka can have property. A Bhikku cannot have.

9. To become an Upasaka there is no ceremony.

10. To become a Bhikku he must undergo a ceremony called Upasampada.

11.The Buddha converted those who came to him according to their wish either as Bhikku or as Upasaka.

12. An Upasaka could become a Bhikku whenever he felt like it.

13. And a Bhikku had to cease to be a Bhikku when he committed a breach of the major vows or whenever he wished to give up his membership of     the Order.

14. It must not be understood that the Buddha converted only those whose names occur in the following pages.

15. The instances are chosen only to show that he did not observe any distinction as to caste or sex in admitting persons to his Sangh or preaching his Dhamma.


Arrival at Sarnath

1. Having decided to preach his doctrine the Buddha asked himself " to whom shall I first teach the doctrine ? " The thought of Alara Kalam whom the Buddha adored as the learned, wise, intelligent and of little impurity ; " What if I first teach him the doctrine ? " But he was told that Alara Kalam was dead.

2. Then thought he of preaching it to Uddaka Ramputta. But he too was dead.

3. Then he thought of the five old companions of his who were with him at Niranjana when he was practising austerities and who had left him in anger on his abandonment of austerities.

4. "They did much for me, attended me and looked after me, what if I first teach the doctrine to them ? " said he to himself.

5. "He asked for their whereabouts. Having learnt that they were dwelling at Sarnath in the deer park of Isipatana, he left in search of them.

6. The five, seeing him coming, decided among themselves not to welcome him. Said one of them, "This, friends, is the ascetic Gautama coming, who has abandoned austerities and has turned to life of abundance and luxury. He has committed a sin. We must not therefore greet him, nor rise in respect, nor take his bowl and robe. We will only set apart a seat for him. If he wishes, he may sit down." And they all agreed.

7. But when the Buddha approached, the five Parivrajakas were not able to abide by their decision, so greatly impressed were they by his personality that they all rose in their seats. One took his bowl, one took his robe, and one prepared a seat, and one brought water to wash his feet.

8. It was really a great welcome to an unwelcome guest.

9. Thus those who intended to scoff remained to pray.

The Buddha's First Sermon

1. After exchange of greetings the five Pariv-rajakas asked the Buddha whether he still believed    in asceticism. The Buddha replied in the negative.

2. He said there were two extremes, a life of pleasure and a life of self-mortification.

3. One says let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. The other says, kill all vasanas (desires) because they bring rebirth. He rejected both as unbecoming to man.

4. He was a believer in the Madhyama Marga (Majjhima Patipada), the middle path, which is neither the path of pleasure nor the path of self-mortification.

5. " Answer me this," he said to the Parivrajakas, " So long as your self remains active and continues to lust after either worldly or heavenly pleasures, is not all mortification vain?" And they answered, " It is as thou sayest."

6. " How can ye be free from self by leading a wretched life of self-mortification if ye do not thereby succeed in quenching the fires of lust ? " And they replied, " It is as thou sayest."

7. " Only when the self in ye has been conquered that ye are free from lust ; ye will then not desire worldly pleasures, and the satisfaction of your natural wants will not defile ye. Let ye eat and drink according to the needs of your body.

8. "Sensuality of all kinds is enervating. The sensual man is a slave of his passion. All pleasure-seeking is degrading and vulgar. But I say unto you that to satisfy the needs of life is not an evil : to keep the body in good health is a duty, or otherwise you shall not be able to keep your mind strong and clear and have the lamp of wisdom burning.

9. " Know ye, 0 Parivrajakas, that there are these two extremes which man ought not to follow—the habitual indulgence on the one hand, of those things whose attraction depends upon the passions, and especially of sensuality—a low and pagan way of seeking satisfaction, unworthy, unprofitable and the habitual practice thereof, and on the other hand, of asceticism or self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy and unprofitable.

10. " There is a middle path which avoids both these extremes. Know ye, that, this is the path which I preach."

11. The five Parivrajakas listened to him with attention. Not knowing what to say in reply to the Buddha's middle path, they asked him what he was doing after they had left him. Then the Buddha told them how he left for Gaya, how he sat in contemplation under the Banyan Tree and how after four weeks of contemplation he obtained enlightenment as a result of which he was able to discover a new path of life.

12. On hearing this, the Parivrajakas became extremely impatient to know what the path was and requested the Buddha to expound it to them.

13. The Buddha agreed.

14. He began by saying that his path which is his Dhamma (religion) had nothing to do with God and Soul. His Dhamma had nothing to do with life after death. Nor has his Dhamma any concern with rituals and ceremonies.

15. The centre of his Dhamma is man and the relation of man to man in his life on earth.

16. This he said was his first postulate.

17. His second postulate was that men are living in sorrow, in misery and poverty. The world is full of suffering and that how to remove this suffering from the world is the only purpose of Dhamma. Nothing else is Dhamma.

18. The recognition of the existence of suffering and to show the way to remove suffering is the foundation and basis of his Dhamma.

19. This can be the only foundation and justification for Dhamma. A religion which fails to recognise this is no religion at all.

20. " Verily, Parivrajakas! whatsoever recluses or Brahmins (i.e., preachers of religion) understand not, as it really is, that the misery in the world and the escape therefrom, is the main problem of Dhamma, such recluses and Brahmins in my opinion are not to be regarded as recluses and Brahmins ; nor have those worthies come to know fully of themselves what     in this very life is the real meaning of Dhamma."

21. The Parivrajakas then asked him : "If the foundation of your Dhamma is the recognition of the existence of suffering and the removal of suffering, tell us how does your Dhamma remove suffering !"

22. The Buddha then told them that according to his Dhamma if every person followed (1) the Path of Purity ; (2) the Path of Righteousness ; and (3) the Path of Virtue, it would bring about the end of all suffering.

23. And he added that he had discovered such a Dhamma.

The Buddha's First Sermon—(contd.) The Path of Purity

1. The Parivrajakas then asked the Buddha to explain to them his Dhamma.

2. And the Buddha was pleased to do so.

3. He addressed them first on the Path of Purity.

4. " The Path of Purity," he told the Parivrajakas, " teaches that a person who wishes to be good must recognise some principles as principles of life.

5. " According to my Path of Purity the principles of life recognised by it are : Not to injure or kill : Not to steal or appropriate to oneself anything which belongs to another : Not to speak untruth : Not to indulge in lust : Not to indulge in intoxicating drinks.

6. " The recognition of these principles, I say, is most essential for every man. For every man must have a standard by which to judge whatever he does. And these principles according to my teachings constitute the standard.

7. " There are everywhere people who are patit (fallen). But there are two classes of the patit : the patit who has a standard and a patit who has no standard.

8. " The path who has no standard does not know that he has fallen. Consequently he always remains fallen. On the other hand a patit who has a standard tries to rise from his fallen state. Why? The answer is because he knows that he has fallen

9. "This is the difference between having a standard and having no standard for regulating a man's life.  What matters is not so much the fall of the man but the absence of any standard.

10. " You may ask, ye Parivrajakas ! Why are these principles worthy of recognition as a standard of life.

11. "The answer to this question you will find for yourselves, if you ask : "Are these principles good for the individual ? " also if you ask : " Do they promote social good ? "

12. " If your answers to these questions are in the affirmative then it follows that the principles of my Path of Purity are worthy of recognition as forming a true standard of life."

The Buddha's First Sermon—{contd.) Ashtanga Marga or the Path of Righteousness

1. The Buddha next addressed the Parivrajakas on the Ashtangamarga. He said that there are eight constituents in the Ashtangamarga.

2. He began his discourse with the exposition of Samma Ditti (Right Views), the first and foremost element in the Ashtangmarga,

3. " To realise the importance of Samma Ditti, " the Buddha said to the arivrajakas:

4. " O, ye, Parivrajakas, you must realise that the world is a dungeon and man is a prisoner in the dungeon.

5. " This dungeon is full of darkness. So dark is it that scarce anything at all can rightly be seen by the prisoner. The prisoner cannot see that he is a prisoner.

6. "Indeed, man has not only become blind by living too long in the darkness, but he very much doubts if any such strange thing as light is said to be, can ever exist at all.

7. " Mind is the only instrument through which light can come to man.

8. " But the mind of these dungeon-dwellers is by no means a perfect instrument for the purpose.

9. " It lets through only a little light, just enough to show to those with sight that there is such a thing as darkness.

10. " Thus defective in its nature, such understanding as this is.

11. " But know, ye, Parivrajakas! the case of the prisoner is not as hopeless as it appears.

12. " For there is in man a thing called will. When the appropriate motives arise the will can be awakened and set in motion.

13. "With the coming of just enough light to see in what directions to guide the motions of the will, man may so guide them that they shall lead to liberty.

14. " Thus though man is bound, yet he may be free ; he may at any moment begin to take the first steps that will ultimately bring him to freedom.

15. "This is because it is possible to train the mind in whatever directions one chooses. It is mind that makes us to be prisoners in the house of life, and it is mind that keeps us so.

16. " But what mind has done, that mind can undo. If it has brought man to thraldom, it can also, when rightly directed, bring him to liberty.

17. "This is what Samma Ditti can do."

18. " What is the end of Samma Ditti ? " asked the Parivrajakas. " The end of Samma Ditti," replied the Buddha, " is the destruction of Avijja (Nescience). It is opposed to Miccha Ditti.

19. " And Avijja means the failure to understand the noble truths, of the existence of suffering and the removal of suffering.

20. " Samma Ditti requires giving up of belief in the efficacy of rites and ceremonies, to have disbelief in the sanctity of the Shasras.

21. " Samma Ditti requires the abandonment of superstition and supernaturalism.

22. " Samma Ditti requires the abandonment of all doctrines which are mere speculations without any basis in fact or experience

23. " Samma Ditti requires free mind and free thought.

24. " Every man has aims, aspirations and ambitions. Samma Sankappo teaches that such aims, aspirations and ambitions shall be noble and praiseworthy and not ignoble and unworthy.

25. Samma Vacca (Right Speech) teaches:
(1) that one should speak only that which is true; (2) that one should not speak what is false ; (3) that one should not speak evil of others ; (4) that one should refrain from slander ; (5) that one should not use angry and abusive language towards any fellow man; (6) that one should speak kindly and courteously to all ; (7) that one should not indulge in pointless, foolish talk, but let his speech be sensible and to the purpose.

26. " The observance of Right Speech, as I have explained, is not to be the result of fear or favour. It is not to have the slightest reference to what any superior being may think of his action or to any loss which Right Speech may involve.

27. " The norm for Right Speech is not the order of the superior or the personal benefit to the individual.

28. " Samma Kamanto teaches right behaviour. It teaches that every action should be founded on respect for the feelings and rights of others.

29. " What is the norm for Samma Kamanto ? The norm is that course of conduct which is most in harmony with the fundamental laws of existence.

30. " When his actions are in harmony with these laws they may be taken to be in accord with Samma Kamanto.

31. " Every individual has to earn his livelihood. But there are ways and ways of earning one's livelihood. Some are bad ; some are good. Bad ways are those which cause injury or injustice to others. Good ways are those by which the individual earns his livelihood without causing injury or injustice to others. This is Samma Ajivo.

32. " Samma Vyayamo (Right Endeavour) is primary endeavour to remove Avijja ; to reach the door that leads out of this painful prison house, to swing it open.

33. " Right endeavour has four purposes.

34. " One is to prevent states of mind which are in conflict with the Ashtangamarga.

35. " Second is to suppress such states of mind which may already have arisen.

36. "Third is to bring into existence states of mind which will help a man to fulfil the requirements of the Ashtangamarga.

37. " Fourth is to promote the further growth and increase of such states of mind as already may have arisen.

38. " Samma Satti calls for mindfulness and thoughtfulness. It means constant wakefulness of the mind. Watch and ward by the mind over the evil passions is another name for Samma Satti.

39. " There are, ye Parivrajakas, five fetters or hindrances which come in the way of a person trying to achieve Samma Ditti, Samma Sankappo, Samma Vacca, Samma Kamanto, Samma Ajeevo, Samma Vyayamo and Samma Satti.

40. "These five hindrances are covetousness, ill-will, sloth and torpor, doubt and indecision. It is, therefore, necessary to overcome these hindrances which are really fetters and the means to overcome them is through Samadhi. But know ye Parivrajakas, Samma Samadhi is not the same as Samadhi, It is quite different.

41. " Samadhi is mere concentration. No doubt it leads to Dhyanic states which are self-induced, holding the five hindrances in suspense.

42. "But these Dhyana states are temporary. Consequently the suspension of the hindrances is also temporary. What is necessary is a permanent turn to the mind. Such a permanent turn can be achieved only by Samma Samadhi.

43. " Mere Samadhi is negative inasmuch as it leads to temporary suspension of the hindrances. In it there is no training to the mind. Samma Samadhi     is positive. It trains the mind to concentrate and to think of some Kusala Kamma (Good Deeds and Thoughts) during concentration and thereby eliminate the tendency of the mind to be drawn towards Akusala Kamma (Bad Deeds and Bad Thoughts) arising from the hindrances.

44. " Samma Samadhi gives a habit to the mind to think of good and always to think of good. Samma Samadhi gives the mind the necessary motive power to do good."

The Buddha's First Sermon— (contd.) The Path of Virtue

1. The Buddha then explained to the Pariv-rajakas the Path of Virtue.

2. He told them that the path of virtue meant the observance of the virtues called : (1) Sila; (2) Dana; (3) Uppekha; (4) Nekkhama; (5) Virya; (6) Khanti; (7) Succa; (8) Adhithana ; (9) Karuna ; and (10)Maitri

3. The Parivrajakas asked the Buddha to tell them what these virtues meant.

4. The Buddha then proceeded to satisfy their desire.

5. " Sila is moral temperament, the disposition not to do evil and the disposition to do good ; to be ashamed of doing wrong. To avoid to do evil for fear of punishment is Sila, Sila means fear of doing wrong.

6. " Nekkhama is renunciation of the pleasures of the world.

7. " Dana means the giving of one's possessions, blood and limbs and even one's life, for the good of others without expecting anything in return. 8. " Virya is right endeavour. It is doing with all your might whatever you have undertaken to do with never a thought of turning back, whatever you have undertaken to do.

9. " Khanti is forbearance. Not to meet hatred by hatred is the essence of it. For hatred is not appeased by hatred. It is appeased only by forbearance.

10. " Succa is truth. A person must never tell a lie. His speech must be truth and nothing but truth.

11. " Adhithana is resolute determination to reach the goal.

12. " Karuna is loving kindness to human beings.

