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The Ra.T.Thapâla Sutta trans.by Walter Lupton

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THE Sutta of which the Pâli text, together with a translation, is here given is No. 82 of the Majjhima Nikâya. I have availed myself througbout of Buddhaghosa's Commentary, the Papañca-Sûdanî; but only so much of it is here reproduced, in the form of extracts, as I thought was necessary either to support a rendering, or to illustrate a point, of the text. Such extracts are marked 'Pap. Sûd.' I have added, at the end of the text, a few further references of general interest.
In its form the Ra.t.thapâla Sutta stands midway between those Suttas (the vast majority) in which the chief interlocutor is the Buddha himself, and those Suttas in which this place is held by one of hie disciples. Of this latter class, the Madhura Sutta on Caste, which appeared in the April number of this Journal, is an example.

The present Sutta differs from this in that the Buddha does indeed figure, as in the first class of Suttas; but his appearance is rather an episode than the essential part, and the story of the conversion of the young nobleman is really an introduction to the main part of the Sutta, from which the Buddha disappears.

The main interest rather lies in the attitude of contemporary opinion towards the demands made by the Buddha's teaching, and in bringing out the feeling, not confined, perhaps, to the days of Gotama, of surprise, not unmingled with pity, of the average man in the world, and of the world, towards earnest spirits prepared to give up everything which the world regards as making life worth living, to pursue an ideal, to tread the higher path.

The bulk of mankind is content with a lower standard. "It is possible," says his father to Ra.t.thapâla, "both to enjoy the p. 770 good things of life, and to perform good works."

What need of such rigid system of self-denial? asks the world. "Come, Ra.t.thapâla," echoes his father; "give up this Discipline, return to family life," or, as the Pâli words actually translate, 'take the lower course.'

Finally, King Koravya takes up the parable, and presents the case for the world in four questions. Briefly summarised, the position is this: One can understand, perhaps, a man who is old, or diseased, or impoverished, or desolate, renouncing the world; one can understand, that is, a man who is no longer able to enjoy the things of life,

and who is out of heart generally with the world, making a show of giving up this mundane existence for higher things. But here is a young man in the heyday of youth, with rank and position, with health and wealth; and it is such an one who is renouncing all and everything to become a 'shaveling ascetic.'

This is the wonder. Sour grapes, the world can understand; but this other thing--the hands of surprise are upraised thereat.

Apart from this general interest, it cannot be said that the student of Buddhism, as such, will find anything remarkable in this Sutta. But it may be of interest to note that the story which is the framework of the Sutta was certainly a popular one with the Buddhist community;

for we find it again in the Vinaya, Sutta Vibha"nga, Pârâjika, 1. 5 (Oldenberg's edition, vol. iii. p. xi.), and in the Jâtaka (Fausböll, vol. i. p. 156, the Vâtamiga-Jâtaka); while the story of Ra.t.thapâla is referred to again, by way of illustration, in the Sutta Vibha"nga (Oldenberg, vol. iii. p. 148; Sa"mghâdisesa, vi. 4-6).

In the first case, substituting Sudinna for Ra.t.thapâla, the story is repeated almost verbatim, for the first three-fourths. The last fourth of the story is different, in that Sudinna yields to the entreaties of mother and wife, and becomes the pattern backslider, as Ra.t.thapâla remains the instance of steadfast resolution.

The Jâtaka tale, on the other hand, if more pointed, is p. 771 meagre and somewhat far removed from our version. Still there is enough, in Jâtaka phraseology, 'to establish the identity' of the two, and to see how in the Jâtaka the story was clipped and altered to suit its present purpose.

Suffice it to say here that it is the slave-girl who, with the mother's consent, sets herself to break down the resolution of the young Prince Tissa, the Jâtaka Ra.t.thapâla, or rather Sudinna, for Tissa is secluced from the Way of Holiness, and relapses with Sudinna into the laity.

It would be an interesting question to ask, in connection with the date of the various portions of the Tipi.taka"m, which of the three versions, if any, is the primordial story, or whether some story of the kind was generally current in the early centuries of Buddhism.

