§ 1. Legendary life of the Buddha

§ 1 a. Birth amid rejoicing of angels. The legends and stories of this collection assume a knowledge on the part of the reader of at least the principal facts and legends of the life of the Buddha as set forth in the Sacred Scriptures. For a brief account of the divisions, contents, and date of the Sacred Scriptures of the Buddhists, see T. W. Rhys Davids’s article Buddhism in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed. Cf. also Introduction, § 4. For a more comprehensive account, see M. Winternitz, Geschichte der Indischen Litteratur: ii. 1, Die Buddhistische Litteratur, pp. 1-139. Winternitz gives a useful bibliography of the subject at p. 1, note 1. Rhys Davids holds that the Four Greater Nikāyas and the greater part of such books of the Lesser Nikāya as Itivuttaka and Sutta Nipāta are as old as 400 B.C., and that of the Vinaya, Mahā Vagga and Culla Vagga, i-x, are as old as 300 B.C. Most scholars consider these dates too early, but there are the best of reasons for believing the greater part of these books to be anterior to the Inscriptions of Asoka; that is to say, older than 250 B.C. The Jātaka Book represented by Fausböll’s text is a recension made in Ceylon in the early part of the fifth century A.D., but contains a vast amount of material many centuries older. For translations of the Sacred Books, see Introduction, § 17, paragraph 3.01 The Buddha was born in 563 B.C. and died in 483. On the date of the Buddha, see J. F. Fleet, Inscriptions (Indian), in Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. xiv. p. 624, col. 1, and bibliography in Winternitz, p. 2, note 1.02 His father was Suddhodana, king of the Sākiya clan in Kapilavatthu, and his mother was Queen Māyā, daughter of the king of the neighboring Koliya clan. He was born in the Lumbini Garden near Kapilavatthu, his mother standing upright at his birth and supporting herself by a branch of a Sāl-tree. On the birth of the Buddha, see Dīgha, 14: i. 16-30; Majjhima, 123; Aṅguttara, ii. 13017-13126; Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 4721-5332: translated by Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 58-68; by Warren, Buddhism in Translation, pp. 38-48. On the subject in general, see E. Windisch, Buddhas Geburt.03 In the Nālaka Sutta of the Sutta Nipāta, Sutta Nipāta, iii. 11, part 1 (Stanzas 679-698).04 one of the oldest of old Buddhist books, we read that at his birth the angels rejoiced and sang. The aged seer Asita asked them, “Why doth the company of angels rejoice?” They replied, “He that shall become Buddha is born in the village of the Sākiyas for the welfare and happiness of mankind; therefore are we joyful and exceeding glad.” [28.2]

§ 1 b. The Buddhist Simeon. Sutta Nipāta, iii. 11, part 1. Derived from the same source is Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 5411-5529: translated by Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 68-71; by Warren, Buddhism in Translations, pp. 48-51.05 Asita went to Suddhodana’s residence and said, “Where is the child? I too wish to see him.” The Sākiyas showed him the child. When Asita saw the child, he rejoiced and was exceeding glad. He took him in his arms and said, “Incomparable is he! preëminent among men!” But remembering his own departure, he became sorrowful and wept tears. Said the Sākiyas, “Is any adversity in store for the child?” “No,” replied Asita, “this child shall attain Supreme Enlightenment; he shall behold Nibbāna; out of love and compassion for the multitude he shall set in motion the Wheel of the Law; far and wide shall his Religion be dispersed. But as for me, I have not long to live in this world; ere these things shall come to pass, death will be upon me. I shall not hear the Law from the Peerless Champion. Therefore am I stricken with woe, overwhelmed with sorrow, afflicted with grief.”

§ 1 c. Youth and marriage. Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 5529-5932: translated, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 71-78; Buddhism in Translations, pp. 51-57. See also Dīgha, 14: ii. l6-30; Aṅguttara, i. 145-146; Majjhima, 26: i. 163.06 When the child was five days old, he was named Siddhattha. Seven Brahmans prophesied that he would become either a Universal Monarch or a Buddha. But the eighth, Koṇḍañña, perceiving that the child possessed the Infallible Signs of a Future Buddha, prophesied that he would become a Buddha. On the same day each of eighty thousand kinsmen dedicated a son to his service. Seven days after his birth his mother died, and he was reared by his aunt and stepmother, Pajāpatī Gotamī. In his nineteenth year Ed. note: tradition holds it was in fact in his sixteenth year. 07 he was married to his own cousin Yasodharā, daughter of Suddhodana, passed his youth amid luxury and splendor, in three mansions appropriate to the three seasons, surrounded by forty thousand nautch-girls, like a very god surrounded by troops of celestial nymphs. In his twenty-ninth year he beheld the Four Ominous Sights: an Old Man, a Sick Man, a Corpse, and a Monk. Thereupon he resolved to become a monk.

§ 1 d. Resolve to seek after Nibbāna. Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 6020-6114: translated, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 79-80; Buddhism in Translations, pp. 58-60. 08 At this time word was brought to him that his wife had given birth to a son. “Rāhula is born!” he exclaimed, “a Bond is born!” Therefore his son was named Rāhula. As he entered the city in state, Kisā Gotamī, a [28.3] maiden of the Warrior caste, cried out, “Happy the mother, happy the father, happy the wife, of such as he!” Thought the Future Buddha, “She says that the heart is thus made happy (nibbāyati). Now what must be extinguished (nibbuta) that the heart may be happy (nibbuta)?” Then the answer came to him, “the Fire of Lust, Hatred, and Delusion is extinguished (nibbuta), then only is the heart truly happy (nibbuta). She has taught a good lesson. For I am in search of happiness (nibbāna). This very day I must renounce the house-life, retire from the world, become a monk, and seek after True Happiness (Nibbāna).

§ 1 e. The Great Retirement. Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 6114-65, end: translated, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 80-87; Buddhism in Translations, pp. 60-67. See also Majjhima, 26: 1. 163.09 Returning to his palace, he lay down on his bed, and troops of nautch-girls came in and began to dance and sing. But the Future Buddha no more took pleasure in them and fell asleep. Waking in the night, he beheld those nautch-girls asleep, and disgusted by their loathsome appearance, resolved to make the Great Retirement immediately. So rising from his bed, he called his charioteer Channa and ordered him to saddle his horse Kanthaka. “I will just take a look at my son,” thought the Future Buddha, and opened the door of his wife’s apartment. But fearing that, if he woke his wife, he might be prevented from carrying out his resolution, he closed the door again and departed without seeing his son.

Mounted on his horse Kanthaka and accompanied by his charioteer Channa, he passed out of the city gate, an angel opening the gate. Māra the Evil One offered him Universal Sovereignty if he would abandon his purpose, but the Future Buddha rebuked the Tempter and passed on. But the Evil One ever followed him, watching his opportunity. The Future Buddha proceeded to the river Anomā, where he received the Eight Requisites of a monk from an angel and dismissed Channa and Kanthaka. Channa returned sorrowfully to the city, but Kanthaka died of a broken heart. The Future Buddha spent the next seven days in Anūpiya Mango Grove in the enjoyment of the bliss of monkhood.

