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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Milindapanha >> Book IV. The Solving of Dilemmas - Chapter 8


Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids


1. 'Venerable Nâgasena, do all the Bodisats give away their wives and children, or was it only Vessantara the king who did so?'

'All of them do so, not Vessantara only.'

'Do they then give them away with their own consent?'

'The wife, O king, was a consenting party. But the children, by reason of their tender age, lamented. Had they thoroughly understood, they too would have approved.'

'A hard thing, Nâgasena, was it that the Bodisat carried out, in that he gave away his own children, his only ones, dearly beloved, into slavery to the Brahman. And this second action was harder still, that he bound his own children, his only ones, and dearly beloved, young and tender though they were, with the jungle rope, and then, when he saw them being dragged along by the Brahman,--their hands

bruised by the creeper,--yet could look on at the sight. And this third action was even harder still, that when his boy ran back to him, after loosing the bonds by his own exertion, then he bound him again with the jungle rope and again gave him away. And this fourth action was even harder still, that when the children, weeping, cried: "Father dear, this ogre is leading us away to eat us!" he should have appeased them by saying: "Don't be afraid." And this fifth action was even harder still, that when the prince, Gâli, fell weeping at his feet, and besought him, saying: "Be satisfied, father dear, only keep Kanhâginâ (his little sister). I will go away with the ogre. Let him eat me!"--that even then he would not yield. And this sixth action was even harder still, that when the boy Gâli, lamenting, exclaimed: "Have you a heart of stone then, father, that you can look upon us, miserable, being led away by the ogre into the dense and haunted jungle, and not call us back?"--that he still had no pity. And this seventh action was even harder still, that when his children were thus led away to nameless horrors until they passed gradually to their bitter fate , out of sight--that then his heart did not break, utterly break! What, pray, has the man who seeks to gain merit to do with bringing sorrow on others! Should he not rather give himself away?'

2. 'It is because what he did, O king, was so

difficult, that the sound of the fame of the Bodisat was spread abroad among gods and men through the ten thousand world systems-- that the gods exalt him in heaven; and the Titans in the Titan-world, and the Garudas in their abodes, and the Nâgas in the Nâga-world, and the Yakshas where they dwell--that through the ages the reputation of this his glory has been handed down by successive tradition--till now, to-day, it has reached to this meeting of ours, at which we sitting are, forsooth, disparaging and casting a slur on that gift , debating whether it were well given or ill! But that high praise, O king, shows forth the ten great qualities of the intelligent, and wise, and able, and subtle-minded Bodisats. And what are the ten? Freedom from greed, the not clinging (to any worldly aim), self-sacrifice, renunciation, the never turning back again (to the lower state), the equal delicacy and greatness, the incomprehensibility, the rarity, and the peerlessness of Buddhahood. In all these respects is it that the fame of that giving shows forth the great qualities of the Bodisats.'

3. 'What, venerable Nâgasena? he who gives gifts in such a way as to bring sorrow upon others--does that giving of his bring forth fruit in happiness, does it lead to rebirth in states of bliss?'

'Yes, O king. What can be said (to the contrary)?'

'I pray you, Nâgasena, give me a reason for this.'

'Suppose, O king, there were some virtuous Samana or Brahman, of high character, and he were

paralysed, or a cripple , or suffering from some disease or other, and some man desirous of merit were to have him put into a carriage, and taken to the place he wished to go to. Would happiness accrue to that man by reason thereof, would that be an act leading to rebirth in states of bliss?'

'Yes, Sir. What can be said (to the contrary)? That man would thereby acquire a trained elephant, or a riding-horse, or a bullock-carriage, on land a land-vehicle and on water a water-vehicle, in heaven a vehicle of the gods and on earth one that men could use,--from birth to birth there would accrue to him that which in each would be appropriate and fit,--and joys appropriate would come to him, and he would pass from state to state of bliss, and by the efficacy of that act mounting on the vehicle of Iddhi he would arrive at the longed-for goal, the city of Nirvâna itself.'

'But then, O king, a gift given in such a way as to bring sorrow upon others does bring forth fruit in happiness, does lead to rebirth in states of bliss,--inasmuch as that man by putting the cart-bullocks to pain would attain such bliss.

4. 'And hear another reason, O king, for the same thing. Suppose some monarch were to raise from his subjects a righteous tax, and then by the issue of a command were to bestow thereout a gift, would that monarch, O king, enjoy any happiness on that account, would that be a gift leading to rebirth in states of bliss

'Certainly, Sir. What can be said against it? On that account the monarch would receive a hundred thousandfold, he might become a king of kings, a god above the gods, or Brahmâ lord of the Brahmâ gods, or a chief among the Samanas, or a leader of the Brahmans, or the most excellent among the Arahats.'

'Then, O king, a gift given in such a way as to bring sorrow upon others does bring forth fruit in happiness, does lead to rebirth in states of bliss--inasmuch as that monarch by giving as a gift what was gained by harassing his people with taxation would enjoy such exceeding fame and glory.'

5. 'But, venerable Nâgasena, what was given by Vessantara the king was an excessive gift; in that he gave his own wife as wife to another man, and his own children, his only ones, into slavery to a Brahman. And excessive giving is by the wise in the world held worthy of censure and of blame. Just, Nâgasena, as under too much weight the axle-tree of a cart would break, or a ship would sink, as his food would disagree with him who ate too much, or the crops would be ruined by too heavy rain, or bankruptcy would follow too lavish generosity, or fever would come from too much heat, or a man would go mad from excessive lust, or become guilty of an offence through excessive anger, or fall into sin through excessive stupidity, or into the power of robbers through too much avarice, or be ruined by needless fear, or as a river would overflow through excessive inflow, or a thunderbolt fall through too much wind, or porridge boil over through too hot a fire, or a man who wandered

about too much would not live long-just, so, Nâgasena, is excessive giving held by the wise in the world as worthy of censure and of blame. And as king Vessantara's gift was excessive no good result could be expected from it.'

6. 'Giving exceedingly , O king, is praised, applauded, and approved by the wise in the world; and they who give away anything as a gift just as it may occur to them , acquire fame in the world as very generous givers. Just, O king, as when a man has taken hold of a wild root which by its extraordinary virtues is divine, that moment he becomes invisible even to those standing within arm's length--just as a medicinal herb by the exceeding power of its nature will utterly kill pain, and put an end to disease--just as fire burns by its exceeding heat, and water puts that fire out by its exceeding cold--just as by its exceeding purity a lotus remains undefiled by water or by mud--just as a (magic) gem by the extraordinary virtue inherent in it procures the granting of every wish--just as lightning by its marvellous quick sharpness cleaves asunder even the diamonds, pearls, and crystals--just as the earth by its exceeding size can support men, and snakes, and wild beasts, and birds, and the waters,

and rocks, and hills, and trees--just as the ocean by its exceeding greatness can never be quite filled--just as Sineru by its mighty weight remains immoveable, and space by the greatness of its wide extent is infinite, and the sun by its mighty glory dissipates the darkness--just as the lion in the greatness of its lineage is free from fear--just as a wrestler in the greatness of his might easily lifts up his foe-just as a king by the excellence of his justice becomes overlord, and a Bhikkhu by reason of his very righteousness becomes an object of reverence to Nâgas, and Yakshas, and men, and Mâras--just as a Buddha by the excellence of his supremacy is peerless--just so, O king, is exceeding generosity praised, applauded, and approved by the wise in the world; and they who give away anything as a gift, just as it may occur to them, acquire in the world the fame of being nobly generous. And by his mighty giving Vessantara the king, O king, was praised, and lauded, and exalted, and magnified, and famous throughout the ten thousand world systems, and by reason, too, of that mighty giving is it that he, the king Vessantara, has, now in our days, become the Buddha, the chief of gods and men.

7. 'And now, O king, tell me--is there anything in the world which should be withheld as a gift, and not bestowed, when one worthy of a gift, one to whom it is one's duty to give , is there?'

'There are ten sorts of gifts, Nâgasena, in the world that are commonly disapproved of as gifts. And what are the ten? Strong drink, Nâgasena, and festivals in high places , and women, and buffaloes, and suggestive paintings , and weapons, and poison, and chains, and fowls, and swine, and false weights and measures. All these, Nâgasena, are disapproved of in the world as gifts, and those who give such presents become liable to rebirth in states of woe.'

'I did not ask you, O king, what kinds of gifts are not approved of. But this, O king, I asked: "Is there anything in the world which ought to be withheld, and not bestowed as a gift, if one worthy of a gift were present?"'

'No, Sir. When faith arises in their hearts some give food to those worthy of gifts, and some give clothes, and some give bedding, and some give dwellings, and some give mats or robes, and some give slave girls or slaves, and some give fields or premises, and some give bipeds or quadrupeds, and

some give a hundred or a thousand or a hundred thousand, and some give the kingdom itself, and some give away even their own life.'

'But then, O king, if some give away even their own lives, why do you so violently attack Vessantara, that king of givers, for the virtuous bestowal of his child and wife? Is there not a general practice in the world, an acknowledged custom, according to which it is allowable for a father who has fallen into debt, or lost his livelihood, to deposit his son in pledge, or sell him?'

'Yes, that is so.'

'Well, in accordance therewith was it that Vessantara, O king, in suffering and distress at not having obtained the insight of the Omniscient Ones, pledged and sold his wife and children for that spiritual treasure. So that he gave away what other people had given away, he did what other people had done. Why then do you, O king, so violently attack him, the king of givers?'

8. 'Venerable Nâgasena, I don't blame him for giving, but for not having made a barter with the beggar, and given away himself rather, instead of his wife and children.'

'That, O king, would be an act of a wrong doer, to give himself when he was asked for his wife and children. For the thing asked for, whatever it is, is that which ought to be given. And such is the practice of the good. Suppose, O king, a man were to ask that water should be brought, would any one who then brought him food have done what he wanted?'

'No, Sir. The man who should have given what he first asked to be brought would have done what he wanted.'

'Just so, O king, when the Brahman asked Vessantara the king for his wife and children, it was his wife and children that he gave. If the Brahman, O king, had asked for Vessantara's body, then would Vessantara have not saved his body, he would neither have trembled nor been stained (by the love of self), but would have given away and abandoned his own body. If, O king, any one had come up to Vessantara the king, and asked of him, saying: "Become my slave," then would he have given away and abandoned his own self, and in so giving would he have felt no pain.

