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Pabbaja Sutta

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Pabbaja Sutta: The Going Forth translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu © 1997


I will describe the Going Forth,
how he, the One-with-Vision, went forth,
how he reasoned and chose the Going Forth.
"Household life is crowded,
a realm of dust,
while going forth
is the open air."
Seeing this, he went forth.

On going forth,
he avoided evil deeds in body.
Abandoning verbal misconduct,
he purified his livelihood.
Then he, the Buddha, went to Rajagaha,
the mountain fortress of the Magadhans,
and wandered for alms,
endowed with all the foremost marks.
King Bimbisara, standing in his palace, saw him,
and on seeing him, consummate in marks,
said: "Look at this one, sirs.
How handsome, stately, pure!
How consummate his demeanor!
Mindful, his eyes downcast,
looking only a plow-length before him,
as one who's not from a lowly lineage:
Send the royal messengers at once
to see where this monk will go."

They — the messengers dispatched —
followed behind him.
"Where will this monk go?
Where will his dwelling place be?"
As he went from house to house —
well-restrained, his sense-doors guarded,
mindful, alert —
his bowl filled quickly.
Then he, the sage, completing his alms round,
left the city, headed for Mount Pandava.
"That's where his dwelling will be."
Seeing him go to his dwelling place,
three messengers sat down,
while one returned to tell the king.
"That monk, your majesty,
on the flank of Pandava,
sits like a tiger, a bull,
a lion in a mountain cleft."

Hearing the messenger's words,
the noble warrior king
straight away went by royal coach,
out to Mount Pandava.
Going as far as the coach would go,
he got down, went up on foot,
and on arrival sat down.
Sitting there,
he exchanged courteous greetings,
then said:
"You are young, youthful,
in the first stage of youth,
endowed with the stature & coloring
of a noble-warrior.
You would look glorious
in the vanguard of an army,
arrayed with an elephant squadron.
I offer you wealth : enjoy it.
I ask your birth : inform me."

"Straight ahead, your majesty,
by the foothills of the Himalayas,
is a country consummate
in energy & wealth,
inhabited by Kosalans:
Solar by clan,
Sakyans by birth.
From that lineage I have gone forth,
but not in search of sensual pleasures.
Seeing the danger in sensual pleasures
— and renunciation as rest —
I go to strive.
That's where my heart delights."

Source

"Pabbaja Sutta: The Going Forth" (Sn 3.1), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.3.01.than.html