Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids
1. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One: "This is the chief, O Bhikkhus, of those of my disciples in the Order who are possessed of the power of Iddhi, I mean Moggallâna ." But on the other hand they say his death took place by his being beaten to death with clubs, so that his skull was broken, and his bones ground to powder, and all his flesh and nerves bruised and pounded together . Now, Nâgasena, if the Elder, the great Moggallâna, had really attained to supremacy in the magical power of Iddhi, then it cannot be true that he was beaten to death with clubs . But if his death was on that wise, then the saying that he was chief of those possessed of Iddhi must be wrong. How could he who was not even able, by his power of Iddhi, to prevent his own murder, be worthy nevertheless to stand as succour to the world of gods and men? This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
2. 'The Blessed One did declare, O king, that Moggallâna was chief among the disciples in power
of Iddhi. And he was nevertheless beaten to death by clubs. But that was through his being then possessed by the still greater power of Karma .'
3. 'But, venerable Nâgasena, are not both of these things appurtenant to him who has the power of Iddhi--that is the extent of his power, and the result of his Karma--both alike unthinkable? And cannot the unthinkable be held back by the unthinkable? Just, Sir, as those who want the fruits will knock a wood apple down with a wood apple, or a mango with a mango, so ought not the unthinkable in like manner to be subject to restraint by the unthinkable?'
'Even among things beyond the reach of the imagination, great king, still one is in excess above the other, one more powerful than the other. Just, O king, as the monarchs of the world are alike in kind, but among them, so alike in kind, one may overcome the rest, and bring them under his command--just so among things beyond the grasp of the imagination is the productive effect of Karma by far the most powerful. It is precisely the effect of Karma which overcomes all the rest, and has them under its rule; and no other influence is of any avail to the man in whom Karma is working out its inevitable end . It is as when, O king, any man has committed an offence against the law .
[paragraph continues] Neither his mother nor his father, neither his sisters nor his brother, neither his friends nor his intimate associates can protect him then. He has fallen therein under the power of the king who will issue his command respecting him. And why is that so? Because of the wrong that he has done. So is it precisely the effect of Karma which overcomes all other influences, and has them under its command, and no other influence can avail the man in whom Karma is working out its inevitable end. It is as when a jungle fire has arisen on the earth, then can not even a thousand pots of water avail to put it out, but the conflagration overpowers all, and brings it under its control. And why is that so? Because of the fierceness of its heat. So is it precisely the effect of Karma which overcomes all other influences, and has them under its command; and no other influence can avail the man in whom Karma is working out its inevitable end. That is why the venerable one, great king, the great Moggallâna, when, at a time when he was possessed by Karma, he was being beaten to death with clubs, was yet unable to make use of his power of Iddhi .'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the problem as to the murder of Moggallâna.]
[ON SECRET DOCTRINE.]
4. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it was said by the Blessed One: "The Dhamma and the Vinaya (Doctrine and Canon Law) proclaimed by the Tathâgata shine forth when they are displayed, and not when they are concealed ." But on the other hand the recitation of the Pâtimokkha and the whole of the Vinaya Pitaka are closed and kept secret . So that if, Nâgasena, you (members of the Order) carried out what is just, and right, and held of faith in the teaching of the Conqueror then would the Vinaya shine forth as an open thing. And why would that be so? Because all the instruction therein, the discipline, the self-control, the regulations as to moral and virtuous conduct, are in their essence full of truth and righteousness, and redounding to emancipation of heart. But if the Blessed One really said that the Dhamma and Vinaya proclaimed by the Tathâgata shine forth when displayed and not when kept secret, then the saying that the recitation of the Pâtimokkha and the whole of the Vinaya must be kept secret must be wrong. And if that be right, then the saying of the Blessed One must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
5. 'It was said, O king, by the Blessed One that the Dhamma and Vinaya proclaimed by the Tathâgata
shine forth when displayed, and not when kept secret. And on the other hand the recitation of the Pâtimokkha and the whole of the Vinaya Pitaka are kept close and secret . But this last is not the case as regards all men. They are only kept secret up to a certain limit. And the recitation of the Pâtimokkha is kept secret up to that certain limit on three grounds--firstly because that is the traditional custom of previous Tathâgatas, secondly out of respect for the Truth (Dhamma), and thirdly out of respect for the position of a member of the Order .'