9. 'Now the life of king Vessantara, O king, was a good thing shared in by many--just as meats when cooked are shared in by many, or as a tree covered with fruit is shared in by many flocks of

birds. And why so? Because he had said to himself: "Thus acting may I attain to Buddhahood." As a man in need, O king, who is wandering about in his search after wealth, will have to pass along goat-tracks, and through jungles full of stakes and sticks , and doing merchandise by sea and land, will devote his actions, words, and thoughts to the attainment of wealth--just so, O king, did Vessantara, the king of givers, who was longing for the treasure of Buddhahood, for the attainment of the insight of the Omniscient Ones, by offering up to anyone who begged of him his property and his corn, his slave girls and his slaves, his riding animals and carriages, all that he possessed, his wife and children and himself, seek after the Supreme Enlightenment. Just, O king, as an official who is anxious for the seal , and for the office of the custody thereof , will exert himself to the attainment of the seal by sacrificing everything in his house--property and corn, gold and silver, everything--just so, O king, did Vessantara, the king of givers, by giving away all that he had, inside his house and out , by giving even his life for others, seek after the Supreme Enlightenment.

10. 'And further, O king, Vessantara, the king of givers, thought thus: "It is by giving to him precisely what he asks for, that I shall be of service

to the Brahman:" and therefore did he bestow upon him his wife and children. It was not, O king, out of dislike to them that he gave them away, not because he did not care to see them more, not because he considered them an encumbrance or thought he could no longer support them, not (in annoyance) with the wish of being relieved of what was not pleasant to him--but because the jewel treasure of omniscience was dear to him, for the sake of the insight of the Omniscient Ones, did he bestow that glorious gift,--immeasurable, magnificent, unsurpassed--of what was near and dear to him, greatly beloved, cherished as his own life, his own children and his wife! For it has been said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god of gods, in the Kariyâ Pitaka :

"'Twas not through hatred of my children sweet, 'Twas not through hatred of my queen, Maddî, Thraller of hearts --not that I loved them less-- But Buddhahood more, that I renounced them all."


'Now at that time, O king, Vessantara, when he had given away his wife and children, entered the leaf hut, and sat down there. And heavy grief fell upon him distressed by his exceeding love for them, and his very heart became hot, and hot breath, too much to find its way through the nose, came and went through his mouth, and tears rolled in drops of blood from his eyes. Such was the grief, O king, with which Vessantara gave to the Brahman his wife and children in the thought that his practice of giving should not be broken in upon. But there were two reasons, O king, why he thus gave them away. What are those two? That his practice of giving should not be interrupted was one; the other was that as a result of his so doing his children, distressed by living with him only on wild roots and fruits, should eventually be set free by their new master. For Vessantara knew, O king: "No one is capable of keeping my children as slaves. Their grandfather will ransom the children, and so they will come back to me." These are the two reasons why he gave his children away to the Brahman.

12. 'And further, O king, Vessantara knew:

"This Brahman is worn out, aged, well stricken in years, weak and broken, leaning on a stick, he has drawn near the end of his days, his merit is small, he will not be capable of keeping my children as

slaves." Would a man be able, O king, by his ordinary power, to seize the moon and the sun ,

mighty and powerful as they are, keeping them in a basket or a box, to use them, deprived of their light, as plates?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Neither, O king, could any one whatever keep in use, as his slaves, the children of Vessantara, who were to the world like the moon and the sun in glory.

13. 'And hear another reason, O king, for the same thing . That wondrous gem, O king of a sovran overlord, bright and beautiful, with its eight facets so well cut, four cubits in thickness, and in circumference as the nave of a cart-wheel, could no man, wrapping it up in a cloth and putting it into a basket, keep and use as a hone to grind his scissors upon. And neither, O king, could any one soever keep in use, as his slaves, the children of Vessantara, like to the jewels of the lord of the world in glory.

14. 'And hear, O king, another reason. just as the elephant king Uposatha , gentle and handsome, eight cubits in height and nine in girth and length, showing the signs of rut in three places on his body, all white, sevenfold firm , could never by any one

be covered up with a saucer or a winnowing fan , could never be put into a cowpen like a calf, or made use of as one ; just so could no one whatever keep in use, as his slaves, the children of Vessantara, who were, in the world, like Uposatha the elephant king.

15. 'And hear, O king, another reason. Just, O king, as the mighty ocean is great in length and breadth, and deep, not to be measured, and hard to cross, impossible to fathom or to cover up, and no one could close it in and make use of it as a single ferry, just so could no one whatever keep in use, as his slaves, the children of Vessantara, as esteemed in the world as the mighty ocean.

16. 'And hear another reason, O king. Just as the Himâlaya, the king of the mountains, five leagues high, and three thousand leagues in extent at the circumference, with its ranges of eight and forty thousand peaks, the source of five hundred rivers, the dwelling-place of multitudes of mighty--creatures , the producer of manifold perfumes, enriched with hundreds of magical drugs, is seen to rise aloft, like a cloud, in the centre (of the earth); like it, O king, could no one whatever keep in use, as his slaves, the children of Vessantara, as esteemed in the world as Himâlaya, the mountain king.

'And hear another reason, O king. Just as a

mighty bonfire burning on a mountain top would be visible afar off in the darkness and the gloom of night, so was Vessantara the king well known among men, and therefore could no one whatever keep in use, as his slaves, the children of so distinguished a man--for just as at the time of the flowering of the Nâga trees in the Himâlaya mountains, when the soft winds (of spring) are blowing, the perfume of the flowers is wafted for ten leagues, or for twelve , so was the sound of the fame of king Vessantara noised abroad, and the sweet perfume of his righteousness wafted along for thousands of leagues, even up to the abodes of the Akanittha, (the highest of all) gods, passing on its way the dwelling places of the gods and Asuras, of the Garudas and Gandhabbas, of the Yakshas and Râkshasas, of the Mahoragas and Kinnaras, and of Indra the monarch of the gods ! Therefore is it that no one could keep his children as slaves.

17. 'And the young prince Gâli, O king, was instructed by his father, Vessantara, in these words: "When your grandfather, my child, shall ransom you with wealth that he gives to the Brahman, let him buy you back for a thousand ounces of gold , and when he ransoms your sister Kanhâginâ let him buy her back for a hundred slaves and a hundred slave girls and a hundred elephants and a hundred horses and a hundred cows and a hundred buffaloes and a hundred ounces of gold. And if, my child, your grandfather should take you out of the hands of the Brahman by word of command, or by force, paying nothing, then obey not the words of your grandfather, but remain still in subjection to the Brahman." Such was his instruction as he sent him away. And young Gâli went accordingly, and when asked by his grandfather, said:

As worth a thousand ounces, Sir, My father gave me to this man; As worth a hundred elephants, He gave the girl Kanhâginâ."'

'Well has this puzzle, Nâgasena, been unravelled, well has the net of heresy been torn to pieces, well has the argument of the adversaries been overcome and your own doctrine been made evident, well has the letter (of the Scriptures) been maintained while

you have thus explained its spirit! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to Vessantara's gift of his wife and children.]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-SECOND. PENANCE.]

18. 'Venerable Nâgasena, did all the Bodisats go through a period of penance, or only Gotama?'

'Not all, O king, but Gotama did.'

'Venerable Nâgasena, if that be so, it is not right that there should be a difference between Bodisat and Bodisat.'

'There are four matters, O king, in which there is such difference. And what are the four? There is a difference as to the kind of family (in which they are born ), there is a difference as to their place in the period (which has elapsed since the succession of Buddhas began ), there

is a difference as to the length of their individual lives , there is a difference as to their individual size . In these four respects, O king, there is a difference between Bodisat and Bodisat. But there is no difference between any of the Buddhas, who are alike in bodily beauty , in goodness of character, in power of contemplation and of reasoning, in emancipation, in the insight arising from the knowledge of emancipation, in

the four bases of confidence , in the ten powers of a Tathâgata , in the sixfold special

knowledge , in the fourteenfold knowledge of Buddha , in the eighteen characteristics of a Buddha --in a word, in all the qualities of a Buddha. For all the Buddhas are exactly alike in all the Buddha-qualities.'

'But if, Nâgasena, that be so, what is the reason that it was only the Gotama Bodisat who carried out the penance?'

'Gotama the Bodisat had gone forth from the world, O king, when his knowledge was immature, and his wisdom was immature. And it was when he was bringing that immature knowledge to maturity that he carried out the penance.'

19. 'Why then, Nâgasena, was it that he thus went forth with knowledge and with wisdom immatured? Why did he not first mature his knowledge, and then, with his knowledge matured, renounce the world?'

'When the Bodisat, O king, saw the women of his harem all in disorder , then did he become disgusted,

and in him thus disgusted discontent sprang up. And on perceiving that his heart was filled with discontent, a certain god of those that wait on Death (Mâra) thought: "This now is the time to dispel that discontent of his heart," and standing in the air he gave utterance to these words: "O honourable one! O fortunate one! Be not thou distressed. On the seventh day from this the heavenly treasure of the Wheel shall appear to thee, with its thousand spokes, its tire, and its nave, complete and perfect; and the other treasures, those that walk on earth and those that travel through the sky, shall come to thee of their own accord; and the words of command of thy mouth shall bear sway over the four great continents and the two thousand dependent isles; and thou shalt have above a thousand sons, heroes mighty in strength to the crushing out of the armies of the foe; and with those sons surrounding thee thou, master of the Seven Treasures, shalt rule the world!" But even as if a bar of iron, heated the livelong day and glowing throughout, had entered the orifice of his ear, so was it that those words, O king, entered the ear of the Bodisat. And to the natural distress he already felt there was added, by that utterance of the god, a further emotion, anxiety, and fear. just as a mighty fiery furnace, were fresh fuel thrown on it, would the more furiously burn--just as the broad earth, by nature moist, and already swampy through the water dripping on it from the vegetation and the grass that have arisen on it, would become more muddy still when a great rain cloud had poured out rain upon it--so to the distress that he already felt there was

added, by that utterance of the god, a further emotion, anxiety, and fear.'

20. 'But tell me, Nâgasena, if the heavenly Wheel-treasure had, on the seventh day, appeared to the Bodisat, would he, the Wheel having appeared, have been turned back from his purpose?'

'No Wheel-treasure appeared, O king, on the seventh day to the Bodisat. For rather that was a lie that was told by that god with the object of tempting him. And even had it appeared, yet would not the Bodisat have turned aside. And why not? Because the Bodisat, O king, had firmly grasped (the facts of) the impermanence (of all things, of) the suffering (inherent in existence as an individual, of) the absence of a soul (in any being made up of the five Skandhas), and had thus arrived at the destruction of the attachment (to individuality which arises from lust, or from heresy, or from dependence upon outward acts, or from delusions as to the possession of a permanent soul) . The water, O king, which flows into the river Ganges from the Anottata lake, and from the Ganges river into the great ocean, and from the great ocean into the openings into the

regions under the earth --would that water, after it had once entered that opening, turn back and flow again into the great ocean, and from the great ocean into the Ganges river, and from the Ganges river into the Anottata lake?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'In the same way, O king, it was for the sake of that last existence of his that the Bodisat had matured merit through the immeasurable aeons of the past. He had now reached that last birth, the knowledge of the Buddhas had grown mature in him, in six years he would become a Buddha, all-knowing, the highest being in the world. Would then the Bodisat, for the sake of the Wheel-treasure, turn back?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'No! Though the great earth, O king, with all its peaks and mountain ranges, should turn back, yet the Bodisat would not before he had attained to Buddhahood. Though the water of the Ganges should flow backwards up the stream, yet the Bodisat would not turn back before he had attained to Buddhahood. Though the mighty ocean with its immeasurable waters should dry up like the water in the footprint of a cow , yet would not the Bodisat turn back before he had attained to Buddhahood. Though Sineru, the king of the mountains,

should split up into a hundred or a thousand fragments, yet would not the Bodisat turn back before he had attained to Buddhahood. Though the sun and moon with all the stars should fall, like a clod, upon the ground, yet would not the Bodisat turn back before he had attained to Buddhahood. Though the expanse of heaven should be rolled up like a mat, yet would not the Bodisat turn back before he had attained to Buddhahood! And why not? Because he had torn asunder every bond.'

