[IV. In Rājagaha]

Bimbisārasamāgamakathā
39. The Meeting with King Bimbisāra

Atha kho Bhagavā Gayāsīse yathābhirantaṁ viharitvā,
Then the Gracious One, having dwelt at Gayā's Head for as long as he liked,

yena Rājagahaṁ tena cārikaṁ pakkāmi,
left on walking tour for Rājagaha,

mahatā Bhikkhusaṅghena saddhiṁ,
together with a great Community of monks,

bhikkhusahassena sabbeheva purāṇajaṭilehi.
with a thousand monks all of whom were formerly yogis. Note that again no mention is made of the monks who ordained at Bārāṇasī.01

Atha kho Bhagavā, anupubbena cārikaṁ caramāno,
Then the Gracious One, walking gradually on walking tour,

yena Rājagahaṁ tad-avasari.
went and entered Rājagaha.

Tatra sudaṁ Bhagavā Rājagahe viharati,
There the Gracious One dwelt near Rājagaha,

Laṭṭhivane Suppatiṭṭhe Cetiye.
by the Suppatiṭṭha Shrine in the Palmyra Wood. Comm: Tāluyyāne; laṭṭhi normally means a sapling, so Sapling Wood would be another translation, in Mahāvastu the name is given as Yaṣṭīvana, which supports the alternative translation. Comm: Suppatiṭṭhe Cetiye ti aññatarasmiṁ vaṭarukkhe, tassa kiretaṁ nāma; it appears from this that the banyan tree itself was known as the Suppatiṭṭha Cetiya (Suppatiṭṭha = Well-Established).02

Assosi kho Rājā Māgadho Seniyo Bimbisāro:
The Magadhan King Seniya Bimbisāra heard: Jā Nid says he heard from the Park Keeper (Uyyānapāla).03

“Samaṇo khalu bho Gotamo Sakyaputto Sakyakulā pabbajito,
“The ascetic Gotama, the Sakyan Son, who has gone forth from the Sakya family,

Rājagahaṁ anuppatto Rājagahe viharati,
has arrived in Rājagaha, and is dwelling near Rājagaha,

Laṭṭhivane Suppatiṭṭhe Cetiye.
by the Suppatiṭṭha Shrine in the Palmyra Garden.

Taṁ kho pana Bhagavantaṁ Gotamaṁ
But about that Gracious One Gotama

evaṁ kalyāṇo kittisaddo abbhuggato:
this beautiful report has gone round:

‘Iti pi so Bhagavā Arahaṁ Sammāsambuddho,
‘Such is he, the Gracious One, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha,

vijjācaraṇasampanno Sugato lokavidū,
the one endowed with understanding and good conduct, the Fortunate One, the one who understands the worlds,

anuttaro purisadammasārathī,
the unsurpassed guide for those people who need taming,

Satthā devamanussānaṁ Buddho Bhagavā.’
the Teacher of gods and men, the Buddha, the Gracious One.’

So imaṁ lokaṁ sadevakaṁ Samārakaṁ Sabrahmakaṁ,
This world with its gods, Māra, and Brahmā,

sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiṁ pajaṁ sadevamanussaṁ,
this generation, with its ascetics and brāhmaṇas, princes and men,

sayaṁ abhiññā sacchikatvā pavedeti.
he makes known, after gaining deep knowledge for himself.

So Dhammaṁ deseti ādikalyāṇaṁ,
He teaches the Dhamma (which is) good in the beginning,

majjhekalyāṇaṁ pariyosānakalyāṇaṁ; sātthaṁ sabyañjanaṁ;
good in the middle, good in the end; with its meaning, with its (proper) phrasing;

kevalaparipuṇṇaṁ parisuddhaṁ brahmacariyaṁ pakāseti.
and explains the spiritual life which is complete, full and pure.

Sādhu kho pana tathārūpānaṁ Arahataṁ dassanaṁ hotī.” ti
But the sight of such Worthy Ones is good.”

Atha kho Rājā Māgadho Seniyo Bimbisāro,
Then the Magadhan King Seniya Bimbisāra,

dvādasanahutehi Māgadhikehi brāhmaṇagahapatikehi parivuto
surrounded by twelve myriads Nahuta = 10,000 = myriad.04 of brāhmaṇas and householders from Magadha

yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkami,
approached the Gracious One,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdi.
and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down at one side.