If it be permitted to hazard a theory based on a close comparison of the two stories, I should consider that Sudinna was evolved as the correlative of Ra.t.thapâla, in order to illustrate certain precepts of the Vinaya Nikâya.

For the latter is admittedly a composite work, pieced together at different periods. But in the present state of our knowledge of the age of the texts, we are limited to speculation; and it is perhaps idle to attempt to argue the question one way or the other.

Thus have I heard:--Once the Blessed One, as he wandered from place to place in the Kuru country, with a great company of Brethren, arrived at the town of the Kurus, named Thullako.t.thita. Now tidings came to the Brahmins and householders of Thullako.t.thita that the sage Gotama, of the Sakya clan and tribe, having renounced the world,

and wandering from place to place in the Kuru country with a great company of Brethren, was arrived at Thullako.t.thita; and that regarding the Blessed One, Gotama, such was the high repute noised abroad that it was said of him that he was a Blessed One,

an Arahat, a very Buddha, excellent in wisdom and conduct, an auspicious one, who has surveyed all existence, an incomparable breaker-in of restive humanity,

a teacher of gods and men, a blessed Buddha; that he, having brought himself to the knowledge thereof, and realised it face to face, tells of this world of existence, with its Devas, its Mâra, and its Brahmâ, and of the beings therein, Samanas and Brahmins, and the rest of mankind with the beings they have deified; he preaches a Doctrine,

fair at beginning, fair at end, fair throughout, text and interpretation; he makes known a way of Holiness supremely beautiful; it was good to go and see such Arahats as he was.

So the Brahmins and householders of Thullako.t.thita went to the place where the Blessed One was; and when they had come thither; some of them sat down respectfully beside him; some, on the other hand, exchanged friendly greetings with the Blessed One;

and when they had exchanged with him the greetings of friendliness and civility, then sat down beside him.

Others sat down by him, making humble obeisance with palms upraised in reverential attitude towards the Blessed One; and some made mention of their name and house, and so sat down with some who kept silence.

And when the Brahmins p. 791 and householders of Thullako.t.thita were thus seated beside him, the Blessed One instructed them with a discourse of the Doctrine, and caused them to receive it, and stirred them up, and brought them to extol it.

Now at that time there was sitting in that congregation a young man of noble birth, Ra.t.thapâla by name, a son of the chief family in this very Thullako.t.thita. Now the young man Ra.t.thapâla thought thus:

"So far as the Blessed One expounds the Doctrine point by point, it is no easy matter for one who lives the ordinary lay life of the householder to go the Way of Holiness, most perfect, most pure as the polished shell.

Wherefore were it better for me, cutting off my hair and beard, and putting on yellow robes, to relinquish the household life and go forth unto homelessness."

Then, when the Brahmins and householders of Thullako.t.thita had been instructed by the Blessed One by his discourse of the Doctrine, and had received it in their minds and been stirred up to acknowledge and extol it; and, having rejoiced in the words of the Blessed One and given him thanks and risen from their seats, and, having said a respectful farewell, had taken their departure, keeping him ever on the right--then the young man Ra.t.thapâla, while the Brahmins and householders were not yet gone far off, approached the Blessed One, and sat respectfully beside him.

And when he was thus seated, the young man, Ra.t.thapâla. spake as follows to the Blessed One: "As far, Lord, as I understand the Doctrine set forth by the Blessed One, point by point, it is no easy matter for one who leads the household life, to go the Way of Holiness, most perfect, most pure as the polished shell. I would, Lord, obtain admission to the ascetic life from the Blessed One; yea, I would obtain full admission into the order."

"Have you then; Ra.t.thapâla, your parents' consent to your going forth from home to houselessness?"
"I have not, Lord, their consent to my going forth from home to homelessness."
p. 792
"Then, Ra.t.thapâla, the Tathâgatas receive not him into the homeless life who has not his parents' consent."
"Then, Lord, so will I do that my parents will allow me to go forth from home to homelessness."

And the young man, Ra.t.thapâla, rising up from his seat, greeted respectfully the Blessed One; and passing from him, keeping him ever on the right, came to the place where his mother and father were, and being come, spake thus to them: "My dear parents, so far as I understand the Doctrine set forth by the Blessed one, point by point, it is no easy matter for one who leads the household life, to go the Way of Holiness, most perfect, most pure as the polished shell. I wish, then, having cut off my hair and beard, and donned yellow robes, to give up this life of home, and go forth to the homeless state. Do ye allow me so to go forth!"