1 f. The Great Struggle. Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 6601-6805: translated, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 87-91; Buddhism in Translations, pp. 67-71. The story of the Buddha’s visit to Rājagaha and interview with Bimbisāra is derived from Sutta Nipāta, iii. 1, Pabbajjā Sutta, and Commentary, as is expressly stated at Jātaka, i. 6631-33. For the story of the Buddha’s student-days under Āḷāra Kālāma and Uddaka, see Majjhima, 26: i. 163-166. For the story of the Great Struggle, see Majjhima, 36, and Majjhima, 12 (last half) : i. 7723-81. For the story of the Temptation by Māra, see Sutta Nipāta, iii. 2, Padhāna Sutta.10 From Anūpiya Mango Grove the [28.4] Future Buddha went on foot to Rājagaha, the capital of King Bimbisāra, and his round for alms door to door. Bimbisāra, pleased with his deportment, offered his kingdom. But the Future Buddha refused his offer, declaring that he renounced all for the sake of attaining Supreme Enlightenment. Bimbisāra then requested him, so soon as he should become a Buddha, to visit his kingdom first, and the Future Buddha gave his promise so to do. The Future Buddha then attached himself to Āḷāra and teachers of the Yoga philosophy. But becoming convinced that the Yoga discipline was not the Way of Salvation, he abandoned the practice of it. The Future Buddha then proceeded to Uruvelā, and attended by Koṇḍañña and four other monks, entered upon the Great Struggle.

For six years he engaged in prolonged fasts and other austerities, hoping thus to win mastery over self and Supreme Enlightenment. While thus engaged, he was approached and tempted to abandon the Great Struggle by Māra the Evil One, accompanied by his Nine Hosts, namely, Lust, Discontent, Hunger and Thirst, Craving, Sloth and Laziness, Cowardice, Doubt, Hypocrisy and Stupidity, Gain, Fame, Honor, and Glory Falsely Obtained, Exaltation of Self, and Contempt of Others. But the Future Buddha rebuked the Evil One, and he departed. One day, while absorbed in trance induced by suspension of the breath, he became utterly exhausted and fell in a swoon. His five companions believed him to be dead, and certain deities went to his father, King Suddhodana, and so informed him. But the king refused to believe this, declaring that his son could not die before attaining Enlightenment. The Future Buddha, convinced that fasting and other forms of self-mortification were not the Way of Salvation, abandoned the Great Struggle. Thereupon his five companions, regarding him as a backslider, deserted him and went to the Deer-park near Benāres.

§ 1 g. The Enlightenment. The first two paragraphs are derived from Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 6805-8114: translated, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 91-111; the story of the Enlightenment is also translated in Buddhism in Translations, pp. 71-83. For much simpler accounts of the Enlightenment, see Dīgha, 14: ii. 30-35, and Majjhima, 26: i. 167. The story of the Temptation of the Buddha by the Daughters of Māra is derived from Saṁyutta, iv. 3. 5. This story is alluded to in Sutta Nipāta, Stanza 835. A connected account of the Buddha’s life from the Enlightenment to the reception of Sāriputta and Moggallāna into the Order is given in the Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, i. 1-24. The Nidānakathā follows this account in the main.11 One night the Future Buddha beheld [28.5] five visions. After considering their purport, he came to the following conclusion, “This very day I shall attain Enlightenment.” So on the evening of the following day he seated himself under a banyan-tree and formed the following resolution, “Let my skin, my nerves, and my bones dry up, and likewise my flesh and blood; but until I attain Supreme Enlightenment, I will not leave this seat!” Māra the Evil One endeavored to drive him from his seat with the Nine Rains, namely, wind, rain, rocks, weapons, blazing coals, hot ashes, sand, mud, and darkness. But the Future Buddha sat unmoved. Māra then approached the Future Buddha and commanded him to leave his seat. But the Future Buddha refused and rebuked him. Thereupon the Evil One left him, and troops of angels came and honored him. In the first watch of the night the Future Buddha obtained Knowledge of Previous Existences; in the middle watch. Supernatural Vision; and in the last watch, Knowledge of the Causes of Craving, Rebirth, and Suffering. Thus did he attain Supreme Enlightenment and become a Buddha. Thereupon he breathed forth the Song of Triumph of all the Buddhas.

For seven days the Buddha sat motionless on the Throne of Enlightenment, experiencing the Bliss of Deliverance. After spending four weeks in earnest thought near the Tree of Wisdom (the Bo-tree), he spent the fifth week at the Goatherd’s Banyan-tree. Here he was tempted by the three daughters of Māra the Evil One, namely. Craving, Discontent, and Lust. But he repulsed their advances, saying to them, “Begone! The Exalted One has put away Lust, Ill-will, and Delusion.” The sixth and seventh weeks were spent at the Mucalinda-tree and the Rājāyatana-tree respectively. On the last day of the seventh week he received his first converts, two merchants named Tapussa and Bhallika. He then returned to the Goatherd’s Banyan-tree.

Here, according to the Mahā-Parinibbāna Sutta, Dīgha, 16: ii. 112-114.12 Māra the Evil One tempted him to accomplish his decease, saying, “Let the Exalted One now pass into Supreme Nibbāna.” But the Buddha resisted the temptation, declaring that he should not accomplish his decease until his Religion had been preached far and wide. Cf. Dīgha, 16: ii. 104-106; Saṁyutta, li. 10: v. 260-262; Udāna, vi. 1: 63-64.13 But according to the [28.6] Vinaya, Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, i. 5.14 the Mahāpadāna Sutta, Dīgha, 14: ii. 35-40.15 the Ariyapariyesana Sutta, Majjhima, 26: i. 167-169.16 and the Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 81.17 the Buddha was assailed by doubt as to the wisdom of preaching a Religion so profound and difficult of comprehension to a race in the bondage of desire. The more he considered the matter, the more his heart inclined to a life of inaction and the less to the preaching of the Law. Thereupon Brahmā, fearing that the world would be lost, approached him and besought him to make known what he had himself received. Out of compassion for mankind the Buddha granted his request.

§ 1 h. Ministry and death. Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 8114-94, end: translated, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 111-133. The Nidānakathā follows closely Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, i. 6-24, and Culla Vagga, vi. 4. For the death of the Buddha, see Dīgha, 16.18 Thought the Buddha, “To whom shall I first preach the Law.” Immediately he thought of his former teacher Āḷāra Kālāma. But a deity told him that Āḷāra Kālāma had been dead for seven days. Then he thought of Uddaka Rāmaputta. But a deity told him that Uddaka Rāmaputta had died that very evening. Then he thought of the five monks who had been his companions, and perceiving by the power of Supernatural Vision that they were residing in the Deer-park near Benāres, he resolved to go thither and set in motion the Wheel of the Law. On his way thither he met Upaka the Naked Ascetic. “Who are you?” inquired Upaka. “I am the Supreme Buddha.” Upaka expressed neither approval nor disapproval. “It may be,” he remarked, and walked away shaking his head and wagging his tongue. Cf. story xxiv. 9.19

When the five monks saw him approaching, they exclaimed, “Here comes the backslider! Pay no attention to him!” But the Buddha so completely suffused the hearts of those monks with love that they arose from their seats and prostrated themselves before his feet. To these five monks the Buddha then preached his first sermon, the Discourse on the Four Noble Truths; to wit, the Nature of Suffering, the Origin of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, and the Noble Eight-fold Path as the Way thereto. The five monks perceived that whatsoever comes into existence, that must also cease to be, and requested the Buddha to receive them into his Order. Thereupon the Buddha founded his Order of Monks by saying in a formal manner to the five, [28.7] “Come, monks! lead the Holy Life, to the utter extinction of Suffering.” The Buddha then preached to the five monks the Discourse on Unreality. Through this sermon they were freed from the Contaminations, that is to say, lust, desire for existence, and ignorance of the Truths, and thus attained Arahatship.