Te pi kho dvādasanahutā Māgadhikā brāhmaṇagahapatikā,
Of those twelve myriads of brāhmaṇas and householders from Magadha,

appekacce Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdiṁsu.
some, after worshipping the Gracious One, sat down on one side.

Appekacce Bhagavatā saddhiṁ sammodiṁsu,
Some exchanged greetings with the Gracious One,

sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sārāṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdiṁsu.
and after exchanging polite and courteous greetings, sat down on one side.

Appekacce yena Bhagavā tenañjaliṁ paṇāmetvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdiṁsu.
Some, after raising their hands in respectful salutation to the Gracious One, sat down on one side.

Appekacce Bhagavato nāmagottaṁ sāvetvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdiṁsu.
Some, after announcing their name and family to the Gracious One, sat down on one side.

Appekacce tuṇhībhūtā ekam-antaṁ nisīdiṁsu.
Some, while keeping silent, sat down on one side.

Atha kho tesaṁ dvādasanahutānaṁ Māgadhikānaṁ
Then this occurred to those twelve myriads

brāhmaṇagahapatikānaṁ etad-ahosi:
of brāhmaṇas and householders from Magadha:

“Kiṁ nu kho Mahāsamaṇo Uruvelakassape brahmacariyaṁ carati,
“How is it: does the Great Ascetic live the spiritual life under Uruvelakassapa,

udāhu Uruvelakassapo Mahāsamaṇe brahmacariyaṁ caratī?” ti
or does Uruvelakassapa live the spiritual life under the Great Ascetic?”

Atha kho Bhagavā tesaṁ dvādasanahutānaṁ Māgadhikānaṁ
o Then the Gracious One, knowing with his mind the reflection

brāhmaṇagahapatikānaṁ cetasā cetoparivitakkam-aññāya,
that had arisen in the minds of the Magadhan brāhmaṇas and householders,

āyasmantaṁ Uruvelakassapaṁ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi:
addressed the venerable Uruvelakassapa with a verse:

“Kim-eva disvā Uruvelavāsī,
o Having seen what did you, one of Uruvelā,

Pahāsi aggiṁ kisako vadāno?
Who spoke of austerity, The commentary offers two explanations of kisako vadāno, either it means Kassapa was spoken of as austere, or that he recommended austerity. I prefer the latter as that is what is in need of explanation.05 give up the sacrificial fire?

Pucchāmi taṁ Kassapa etam-atthaṁ,
I ask you the reason for this, Kassapa,

Kathaṁ pahīnaṁ tava aggihuttan?”-ti
Why did you give up the fire sacrifice?”

 

“Rūpe ca sadde ca atho rase ca,
o The sacrifices speak of forms, sounds,

Kāmitthiyo cābhivadanti yaññā.
And also tastes, sensuality, and women.

‘Etaṁ malan’-ti upadhīsu ñatvā,
Having understood that in the attachments ‘this is a stain’,

Tasmā na yiṭṭhe na hutte arañjin.”-ti
I therefore take no delight in offerings and sacrifices.”

 

“Ettha ca te mano na ramittha Kassapā,” ti Bhagavā,
“If your mind takes no delight, Kassapa,” said the Gracious One,

“Rūpesu saddesu atho rasesu,
“In forms, sounds and also tastes,

Atha kocarahi devamanussaloke,
Then where in the world with its gods and men,

Rato mano Kassapa brūhi metan.”-ti
Does your mind take delight, Kassapa, speak about this.”

 

“Disvā padaṁ santam-anūpadhīkaṁ,
“Having seen the state of peace, free of attachments,

Akiñcanaṁ kāmabhave asattaṁ,
(That) nothingness, unattached to the sensual realm,

Anaññathābhāvim-anaññaneyyaṁ,
The Unchangeable, Lit: that which does not become other.06 unknown to others,

Tasmā na yiṭṭhe na hutte arañjin.”-ti
I therefore take no delight in offerings and sacrifices.” Mahāvastu has these verses (with some variations) and follows them with several more unrecorded in the Pāḷi, which appear to be late additions.07

 

Atha kho āyasmā Uruvelakassapo uṭṭhāyāsanā,
Then the venerable Uruvelakassapa, after rising from his seat,

ekaṁsaṁ uttarāsaṅgaṁ karitvā,
arranging his outer robe on one shoulder,

Bhagavato pādesu sirasā nipatitvā,
and falling with his head at the feet Nidāna: pādapiṭṭhe, at the foot-stool.08 of the Gracious One,

Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
said to the Gracious One: Nidāna: sattatālappamāṇaṁ sattakkhattuṁ vehāsaṁ abbhuggantvā; after having risen into the sky seven times the height of seven Palmyra trees.09

“Satthā me Bhante Bhagavā sāvakoham-asmi,
“The Gracious One is my Teacher, venerable Sir, I am his disciple,

Satthā me Bhante Bhagavā sāvakoham-asmī.” ti
the Gracious One is my Teacher, venerable Sir, I am his disciple.” Nidāna says the Buddha took the opportunity to preach the Mahānāradakassapajātaka (Jā 544) at this point, which describes how he converted Kassapa in a previous life.10

Atha kho tesaṁ dvādasanahutānaṁ Māgadhikānaṁ
Then this occurred to those twelve myriads

brāhmaṇagahapatikānaṁ etad-ahosi:
of brāhmaṇas and householders from Magadha:

“Uruvelakassapo Mahāsamaṇe brahmacariyaṁ caratī.” ti
“Uruvelakassapa lives the spiritual life under the Great Ascetic.”

Atha kho Bhagavā tesaṁ dvādasanahutānaṁ Māgadhikānaṁ
Then the Gracious One, knowing with his mind the reflection

brāhmaṇagahapatikānaṁ cetasā cetoparivitakkam-aññāya,
that had arisen in the minds of the Magadhan brāhmaṇas and householders,

anupubbikathaṁ kathesi,
spoke about the gradual teaching to them,

seyyathīdaṁ: dānakathaṁ sīlakathaṁ saggakathaṁ,
that is to say: talk about giving, talk about virtue, talk about heaven,

kāmānaṁ ādīnavaṁ okāraṁ saṅkilesaṁ,
the danger, degradation, and defilement of sensual desires,

nekkhamme ānisaṁsaṁ pakāsesi.
and the advantages of renunciation, (these) he explained.

Yadā te Bhagavā aññāsi kallacitte muducitte,
When the Gracious One knew that they had ready minds, pliable minds,

vinīvaraṇacitte udaggacitte pasannacitte,
open minds, uplifted minds, confident minds,

atha yā Buddhānaṁ sāmukkaṁsikā Dhammadesanā taṁ pakāsesi:
he explained to them the Dhamma teaching the Awakened Ones have discovered themselves:

Dukkhaṁ Samudayaṁ Nirodhaṁ Maggaṁ.
Suffering, Origination, Cessation, Path. The Pāḷi texts only give this synopsis, but Mahāvastu records a talk at this point, which is reproduced elsewhere on this website as The Fourth Discourse of the Buddha.11

Seyyathā pi nāma suddhaṁ vatthaṁ apagatakāḷakaṁ
Just as it is known that a clean cloth without a stain

sammad-eva rajanaṁ paṭiggaṇheyya,
will take the dye well,

evam-eva ekādasanahutānaṁ Māgadhikānaṁ brāhmaṇagahapatikānaṁ,
just so to eleven myriads of the Magadhan brāhmaṇas and householders, This number is confirmed by Mahāvastu (3.449), but the latter text omits the mention that one myriad more became lay-followers, mentioning instead that twelve myriads of the coachmen and drivers became lay-followers. See the end of The Fourth Discourse of the Buddha.12

Bimbisārappamukkhānaṁ tasmiṁ yeva āsane,
with Bimbisāra at their head on that very seat,

virajaṁ vītamalaṁ Dhammacakkhuṁ udapādi:
the dust-free, stainless Vision-of-the-Dhamma arose: Comm: Dhammacakkhun-ti sotāpattimaggañāṇaṁ; knowledge of the Path of Stream-Entry.13

“Yaṁ kiñci samudayadhammaṁ,
“Whatever has the nature of arising,

sabban-taṁ nirodhadhamman.”-ti
all that has the nature of ceasing.”

ekanahutaṁ upāsakattaṁ paṭivedesi.
and one myriad (of them) made known their state as lay-followers.

