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Nágaséna: "Among things that are achinteyya one may be more powerful than another. Thus, there are many princes who have authority, but one is more powerful than the rest; he is the king; all the others must attend to his commands: in like manner, of all things that are achinteyya, karma is the most powerful, whether it be kusala or akusala, the karma of merit or of demerit. Again, when a man commits a crime, neither his father, his mother, his relatives, nor his friends can save him from punishment. Why? Because the will of the king is supreme; he is more powerful than all; and it is the same with karma. Again, when a fire breaks out in the forest, and the whole land is in a blaze, the water from many thousands of vessels would be insufficient to quench it; and in the same way, nothing can overcome the force of karma. In a former birth, far distant from the last, in which he attained nirwana, Mugalan was the murderer of his aged parents; and it was in consequence of this crime that in his last birth a similar calamity was inflicted on him by the thieves."

16. A female, of extremely beautiful appearance, was born, by the apparitional birth, at the foot of a mango (amba) tree, in a garden belonging to the Lichawi princes, near the city of Wisála. On account of the place of her birth she was called Ambapáli, and was a courtezan. The cause of her being a courtezan may be learnt from the following narrative. In the thirty-first kalpa previous to the present age, when Sikhi was Budha, Ambapáli was one of his female relatives; but she renounced the world, and though a member of the royal family became a priestess. One day when going to worship a certain dágoba, in company with other priestesses, in the course of their circumambulation of the relic, one of them happened to sneeze, and a part of the mucus, without her perceiving it, fell on the ground. The princess, however, who was next in the order of the procession, saw that the court was defiled, and exclaimed, "What rude person can have been here?” Though she did not discover the delinquent, she still abused her, whoever she might be. In consequence of having thus offered an insult to a sacred person, she was next born in the Amédya hell, which caused her to wish that when again born of the race of man, she might receive the apparitional birth. She was afterwards an immense period in different hells, enduring great pain; was a hundred thousand times a female beggar; and ten thousand times a prostitute; but in the time of Kásyapa Budha she remained in

perfect continence, and was then born a déwi, and after enjoying the pleasures of the déwa-lóka for the proper period, she was finally born in the garden of the Lichawi princes.

The gardener informed the princes that he had found a beautiful female at the foot of a mango tree; and on hearing this news they hastened to the place, and were in great amazement at her appearance. They all wished to possess her; but as this was not possible, in order to end the dispute that arose from their conflicting claims, that otherwise appeared to be interminable, it was decided that the eldest prince should take her; after which she was placed in the office of courtezan, and received as a gift the garden in which she had appeared.

At this time Gótama went with a large retinue of priests to the village of Kótigráma, near Wisála. When the Lichawi princes heard of his arrival, they put on their royal garments, and went to see him. But before their appearance, Ambapáli had gone to pay him her respects. On approaching the sage, she offered him the most profound reverence, and listened with great delight to a discourse that he delivered; after the conclusion of which she requested that he would next day do her the favour of receiving a repast at her dwelling. In returning home, as the people crowded forward on their way to the wihára, her chariot came into collision with that of one of the princes; but she heeded it not, and passed on. When she arrived at her dwelling, she set about the preparation of various kinds of the most delicious food. The princes, on arriving within a certain distance of the wihára in which Budha was residing, descended from their chariots, and as they approached nearer, reverently bowed themselves. The coming of the princes. was perceived by Budha, who, as he noticed the different colours of their garments and ornaments, and the varied splendour of their array, said to his attendant retinue," Priests, those of you who have not seen the glory of the Tusi déwa-lóka, look at the Lichawi princes; behold their grandeur, and learn therefrom the magnificence of Tusi." After remaining with the sage some time, listening to his instructions, they requested him to receive an offering at the palace the next day, but as he had already accepted the invitation of Ambapáli, he could not comply with their request. From this place he went to Gijjakáwásaya, in the village of Nádika. The next day Ambapáli informed Budha that all was prepared; when the great teacher, accompanied by a retinue of rahats, went to par

take of the offering. At the conclusion of the repast, he repeated the usual benediction; and the courtezan, in return, presented the garden to the priesthood, and subsequently erected in it a wihára, which she gave to Budha.* She also renounced the world, became

a priestess, and attained the state of a rahat.