At that time there lived in Benāres a rich young man named Yasa: He possessed three mansions appropriate to the three seasons and lived amid luxury and splendor, with a large retinue of nautch-girls. One night he beheld those nautch-girls asleep, and disgusted by their loathsome appearance, resolved to abandon the house-life for the houseless life of a monk. So leaving his house, he came to the Buddha by night and said, “How distressing! how oppressing!” Said the Buddha, “Here is naught that distresses or oppresses. Come, Yasa, sit down; let me teach you the Law.” So saying, the Buddha preached the Law of Morality to the rich young man, discoursing on the duty of almsgiving, the Moral Precepts, the folly of gratifying the lusts of the flesh, and the benefits to be gained by renouncing the same. Then, perceiving that the rich young man possessed the dispositions of mind and heart requisite to the understanding of the Law of Deliverance, he preached to him the Sublime Discourse of all the Buddhas, namely. Suffering, the Origin and Cessation thereof, and the Way of Salvation. Yasa and his fifty-four companions were established in Arahatship. There were thus, exclusive of the Buddha, Sixty Arahats in the world.

And the Buddha said to the Sixty, “I am freed from all fetters, both divine and human. Ye also are freed from all fetters, both divine and human. Go forth and journey from place to place, for the welfare of many, for the happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit and welfare and happiness of angels and men. Go no two of you together. Preach the Law, sound in the beginning, sound in the middle, sound in the end, in the spirit and in the letter. Proclaim the Holy Life in all its fullness and purity.” So saying, he sent the Sixty into all the world. He himself set out for Uruvelā. On the way thither he halted in a forest, and meeting thirty young nobles who were seeking a woman, he converted them and received them into the Order. In Uruvelā he converted the three brothers Kassapa, members of the Order of Jaṭilas, together with their thousand followers. Passing on to Gayāsīsa, where he established his new converts in Arahatship by means of the Discourse on Fire, he proceeded to Rājagaha in order to redeem his promise to King Bimbisāra.

The king received the Buddha with every mark of courtesy and [28.8] reverence, hearkened to the Law, and together with his retinue obtained the Fruit of Conversion. The king formally presented to the Buddha his own pleasure garden, Bamboo Grove, and the Buddha and the Congregation of Monks there entered upon residence. While the Buddha was in residence at Bamboo Grove, there came to him two monks who had for some time been disciples of Sañjaya, but who had recently obtained the Fruit of Conversion through the preaching of Assaji. These two monks were elevated by the Buddha to the rank of his two Chief Disciples and were thereafter known as Sāriputta and Moggallāna. Story i. 8 contains a brief outline of the entire Nidānakathā to this point.20 From Bamboo Grove the Buddha went to his father’s city, Kapilavatthu, and there received into the Order his own son Rāhula and his own half-brother Nanda. Cf. story i. 9.21 From Kapilavatthu he returned to Rājagaha, tarrying by the way at Anūpiya Mango Grove and there receiving many converts, among others the Six Princes. At Rājagaha he converted the rich merchant Anāthapiṇḍika, who thereupon purchased the Jetavana Grove, paying for it as many gold pieces as were required to cover the ground, and presented it to him. The Buddha accepted the gift and entered upon residence at the Jetavana. With this event closes the second year of his ministry.

For forty-five years the Buddha journeyed from place to place in this manner, preaching and teaching. The three months of the rains he always spent at the Jetavana or at Bamboo Grove or in some other one place. His missionary journeys took him up and down the valley of the Ganges, throughout the old kingdoms of Magadha and Kosala in the eastern part of North India. At no time did he go farther than 250 miles from Benāres. To this period of his life belong the great majority of the acts and discourses, both real and fictitious, attributed to him, not only in the Sacred Scriptures, but also in this and other later collections of legends and stories.

Among the more interesting legends and stories of this collection relating to this particular period of his life are the following: i. 5, Quarrel among the monks of Kosambi and residence in Protected Forest with a noble elephant; i. 12 b. Intrigues of Devadatta against the Buddha and King Bimbisāra; iv. 3, Annihilation of the Sākiyas by Viḍūḍabha; xiii. 6, Conversion of the robber Finger-garland (Aṅgulimāla); xiii. 9 and xxii. 1, Confutation of false charges brought against the Buddha by suborned nuns; xiv. 2, Twin Miracle, Ascent to Heaven, and Descent from Heaven; xv. 1, Abatement of [28.9] quarrel between the Sākiyas and the Koliyas; xxi. 1, Abatement of the Three Plagues at Vesāli; and xxiii. 8, which tells how, while the Buddha was residing in a forest-hut in the Himālaya, he was tempted by Māra the Evil One to exercise sovereignty and to transmute the Himālaya mountains into gold. The Buddha died in 483 B.C. near the city of Kusināra, his end being hastened by a meal consisting of truffles. His body was cremated with pomp and ceremony, and the relics were divided among princes and nobles.