6. 'And as to the first it was the universal custom, O king, of previous Tathâgatas for the recitation of the Pâtimokkha to take place in the midst of the members of the Order only, to the exclusion of all others. Just, O king, as the Kshatriya secret formulas (of the nobles) are handed down among the nobles alone, and that this or that is so is common tradition among the nobles of the world and kept secret from all others-- so was this the universal custom of previous Tathâgatas, that the recitation of the Pâtimokkha should take place among the
members of the Order only, and be kept secret from all others. And again, just as there are several classes of people, O king, known as distinct in the world---such as wrestlers, tumblers, jugglers, actors, ballet-dancers, and followers of the mystic cult of the sun and moon, of the goddess of fortune and other gods . And the secrets of each of these sects are handed on in the sect itself, and kept hidden from all others. just so with the universal custom of all the Tathâgatas that the recitation of the Pâtimokkha should take place before the members of the Order only, and be kept secret from all others. This is why the recitation of the Pâtimokkha is, up to that extent, kept secret in accordance with the habit of previous Tathâgatas.'
7. 'And how is it that the Pâtimokkha is kept secret, up to that extent, out of reverence for the Dhamma? The Dhamma, great king, is venerable and weighty. He who has attained to proficiency in it may exhort another in this wise: "Let not this Dhamma so full of truth, so excellent, fall into the hands of those unversed in it, where it would be despised and contemned, treated shamefully, made a game of, and found fault with. Nor let it fall into the hands of the wicked who would deal with it in all respects as badly as they." It is thus, O king, that the recitation of the Pâtimokkha is, up to that
extent, kept secret out of reverence for the Dhamma. For if not, then it would be like the best, most costly, and most rare red sandal wood of the finest kind, which when brought to Savara (that city of the outcast Kandâlas ) is despised and contemned, treated shamefully, made game of, and found fault with.'
8. 'And how is it that the Pâtimokkha is kept secret, up to that extent, out of reverence for the position of a member of the Order? The condition of a Bhikkhu, great king, is in glory beyond the reach of calculation by weight, or measure, or price. None can value it, weigh it, measure it. And the recitation of the Pâtimokkha, is carried on before the Bhikkhus alone, lest any one who has occupied that position should be brought down to a level with the men of the world. just, O king, as if there be any priceless thing, in vesture or floor covering, in elephants, chargers, or chariots, in gold or silver or jewels or pearls or women, or in unsurpassable strong drink , all such things are the appanage of kings--just so, O king, whatever is most priceless in the way of training, of the traditions of the Blessed One, of learning, of conduct, and of the virtues of righteousness and self-control--all these are the appanages of the Order of Bhikkhus. This is why the recitation of the Pâtimokkha is, to that extent, kept secret .'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.)
[Here ends the problem as to the secrecy in which the Vinaya is kept.] [THE TWO KINDS OF FALSEHOOD.]
9. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One that a deliberate lie is an offence of the greatest kind (involving exclusion from the Order ).
[paragraph continues] And again he said: "By a deliberate lie a Bhikkhu commits a minor offence, one that ought to be the subject of confession made before another (member of the Order) ." Now, venerable Nâgasena, what is herein the distinction, what the reason, that by one lie a Bhikkhu is cast out of the Order, and by another he is guilty only of an offence that can be atoned for. If the first decision be right, then the second must be wrong; but if the second be right, then the first must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
10. 'Both your quotations, O king, are correct . But a falsehood is a light or heavy offence according to the subject matter. For what do you think, great king? Suppose a man were to give another a slap with his hand, what punishment would you inflict upon him?'
'If the other refused to overlook the matter, then neither should we be able to pardon his assailant , but should mulct him in a penny or so .'
'But on the other hand, suppose it had been you
yourself that he had given the blow to, what would then be the punishment?'
'We should condemn him to have his hands cut off, and his feet cut off, and to be skinned alive , and we should confiscate all the goods in his house, and put to death all his family to the seventh generation on both sides.'
'But, great king, what is the distinction? Why is it that for one slap of the hand there should be a gentle fine of a penny, while for a slap given to you there should be so fearful a retribution?'
'Because of the difference in the person (assaulted).'
'Well! just so, great king, is a falsehood a light or a heavy offence according to the attendant circumstances.'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the problem as to the degree of offence in falsehood.] [THE BODISAT'S CONSIDERATION.]
11. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One in the discourse on the essential conditions : "Long ago have his parents been destined for each Bodisat, and the kind of tree he is to select for his Bo tree, and the
[paragraph continues] Bhikkhus who are to be his two chief disciples, and the lad who is to be his son, and the member of the Order who is to be his special attendant." But on the other hand he said: "When yet in the condition of a god in the Tusita heaven the Bodisat makes the eight Great Investigations--he investigates the time (whether the right moment had come at which he ought to be re-born as a man), and the continent (in which his birth is to take place), and the country (where he is to be re-born), and the family (to which he is to belong), and the mother (who is to bear him), and the period (during which he was to remain in the womb), and the month (in which his birthday shall come), and his renunciation (when it shall be) . Now, Nâgasena, before knowledge is ripe there is no understanding, but when it has reached its summit there is no longer any need to wait for thinking a matter over , for there is nothing outside the ken of the omniscient mind. Why then should the Bodisat investigate the time, thinking to himself: "In what moment shall I be born ?" And for the same reason why should he investigate the family, thinking to himself:
[paragraph continues] "In what family shall I be born?" And if, Nâgasena, it is a settled matter who shall be the parents of the Bodisat, then it must be false that he "investigated the family." But if that be true, then must the other saying be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
12. 'It was both a settled matter, O king, who should be the parents of the Bodisat, and he did investigate into the question as to which family he was to be born into. But how did he do so? He thought over the matter as to whether his parents should be nobles or Brahmans. With respect to eight things, O king, should the future be investigated before it comes to pass. A merchant, O king, should investigate goods before he buys them--an elephant should try with its trunk a path it has not yet trod--a cartman should try a ford he has not yet crossed over--a pilot should test a shore he has not yet arrived at, and so guide the ship--a physician should find out the period of life which his patient has lasted before he treats his disease--a traveller should test the stability of a bambû bridge before he mounts on to it--a Bhikkhu should find out how much time has yet to run before sun turn before he begins to eat his meal--and Bodisats, before they are born, should investigate the question whether it would be right for them to be born in the family of a noble or of a Brahman.
[paragraph continues] These are the eight occasions on which investigation ought to precede action.'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the problem as to the Bodisat's consideration.] [ON SUICIDE.]
13. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One: "A brother is not, O Bhikkhus, to commit suicide. Whosoever does so shall be dealt with according to the law ." And on the other hand you (members of the Order) say: "On whatsoever subject the Blessed One was addressing the disciples, he always, and with various similes, preached to them in order to bring about the destruction of birth, of old age, of disease, and of death. And whosoever overcame birth, old age, disease, and death, him did he honour with the highest praise ." Now if the Blessed One forbade suicide that saying of yours must be wrong, but if not then the prohibition of suicide must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
14. 'The regulation you quote, O king, was laid down by the Blessed One, and yet is our saying you refer to true. And there is a reason for this, a
reason for which the Blessed One both prohibited (the destruction of life), and also (in another sense) instigated us to it.'
'What, Nâgasena, may that reason be?'
'The good man, O king, perfect in uprightness, is like a medicine to men in being an antidote to the poison of evil, he is like water to men in laying the dust and the impurities of evil dispositions, he is like a jewel treasure to men in bestowing upon them all attainments in righteousness, he is like a boat to men inasmuch as he conveys them to the further shore of the four flooded streams (of lust, individuality, delusion, and ignorance) , he is like a caravan owner to men in that he brings them beyond the sandy desert of rebirths, he is like a mighty rain cloud to men in that he fills their hearts with satisfaction, he is like a teacher to men in that he trains them in all good, he is like a good guide to men in that he points out to them the path of peace. It was in order that so good a man as that, one whose good qualities are so many, so various, so immeasurable, in order that so great a treasure mine of good things, so full of benefit to all beings, might not be done away with, that the Blessed One, O king, out of his mercy towards all beings, laid down that injunction, when he said: "A brother is not, O Bhikkhus, to commit suicide. Whosoever does so shall be dealt with according to the law." This is the reason for which the Blessed One prohibited (self-slaughter). And it was said, O king,
by the Elder Kumâra Kassapa, the eloquent, when he was describing to Pâyâsi the Râganya the other world: "So long as Samanas and Brahmans of uprightness of life, and beauty of character, continue to exist--however long that time may be--just so long do they conduct themselves to the advantage and happiness of the great masses of the people, to the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men !"'
15. 'And what is the reason for which the Blessed One instigated us (to put an end to life)? Birth, O king, is full of pain, and so is old age, and disease, and death. Sorrow is painful, and so is lamentation, and pain, and grief, and despair. Association with the unpleasant is painful, and separation from the pleasant . The death of a mother is painful, or of a father, or a brother, or a sister, or a son, or a wife, or of any relative. Painful is the ruin of one's family, and the suffering of disease, and the loss of wealth, and decline in goodness, and the loss of insight.