 

Atha kho Rājā Māgadho Seniyo Bimbisāro, diṭṭhadhammo pattadhammo,
Then the Māgadhan King Seniya Bimbisāra, having seen the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma,

viditadhammo pariyogāḷhadhammo tiṇṇavicikiccho vigatakathaṁkatho,
understood the Dhamma, penetrated the Dhamma, crossed over uncertainty, being without doubts,

vesārajjappatto aparappaccayo Satthusāsane Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
having attained full confidence, having become independent of others in the Teacher's teaching, said this to the Gracious One:

“Pubbe me Bhante kumārassa sato pañca assāsakā ahesuṁ
“Formerly, venerable Sir, when I was a boy I had five wishes Comm: Assāsakā ti āsīsanā; patthanā ti attho; assāsaka means desires, wishes is the meaning.14

te me etarahi samiddhā.
which are fulfilled for me now. Lit: are successful, have taken effect.15

Pubbe me Bhante kumārassa sato etad-ahosi:
Formerly, venerable Sir, when I was a boy this occurred to me:

‘Aho vata maṁ rajje abhisiñceyyun’ ti -
‘Oh, may I be anointed (King) in the Kingdom’ -

ayaṁ kho me Bhante paṭhamo assāsako ahosi, so me etarahi samiddho.
this was my first wish, venerable Sir, which has been fulfilled for me now.

‘Tassa ca me vijitaṁ Arahaṁ Sammāsambuddho okkameyyā’ ti -
‘May a Worthy One, a Perfect Sambuddha enter into my realm’ -

ayaṁ kho me Bhante dutiyo assāsako ahosi, so me etarahi samiddho.
this was my second wish, venerable Sir, which has been fulfilled for me now.

‘Tañ-cāhaṁ Bhagavantaṁ payirupāseyyan’-ti -
‘May I attend on that Gracious One’ -

ayaṁ kho me Bhante tatiyo assāsako ahosi, so me etarahi samiddho.
this was my third wish, venerable Sir, which has been fulfilled for me now.

‘So ca me Bhagavā dhammaṁ deseyyā’ ti -
‘May that Gracious One teach me the Dhamma’ -

ayaṁ kho me Bhante catuttho assāsako ahosi, so me etarahi samiddho.
this was my fourth wish, venerable Sir, which has been fulfilled for me now.

‘Tassa cāhaṁ Bhagavato Dhammaṁ ājāneyyan’-ti -
‘May I understand that Gracious One's Dhamma' -

ayaṁ kho me Bhante pañcamo assāsako ahosi, so me etarahi samiddho.
this was my fifth wish, venerable Sir, which has been fulfilled for me now.

Pubbe me Bhante kumārassa sato ime pañca assāsakā ahesuṁ
Formerly, venerable Sir, when I was a boy I had these five wishes

te me etarahi samiddhā.
and these I am successful in now.

Abhikkantaṁ Bhante! Abhikkantaṁ Bhante!
Excellent, venerable Sir! Excellent, venerable Sir!

Seyyathā pi Bhante nikkujjitaṁ vā ukkujjeyya,
Just as, venerable Sir, one might set upright what has been overturned,

paṭicchannaṁ vā vivareyya, mūḷhassa vā maggaṁ ācikkheyya,
or open up what has been closed, or show a path to one who is lost,

andhakāre vā telappajjotaṁ dhāreyya: ‘cakkhumanto rūpāni dakkhintī’ ti,
or carry an oil lamp into the darkness, (thinking): ‘those with vision will see forms’,

evam-evaṁ Bhagavatā anekapariyāyena Dhammo pakāsito.
just so has the Dhamma been explained by the Gracious One in countless ways.

Esāhaṁ Bhante Bhagavantaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi,
I go, venerable Sir, to the Gracious One for refuge,

Dhammañ-ca Bhikkhusaṅghañ-ca.
and to the Dhamma, and to the Community of monks.

Upāsakaṁ maṁ Bhagavā dhāretu
Please bear it in mind, Gracious One, that I am a lay follower

ajjatagge pāṇupetaṁ saraṇaṁ gataṁ.
who has gone for refuge from today forward for as long as I have the breath of life.

Adhivāsetu ca me bhante Bhagavā,
May the Gracious One consent, reverend Sir, to me

svātanāya bhattaṁ saddhiṁ Bhikkhusaṅghenā” ti.
(offering him) a meal on the morrow, together with the Community of monks.”

Adhivāsesi Bhagavā tuṇhībhāvena.
The Gracious One consented by maintaining silence.

Atha kho Rājā Māgadho Seniyo Bimbisāro Bhagavato adhivāsanaṁ viditvā,
Then the Māgadhan King Seniya Bimbisāra, having understood the Gracious One's consent,

uṭṭhāyāsanā, Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā, padakkhiṇaṁ katvā, pakkāmi.
after rising from his seat, worshipping and circumambulating the Gracious One, went away.