13. " Maitri is extending fellow feeling to all beings, not only to one who is a friend but also to one who is a foe : not only to man but to all living beings.

14. " Upekka is detachment as distinguished from indifference. It is a state of mind where there is neither like nor dislike. Remaining unmoved by the result and yet engaged in the pursuit of it.

15. "These virtues one must practice to his utmost capacity. That is why they are called Paramitas (States of Perfection).

The Buddha's First Sermon—(concld.)

1. Having explained His Dhamma and what it involved, the Buddha then asked the Parivrajakas:

2. "Is not personal purity the foundation of good in the world?" And they answered, "It is as thou sayest."

3. And he continued : " Is not personal purity undermined by covetousness, passion, ignorance, the destruction of life, theft, adultery and lying? Is it not necessary for personal purity to build up sufficient strength of character so that these evils should be kept under control ? How can a man be the instrument of good if he has no personal purity in him ? " And they replied, " It is as thou sayest."

4. " Again why do men not mind enslaving or dominating others ? Why do men not mind making the lives of others unhappy ? Is it not because men are not righteous in their conduct towards one another?" And they answered in the affirmative.

5. " Will not the practice of the Ashtanga Marga, the path of right views, right aims, right speech, right livelihood, right means, right mindfulness, right perseverance, and right contemplation, in short, the Path of Righteousness, if followed by every one, remove all injustice and inhumanity that man does to man?" And they said, "Yes."

6. Turning to the path of virtue, he asked, "Is not Dana necessary to remove the suffering of the needy and the poor and to promote general good? Is not Karuna necessary to be drawn to the relief of poverty and suffering wherever it exists? Is not Nekkamma necessary to selfless work? Is not Uppekka necessary for sustained endeavour even though there is no personal gain?

7. "Is not love for man necessary?" And they said " Yes."

8. "I go further and say, "Love is not enough ; what is required is Maitri." It is wider than love. It means fellowship not merely with human beings but with all living beings. It is not confined to human beings. Is not such Maitri necessary? What else can give to all living beings the same happiness which one seeks for one's own self, to keep the mind impartial, open to all, with affection for every one and hatred for none ? "

9. They all said "Yes."

10. " The practice of these virtues must, however, be accompanied by Prajna, i.e., intelligence.

11. "Is not Prajna necessary?" The Pariv-rajakas gave no answer. To force them to answer his question the Buddha went on to say that the qualities of a good man are : "do no evil, think nothing that is evil, get his livelihood in no evil way and say nothing. that is evil or is likely to hurt anyone." And they said, " Yes, so it is."

12. "But is doing good deeds blindly to be welcomed?" asked the Buddha "I say, 'no.' This is not enough," said the Buddha to the Pariv- rajakas. " If it was enough," said the Buddha to the Parivrajakas, " then a tiny babe could be proclaimed to be always doing good. For as yet, the babe does not know what a body means, much less will it do evil with its body beyond kicking about : it does not know what speech is, much less will it say anything evil beyond crying ; it does not know what thought is, beyond crying with delight ; it does not know what livelihood is, much less will it get its living in an evil way, beyond sucking its mother.

13. " The Path of Virtue must, therefore, be subject to test of Prajna which is another name for understanding and intelligence.

14. "There is also another reason why Prajna-paramita is so important and so necessary. There must be Dana. But without Prajna, Dana may have a demoralizing effect. There must be Karuna. But without Prajna, Karuna may end in supporting evil. Every act of Paramita must be tested by Prajna Paramita which is another name for wisdom.

15. " I premise that there must be knowledge and consciousness of what wrong conduct is, how it arises ; similarly, there must also be knowledge and consciousness of what is right conduct and wrong conduct. Without such knowledge there cannot be real goodness though the act may be good. That is why I say Prajna is a necessary virtue."

16. The Buddha then concluded his sermon by addressing the following admonition to the Parivrajakas.

17. " You are likely to call my Dhamma pessimistic because it calls the attention of mankind to the existence of suffering. I tell you such a view of my Dhamma would be wrong.

18. " No doubt my Dhamma recognises the existence of suffering but forget not that it also lays equal stress on the removal of suffering.

19. " My Dhamma has in it both hope and purpose.

20. " Its purpose is to remove Avijja, by which I mean ignorance of the existence of suffering.

21. "There is hope in it because it shows the way to put an end to human suffering.

22. " Do you agree with this or not ? " And the Parivrajakas said , "Yes, we do."

 The Response of the Parivrajakas

1. The five Parivrajakas at once realised that this was really a new Dhamma. They were so struck by this new approach to the problems of life that they were unanimous in saying : " Never in the history of the world has any founder of religion taught that the recognition of human suffering was the real basis of religion.

2. " Never in the history of the world has any founder of religion taught that the removal of this misery is the real purpose of it !

3. " Never in the history of the world had a scheme of salvation been put forth, so simple in its nature, so free from supernatural and superhuman agency, so independent of, even so antagonistic to, the belief in a soul, to the belief in God and to the belief in life after death!

4. " Never in the history of the world had a scheme of religion been put forth which had nothing to do with revelation and whose commands are born of the examination of the social needs of man and which are not the orders of a God !

5. "Never in the history of the world has salvation been conceived as the blessing of happiness to be attained by man in this life and on this earth by righteousness born out of his own efforts ! "

6. These were the sentiments which the Pariv-rajakas uttered after they ad heard the Buddha's Sermon on his new Dhamma.

7. They felt that in him they had found a reformer, full of the most earnest moral purpose and trained in all the intellectual culture of his time, who had the originality and the courage to put forth deliberately and with a knowledge of opposing views, the doctrine of a salvation to be found here, in this life, in inward change of heart to be brought about by the practice of self-culture and self-control.

8. Their reverence for him became so unbounded that they at once surrendered to him and requested him     to accept them as his disciples.

9. The Buddha admitted them into his order by uttering the formula " Ehi Bhikkave " (come in Bhikkus). They were known as the Panchavargiya Bhikkus.


Conversion of Yashas

1. There lived in the town of Benares a nobleman's son called Yashas. He was young in years and very attractive in appearance. He was beloved of his parents. He lived in abounding wealth. He had a big retinue and a large harem and passed his time in nothing but dancing, drinking and carnal pleasures.

2. As time past, a feeling of disgust came over him. How could he escape from this orgy? Was there any better way of life than the way he was leading ? Not knowing what to do, he decided to leave his father's house.

3. One night he left his father's house and was wandering about; He happened to wend his way towards Isipathana.

4. Feeling tired he sat down and as he was seated he said to himself in loud tones: ' Where am I, what is the way ? Alas! What distress; alas! What danger! '

5. This happened on the night of the same day on which the Blessed One preached his first sermon to  the Panchavargiya Bhikkus at Isipathana. Just when Yashas was approaching Isipathana, the Blessed One who was staying at Isipathana, having arisen at dawn, was walking up and down in the open. air. And the Blessed One saw Yashas, the noble youth coming from after giving utterance to his feelings.

6. And the Blessed One having heard his cry of distress, said: " There is no distress, there is no danger. Come, I will show you the way, " and the Blessed Lord preached his gospel to Yashas.

7. And Yashas, when he heard it, became glad and joyful; and he put off his gilt slippers, and went and sat down near the Blessed One and respectedly saluted him.

8. Yashas hearing the Buddha's words, requested the Blessed One to take him as his disciple.

9. Then he bade him come and asked him to be a Bhikku to which Yashas agreed.

10. The parents of Yashas were in great distress on finding that their son had disappeared. The father started in search. Yashas's father passed by the same spot where the Lord and Yashas in the Bhikku's garb were seated, and in passing, he asked the Blessed One:     " Pray, have you seen Yashas, my son ? "

11. The Lord replied : " Come in. Sir, you will find your son." He went in and sat near his son but he knew him not.

12. The Lord explained to him how Yashas met him and how on hearing him he became a Bhikku. The father then recognised his son and was happy his son had chosen the right path.

13. " My son, Yashas," said the father, " your mother is absorbed in lamentations and grief. Return home and restore your mother to life."

14. Then Yashas looked at the Blessed One, and the Blessed One said to Yashas's father, "Is that your wish that Yashas should return to the world and enjoy the pleasures of a worldly life as he did before ? "

15. And Yasha's father replied : " If Yashas, my son, finds it a gain to stay with you, let him stay." Yashas preferred to remain a Bhikku.

16. Before departing Yashas's father said: " May the Blessed One, 0 Lord, consent to take his meal at my home with the members of my family."

17. The Blessed One, having donned his robes, took his alms bowl and went with Yashas to the house of his father.

18. When they arrived there, they met the mother and also the former wife of Yashas. After the meal the Blessed One preached to the members of the family his doctrine. They became very happy and promised to take refuge in it.

19. Now there were four friends of Yashas belonging to the wealthy family of Benares. Their names were Vimala, Subahu, Punyajit and Gavampati.

20. When Yashas's friends learned that Yashas had taken refuge in the Buddha and his Dhamma they felt that what is good for Yashas must be good for them. 21. So they went to Yashas and asked him to approach the Buddha on their behalf to receive them as his disciples.

22. Yashas agreed and he went to the Buddha, saying: " May the Blessed One preach  the Dhamma to these four friends of mine." The Lord agreed and Yashas's friends took refuge in the Dhamma.

Conversion of the Kassyapas

1. There lived in Benaras a family known as the Kassyapa family. There were three sons in the family. They were very highly educated and carried on a rigorous religious life.

2. After some time the eldest son thought of taking up Sannyasa. Accordingly he left his home, took Sannyasa and went in the direction of Uruvella where he established his Ashram.

3. His two younger brothers followed him and they too became Sannyasis.

4. They were all Agnihotris or worshippers of fire. They were called Jatilas because they kept long hair.

5. The three brothers were known as Uruvella Kassyapa, Nadi Kassyapa (Kassyapa of the River, i.e., the Niranjana), and Gaya Kassyapa (of the village Gaya).

6. Of these the Uruvella Kassyapa had a following of five hundred Jatilas ; Nadi Kassyapa had three hundred Jatilas as his disciples and Gaya Kassyapa had two hundred Jatilas. Of these the chief was Uruvella Kassyapa.

7. The fame of Uruvella Kassyapa had spread far and wide. He was known to have obtained Mukti (Salvation) while alive.   People from far-away places came to his Ashram which was located on the banks of the river Falgu.                   

8. The Blessed Lord having come to know of the name and fame of Uruvella Kassyapa, thought of preaching his gospel to him and if possible to convert him to his Dhamma.

9. Having come to know of his whereabouts the Blessed Lord went to Uruvella.

10. The Blessed One met him and wanting to have an opportunity to instruct him and convert him, said: "If it is not disagreeable to you, Kassyapa, let me dwell one night in your Ashram."

11. "I am not agreeable to this," said Kassyapa. "There is a savage Naga king called Muchalinda who rules over this place. He is possessed of dreadful powers. He is the deadly enemy of all ascetics performing fire worship. He pays nocturnal visits to their Ashrams and does them great harm. I fear he may do you the same harm as he does to me."

12. Kassyapa did not know that the Nagas had become the friends and followers of the Blessed One. But the Blessed One knew it.

13. So the Blessed One pressed for his request, saying : " He is not likely to do any harm to me : pray, Kassyapa, allow me a place in your fire room, for one night."

14. Kassyapa continued to raise many difficulties and the Blessed One continued to press his request.

15. Then Kassyapa said : " My mind desires no controversy, only I have my fears and apprehensions, but follow your own good pleasure."

16. The Blessed Lord forthwith stepped into the fire grove and took his seat.

17. The Naga king Muchalinda came into the room at his usual time. But instead of finding Kassyapa he found the Blessed One seated in his place.

18. Muchalinda, seeing the Lord seated, his face glowing with peace and serenity, felt as though he was in the presence of a great divinity, and bending his head, began to worship.

19. That night Kassyapa's sleep was very much disturbed by the thought of what might have happened to his guest. So he got up with great misgivings fearing that his guest might have been burnt up.

20. Then Kassyapa and his followers at morning light came one and all to have a look. Far from the Lord injured by Muchalinda, they found Mucha-linda worshipping the Lord.

21. Beholding the scene, Kassyapa felt that he was witnessing a great miracle.

22. Struck by this miracle Kassyapa requested the Blessed Lord to stay near him and make an Ashram, and,promised to look after him.

23. The Blessed Lord agreed to stay on.

24. The two, however, had different motives. Kassyapa's motive was to obtain protection against Muchalinda Naga. The Blessed Lord thought that one day Kassyapa will give him opportunity to propound his gospel.

25. But Kassyapa showed no such inclination. He thought that the Blessed Lord was only a miracle maker and nothing more.

26. One day the Blessed Lord thought of himself taking the initiative and asked Kassyapa, "Are you an Arhant?

27. " If you are not an Arhant, what good is this Agnihotra going to do to you ? "

28. Kassyapa said: "I do not know what is to be an Arhant ? Will you explain it to me ? "

29. The Lord then told Kassyapa, " An Arhant is one who has conquered all the passions which disturb a man from pursuing the eight-fold Path. Agnihotra cannot cleanse a man of his sins."

30. Kassyapa was a proud person. But he did feel the force of the Blessed Lord's argument. Making his mind pliant and yielding, until at length prepared to be a vehicle of the true law, he confessed that his poor wisdom could not compare with the wisdom of the world-honoured One.

31. And so, convinced at last, humbly submitting, Uruvella Kassyapa accepted the doctrine of the Lord and became his follower.

32. Following their master, the followers of Kassyapa, virtuously submissive, in turn received the teaching of the law. Kassyapa and all his followers were thus entirely converted. 33. Uruvella Kassyapa, then, lifting his goods and all his sacrificial vessels, threw them together into the river, which floated down upon the surface of the current.

34. Nadi and Gaya, who dwelt down the stream, seeing these articles of clothing (and the rest) floating along the stream disorderly, said, "These are the belongings of our brother ; why has he thrown them away ? Some great change has happened," and were deeply pained and restless. The two, each with five hundred followers, went up the stream to seek their brother.

35. On seeing him and all his followers now dressed as hermits, strange thoughts engaged their minds and they inquired into the reasons. Uruvella Kassyapa told them the story of his conversion to the Buddha's Dhamma.

36. " Our brother having submitted thus, we too should also follow him," they said.

37. They conveyed their wishes to their eldest brother. Then the two brothers, with all their band of followers, were brought to hear the Lord's discourse on the comparison of a fire sacrifice with his own gospel.

38. In his discourse to the two brothers the Blessed Lord said :  " The dark smoke of ignorance arises, whilst confused thoughts, like wood drilled into wood, create the fire.