When he had said this, the parents of the young man Ra.t.thapâla spake to him thus:--"My dear Ra.t.thapâla, you are our only son, dear to us and beloved, well cared for, delicately nurtured. You have never, dear Ra.t.thapâla, known any sorrow. Come, Ra.t.thapâla, eat and drink, and associate with your companions; and eating and drinking and associating with your companions, and enjoying the pleasures of life, and doing good works, remain content therewith. We do not allow you to give up home and go forth a homeless one. We shall be unwilling to be separated from you even by death. Shall we, then, allow the living to give up home and go forth unto homelessness?"
A second time also, and a third, the young man Ra.t.thapâla spake to his parents; and a second time, and a third also, they returned him answer in the same words. Then the young man, Ra.t.thapâla, obtaining not from his parents their consent to his renunciation, flung himself then and there even on the bare ground, saying, "Here, here, death shall come to me, if I go not forth a homeless one." And his parents said to him: "Dear Ra.t.thapâla, you are our only son, dear to us and beloved (etc. as above). We cannot let you go forth from home to homelessness." p. 793 So they spake, but Ra.t.thapâla remained silent. And they spake to him a second time, and a third time; and ever at each entreaty, Ra.t.thapâla lay there, answering naught.
Then the parents of the young man Ra.t.thapâla went to his friends; and when they had come, they spake thus to them;--"Good sirs, this Ra.t.thapâla of ours is lying on the bare ground and saying, 'Here even shall death come upon me, or I go forth a homeless one.' Come, good sirs, go to Ra.t.thapâla, and say to him, 'Friend Ra.t.thapâla, you are your parents' only son, dear to them and beloved, well cared for and delicately nurtured. You have never, Ra.t.thapâla, known sorrow. Get up, friend Ra.t.thapâla, eat and drink, and associate with your companions; and eating and drinking, and associating with your companions, and taking the pleasures of life, and doing good works, remain content therewith. Your mother and father cannot see their son go forth from home to homelessness. They will be unwilling to give you up even to death when it comes at its appointed time. Shall they then, while you are yet alive, allow you to go forth from home to homelessness?'"
So the friends of the young man Ra.t.thapâla, hearkening to his parents, approached the place where Ra.t.thapâla was; and when they had come to him, they spake as they had promised. Thus they spake, but Ra.t.thapâla remained silent; and a second time, and a third, they spake to him; and ever Ra.t.thapâla lay there, answering naught.
Then the friends of the young man Ra.t.thapâla came to where his mother and father were, and said to them;--"Good parents, your son Ra.t.thapâla is lying on the bare ground, and saying, 'Here even shall death come upon me, or I go forth a homeless one.' If ye consent not to his going forth to the life of homelessness, there, even on that very spot, will he meet his death. But if ye consent, ye will indeed see him gone forth unto homelessness; yet if he shall not find contentment in his homeless life, p. 794 what other course will there be for him? 'Twill be here, and here alone, that he will turn back. Allow him, then, to go forth from home unto homelessness."
"We allow him, then, to go forth; but when he has become a homeless ascetic, he must from time to time come to see his parents."
Then his friends went to the place where Ra.t.thapâla lay, and said to him, "Friend Ra.t.thapâla, you are your parents' only son, dear to them and beloved, well cared for and delicately nurtured; you have never, friend Ra.t.thapâla, known any sorrow; get up [and eat and drink and associate with your companions, and eating and drinking and enjoying ease, and taking the pleasures of life, and doing good works, remain content therewith]; you have your parents' consent to go forth from your home unto homelessness; but when you are gone forth, you must come from time to time to see them."
Then Ra.t.thapâla rose up and, having fortified himself with food, went to where the Blessed One was. And when he had come thither, and greeted him respectfully, he sat dawn beside him, and when he was thus seated, Ra.t.thapâla spoke to the Blessed One:--"My parents have consented, Lord, that I should go forth from home to homelessness. Let the Blessed One receive me." Accordingly the young man, Ra.t.thapâla, found admission at the hands of the Blessed One, yea, full admission to the homeless state.
