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At the proper age, one of you must initiate that noble youth into the priesthood. (The other) must fully instruct him in the doctrines of the supreme Buddha."
The théra Dásaka was the disciple of Upáli (the disciple of Buddha himself). Sónaka was his disciple. The aforesaid two priests (Siggava and Chandavajji) were the disciples of Sónaka.
1In aforetime (at the termination of the first convocation on religion), in Vésáli, a brahman of the tribe of Sotthi, named Dásaka, the superior of three hundred pupils, dwelt with his preceptor. In the twelfth year of his age, having achieved the knowledge of the "védas," and while he was making his pilgrimage attended by his own pupils, he met with the théra Upáli, who had held the first convocation, sojourning at the temple Válukáráma (in Vésáli). Taking up his residence near him, he examined him on the abstruse passages of the "védas.’ He (Upáli) explained those passages.
The théra, with a certain object in view, thus addressed him (the brahman): 2 There is a branch of the doctrine superior to all other branches, which perfects the knowledge of the whole doctrine. What branch of the doctrine is it?"
The brahman was ignorant of it, and inquired, "What doctrine is it?" He replied, 66 Buddha's doctrine." Impart it to me,' ," said the one. Only to him who has been admitted into our order can I impart it," rejoined the other.
Thereupon, returning to his native land, he applied for permission from his preceptor (to become a Buddhist priest), in order that he might acquire a knowledge of that doctrine; in like manner from father and mother.
This brahman, together with three hundred of his brahman followers, was admitted into the Buddhistical priesthood in the fraternity of that théra: and in due course was raised to the upasampadá order.
The théra Upáli propounded the whole "pitakattaya pitakattaya" to his thousand pupils, who had subdued in themselves the dominion of sin, of whom Dásaka was the senior.
5The other priests of the fraternity of the said thera, who had not attained the sanctification of arhat (which comprised inspiration), and were incapable of acquiring a knowledge of the "pitakattaya," were innumerable.
In the land of Kási, there was a caravan chief's son, by name Sóṇaka, who came to the mountain-girt city (Rájagaha) on trade, together with his parents, attended by a retinue of fifty-five brahmanical devotees who had accompanied him thither. The chief of fifteen years of age repaired to Véluvana vihára. Becoming acquainted there with the théra Dásaka as well as with his disciples, overjoyed, he solicited to be admitted into the priesthood. He replied thus: "Ask thy superiors (first.)" The young chieftain Sónaka, having fasted for three days, and obtained the consent of his parents to enter into the priesthood,
"(Now the history of these priests is as follows.)"
This is a very difficult passage to render correctly and yet clearly in consequence of the use therein of the term "dhamma in different senses. The literal rendering (without putting a sense on the word " dhamma ") would be: "Young man, there is a dhamma which follows all dhammas; and yet all dhammas descend into or follow that dhamma. What is that dhamma ?"
3" The théra said this with reference to the náma (in contradistinction to the rúpa)." 466 taught."
7" refused to take three meals (successively)."
* “ Others who received instruction in the Pițakas from the théra,—those who had entered the paths and those who had not, were beyond number."
• Brahman youths.
returned.1 Together with these noble companions, becoming a priest, then an upasampadá," in the fraternity of the théra Dásaka, he acquired a knowledge of "pitakattaya."
This Sónaka became the superior of a fraternity of a thousand théras, who had overcome the dominion of sin and acquired a perfect knowledge of the "pitakattaya."
In the city of Páțali there was one Siggava aged eighteen years, the son of the minister (Sirivaḍdha), highly gifted with wisdom. He had three palaces for his residences, adapted for all the seasons of the six 2utus. Bringing with him his friend Chandavajji, the son of a minister, and attended by a retinue of five hundred men, having repaired to Kukkuṭáráma vihára, they saw there the thera Sónaka, seated absorbed in the "samápatti" meditation, with the action of his senses suspended. Perceiving that he was silent while he bowed to him, he questioned the priests on this point. These priests replied, "Those absorbed in the samápatti meditation do not speak." He then asked of these informants, Under what circumstances does he rise (from his meditation) ?” Replying, "He rises at the call of the divine teacher: at the call of the priesthood: at the termination of the period previously resolved on at the approach of death: " and observing their predestined conversion they (the priests) set forth the call of the priesthood. He (Sóṇaka) rising, departed from hence. The young chief, addressing Sónaka, asked: "Lord, why wast thou silent?" Because," replied he," I am partaking of that which I ought to partake." He thereupon rejoined, Administer the same to me." "When thou hast become one of us, it will be permitted thee to partake of it." Thereupon the chiefs Siggava and Chandavajji and their retinue of five hundred, obtaining the consent of their parents, repaired to the fraternity of the théra Sónaka, and being admitted into the priesthood became upasampadá priests. These two, residing with the priest-superior who had ordained them, having acquired a perfect knowledge of the pitakattaya," in due course attained the mastery of the six departments of doctrinal knowledge.