39. " Lust, anger, delusion, these are as fire produced, and these enflame and burn all other things which cause grief and sorrow in the world.

40. " If once this way is found and lust, anger and delusion consumed, then with it is born sight, knowledge and pure conduct.

41. "So when the heart of a man has once conceived distaste for sin, this distaste removes covetous desire, covetous desire extinguished, there is recluse."

42. The great Rishis listening to him, lost all regard for fire worship and wished to be the disciples of the Buddha.

43. The conversion of the Kassyapas was a great triumph for the Blessed Lord. For they had a very strong hold on the imagination of the people.

Conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana

1. While the Blessed Lord was in Rajagraha there resided a well-known person by name Sanjaya with a great retinue of Parivrajakas numbering about two hundred and fifty as his disciples.

2. Among his disciples were Sariputta and Moggallana—two young Brahmins.

3. Sariputta and Moggallana were not satisfied with the teachings of Sanjaya and were in search of something better.

4. Now one day the venerable Assaji, one of the Panchvargiya Bhikkus, in the forenoon, having put on his under-robes, and having taken his alms bowl and outer robe, entered the city of Rajagraha for alms.

5. Sariputta was observing the dignified deportment of Assaji and was struck by it. On seeing the venerable Assaji, Sariputta thought, "Indeed this person is one of those monks who are the worthy ones in the world. What if I were to approach this monk and to ask him : 'In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess ?' "

6. Now Sariputta thought : " This is not the time to ask this monk ; he has entered the inner yard of a house for alms. What if I were to follow this monk step by step, according to the course recognised by those who want something ? "

7. And the venerable Assaji, having finished his alms pilgrimage through Rajagraha, went back with the food he had received. Then Sariputta went to the place where the venerable Assaji was ; having approached him, he exchanged greetings and with complaisant words, he stood at his side.

8. Standing at his side the wandering ascetic Sariputta said to the venerable Assaji: " Your countenance, friend, is serene; your complexion is pure and bright. In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess ? "

9. Assaji replied : " There is, friend, the great     recluse of the Sakya's clan ; in this Blessed One's name, have I retired from the world ; this Blessed One is my teacher, and it is the Dhamma of this Blessed One that I follow."

10. "And what, venerable Sir, is the doctrine which your teacher holds ? And what does he preach to you?"

11. "I am only a young disciple, friend ; I have but recently received ordination ; and I have newly adopted this Dhamma and discipline. I cannot explain to you the Dhamma in detail ; but I will tell you in short what it means."

12. Then Sariputta, the wandering ascetic, said to the venerable Assaji : " So be it, friend, tell me as much or as little as you like, but tell me the meaning, I want just meaning. Why make so much of the letter?"

13. Then the venerable Assaji explained to Sariputta the substance of the teachings of the Buddha and Sariputta was completely satisfied.

14. Sariputta and Moggallana, though not brothers, were bound together as hough they were brothers. They had given their word to each other. He who first attains the truth shall tell the same to the other one. That was their mutual engagement.

15. Accordingly Sariputta went to the place where Moggallana was. Seeing him, he said to Sariputta : " Your countenance, friend, is serene ; your complexion is pure and bright. Have you then really reached the truth ? "

16. " Yes, friend, I have come to know the truth." " And how, friend, have you done so ? " Then Sariputta told him what happened between him and Assaji.

17. Then Moggallana said to Sariputta, " Let us go, friend, and join the Blessed One ; that he, the Blessed One, may be our teacher." 18. Sariputta replied :  " It is on our account, friend, that these two hundred and fifty wandering Parivrajakas live here, and it is we whom they regard ; let us first tell them before taking leave of them ; they will do what they think fit."

19. Then Sariputta and Moggallana went to the place where they were ; having approached them they said to them, " Friends, we are going to join the Blessed One ; he, the Blessed One, is our teacher."

20. They replied : "It is on your account. Sirs, that we live here, and it is you whom we regard ; if you. Sirs, will lead the holy life under the great Samana, we all will do the same."

21. Then Sariputta and Moggallana went to the place where Sanjaya was ; having approached him, they said : " Friend, we go to join the Blessed One ; he, the Blessed One, is our teacher."

22. Sanjaya replied : "Nay, friends, do not go ; we will all three look after this company."

23. And a second and third time Sariputta and Moggallana said this and Sanjaya answered as before.

24. Then Sariputta and Moggallana took with them two hundred and fifty wandering ascetics and went to the Veluvana in Rajagraha where the Blessed One was staying.

25. And the Blessed One saw them—Sariputta and Moggallana, coming from afar : on seeing them he thus addressed the monks: "There, monks, arrive two companions," pointing towards Sariputta and Moggallana, "these will be my chief pair of disciples, and auspicious pair."

26. When they had arrived at the bamboo grove, they went to the place where the Blessed One was ; having approached him, they prostrated themselves, with their heads at the feet of the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One : " Lord, let us receive ordination from the Blessed One."

27. The Blessed One then uttered the usual formula indicating dmission, " Ehi Bhikku " (Come Monks), and Sariputta and Moggallana and the two hundred Jatilas became the disciples of the Buddha."

Conversion of King Bimbisara

1. Rajagraha was the capital of Seniya Bimbisara; King of Magadha.

2. Having heard of the conversions of this large number of Jatilas, everyone in the city had begun to talk about the Blessed One.

3. Thus King Bimbisara came to know of his arrival in the city.

4. " To have converted the most orthodox and the most obstinate Jatilas was no mean task." " Truly so," said King Bimbisara to himself, " he must be the Blessed, holy, absolute Buddha, proficient in knowledge and conduct, the way-farer, who understands the world, the highest one, who guides men, the teacher of gods and men. He must be teaching the truth, which he understood himself.

5. " He must be preaching that Dhamma which is lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely at the end, in the spirit and in the letter ; he must be proclaiming the consummate perfect, pure and holy life. It is good to obtain the sight of a man like him."

6. So King Bimbisara, surrounded by twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, went to the place where the Blessed One was. Having approached him and respectfully saluted the Blessed One, he sat down near him. And of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, some also respectfully saluted the Blessed One and sat down near him ; some exchanged greetings with the Blessed One, and having done so they sat down near him with complaisant words ; some bent their clasped hands towards the Blessed One and sat down near him ; some made known their name and family name before the Blessed One and sat down near him ; some sat down near him silently.

7. Now those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders saw Uruvella Kassyapa among the monks who came with the Blessed Lord. They thought: " How now is this ? Does the great Samana follow the holy life under Uruvella Kassyapa, or does Uruvella Kassyapa follow the holy life under the great Samana?"

8. And the Blessed One, who understood in his mind the reflection which had arisen in the minds of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, addressed the venerable Uruvella Kassyapa : "What has thou seen, 0 dweller of Uruvella, that thou who art called the great one has forsaken the fire worship? How is it thou has forsaken the fire sacrifice ? "

9. Kassyapa replied : " It is sights and sounds, and also tastes, and omen of sense desire that the sacrifices promise ; because I understood that these things are impure that I took no more delight in sacrifices and offerings."

10. " But if you don't mind, tell us what made you think so ? "

11. Then the venerable Uruvella Kassyapa rose from his seat, adjusted his upper robe so as to cover one shoulder, prostrated himself, inclining his head to the feet of the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One: " My teacher is the Blessed One, I. am his pupil." Then those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders understood : " Uruvella Kassyapa follows the holy life under the great Samana."

12. And the Blessed One, who understood in his mind 'the reflection that had arisen in the minds of those twelve myriads of Magadha Brahmins and householders, preached to them his Dhamma. Just as a clean cloth free from black specks properly takes the dye, thus eleven myriads of those Magadha Brahmins and householders with Bimbisara at their head, while sitting there, obtained the pure and spotless dye of the Dhamma. One myriad announced their having become lay followers.

13. Then the Magadha king, Seniya Bimbisara, having witnessed the scene, having understood the Dhamma, having penetrated the Dhamma, having overcome uncertainty, having dispelled all doubts, having gained full knowledge, said to the Blessed One : " In former days. Lord, when I was a prince, I entertained five aspirations ; these are now fulfilled.

14. " In former days. Lord, to me when I was a     prince, came this thought : ' O that I  might be inaugurated king ! ' That was my first aspiration, Lord ; that is now fulfilled. ' And might then a holy one, a fully Enlightened One, come over into my kingdom ! ' This was my second aspiration, Lord ; that is now fulfilled. ' And might I minister to that Blessed One ! ' That was my third aspiration. Lord ; that is now fulfilled. ' And might he, the Blessed One, preach the Dhamma to me ! ' This was my fourth aspiration, Lord ; and that is now fulfilled. ' And might I understand the Dhamma of that Blessed One!  'This was my fifth aspiration, Lord; this is now fulfilled. These were my five aspirations, Lord, which I entertained in former days when I was a prince.

15. " Wonderful, Lord ! Wonderful, just as if one should set up, what had been overturned, or should reveal what had been hidden, or should point out the way to one who had lost his way, or should bring a lamp into the darkness, in order that those who had eyes might see things, thus has the Blessed One preached the Dhamma in many ways. I take refuge. Lord, in that Blessed One, and in the Dhamma, and in the fraternity of Bhikkus (monks). May the Blessed One receive me from this day forth, while my life lasts, as a lay disciple who has taken refuge in him."

Conversion of Anathapindika

1. Sudatta was a resident of Shravasti, the capital of the kingdom of Kosala. It was ruled by King Pasenjit. Sudatta was treasurer of the king. From his bounties to the poor, Sudatta was known as Anathapindika.

2. When the Lord was at Rajagraha, Anathapindika happened to visit the place on some private business of his own. He was stopping with his who was married to the guild master of Rajagraha.

3. When he arrived he found the guild master preparing a meal for the Lord and his monks on so great a scale that he thought that a wedding was in progress or that the king had been invited.

4. On learning the truth he became very eager to visit the Lord and he set out in the very night to meet the Blessed One.

5. And the Blessed One saw at once the sterling quality of Anathapindika's heart and greeted him with words of comfort. After taking his seat Anathapindika expressed a desire to hear a discourse on some religious subject.

6. The Blessed Lord responding to his wishes raised the question, " Who is it that shapes our lives ? Is it Ishavara, a personal creator ? If  Ishavara be the maker, all living things should have silently to submit to their maker's power. They would be like vessels formed by the potter's hand. If the world had been made by Ishavara there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or sin ; for both pure and impure deeds must come from him.  If not, there would be another cause beside him, and he would not be the self-existent one. Thus, you see, the thought of Ishavara is overthrown.

7. " Again, it is said that the Absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from a cause as the plant comes from the seed; how can the Absolute be the cause of all things alike ? If it pervades them, then certainly it does not make them.

8. " Again, it is said that self is the maker. But if self is the maker, why did he not make things pleasing? The cases of sorrow and joy are real and objective. How can they have been made by self?

9. " Again, if you adopt the argument, there is no maker, or fate in such as it is, and there is no causation, what use would there be in shaping our lives and adjusting means to an end?

10. " Therefore, we argue that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither Ishavara, nor the Absolute, nor the self, nor causeless chance, is the maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil.

11. "The whole world is under the law of causation, and the causes that act are not un-mental,     for the gold of which the cup is made is gold throughout.

12. " Let us, then, surrender the heresies of worshipping Ishavara and praying to him; let us not lose ourselves in vain speculations of profitless subtleties; let us surrender self and all selfishness, and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practise good so that good may result from our actions."

13. And Anathapindika said : " I see the truth of what the Blessed One has said and I wish to open my whole mind. Having listened to my words let the Lord advise me what I should do.

14. " My life is full of work, and having acquired great wealth, I am surrounded with cares. Yet do I enjoy my work, and I apply myself to it with all diligence. Many people are in my employ and depend upon the success of my enterprises.

15. " Now, I have heard your disciples praise the bliss of the hermit and denounce the unrest of the world. ' The Blessed One,' they say, ' has given up his kingdom and his inheritance, and has found the path of righteousness, thus setting an example to all the world how to attain Nirvana.'

16. " My heart yearns to do what is right and to be a blessing unto my fellow-beings. Let me then ask you, must I give up my wealth, my home, and my business enterprises, and, like you, go into homelessness in order to attain the bliss of a religious life ?"

17. And the Blessed Lord replied : " The bliss of a religious life is attainable by every one who walks in the noble eight-fold path. He that cleaves to wealth, had better cast it away than allow his heart to be poisoned by it ; but he who does not cleave to wealth, and possessing riches, uses them rightly, will be a blessing unto his fellow-beings.

18. "I say unto thee, remain in thy station of life and apply thyself with diligence to thy enterprises. It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power.

19. " The Bhikku who retires from the world in order to lead a life of leisure will have no gain. For a life of indolence is an abomination, and lack of energy is to be despised.

20. "The Dhamma of the Tathagata does not require a man to go into homelessness or to resign the world unless he feels called upon to do so ; what the Dhamma of the Tathagata requires is for every man to free himself from the illusion of self, to cleanse his heart, to give up his thirst for pleasure, and lead a life of righteousness.

21. "And whatever men do, whether they remain in the world as artisans, merchants, and officers of the king, or retire from the world and devote themselves to a life of religious meditation, let them put their whole eart into their task ; let them be diligent and energetic, and, if they are like the lotus, which, though it grows in the water, yet remains untouched by the water, if they struggle in life without cherishing envy or hatred, if they live in the world a life not of self but a life of truth, then surely joy, peace, and bliss will dwell in their minds."

22. Anathapindika perceived that this was the most excellent system of truth, simple and of wisdom-born.

23. Thus firmly settled in the true doctrine he slowly bent in worship at the feet of the Blessed One and with closed hands made his request.

Conversion of King Pasenjit

1. Then King Pasenjit, hearing that the Lord had come, went in his royal equippage to the Jetavana Vihara. Saluting him with clasped hands, he said:

2. " Blessed is my unworthy and obscure kingdom that it has met with so great a fortune. For how can calamities and dangers befall it in the presence of Lord of the World, the Dharma Raja, the King of Truth.

3. " Now that I have seen your sacred features, let me partake of the refreshing waters of your teachings.

4. "Worldly profit is fleeting and perishable, but religious profit is eternal and inexhaustible. A worldly man, though a king, is full of trouble, but even a common man who is holy has peace of mind."

5. Knowing the tendency of the king's heart, weighed down by avarice and love of pleasure, the Blessed One seized the opportunity and said :

6. " Even those who, have been born in low degree, when they see a virtuous man, feel reverence for him, how much more must an independent king, who by his previous conditions of life has acquired much merit, feel ?