§1 i. Buddhist-Christian parallels. The many striking parallels between passages in the Buddhist Scriptures and passages in the New Testament have for many years attracted the attention of Indologists and students of the History of Religions. For a bibliography of this interesting and important subject, see M. Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, p. 280, note 1. Since Winternitz’s book was written Garbe has announced his adhesion to Edmunds’s loan theory. See note 8.22 The theory of Buddhist loans in the New Testament has been advocated by several scholars, notably R. Seydel, R. Seydel, Das Evangelium von Jesu in seinen Verhältnissen zu Buddha-Sage und Buddha-Lehre, Leipzig, 1882. Die Buddha-Legende und das Leben Jesu nach den Evangelien, erneute Prüfung ihres gegenseitigen Verhältnisses, Leipzig, 1884; 2 Auflage, mit ergänzenden Anmerkungen von Martin Seydel, Weimar, 1897. Cf. Winternitz, l. c, p. 278.23 G. A. van den Bergh van Eysinga, G. A. van den Bergh van Eysinga, Indische Einflüsse auf evangelische Erzählungen, Gottingen, 1904; 2 Auflage, 1909. Cf. Winternitz, l. c, p. 279.24 and A. J. Edmunds. A. J. Edmunds, Buddhist and Christian Gospels, now first compared from the originals, 4th ed., edited by M. Anesaki, Philadelphia, 1908-09. Cf. Winternitz, l. c, pp. 279 ff . See also the following papers by Edmunds: Buddhist Loans to Christianity, in Monist, 22. 1912, pp. 129-138; The Progress of Buddhist Research, in Monist, 22. 1912, pp. 633-635; The Accessibility of Buddhist Lore to the Christian Evangelists, in Monist, 23. 1913, pp. 517-522; The Buddhist Origin of Luke’s Penitent Thief, in Open Court, 28. 1914, pp. 287-291.25 In one form or another it has won the acceptance of many distinguished scholars, among others O. Pfleiderer, O. Pfleiderer, Religion und Religionen, München, 1906. Die Entstehung des Christentums, 2 Auflage, München, 1907.26 E. Kuhn, E. Kuhn, in Nachwort to Bergh van Eysinga’s work, pp. 102 ff.27 R. Pischel, R. Pischel, Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 1904, col. 2938 ff. Pischel here says: “Die Frage, ob sich überhaupt indische Einflüsse in der evangelischen Erzählungslitteratur finden, kann heute nicht mehr verneint werden.” See also Pischel, Leben und Lehre des Buddha, in the Series Aus Natur und Geisteswelt, 2 Auflage, Leipzig, 1910, pp. 17-19. At p. 18, referring to the story of Simeon, Pischel says: “Eine Entlehnung ist hier sehr wahrscheinlich, und der Weg ist jetzt nicht mehr so schwer nachzuweisen wie früher.” He then discusses at some length the bearings of recent discoveries in Turkestan on the subject.28 and R. Garbe. R. Garbe, Indien und das Christentum, Tübingen, 1914, chap, i, pp. 47 ff. (translated, Monist, 24. 1914, pp. 481 ff.). Garbe expresses himself as follows: “Ich wende mich nunmehr zu den Fällen — es sind vier an der Zahl –, bei denen ich mich nach langer Ueberlegung davon überzeugt habe, dass buddhistischer Einfluss in den Erzählungen der Evangelien nicht zu leugnen ist. Diese Ueberzeugung fusst im ersten und zweiten Fall wesentlich auf deren neuester Darstellung aus Edmunds’ Feder.” The “four cases” are: 1. The Asita-Simeon legend; 2. Temptations by the Evil One; 3. Peter’s walking on the water; 4. Multiplication of the loaves. The paper by Edmunds referred to is his paper in the Monist, 22. 1912, pp. 129-138.29 M. Winternitz admits the possibility of such [28.10] loans, M. Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 281 f.30 and H. Oldenberg, who formerly rejected the theory, now holds that the theory can neither be proved nor disproved. H. Oldenberg, Die Indische Religion, in Die Religionen des Orients, Teil i, Abteilung iii. 1, of Die Kultur der Gegenwart. At p. 80 Oldenberg refers to the loan theory as follows: “... das Eindringen buddhistischer Elemente in die Evangelien – eine weder zu erweisende noch zu widerlegende Hypothese, die ich meinerseits eher unwahrscheinlich finden möchte.”31 Of the opponents of the theory, E. Windisch presents the strongest arguments. E. Windisch, Māra und Buddha, chap, ix; Buddhas Geburt, chap. xii.32

The most striking of these parallels are the following:

1. Infancy legends

a. Rejoicing of angels at nativity.
b. Asita-Simeon.

Sutta Nipāta, iii. 11, part 1 (679-698); translated, Introduction, § 1 a-b.

St. Luke ii. 8-14, 25-35.

See Edmunds, BCG., i. 77-89, 181-191; Monist, 22. 1912, pp. 129-131. Edmunds translates manussaloke hitasukhatāya jāto, “is born for weal and welfare in the world of men.” The correct translation is, “is born for the weal and welfare of mankind.” Cf. Dīgha, ii. 1041-4; Saṁyutta, v. 25928-30; Udāna, p. 62, last two lines; Itivuttaka, p. 11, last two lines. On the locative construction involved, see Whitney’s Sanskrit Grammar, § 303 a.

The loan theory is accepted by Pischel, Leben und Lehre des Buddha, pp. 17-19; Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, p. 281; Garbe, Indien und das Christentum, chap, i, pp. 47 ff. (translated, Monist, 24. 1914, pp. 481 ff.).

2. Mission of Sixty (Seventy)

Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, i. 11; translated, Introduction, § 1 A, paragraph 4. Cf. Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 8224-26.

St. Luke, x. 1.

See Edmunds, BCG., i. 224-229. [28.11]

3. Conversion of robber

Majjhima, 86; translated. Story xiii. 6.

St. Luke, xxiii. 39-43.

See Edmunds, The Buddhist Origin of Luke’s Penitent Thief, in Open Court, 28. 1914, pp. 287-291.

4. Feeding of five hundred (five thousand)

Introduction to Jātaka 78: i. 345-349; translated, Story iv. 5.

St. Matthew xiv. 15-21.
St. Mark vi. 35-44.
St. Luke ix. 13-17.
St. John vi. 5-14.

The loan theory is accepted by Garbe, Indien und das Christentum, chap. i (translated, Monist, 24. 1914, pp. 491-492).

5. Walking on the sea

Introduction to Jātaka 190: i. 111; cf. the Act of Truth in Story vi. 4.

St. Matthew xiv. 28-31;
cf. St. Matthew xiv. 22-27,
St. Mark vi. 45-54,
St. John vi. 15-21.

The loan theory is accepted by Garbe, Indien und das Christentum, chap, i (translated, Monist, 24. 1914, pp. 488-491).

6. Temptations by the Evil One

a. As the Future Buddha is about to make the Great Retirement, the Evil One urges him to abandon his purpose, assuring him that in such case he will attain Universal Sovereignty.

Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 6317-25; cf. Introduction, § 1 e, paragraph 2. This legend is from a late source and is probably derived from the first of the two legends marked g.

b. While the Future Buddha is engaged in the prolonged fasts and austerities of the Great Struggle, he is tempted to abandon the Struggle by the Evil One, accompanied by his Nine Hosts, namely, Lust, Discontent, Hunger and Thirst, Craving, Sloth and Laziness, Cowardice, Doubt, Hypocrisy and Stupidity, Gain, Fame, Honor, and Glory Falsely Obtained, Exaltation of Self, and Contempt of Others.

Sutta Nipāta, iii. 2; cf. Introduction, § 1 f, paragraph 2. Cf. also Lalitavistara, xviii. This legend is from an early source, as is also its sequel d. See Windisch, Māra und Buddha, chap, i, pp. 1-32, also pp. 304-315.

c. Immediately before the Enlightenment, the Evil One attempts to drive the Future Buddha from his seat with the Nine Rains, namely, [28.12] wind, rain, rocks, weapons, blazing coals, hot ashes, sand, mud, and darkness.

Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 7127-7207; cf. Introduction, § 1 g, paragraph 1. Cf. also Lalitavistara, xxi. This legend is from a late source and is probably derived from b.

d. In the fifth week after the Enlightenment, the Buddha is tempted by the three daughters of the Evil One, namely, Craving, Discontent, and Lust.

Saṁyutta, iv. 3. 5; cf. Introduction, § 1 g, paragraph 2. Cf. also Sutta Nipāta, Stanza 835. This legend is from an early source and forms a sequel to b. Craving, Discontent, and Lust are numbered among the Nine Hosts of Māra in b. See Windisch, Māra und Buddha, pp. 119-124.

e. In the eighth week after the Enlightenment, the Buddha is assailed by doubt as to the wisdom of preaching a Religion so profound and difficult of comprehension to a race in the bondage of desire. The more he considers the matter, the more his heart inclines to a life of inaction.

Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, i. 5; Dīgha, 14: ii. 35-40; Majjhima, 26: i. 167-169; Nidānakathā, Jātaka, i. 81; cf. Introduction, § 1 g, paragraph 3. This legend is from an early source and is probably the original of f. Doubt and Sloth-and-Laziness are numbered among the Nine Hosts of Māra in b.

f. According to other accounts, the Buddha is at this time tempted by the Evil One to accomplish his decease.