21. 'Venerable Nâgasena, how many bonds are there in the world?'

'There are these ten bonds in the world, O king, bound by which men renounce not the world, or turn back again to it. And what are the ten? A mother, O king, is often a bond, and a father, and a wife, and children, and relations, and friends, and wealth, and easy income, and sovranty, and the five pleasures of sense. These are the ten bonds common in the world, bonds bound by which men renounce not the world or turn back to it. And all these bonds had the Bodisat, O king, burst through. And therefore could he not, O king, turn back.'

22. 'Venerable Nâgasena, if the Bodisat, on discontent arising in his heart at the words of the god, though his knowledge (of the four Truths) was yet imperfect, and his insight of a Buddha not mature, did nevertheless go forth into renunciation of the world, of what advantage was penance to him then? Ought he not rather, awaiting the maturity of his knowledge, to have lived in the enjoyment of all (suitable) foods?'

'There are, O king, these ten sorts of individuals who are despised and contemned in the world,

thought shameful, looked down upon, held blameworthy, treated with contumely, not loved. And what are the ten? A woman without a husband, O king, and a weak creature, and one without friends or relatives, and a glutton, and one dwelling in a disreputable family, and the friend of sinners, and he whose wealth has been dissipated, and he who has no character, and he who has no occupation , and he who has no means. These are the ten despised and contemned in the world, thought shameful, looked down upon, held blameworthy, treated with contumely, not loved . It was on calling these conditions to mind, O king, that this idea occurred to the Bodisat: "Let me not incur blame among gods and men as being without occupation or without means! Let me as a master in action, held in respect by reason of action, one having the supremacy which arises from action, one whose conduct is based upon action, one who carries action (into every concern of life) , one who has his dwelling in action, be constant in earnestness ." That was the spirit, O king, in which the Bodisat, when he was bringing his knowledge to maturity, undertook the practice of penance.'

23. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the Bodisat, when he was undergoing penance, said thus to himself:

"But it is not by this penance severe that I shall reach the peculiar faculty of the insight arising from the knowledge of that which is fit and noble--that insight beyond the powers of ordinary men, May there not be now some other way to the wisdom (of Buddhahood) ?"

'Was then the Bodisat, at that time, confused in his mind about the way ?'

'There are twenty-five qualities, O king, which are causes of weakness of mind, weakened by which the mind cannot successfully be devoted to the destruction of the Âsavas (the Great Evils--lust, becoming, delusion, and ignorance) . And what are the twenty-five? Anger, O king, and enmity, and hypocrisy , and conceit , and envy, and avarice, and deceit ,

and treachery, and obstinacy , and perverseness , and pride, and vainglory, and the intoxication (of exalted ideas about birth or health or wealth), and negligence in (well-doing), and intellectual inertness or bodily sloth , and drowsiness , and idleness, and friendship with sinners, and forms, and sounds, and odours, and tastes, and sensations of touch, and hunger, and thirst , and discontent . These are the

twenty-five qualities, O king, which are causes of weakness of mind, weakened by which the mind cannot successfully be devoted to the destruction of the Âsavas. (And of these it was) hunger and thirst, O king, which had then seized hold of the body of the Bodisat. And his body being thus, as it were, "possessed," his mind was not rightly devoted to the destruction of the Âsavas. Now the Bodisat, O king, through the immeasurable æons of the past, had followed after the perception of the Four Noble Truths through all of his successive births. Is it then possible that in his last existence, in the birth in which that perception was to arise, there should be any confusion in his mind as to the way? But nevertheless there arose, O king, in the Bodisat's mind the thought: "May there not now be some other way to the wisdom (of a Buddha)?" And already before that, O king, when he was only one month old, when his father the Sakya was at work (ploughing), the Bodisat, placed in his sacred cot for coolness under the shade of the Gambu tree, sat up crosslegged, and putting away passion, free from all evil conditions of heart, he entered into and remained in the first Ghâna--a state of joy and ease, born of seclusion, full of reflection, full of investigation, and so into the second, and so into the third, and so into the fourth Ghâna .'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say. It was whilst he was bringing his knowledge to maturity that the Bodisat underwent the penance.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to the penance undergone by the Bodisat.]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-THIRD. VIRTUE STRONGER THAN VICE.]

24. 'Venerable Nâgasena, which is the more powerful, virtue or vice?'

'Virtue, O king .'

'That is a saying, Nâgasena, which I cannot believe-that virtue is more powerful than vice. For there are to be seen here (in the world) men who destroy living creatures, who take to themselves what has not been given, who walk in evil in their lusts, who speak lies, who commit gang robberies on whole villages, who are highwaymen, sharpers, and swindlers, and these all according to their crime suffer the cutting off of their hands, or their feet, or their hands and feet, or their ears, or

their nose, or their ears and nose, or the Gruel Pot, or the Chank Crown, or the Râhu's Mouth, or the Fire Garland, or the Hand Torch, or the Snake Strips, or the Bark Dress, or the Spotted Antelope, or the Flesh Hooks, or the Penny Cuts, or the Brine Slits, or the Bar Turn, or the Straw Seat, or they are anointed with boiling oil, or eaten by dogs, or are impaled alive, or are beheaded with a sword . Some of them sin one night and that night experience the fruit of their sin, some sinning by night experience the next day, some sinning one day experience that day, some sinning by day experience that night, some experience when two days or three have elapsed. But all experience in this present visible world the result of their iniquity. And is there any one, Nâgasena, who from having provided a meal with all its accessories for one, or two, or three, or four, or five, or ten, or a hundred, or a thousand (members of the Order), has enjoyed in this present visible world wealth or fame or happiness--(is there any one who) from righteousness of life, or from observance of the Uposatha, (has received bliss even in this life )?'

25. 'There are , O king, four men who by giving gifts, and by the practice of uprightness, and by the keeping of Uposatha, even in their earthly bodies attained to glory in Tidasapura (the city of the gods).'

'And who, Sir, were they ?'

'Mandhâtâ the king, and Nimi the king, and Sâdhîna the king, and Guttila the musician .'

'Venerable Nâgasena, this happened thousands of births ago, and is beyond the ken of either of us two. Give me, if you can, some examples from that period (of the world) which is now elapsing in which the Blessed One has been alive.'

'In this present period, O king, the slave Punnaka, on giving a meal to Sâriputta the Elder, attained that day to the dignity of a treasurer (Setthi), and he is now generally known as Punnaka the Setthi. The queen, the mother of Gopâla, who (being the daughter of poor peasant folk) sold her hair for eight pennies, and therewith gave a meal to Mahâ Kakkâyana the Elder and his seven companions, became that very day the chief queen of king Udena. Suppiyâ, the believing woman, cut flesh from her own thigh to provide broth for a sick Bhikkhu, and on the very next day the wound closed up, and the place became cured, with skin grown over it. Mallikâ, the queen who (when a poor flower girl) gave the last night's gruel (she had reserved for her own dinner) to the Blessed One, became that very day the chief queen of the king of Kosala . Sumana, the garland maker, when he had

presented to the Blessed One eight bunches of jessamine flowers, came that very day into great prosperity. Eka-sâtaka the Brahman, who gave to the Blessed One his only garment, received that very day the office of Sabbatthaka (Minister in general) . All these, O king, came into the enjoyment of wealth and glory in their then existing lives.'

'So then, Nâgasena, with all your searching and enquiry you have only found six cases ?'

'That is so, O king.'

26. 'Then it is vice, Nâgasena, and not virtue which is the more powerful. For on one day alone I have seen ten men expiating their crimes by being impaled alive, and thirty even, and forty, and fifty,, and a hundred, and a thousand. And further, there was Bhaddasâla, the soldier in the service of the royal family of Nanda , and he waged war against king Kandagutta . Now in that war, Nâgasena, there were eighty Corpse Dances. For they say that when one great Head Holocaust has taken place (by which is meant the slaughter of ten thousand elephants, and a lac of horses, and five thousand charioteers, and a hundred kotis of soldiers on foot), then the headless corpses arise and dance in frenzy over the battle-field. And all the men

thus slain came to destruction through the fruit of the Karma of their evil deeds . And therefore, too, do I say, Nâgasena, that vice is more powerful than virtue. And have you heard, Nâgasena, that in all this dispensation (since the time of Gotama the Buddha) the giving by the Kosala king has been unequalled?'

'Yes, I have heard so, O king.'

'But did he, Nâgasena, on account of his having given gifts so unequalled, receive in this present life wealth, or glory, or happiness?'

'No, O king, he did not.'

'Then, in that case, surely, Nâgasena, vice is more powerful than virtue?'

27. 'Vice, O king, by reason of its meanness, dies quickly away. But virtue, by reason of its grandeur, takes a long time to die. And this can be further examined into by a metaphor. just, O king, as in the West Country the kind of corn called Kumuda-bhandikâ, ripening quickly and being garnered in a month, is called Mâsalu (got in a month) , but the rices only come to perfection in six months or five. What then is the difference, what the distinction herein between Kumuda-bhandikâ and rice?

'The one is a mean plant, O king, the other a grand one. The rices are worthy of kings, meet for

the king's table; the other is the food of servants and of slaves.

'Just so, O king, it is by reason of its meanness that vice dies quickly away. But virtue, by its grandeur, takes a long time to die.'

28. 'But, Nâgasena, it is just those things which come most quickly to their end which are in the world considered the most powerful. And so still vice must be the more powerful, not virtue. just, Nâgasena, as the strong man who, when he enters into a terrible battle, is able the most quickly to get hold of his enemies' heads under his armpit , and dragging them along to bring them prisoners to his lord, that is the champion who is regarded, in the world, as the ablest hero--just as that surgeon who is able the most quickly to extract the dart, and allay the disease, is considered the most clever--just as the accountant who is able with the greatest speed to make his calculations, and with most rapidity to show the result, is considered the cleverest counter--just as the wrestler who is able the most quickly to lift his opponent up, and make him fall flat on his back, is considered the ablest hero--just so, Nâgasena, it is that one of these two things--virtue and vice--which most quickly reaches its end that is, in the world, the more powerful of the two.'