Now the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla had not been admitted to the full religious life longer than a fortnight, when the Blessed One, having sojourned at Thullako.t.thita as was convenient, departed thence for Sâvatthi; and thither, after the circuit of his wanderings, he at length arrived. There the Blessed One took up his residence in Jetavana, in the garden of Anâthapi.n.dika. But the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, dwelling in solitude, far removed from the world, diligent and persevering, and earnest in effort, in no long time attained that for which the young scions of noble lineage give up home to go forth to homelessnes, p. 795 namely the supreme goal of the Way of Holiness; having brought himself here in this visible world to the knowledge of it, and realised it face to face, dwelling ever therein. And he came to full understanding that re-birth was to be no more, that the Way of Holiness had been traversed, that all that should be done had been accomplished, and that after this life there would be for him no beyond. So the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla became yet another among the Arahats.
Then the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla came to the place where the Blessed One was; and when he had come there took his seat respectfully beside him. And being thas seated, the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla said to the Blessed One: "Lord; I wish to go and see my mother and father, if the Blessed One grant me permission." Thereupan the Blessed One pondered in his mind the thoughts of Ra.t.thapâla; and when he became conscious that Ra.t.thapâla was not minded to abandon the Discipline and to take to the lesser path, the lay-life, the Blessed One said to the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla: "At your pleasure, Ra.t.thapâla; go whenever you think fit."
So Ra.t.thapâla arose from his seat, and taking respectful farewell passed from the Blessed One, keeping him ever on the right. And, having arranaged his dwelling-place, and taking his robes and bowl, he departed thence for Thullako.t.thita; whither in the course of his wanderings he at length arrived, and took up his residence there in a pleasaunce called Deer Park, belonging to King Koravya. Then in the morning the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, putting on his yellow robes and taking his bowl, entered Thullako.t.thita for alms; and as he went from house to house in succession on his round for alms, he came to the place where his father dwelt. Now at this time his father was in the central hall of his house, being tended by his barber. Glancing up, he saw the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla coming in the distance. And seeing him he said, "These shaveling ascetics caused our only son, our dear and p. 796 beloved boy; to give up his home for homelessness." And so the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla received no gift at his father's house, nor even courteous refusal, but abuse alone.
Now at that moment a slave girl belonging to the relatives of the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla was about to throw away some gruel which had turned sour from being kept overnight. So the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla said to her: "Sister, if you are going to throw away that sour gruel, put it here into my bowl." Now, as she put this sour old gruel into the bowl of the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, she recognised his hands and his feet, and the sound of his voice. Thereupon she went to the place where his mother was, and said to her: "If you please, ma'am, do you know, my young master, Ra.t.thapâla, is come back." "Oh! If you but speak the truth," the mother replied, "you shall obtain your freedom." And then, going to his father, she said to him: "Do you know, husband, they say our son Ra.t.thapâla is returned."
In the meantime, the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla was eating his sour gruel under a wall close by, when his father came to him and said: "Is it so then, my dear Ra.t.thapâla, will you eat sour old gruel? Nay, dear Ra.t.thapâla, must you not come to your own house?"
"Where, householder," he answered, "is our house who have given up home to go forth unto homelessness. We went, homeless one, to your house, householder; but there we obtained no alms, not even courteous refusal, but only abuse."
"Come, dear Ra.t.thapâla, we will go home."
"Nay, householder, the need of a meal is at an end to-day."
"Then consent, dear Ra.t.thapâla, to take your meal with me to-morrow."
The Venerable Ra.t.thapâla by his silence consented; and his father, perceiving his consent, returned to his own house. And when he had returned, he caused a great heap of treasure and gold to be made, and caused it to be covered with mats. Then he summoned the wives of p. 797 the mundane life of the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, and said to them: "Come here, my daughters, trick yourselves out; in all the brave adornments in which ye were formerly so dear and winning to the young man Ra.t.thapâla." And in the course of that night his father caused drinks and meats and delicacies to be prepared in his house; and went and informed the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla when it was the time. "It is the time, dear Ra.t.thapâla," he said; "the food is ready." Then in the morning the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, clothed in his robes, took his bowl and went to his father's house; and sat down on the seat prepared for him.
