Sacred Books of the East eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 632 pages of information about Sacred Books of the East.
by night, was walking forth, and hearing sounds like these, “Alas! what sorrow,” forthwith replied, “You are welcome! here, on the other hand, there is a place of rest—­the most excellent, refreshing, Nirvana, quiet and unmoved, free from sorrow.”  Yasas hearing Buddha’s exhortation, there rose much joy within his heart.  And in the place of the disgust he felt, the cooling streams of holy wisdom found their way, as when one enters first a cold pellucid lake.  Advancing then, he came where Buddha was—­his person decked with common ornaments, his mind already freed from all defects; by power of the good root obtained in other births, he quickly reached the fruit of an Arhat.  The secret light of pure wisdom’s virtue enabled him to understand, on listening to the law; just as a pure silken fabric with ease is dyed a different color.  Thus having attained to self-illumination, and done that which was to be done, he was converted; then looking at his person richly ornamented, his heart was filled with shame.  Tathagata knowing his inward thoughts, in gathas spoke the following words:  “Though ornamented with jewels, the heart may yet have conquered sense; looking with equal mind on all that lives, in such a case the outward form does not affect religion; the body, too, may wear the ascetic’s garb, the heart, meanwhile, be immersed in worldly thoughts; dwelling in lonely woods, yet covetous of worldly show, such men are after all mere worldlings; the body may have a worldly guise, the heart mount high to things celestial.  The layman and the hermit are the same, when only both have banished thought of ‘self,’ but if the heart be twined with carnal bonds, what use the marks of bodily attention?  He who wears martial decorations, does so because by valor he has triumphed o’er an enemy—­so he who wears the hermit’s colored robe, does so for having vanquished sorrow as his foe.”  Then he bade him come, and be a member of his church; and at the bidding, lo! his garments changed! and he stood wholly attired in hermit’s dress, complete; in heart and outward look, a Sramana.  Now Yasas had in former days some light companions, in number fifty and four; when these beheld their friend a hermit, they, too, one by one, attained true wisdom.  By virtue of deeds done in former births, these deeds now bore their perfect fruit.  Just as when burning ashes are sprinkled by water, the water being dried, the flame bursts forth.  So now, with those above, the disciples were altogether sixty, all Arhats; entirely obedient and instructed in the law of perfect discipleship.  So perfected he taught them further:—­“Now ye have passed the stream and reached ’the other shore,’ across the sea of birth and death; what should be done, ye now have done! and ye may now receive the charity of others.  Go then through every country, convert those not yet converted; throughout the world that lies burnt up with sorrow, teach everywhere; instruct those lacking right instruction.  Go, therefore! each one travelling by himself; filled
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Sacred Books of the East from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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