"This théra Siggava, perceiving (by inspiration) the conception of "Tissa, during seven years from that date repaired (constantly for alms) to the dwelling in which (he the brahman was conceived). For that period of seven years even the word " begone" had not been addressed to him. In the eighth year, at length, he was told (by a slave girl)" Depart hence.'
The brahman Moggali, who was returning home, observing him departing, inquired, "Hast thou received anything at our house?
Yes," he replied. Going to his house, and having ascertained (that nothing had been given), on the second day, when the priest visited the dwelling, he upbraided him for his falsehood. Having heard the théra's explanation (that he only alluded to the slave's reproach, "Depart hence "), the brahman, pleased thereat, gave alms to him constantly from the meal prepared for himself. By degrees all the inmates of that house became attached to him. The brahman himself, having made him also an inmate of the house, constantly fed him. In this manner time passed away, and the youth Tissa attained his twentieth year, and succeeded in traversing the ocean of the tivéda (of the brahmans).
'The théra (knowing by inspiration) that a discussion would be produced thereby2 (by a miracle), rendered all the seats in the house invisible, reserving only the carpet of this young brahman devotee.
As he had descended from the Brahmalóka world, he was scrupulously rigid in preserving his personal purity. On this account he, (always) folding his carpet, hung it up. Not finding any other seat, while the théra was standing, the people in the house in great confusion spread for him that carpet of his. The young brahman, on returning from his preceptor, seeing him so seated, enraged, addressed him in opprobrious language.
The théra replied, "Young brahman, what knowledge dost thou possess?" The youth instantly retorted the same question on the théra. When the théra was in the act of replying, "I do possess knowledge," he interrogated the said théra on the abstruse passages of the "védas." The théra instantly explained them.
This théra was thus, even while sojourning in the domicile of a layman, accomplished in the "védas." Having attained the perfection of sacerdotal sanctity (in the Buddhistical creed) why should he not be able to explain them?
10 An idea is conceived in the mind of some (rahat saint) which does not vanish from it: (nevertheless) the idea of that individual will vanish (on his attaining "nibbuti"), and will not be regenerated. Again, the idea of some other person shall vanish, shall not be regenerated, and yet it does not vanish."11
12 The thera of perfect self-possession called on the youth for the solution of this paradoxical question on the operations of the mind. He became, as it were, involved in perfect darkness, and inquired of him, " Priest, what 13parable is this?" He replied, "Buddha's parable." On his exclaiming Impart it to us"; he rejoined, "Only to those do I impart it who have assumed our garb." Obtaining the permission of his parents, he entered into the priesthood for the sake of 14this parable. The théra having initiated him into the priesthood, 15he imposed on him, according to the orthodox rules, the task of duly qualifying himself.
This superlatively gifted person having attained that qualification in a short time, arrived at the sanctification of" sótápatti." The théra having ascertained that fact, despatched him, for the purpose of being instructed, to the théra Chandavajji
1" One day."
8" discriminative knowledge."
"how much more."
10 This passage is an axiom from the Yamakapprakarana of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, and cannot be made intelligible by a simple translation to such as have not mastered the abstruse subject of Buddhist psychology. A literal translation would run thus: "Whose thought (cittan) is produced but is not destroyed, his thought will be destroyed and will not be reproduced. On the other hand, whose thought will be destroyed and will not be reproduced, his thought is produced and is not destroyed."
11 This passage is interpreted in various ways with the aid of circumlocution. The above is only intended as a literal translation, with the additions sanctioned by the commentary.-[Note by Mr. Turnour.]
12" The théra, whose self-possession was great, propounded this question from
the Citta-yamaka' (of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka)."
14" learning this science."
15 66 gave him lessons on the Kammaṭṭhána (subject and modes of meditation) as befitted him."
18" devoted himself to meditation."
In due course the priest Siggava, having made him an upasampadá, taught him the "vinaya"; subsequently the other two branches of religion. Thereafter the youth Tissa, attaining the "vipassaná " sanctification, acquired the mastery of the six branches of doctrinal knowledge, and ultimately he was elevated to a théra. He became as celebrated as the sun and moon. 2Who has heard his eloquence without considering it the eloquence of the supreme Buddha himself!
The matters concerning the théra Moggaliputta concluded.