Then his father, causing the heap of treasure and gold to be uncovered, said to the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla: "This, dear Ra.t.thapâla, is your maternal wealth, that your paternal wealth, and that other the wealth of your father's fathers. It is possible both to enjoy the good things of life, dear Ra.t.thapâla, and to perform good works. Come, dear Ra.t.thapâla, give up this Discipline, and return to family life, enjoy your wealth, and perform good works."
"If, householder, you would carry out my words, you would have this heap of treasure and gold put on to carts and conveyed to the Ganges, and there plunged into the middle of the stream; for therefrom will arise to you, householder, sorrow, and wailing, and grief, and woe, and despair."
Then they who had been the wives of his mundane life came to the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, and each of them, taking hold of his feet, said to him, "Who and what, pray, dear lord, are the goddesses for whose sake you go now the Way of Holiness?"
"Nay, sisters, 'tis for the sake of no goddesses that I now tread the Way of Holiness."
"Our lord Ra.t.thapâla addresses us by the name of sisters," they exclaimed; and they fell, swooning away, to the ground.
Then the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla said to his father, "If, householder, food is to be given, then do ye give it; but do not harass me therewith."
p. 798
"Eat, my son; the food is ready," said his father, and with his own hands he caused him to take his fill of drinks and meats and delicacies, pressing him with more until he refused. Then the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, having eaten and withdrawn his hand from the bowl, standing up and not sitting, recited these stanzas:--
"Behold this tricked-out frame, this maimed, corrupt,
And propped-up body, that doth yet so much
Usurp the thoughts of men, abiding not!
Behold this tricked-out form, bejewelled, ringed,
Set up with bones and skin; how to the view
Its garish raiment makes it bright and fair!
Fair feet, red tinged with dye, and fragrant mouth
That odorous powders had the savouring of;--
Such folly is enough for folly's friends,
But not for him who seeks the Shore beyond.
Fair locks in eight-fold curls, eyes fringed with black;--
Such folly is enough for folly's friends,
But not for him who seeks the Shore beyond.
Yea, tinged with black, fresh painted and adorned,
This fatal mass of foul mortality;--
Such folly is enough for folly's friends,
But not for him who seeks the Shore beyond.
The keeper set his snare, but as the deer
Not even touched the net; so we depart,
Our need of food fulfilled, unfettered, free;
But they who set the snare, they weep and wail."
And having recited these stanzas, standing ever, then the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla went to the deer-park of King Koravya. And when he had come thither, he sat down at the root of a tree to pass the heat of the day. Now King Koravya called his park-keeper and said to him: "Keeper, clear out the Migacîra park; we are going to visit it." "Certainly, your Majesty," answered the keeper, and as he was clearing the park he saw the p. 799 Venerable Ra.t.thapâla sitting under a tree. And having seen him, he went to the place where King Koravya was, and said, "Your Majesty, the park is cleared; and there is there the young sir, Ra.t.thapâla, the son of the chief family in Thullako.t.tita, whom you have frequently extolled. He is sitting at the foot of a tree to pass the heat of the day." "Then, keeper, let the park be for to-day; we will go and wait on that worshipful Ra.t.thapâla." So saying, King Koravya, having given orders for them to remove the food which had been prepared for him, and having caused his chariots so fair, so fair, to be made ready, got into his chariot so fair, and passed forth from Thullako.t.thita with his chariots so fair, so fair, in royal pomp to see the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla, and having gone in his chariot as far as a chariot might go, he alighted from it, and made his way on foot with a brilliant train to the place where the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla was. And when he had come there, be exchanged with the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla the greetings and compliments of friendliness and civility, and remaining standing beside him, he said to him: "Let the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla sit himself here on a couch of flowers."