'The Karma of both the two, O king, will be made evident in future births; but vice besides that will by reason of its guilt be made evident at once, and in this present life. The rulers (Kshatriyas)

of old, O king, established this decree: "Whosoever takes life shall be subject to a fine, and whosoever takes to himself what has not been given, and whosoever commits adultery,, and whosoever speaks lies, and whosoever is a dacoit, and whosoever is a highwayman, and whosoever cheats and swindles. Such men shall be liable to be fined or beaten or mutilated or broken or executed." And in pursuance thereof they held repeated enquiry, and then adjudged one or other punishment accordingly. But, O king, has there ever been by any one a decree promulgated: "Whosoever gives gifts, or observes a virtuous life, or keeps Uposatha, to him shall wealth be given, or honours?" And do they make continued enquiry, and bestow wealth or honours accordingly, as they do stripes or bonds upon a thief?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Well, if they did so then would virtue too be made evident even in this life. But as they neither make such enquiry concerning givers, nor bestow wealth and honours upon them, therefore is virtue not manifested now. And this is the reason, O king, why vice is made known in this life, whereas he (the giver) receives the more abundantly in the lives to come. And therefore it is virtue which, through the destructions brought about by Karma, is by far the more powerful of the two .'

'Very good, Nâgasena! Only by one wise as you could this puzzle have been so well solved.

[paragraph continues] The problem put by me in worldly sense have you in transcendental sense made clear.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to virtue and vice.]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-FOURTH. OFFERINGS TO THE DEAD.]

29. 'Venerable Nâgasena, these givers when they bestow their offerings, devote them specifically to former (relatives) now departed , saying: "May this gift benefit such and such." Now do they (the dead) derive any benefit therefrom?'

'Some do, O king, and some do not.'

'Which then are they that do, and which do not?'

'Those who have been reborn in purgatory, O king, do not; nor those reborn in heaven; nor those reborn as animals. And of those reborn as Pretas three kinds do not-the Vantâsikâ (who feed on vomit), the Khuppipâsino (who hunger and thirst.), the Nigghâma-tanhikâ (who are consumed by thirst). But the Paradattûpagîvino (who live on the gifts of others) they do derive profit, and those who bear them in remembrance do so too.'

'Then, Nâgasena, offerings given by the givers have run to waste , and are fruitless, since those

for whose benefit they are given derive no profit therefrom.'

'No, O king. They run not to waste, neither are fruitless. The givers themselves derive profit from them.'

'Then convince me of this by a simile.'

'Suppose, O king, people were to get ready fish and meat and strong drinks and rice and cakes, and make a visit on a family related to them. If their relatives should not accept their complimentary present, would that present be wasted or fruitless?'

No, Sir, it would go to the owners of it.'

'Well, just so the givers themselves derive the profit. Or just, O king, as if a man were to enter an inner chamber, and there were no exit in front of him, how would he get out?'

'By the way he entered.'

'Well, just so the givers themselves derive the profit.'

30. 'Let that pass, Nâgasena. That is so, and I accept it as you say. We will not dispute your argument. But, venerable Nâgasena, if the offerings made by such givers do advantage certain of the departed, and they do reap the result of the gifts, then if a man who destroys living creatures and drinks blood and is of cruel heart, were after committing murder or any other dreadful act, to dedicate it to the departed, saying: "May the result of this act of mine accrue to the departed"--would it then be transferred to them?'

'No, O king.'

'But what is the reason, what is the cause, that a good deed can accrue to them, and not an evil one?'

'This is really not a question you should ask, O king. Ask me no foolish question, O king, in the idea that an answer will be forthcoming. You will be asking me next why space is boundless, why the Ganges does not flow up stream, why men and birds are bipeds, and the animals quadrupeds!'

'It is not to annoy you that I ask this question, Nâgasena, but for the sake of resolving a doubt. There are many people in the world who are left-handed or squint . I put that question to you, thinking: "Why should not also these unlucky ones have a chance of bettering themselves?"'

'An evil deed, O king, cannot be shared with one who has not done it, and has not consented to it. People convey water long distances by an aqueduct. But could they in the same way remove a great mountain of solid rock?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Well, just in that way can a good deed be shared, but a bad one cannot. And one can light a lamp with oil, but could one in the same way, O king, light it with water?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Well, so is it that a good deed can be shared, but not an evil one. And husbandmen take water from a reservoir to bring their crops to maturity, but could they for the same purpose, O king, take water from the sea?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'So again is it that though a good deed can be shared, an evil one cannot.'

31. 'But, venerable Nâgasena, why is that? Convince me of this by a reason. I am not blind, or unobservant. I shall understand when I have heard.'

'Vice, O king, is a mean thing, virtue is great and grand. By its meanness vice affects only the doer, but virtue by its grandeur overspreads the whole world of gods and men.'

'Show me this by a metaphor.'

'Were a tiny drop of water to fall on the ground, O king, would it flow on over ten leagues or twelve?'

'Certainly not. It would only have effect on that very spot of ground on which it fell.'

'But why so?'

'Because o its minuteness.'

'Just so, O king, is vice minute. And by reason of its littleness it affects the doer only, and cannot possibly be shared. But if a mighty rain cloud were to pour out rain satisfying the surface of the earth, would that water spread round about?'

'Certainly, Sir. That thunderstorm would fill up the depressions in the ground and the pools and ponds, and the gullies and crevices and chasms, and the lakes and reservoirs and wells and lotus-tanks, and the water would spread abroad for ten leagues or for twelve .'

'But why so, O king?'

'Because of the greatness of the storm.'

'Just so, O king, is virtue great. And by reason of its abundance it can be shared by gods and men.

'Venerable Nâgasena, why is it that vice is so limited, and virtue so much more wide-reaching?'

'Whosoever, O king, in this world gives gifts, and lives in righteousness, and keeps Uposatha , he, glad, right glad, joyful, cheerful, happy, becomes filled with a sweet sense of trust and bliss, and bliss ruling in his heart his goodness grows still more and more abundantly. Like a deep pool of clear water, O king, and into which on one side the spring pours, while on the other the water flows away; so as it flows away it comes again, and there can be no failure there--so, O king, does his goodness grow more and more abundantly. If even through a hundred years, O king, a man were to keep on transferring to others (the merit of) any good he

had done, the more he gave it away the more would his goodness grow, and he would still be able to share it with whomsoever he would. This, O king, is the reason why virtue is so much the greater of the two.

32. 'But on doing evil, O king, a man becomes filled with remorse , and the heart of him who feels remorse cannot get away (from the thought of the evil he has done), it is forcibly bent back on it, thrown back on it, obtains no peace ; miserable, burning, abandoned of hope, he wastes away, and gaining no relief from depression , he is, as it were, possessed with his woe! just, O king, as a drop of water, falling on a dry river bed with its mighty sandbanks rising and falling in undulations along its crooked and shifty course, gains not in volume, but is swallowed up on the very spot where it fell, just so, O king, is a man, when he has done wrong, overcome with remorse, and the heart of him who feels remorse cannot get away from the thought of the evil he has done, it is forcibly bent back on it, thrown back on it, obtains no peace; miserable, burning, abandoned of hope, he wastes away, and gaining no release from his depression, he is, as it

were, swallowed up of his woe. This is the reason, O king, why vice is so mean.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the problem as to virtue and vice.]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-FIFTH. DREAMS.]

33. 'Venerable Nâgasena, men and women in this world see dreams pleasant and evil, things they have seen before and things they have not, things they have done before and things they have not, dreams peaceful and terrible, dreams of matters near to them and distant from them, full of many shapes and innumerable colours. What is this that men call a dream, and who is it who dreams it?'

'It is a suggestion , O king, coming across the path of the mind which is what is called a dream. And there are six kinds of people who see dreams--the man who is of a windy humour , or of a bilious one, or of a phlegmatic one, the man who dreams dreams by the influence of a god, the man who does so by the influence of his own habits, and the man who does so in the way of prognostication . And

of these, O king, only the last kind of dreams is true; all the rest are false.'

34. 'Venerable Nâgasena, when a man dreams a dream that is a prognostication, how is it? Does his own mind set out itself to seek the omen, or does the prognostication come of its own accord into the path of his mind, or does some one else come and tell him of it?'

'His own mind does not itself seek the omen, neither does any one else come and tell him of it. The prognostication comes of its own accord into his mind. It is like the case of a looking-glass, which does not go anywhere to seek for the reflection; neither does any one else come and put the reflection on to the looking-glass. But the object reflected comes from somewhere or other across the sphere over which the reflecting power of the looking-glass extends.'

35. 'Venerable Nâgasena, does the same mind which sees the dream also know: "Such and such a result, auspicious or terrible, will follow?"'

'No, that is not so, O king. After the omen has occurred he tells others, and then they explain the meaning of it.'

'Come, now, Nâgasena, give me a simile to explain this.'

'It is like the marks, O king, and pimples, and cutaneous eruptions which arise on a man's body to his profit or loss, to his fame or dishonour, to his praise or blame, to his happiness or woe. Do

in that case the pimples come because they know: "Such and such is the event which we shall bring about?"'

'Certainly not, Sir. But according to the place on which the pimples have arisen, the fortune-tellers, making their observations, give decision, saying: Such and such will be the result."'

'Well, in the same way, O king, it is not the same mind which dreams the dream which also knows: "Such and such a result, conspicuous or terrible, will follow." But after the omen has occurred he tells others, and they then explain the meaning of it.'

36. 'Venerable Nâgasena, when a man dreams a dream, is he awake or asleep?'

'Neither the one, O king; nor yet the other. But when his sleep has become light , and he is not yet fully conscious , in that interval it is that dreams are dreamt. When a man is in deep sleep, O king, his mind has returned home (has entered again into the Bhavanga) , and a mind thus shut in does not act, and a mind hindered in its action knows not the evil and the good, and he who knows not has no dreams. It is when the mind is active that dreams are dreamt. just, O king, as in the darkness and gloom, where no light is, no shadow will fall even on the most burnished mirror, so when a man is in deep sleep his mind has returned into itself, and

a mind shut in does not act, and a mind inactive knows not the evil and the good, and he who knows not does not dream. For it is when the mind is active that dreams are dreamt. As the mirror, O king, are you to regard the body, as the darkness sleep, as the light the mind. Or again, O king, just as the glory of a sun veiled in fog is imperceptible, as its rays, though they do exist, are unable to pierce through, and as when its rays act not there is no light, so when a man is in deep sleep his mind has returned into itself, and a mind shut in does not act, and a mind inactive knows not the evil and the good, and he who knows not does not dream. For it is when the mind is active that dreams are dreamt. As the sun, O king, are you to regard the body, as the veil of fog sleep, as the rays the mind.