Dīgha, 16: ii. 112-114; cf. Introduction, § 1 g, paragraph 3. Cf. also Lalitavistara, xxiv: p. 489; Divyāvadāna, xvii: p. 202. This legend is probably a later form of e. See Windisch, Māra und Buddha, chap, ii, especially pp. 35, 46, 66, 67; also p. 213. Windisch proves that the order of development of this temptation is as follows: Lalitavistara, xxiv; Udāna, vi. 1; Dīgha, 16; Divyāvadāna, xvii.

g. While the Buddha is residing in a forest-hut in the Himālaya, he is tempted by the Evil One to exercise sovereignty and to transmute the Himālaya mountains into gold.

Saṁyutta, iv. 2. 10; translated. Story xxiii. 8. This legend is from an early source and is probably the original of a. See Windisch, Māra und Buddha, pp. 107-109.

h. Three months before his death, the Buddha is tempted by the Evil One to accomplish his decease immediately.

Dīgha, 16: ii. 104-106. Cf. Saṁyutta, li. 10: v. 260-262, and Udāna, vi. 1: 63-64. Cf. also Divyāvadāna, xvii: p. 202. As Windisch remarks (Māra und Buddha, p. 67), this temptation at the end of the Buddha’s life is meaningless. It is of course a duplicate of f. [28.13]


The following is a brief outline of Edmunds’s theory: See Buddhist and Christian Gospels, i. 111-164; also Monist, 22. 1912, pp. 633-635; Monist, 23. 1913, pp. 517-522; Open Court, 28. 1914, pp. 287-291. On trade-relations between India and the West at the Christian era, see W. H. Schoff, The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, New York, 1912. See also Schoff’s papers in Monist, 22. 1912, pp. 138-149, 638; JAOS., 35. 1915, pp. 31-41. A good introduction to the recent explorations in Central Asia is Sir M. Aurel Stein’s Ruins of Desert Cathay, 2 vols., London, 1912.33

Both religions are independent in the main, but out of eighty-nine chapters in the Gospels, the equivalent of one, mostly in the Gospel according to St. Luke, is colored by a knowledge of Buddhism. The sections thus colored especially are:
a. The rejoicing of angels at the nativity, and the Simeon episode. (See 1. Infancy legends.)

b. The three temptations in St. Luke iv. 1-13 and St. Matthew iv. 1-11. Edmunds calls these: a, temptation to assume empire; b, temptation to transmute matter; c, temptation to commit suicide. (See the last two of the eight legends outlined in 6. Temptations by the Evil One.)

c. The seventy missionaries. (See 2. Mission of Sixty.)

d. The penitent thief. (See 3. Conversion of robber.)

At the beginning of the Christian era there were four great powers: the Chinese, the Hindus, the Parthians, and the Romans. Between the Chinese and the Parthians, and extending into parts of India, was a fifth power: the Indo-Scythian empire. This was the seat of an aggressive missionary Buddhism, at that time the most powerful religion in the world. Coins of these Indo-Scythian Buddhist kings, especially those of Kanishka, have come down to our own time, some of them bearing the image of the Buddha, together with his name in Greek letters. The Gentile Evangelist St. Luke was a physician of Antioch, a great international metropolis and the terminus of the Chinese silk-trade. There is every reason to believe that he had seen these coins and that he was familiar with the principal legends of the Buddha’s life. India, Bactria, and the eastern part of the Parthian empire were covered with his temples. On these temples were sculptured scenes of the Buddha’s life, and one of the characters portrayed was a converted robber. Recent finds in Central Asia prove that at the beginning of the Christian era the Buddhist Scriptures were being translated into Sogdian and Tokharish, vernaculars of the Parthian empire, the buffer state between Palestine and India. Parthians were present at Pentecost.

While Edmunds’s argument lacks the element of finality, the following conclusions, in the main favorable to his theory, seem to be warranted by the evidence:

The Christian Evangelists, more particularly the Gentile Evangelist St. Luke, probably had access to the principal legends of the Buddha’s life. The legend of the rejoicing of angels at the nativity and the story of Simeon are probably colored by Buddhist influence. The assumption that St. Luke was acquainted with the Buddhist legend of the conversion of a robber is a not unlikely explanation of the discrepancy between St. Mark xv. 32 and St. Luke xxiii. 39-43. [28.14]

It seems probable that the accounts of the temptations are to some extent colored by Buddhist influence. Edmunds deals only with the legends marked g and h in the table of parallels given above. Edmunds calls the third temptation a temptation “to commit suicide.” Neither h nor its original f, however, is a temptation to commit suicide, in the strict sense of the word. Moreover, f is probably a later form of e, which is a temptation to sloth, pure and simple. On the Christian side the temptation to leap from a pinnacle of the temple is in no sense a temptation to suicide, but rather to pride and vanity. The Buddhist parallels are not g and h, but b and g. In b the Buddha, emaciated and hungry, is assailed by the Evil One, accompanied by his Nine Hosts, the Third being Hunger and Thirst and the Ninth being Gain, Fame, Honor, and Glory Falsely Obtained, Exaltation of Self, and Contempt of Others. The correspondence between this temptation and the temptations recorded by St. Luke and St. Matthew hardly needs to be pointed out. Yet Edmunds does not even mention it.34


§ 2. Teachings of the Buddha

§ 2 a. The Beginningless Round of Existences. The primary mission of the Buddha was to deliver mankind from the frightful jungle or ocean of the Round of Existences. In the Anamatagga Saṁyutta Saṁyutta, xv.35 he is represented as saying: Without conceivable beginning is this Round of Existences; unknown is a starting-point in the past of beings impeded by the Impediment of Ignorance, fettered by the Fetter of Craving, passing, coursing, from birth to birth. The ancestors of a man are more numerous than all the blades of grass and sticks and branches and leaves in India; more numerous than all the particles of dust that compose the earth. The tears shed, the mother’s milk drunk by a man in his previous states of existence, are more abundant than all the water contained in the four great oceans.

How long is a cycle of time? Longer than it would take a range of mountains a league in length, a league in breadth, a league in height, of solid rock, without a cleft, without a crack, to waste and wear away, were it to be wiped once a century with a silken cloth; longer than it would take a heap of mustard-seed of the same dimensions to disappear were a single seed to be removed once a century. Of cycles of time as long as this there have elapsed many hundreds of cycles, many thousands of cycles, many hundreds of thousands of cycles. Indeed, it is impossible to count them in terms of cycles or hundreds of cycles or thousands of cycles or hundreds of thousands of cycles. For example, were each of four centenarians to call to mind a hundred thousand [28.15] cycles of time every day of his life, all four would die or ever they could count them all.

The cycles of time that have elapsed are more numerous than all the sands that lie between the source and the mouth of the Ganges. The bones left by a single individual in his passage from birth to birth during a single cycle of time would form a pile so huge that were all the mountains of Vepulla-range to be gathered up and piled in a heap, that heap of mountains would appear as naught beside it. The head of every man has been cut off so many times in his previous states of existence, either as a human being or as an animal, as to cause him to shed blood more abundant than all the water contained in the four great oceans. For so long a time as this, concludes the Buddha, you have endured suffering, you have endured agony, you have endured calamity. In view of this, you have every reason to feel disgust and aversion for all existing things and to free yourselves from them.