7. " And now as I briefly expound the law, let the Maharaja listen and weigh my words, and hold fast to what I say.

8. " Our good or evil deeds follow us continually like shadows.

9. " That which is most needed is a loving heart !

10. " Regard your people as we do an only son. Do not oppress them, do not destroy them ; keep in due check every member of your body, forsake unrighteous doctrines and walk in the straight path; do not exalt yourself by trampling down others. Give comfort and befriend the sufferer.

11. "Neither ponder much on kingly dignity, nor listen to the smooth words of flatterers.

12. "There is no profit in vexing oneself by austerities, but meditate on Dhamma and weigh the righteous law.

13. " We are enclosed on all sides by the rocks of sorrow and ill and only by considering the true law can we escape from this sorrow-filled mountain.

14, " What profit, then, in practising inequity ?

15. " All who are wise spurn the pleasures of the body. They loathe lust and seek to promote their spiritual existence.

16. " When a tree is burning with fierce flames, how can the birds congregate therein ? Truth cannot dwell where passion lives. Without a knowledge of this, the learned man, though he may be praised as a sage, is ignorant.

17. "On him who has this knowledge true wisdom dawns. To acquire this wisdom is the one aim needed. To neglect it implies the failure of life.

18. " The teachings of all schools should centre here, for without it there is no reason.

19. "This truth is not for the hermit alone ; it concerns every human being, priest and layman alike. There is no distinction between the monk who has taken the vows, and the man of the world living with his family. There are hermits who fall into perdition, and there are humble householders who mount to the rank of rishis.

20. " The tide of lust is a danger common to all ; it carries away the world. He who is involved in its eddies finds no escape. But wisdom is the handy boat, reflection is the rudder. The slogan of religion calls you to the rescue of your self from the assaults of Mara, the enemy.

21. " Since it is impossible to escape the result of our deeds, let us practise good works.

22. " Let us inspect our thoughts that we do no evil, for as we sow so shall we reap.

23. " There are ways from light into darkness and from darkness into light. There are ways, also, from gloom into deeper darkness, and from the dawn into brighter light. The wise man will use the light as he has to receive more light. He will constantly advance to the knowledge of the truth.

24. " Exhibit true superiority by virtuous conduct and the exercise of reason; meditate deeply on the vanity of earthly things, and understand the fickleness of life.

25. " Elevate the mind, and seek sincere faith with firm purpose; transgress not the rules of kingly conduct, and let your happiness depend, not upon external things but upon your own mind. Thus you will lay up a good name for distant ages.

26. The king listened with reverence and remembered all the words of the Blessed One in his heart and promised to become his lay disciple.

Conversion of Jeevaka

1. Jeevaka was the son of Salvati, a courtesan of Rajagraha.

2. Immediately after birth the child, being illegitimate, was placed in a basket and thrown on a dust-heap.

3. A large number of people were standing by the dust-heap watching the child. Abhaya, the Raja-kumara, happened to pass by the site. He questioned the people who said : " It is alive."

4. For this reason the child was called Jeevaka. Abhaya adopted him and brought him up.

5. When Jeevaka grew in age he learned how he was saved and was charged with the intense desire to qualify himself to save others.

6. He therefore went to the University of Takashila without the knowledge and permission of Abhaya and studied medicine for seven years.

7. Returning to Rajagraha he set up his practice as a doctor and within a very short time acquired a great name and fame in the profession.

8. His first patient was the wife of a sethi of Saketa and for curing her he received sixteen thousand kahapanas, a man-servant, a maid-servant and a coach with a horse.

9. Knowing his eminence, Abhaya gave him residence in his own establishment.

10. At Rajagraha he cured Bimbisara of a troublesome fistula and is said to have received as reward all the ornaments of Bimbisara's five hundred wives.

11. Other noteworthy cures of Jeevaka included that of the sethi of Rajagraha on whom he performed the operation of trepanning and of the son of the sethi of Benares who was suffering from chronic intestinal trouble due to misplacement.

12. Jeevaka was appointed physician to the king and the king's women.

13. But Jeevaka was greatly attached to the Blessed Lord. Consequently he also acted as a physician to him and the Sangh.

14. He became a disciple of the Lord. The Blessed Lord did not make him a Bhikku as he wanted him to remain free to tend to the sick and the wounded.

15. When Bimbisara died Jeevaka continued to serve his son Ajatsatru and was mainly instrumental in bringing him to the Lord after his crime of parricide.

The Conversion of Ratthapala

1. Once when the Lord was on an alms pilgrimage in the Kuru country with a great company of almsmen, he stayed at Thullakotthita, which was a township of the Kurus.

2. They came to know of it and went to him to pay their respects. 

3. When they were seated, the Lord instructed them with a discourse on the Doctrine. Having received their instruction from the Lord, the Brahmin heads of houses of Thullakotthita gratefully thanked him, rose up and departed with deep obeisance.

4. Seated among them was a young man named Ratthapala, a scion of a leading family of the place, to whom this thought came : "So far as I understand, the Doctrine which the Lord has preached is no easy matter for one who lives in a home to lead the higher life in all its fullness, purity, and perfection.

5. " What if I were to cut off hair and beard, don the yellow robes and go forth from home to homelessness as a pilgrim!"

6. When the Brahmins had not been gone long, then Ratthapala came up and, after salutations, told the Lord the thought which had come to him, and asked to be admitted to, and confirmed in, the confraternity under him.

7. " Have you your parents' consent to this step, Ratthapala?' asked the Lord.

8. "No, Sir."

9. "I do not admit those who have not their parents' consent."

10. "That consent. Sir, I will take steps to obtain," said the young man, who rising up and taking a reverential leave of the Lord, went off to his parents, told them his thoughts and asked their consent to his becoming a Bhikku.

11. The parents made answer as follows : " Dear Ratthapala, you are our only son, very dear to us and beloved ; you live in comfort and have been brought up in comfort, with no experience at all of discomfort. Go away ; eat, drink, enjoy yourself, and do good works in all happiness. We refuse our consent.

12. " Your death would leave us desolate, with no pleasure left in life ; why, while we have you still, should we consent to your going forth from home to homelessness as a Bhikku".

13. A second and yet a third time did Ratthapala repeat his request, only to be met by the same refusal from his parents.

14. Failing thus to get his parents' consent, the young man flung himself down on the bare ground, declaring that he would either die there or become a Bhikku.

15. His parents entreated him to get up while repeating their objections to his becoming a Bhikku, but the young man said not a word. A second and a third time they entreated him but still he said not a word.

16. So the parents sought out Ratthapala's companions to whom they told all this and besought them to urge, as from themselves, what his parents had said to him.

17. Thrice his companions appealed to him, but still he said not a word. So his companions came to the parents with this report : " There on the bare ground he lies, declaring that he will either die there or become a Bhikku. If you refuse your consent, he will never get up alive. But, if you give your consent, you will see him when he has become a Bhikku. Should he not like being a Bhikku, what alternative will he have! Why, only to come back here. Do give your consent ! " they urged.

18. " Yes, we consent ; but when he is a Bhikku, he must come and see us."

19. Off now went his companions to Ratthapala, and they told him that his parents had given their consent, but that when he was a Bhikku he was to come and see them.

20. Thereupon the young man arose and, when he had regained his strength, betook himself to the Lord, and after salutations seated himself on one side, saying: " I have got my parents' consent to my becoming a Bhikku ; I ask the Lord to admit me."

21. Admission and confirmation were granted him under the Lord; and a fortnight afterwards the Lord, having stayed at Thullakotthita as long as he wanted, proceeded on his alms pilgrimage towards Sravasti, where he took up his abode in Jeta's grove in Anathapindika's pleasance.

22. Dwelling alone and aloof, strenuous, ardent and purged of self, the reverend Ratthapala was not long before he won the prize in quest of which young men go forth from home to homelessness as Bhikkus, that prize of prizes which crowns the highest life.

23. Then, he went to the Lord and, seated on one side after salutations, said that with the Lord's permission, he wished to go and see his parents.

24. Scanning with his own heart the thoughts of Ratthapala's heart, and recognizing thereby that he was incapable of abandoning his training and reverting to the lower life of a layman, the Lord bade him go when he would.

25. Hereupon, rising up and taking his leave of the Lord with deep reverence, Ratthapala, after duly putting away his bedding, set out, with his robe and bowl, on an alms pilgrimage to Thullakotthita where he took up his abode in the deer-park of the Kuru king.

26. Early next morning, duly robed and bowl in hand, he went into the town for alms, and there as he passed from house to house on his undiscriminating round, he came to his father's house.

27. Indoors, in the hall within the middle door, his father was having his hair combed and, seeing Ratthapala coming in the distance, he said : " It was these shavelings of reduces who made Bhikku of my only dear and beloved  son."

28. So at his own father's house Ratthapala was given nothing, not even a refusal; all he got was abuse.

29. At this moment a slave-girl of the family was about to throw away the previous day's stale rice; and to her Ratthapala said: " If, sister, that is to be thrown away, put it in my bowl here."

30. As the girl was doing so, she recognised his hands and feet and voice, and going straight to her mistress, cried out: " Do you know, madam, the young master is back."

31. " If what you say is true, you are a slave no longer," said the mother, who hurried off to tell her husband that she heard their son was back.

32. Ratthapala was eating that stale rice under the hedge when his father arrived, exclaiming; " Can it be, my dear son, that you are eating stale rice? Should you not have come to your own house ?"

33. Said Ratthapala, ' 'What house of our own, householder, can we have who are homeless, having gone forth from home to homelessness ? I did come to your house, where I was given nothing not even a refusal ; all I got was abuse."

34. ' Come, my son; let us go indoors.' ' Not so, householder; I have finished my eating for today.' said Ratthapala.

35. ' Well then, my son promise to take your meal here tomorrow.'

36. By his silence the reverend Ratthapala gave consent.

37. Then the father went indoors,—where first he ordered great heaps of gold and bullion to be piled up under a covering of mats and then he told his daughters-in-law, who had been the reverend Ratthapala's wives aforetime, to deck themselves out in all the finery their husband liked to see them in.

38. When night had passed, the father, having ordered an excellent meal to be got ready in his house, told his son when it was ready. Early that forenoon,     the reverend Ratthapala, duly robed and bowl in hand, came and took the seat set for him.

39. Hereupon, ordering the heap of treasure to be unveiled, the father said: ' This is your mother's fortune, that is your father's and that came from your grand-father. You have the wherewithal both to enjoy yourself and to do good works.

40. 'Come, my son; abandon your training; revert to the lower life of the layman; enjoy your substance and do good works.'

41. ' If you will take my advice, householder, you will cart away all this heaped-up treasure and sink it in the middle of the Ganges. And why ? Because thence you will only derive sorrow and lamentation, ills, pain of mind, pain of body and tribulation.'

42. Clinging to his feet, the reverend Ratthapala's whilom wives asked like what were the nymphs divine for whose sake he was leading the higher life.

43. " For the sake of no nymphs at all, sisters," said he.

44. At hearing themselves called sisters, the ladies all fainted and fell to the ground.

45. Said Ratthapala to his father: " If food is to be given, householder, give it; trouble me not."

46. " The food is ready, my son ; begin," said the father as he served that excellent meal without stint till his son had his fill.

47. After taking food he departed to the deer-park of  the Kuru king, where he sat down under a tree during the noontide heat.

48. Now the king had given directions to his huntsman to tidy up the park against his coming to see it; and the obedient huntsman was engaged on his task when he saw Ratthapala seated under a tree during the noontide heat, and reported to the king that the park was in. order but that under a tree there was seated Ratthapala, the young gentleman of whom His Majesty had often heard tell.

49. " Never mind about the park today," said the king; " I will pay a call on His Reverence."     Ordering, therefore, all the repast which had been prepared to be made ready, he mounted a chariot and drove forth in procession in royal state out of the city to see Ratthapala.

50. Riding as far as the ground was passable for his chariot and proceeding thence on foot with his princely train, the king came at last upon the reverend Ratthapala, whom, after exchange of courteous greetings, the king—still standing—invited to be seated on a clump of flowers.

51. " Nay, sire; sit you there, I have got a seat."

52. Seating himself on the seat indicated to him, the king said: " There are four kinds of losses, Ratthapala, which impel men to cut off hair and beard, don the yellow robes, and go forth from home to homelessness—namely, (i) old age, (ii) failing health, (iii) impoverishment, and (iv) death of kinsfolk.

53. " Take a man who, being aged and old, far advanced in life, stricken in years, and at the close of life, recognises his position, and realises the difficulty either of acquiring new wealth or of doing well with what he has got; so he decides to take to homelessness. This is known as the loss which old age entails. But here are you in the prime of youth and early manhood, with a wealth of coal-black hair untouched by grey, and in all the beauty of your prime;—not yours is the loss old age entails. What have you known or seen or heard to make you take to homelessness ?

54. " Or take a man who, being in ill-health or pain, or gravely ill, recognises his position and realises the difficulty either of acquiring new wealth or doing well with what he has already; so he decides to take to homelessness. This is known as the loss which failing health entails. But here are you neither ill nor ailing, with a good digestion maintained by humours neither too hot nor too cold ; not yours is the loss which failing health entails. What have  known or seen or heard to make you take to homelessness ?

55. "Or take a man who, after being rich and wealthy and of great substance, and after gradually losing it, recognises his, position and realises the difficulty either of acquiring new wealth or of doing well with what he has got; so he decides to become a pilgrim. This is known as the loss which impoverishment entails. But the revered Ratthapala is the son of leading family in this very Thullakotthita, and there is none of this loss of wealth for the revered Ratthapala. What has the good Ratthapala known or seen or heard that he has gone forth from home into homelessness ? And what, good Ratthapala, is loss of relations ? As to this, good Ratthapala, someone has many friends and acquaintances, kith and kin, but gradually these relations of his diminish. He reflects thus: ' Formerly I had many friends and acquaintances, kith and kin, but gradually these relations of mine have diminished, so it is not easy for me to acquire wealth etc....' So he that is followed by this loss of relations, having cut off hair and beard, having donned saffron garments, goes forth from home into homelessness. This is known as the loss which kinsfolk's death entails. But here are you with a host of friends and relations; not yours is the loss which kinsfolk's death entails. What have you known or seen or heard to make you take to homelessness?"

56. " I have gone forth," replied Ratthapala, " sire, from home to homelessness because I have known, seen, and heard the following four propositions enunciated by the All-Englightened Lord who knows and sees :

"(i) The world is in continual flux and change.