37. 'Under two conditions, O king, is the mind inactive though the body is there--when a man being in deep sleep the mind has returned into itself, and when the man has fallen into a trance . The mind of a man who is awake, O king, is excited, open, clear, untrammelled, and no prognostication occurs to one whose mind is so. Just, O king, as men seeking concealment avoid the man who is open, candid, unoccupied, and unreserved,--just so is it that the divine intention is not manifested to the wakeful man, and the man who is awake therefore sees no dream. Or again, O king, just as the qualities which lead to wisdom are found not in that brother whose mode of livelihood and conduct are wrong, who is the friend of sinners, wicked, insolent, devoid

of zeal,--just so is it that the divine intention is not manifested to the wakeful man, and the man who is awake, therefore, sees no dream.'

38. 'Venerable Nâgasena, is there a beginning, a middle, and an end in sleep?'

'Yes, O king, there is.'

'Which then is the beginning, which the middle, and which the end?'

'The feeling of oppression and inability in the body, O king, of weakness, slackness, inertness--that is the beginning of sleep. The light "monkey's sleep" in which a man still guards his scattered thoughts --that is the middle of sleep. When the mind has entered into itself--that is the end of sleep. And it is in the middle stage, O king, in the "monkey's sleep" that dreams are dreamt. Just, O king, as when a man self-restrained with collected thoughts, stedfast in the faith, unshaken in wisdom, plunges deep into the woods far from the sound of strife, and thinks over some subtle matter, he there, tranquil and at peace, will master the meaning of it--just so a man still watchful, not fallen into sleep, but dozing in a "monkey's sleep," will dream a dream. As the sound of strife, so, O king, are you to regard wakefulness, and as the lonely wood the "monkey's sleep." And as that man avoiding the sound of strife, keeping out of sleep, remaining in the middle stage, will master the meaning of that subtle matter, so the still watchful man, not fallen into sleep, but dozing in a "monkey's sleep," will dream a dream.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to dreams .]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-SIXTH. PREMATURE DEATH.]

39. 'Venerable Nâgasena, when beings die, do they all die in fullness of time, or do some die out of due season?'

'There is such a thing, O king, as death at the due time, and such a thing as premature death.'

'Then who are they whose decease is at the due time, and who are they whose decease is premature?'

'Have you ever noticed, O king, in the case of mango trees or Gambu trees or other fruit-bearing trees, that their fruits fall both when they are ripe and when they are not ripe?'

'Yes, I have.'

'Well, those fallen fruits, do they all fall at the due time, or do some fall prematurely?'

'Such of those fruits, Nâgasena, as are ripe and mature when they fall, fall in fullness of time. But of the rest some fall because they are bored into by worms, some because they are knocked down by a

long stick, some because they are blown down by the wind, some because they have become rotten--and all these fall out of due season .'

'Just so, O king, those men who die of the effect of old age, they die in fullness of time. But of the rest some die of the dire effect of the Karma (of evil deeds), some of excessive journeying , some of excessive activity.'

40. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those who die of Karma, or of journeying, or of activity, or of old age, they all die in fullness of time: and even he who dies in the womb, that is his appointed time, so that he too dies in fullness of time; and so of him who dies in the birth chamber , or when he is a month old, or at any age up to a hundred years. It is always his appointed time, and it is in the fullness of time that he dies. So, Nâgasena, there is no such thing as death out of due season. For all who die, die at the appointed time.'

'There are seven kinds of persons, O king, who, there being still a portion of their appointed age to run, die out of time. And which are the seven? The starving man, O king, who can get no food, whose inwards are consumed --and the thirsty man who can get no water, whose heart is dried up--and the man bitten by a snake, who, when consumed by the fierce energy of poison, can find no cure and he who has taken poison, and when all his limbs are

burning, is unable to procure medicine--and one fallen into fire, who when he is aflame, can find no means of putting out the fire--and he who having fallen into water can find no firm ground to stand on--and the man wounded by a dart, who in his illness can find no surgeon--all these seven, there being still a portion of their appointed time to run, die out of due season. And herein (in all these seven cases) I declare that they are all of one nature . In eight ways, O king, does the death of mortals take place--through excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, through the adverse union of these three, through variations in temperature, through inequality in protection, through (medical) treatment, and through the working of Karma . And of these, O king, it is only death by the working of Karma that is death at the due season, all the rest are cases of death out of due season. For it is said:

"By hunger, thirst, by poison, and by bites, Burnt, drowned, or slain, men out of time do die; By the three humours, and by three combined, By heats, by inequalities, by aids, By all these seven men die out of time ."

41. 'But there are some men, O king, who die through the working of some evil deed or other they have committed in a former birth. And of

these, O king, whosoever has starved others to death, after having been himself through many hundreds of thousands of years tormented by hunger, famished, exhausted, emaciated, and withered of heart, dried up, wasted away, heated, and all on fire within, will, either as youth or man or old man, die of hunger too. And that death will be to him a death at the appointed time . Whosoever has put others to death by thirst, after having through many hundreds of thousands of years become a Preta consumed by thirst, thin and miserable, will himself too, either as youth or man or old man, die of thirst. And that death will be to him a death at the appointed time. Whosoever has put others to death by having them bitten by snakes, will, after wandering through many hundreds of thousands of years from existence to existence, in which he is constantly bitten by boa constrictors and black snakes, himself too, either as youth or man or old man, die of snake bite. And that will be to him a death at the appointed time. Whosoever has put others to death by poison will, after existing for many hundreds of thousands of years with burning limbs and broken body, and exhaling the odour of a corpse, himself too, either as youth or man or old man, die of poison. And that will be to him a death at the appointed time. Whosoever has put others to death by fire, he having wandered from purgatory to purgatory, from one mass of burning charcoal to

another, with burning and tortured limbs, for many hundreds of thousands of years, will himself too, either as youth or man or old man, be burnt to death. And that will be to him a death at the appointed time. Whosoever has put others to death by drowning, he having suffered many hundreds of thousands of years as a being disabled, ruined, broken, weak in limb, and anxious in heart, will himself too, either as youth or man or old man, die by drowning. And that will be to him a death at the appointed time. Whosoever has put others to death by the sword, he having suffered for many hundreds of thousands of years (in repeated births as an animal) from cuts and wounds and blows and bruises, or (when born as a man) ever destroyed by weapons , will himself too, either as youth or man or old man, perish by the sword. And that will be to him a death at the appointed time.'

42. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the death out of due time that you also speak of--come now, tell me the reason for that.'

'As a great and mighty fire, O king, on to which dry grass and sticks and branches and leaves have been heaped, will nevertheless, when this its food has been consumed, die out by the exhaustion of the fuel. Yet such a fire is said to have gone out in fullness of time, without any calamity or accident (having happened to it). Just so, O king, the man who, when he has lived many thousands of days, when he is old and stricken in years, dies at last of

old age, without any calamity or accident having happened to him, is said to have reached death in the fullness of time. But if there were a great and mighty fire, O king, on to which dry grass and sticks and branches and leaves had been heaped, then if a mighty rain cloud were to pour out rain upon it, and it were thus to be put out, even before the fuel was consumed, could it be said, O king, that that great fire had gone out in fullness of time?'

'No, Sir, it could not.'

'But wherein would the second fire differ, in its nature, from the first?'

'The second one, Sir, which suffered from the onset of the rain--that fire would have gone out before its time.'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.

43. 'Or again, O king, it is like a mighty storm cloud which, rising up into the heavens, should pour out rain, filling the valleys and the plains. That cloud would be said to have rained without calamity or accident. Just so, O king, the man who after having lived long, dies at last, when he is old and well stricken in years, without any calamity or accident having happened to him, of old age, is said to have

reached death in the fullness of time. But if, O king, a mighty storm cloud were to rise up into the heavens, and as it did so were to be dissipated by a mighty wind, could it be said, O king, that that cloud had perished in due time?'

'No, Sir, it could not.'

'But wherein would the second cloud differ, in its nature, from the first?'

'The second one, Sir, which suffered from the onset of the whirlwind, would have been dissipated before its time.'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.

44. 'Or again, O king, it is like a powerful and deadly snake, which being angered should bite a man, and to him that poison, no impediment and no accident happening to it, should bring death. That poison would be said, without impediment or accident, to have reached its aim. Just so, O king, the man who, having lived long, dies at last, when he is old and well stricken in years, without any calamity or accident having happened to him, of old age, he is said to have reached, unimpeded and uninterrupted, to the goal of his life, to have died in the fullness of time. But if a snake charmer were to give a drug to the man while he was suffering from

the bite, and thus get rid of the poison, could it be said that the poison was removed in the fullness of time?'

'No, Sir, it could not.'

'But wherein, O king, would the second poison differ, in its nature, from the first?'

'The second one, Sir, which was acted upon by the introduction of the drug, would have been removed before its end was attained.'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.

45. 'Or again, O king, it is like the arrow discharged by an archer. If that arrow should go to the very end of the line of the path along which it was natural for it to go, then it would be said to have reached that aim, without let or hindrance. Just so, O king, the man who, having lived long, dies at last, when he is old and well stricken in years, without any calamity or accident having happened to him, of old age, is said to have reached death, unimpeded and uninterrupted, in the fullness of time. But if, at the moment when the archer was discharging the arrow, some one should catch hold of it, could that arrow be said to have reached the end of the line of the path along which it was shot?'

'No, Sir, it could not.'

'But wherein, O king, would the second arrow differ, in its nature, from the first?'

'By the seizure which intervened, Sir, the course of the second arrow was arrested.'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.

46. 'Or again, O king, it is like the brazen vessel which a man should strike. And by his striking thereof a note should be produced, and sound to the very end of the line of the path along which it was its nature to sound. It would then be said to have reached that aim without let or hindrance. Just so, O king, the man who, having lived long, dies at last, when he is old and well stricken in years, without any calamity or accident having happened to him, of old age, is said to have reached death, without let or hindrance, in the fullness of time. But if a man were to strike a brazen vessel, and by his striking thereof a note should be produced, but some one, before it had reached any distance, were to touch the vessel, and at his touching thereof the sound should cease, could then that sound be said to have reached the end of the line of the path along which it was its nature to sound

'No, Sir, it could not.'

'But wherein, O king, would the second sound differ, in its nature, from the first?'

'By the touching which intervened, Sir, that sound was suppressed .'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.

47. 'Or again, O king, it is like the corn seed which had sprung up well in the field, and by means of a plentiful downpour of rain had become well laden far and wide with many seeds, and had survived in safety to the time of standing crops, that corn would be said to have reached, without let or hindrance, to its due season. Just so, O king, the man who, having lived long, dies at last, when he is old and well stricken in years, without any calamity or accident having happened to him, of old age, is said to have reached death, without let or hindrance, in the fullness of time. But if that corn, after it had sprung up well in the field, should, deprived of water, die, could it be said to have reached its due season?'

'No, Sir, it could not.'

'But wherein, O king, would the second crop differ, in its nature, from the first?'

'Oppressed by the heat which intervened, that crop, Sir, perished.'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.

48. 'And have you ever heard, O king, of a young crop that, after it had come to ear, worms sprung up and destroyed down to the roots?'