§ 2 b. The motive of the Religious Life. The motive of the Religious Life is expressly declared to be the hope of obtaining deliverance from this frightful Round of Existences, the hope of attaining Nibbāna. In the Rathavinīta Sutta, Majjhima, 24.36 Sāriputta is represented as asking Puṇṇa Mantāṇiputta, “What is the motive of the Religious Life? Do we live the Religious Life for the sake of purity of conduct?” “No.” “For the sake of purity of heart?” “No.” “Of purity of belief?” “No.” “ Of purity of certitude?” “No.” “Of purity of insight through knowledge of what is the Way and what is not the Way?” “No.” “Of purity of insight through knowledge of the Path?” “No.” “For the sake of purity of insight through knowledge?” “No.” All these things are necessary, but they are only the means to an end. “For the sake of what, then, do we live the Religious Life?” “That we may, through detachment from the things of this world, attain Supreme Nibbāna.”

§ 2 c. Impermanence, Suffering, Unreality. For, according to the Buddha, the things of this world, and the things of heaven as well, possess the following Three Characteristics: Impermanence, Suffering, and Unreality. All things are transitory. In all things inheres suffering. There is no soul. Moreover, the Supreme Being is a fiction of the imagination. There are few finer bits of humor in all literature than the famous passage in the Kevaddha Sutta Dīgha, 11. Cf. also Dīgha, 1; Majjhima, 49; Saṁyutta, vi. 1. 4; Jātaka 405.37 in which is related the journey of a monk to the World of Brahmā to obtain an answer to [28.16] a question which troubled him. The monk first put his question to the gods of the retinue of the Four Great Kings. They replied, “Neither do we know. But there are Four Great Kings who are more powerful and mighty than we. They might know.” The monk next put his question to the Four Great Kings. They referred him to the Thirty-three Gods. They referred him to their king, Sakka. The monk, after visiting six heavens in vain, finally went to the seventh heaven, the highest of all, the World of Brahmā. And having put his question to the gods of the retinue of Brahmā, he received the following reply, “Neither do we know. But there is Brahmā, Great Brahmā, the Supreme Being, the Invincible, the All-Seeing, the Subduer, the Lord, the Maker, the Creator, the Ancient of Days, the Conqueror, the Ruler, the Father of all that are and are to be. He is more powerful and mighty than we. He might know.” So the monk waited for the glory of Brahmā to appear and then put his question. Brahmā replied, “ I am Brahmā, Great Brahmā, the Supreme Being, the Invincible, the All-Seeing, the Subduer, the Lord, the Maker, the Creator, the Ancient of Days, the Conqueror, the Ruler, the Father of all that are and are to be.” Said the monk, “I did not ask you this question. I asked you that other.” Then Brahmā took that monk by the arm, led him aside, and said this to him, “Monk, the gods of my retinue imagine that there is nothing I do not know, nothing I do not see. Therefore I did not give you a direct answer to your question in their presence. But, monk, neither do I know the answer to your question. Go to the Buddha, and whatever answer he gives you, that you may safely believe.”

§ 2 d. The Four Noble Truths regarding Suffering. There are two extremes, declares the Buddha in his first sermon, Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, i. 6. 17-22.38 which the monk should not pursue: devotion to the pleasures of sense, and the practice of self-mortification. A Middle Way, which avoids both of these extremes, has been discovered by the Tathāgata. It makes for insight, for knowledge; it conduces to tranquillity, to higher wisdom, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. It is the Noble Eightfold Path, to wit: Right Views (the Four Noble Truths), Right Resolution (to renounce the lusts of the flesh, to bear malice towards none, and to injure no living creature), Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Exertion, Right Mindfulness (Heedfulness), Right Concentration (the Practice of Meditation). [28.17]

The Noble Truth regarding Suffering is this: Birth is Suffering, the Decrepitude of Old Age is Suffering, Disease is Suffering, Death is Suffering, Association with Enemies is Suffering, Separation from Friends is Suffering, Failure to Obtain What One Desires is Suffering; in brief, the Five Elements of Being Which Spring from Attachment are involved in Suffering. The Noble Truth regarding the Origin of Suffering is this: It is Craving that leads to Rebirth; Craving for Sensual Pleasure, Craving for Existence, Craving for Wealth. Ed. note: this is a mistranslation by Burlingame, although vibhava does mean wealth in other contexts, here is means (Craving for) Non-Existence. 39 The Noble Truth regarding the Cessation of Suffering is this: It ceases when Craving ceases. The Noble Truth regarding the Way to the Cessation of Suffering is this: It is the Noble Eightfold Path.

§ 2 e. The Noble Eightfold Path to Nibbāna. Ridiculing the idea of a Supreme Being, denying the existence of the soul, declaring that men ought not to be satisfied merely with a life of good works leading to rebirth in heaven, the Buddha urged his hearers to renounce the house-life, the life of the laity, and to adopt the houseless life, the life of the monk and nun. He taught that every living being had passed through states of existence as impossible to number as the sands of the sea; that in each of these states of existence he had endured the sufferings of birth, old age, disease, death, association with enemies, separation from friends, and failure to obtain what he desired; that the cause of rebirth and of the sufferings connected therewith was Craving; that rebirth and the sufferings of repeated existences would come to an end only when Craving had been plucked up by the root and utterly destroyed; that the Way of Escape from the Round of Existences and the sufferings thereof was the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path may briefly be described as follows: Since a correct diagnosis of maladies and the application of proper remedies are essential to the cure of spiritual and physical ills, the seeker after Salvation, which is of course Escape from the Round of Existences, Nibbāna, must first accept the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha expressly says (Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, vi. 29): “It is because both I and you did not understand and comprehend these Four Noble Truths that we have run this long and weary course of the Round of Existences.”40 He must resolve to renounce the lusts of the flesh, to bear malice towards none, to refrain from injuring a single living creature, and to cherish love for all living creatures without respect of kind or person. He must observe the Moral Precepts in thought, word, and deed, walking in the Way of Righteousness with Energy and Heedfulness. He must finally, by the Practice of Meditation, so grasp, fix in mind, and [28.18] comprehend, the Three Characteristics of all existing things, Impermanence, Suffering, and Unreality, as to eradicate utterly the cause of rebirth and suffering, namely, Craving. By so doing he becomes what is called an Arahat, obtains Supernatural Knowledge and the Supernatural Powers, and attains the Nibbāna of the Living. At death the Five Elements of Being of which he is composed are utterly destroyed. His Past Deeds, by the power of which, under other circumstances, a new individual would immediately come into existence, are likewise utterly destroyed. He has at last attained the Summum Bonum, Deliverance from the Round of Existences, Supreme Nibbāna.

Not the Practice of Meditation in and by itself, it will be observed, nor yet the Practice of Morality in and by itself, is the Buddha’s Way of Salvation. The Way of Salvation is the Practice of Meditation based upon Morality. There is no other Way to Nibbāna. On neither of these two points, of course, is the Buddha’s teaching wholly original. The Buddha, like all other religious teachers, built on the foundations of the past, selecting, rejecting, adding, and combining. The faith and practice of Buddhism have much in common with other Indian systems of philosophy and religion, not to speak of extra-Indian systems. Nevertheless the system of meditation and the code of morality which the Buddha gave his followers contain at least two original contributions to the development of the religious thought of India of the highest importance. They are the Doctrine of the Middle Way between extremes and the Doctrine of Love for all living creatures (Mettā).