"There are some

17. The king of Ságal said to Nágaséna, persons in the world who present alms, and say at the same time, May this alms-offering be a benefit to my relatives who are dead, and have become prétas! Tell me, will their departed relatives receive any benefit from such an offering?" Nágaséna: "There are some prétas who receive a benefit therefrom, and others who will not those who are born in any of the 136 hells will derive no benefit from the offering or the rice that is presented; nor will those who are born in the déwa-lókas, or those who are born as animals. There are four kinds of prétas :- -1. Wantásikás, who live countless ages in great sorrow, eating the most disgusting substances. 2. Khuppipásikas, that live a whole budhántara without tasting either meat or drink. 3. Nijjhámatrisnikas, that live in the hollow of decayed trees which have been set on fire. These three kinds of prétas derive no benefits from offerings; but there are others that may receive assistance therefrom." Milinda : "Then it will frequently happen that no benefit is derived from the alms that are thus presented; and they will thus be fruitless and vain." Nágaséna: "Not so; there is a man who takes fish, flesh, toddy, rice, and cakes to present to his relatives; but he is not able to find them. On this account, is the food lost that he has prepared? Does he not enjoy it himself? And it is the same with alms (in such instances as have been referred to); the giver receives the benefit." Milinda : "Be it so; the deceased relatives will in some instances receive benefit from the alms that are presented; but if I become a cruel murderer, putting many persons to death without mercy, will my relatives in any way reap the reward of my evil actions?" Nágaséna: "No." Milinda: "What is the reason of this difference? The reward of good actions is received by the deceased relatives, but the reward of evil actions is not; tell me the cause of this distinction ?" Nágaséna: "You are asking a profitless question; it is just like asking why the sky does not fall, or why the stream of the river does not go upward rather than descend, or why men and birds have only two feet, whilst the beasts * When Fa Hian visited Wisála, the garden was yet in existence.

of the field have four; these are not proper questions at all for any one to ask." Milinda: "I do not make this enquiry merely to trouble you; I ask it that my mind may be relieved, and that others also who have doubts upon the subject may be instructed." Nágaséna: "The reward of merit may be divided, and a portion of it imparted to another; but that of demerit cannot. Just in the same way, water may be carried by bamboo spouts to a great distance, but the rocks and hills cannot be removed at will; the lamp may be fed with oil or grease, but it cannot with water; water taken from the pond fertilises the soil, but that which is taken from the sea cannot be used for the same purpose." Milinda: "Will you explain to me how it is that the reward of demerit cannot be imparted to another? I am like a blind man ; I want instruction." Nágaséna: "The reward of demerit is small and insignificant; that of merit is vast, and spreads to the déwa-lóka; and this is the reason why the one can be divided and not the other. A single drop of water cannot be made to spread over the space of ten or twelve yojanas; but a heavy shower fills the lakes, rivers, brooks, rills, and channels, and spreads over this space. And in like manner, demerit, on account of its littleness, cannot be received by another, whilst merit, because of its greatness, admits of participation." Milinda: "Whence is this greatness of merit derived?" Nágaséna: "A man gives alms, or keeps the precepts; by this means his mind is filled with satisfaction; again and again this satisfaction wells up within him, and he is induced to acquire a greater degree of merit; it is like a perpetual fountain, continually flowing over; but when a man does that which brings demerit, his mind becomes sorrowful, and he is deterred from pursuing the same course, like a river that is lost in the sand of the desert. It is in this way that merit increases and becomes great, whilst demerit is diminished."




THERE are three sins of the body:-1. The taking of life, Murder (1). 2. The taking of that which is not given, Theft (2). 3. The holding of carnal intercourse with the female that belongs to another, Adultery (3).

There are four sins of the speech:-1. Lying (4). 2. Slander (5). 3. Abuse. 4. Unprofitable Conversation (6).

There are three sins of the mind:-1. Covetousness (7). 2. Malice. 3. Scepticism (8).

There are also five other evils that are to be avoided :- -1. The drinking of intoxicating Liquors (9). 2. Gambling (10). 3. Idleness (11). 4. Improper Associations (12). 5. The Frequenting of Places of Amusement (13).

There are additional obligations that are binding upon particular classes of individuals, among whom may be reckoned: -1. The Parent and Child (14). 2. The Teacher and Scholar (15). 3. The Priest and Householder (16). 4. The Husband and Wife (17). 5. The Master and Servant (18). 6. The Friend (19).

There are Miscellaneous Advices and Admonitions (20) that form another section.

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