(ii) The world has no protector or preserver. "(iii) We own nothing; we must leave everything  behind. "(iv) The world lacks and bankers, being enslaved to craving." 57. "It is wonderful, it is marvellous," said the king, "how right in this the Lord was !"


Suddhodana and the Last Look

1. After the conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana the Lord stayed in Rajagraha for two months.

2. Having heard that the Lord was residing at Rajagraha, Suddhodana, his father, sent word to him saying : " I wish to see my son before I die. Others have had the benefit of his doctrine, but not his father nor his relatives."

3. The man with whom the message was sent was Kaludayin, the son of one of the courtiers of Suddhodana.

4. And the messenger on arrival said: " O, world-honoured Tathagata, your father looks for your coming, as the lily longs for the rising of the sun."

5. The Blessed One consented to the request of his father and set out on the journey to his father's house accompanied by a large number of his disciples.

6. The Lord journeyed by slow stages. But Kaludayin went ahead of him to inform Suddodhana that the Blessed One was coming and was on his way.

7. Soon the tidings spread in the Sakya country. " Prince Siddharth, who wandered forth from home into homelessness to obtain enlightenment, having attained his purpose, is coming home to Kapilavatsu." This was on the lips of every one.

8. Suddhodana and Mahaprajapati went out with their relatives and ministers to meet their son. When they saw their son from afar, they were struck with his beauty and dignity and his lustre and they rejoiced in their heart, but they could find no words to utter.

9. This indeed was their son ; these were the features of Siddharth! How near was the great Samana to their heart and yet what a distance lay between them! That noble muni was no longer Siddharth their son ; he was now the Buddha, the Blessed One, the Holy One, Lord of Truth and Teacher of Mankind!

10. Suddhodana, considering the religious dignity of their son, descended from the chariot and having saluted him first, said : " It is now seven years since  we saw you. How we have longed for this moment."

11. Then the Buddha took a seat opposite his father, and the king eagerly gazed at his son. He longed to call him by his name but he dared not. "Siddharth," he exclaimed silently in his heart, " Siddharth, come back to your old father and be his son again." But seeing the determination of his son, he suppressed his sentiments. Desolation overcame him and Mahaprajapati.

12. Thus the father sat face to face with his son, rejoicing in his sadness and sad in his rejoicing. Well may he be proud of his son, but his pride broke down at the idea that his great son would never be his heir.

13. " I would offer thee my kingdom," said the king, " but if I did, thou would account it but as ashes."

14. And the Lord said: "I know that the king's heart is full of love and that for his son's sake he feels deep grief. But let the ties of love that bind you to the son whom you lost, embrace with equal kindness all your fellow-beings, and you will receive in his place a greater one than your son Siddharth ; you will receive one who is the teacher of truth, the preacher of righteousness, and the bringer of peace and of Nirvana will enter into your heart."

15. Suddhodana trembled with joy when he heard the melodious words of his son, the Buddha, and clasping his hands, exclaimed with tears in his eyes : " Wonderful is the change ! The overwhelming sorrow has passed away. At first my sorrowing heart was heavy but now I reap the fruit of your great renunciation. It was right that moved by your mighty sympathy, you should reject the pleasures of power and achieve your noble purpose in religious devotion. Having found the path you can now preach your Dhamma to all that yearn for deliverance."

16. Suddhodana returned to his house while the Buddha remained in the grove with his companions.

17. The next morning the Blessed Lord took his bowl and set out to beg for his food in Kapilavatsu. 18. And the news spread : " Siddharth is going from house to house to receive alms in the city where he used to ride in a chariot attended by his retinue. His robe is like a red clod and he holds in his hand an earthen bowl."

19. On hearing the strange rumour, Suddhodana     went forth in great hase and exclaimed: " Why do you disgrace me thus ? Do you not know that I can easily supply you and your Bhikkus with food ?"

20. And the Lord replied: " It is the custom of my Order."

21. " But how can this be? You are not one of them that ever begged for food."

22. "Yes, father," rejoined the Lord, "You and your race may claim descent from kings; my descent is from the Buddhas of old. They begged their food, and always lived on alms."

23. Suddhodana made no reply, and the Blessed One continued: " It is customary, when one has found a hidden treasure, for him to make an offering of the most precious jewel to his father. Suffer me, therefore, to offer you this treasure of mine which is the Dhamma."

24. And the Blessed Lord told his father: "If you free yourself from dreams, if you open your mind to truth, if you be energetic, if you practise righteousness, you will find eternal bliss."

25. Suddhodana heard the words in silence and replied: " My son ! What thou sayst will I endeavour to fulfil."

Meeting Yeshodhara and Rahula

1. Then Suddhodana conducted the Blessed Lord into his house and all the members of the family greeted him with- great reverence.

2. But Yeshodhara, the mother of Rahula, did not make her appearance." Suddhodana sent for Yeshodhara. but she replied: " Surely, if I am deserving of any regard, Siddhartha will come and see me."

3. The Blessed One, having greeted all his relatives and friends, asked: " Where is Yeshodhara ?" and on being informed that she had refused to come, he rose straightaway and went to her apartment.

4. " I am free," the Blessed One said to his disciples Sariputta and Moggallana whom he had bidden to accompany him into Yeshodhara's chamber; " But Yeshodhara, however, is not as yet free. Not having seen me for a long time, she is exceedingly sorrowful. Unless her grief be allowed to run its course her heart will cleave. Should she touch the Tathagata, the Holy One, you must not prevent her."

5. Yeshodhara sat in her room in deep reflection. When the Blessed One entered, she was, from the abundance of her affection, like an overflowing vessel, unable to contain herself.

6. Forgetting that the man whom she loved was Buddha, the Lord of the World, the Preacher of Truth, she held him by his feet and wept bitterly.

7. Remembering, however, that Suddhodana was present, she felt ashamed and rose up, sitting herself reverently at a little distance.

8. Suddhodana apologized for Yeshodhara, saying: " This arises from her deep affection, and is more than a temporary emotion. During the seven years that she has lost her husband, when she heard that Siddharth had shaved his head, she did likewise; when she heard that he had left off the use of perfumes and ornaments she also refused their use. Like her husband she has eaten at appointed times from an earthen bowl only.

9. " If this is more than a temporary emotion it is not for want of courage."

10. And the Blessed One spoke to Yeshodhara telling of her great merits and the great courage she showed when he took Parivraja. Her purity, her gentleness, her devotion had been invaluable to him as a Bodhisattva when he aspired to the highest aim of mankind to attain enlightenment. This, then, was her karma, and it was the result of great merits.

11. Her grief had been unspeakable, and the glory that surrounded her spiritual inheritance increased by her noble attitude during her life and had made her a unique person.

12. Then Yeshodhara dressed Rahula, now seven years old, in all the splendour of a prince and said to him:

13. " This holy man, whose appearance is so glorious that he looks like the Great Brahma, is your father. He possesses great mines of wealth which I have not yet seen. Go to him and entreat him to put you in the possession thereof for the son ought to inherit the property of the father."

14. Rahula replied : " Who is my father. I know of no father but Suddhodana."

15. Yeshodhara took the boy in her arms and from the window she pointed out to the Lord, who happened to be near, partaking of food among the Bhikkus, informing him that he was his father and not Suddhodana.

16. Rahula then went to him and looking up in his face, said without fear and with much affection:

17. " Aren't thou my father!" And standing near by him, he added: " O Samana, even your shadow is full of bliss !" The Blessed One remained silent.

18. When the Tathagata had finished his repast, he gave blessings and went away from the palace, but Rahula followed and asked him for his inheritance.

19. No one prevented the boy, nor did the Blessed One himself.

20. Then the Blessed One turned to Sariputta, saying: " My son asks for his inheritance.. I cannot give him perishable treasures that will bring cares and sorrows, but I can give him the inheritance of a holy life, which is a treasure that will not perish."

21. Addressing Rahula with earnestness, the Blessed One said : " Gold and silver and jewels have I none. But if you are willing to receive spiritual treasures, and are strong to carry them and to keep them, I have plenty. My spiritual treasure is the path of righteousness. Do you desire to be admitted to the brotherhood of those who devote their life to the culture of the mind seeking for the highest bliss attainable ?"

22. And Rahula replied with firmness: " I do.'"

23. When Suddhodana heard that Rahula had joined the brotherhood of the Bhikkus he was greatly grieved.

Reception by the Sakyas

1. On his return to the country of the Sakyas the Lord found his countrymen divided into two camps. One in favour and the other against him.

2. This recalled to his mind the old clash of opinion that took place in the Sakya Sangh when the issue of war between the Sakyas and Koliyas was fought and in which he had played so prominent a part.

3. Those against him refused even now to do obeisance to him and to recognise his greatness. Those for him had already decided to dedicate a son per household to form a retinue for him. These now decided to enter the Order and set out with the Lord on his return to Rajagraha.

4. Among the families which had decided to dedicate a son there was the family of Amitodana.

5. Amitodana had  two  sons. One was Anuruddha, who had been very delicately nurtured, and the other Mahanama.

6. And Mahanama went to Anuruddha, saying: " Either do you renounce the world, or I will do so." And Anuruddha replied, " I am delicate. It is impossible for me to go forth from the household life into the homeless state. You do so."

7. "But come now, dear Anuruddha, I will tell you what is incident to the household life. First, you have to get your fields ploughed. When that is done, you have to get them sown. When that is done, you have to get the water led down over them. When that is done, you have to get the water led off again. When that is done, you have to get the seeds pulled up. When that is done, you have to get the crop reaped. When that is done, you have to get the crop carried away. When that is done, you have to get it arranged into bundles. When that is done, you have to get it trodden out. When that is done, you have to get the straw picked out. When that is done you have to get the chaff removed. When that is done, you have to get it winnowed. When that is done, you have to get the harvest garnered. When that is done, you have to do just the same next year, and the same all over again the year after that.

8. " The work is never over ; one sees not the end of one's labour. O, when shall our work be over ? When shall we see the end of our labours ? When shall we, still possessing and retaining the pleasures of our five senses, yet dwell at rest? Yes, the work, dear Anuruddha, is never over ; no end appears to our labours."

9. " Then do you take thought for the household duties. I will go forth from the household life into the houseless state," said Anuruddha.

10. And Anuruddha, the Sakyan, went to his mother, and said to her. " I want, mother, to go forth from the household life into the houseless state. Grant me thy permission to do so."

11. And when he had thus spoken, his mother replied to Anuruddha, the Sakyan, saying : " You two, dear Anuruddha, are my two sons, near and dear to me, in whom I find no evil. Through death I shall some day, against my will, be separated from you but how can I be willing, whilst you are still alive, that you should go forth from the household life into the houseless state ? "

12. And a second timeAnuruddha made the same request, and received the same reply. And a third time Anuruddha made the same request to his mother.

13. Now at that time Bhaddiya, the Sakyan Raja, held rule over the Sakyans ; and he was a friend of Anuruddha. And the mother of Anuruddha, thinking that that being so, the raja would not be able to renounce the world, said to her son: " Dear Anuruddha, if Bhaddiya the Sakyan raja will renounce the world, you also may go forth with him."

14. Then Anuruddha went to Bhaddiya and said to him : " My renunciation of the world, dear friend,     is being obstructed by you."

15. "Then let that obstruction, dear friend, be removed. I am with you. Renounce the world according to your wish."

16. " Come, dear friend, let us both renounce the world together! "

17. "lam not capable, dear friend, of giving up the household life. Whatsoever else you can ask of me, that will I do. Do you go forth alone," said Bhaddiya.

18. " Mother, dear friend, has told me that if you do so, I may. And you have even now declared, ' If your renunciation be obstructed by me, then let that obstruction be removed. Even with you will I renounce the world according to your wish.' Come then, dear friend, let us both renounce the world."

19. And Bhaddiya, the Sakyan raja said to Anuruddha, "Wait, my friend, for seven years. At the end of seven years we will renounce the world together."

20. " Seven years are too long, dear friend. I am not able to wait for seven years."

21. Bhaddiya reduced the offer to six years and so on down to one year, to seven months and so on down to one month, and a fortnight. To each offer Anuruddha replied, " Too long a time to wait."

22. Then the raja says : " Wait, my friend, for seven days, whilst I hand over the kingdom to my sons and my brothers."

23. " Seven days is not too long. I will wait thus far," was the reply.

24. So Bhaddiya the Sakyan raja and Anuruddha and Ananda and Bhagu and Kimbila and Devadatta— just as they had so often previously gone out to the pleasure-ground with fourfold array—even so did they now go out with fourfold array, and Upali, the barber, went with them, making seven in all.

25. And when they had gone some distance they sent their retinue back and crossed over into the neighbouring district, and took off their fine things and wrapped them in their robes, and made a bundle of them, and said to Upali the barber : " Do you now, good Upali, turn back to Kapilavatsu. These things will be sufficient for you to' live upon. We will go and join the Blessed One." And so they went ahead.

26: They went on and Upali parted company for the purpose of going back home.

Last attempt to make Him a Householder

1. Suddhodana wept bitterly at the thought of his son going away never to be seen again.

2. Then Suddhodana spoke to his counsellor and his family priest and asked them if they could go and persuade his son to stay back and join the family.

3. The family priest accompanied by the counsellor, in obedience to the wishes of the king, went and overtook him on the way.

4. They paid him honour as was fitting, and having obtained his permission, sat down near him.

5. The family priest addressed the Lord as he sat at the foot of the tree.

6. "O prince, consider for a moment the feelings of the king with his eyes raining tears with the arrow of thy reparation plunged into his heart. He has asked you to come back home. It is then only that he can die peacefully.

7. " I know that thy resolve is fixed upon religion, and I am convinced that this purpose of thine is unchanging ; but I am consumed with a flame of anguish like fire at thy going into this homeless state.

8. " Come, thou who love duty,—abandon this purpose for the sake of duty.

9. " Enjoy for a while the sovereignty of the earth, —thou shall go to the orest at the time provided by the sastras,—do not show disregard for thy unhappy kindred. Compassion for all creatures is the true religion.

10. "Religion is not wrought out only in the forests, the salvation of ascetics can be accomplished even in a city ; thought and effort are the true means, the forest and the badge are only a coward's signs.

11. " The king of the Sakyas is drowned in a deep sea of sorrow, full of waves of trouble, springing from thee ; do thou therefore deliver him who is helpless and protect or less like an ox drowning in the sea.

12. " Consider also the queen, who brought thee up, who has not yet gone to the region inhabited by Agastya—wilt thou not take some heed of 'her, who ceaselessly grieves like a cow that has lost her calf?

13. " Surely thou wilt succour thy wife by the. sight of thee, who now mourns as a widow yet with her lord still alive,—like a swan separated from her mate or a female elephant deserted in the forest by her companion."