[paragraph continues] Painful is the fear produced by despots, or by robbers, or by enemies, or by famine, or by fire, or by flood, or by the tidal wave, or by earthquake, or by crocodiles or alligators. Painful is the fear of possible blame attaching to oneself, or to others, the fear of punishment, the fear of misfortune. Painful is the fear arising from shyness in the presence of assemblies of one's fellows, painful is anxiety as to one's means of livelihood, painful the foreboding of death. Painful are (the punishments inflicted on criminals), such as being flogged with whips, or with sticks, or with split rods, having one's hands cut off, or one's feet, or one's hands and feet, or one's ears, or one's nose, or one's ears and nose. Painful are (the tortures inflicted on traitors)--being subjected to the Gruel Pot (that is, having boiling gruel poured into one's head from the top of which the skull bone has been removed )--or to the Chank Crown (that is, having the scalp rubbed with gravel till it becomes smooth like a polished shell)--or to the Râhu's Mouth (that is, having one's mouth held open by iron pins, and oil put in it, and a wick lighted therein)--or to the Fire Garland or to the Hand Torch , (that is, being made a living torch, the whole body, or the arms only, being wrapped up in oily cloths, and set on fire)--or to the Snake Strips (that is, being skinned in strips from the neck to the hips, so that the skin falls in strips round the legs)or to the Bark Dress (that is, being skinned alive from the neck downwards, and having each strip of
skin as soon as removed tied to the hair, so that these strips form a veil around one)--or to the Spotted Antelope (that is, having one's knees and elbows tied together, and being made to squat on a plate of iron under which a fire is lit)--or to the Flesh-hooks (that is, being hung up on a row of iron hooks)--or to the Pennies (that is, having bits cut out of the flesh, all over the body, of the size of pennies)--or to the Brine Slits (that is, having cuts made all over one's body by means of knives or sharp points, and then having salt and caustic liquids poured over the wounds)--or to the Bar Turn (that is, being transfixed to the ground by a bar of iron passing through the root of the ear, and then being dragged round and round by the leg)--or to the Straw Seat (that is, being so beaten with clubs that
the bones are broken, and the body becomes like a heap of straw)--or to be anointed with boiling oil, or to be eaten by dogs, or to be impaled alive, or to be beheaded. Such and such, O king, are the manifold and various pains which a being caught in the whirlpool of births and rebirths has to endure. just, O king, as the water rained down upon the Himâlaya mountain flows, in its course along the Ganges, through and over rocks and pebbles and gravel, whirlpools and eddies and rapids , and the stumps and branches of trees which obstruct and oppose its passage,--just so has each being caught in the succession of births and rebirths to endure such and such manifold and various pains. Full of pain, then, is the continual succession of rebirths, a joy is it when that succession ends. And it was in pointing out the advantage of that end, the disaster involved in that succession, that the Blessed One, great king, instigated us to get beyond birth, and old age, and disease, and death by the realisation of the final end of that succession of rebirths. This is the sense, O king, which led the Blessed One to instigate us (to put an end to life).'
'Very good, Nâgasena! Well solved is the puzzle (I put), well set forth are the reasons (you alleged). That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the problem as to suicide.]
[A LOVING DISPOSITION.]
16. [1981 'Venerable Nâgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One: "Eleven advantages, O brethren, may be anticipated from practising, making a habit of, enlarging within one, using as a means of advancement, and as a basis of conduct, pursuing after, accumulating, and rising well up to the very heights of the emancipation of heart, arising from a feeling of love (towards all beings) . And what are these eleven? He who does so sleeps in peace, and in peace does he awake. He dreams no sinful dreams. He becomes dear to men, and to the beings who are not men . The gods watch over him. Neither fire, nor poison, nor sword works any harm to him. Quickly and easily does he become tranquillised. The aspect of his countenance is calm. Undismayed does he meet death, and should he not press through to the Supreme Condition (of Arahatship), then is he sure of rebirth in the Brahma world ." But on the other hand you (members of
the Order) say that "Sâma the Prince, while dwelling in the cultivation of a loving disposition toward all beings, and when he was (in consequence thereof) wandering in the forest followed by a herd of deer, was hit by a poisoned arrow shot by Piliyakkha the king, and there, on the spot, fainted and fell ." Now, venerable Nâgasena, if the passage I have quoted from the words of the Blessed One be right, then this statement of yours must be wrong. But if the story of Prince Sâma be right, then it cannot be true that neither fire, nor poison, nor sword can work harm to him who cultivates the habit of love to all beings. This too is a double-edged problem, so subtle, so abstruse, so delicate, and so profound, that the thought of having to solve it might well bring out sweat over the body even of the most subtle-minded of mortals. This problem is now put to you. Unravel this mighty knot . Throw light upon this matter to the accomplishment of the desire of those sons of the Conqueror who shall arise hereafter .'
