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of the stooping branch of a tree he raised himself and left the river. But while returning to his abode he again staggered and fell to the ground, and might perhaps have died, had not Sujātā, the eldest daughter of a herdsman living near the jungle, who accidentally passed by the spot where the Bodhisattva had swooned, given him some rice-milk. Having thus refreshed himself he perceived that asceticism, instead of leading him to the goal he sought, brought about only an enfeeblement of both body and mind. Accordingly he gave up all ascetic practices, and paying due attention to the needs of the body he entered upon a course of reflection and self-examination, trusting to his own reason, the light which each one of us carries within himself to attain the truth. One night, while sitting in deep meditation under a fig tree ficus religiosa), the consciousness of true insight possessed him. He saw the mistaken ways of the faiths that then obtained, he discerned the sources whence earthly suffering flowed, and the way that led to their annihilation. He saw that the cause of suffering lay in a selfish cleaving to life, and that the way of escape from suffering lay in the attainment of the ten perfections (dasa pāramitās. With the discernment of these grand truths and their realization in life the Bodhisattva became enlightened; he thus attained Sambodhi and became a Buddha. Rightly has Sambodhi been called Svabodhanam to emphasise the fact that it can be accomplished only by self help without the extraneous aid of a teacher or an Isvara. As the poet says,
"Save his own soul's light overhead,
None leads man, none ever led."
Now arrived the most critical moment in the life of the Blessed One. After many struggles he had found the most profound truths, truths teeming with meaning but comprehensible only by the wise, truths fraught with blessings but difficult to discern by ordinary minds (prathakjana). Mankind were worldly and hankering for pleasure. Though they possessed the capacity for knowledge and virtue and could perceive the true nature of things, they remained in ignorance, entangled by deceptive thoughts. Could they comprehend the law of Karma, the law of concatenation of
cause and effect in the moral world? Could they rid themselves of the animistic idea of a soul and grasp the true nature of man? Could they overcome the propensity to seek salvation through a mediatorial caste of priests? Could they understand the final state of peace, that quenching of all worldly cravings which leads to the blissful haven of Nirvana? Would it be advisable for him in these circumstances to preach to all mankind the truths he had discovered? Might not failure result in anguish and pain? Such were the doubts and questions which arose in his mind, but only to be smothered and quenched by thoughts of universal compassion. He who had abandoned all selfishness could not but live for others. What could be a better way of living for others than to show them the path of attaining perfect bliss? What could be greater service to mankind than to rescue the struggling creatures engulfed in the mournful sea of samsăra ? Is not the gift of Dharma the greatest of all gifts? When the Perfect One considered how sorrow and suffering oppressed all beings, he became very compassionate, and made up his mind to preach to all mankind the eternal truths he had discovered.
With this firm resolve he started for Benares which has been famous for centuries as the centre of religious life and thought. On his way the Blessed One met one of his former acquaintances, Upaka, a naked Jain monk, who, struck by his majestic and joyful appearance, asked: "Who is the teacher under whose guidance you have renounced the world ?" The Enlightened One replied: "I have no master. To me there is no equal. I am the perfect One, the Buddha. I have attained peace. I have obtained Nirvā ņa. To found the kingdom of righteousness I am going to Benares. There I shall light the lamp of life for the benefit of those who are enshrouded in the darkness of sin and death." Upaka then asked: "Do you profess to be the Jina, the conqueror of the world?" The Buddha replied: "Jinas are those who have conquered self and the passions of self, those alone are victors who control their passions and abstain from sin. I have conquered self and overcome all sin. Therefore I am the Jina.”
At Benares he saw Kaundinya and his four companions in the Deer Park, Isipaṭaņa. When these five (the Pañcha
vaggiya) saw the Tathagata coming towards them, they agreed among themselves not to rise in salutation, nor greet him, nor offer him the customary refreshments, when he came, for he had broken his first vow by giving up ascetic practices. However when the Tathāgata approached them, they involuntarily rose from their seats, and in spite of their resolution greeted him and offered to wash his feet and do all that he might require. But they addressed him as Gautama after his family. Then the Lord said to them: "Call me not after my private name, for it is a rude and careless way of addressing one who has become an arhat. My mind is undisturbed, whether people treat me with respect or disrespect. But it is not courteous for others to call one who looks equally with a kind heart upon all living beings by his familiar name. Buddhas bring salvation to the world, and therefore they ought to be treated with respect as children treat their fathers." Then he preached to them his first great sermon, the Dharmachakrapravartana Sutra, in which he explained the Four Great Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, and made converts of them. They received the ordination and formed the first nucleus of the holy brotherhood of disciples known as the Sangha. Soon after, one night the Blessed One met Yaças, the youthful son of a nobleman of Benares, who was wandering like a madman much distressed by the sorrows of this world. The Tathāgata consoled him by pointing out the way to the blessedness of Nirvana, and made him his disciple. Seeing that Yaças had become a bhikshu, his former fifty-four jovial companions also joined the Sangha. The Blessed One sent out these sixty as missionaries in different directions to preach his universal religion. Shortly afterwards the Buddha had an accession of a thousand new disciples by the conversion of three leading fire-worshipping ascetics, Uruvilva Kāsyapa, Nadī Kāsyapa and Gaya Kasyapa, all brothers, with all their followers. To these he preached on a hill near Gaya a sermon on the fire sacrifice. In this discourse he explained how ignorance produced the three fires of lust, hatred and delusion, which burnt all living beings, and how these three fires might be quenched by the giving up of sin and the pursuit of right conduct.