14. The Lord having heard the words of the family priest, reflected for a moment, knowing all the virtues of the virtuous, and then thus uttered his gentle reply:

The Buddha's Answer

1. " I well know the paternal tenderness of the king, especially that which he has displayed towards me ; yet knowing this as I do, still alarmed at the ill and sorrow which pervades the world, I am inevitably forced to leave my kindred.

2. " Who would not wish to see his dear kindred, if but this separation from beloved ones did not exist? But since even after it has been once, separation will still come again, it is for this that I abandon my father, however loving.

3. " I do not however approve that thou should think" the king's grief as caused by me, when in the midst of his dream-like unions, he is afflicted by thoughts of separations in the future.

4. " Thus let thy thoughts settle into certainty, having seen the multiform in ts various developments; neither a son nor kindred is the cause of sorrow,—this sorrow is caused only by ignorance.

5. " Since parting is inevitably fixed in the course of time for all beings, just as for travellers who have joined company on a road,—what wise man would cherish sorrow, when he loses his kindred, even though he loves them ?

6. " Leaving his kindred in another world, he departs hither, and having stolen away from them here, he goes forth once more ; havings gone thither, he goes elsewhere also,—such is the lot of mankind,—what consideration can the liberated have for them ?

7. " Since from the moment of leaving the womb death is a characteristic adjunct, why, in thy affection for thy son, has thou called my departure to the forest ill-timed ?

8. "There may be an 'ill time' in one's attaining a worldly object,—time indeed is described as inseparably connected with all things; time drags the world into all its various times ; but all time suits a bliss which is really worthy of praise.

9. " That the king should wish to surrender to me his kingdom,—this is a noble thought, well worthy of a father ; but it would be as improper for me to accept it, as for a sick man through greed to accept unwholesome food.

10. " How can it be right for the wise to enter royalty, the home of illusion, where are found anxiety, passion, and weariness ; and the violation of all right through another's service ?

11. "The golden palace seems to me to be on fire ; the daintiest viands seem mixed with poison ; infested with crocodiles is the tranquil lotus-bed."

The Minister's Reply

1. Having heard the Buddha's discourse, well suitable to his virtues and knowledge, freed from all desires, full of sound reasons, and weighty,—the counsellor thus made answer :

2. " This resolve of thine is an excellent counsel, not unfit in itself but only unfit at the present time : it could not be thy duty, loving duty as thou do , to leave thy father in his old age to sorrow

3. " Surely thy mind is not very penetrating, or it is ill-skilled in examining duty, wealth, and pleasure,— when for the sake of an unseen result thou departest disregarding a visible end.

4. " Again some say that there is another birth,— others with confident assertion say that there is not, since then the matter is all in doubt, it is right to enjoy the good fortune which comes into thy hand.

5. " If there is any activity hereafter, we will enjoy ourselves in it as may offer ; or if there is no activity beyond this life, then there is an assured liberation to all the world without any effort.

6. " Some say there is a future life, but they do not allow the possibility of liberation ; as fire is hot by nature, and water liquid, so they hold that there is a special nature in our power of action.

7. " Some maintain that all things arise from inherent properties,—both good and evil and existence and non-existence : and since all this world thus arises spontaneously, therefore also all effort of ours is vain.

8. " Since the action of the senses is fixed, and so too the agreeableness or the disagreeableness of outward objects,—then for that which is united to old age and pains, what effort can avail to alter it ? Does it not all arise spontaneously ?

9. " The fire becomes quenched by water, and fire causes water to evaporate ; and different elements, united in a body, producing unity, bear up the world.

10. " That the nature of the embryo in the womb is produced as composed of hands, feet, belly, back, and head, and that it is also united with the soul,—the wise declare that all this comes of itself spontaneously.

11. "Who causes the sharpness of the thorn? Or the various natures of beasts and birds ? All this has arisen spontaneously ; there is no acting from desire, how then can there be such a thing as will ?

12. " Others say that creation comes from Isvara, —what need then is there of the effort of the conscious soul ? That which is the cause of the action of the world, is also determined as the cause of its ceasing to act.

13. " Some say that the coming into being and the destruction of being are alike caused by the soul, but they say that coming into being arises without effort, while the attainment of liberation is by effort.

14. "A man discharges his debt to his ancestors by begetting offspring, to the saints by sacred lore, to the gods by sacrifices ; he is born with these three debts upon him,—-whoever has liberation (from these), he indeed has liberation.

15. " Thus by this series of rules the wise promise liberation to him who uses effort ; but however ready for effort with all their energy, those who seek liberation will find weariness.

16. " Therefore, gentle youth, if thou has a love for liberation, follow rightly the prescribed rule ; thus wilt thou thyself attain to it, and the king's grief will come to an end.

17. " And as for thy meditations on the evils of life ending in thy return from the forest to thy home,— let not the thought of this trouble thee, my son,—those in old time also have returned from the forests to their houses." He mentioned Ambarish Drumakesha, Rama and others.

The Buddha's Determination

1. Then having heard the affectionate and loyal words of the minister, who was as the eye of the king,—firm in his resolve, the king's son made his answer, with nothing omitted or displaced, neither tedious nor hasy:

2. " This doubt whether anything exists or not, is not to be solved for me by another's words ; having determined the truth by asceticism or quietism, I will myself grasp whatever is the truth concerning it.

3. "It is not for me to accept a theory which depends on the unknown and is ll controverted, and which involves a hundred prepossessions ; what wise man would go by another's belief? Mankind is like the blind directed in darkness by the blind.

4. " But even though I cannot discern the truth,     yet still, if good and evil are doubted, let one's mind be set on the good ; even a toil in vain is to be chosen by him whose soul is good.

5. " But having seen that this ' sacred tradition ' is uncertain, know that that only is right which has been uttered by the trustworthy; and know that trustworthiness means the absence of faults ; he who is without faults will not utter an untruth.

6. "And as for what thou said to me in regard to my returning home, the examples you give are no authority,—for in determining duty, how can thou quote as authorities those who have broken their vows ?

7. " Even the sun therefore may fall to the earth, even the mountain Himavat may lose its firmness ; but never could I return to my home as a man of the world, with my senses only alert for external objects.

8. " I would enter the blazing fire, but not my house with my purpose unfulfilled." Rising up in accordance with his resolve full of disinterestedness, he went his way.

9. Then the minister and the Brahmin, both full of tears, having heard his firm determination, and having followed him awhile with despondent looks, and overcome with sorrow, slowly returned to Kapilavatsu.

10. Through their love for the prince and their devotion to the king they returned, and often stopped looking back, they could neither behold him on the road nor yet lose the sight of him,—shining in his own splendour and beyond the reach of all others, like the sun.

11. Having failed to persuade him to return home, the minister and the priest went back with faltering steps, saying to each other, " How shall we approach the king and see him, who is longing for his dear son ?"


 Conversion of Rustic Brahmins

1. At the back of the Gridhrakutta mountains, near Rajagriha, there was a village, of some seventy or so families, all of them Brahmins.

2. The Buddha, wishing to convert these people, came to the place and sat down under a tree.

3. The people seeing the dignity of his presence, and the glorious appearance of his body, flocked round him, on which he asked the Brahmins how long they had dwelt in the mountain there, and what their occupation was.

4. To this they replied: "We have dwelt here during thirty generations past, and our occupation is to tend cattle."

5. On asking further as to their religious belief they said : " We pay homage and sacrifice to the sun and the moon, the rain (water), and fire, according to the several seasons.

6. " If one of us dies, we assemble and pray that he may be born in the heaven of Brahma, and so escape further transmigrations."

7. The Buddha replied: " This is not a safe way, not by it can you benefit. The true way is to follow me, become true ascetics, and practise complete self-composure with a view to obtain Nirvana "; and then he added these lines :

8. "They who consider truth as that which is untrue, and regard that which is untrue as truth, this is but to adopt heretical opinions, and can never lead to true advantage.

9. " But to know as truth that which is true, and to regard as false that which is false, this is perfect rectitude, and this shall bring true profit.

10. " Everywhere in the world there is death— there is no escape from it.

11. "To consider this as the condition of all states of being that there is nothing born but must die, and, therefore, to desire to escape birth and death, this is to exercise one's self in Religious Truth."

12. The seventy Brahmins hearing these words, desired at once to become Shamans ; and on being welcomed by Buddha, their hair fell off, and they presented the appearance of true disciples.

13. Then they all set out to return to the Vihara, and on the road certain thoughts about their wives and families troubled them whilst at the same time a heavy downpour of rain prevented their advance.

14. There were some ten houses on the roadside, in which they sought shelter; but on entering one of them it was soon perceived that through the roof the rain found its way, and there was but little protection from the rain.

15. On this the Buddha added these lines, and said, " As when a house-roof is not properly secured, then the rain finds a way through it and drops within, so when the thoughts are not carefully controlled, the desires (sexual desires) will soon bore through all our good resolutions.

16. " But as when a roof is well stopped then the water cannot leak through, so by controlling one's thoughts, and acting with reflection, no such desires can arise or disturb us."

17. The seventy Brahmins, on hearing these lines, although convinced that their desires were reprehensible, yet were not wholly free from doubt, nevertheless they went forward.

18. As they advanced they saw some scented wrapping on the ground, and Buddha took the opportunity of calling their attention to it ; and after this, seeing some fish-gut also lying about, he directed their notice to its ill odour and then added these lines and said:

19. " He who consorts with the low and the base, contracts the same character as he who handles a foul substance; he goes from worse to worse, and utterly without reason, he perfects himself in wickedness.

20. " But the wise man (consorting with the wise) contracts the same character, even as the scent of a sweet odour adheres to him who handles it; advancing in wisdom, practising virtue, he goes on to perfection, and is satisfied."

21. The seventy Brahmins, hearing these verses, convinced that their desire to return home and enjoy personal indulgence was the evil taint that adhered to them, cast off such thoughts, and, going forward, came to the Vihara, and finally obtained the condition of Arahtas.

Conversion of the Brahmins of Uttaravati

1. Once the Buddha was residing in the Jetavana, at Shravasti, and preaching his doctrine for the benefit of men and gods, there were in a country to the eastward, called Uttaravati, a company of 500 Brahmins.

2. They had agreed to go together to the residence of a Nirgrantha ascetic on the banks of the Ganges, who, by polluting himself with dirt, etc., aspired to the condition of a Rishi.

3. On their way they were overtaken in the desert with thirst. Seeing a tree, and hoping to find some human habitation near, they hasened to it, but when they arrived there they found no sign of life.

4. On this they raised their voices in lamentation. Suddenly from the tree they heard the voice of the resident Spirit, who asked them why they lamented so, and on hearing the reason, supplied them to the full with drink and meat.

5. The Brahmins, ready to start onward, asked the Spirit what had been his previous history, that he was thus born.

6. On which he explained that having gone to the assembly of priests in Shravasti when Sudatta had bestowed the garden on the Buddha, he had remained all night listening to the law Dhamma and having filled his drinking cup with water as he went, had bestowed it in charity among the priests.

7. On his return next morning, his wife in anger asked him what annoyance he had received that he should stay away all night. On which he replied that he was not annoyed, but he had been to listen to the Buddha preaching at the Jetavana.

8. On this his wife began roundly to abuse the Buddha, and said, "This Gotama is but a mad preacher, who deceives the people," and so on.

9. "On this " he said, " I resented not her statements, but rather submitted to them and so when I came to die I was born as a spirit, but on account of my pusillanimity I was confined to this tree," and then he recited these verses.

10. " Sacrifices and such services are sources of misery, day and night, a continual burden and anxiety.

II. "To escape sorrow, and destroy the elements of the body, a man should attend to the Law (of Buddha), and arrive at deliverance from all worldly Rules of Religion (World Rishis)."

12. The Brahmins having heard these words, resolved themselves to go to Shravasti, to the place where the Buddha was, and having explained the object of their visit, the world-honoured said to them:

13. "Although a man goes naked with tangled hair, or though he clothes himself with a few leaves or garment of bark, though he covers himself with dirt and sleeps on the stones, what use is this in getting rid of impure thoughts ?

14. "But he who neither contends or kills, or destroys by fire, who desires not to get the victory, who is moved by goodwill towards all the world, there is no ground in such a case for ill-will or hate.

15. "To sacrifice to spirits in order to find peace (merit), or, after this life expecting reward, his happiness, is not one quarter of that man's who pays homage to the good.

16. "He who is ever intent on good conduct and due reverence to others, who always venerates old age, four happy consequences increasingly attend that man—beauty and strength, and life and peace."

17. On hearing this from her husband the wife became reconciled.


Conversion of Upali, the Barber

1. While going back Upali, the barber thought: "The Sakyans are afierce people. If I go back with these ornaments they will kill me thinking that I have killed my companions and run away with their ornaments. Why should I not go the way these young men of the Sakya clan have gone ?"

2. "Why indeed should I not?" asked Upali to himself. And he let down the bundle of ornaments from his back, and hung it on a tree, saying: " Let him who finds it take it as a gift," and returned to follow the Sakya youths.

3. And the Sakyans saw him coming from afar, and on seeing, they said to him: " What have you come back for, good Upali ? "

4. Then he told them what he felt and they replied: " Thou has done well, good Upali, in that thou did not return; for the Sakyans are fierce, and they might have killed thee."

5. And they took Upali the barber with them to the place where the Blessed One was. And on arriving there, they bowed down before the Blessed One and took their seats on one side. And so seated they said to the Blessed One :

6. " We Sakyans, Lord, are haughty. And this Upali, the barber, has long been an attendant, Lord, upon us. May. the Blessed One admit him to the Order before us, so that we may render him respect and reverence, and bow down with outstretched hands before him as our senior and thus shall the Sakyan pride be humbled in us !"

7. Then the Blessed One received first Upali, the barber, and afterwards those young men of the Sakya clan, into the ranks of the Order.

Conversion of Sunita, the Sweeper

1. There lived in Rajagraha a scavenger by name Sunita. He earned his living as a road sweeper, sweeping away the rubbish thrown by the householders on the roadside.  His was a low and hereditary occupation.

2. One day in the early hours of the dawn the Blessed One rose, dressed himself and walked into Rajagraha for alms followed by a large number of Bhikkus.

3. Now Sunita was cleaning the street, collecting scraps, rubbish, and so on into heaps and filling therewith the basket which he carried on a yoke.

4. And when he saw the Master and his train approaching, his heart was filled with joy and awe.

5. Finding no place to hide in on the road, he placed his yoke in a bend in the wall and stood as if stuck to the wall, saluting the Lord with clasped hands.