For example, the Jains taught the Doctrine of Non-Injury; the doctrine, namely, that it is a wicked thing to injure man, animal, or plant. But this doctrine, noble as it is, they carried to what was perhaps a logical, but for all that, quite absurd extreme. The Buddha also taught the Doctrine of Non-Injury, but took pains to confine it within reasonable limits. What may be the genesis of this holy horror of injuring and killing we do not know for certain. But we know what it was not. It was not, as has frequently been asserted by uninformed persons, fear of injuring a deceased relative in animal form and thus incurring his vengeance. There is not a word in all the Sacred Scriptures of the Buddhists which would afford the slightest justification for such a theory. It is quite probable that fundamentally and essentially there is nothing moral or religious about it at all. Even a European or an American shrinks from treading on a caterpillar. In a country like India the sight and smell of death in revolting and horrible forms, the ever-present spectacle, for example, of insects and creeping things trodden underfoot, carcasses of animals in various stages of decay, and exposed corpses, cannot but arouse physical repulsion for death and horror of death-dealing acts. What may be in origin merely squeamishness and disgust would easily and quickly take on a moral and religious character. Disgust is indeed one of the most powerful motives of the Religious Life in Buddhism.41 He condemned the killing of animals even [28.19] for food, but did not altogether forbid the eating of flesh and fish. But he was not satisfied merely to condemn the injuring and killing of living creatures; he taught no such merely negative doctrine. Instead he taught the most sublime doctrine that ever fell from the lips of a human being; the doctrine, namely, of love for all living creatures without respect of kind or person and for the whole visible creation: A man must love his fellow-man as himself, returning good for evil and love for hatred. But this is not all. He must extend his love to the fishes of the sea and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, to the plants and the trees, to the rivers and the mountains. A man must not kill his fellow-man even in self-defense. All war is unholy.

The Doctrine of the Middle Way between the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, which was preached for the first time in India by the Buddha, illustrates in a most striking manner, not only the spirit of moderation which pervades his teaching, but also the points of contact between his own teachings and the teachings of his predecessors and contemporaries. Pischel has shown that the Buddha derived the materials for his system of meditation from the Yoga system of philosophy and self-discipline. The ascetic practices of the Yoga system, however, many of which were as horrible methods of self-torture as can well be imagined, the Buddha rejected in their entirety, as having no spiritual value whatever. For a brief account of Hindu Asceticism, see A. S. Geden, in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, ii. 87-96.42 But again the Yoga system emphasized the importance of Right Conduct, while the related Sāṁkhya system emphasized the importance of Right Knowledge to the exclusion of all else. The Buddha emphasized the importance of both. Now the beginning of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Knowledge, the middle is Right Conduct and Right Meditation, and the end is Nibbāna. Not one of these elements is new. Yet the Noble Eightfold Path is new.


§ 3. Practice of Meditation

Since the Religion of the Buddha knows no God, prayer forms no part of the religious life and is not even mentioned. Frequent mention is made of the Earnest Wish, which is simply the formal expression [28.20] of an intense desire for advantage of some kind in a later existence. But this Earnest Wish is not in any sense a prayer, for it is not addressed to any deity, much less to a Supreme Being. The Earnest Wish sometimes takes on high religious character. For example, in i. 8 the Future Buddha is said to have attained Enlightenment as the fruit of an Earnest Wish made under twenty-four previous Buddhas, and many other examples are given.

However, the Earnest Wish as a religious act always accompanies a work of merit, and is thus analogous to the Intention with which a Catholic performs a work of merit, as when a priest celebrates Mass or a lay person hears Mass or gives alms for a certain Intention. The Earnest Wish also plays an interesting role in the avenging of murder. In i. 4, v. 7, and viii. 2 the victim of a brutal murder, in each case a woman, utters at the moment of death the Earnest Wish that she may be reborn as an ogress, able to wreak vengeance on her murderer. Here again the Earnest Wish is religious in character, for the Wish becomes the instrument, and the maker of the Wish the agent, of the Power of Past Deeds by which, in a later existence, the murderer reaps the fruit of his sin.

For the ordinary purposes of everyday life the Act of Truth supplies, to some extent at least, the place of prayer. An Act of Truth is simply a formal declaration of fact, accompanied by a command that the purpose of the agent shall be accomplished. For example, in xvii. 3 b a jealous woman throws boiling oil on Uttarā. Uttarā makes the following Act of Truth, “If I cherish anger towards her, may this oil burn me; if not, may it not burn me.” The boiling oil becomes to her like cold water. Other examples are given in vi. 4 b and xiii. 6. Frequent mention is made also of prayers and vows to deities and spirits, for the purpose of obtaining temporal blessings or averting disaster of some kind. But neither the Earnest Wish nor the Act of Truth nor yet prayers and vows to deities and spirits have any part in the religious life strictly so called. The place of Prayer is supplied by the Practice of Meditation.

Meditation, in the Buddhist sense of the word, is not mere desultory reflection, but a severe exercise in attention, discipline of will and mind, and concentration of thought. The Practice of Meditation, based on Morality and leading to the Higher Wisdom, is as essential to the attainment of Nibbāna according to the Buddhist scheme of Salvation as are Mental Prayer, Meditation, and the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist to final perseverance according to the Catholic [28.21] scheme. But whereas the Practice of Meditation, is superimposed on the Catholic system, anything like methodical meditation being unknown before the fifteenth century, it is the Way of Salvation par excellence in the Buddhist scheme. It thus corresponds, although not in kind, at least in dignity and importance, to the Greater Sacraments of the Church rather than to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola and similar Catholic systems of meditation.

The system of Meditation in vogue in Ceylon in the early part of the fifth century A.D. is outlined and described in minute detail by Buddhaghosa in the Second Part of his Visuddhi-Magga. To this system of Meditation constant reference is made in the legends and stories of this collection. The novice is taken in hand by a preceptor, who studies his disposition and temperament and assigns him a Subject of Meditation suited to his needs, choosing one of the following

Forty Subjects of Meditation

Ten Pleasing

Ten Disgusting

Ten Reflections

Ten Higher States

The Kasiṇas

Four Elements:
1 Earth
2 Water
3 Fire
4 Wind

Four Colors:
5 Blue
6 Yellow
7 Red
8 White

Light and Space:
9 Light
10 Glimpse of Sky

The Corpses:
11 Bloated
12 Purple
13 Festering
14 Fissured
15 Gnawed
16 Scattered
17 Pounded and Scattered
18 Bloody
19 Wormy
20 Bony

The Triad:
21 Buddha
22 Doctrine
23 Order

24 Morality
25 Generosity
26 Deities and Spirits
27 Death
28 Body
29 In-and-Out-Breathing
30 Quiescence

Four Exalted States:
31 Love
32 Compassion
33 Joy
34 Indifference

Four Formless States:
35 Infinity of Space
36 Infinity of Consciousness
37 Nothingness
38 Neither Consciousness nor Unconsciousness

One Realization: of the
39 Loathsomeness of Food

One Analysis: of the
40 Four Elements

The Ten Disgusting Subjects (11-20) and Meditation on the Thirty-two Constituent Parts of the Body (28) lead to the First Trance. The first three of the Four Exalted States (31-33) lead to the Third Trance. [28.22] The Ten Kasiṇas (1-10), the Meditation on In- and Out-Breathing (29), the last of the Four Exalted States (34), and the Four Formless States (35-38) lead to the Fourth Trance. Ten Subjects of Meditation do not lead to the Trances at all: the first seven and the last of the Ten Reflections (21-27, 30), Realization of the Loathsomeness of Food (39), and Analysis of the Four Elements (40). These Trances are of course nothing but self-induced hypnotic states. The Four Trances and the Four Formless States are counted as the Eight Attainments. The Forty Subjects of Meditation and the Four Trances lead to Detachment and to the Cessation of Craving; that is to say, to the destruction of the cause of Rebirth and Suffering, to Deliverance from the Round of Existences, to Nibbāna.