"Nay, great King, sit you there. I will remain on my own seat."
So King Koravya sat down on the seat prepared for him; and when he was thus seated, he spake thus to the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla: "These, Ra.t.thapâla, are the four losses, overtaken by which in this world some persons cut off their hair and beard, and putting on yellow robes give up home to go forth unto homelessness. What are the four? They are, the loss from old age, the loss from sickness, the loss of wealth, and the loss of relatives. And what, Ra.t.thapâla, is the loss from old age? ln this world, Ra.t.thapâla, a person becomes worn, and old, and aged, p. 800 burdened with many years, nearing the term of his life. Then he falls a-thinking to himself: 'I am now worn and old and aged, and burdened with the weight of years, my term of life nearly done. I cannot now acquire the wealth I have not acquired, nor keep that which I have acquired. It were better then for me, cutting off my hair and beard, and putting on yellow robes, to go forth unto homelessness.' So he, overtaken by the loss from old age, cutting off his hair and beard, and clothed in yellow robes, goes forth from his home unto homelessness. This, Ra.t.thapâla, is called the loss from old age. Ra.t.thapâla, however, is still young and vigorous, still but a youth, with hair that age has not yet whitened; still in the fair bloom of youth, in the prime of his days. This loss from old age has not come to Ra.t.thapâla. What has Ra.t.thapâla known, or seen, or heard, that he has gone forth, forsaking his home, unto homelessness?
"And what, Ra.t.thapâla, is the loss from sickness? On this earth, Ra.t.thapâla, a person becomes ill, racked with pain, exceedingly sick, and he falls a-thinking to himself: 'Here I am, ill, racked with pain, exceedingly ill; I cannot acquire the wealth that I have not acquired, or increase that which I have acquired; it were better, therefore, for me to cut off my hair and beard, and, putting on yellow robes, to give up all and go forth to homelessness.' So he, overtaken by the loss from sickness, having cut off his hair and beard, and put on yellow robes, gives up all, and goes forth unto homelessness. This, Ra.t.thapâla, is called loss from sickness. But Ra.t.thapâla is still in good health, free from pain, with a healthy digestion, troubled by no excess of either hot or cold. Ra.t.thapâla has not suffered from loss by sickness. What has Ra.t.thapâla known, or seen, or heard, that he has gone forth from home unto homelessness?
"And what, Ra.t.thapâla, is loss of wealth? On this earth, Ra.t.thapâla, a certain one is wealthy, of great riches, having much substance; by degrees this substance of his goes to destruction. He falls a-thinking to p. 801 himself: 'Formerly I was wealthy, of great riches, having much substance; by degrees my substance has gone to destruction. I cannot acquire wealth that I have not acquired, nor can I increase the wealth that I have. It were therefore better for me, cutting off my hair and beard, and donning yellow robes, to give up all and go forth to homelessness.' So he, overtaken by loss of property, cuts off his hair and beard, and, putting on the yellow robes, goes forth to homelessness. This, Ra.t.thapâla, is called loss of wealth. But Ra.t.thapâla is the son of the chief family in this very Thûlako.t.thitam. He has not suffered from loss of wealth. What has Ra.t.thapâla known, or seen, or heard, that he has given up home to go forth unto homelessness?
"And what, Ra.t.thapâla, is loss of relatives? On this earth, Ra.t.thapâla, a certain one has many friends and blood relations; by degrees these friends and relatives fall away; and he falls a-thinking to himself: 'Formerly I had many friends and blood relations; these by degrees have fallen away; I cannot now acquire the wealth I have not acquired, nor can I increase that which I have. Therefore it were better for me to cut off my hair and beard, and, putting on yellow robes, to go forth from home to homelessness.' So he, overtaken by loss of relatives, cuts off his hair and beard, and, putting on the yellow robes, goes forth. This, Ra.t.thapâla, is called loss of relatives. But Ra.t.thapâla has, in this very town, many friends and relatives; he has not, therefore, suffered from loss of relatives. What, then, has Ra.t.thapâla known, or seen, or heard, that he has gone forth from home to homelessness?
These indeed, Ra.t.thapâla, are the four kinds of losses which cause some men to cut off their hair and beard, and, putting on yellow robes, to go forth from home to homelessness. These Ra.t.thapâla has not suffered. What then has Ra.t.thapâla known or seen or heard that he is gone forth?"