'We have both heard of such a thing, Sir, and have seen it, too.'

'Well, O king, was that crop destroyed in season, or out of season?'

'Out of season, Sir. For surely if worms had not destroyed the crop it would have survived to harvest time.'

'What then, O king! on a disaster intervening the crop is lost, but if no injury is done it, it survives to the harvest?'

'That is so, Sir.'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in

temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.

49. 'And have you ever heard, O king, of a crop that had grown, and was bent down by the weight of the grains of corn, the ears having duly formed , when a so-called Karaka rain (hail-storm) falling on it, destroyed it?'

'We have both heard of such a thing, Sir, and have seen it, too.'

'Well, O king! would you say the crop was destroyed in season or out of season?'

'Out of season, Sir. For if the hail-storm had not come the crop would have lasted to harvest time.'

'What then, O king! on a disaster intervening the crop is lost, but if no injury is done it, it survives to the harvest?'

'That is so, Sir.'

'Just so, O king, whosoever dies before his time does so in consequence of suffering from the attack of some disease,--from excess of windy humour, or of bilious humour, or of phlegmatic humour, or from the union of the three, or from variations in temperature, or from inequality in protection, or from treatment, or from hunger, or from thirst, or from fire, or from water, or from the sword. This, O

king, is the reason why there is such a thing as dying before one's time.'

50. 'Most wonderful, Nâgasena, most strange! Right well have you explained, by reason and by simile, how it is that people die before their time. That there is such a thing as premature death have you made clear and plain and evident . A thoughtless man even, Nâgasena, a puzzle-headed fellow, could by any one of your comparisons have come to the conclusion that premature deaths do occur;-- how much more an able man! I was convinced already, Sir, by the first of your similes, that such deaths happen, but nevertheless, out of the wish to hear still further and further solutions, I would not give in.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to premature deaths.]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-SEVENTH. WONDERS AT THE GRAVE.]

51. 'Venerable Nâgasena, are there wonders at the Ketiyas (the mounds raised over the ashes) of all who have passed entirely away (of all the Arahats deceased) ?

'Of some, O king, but not of others.'

'But of which, Sir, is this the case, and of which not?'

'It is by the stedfast resolve, O king, of three kinds of people, that wonders take place at the Ketiya of some person deceased who has been entirely set free. And who are the three? In the first place, O king, an Arahat, when still alive, may, out of pity for gods and men, make the resolve: "Let there be such and such wonders at my Ketiya ." Then, by reason of his resolve, wonders happen there. Thus is it that wonders occur by the resolve of an Arahat at the Ketiya of one entirely set free.

'And again, O king, the gods, out of pity for men, show wonders at the Ketiya of one who has been entirely set free, thinking: "By this wonder may the true faith remain always established on the earth, and may mankind, believing, grow in grace!" Thus is it that wonders occur by the resolve of a god at the Ketiya of one entirely set free.

'And again, O king, some woman or some man of believing heart, able, intelligent, wise, endowed with insight, may deliberately take perfumes, or a garland, or a cloth, and place it on the Ketiya, making the resolve: "May such and such a wonder take place!" Thus is it that wonders occur by the resolve of human beings at the Ketiya of one entirely set free.

52. 'These, O king, are the three kinds of people by whose stedfast resolve wonders take place at the Ketiyas of Arahats deceased. And if there has been no such resolve, O king, by one of these, then

is there no wonder at the Ketiya even of one whose Âsavas had been destroyed, who had attained to the sixfold insight, who was master of himself. And if there be no such wonder, then, O king, one should call to mind the purity of conduct one has seen , and draw in trusting faith the conclusion: "Verily, this child of the Buddhas has been entirely set free!"'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to wonders at the grave.]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH. CONVERSION AND CONDUCT.]

53. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those who regulate their lives aright--do they all attain to insight into the Truth, or are there some of them who do not?'

'Some do, O king, and some do not.'

'Then which do, Sir, and which do not?'

'He who is born as an animal, O king, even though he regulate his life aright, will not attain to insight into the Truth, nor he who is born in

the Preta world, nor he who holds wrong views, nor the deceitful man, nor he who has slain his mother, or his father, or an Arahat, nor he who has raised up a schism in the Order, nor he who has shed a Buddha's blood, nor he who has furtively attached himself to the Order , nor he who has become a pervert , nor he who has violated a sister of the Order, nor he who, having been guilty of one or other of the thirteen grievous offences , has not been rehabilitated, nor a eunuch, nor an hermaphrodite--and whosoever is a human child under seven years of age, even though he regulate his life aright, will not attain to insight into the Truth. To these sixteen individuals there is no attainment of insight, O king, even though they regulate their life aright.'

54. 'Venerable Nâgasena, there may or may not be a possibility of insight to the fifteen you have first singled out for opposition . But what is the reason why an infant, one under seven years of age, should not, even though he regulate his life aright, attain to insight? Therein there is still a puzzle left. For is it not admitted that in a child there is not passion, neither malice, nor dullness, nor pride, nor heresy, nor discontent, nor lustful thoughts? Being undefiled by sin, that which we call an infant is fit and ready (to the attainment

even of Arahatship--how much more) is he worthy to penetrate at a glance into the four truths!'

'The following is the reason, O king, for my saying that an infant, even though he regulate his life aright, cannot attain to insight. If, O king, one under seven years of age could feel passion about things exciting to passion, could go wrong in things leading to iniquity, could be befooled in matters that mislead, could be maddened as to things that infatuate, could understand a heresy, could distinguish between content and discontent, could think out virtue and vice, then might insight be possible to him. But the mind of one under seven years of age, O king, is powerless and weak, mean, small, slight, obscure, and dull, whereas the essential principle of Nirvâna is transcendental, important, weighty, wide-reaching, and extensive. Therefore is it, O king, that the infant, with so imperfect a mind, is unable to grasp an idea so great. It is like the case of Sineru, O king, the king of the mountains, heavy and ponderous, wide-reaching and mighty as it is,--could now a man, by his ordinary strength and power and energy, root that mountain up ?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'But why not?'

'Because of the weakness of the man, and because of the mightiness of Sineru, the mountain king.'

'Just so, O king, is the relation of the infant's mind to Nirvâna .'

55. 'And again, it is like the broad earth, O king, long and wide, great in expanse and extension, large and mighty--would now a tiny drop of water be able to wet and turn to mud that broad earth ?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'But why not, O king?'

'Because of the minuteness of the drop of water, and because of the greatness of the broad earth.'

'Just so, O king, is the relation of the infant's mind to Nirvâna.

56. 'Or again, O king, suppose there were weak and powerless, minute, tiny, limited, and dull fire--would it be possible, with so insignificant a fire, to overcome darkness and make light appear over the whole world of gods and men?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'But why not, O king?'

'Because of the dullness of the fire, and because of the greatness of the world.'

'Just so, O king, the mind of one under seven years of age is powerless and weak, limited, insignificant, obscure, and dull; it is veiled, moreover, with the thick darkness of ignorance. Hard would it be, therefore, for it to shine forth with the light of knowledge. And that is the reason, O king, why to an infant, to one under seven years of age, even though he order his conduct aright, there can be no attainment of insight into the Truth.

57. 'Or again, O king, suppose there were a Sâlaka , minute in the measure of its body, and rendered lean by disease, and it on seeing an elephant king, which showed the signs of rut in three places, and was nine cubits in length, and three in breadth, and ten in girth, and seven in height , coming to its lair, were to begin to drag the elephant towards it with the view of swallowing it--now would the Sâlaka, O king, be able to do ?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'But why not, O king?'

'Because of the minuteness of the Sâlaka's body, and because of the magnitude of the elephant king.'

'Just so, O king, the mind of one under seven years of age is powerless and weak, limited, insignificant, obscure, and dull. Grand and transcendental is the ambrosial essence of Nirvâna . With that mind so powerless and weak, so limited, insignificant, obscure, and dull, he cannot penetrate into the grand and transcendental essence of Nirvâna.

And that is the reason, O king, why to an infant, one under seven years of age, even though he order his conduct aright, there can be no attainment to insight of the Truth.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma on conversion and conduct.]

[DILEMMA THE SEVENTY-NINTH. THE PAIN OF NIRVÂNA .]

58. 'Venerable Nâgasena, how is it? Is Nirvâna all bliss, or is it partly pain. ?

'Nirvâna is all bliss, O king. There is no intermingling of pain in it.'

'That, Sir, is a saying we cannot believe--that Nirvâna is all bliss. On this point, Nâgasena, we maintain that Nirvâna must be alloyed with pain. And there is a reason for our adopting that view. What is that reason? Those, Nâgasena, who seek after Nirvâna are seen to practise exertion and application both of body and of mind, restraint in standing, walking, sitting, lying, and eating, suppression of sleep, subjugation of the organs of sense, renunciation of wealth and corn, of dear relatives and friends. But all those who are joyful and happy in the world take delight in, are devoted to, the five pleasures of sense--they practise and delight their eyes in many kinds of pleasurable forms, such as at any time they like the best--they practise and delight their ears in many kinds of pleasurable sounds of revelry and song, such as at any time they like the best--they practise and delight their sense of smell with many kinds of perfumes of flowers, and fruits, and leaves, and bark, and roots, and sap, such as at any time they like the best--they practise and delight their tongue with many kinds of pleasurable tastes of hard foods and of soft, of syrups, drinks, and beverages, such as at any time they like the best--they practise and delight their sense of touch with many kinds of pleasurable feelings, tender and delicate, exquisite and soft, such as at any time they like the best--they practise and delight their minds with many sorts of conceptions and ideas, pure and impure, good and bad, such as at any time they like the best. You, on the other hand, put a stop to and destroy,

maim and mangle, put a drag on and restrain the development of your eye, and ear, and nose, and tongue, and body, and mind. Therefore is your body afflicted and your mind afflicted too, and your body being afflicted you feel bodily discomfort and pain, and your minds being afflicted you feel mental discomfort too and pain. Did not even Mâgandiya, the ascetic, find fault with the Blessed One, and say : "The Samana Gotama is a destroyer of increase ?"'

59. 'Nirvâna, O king, has no pain in it. It is bliss unalloyed. When you, O king, maintain that Nirvâna is painful, that which you call "painful" is not Nirvâna. It is the preliminary stage to the realisation of Nirvâna, it is the process of seeking after Nirvâna. Nirvâna itself is bliss pure and simple, there is no pain mixed with it. And I will give you an explanation of this. Is there such a thing, O king, as the bliss of sovranty which kings enjoy?'

'Most certainly.'

'And is there no pain, O king, mingled with that bliss?'

'No, Sir.'

'But surely then, O king, why is it that when their frontier provinces have broken out in revolt, the kings, to the end that they may bring the inhabitants of those provinces into subjection again, leave their homes, attended by their ministers and chiefs, their

soldiers and their guards, and marching over ground even and uneven, tormented the while by gnats and mosquitoes and hot winds, engage in fierce fights, and suffer the presentiment of death?'