From Gayă followed by his numerous disciples the Blessed One proceeded to Rajagriha, the capital of Magadha. After his great renunciation Siddartha passed through Rājagriha, and Bimbisăra, the king of Magadha, failing to dissuade him from his resolve to attain bodhi, requested the Bodhisattva to come back to Rājagriha after the accomplishment of his purpose and receive him as his disciple. In compliance with this request the Blessed One now visited Rajagriha. King Bimbisāra, hearing of the arrival of the World-Honoured, went with his counsellors and generals to the place where the Blessed One was, and after hearing a discourse on the nature of the self, became a lay disciple. The purport of this discourse was that the self, the so-called lord of knowledge, was born of sensation and recollection, and its constancy was a mere delusion. After taking refuge in the Buddha the king invited the Blessed One to the royal palace, entertained him and his bhikshus and presented to the Sangha his pleasure garden, the bamboo grove Vēņuvana, as a dwelling-place for the homeless disciples of the Great
A much more important event connected with the Blessed One's stay at Rajagriha was the conversion of Sariputra and Maudgalya yana, both pupils of the wandering monk Sañjaya. One day as Asvajit, one of the first five that were ordained by the Buddha, was going on his alms-seeking round,Sariputra saw the noble and dignified mien of Asvajit, and asked him who his teacher was and what doctrine he professed. Asvajit replied that his teacher was the Blessed One and that following the Tathagatha's teaching he had renounced the world. On hearing this Sariputra went to Maudgalyāyana and told him what he had heard. Then both of them went with all their followers to the Tathāgata and took their refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. The Buddha held both of them in high estimation for their intelligence and learning. Some of the books of the Abhidharma, the philosophical part of the Tripitaka, are ascribed to these two learned bhikshus. Another worthy acquisition to the faith during the Master's stay in the Bamboo Grove was the Brahman sage, Mahā Kasyapa, who had renounced his virtuous wife, his immense wealth and
all his possessions to find out the way of salvation. It was he, who, after the parinirvāņa of the Lord, held a council at Rajagriha under the patronage of King Ajàtasatru, and collected the Tripitaka, the Buddhist canon, with the help of a large number of bhikshus. He was in fact the first patriarch of the Buddhist Church.
During his active life as a teacher, the Blessed One made many converts. High and low, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, Brahmians and Chandalas, Jains and Ājīvakas, house-holders and ascetics, robbers and cannibals, nobles and peasants, men and women--all classes and conditions of men furnished him with many disciples, both ordained and lay. Among his converts were King Prasenajit of Kosala, Panchasikha the follower of Kapila, Mahā-Katyāyana of Benares, King Udayana of Kausāmbi, Kutadanta the head of the Brahman community of the village of Danamati, Krishi Bhāradvāja of the Brahman village of Ekanāla, Angulimāla the bandit and assassin who was the terror of the kingdom of Kosala, Āļavaka the the cannibal of Alavi, Ugrasena the acrobat, Upali the barber who had the honour of reciting the Vinaya collection of the Tripitaka in Kasyapa's Council, and Sunita the scavenger who was despised of men. Some of the members of the Sakya clan who were the close kith and kin of Siddartha also became the followers of Sakyamuni. Suddhodana, the father of Siddartha, became a lay disciple, and Rahula, his son, joined the Sangha. Yasodhara, the wife of Siddartha, and Prajapathi Gautami, his aunt, both joined the order of bhikshunis, which was established with some reluctance by the Master owing to the importunities of Prajā pati Gautāmi and the intercession of Ananda. Ananda, who was the Buddha's constant companion and personal attendant, was one of his cousins.
Another of his cousins was Devadatta who became notorious in later days by attempting to found a new sect of his own with severer and stricter rules than those prescribed by the Buddha. When he did not succeed in getting many followers, even though he had a special Vihara built for him by King Ajatasatru, the son of King Bimbisara, he plotted many schemes to take the life of Sakyamuni. Murderers