"There are four Doctrines, great King, declared by the p. 802 Blessed One, the All-Knowing and Seeing, the Arahat, the Very Buddha; which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth from home to homelessness. What are the four? 'The world passes away; it has no permanence.' This, great King, is the first doctrine declared by that Blessed One, the All-Knowing and Seeing, the Arahat, the Very Buddha; which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth unto homelessness.
"'The world is without a refuge, without protection.' This is the second doctrine declared by that Blessed One, the All-Knowing and Seeing, the Arahat, the Very Buddha; which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth unto homelessness.
"'The world has naught of its own, but, forsaking all, must pass away.' This is the third doctrine of the Blessed One (etc.), which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth into homelessness.
"'The world is ever wanting more, unsated, the slave of desire.' This, great King, is the fourth doctrine of the Blessed One (etc.), which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth from home to homelessness.
"These indeed, great King, are the four Doctrines declared by that Blessed One, the All-Knowing and Seeing, the Arahat, the Very Buddha; and these I, having known, and seen, and heard, have passed forth from home to homelessness."
"You have said, Ra.t.thapâla, 'that the world passes away; it has not permanence.' But how, Ra.t.thapâla, is this statement to be understood?"
"What think you, great King? Were you at twenty or twenty-five skilled in the management of elephants and horses and chariots, expert in the use or the bow and sword, firm of foot and strong of arm, at home in the fight?"
"At twenty or twenty-five, Ra.t.thapâla, I was skilled in the management of elephants and horses and chariots, expert in the use of bow and sword, firm of foot and strong of arm, at home in the fight. Why, at one p. 803 time, Ra.t.thapâla, my strength was more than human; I saw no equal of myself in strength."
"Then what think you, great King? Are you now thus firm of foot and strong of arm, unassailable in the fight?"
"Not so, Ra.t.thapâla, I am now worn and old and aged, burdened with length of years, my days well-nigh run. My age is eighty; sometimes, Ra.t.thapâla, I go to place my foot in one place, and put it down in another."
"Concerning this, then, great King, was it said by that Blessed One, the All-Knowing and Seeing, the Arahat, the Very Buddha, that the world passes away, and has no permanence,' which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth to homelessness."
"Marvellous, Ra.t.thapâla, wonderful! how well this indeed has been said by that Blessed One (etc.) that the things of the world pass away and have no permanence. For they do pass away, Ra.t.thapâla, and have no permanence. But in this royal house, Ra.t.thapâla, there are bodies of elephants, and of horses, and of chariots, and of infantry; and these would be a good protection against our necessity. But you said, Ra.t.thapâla, that the things of the world are without refuge, without protection. How then, Ra.t.thapâla, is this statement to be understood?"
"What think you, great King, of this? Have you any habitual complaint?"
"Yes, indeed, Ra.t.thapâla, I have a certain complaint which comes upon me, So that sometimes my friends and relatives stand round me and say, 'King Koravya must now fulfil his time! King Koravya will die.'"
"What think you, then, great King? Can you say to these friends and relatives, 'Come, friends and relatives, all of you, good people, divide this suffering with me, that so my own share of pain may be lightened.' Or must you bear this suffering alone?"
"No, Ra.t.thapâla, I cannot say to these friends and relatives what you have suggested; but I have to bear my suffering alone."
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"Concerning this, then, was it spoken by that Blessed One (etc.), that the things of the world are without a refuge, without protection; which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth unto homelessness."
"Marvellous, Ra.t.thapâla, wonderful! how well was it said by the Blessed one that the things of the world are without a refuge, without protection. For they are, indeed, without a refuge, without protection. But, Ra.t.thapâla, in this royal house is there abundant stock of treasure and gold stored up both in vault and in attic. But you, Ra.t.thapâla, said that the world has naught of its own, but, giving up all, must pass away. Yet how is this statement, Ra.t.thapâla, to be understood?"
"What think you, great King, of this? The pleasures of your five senses which you now possess and enjoy, and by which you are surrounded in this life, will you possess and enjoy, and be surrounded by, these very same pleasures hereafter also? Or will others enter upon this wealth, while you go to fare according to your deserts?"