'That, venerable Nâgasena, is not what is called the bliss of sovranty. It is only the preliminary stage in the pursuit of that bliss. It is after they have thus, in pain, sought after sovranty, that they enjoy the bliss thereof. And thus that bliss, Nâgasena, is itself unmixed with pain, for the bliss of sovranty is one thing, and the pain another.'

'Just so, O king, is Nirvâna all bliss, and there is no pain mingled with it. Those who are in quest of Nirvâna afflict their minds and bodies it is true, restrain themselves in standing, walking, sitting, lying, and in food, suppress their sleep, keep their senses in subjection, abandon their very body and their life. But it is after they have thus, in pain, sought after Nirvâna, that they enjoy the Nirvâna which is bliss unalloyed--as kings do the bliss of sovranty after their foes have been put down. Thus is it, O king, that Nirvâna is all bliss, and there is no pain mingled with it. For Nirvâna is one thing, and the pain another.

60. 'And hear another explanation, O king, of the same thing. Is there such a thing, O king, as the bliss of knowledge which those teachers have who have passed through their course?'

'Yes, Sir, there is.'

'Well, is that bliss of knowledge alloyed with pain?'

'No.'

'What then, O king, is the good of their afflicting

themselves by bowing down before and standing up in the presence of their teachers; by drawing water, and sweeping out the cell, and placing tooth-sticks and washing-water ready; by living upon scraps left over; by doing service in shampooing, and bathing, and washing of the feet; by suppressing their own will, and acting according to the will of others; by sleeping in discomfort, and feeding on distasteful food?'

'That, Nâgasena, is not the bliss of knowledge, it is a preliminary stage in the pursuit thereof. It is after the teachers have, in pain, sought after knowledge, that they enjoy its bliss. Thus is it, Nâgasena, that the bliss of knowledge is unalloyed with pain. For that bliss of knowledge is one thing, and the pain another.'

'Just so, O king, is Nirvâna all bliss, and there is no pain mingled with it. Those who are in quest of Nirvâna afflict their minds and bodies it is true, restrain themselves in standing, walking, sitting, lying, and in food, suppress their sleep, keep their senses in subjection, abandon their very body and their life. But it is after they have thus, in pain, sought after Nirvâna, that they enjoy the Nirvâna which is bliss unalloyed--as teachers do the bliss of knowledge. Thus is it, O king, that Nirvâna is all bliss, and there is no pain mingled with it. For Nirvâna is one thing, and the pain another.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to the pain of Nirvâna.]


[DILEMMA THE EIGHTIETH. THE OUTWARD FORM OF NIRVÂNA.]

61. 'Venerable Nâgasena, this Nirvâna that you are always talking of--can you make clear by metaphor, or explanation, or reason, or argument, the form, or figure, or duration , or measure of it?'

'Nirvâna, O king, has nothing similar to it. By no metaphor, or explanation, or reason, or argument can its form, or figure, or duration, or measure be made clear.'

'That I cannot believe, Nâgasena,--that of Nirvâna, which really after all is a condition that exists , it should be so impossible in any way to make us understand either the form, or figure, or duration, or measure! Give me some explanation of this.'

62. 'Very well, O king, I will do so. Is there such a thing, O king, as the great ocean?'

'Yes, the ocean exists.'

'Well, suppose some one were to ask you, saying: "How much water is there, your majesty, in the sea, and how many are the creatures that dwell therein?" When that question had been put, how would you answer him?'

'I should reply thus to such a question: "My good fellow! this is an unaskable thing that you ask me. No one ought to ask such a question. It

is a point that should be left alone. The physicists have never examined into the ocean in that way. And no one can measure the water there, or count the creatures who dwell therein." Thus, Sir, should I make reply.'

63. 'But why, O king, would you make such a reply about the ocean which, after all, is really an existing condition of things . Ought you not rather to count and tell him, saying: "So and so much is the water in the sea, and so and so many are the creatures that dwell therein?"'

'That would be impossible, Sir. The question is beyond one's power.'

'As impossible as it is, O king, to tell the measure of the water in the sea, or the number of the creatures dwelling therein, though after all the sea exists, so impossible is it in any of the ways you suggest to tell the form, or figure, or duration, or measure of Nirvâna, though after all it is a condition that does exist. And even, O king, if one of magical powers, master over mind, were to be able to count the water and the creatures in the sea, even he could not tell the form or the figure, the duration or the measure of Nirvâna.

64. 'And hear another explanation of the same thing, O king. Are there, O king, among the gods certain of them called "The Formless Ones ?

'Yes, Sir. I have heard there are such.'

'Well, O king, can you make clear by metaphor, or explanation, or reason, or argument the form, or figure, or duration , or size of these gods, the "Formless Ones?"'

'No, I cannot.'

'Then, O king, there are none.'

'The Formless Ones, Sir, do exist; and yet it is impossible in any of the ways you suggest to explain either their form or figure, either their duration or their size.'

'As impossible as it is, O king, to tell the form or figure, the duration or the size of the gods called "Formless Ones," though they after all are beings that exist , so impossible is it in any of the ways you suggest to explain the form or the figure, the duration or the measure of Nirvâna, though after all it is a condition that does exist.'

65. 'Venerable Nâgasena, I will grant you that Nirvâna is bliss unalloyed, and yet that is impossible to make clear, either by simile or explanation, by reason or by argument, either its form or its figure, either its duration or its size. But is there no quality of Nirvâna which is inherent also in other

things , and is such that it can be made evident by metaphor ?'

'Though there is nothing as to its form which can be so explained, there is something, O king, as to its qualities which can.'

'O happy word, Nâgasena! Speak then, quickly, that I may have an explanation of even one point in the characteristics of Nirvâna. Appease the fever of my heart. Allay it by the cool sweet breezes of your words!'

'There is one quality of the lotus, O king, inherent in Nirvâna, and two qualities of water, and three of medicine, and four of the ocean, and five of food, and ten of space, and three of the wish-conferring gem, and three of red sandal wood, and three of the froth of ghee, and five of a mountain peak.'

66. 'Venerable Nâgasena, that one quality of the lotus which you said was inherent in Nirvâna,--which is that?'

'As the lotus, O king, is untarnished by the water , so is Nirvâna untarnished by any evil dispositions. This is the one quality of the lotus inherent in Nirvâna.'

67. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those two qualities of water which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As water, O king, is cool and assuages heat, so also is Nirvâna cool, and assuages the fever arising from all evil dispositions. This is the first quality of water inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as water allays the thirst of men and beasts when they are exhausted and anxious, craving for drink, and tormented by thirst, so does Nirvâna allay the thirst of the craving after lusts, the craving after future life, and the craving after worldly prosperity . This is the second quality of water inherent in Nirvâna.'

68. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those three qualities of medicine, which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As medicine, O king, is the refuge of beings tormented by poison, so is Nirvâna the refuge of beings tormented with the poison of evil dispositions. This is the first quality of medicine inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as medicine puts an end to diseases, so does Nirvâna put an end to griefs. This is the second quality of medicine inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as medicine is ambrosia , so also is Nirvâna ambrosia. This is the third quality of medicine inherent in Nirvâna.'

69. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those four qualities of the ocean which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As the ocean, O king, is free from (empty of) corpses , so also is Nirvâna free from (empty of) the dead bodies of all evil dispositions . This, O king, is the first quality of the ocean inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as the ocean is mighty and boundless, and fills not with all the rivers that flow in to it; so is Nirvâna mighty and boundless, and fills not with all beings (who enter in to it). This is the second quality of the ocean inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as the ocean is the abode of mighty creatures, so is Nirvâna the abode of great men--Arahats, in whom the Great Evils and all stains have been destroyed, endowed with power, masters of themselves. This is the third quality of the ocean inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as the ocean is all in blossom , as it were, with the innumerable and various and fine flowers of the ripple of its waves, so is Nirvâna all in blossom, as it were, with the innumerable and

various and fine flowers of purity, of knowledge, and of emancipation. This is the fourth quality of the ocean inherent in Nirvâna.'

70. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those five qualities of food which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As food, O king, is the support of the life of all beings, so is Nirvâna, when it has been realised, the support of life, for it puts an end to old age and death. This is the first quality of food inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as food increases the strength of all beings, so does Nirvâna, when it has been realised, increase the power of Iddhi of all beings. This is the second quality of food inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as food is the source of the beauty of all beings, so is Nirvâna, when it has been realised, the source to all beings of the beauty of holiness. This is the third quality of food inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as food puts a stop to suffering in all beings, so does Nirvâna, when it has been realised, put a stop in all beings to the suffering arising from every evil disposition. This is the fourth quality of food inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as food overcomes in all beings the weakness of hunger, so does Nirvâna, when it has been realised, overcome in all beings the weakness which arises from hunger and every sort of pain. This is the fifth quality of food inherent in Nirvâna.'

71. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those ten qualities of space which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As space, O king, neither is born nor grows old, neither dies nor passes away nor is reborn (has

a future life to spring up into), as it is incompressible, cannot be carried off by thieves, rests on nothing, is the sphere in which birds fly, is unobstructed, and is infinite; so, O king, Nirvâ na is not born, neither does it grow old, it dies not, it passes not away, it has no rebirth (no future life to spring up into), it is unconquerable, thieves carry it not off, it is not attached to anything , it is the sphere in which Arahats move, nothing can obstruct it, and it is infinite. These are the ten qualities of space inherent in Nirvâna.'

72. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those three qualities of the wish-conferring gem which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As the wishing-gem, O king, satisfies every desire, so also does Nirvâna. This is the first quality of the wishing-gem inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as the wishing-gem causes delight, so also does Nirvâna. This is the second quality of the wishing-gem inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as the wishing-gem is full of lustre, so also is Nirvâna. This is the third quality of the wishing-gem inherent in Nirvâna.'

73. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those three qualities of red sandal wood which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As red sandal wood, O king, is hard to get, so is Nirvâna hard to attain to. This is the first quality of red sandal wood inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as red sandal wood is unequalled in the beauty of its perfume, so is Nirvâna. This is the second quality of red sandal wood inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as red sandal wood is praised by all the good, so is Nirvâna praised by all the Noble Ones. This is the third quality of red sandal wood inherent in Nirvâna.'

74. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those three qualities of the skimmings of ghee which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As ghee is beautiful in colour, O king, so also is Nirvâna beautiful in righteousness. This is the first quality of the ghee inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as ghee has a pleasant perfume, so also has Nirvâna the pleasant perfume of righteousness. This is the second quality of ghee inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as ghee has a pleasant taste, so also has Nirvâna. This is the third quality of ghee inherent in Nirvâna.'

75. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those five qualities of a mountain peak which you said were inherent in Nirvâna,--which are they?'