6. Then the Lord when he had come near, spoke to him in voice divinely sweet, saying: " Sunita! What to you is this wretched mode of living ? Can you endure to leave home and come into the Order?"

7. And Sunita, experiencing the rapture of one who has been sprinkled with Ambrosia, said: "If even such as the Exalted One may in this life take Orders, why should I not ? May the Exalted One suffer me to come forth."

8. Then the Master said: " Come Bhikku !" And Sunita by that word received sanction and ordination and was invested with bowl and robes.

9. The Master leading him to the Vihar taught him the Dhamma and the Discipline and said, "By the discipline of holy life, restraint and mastery of self, a man becomes holy."

10. When asked how Sunita became so great, the Buddha said, "As on a rubbish-heap on highway cast a lily may grow, fragrant and sweet, so among rubbish-creatures, worldlings blind by insight shines the very Buddha's child."

Conversion of Sopaka and Suppiya, the Untouchables

1. Sopaka was a pariah of Shravasti. In her travail at his birth his mother fell into a long deep swoon, so that her husband and kinsfolk said " She is dead!" And they bore her to the cemetery and prepared to cremate her body.

2. But on account of the storm of wind and rain the fire would not burn. So they went away leaving Sopaka’s mother on the funeral pyre.

3. Sopaka's mother was not then dead. She died afterwards. Before her death she gave birth to a child.

4.     The child was adopted by the watchman of the cemetery and was brought up by him along with his own child Suppiya. The child was known by the name of the community Sopaka to which its mother belonged.

5.     The Blessed Lord one day happened to pass by the cemetery. Sopaka, seeing the Lord, approached him. After saluting the Lord he asked his permission to join him as his disciple.

6.     Sopaka was then only seven years old. So the Lord asked him to obtain his father's consent.

7. Sopaka went and fetched his father. The father saluted the Lord and requested him to admit his son to the Order.

8. Notwithstanding that he belonged to the pariah community the Lord admitted him to the Order and instructed him in the doctrine and discipline.

9. Sopaka later became a Thera.

10. Suppiya and Sopaka had grown together from childhood and Sopaka having been adopted and brought up by Suppiya's father, Suppiya learned the Lord's doctrine and discipline from his companion, Sopaka, and requested Sopaka to admit him to the Order, although Sopaka belonged to a community which was lower in rank than the community to which Suppiya belonged.

11. Sopaka agreed and Suppiya, a member who belonged to the despised community whose occupation was to perform the duties of watchmen in the cemetery, became a Bhikku.

 Conversion of Sumangala and other Low Castes

1. Sumangala was a peasant of Shravasti. He earned his living by work in the fields, working with a little sickle, plough and spade.

2. Channa was a native of Kapilavatsu and was a slave in the house of Suddhodana.

3. Dhanniya was a resident of Rajagraha. He was a potter.

4. Kappata-Kura was a native of Shravasti. The only way he knew of, to support himself, was to go about, clad in rags, pan in hand, seeking for rice-grains. Hence he became known as Kappata-Kura—"Rags and-rice." When grown up, he maintained himself by selling grass. 5. All of them sought from the Buddha permission to become Bhikkus and enter the Order. The Buddha without hesitation and without caring for their low birth or their previous condition, admitted them into the Order.

Conversion of Supprabuddha, the Leper

1. Once the Exalted One was staying near Rajagraha, in the bamboo grove, at the squirrels' feeding-ground.

2. Now there lived in Rajagraha at that time a certain man, who was a leper, named Supprabuddha, a poor, wretched, miserable creature.

3. And it happened at that time that the Exalted One was sitting there in the midst of a great multitude, teaching the Dhamma.

4. And Supprabuddha, the leper, saw from afar the multitude gathered together, and at the sight he thought, " Without a doubt an alms-giving of food, both hard and soft, is toward yonder. Suppose I draw near to yonder crowd, I might get there something to eat, food soft or hard."

5. So Supprabuddha, the leper, drew near that crowd, and he beheld the Exalted One sitting there amid a great crowd, preaching the Norm. So, seeing the Exalted One he thought: "No. There is no alms-giving here of food. It is Gotama the Samana preaching the Dhamma in the assembly. Suppose I were to listen to his teaching."

6. So he sat down at one side, thinking, " I too will listen to the teaching."

7. Now the Exalted One, reading with His thought the thoughts of that whole gathering, said to Himself, " Who, I wonder, of these present, is able to grasp the Truth?" Then He saw Supprabuddha, the leper, sitting in the crowd : and at the sight of him He knew, " This one can grasp the Truth."

8. So for the sake of Supprabuddha, the leper, the Master preached a sermon, dealing in due order with these topics. On alms-giving, on the holy life, and on the heaven-world : and He pointed out the meanness and vileness of sensual desires and the profit of freedom from the asavas.

9. Now when the Exalted One saw that the heart of Supprabuddha, the leper, was softened, pliant, set free, elated, and full of faith, then He set forth to him the Dhamma most excellent of the Buddha, to wit, suffering, the cause of suffering, the ceasing of suffering, and the path.

10. Then, just as a white cloth, free from stains, is ready to receive the dye, even so in Supprabuddha, the leper, as he sat there in that very place, arose the pure stainless insight of the Truth, the knowledge that whatsoever hath a beginning, that also must have an end. And Supprabuddha, the leper, saw the Truth, reached the Truth, perceived the truth, plunged into the Truth, crossed beyond doubting, was freed from all ques-tionings, won confidence, and needing nothing further, being established in the Master's teaching, sprang up from his seat and drew near to Him, and there he sat down at one side.

11. So seated he said to the Exalted One, " Excellent, O Lord Excellent, O, Lord, just as if, Lord, one should lift up the fallen, discover the hidden, point out the way to one bewildered, show a light in the gloom, saying, ' Now they who have eyes to see can see shapes,' even so in diverse ways has the Exalted One expounded the truth. I, even I, Lord, do go for     refuge to the Exalted One, to the Norm and to the Order of Brethren. May the Exalted One accept me as His follower, as one who from this time forth even to life's end has gone to refuge in Him."

12. Thereupon Supprabuddha, the leper, being taught, established, roused, and made happy by the Exalted One's pious talk, praised and welcomed His words, gave thanks and rose up from his seat, saluted the Exalted One by the right, and went away.

13. Unfortunately it came to pass that a young calf flung the leper Supprabuddha down and gored him to death.


Conversion of Mahaprajapati Gotami and Yeshodhara and her Companions

1. When the Blessed One had been on a visit to his father's home the desire to join the Sangh was as keen among the Sakya women as it was among the Sakya men.

2. The leader of such women was no other than Mahaprajapati Gotami.

3. Now at the time when the Blessed One was staying among the Sakyas in the Nigrodharama, Mahaprajapati Gotami went to him and said: " It would be well. Lord, if women were allowed to become Parivrajakas and enter the Sangh under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata !"

4. " Enough, O Gotami ! Let not such a thought come into your mind." And a second and a third time did Mahaprajapati make the same request in the same words, and a second and a third time did she receive the same reply.

5. Then Mahaprajapati Gotami, sad and sorrowful, bowed down before the Blessed One, and went away weeping and in tears.

6. After the Blessed One had left Nigrodharama for his wanderings, Mahaprajapati and the Sakya women sat together to give further consideration to their request for admission to the Sangh and the refusal of the Lord to grant such a request.

7. The Sakya women refused to take the Lord's refusal as final. They decided to go further to assume the garb of a Parivrajaka and present the Lord with a fait accompli.

8. Accordingly Mahaprajapati Gotami cut off her hair and put on orange-coloured robes and set out with a number of women of the Sakya clan, on her journey to meet the Lord who was at that time staying in Vesali in the Mahavana in the Kutagara Hall.

9. In due course Mahaprajapati Gotami with her companions arrived at Vesali and with swollen feet and covered with dust came to the Kutogara Hall.

10. Again she made the same request to the Blessed Lord which she had made when he was staying at Nigrodharama and he refused it again.

11. On receiving his refusal a second time     Mahaprajapati withdrew and was standing outside the entrance of the hall not knowing what to do. While she was so standing Ananda on his way to the hall saw her and recognised her.

12. He then asked Mahaprajapati, " Why standest thou there, outside the porch, with swollen feet, covered with dust, and sorrowful, weeping and in tears?" "Inasmuch, O Ananda, as the Lord, the Blessed One, does not permit women to renounce their homes and enter the homeless state under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata," said Mahaprajapati.

13. Then did the Venerable Ananda go up to the place where the Blessed One was, and bowed down before the Blessed One, and take his seat on one side. And, so sitting, the Venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One : " Behold, Lord; Mahaprajapati Gotami is standing outside under the entrance porch, with swollen feet covered with dust, sad and sorrowful, weeping and in tears, inasmuch as the Blessed One does not permit women to renounce their homes and enter the homeless state under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Blessed One. It were well, Lord, if women were to have permission granted to them to do as she desires.

14. " Has not Mahaprajapati proved herself of great service to the Blessed One, when as aunt and nurse she nourished him and gave him milk, and on the death of his mother suckled the Blessed One at her own breast; it were, therefore, well. Lord that women should have permission to go forth from the household life and enter the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata."

15. "Enough Ananda! Let it not, please, that women should be allowed to do so." A second time and a third time did Ananda make the same request, in the same words, and received the same reply.

16. Then the Venerable Ananda asked the Blessed One : " What can be the ground. Lord, for your refusal to allow women to take Parivraja.

17. " The Lord knows that the Brahmins hold that the Shudras and women cannot reach moksha     (Salvation) because they are unclean and inferior. They do therefore not allow Shudras and women to take Parivraja. Does the Blessed One hold the same view as the Brahmins ?

18. Has not the Blessed One allowed the Shudras to take Parivraja and join the Sangh in the same way he has done to the Brahmins ? What is the ground. Lord, for treating women differently ?

19. Does the Blessed One hold that women are not capable of reaching Nibbana under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Blessed One ?"

20. The Blessed One replied : " Ananda ! Do not misunderstand me. I hold that women are as much capable as men in the matter of reaching Nibbana. Ananda! do not misunderstand me, I am not an upholder of the doctrine of sex inequality. My rejection of Mahaprajapati's request is not based on sex inequality. It is based on practical grounds."

21. "I am happy. Lord, to know the real reason. But must the Lord refuse her request because of practical difficulties ? Would not such an act bring the Dhamma into discredit and make it open to the charge of upholding sex inequality? Could not the Lord devise some rules to get over such practical difficulties by which the Lord is worried?"

22. " Well, Ananda, I grant if Mahaprajapati insists that women must be allowed to take Parivraja under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by me. But it shall be subject to eight conditions.  Let Mahaprajapati Gotami take upon herself the responsibility of enforcing the Eight Chief Rules. That will be her initiation."

23. Then the Venerable Ananda, when he learnt from the Blessed One these Eight Chief Rules, went to Mahaprajapati Gotami and told her all that the Blessed One had said.

24. " Just, Ananda, as a man or a woman, when young and of tender years, accustomed to adorn himself, would, when he had bathed his head, receive with both hands a garland of lotus flowers, or of jasmine flowers or of stimutaka flowers, and place it on the top of his head ; even so do I, Ananda, take upon me these Eight Chief Rules, never to be transgressed during my lifelong," said Mahaprajapati to Ananda.

25. Then the Venerable Ananda returned to the Blessed One, and bowed down before him, and took his seat, on one side. And, so sitting, the Venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One: " Mahaprajapati Gotami, Lord, has taken upon herself the responsibility for the enforcement of the Eight Chief Rules, she may therefore be regarded as having received the Upasampada initiation," (entry into the Sangha).

26. Now Mahaprajapati received ordination, and 500 Sakya ladies who had come with her were also ordained at the same time.  Thus ordained great Prajapati came before the Master, and saluting him, stood on one side and the Blessed One taught her the Dhamma, the doctrine and the discipline.

27. The other five hundred Bhikkhunis were ininstructed by Nandaka, one of the disciples of the Blessed One.

28. Among the Sakya women who became Bhikkhunis along with Mahaprajapati was Yeshodhara. After her initiation she came to be known as Bhadda Kaccana.

Conversion of Prakrati, a Chandalika

1. Once the Blessed Lord was living in Shravasti in the Jetavana Arama of Anathpindika.

2. It so happened that Ananda, his disciple, had gone into the city to beg for alms. After eating his food Ananda was going to the river for drinking water.

3. He saw a girl on the river bank filling her pot. Ananda asked her to give him some water.

4. The girl, whose name was Prakrati, refused, saying she was a Chandalika.

5. Ananda said, "I am concerned with water, I am not concerned with your caste." The girl then gave him some water from her pot.

6. Thereafter Ananda left for Jetavana. The girl followed him and saw where he was staying and found that his name was Ananda and that he was a follower of the Buddha.

7. On returning home she told her mother Matangi what had happened and falling on the ground started weeping.

8. The mother asked for the cause of her weeping. The girl told the whole story, and said, " If you wish to marry me I can only marry Ananda. I will not marry anybody else."

9. The mother started on an inquiry. On return she told the girl that such a marriage was impossible for Ananda was under a vow of celibacy.

10. On hearing this news the girl was filled with extreme sorrow and gave up food. She was not prepared to take things as though it was a decree of fate. So she said: " Mother, you know the art of sorcery, don't you ? Why don't you employ it to achieve our purpose ?" The mother said, "I will see what can be done."

11. Matangi invited Ananda to her house for a meal. The girl became very happy. Matangi then told Ananda that her daughter was very anxious to marry him. Ananda replied, " I am vowed to be celibate and therefore I cannot marry any woman."

12. " If you do not marry my daughter, she will commit suicide, so attached she is to you," Matangi told Ananda. " But I cannot help," replied Ananda.

13. Matangi went inside and told her daughter that Ananda refused to marry her.

14. The girl cried: " Mother, where is your sorcery ?" The mother said, " My sorcery cannot win against the Tathagata."

15. The girl shouted and said, " Close the door and do not allow him to go out. I shall see that he becomes my husband this very night."

16. The mother did what the girl wanted her to do. As night fell the mother brought in the room a bed. The girl, dressed in her best, stepped in. But Ananda remained unmoved.

17. The mother at last used her sorcery. As a result a fire broke out in the room. The mother then held Ananda by his clothes and said, " If you will not agree to marry my daughter, I will throw you in this fire." However, Ananda did not yield, and the mother and the daughter feeling helpless, left him free.

18. Ananda on his return told the Blessed Lord all that had happened.

19. On the second day the girl came to Jetavana in search of Ananda. Ananda was going out for alms. Ananda saw her and wanted to avoid her. But the girl followed him wherever he went.