"The pleasures, Ra.t.thapâla, which I possess and enjoy and am surrounded by in this life, I cannot, shall not, possess and enjoy, and be surrounded by these very same pleasures hereafter also. Then, indeed, others will enter upon this wealth, and I shall go to fare according to my deserts."
"Concerning this, then, great King, was it said by that Blessed One (etc.) that the world has naught of its own, but, leaving all, must pass away; which I, having known, and seen, and heard, have gone forth to homelessness."
"Marvellous, Ra.t.thapâla, wonderful! How well said by that Blessed One (etc.) that the world has naught of its own, but, leaving all, must pass away. But Ra.t.thapâla said that the world is ever wanting more, unsated, the slave of desire. Yet how, Ra.t.thapâla, must this be understood?"
"What think you of this, great King? Is this Kuru country in which you dwell prosperous?"
"Even so, Ra.t.thapâla, this Kuru country, in which I dwell, is prosperous."
"Then what think you, great King? If a servant p. 805 of yours should come from the East country, a man trustworthy and faithful; and when he had come, should say to you, 'If you please, great King, know that I am come from the East country: there saw I a mighty province, prosperous and rich, populous, thickspread with inhabitants. There are there vast numbers of elephants, and horses, and chariots, and infantry; there, too, is rouch ivory and skins; there much gold and coins, unwrought and wrought; there, too, multitudes of women. And it may be won by such and such a number of your servants. Conquer it, great King.' Pray, would you do it?"
"Yes, Ra.t.thapâla, I would conquer it and dwell there."
"What think you, great King? If your servants should come from the west country and from the north also, and from the south, having travelled across seas, faithful and trustworthy men; and if they were to tell you the same story (as above), and each should say, 'Conquer this land, great King': pray, would you do it?"
"I would indeed conquer it, Ra.t.thapâla, and dwell there."
"Concerning this, then, great King, was it said by that Blessed One, the All-Knowing and Seeing, the Arahat, the Very Buddha, that the world is ever wanting more, unsated, the slave of desire; which I, having perceived, and seen, and heard, have gone forth from home unto homelessness."
"Marvellous, Ra.t.thapâla, wonderful! How well was it said by that Blessed One (etc.) that the world is ever wanting more, unsated, and the slave of desire."
Thus spake the Venerable Ra.t.thapâla; and, having thus spoken, he said this further: "I see rich men in the world; they acquire wealth but bestow it not, from infatuation. Greedy, they hoard their riches, and in their desire long ever after more.
"A king, having conquered the world with violence, up to the limits of the ocean, occupying it all on this side of the sea, unsatisfied still, would desire, too, the parts beyond.
"Kings, and many others of the earth, approach death with desires unquenched; still unsated, they leave the body: in the world there is no standing still in desire.
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"Their relatives bewail him with dishevelled hair; and say 'Alas, verily he is dead!' They wrap him in a cloth and bear him away; and taking him to the pile, they burn him.
"So he, forsaking his wealth, pierced with stakes, is burnt in a single cloth. To the dying, neither relatives nor friends are a refuge here.
"The heirs take away his wealth; its owner goes to fare according to his deserts. The dead man wealth follows not, nor sons, nor wife, nor property, nor land.
"By wealth a man gains not length of years; nor by possessions escapes the decay of age. Short is this life, say the wise, and unenduring, full of change.
"Rich and poor alike are touched by this stroke; the fool even with the wise is touched. But the fool, thus stricken, that moment in his folly succumbs; the wise man is touched but is unmoved.
"Therefore wisdom is better than riches: 'tis by this that a man attains Arahatship, the end of existence. For they in whom folly hath not ceased, go on from birth to birth performing sinful acts.
"Man enters the womb and goes to a new existence, being born and re-born continually; believing such a one, the man of little wit again enters the womb and again is born to existence.
"As the wicked thief, taken in house-breaking, is punished in consequence of his own act, even so mankind; the wicked man is punished hereafter in another world in consequence of his own act.
"The pleasures of sense, varied, and sweet, and heart-delighting, stir up the mind in changing modes. Seeing the evils of the pleasures of sense, therefore I went forth, O King, unto homelessness.
"As fruit from the tree, so at the dissolution of the body fall the boy, and the youth, and the aged. Seeing this, O King, went I forth from home unto homelessness. Most excellent is the recluse's certain way."

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