'As a mountain peak is very lofty, so also is Nirvâna very exalted. This is the first quality of a mountain peak inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as a mountain peak is immoveable, so also is Nirvâna. This is the second quality of a mountain peak inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king,

as a mountain peak is inaccessible, so also is Nirvâna inaccessible to all evil dispositions. This is the third quality of a mountain peak inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as a mountain peak is a place where no plants can grow, so also is Nirvâna a condition in which no evil dispositions can grow. This is the fourth quality of a mountain peak inherent in Nirvâna. And again, O king, as a mountain peak is free alike from desire to please and from resentment, so also is Nirvâna. This is the fifth quality of a mountain peak inherent in Nirvâna.'

[323] 'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the problem as to the form of Nirvâna.]

[DILEMMA THE EIGHTY-FIRST. THE TIME OF NIRVANA.]

76. 'Venerable Nâgasena, your people say :

"Nirvâna is not past, nor future, nor present, nor produced, nor not produced, nor producible ."

'In that case, Nâgasena, does the man who, having ordered his life aright, realises Nirvâna, realise something already produced, or does he himself produce it first, and then realise it?'

'Neither the one, O king, nor the other. And nevertheless, O king, that principle of Nirvâna (nibbâna-dhâtu) which he, so ordering his life aright, realises--that exists.'

'Do not, venerable Nâgasena, clear up this puzzle by making it dark! Make it open and plain as you elucidate it. With a will, strenuous in endeavour, pour out upon it all that has been taught you. It is a point on which this people is bewildered, plunged into perplexity, lost in doubt. Dissipate this guilty uncertainty; it pierces like a dart !'

77. 'That principle of Nirvâna, O king, so peaceful, so blissful, so delicate, exists. And it is that which he who orders his life aright, grasping the idea of all things (of the Confections, Samkhâras) according to the teachings of the Conquerors, realises by his wisdom--even as a pupil, by his knowledge, makes himself, according to the instruction of his teacher, master of an art.

'And if you ask: "How is Nirvâna to be known ?" it is by freedom from distress and danger, by confidence, by peace, by calm, by bliss, by happiness, by delicacy, by purity, by freshness .

78. 'Just, O king, as a man being burnt in a blazing fiery furnace heaped up with many faggots of dry sticks, when he has freed himself from it by

a violent effort, and escaped into a cool place, would experience supreme bliss--just so whosoever orders his life aright, he by his careful thinking will realise the supreme bliss of Nirvâna, in which the burning heat of the threefold fire (of lust, malice, and delusion) has all gone out. As the furnace, O king, so should you regard this threefold fire, as the man fallen into the fire the man who is ordering his life aright, as the cool place Nirvâna.

79. 'Or again, O king, as a man fallen into a pit full of the dead bodies of snakes and dogs and men, of ordure, and of refuse, when, finding himself in the midst of it entangled in the hair of the corpses, he had by a violent effort escaped into a place where no dead bodies were, would experience supreme bliss--just so whosoever orders his life aright, he by his careful thinking will realise the supreme bliss of Nirvâna, from which the corpses of all evil dispositions have been removed . As a corpse, O king, so should you regard the four pleasures of sense, as the man fallen among corpses the man who is ordering his life aright, as the place free from corpses Nirvâna.

80. 'Or again, O king, as a man (fallen among enemies with drawn swords in their hands) , quaking with fear and terror, agitated and upset in mind, when with a violent effort he has freed himself from them, and escaped into a strong refuge, a firm place of security, experiences supreme bliss--just so whosoever orders his life aright, he by his careful thinking will realise the supreme bliss of Nirvâna,

in which fear and terror have been put away. As the terror, O king, so should you regard the anxiety which arises again and again on account of birth, old age, disease, and death, as the terrified man the man who is ordering his life aright, as the place of refuge Nirvâna.

81. 'Or again, O king, as a man fallen on a spot filthy with dirt, and slime, and mud, when with a violent effort he has got rid of the mud, and escaped to a clean and spotless place, would experience supreme bliss-just so whosoever orders his life aright, he by his careful thinking will realise the supreme bliss of Nirvâna, from which the stains and mud of evil dispositions have been removed. As the mud, O king, so should you regard income, and honour, and praise , as the man fallen into the mud the man who is ordering his life aright, as the clean and spotless place Nirvâna.

82. 'And if again you should ask: "How does he who orders his life aright realise that Nirvâna?" (I should reply), He, O king, who orders his life aright grasps the truth as to the development of all things , and when he is doing so he perceives therein birth, he perceives old age, he perceives disease, he perceives death. But he perceives not therein either happiness or bliss, he perceives not therein, whether in the beginning, or the middle, or the end, anything worthy of being laid hold of (as lasting satisfaction) . As a man, O king, if a mass of iron

had been heated the livelong day , and were all glowing, scorching, and red hot, would find no spot on it, whether at one end or in the middle or at the other end, fit to be taken hold of--just so, O king, he who orders his life aright grasps the truth of the development of things, and in doing so he perceives therein birth, he perceives old age, he perceives disease, he perceives death. But he perceives not therein either happiness or bliss, he perceives not therein, whether in the beginning, or in the middle, or in the end, anything fit to be taken hold of (as a lasting satisfaction).

83. 'And discontent arises in his mind when he thus finds nothing fit to be relied on as a lasting satisfaction, and a fever takes possession of his body , and without a refuge or protection, hopeless, he becomes weary of repeated lives . As if a man had fallen into a burning and blazing mighty fiery furnace, and saw no refuge from it, no way of escape, he would, hopeless, be weary of the fire--just so, O king, discontent arises in his mind when he thus finds nothing fit to be relied on as a lasting satisfaction, and a fever takes possession of his body, and without a refuge or protection, hopeless, he becomes weary of repeated births.

84. 'And in the mind of him who thus perceives


the insecurity of transitory life, (of starting afresh ha innumerable births) the thought arises: "All on fire is this endless becoming, burning, and blazing! Full of pain is it, of despair! If only one could reach a state in which there were no becoming, there would there be calm, that would be sweet-the cessation of all these conditions , the getting rid of all these defects (of lusts, of evil, and of Karma), the end of cravings, the absence of passion, peace, Nirvâna!" And therewith does his mind leap forward into that state in which there is no becoming, and then has he found peace, then does he exult and rejoice at the thought: "A refuge have I gained at last!" Just, O king, as a man who, venturing into a strange land, has lost his way, on becoming aware of a path, free from jungle, that will lead him home, bounds forward along it, contented in mind, exulting and rejoicing at the thought: "I have found the way at last!"--just so in him who thus perceives the insecurity of transitory births there arises the thought: "All on fire is this endless becoming, burning, and blazing! Full of pain is it, and despair! If only one could reach a state in which there were no becoming, there would there be calm, that would be sweet-the cessation of all these conditions, the getting rid of all these defects, the end of cravings, the absence of passion, peace, Nirvâna!" And therewith does his mind leap forward into that state in which there is no becoming,

and then has he found peace, then does he exult and rejoice at the thought: "A refuge have I found at last!" And he strives with might and main along that path, searches it out, accustoms himself thoroughly to it, to that end does he make firm his self-possession, to that end does he hold fast in effort, to that end does he remain stedfast in love (toward all beings in all the worlds), and still to that does he direct his mind again and again, until gone far beyond the transitory, he gains the Real, the highest fruit (of Arahatship) . And when he has gained that, O king, the man who has ordered his life aright has realised, (seen face to face,) Nirvâna !'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the problem as to the time of Nirvâna .]


[DILEMMA THE EIGHTY-SECOND. THE PLACE OF NIRVANA.]

85. 'Venerable Nâgasena, does there exist the spot--either in the direction of the East, or of the South, or of the West, or of the North, either above, or below, or on the horizon-where Nirvâna is stored up ?'

'There is no spot, O king,--either in the East, or the South, or in the West, or the North, either above, or below, or on the horizon--where Nirvâna is.'

'But if so, Nâgasena, then neither can Nirvâna exist, and those who realise it, their realisation is vain. And I will give you an explanation of this. Just, Sir, as there are on the earth fields in which crops can be grown, flowers from which perfumes come, bushes on which flowers can grow, trees on which fruits can ripen, mines from which gems can be dug, so that whosoever desires any of these things can go there and get it--just so, Nâgasena, if Nirvâ na exists one must expect there to be some place, where it is produced . But since there is not, therefore I declare that there can be no Nirvâna, and those who realise it, their realisation is vain.'

86. 'There is no spot, O king, where Nirvâna is

situate, and yet Nirvâna is, and he who orders his life right will, by careful attention, realise Nirvâna. Just as fire exists, and yet there is no place where fire (by itself) is stored up. But if a man rubs two sticks together the fire comes;--just so, O king, Nirvâna exists, though there is no spot where it is stored up. And he who orders his life aright will, by careful attention, realise Nirvâna.

87. 'Or again, O king, just as there are the seven treasures of the king of kings--the treasure of the wheel, and the treasure of the elephant, and the treasure of the horse, and the treasure of the gem, and the treasure of the woman, and the treasure of the finance minister, and the treasure of the adviser. But there is no spot where these treasures are laid up. When a sovran conducts himself aright they appear to him of their own accord --just so, O king, Nirvâna, exists, though there is no place where it is stored up. And he who orders his life aright will, by careful attention, realise Nirvâna.'

88. 'Venerable Nâgasena, let it be granted that there is no place where Nirvâna, is stored up. But is there any place on which a man may stand and, ordering his life aright, realise Nirvâna?'

'Yes, O king, there is such a place.'

'Which then, Nâgasena, is that place

'Virtue, O king, is the place. For if grounded in virtue, and careful in attention--whether in the land of the Scythians or the Greeks, whether in China or

[paragraph continues] Tartary , whether in Alexandria or in Nikumba, whether in Benares or in Kosala, whether in Kashmir or in Gandhâra , whether on a mountain top or in the highest heavens --wheresoever he may be, the man who orders his life aright will realise Nirvâna. Just, O king, as the man who has eyes wherever he may be--in the land of the Scythians or the Greeks, in China or in Tartary, in Alexandria, Nikumba, Benares, or Kosala, in Kashmir or in Gandhâra, on a mountain top or in the highest heavens--will be able to behold the expanse of heaven and to see the horizon facing him--just so, O king, will he who orders his conduct aright and is careful in attention--whether in the land of the Scythians or the Greeks, whether in China or Tartary, whether in Alexandria, or Benares, or Kosala, or Nikumba, whether in Kashmir or in Gandhâra, whether on a mountain top or in the highest heavens--wheresoever he may be, attain to the realisation of Nirvâna.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! You have preached to me of Nirvâna, and of the realisation thereof, you have set forth the advantages of virtue, you have explained the supreme attainment, you have raised aloft the standard of the Truth, you have established the eye of Truth, you have shown how right means adopted by those of high aims will be neither

barren nor unfruitful. That is so, and I accept it as you say .'

[Here ends the problem of the place of Nirvâna.]

[Here ends the Eighth Chapter .]

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