'The Blessed One spake, O king, as you have quoted. And Prince Sama dwelling in the cultivation of love, and thus followed by a herd of deer when he was wandering in the forest, was hit by the poisoned arrow shot by king Piliyakkha, and then and there fainted and fell. But there is a reason for that. And what is the reason? Simply that those virtues (said in the passage you quoted
to be in the habit of love) are virtues not attached to the personality of the one who loves, but to the actual presence of the love that he has called up in his heart . And when Prince Sâma was upsetting the water-pot, that moment he lapsed from the actual feeling of love. At the moment, O king, in which an individual has realised the sense of love, that moment neither fire, nor poison, nor sword can do him harm. If any men bent on doing him an injury come up, they will not see him, neither will they have a chance of hurting him. But these virtues, O king, are not inherent in the individual, they are in the actual felt presence of the love that he is calling up in his heart.'
'Suppose, O king, a man were to take into his hand a Vanishing Root of supernatural power; and that, so long as it was actually in his hand, no other ordinary person would be able to see him. The virtue, then, would not be in the man. It would be in the root that such virtue would reside that an object in the very line of sight of ordinary mortals could, nevertheless, not be seen. just so, O king, is it with the virtue inherent in the felt presence of love that a man has called up in his heart.'
'Or it is like the case of a man who has entered into a well-formed mighty cave. No storm of rain, however mightily it might pour down, would be able to wet him. But that would be by no virtue inherent
in the man. It would be a virtue inherent in the cave that so mighty a downpour of rain could not wet the man. And just so, O king, is it with the virtue inherent in the felt presence of love that a man has called up in his heart .'
'Most wonderful is it, Nâgasena, and most strange how the felt presence of love has the power of warding off all evil states of mind .'
'Yes! The practice of love is productive of all virtuous conditions of mind both in good (beings) and in evil ones. To all beings whatsoever, who are in the bonds of conscious existence , is this practice of love of great advantage, and therefore ought it to be sedulously cultivated.'
[Here ends the problem as to the power of love.] [DEVADATTA.]
17. 'Venerable Nâgasena, is the consequence the same to him who does good and to him who does evil, or is there any difference in the two cases?'
'There is a difference, O king, between good and evil. Good works have a happy result, and lead to Sagga , and evil works have an unhappy result, and lead to Niraya .'
'But, venerable Nâgasena, your people say that Devadatta was altogether wicked, full of wicked dispositions, and that the Bodisat was altogether pure, full of pure dispositions . And yet Devadatta, through successive existences , was not only quite equal to the Bodisat, but even sometimes superior to him, both in reputation and in the number of his adherents.
18. 'Thus, Nâgasena, when Devadatta became the Purohita (family Brâhman, royal chaplain) of Brahmadatta, the king, in the city of Benares, then the Bodisat was a wretched Kandâla (outcast) who knew by heart a magic spell. And by repeating his spell he produced mango fruits out of season . This
is one case in which the Bodisat was inferior to Devadatta in birth, inferior to him in reputation.'
19. 'And again, when Devadatta became a king, a mighty monarch of the earth , living in the enjoyment of all the pleasures of sense, then the Bodisat was an elephant, decked with all manner of ornaments that the king might make use of them. And the king, being put out of temper at the sight of his graceful and pleasant style of pace and motion, said to the elephant trainer with the hope of bringing about the death of the elephant: "Trainer, this elephant has not been properly trained, make him perform the trick called 'Sky walking.'" In that case too the Bodisat was inferior to Devadatta,--was a mere foolish animal .'
20. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man who gained his living by winnowing grain , then
the Bodisat was a monkey called "the broad earth." Here again we have the difference between an animal and a man, and the Bodisat was inferior in birth to Devadatta .'
21. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man, by name Sonuttara, a Nesâda (one of an outcast tribe of aborigines, who lived by hunting), and was of great strength and bodily power, like an elephant, then the Bodisat was the king of elephants under the name of the "Six-tusked." And in that birth, the hunter slew the elephant. In that case too Devadatta was the superior .'
22. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man, a wanderer in the woods, without a home, then the Bodisat was a bird, a partridge who knew the Vedic hymns. And in that birth too the woodman killed the bird. So in that case also Devadatta was the superior by birth .'
23. 'And again, when Devadatta became the king of Benares, by name Kalâbu, then the Bodisat was an ascetic who preached kindness to animals. And the king (who was fond of sport), enraged with the ascetic, had his hands and feet cut off like so many bambû sprouts . In that birth, too, Devadatta
was the superior, both in birth and in reputation among men.'
24. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man, a woodman, then the Bodisat was Nandiya the monkey king. And in that birth too the man killed the monkey, and his mother besides, and his younger brother. So in that case also it was Devadatta who was the superior in birth .'
25. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man, a naked ascetic, by name Kârambhiya, then the Bodisat was a snake king called "the Yellow one." So in that case too it was Devadatta who was the superior in birth .'
26. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man, a crafty ascetic with long matted hair, then the Bodisat was a famous pig, by name "the Carpenter." So in that case too it was Devadatta who was the superior in birth .'
27. 'And again, when Devadatta became a king among the Ketas, by name Sura Parikara , who had the power of travelling through the air at a level above men's heads , then the Bodisat was a Brahman
named Kapila. So in that case too it was Devadatta who was the superior in birth and in reputation.'
28. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man, by name Sâma, then the Bodisat was a king among the deer, by name Ruru. So in that case too it was Devadatta who was the superior in birth .'
29. 'And again, when Devadatta became a man, a hunter wandering in the woods, then the Bodisat was a male elephant, and that hunter seven times broke off and took away the teeth of the elephant. So in that case too it was Devadatta who was the superior in respect of the class of beings into which he was born .'
30. 'And again, when Devadatta became a jackal who wanted to conquer the world , and brought the kings of all the countries in India under his control, then the Bodisat was a wise man, by name Vidhura. So in that case too it was Devadatta who was the superior in glory.'
31. 'And again, when Devadatta became the
elephant who destroyed the young of the Chinese partridge, then the Bodisat was also an elephant, the leader of his herd. So in that case they were both on a par .'
32. 'And again, when Devadatta became a, yakkha, by name Unrighteous, then the Bodisat too was a yakkha, by name Righteous. So in that case too they were both on a par .'
33. 'And again, when Devadatta became a sailor, the chief of five hundred families, then the Bodisat too was a sailor, the chief of five hundred families. So in that case too they were both on a par .'
34. 'And again, when Devadatta became a caravan leader, the lord of five hundred waggons, then the Bodisat too was a caravan leader, the lord of five hundred waggons. So in that case too they were both on a par .'
35. 'And again, when Devadatta became a king of deer, by name Sâkha, then the Bodisat was a king of deer, by name Nigrodha. So in that case too they were both on a par .'
36. 'And again, when Devadatta became a commander-in-chief by name Sâkha, then the Bodisat
was a king, by name Nigrodha. So in that case too they were both on a par .'
37. 'And again, when Devadatta became a brahman, by name Khandahâla, then the Bodisat was a prince, by name Kanda. So in that case that Khandahâla was the superior .'
38. 'And again, when Devadatta became a king, by name Brahmadatta, then the Bodisat was his son, the prince called Mahâ Paduma. In that case the king had his son cast down seven times, from the precipice from which robbers were thrown down. And inasmuch as fathers are superior to and above their sons, in that case too it was Devadatta was the superior .'
39. 'And again, when Devadatta became a king, by name Mahâ Patâpa, then the Bodisat was his son, Prince Dhamma-pâla; and that king had the hands and feet and head of his son cut off. So in that case too Devadatta was the superior .'
40. 'And now again, in this life, they were in the Sâkya clan, and the Bodisat became a Buddha, all wise, the leader of the world, and Devadatta having left the world to join the Order founded by Him who is above the god of gods, and having attained to the powers of Iddhi, was filled with lust to become himself the Buddha. Come now, most venerable Nâgasena! Is not all that I have said true, and just, and accurate?'
41. 'All the many things which you, great king, have now propounded, are so, and not otherwise.'
'Then, Nâgasena, unless black and white are the same in kind, it follows that good and evil bear equal fruit.'
'Nay, not so, great king! Good and evil have not the same result. Devadatta was opposed by everybody. No one was hostile to the Bodisat. And the hostility which Devadatta felt towards the Bodisat, that came to maturity and bore fruit in each successive birth. And so also as Devadatta, when he was established in lordship over the world, was a protection to the poor, put up bridges and courts of justice and rest-houses for the people, and gave gifts according to his bent to Samanas and Brahmans, to the poor and needy and the wayfarers, it was by the result of that conduct that, from existence to existence, he came into the enjoyment of so much prosperity. For of whom, O king, can it be said that without generosity and self-restraint, without self-control and the observance of the Upasatha , he can reach prosperity?