The sub-king (Tissa) on a certain day, at an elk hunt, saw in a forest a herd of elk sporting. Observing this, he thus meditated: "Elks, browsing in a forest, sport. Why should not priests lodged and fed comfortably in viháras also amuse themselves?" Returning home he imparted this reflection to the king, who conferred the sovereignty on him for seven days to solve this question, addressing him thus: "Prince, administer this empire for seven days at the termination of that period I shall put thee to death." At the end of the seventh day he inquired of him, "From what cause hast thou become so emaciated?" when he answered, when he answered, "From the horror of death." The monarch thereupon rejoined, "My child, thou hast ceased to take recreation, saying to thyself, in seven days I shall be put to death.' These ministers of religion are incessantly meditating on death; how can they enter into frivolous diversions?"
He who had been thus addressed by his brother became a convert to that religion. After the lapse of some time, going to an elk hunt, he perceived, seated at the foot of a tree, and fanned by an elephant with the bough of a sal tree, the théra Mahádhammarakkhita perfect in piety, having overcome the dominion of sin. The royal youth indulged in this reflection: "When shall I also, like unto this théra, be initiated into the priesthood, be a dweller in the forest?"
The théra, to incline his heart (to the faith), springing aloft, and departing, through the air, alighted on the surface of the tank of the Asókáráma temple, and causing his robes to remain poised in the air, he dived into the tank and bathed his limbs.
The superlatively wise sub-king upon seeing this miracle, overjoyed thereat, resolved within himself, "This very day will I be ordained a priest." Repairing to the king, the zealous convert supplicated for permission to become a priest. Unwilling to obstruct his wish, the sovereign, conducting him himself, with a great concourse of attendants, proceeded to the temple. He (the under-king) was ordained by the théra Mahádhammarakkhita. On the same occasion with himself, one hundred thousand persons (were ordained). There is no ascertaining the number of those who became priests from his example.
The renowed Aggibrahmá was the son-in-law of the king, being the husband of Sanghamittá, the sovereign's daughter. Her and his son, prince Sumana, having obtained the sanction of the king, was ordained at the same time as the sub-king.
It was in the fourth year of king Asóka's reign that, for the spiritual happiness of the people, the ordination of the sub-king took place. In
acquired the position of a."
2" And the world regarded his words as if they were the words." 3 advent of."
4" in order to convince him (of the reason)."
"His son was named Sumana. He also."
the same year this sub-king, gifted with wisdom, became upasampadá ; and exerting himself, by virtue of his former piety, became 'sanctified with the six supreme attributes.
2 All these individuals in different towns, commencing the construction of splendid viháras, completed them in three years. By the merit of the théra Indagutta, and of that of the undertaker of the work, the vihára called Asókáráma was also completed in that time. At the places at which the vanquisher of the five deadly sins had worked the works of his mission, the sovereign caused splendid dágobas to be constructed. From eighty-four thousand cities (of which Pupphapura was the centre), despatches were brought on the same day, announcing that the viháras were completed. Having heard these despatches read, the glorious, the superlatively gifted, the victorious sovereign having resolved on having a great festival of offerings at all the temples at the same moment, caused to be published by beat of drums through the capital: "On the seventh day from hence, throughout all the kingdoms in the empire let there be a great festival of offerings held on the same day. Throughout the empire, at the distance of each yójana, let there be great offerings bestowed. Let there be decorating of the roads to villages as well as temples. In all viháras let almsgiving to the priesthood be kept up in every respect as long as practicable, and liberally as means will allow. At those places, decorated with festoons of lamps and garlands of flowers in various ways, and joyous with every description of music, let a great procession be celebrated. And let all persons duly prepared by a life of righteousness, listen to the doctrines of the faith; and let innumerable offerings be made on that day."
Accordingly, in all places, all persons, in all respects, as if they were the felicitous Dévalóka heavens, each surpassing the other, bestowed offerings.
On that day the king, decorated with all the insignia of royalty, sand surrounded by his ministers mounted on elephants and horses, with all the pomp and power of state, proceeded, as if cleaving the earth, to the temple built by himself. Bowing down to the chief priest, he took up his station in the midst of the priesthood.
In that congregation there were eighty kótis of priests. Among them there were one hundred thousand ministers of religion who had overcome the dominion of sin. There were also ninety lacs of priestesses, of whom a thousand priestesses had overcome the dominion of sin. These sanctified persons, for the purpose of gratifying king Dhammásóka, performed a miracle for the manifestation to the world of the truth of their religion.
an arhat gifted."
"And all the beautiful viháras, the building whereof had been duly commenced, were completed within three years. By the supernatural power of the théra Indagutta, who superintended the work."
5 "alms given in observance thereof."
"taking upon themselves the vows of observing the precepts."
7" in every possible manner, made offerings, pleasing as those of the Dévalókas, and exceeding even the commands of the king."
"with his women of the palace and his ministers, attended by a military array."
"and these saints wrought a miracle called the Lóka Vivarana' ('a panorama of the world') so that they might make king Dhammásóka rejoice in the faith."