20. When Ananda returned to Jetavana he found the girl waiting at the door of his Vihar.

21. Ananda told the Blessed One how the girl was pursuing him. The Blessed One sent for her.

22. When the girl appeared before him the Blessed One asked her why she was pursuing Ananda. The girl replied that she was intent on marrying him " I have heard he is unmarried and I am also unmarried."

23. The Bhagavan said, " Ananda is a Bhikku and he has no hair on his head. If you can get yourself clean shaven I shall see what could be done."

24. The girl replied, " I am prepared for it." The Bhagavan said, "You must get your mother's permission for undergoing tonsure."

25. The girl returned to her mother and said, " Mother! I have achieved what you failed to achieve. The Bhagavan has promised to get me married to Ananda if I undergo tonsure."

26. The mother grew angry and said, " You must not do that. You are my .daughter and you must keep hair. Why are you so eager to marry a Shramana Ananda. I can get you married to a better man."

27. She replied, " I will either die or marry Ananda. There is no third alternative for me."

28. The Mother said, "Why are you insulting me ?" The girl said, " If you love me you must let me     do as I wish."

29. The mother withdrew her objection and the girl underwent tonsure.

30.. Then the girl presented herself before the Blessed Lord saying, " I have tonsured my head as directed by you."

31. The Blessed Lord then asked her, "What do you want ? What part of his body you cherish ?" The girl said, "I am in love with his nose, I am in love with his mouth, I am in love with his ears, I am in love with his voice, I am in love with his eyes and I am in love with his gait."

32. The Blessed Lord then said to the girl, " Do you know that the eyes are the home of tears, the nose is the home of dirt, the mouth is the home of spit, the ear is the home of dirt and the body is the container of dung and urine."

33. " When men and women come together they procreate children. But where there is birth there is death also; where there is death there is sorrow also. My dear girl, what are you going to get by marrying Ananda. I do not know."

34. The girl began to cogitate and agreed that there was no purpose in her marriage with Ananda on which she was so intent and she told the Blessed Lord accordingly.

35. After saluting the Blessed Lord the girl said: " Owing to ignorance I was going in pursuit of Ananda. My mind is now enlightened. I am like a sailor whose ship after a mishap has reached the other bank. I am like an unprotected aged person who has found protection. I am like the blind who has got new sight. The Blessed Lord by his wise words of advice has awakened me from my sleep."

36. " Blessed art thou, Prakrati, for though you are a Chandalika you will be a model for noblemen and noblewomen. You are of low caste, but Brahmins will learn a lesson from you. Swerve not from the path of justice and righteousness and you will outshine the royal glory of queens on the throne."

37. The marriage having failed, the only course for her was to join the Bhikkhuni Sangh.

38. Having expressed her wish she was admitted into it, though she belonged to the lowest class.


 Conversion of a Vagabond

1. There was in olden times a certain disorderly person living in Rajagraha, who neither reverenced his parents nor paid respect to his superiors, but always     had resort to sacrifice and worship of the sun and moon and fire when he went wrong, hoping thereby to get merit, and feel happy in himself.

2. But notwithstanding all his bodily exercises, in worship and offerings, he found no peace, even after three years' incessant perseverance.

3. He at length resolved to go to Shravasti to inquire of the Buddha. Arrived there, and seeing the glory of his person, he fell down at his feet, and said how he was pleased.

4. Then the Lord explained the folly of animal sacrifice, and the selessness of all such exercises where the heart was untouched, and where there was no final reverence or dutiful behaviour to those to whom it belonged ; and in, conclusion recited certain gathas, which resplendent with glory, lit up the place and all the surrounding country with the brightness of his presence.

5. On this, the villagers, and especially the parents of the children, came near to worship him.

6. On seeing the parents, and hearing their account of the children, Buddha smiled, and recited these gathas.

7. " The great man is entirely free from covetous desire; he wells in a place of light himself enlightened. Although perchance he meets with sorrow, he rejoices; without consternation, he exhibits his wisdom.

8. " The wise man (bhadra) concerns himself with no worldly business; he desires neither wealth, children, or possessions (land), always carefully observing the precepts, and walking in the way of supreme wisdom, he bankers not after strange doctrine (or wealth or honour).

9. " The wise man, knowing the character of instability, as a tree in the midst of sand (uses every effort) to change his friend whose mind is unfixed, and to bring him back from impurity to virtue (purity)."

Conversion of Angulimala, the Robber

1. There was, in the realm of Pasenadi, king of Kosala, a robber named Angulimala, a ruffian whose hands were red with blood, who was always killing and wounding, and showed no mercy to any living creature. Because of him, what had been villages were villages no more, what had been townships were townships no more, and what had been countryside was countryside no more.

2. From every human being whom he slew, he took a finger to make for himself a necklace, and so got his name of " Necklace of Fingers."

3. Once when the Lord was staying in Shravasti in Jeta's grove he had heard of the ravages committed by the robber Angulimala. The Blessed Lord decided to convert him into a righteous man. So one day after taking his meal and after putting away his bedding and then, with robes and bowl, set out on his journey  ' to find the robber Angulimala.

4. Seeing him journeying thither, neatherds, goatherds, ploughmen and wayfarers called out: "Don't go that way, recluse! It will take you to the robber Angulimala.

5. "Why, even when, ten, twenty, thirty, or forty people ban themselves together to travel this road, the whole company falls into the robber's hands!" But, without a word, the Lord held on to his way.

6. A second time, and yet a third time those near there and the rest repeated their warning; but still, without a word, the Lord went his way.

7.     From some way off the robber saw the Lord coming and marvelled exceedingly that, where even companies of ten to fifty travellers dare not come his way, this solitary recluse should be seen to be forcing his way alone; and the robber was minded to slay ' this recluse.' So, armed with sword and buckler and with his bow and quiver, the robber followed up the Lord's trail.

8.     The Lord, while he himself was proceeding at his wonted pace, the robber, for all his efforts, could not catch him up.

9. Thought the robber: "This is a wonderful and marvellous thing. Heretofore, I could always overtake an elephant, or horse, or carriage, or deer, when going full speed; and yet here am I unable, despite all my efforts, to overtake this recluse while he proceeds at his wonted pace." So he stopped and shouted to the Lord to stop.

10. When the two met the Lord said: "I have stopped, Angulimala, for your sake. Will you stop following your career of an evil doer? I have been pursuing you in order to win you over, to cover you to the path of righteousness. The good in you is not yet dead. If you will only give it a chance it will transform you."

11. Angulimala felt overcome by the words of the Blessed One, saying, " At last this sage has tracked me down."

12. " And now that thy hallowed words ask me to renounce evil deeds forever, I am prepared to give myself a trial," replied Angulimala.

13. Angulimala threw into a deep abyss the string of his victims' fingers which he wore round his neck and fell at the Master's feet and craved admission to the Brotherhood.

14. The Lord, the guide of gods and men, said: " Almsman, follow me "; and almsman since that summons Angulimala did become.

15. With Angulimala as his almsman in attendance, the Lord now proceeded on his way to the pleasance in Shravasti. At this very time the portals of King Pasenadi's inner palace were beset by a huge crowd loudly shouting that in the realm he had conquered there was a robber named Angulimala, a ruffian who was committing ravages and was killing and wounding innocent people and who took pride in wearing a necklace made of fingers of victims whom he slew. "Suppress him, sire," they cried. Pasenadi promised to run him down to earth. But he failed. 16. One morning King Pasenadi went to the pleasance to see the Lord. The Blessed Lord inquired: " What is the matter, sire ? Is there trouble with Seniya Bimbisara of Magadha, or with Licchavis of Vesali or with any other hostile power ?"

 17." No trouble at all of that sort, sir. In my realms there is a robber named Angulimala who is infesting my territories and harassing my subjects. I want to suppress him but I have failed."

18. "If now, sire, you were to see Angulimala with his hair and beard off, in the yellow robes, as a pilgrim who kills not. steals not, lies not, eats but one meal a day, and leads the higher life in virtue and goodness,—what would you do to him ?"

19. " Sir, I would salute him, or rise to meet him or would invite him to be seated or invite him to accept robes and other requisites, or I would extend to him the defence, protection and safeguards which are his due. But how could the shadow of such virtue ever extend to one so wicked and depraved?"

20. At that moment the Reverend Angulimala was seated quite close to the Lord, who stretching forth his right arm, said: " This, sire, is Angulimala !"

21. At this the king in his alarm became dumbfounded, with every hair of his body standing erect. Seeing this, the Lord said, " Fear not, sire; fear not; there is no cause for fear here."

22. So the king's fears and alarm abated ; and across to the reverend Angulimala he went, saying: " Is your reverence indeed Angulimala ?" " Yes, sire."

23. " What sire, was your father's family, and your mother's ?" " My father was a Gagga, sire, and my mother a Mantani."

24. " Be of good cheer, Gagga Mantani-putta; I will take care to supply you with all requisites."

25. Now at the time the Reverend Angulimala having pledged to be resident in the wilds, subsisting on alms, and wearing clothes from the dust heap not exceeding three in number, he declined the king's offer on the ground that he had already got his full three robes. 26. Then the king went across to the Lord and after salutations seated himself to the one side, saying; " It is wonderful, sir, it is marvellous, what a tamer of the untamed the Lord is, how he quells the unquelled, and how he calms the uncalmed ! Here is one whom I could not subdue with cudgel and sword; but without either cudgel or sword the Lord has subdued him! And now, sir, I must be going, for I have much to do and attend to."

27. " When Your Majesty pleases." Then, rising from his seat, the king saluted the Lord with deep reverence and withdrew.

28. One day when, duly robed and bowl in hand, Angulimala had gone into Shravasti for alms, he was hit by a clod flung by one man, by a club flung by a second and by a potsherd flung by a third, so that it was with a broken head streaming with blood, with his bowl smashed, and with his cloak in tatters, that he presented himself before the Lord. Seeing him drawing near, the Lord said to Angulimala: " Endure it all, endure it all."

29. Thus did Angulimala the robber become a righteous man by accepting the teachings of the Buddha.

30. Expressing the joy of the bliss of deliverance he said: " Who shows zeal, where zeal was none, who with virtue clokes his past, who in youth to Buddha cleaves, he, like the moon, floods earth with light.

31. " Let my foes hear this gospel, embrace this creed and follow wisdom's sons who cleave to it. Let my foes hear in season, love's message which is meek forbearance—and conform their lives to it.

32. " As ' Finger Necklace,' I, bandit, lived and whirled downstream, till He brought me to land. As Tinger Necklace, ' I was steeped in blood; saved now am 1."

Conversion of Other Criminals

1. There was to the south of Rajagraha a great mountain, distant from the city about 200 li.

2. Through this mountain there was a pass, deep and lonely, through which the road to South India lay.

3. Five hundred robbers had taken up their abode in this defile, who used to murder and rob all travellers that passed that way.

4. The king had vainly sent his forces to capture them, but they always escaped.

5. The Buddha, residing in the neighbourhood, and considering the case of these men, that they understood not the nature of their conduct, and that although he had come into the world to teach them, yet their eyes had not seen him, nor their ears heard the tidings of his law, he resolved to go to them.

6. Consequently he transformed himself into a man richly dighted, on a well-caparisoned steed, with his sword and bow, with bags of silver and gold on his saddle-bow, and precious stones studding his horse's bravery.

7. On entering the defile loud neighed his steed. On hearing the sound the 500 robbers started up, and spying the traveller, exclaimed, " Never have we had such a prospect of booty; let us be up, and capture him!"

8. So they proceeded to surround the traveller, with a view to prevent his escape; but on seeing him they fell on the ground.

9. On their falling to the ground, they exclaimed, " What God is this ?" " What God is this ?"

10. On this the traveller began to explain that such hurts and pains as they give and receive were trivial compared with the pain caused by the sorrow that rules the world, and the wounds of unbelief and doubt, and that nought but the wisdom resulting from earnest attention (hearing) to the Scriptures could heal such wounds; and then he added these words and said:

11. "There is no painful wound so bad as sorrow—no piercing arrow so sharp as folly. Nothing can remedy these but an earnest attention to religious instruction. From this the blind receive sight, the deluded are enlightened.

12. "Men are guided and led by this, as eyes, given to them without eyes.

13. "This, then, is able to dispel unbelief, to remove sorrow, to impart joy; the highest wisdom is the lot of those who " hear."

14. " This is the title of him who has acquired the greatest merit (most to be revered)."

15. On hearing this the robbers repented of their evil lives, and the arrows, of themselves, left their bodies, and their wounds were healed.

16. They then became disciples, and obtained rest and peace.

Risk of Conversion

1. In olden times, Buddha was residing in a country about 500 li from Rajagraha, full of mountains. In these mountains there lived a certain clan of about 122 persons, who occupied themselves in hunting, and fed themselves on the flesh of the animals they killed.

2. (Buddha goes to the place and converts the women, who 'were left alone during the day, whilst their husbands were hunting, and then adds these lines.)

3. " He who is humane does not kill (or, it is humane not to kill); he is ever able to preserve (his own?) life.

4. "This principle (chu)   is imperishable; whoever observes it, no calamity shall betide that man. 5. "Politeness, indifference to wordly things, hurting no one, without place for annoyance—this is the character of the Brahma Heaven  (or of Brahma Deva).

6. "Ever exercising love towards the infirm; pure, according to the teaching of Buddha ; knowing when sufficient has been had; knowing when to stop,—-this is to escape (the recurrence of) birth and death."

     The women, having heard these words, were converted, and on the men's return, although they wished at first to kill Buddha, they were restrained by their wives ; and, listening to these words of love, they also were converted.

7. And then he added these lines.

8. " There are eleven advantages which attend the man who practices mercifulness, and is tender to all that lives.

9. "His body is always in health (happy); he is blessed with peaceful sleep, and when engaged in study he is also composed."

10. " He has no evil dreams, he is protected by Heaven (Devas) and loved by man ; he is unmolested by poisonous things, and escapes the violence of war; he is unharmed by fire or water.

11. "He is successful wherever he lives, and when dead goes to the Heaven of Brahma. These are the eleven."

12. Having uttered these words, both men and women were admitted into the company of his disciples, and obtained rest.

< Part-1 , Part - 3>

 Editors Note- The source of the text for this electronic version was: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. 11 (Bombay: Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, 1992). Our site also makes available, from the same series, Vol. 11 Supplement: Pali and Other Sources of The Buddha & His Dhamma with an Index, by Vasant Moon. The original publication was by Siddharth College Publications, Bombay, in 1957.

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