'And when, O king, you say that Devadatta and the Bodisat accompanied one another in the passage from birth to birth, that meeting together of theirs took place not, only at the end of a hundred, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand births, but was in fact constantly and frequently taking place through an immeasurable period of time . For you should regard that matter in the light of the comparison drawn by the Blessed One between the case of the
purblind tortoise and the attainment of the condition of a human being. And it was not only with Devadatta that such union took place. Sâriputta the Elder also, O king, was through thousands of births the father, or the grandfather, or the uncle , or the brother, or the son, or the nephew, or the friend of the Bodisat; and the Bodisat was the father, or the grandfather, or the uncle, or the brother, or the son, or the nephew, or the friend of Sâriputta the Elder.
'All beings in fact, O king, who, in various forms as creatures, are carried down the stream of transmigration, meet, as they are whirled along in it, both with pleasant companions and with disagreeable ones-just as water whirled along in a stream meets with pure and impure substances, with the beautiful and with the ugly.
'And when, O king, Devadatta as the god, had been himself Unrighteous, and had led others into unrighteousness of life, he was burnt in purgatory for an immeasurable period of time . But the Bodisat, who, as the god, had been himself Righteous, and had led others into righteousness of life, lived in all the bliss of heaven for a like immeasurable period of time. And whilst in this life, Devadatta, who had plotted injury against the Buddha, and had created a schism in the Order, was swallowed up by the earth, the Tathâgata,
knowing all that can be known, arrived at the insight of Buddhahood , and was completely set free (from the necessity of becoming) by the destruction of all that leads to re-existence.'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say .'
[Here ends the dilemma as to Devadatta's superiority to the Bodisat in previous births.]
42. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One:
With opportunity, and secrecy, And the right woo'r, all women will go wrong-- Aye, failing others, with a cripple even ."
But on the other hand it is said: "Mahosadha's wife, Amarâ, when left behind in the village while her husband was away on a journey, remained alone and in privacy, and regarding her husband as a man would regard his sovran lord, she refused to do wrong, even when tempted with a thousand pieces ." Now if the first of these passages be correct, the second must be wrong; and if the second be right, the first must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
43. 'It is so said, O king, as you have quoted, touching the conduct of Amarâ, Mahosadha's wife. But the question is would she have done wrong, on receipt of those thousand pieces, with the right man: or would she not have done so, if she had had the opportunity, and the certainty of secrecy, and a suitable wooer? Now, on considering the matter, that lady Amarâ was not certain of any of these
things. Through her fear of censure in this world the opportunity seemed to her not fit, and through her fear of the sufferings of purgatory in the next world. And because she knew how bitter is the fruit of wrong-doing, and because she did not wish to lose her loved one, and because of the high esteem in which she held her husband, and because she honoured goodness, and despised ignobleness of life, and because she did not want to break with her customary mode of life--for all these reasons the opportunity seemed to her not fit.
'And, further, she refused to do wrong because, on consideration, she was not sure of keeping the thing secret from the world. For even could she have kept it secret from men, yet she could not have concealed it from spirits --even could she have kept it secret from spirits, yet she could not have concealed it from those recluses who have the power of knowing the thoughts of others-even could she have kept it secret from them, yet she could not have concealed it from those of the gods who can read the hearts of men--even could she have kept it secret from the gods, yet she could not have escaped, herself, from the knowledge of her sin--even could she have remained ignorant of it herself, yet she could not have kept it secret from (the law of the result which follows on) unrighteousness . Such were the
various reasons which led her to abstain from doing wrong because she could not be sure of secrecy.
'And, further, she refused to do wrong because, on consideration, she found no right wooer. Mahosadha the wise, O king, was endowed with the eight and twenty qualities. And which are those twenty-eight? He was brave, O king, and full of modesty, and ashamed to do wrong, he had many adherents, and many friends, he was forgiving, he was upright in life, he was truthful, he was pure in word, and deed and heart , he was free from malice, he was not puffed up, he felt no jealousy , he was full of energy, he strove after all good things , he was popular with all men, he was generous, he was friendly , he was humble in disposition, he was free from guile, he was free from deceit, he was full of insight, he was of high reputation, he had much knowledge, he sought after the good of those dependent on him, his praise was in all men's mouths, great was his wealth, and great his fame. Such were the twenty-eight qualities, O king, with which 'Mahosadha, the wise, was endowed. And it was because she found no wooer like unto him that she did no wrong .'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the dilemma as to the wickedness of women .] [ON THE FEARLESSNESS OF THE ARAHATS.]
44. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it was said by the Blessed One: "The Arahats have laid aside all fear and trembling ." But on the other hand when, in the city of Râgagaha, they saw Dhana-pâlaka, the man-slaying elephant, bearing down upon the Blessed
[paragraph continues] One, all the five hundred Arahats forsook the Conqueror and fled, one only excepted, Ânanda the Elder . Now how was it, Nâgasena? Did those Arahats run away from fear--or did they run away willing to let the Blessed One be destroyed, and thinking: "(Our conduct) will be clear (to him) from the way in which he himself will act ," or did they run away with the hope of watching the immense and unequalled mighty power which the Tathâgata would exhibit? If, Nâgasena, what the
[paragraph continues] Blessed One said as to the Arahats being devoid of fear be true, then this story must be false. But if the story be true, then the statement that the Arahats have put away fear and trembling must be false. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
45. 'The Blessed One did say, O king, that Arahats have put away all fear and trembling, and five hundred Arahats, save only Ânanda, did, as you say, run away when the elephant Dhana-pâlaka bore down upon the Tathâgata that day in Râgagaha. But that was neither out of fear, nor from willingness to let the Blessed One be destroyed. For the cause by which Arahats could be made to fear or tremble has been destroyed in them, and therefore are they free from fear or trembling. Is the broad earth, O king, afraid at people digging into it, or breaking it up, or at having to bear the weight of the mighty oceans and the peaked mountain ranges?'
'Certainly not, Sir.'
'But why not?'
'Because there is no cause in the broad earth which could produce fear or trembling.'
'Just so, O king. And neither is there any such cause in Arahats. And would a mountain peak be afraid of being split up, or broken down, or made to fall, or burnt with fire?'
'Certainly not, Sir.'
'But why not?'
'The cause of fear or trembling does not exist within it.'
'And just so, O king, with Arahats. If all the creatures of various outward form in the whole
universe were, together, to attack one Arahat in order to put him to fear, yet would they bring about no variation in his heart. And why? Because there is neither condition nor cause for fear (in him, whence fear could arise). Rather, O king, was it these considerations that arose in the minds of those Arahats: "To-day when the best of the best of men, the hero among conquerors, has entered into the famous city, Dhana-pâlaka the elephant will rush down the street. But to a certainty the brother who is his special attendant will not forsake him who is above the god of gods. But if we should not go away, then neither will the goodness of Ânanda be made manifest, nor will the elephant actually approach the Tathâgata. Let us then withdraw. Thus will great masses of the people attain to emancipation from the bonds of evil, and the goodness of Ânanda be made manifest." It was on the realisation of the fact that those advantages would arise from their doing so, that the Arahats withdrew to every side.'
'Well, Nâgasena, have you solved the puzzle. That is so. The Arahats feared not, nor did they tremble. But for the advantages that they foresaw they withdrew on every side.'
[Here ends the problem as to the panic of the Arahats.]
[ON CAUSING THE OMNISCIENT ONE TO CHANGE HIS MIND.]
46. 'Venerable Nâgasena, your people say that the Tathâgata is all wise . And on the other hand they say: "When the company of the members of the Order presided over by Sâriputta and Moggallâna had been dismissed by the Blessed One , then the Sâkyas of Kâtumâ and Brahmâ Sabanipati, by means of the parables of the seed and of the calf, gained the Buddha over, and obtained his forgiveness, and made him see the thing in the right light ." Now how was that, Nâgasena? Were those two parables unknown to him that he should be appeased and gained over to their side, and brought to see the matter in a new light? But if he did not already know them, then, Nâgasena, he was not all-wise. If he did know them, then he must have dismissed those brethren rudely and violently in order to try them; and therein is his unkindness made manifest. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'
47. 'The Tathâgata, O king, was all-wise, and yet, pleased at those parables, he was gained over by them, he granted pardon to the brethren he had sent
away, and he saw the matter in the light (in which the intercessors on their behalf wished him to see it). For the Tathâgata, O king, is lord of the Scriptures. It was with parables that had been first preached by the Tathâgata himself that they conciliated him, pleased him, gained him over, and it was on being thus gained over that he signified his approval (of what they had said). It was, O king, as when a wife conciliates, and pleases, and gains over her husband by means of things that belong to the husband himself; and the husband signifies his approval thereof. Or it was, O king, as when the royal barber conciliates and pleases and gains over the king when he dresses the king's head with the golden comb which belongs to the king himself, and the king then signifies his approval thereof, Or it was, O king, as when an attendant novice, when he serves his teacher with the food given in alms which his teacher has himself brought home, conciliates him and pleases him and gains him over, and the teacher then signifies his approval thereof.'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the problem as to the all-wise Buddha being gained over by intercession .]
Here ends the Fourth Chapter.