The novice retires to a quiet, secluded spot, preferably his own cell or a forest solitude, seats himself cross-legged, and begins his Meditation. More likely than not his preceptor has directed him to meditate on the Impurity of the Body, this Subject of Meditation being regarded as particularly efficacious in enabling the young to overcome the temptations of the flesh. Summoning up all the powers of his will and concentrating his attention, he begins to repeat the Formula of the Thirty-two Constituent Parts of the Body. This Formula he repeats, not once only, but hundreds and hundreds of times. Gradually the thought comes to his mind that the body, outwardly fair and beautiful, is in point of fact utterly impure and vile, a mere assemblage of decaying elements, transitory and perishable. Having obtained this mental reflex, he enters into a state of supernatural ecstasy and calm, the First Trance.

Very possibly his preceptor will next assign him the Earth-Kasiṇa. The novice drives four stakes into the ground, spreads them basket wise, and stretches a piece of cloth or a skin over them. He then kneads a disk of light-red clay, a few inches in diameter, and places it on the frame. Having so done, he seats himself cross-legged at a short distance from the frame, fixes his eyes on the disk, and begins his Meditation. He considers the worthlessness of the pleasures of sense, reflects on the virtues of the Buddha, the Law, and the Order, and concentrates his mind on the element of earth, repeating its various names and dwelling on the thought that his body is naught but earth. He gazes steadfastly at the disk, sometimes with his eyes open, sometimes with his eyes closed. As soon as the disk appears equally visible, whether his eyes are open or closed, and he has thus obtained the proper mental reflex, he rises from his seat, goes to his place of abode, [28.23] and develops the reflex. Having entered into the ecstasy and calm of the First Trance, he considers and investigates his Subject of Meditation. Having so done, he abandons consideration and investigation, and thus enters into the Second Trance. Freeing himself from ecstasy, he enters into the supernatural calm of the Third Trance. From the Third Trance he passes into the Fourth Trance, becoming utterly indifferent to pleasure and pain alike.

In xx. 9 we read that the son of a goldsmith once became a monk under Elder Sāriputta. Sāriputta, desiring to enable the youth to ward off the attacks of lust, directed him to meditate on the Impurity of the Body. The youth failed miserably in his meditations. Sāriputta, not knowing what was the matter, took him to the Buddha. The Buddha surveyed the previous states of existence of the youth and perceived that in five hundred successive states of existence the youth had been reborn in the family of that same goldsmith. Knowing that in all these states of existence the youth had wrought flowers and other beautiful objects in ruddy gold, the Buddha concluded that Meditation on a Disgusting Subject was entirely unsuitable for him; that he must be assigned a Pleasant Subject.

Accordingly the Buddha created a lotus of gold, gave the lotus to the young monk, and told him to set it up on a heap of sand, to sit down cross-legged before it, and to repeat the words, “Blood-red! blood-red!” The young monk did so. He had no difficulty whatever in developing all Four Trances. The Buddha, desiring to assist the young monk to develop Specific Attainment to the uttermost, caused the lotus to wither. Immediately the young monk thought, “If things which have no attachment for the world thus decay and die, how much more will living beings who are attached to the world decay and die!” Thus he came to realize the Three Characteristics of all things, namely, Impermanence, Suffering, and Unreality.

In ii. 3 b the Buddha gives Little Wayman a clean cloth and directs him to face the East, rub the cloth, and repeat the words, “Removal of Impurity!” After Little Wayman has rubbed the cloth for a time, he observes that it has become soiled, and thus obtains the mental reflex of Impermanence. This was because in a previous state of existence he obtained the reflex of Impermanence by contemplating a cloth which had become soiled by the sweat of his brow. The Buddha appears to him in a vision and says, “Impurity is Lust, Hatred, Delusion. Remove these.” Little Wayman immediately attains Arahatship. [28.24]

In i. 6 Mahā Kāḷa obtains the mental reflex of Impermanence by contemplating the destruction by fire of the corpse of a beautiful girl. In i. 8 d we are told that Yasa, in a previous state of existence, acquired a sense of the Impurity of the Body by contemplating the corpse of a pregnant woman. For this reason, the moment he beheld the loathsome appearance of his sleeping nautch-girls, he became disgusted with the pleasures of sense and obtained the concept of Impurity and Impermanence. In iii. 5 we are told that Cittahattha, disgusted with the revolting appearance of his pregnant wife as she lay asleep, which reminded him of nothing so much as that of a bloated corpse, instantly obtained the mental reflex of Impermanence.

In xi. 5 and xxiv. 5 vain women obtain the mental reflex of decay and death by contemplating the decay and death of a phantom woman. In x. 10 and xxv. 10 a monk attains Arahatship by contemplating a ragged garment which he wore as a layman. In xxv. 8 we are told that some monks, while engaged in meditation, observed jasmine flowers, which had blossomed that very morning, dropping from their stems. Thereupon they thought, “So also will we obtain release from Lust, Hatred, and Delusion.” Applying themselves to meditation with renewed energy, they attained Arahatship.

In ii. 8 we read of a monk who failed miserably in the Practice of Meditation. Resolving to ask the Buddha to assign him a Subject better suited to his needs, he set out to return to the Buddha. On the way he saw a forest-fire. Hastily climbing a bare mountain, he watched the fire, concentrating his mind on the following thought, “Even as this fire advances, consuming all obstacles both great and small, so also ought I to advance, consuming all obstacles both great and small by the Fire of Knowledge of the Noble Path.” He immediately attained Arahatship. Under similar circumstances, in iv. 2 and xiii. 3, monks see a mirage and a waterfall and concentrate their minds on the following thoughts, “Even as this mirage appears substantial to those that are far off, but vanishes on nearer approach, so also is this existence unsubstantial by reason of birth and decay. Just as these bubbles of foam form and burst, so also is this existence formed and so also does it burst.” In viii. 12 a nun obtains a mental reflex of Impermanence, Decay, and Death by contemplating vanishing drops of water, and in viii. 13 by contemplating a flickering lamp. In viii. 11 a discontented monk resolves to commit suicide and applies the razor to his throat. As he reflects on his past conduct, he perceives that it is flawless. Thereupon a thrill of joy pervades his whole body. [28.25] Suppressing the feeling of joy and developing Insight, he attains Arahatship together with the Supernatural Faculties.


§ 4. Dhammapada: its place in the Buddhist Canon

The Sacred Scriptures of the Buddhists fall into three principal divisions: Vinaya Piṭaka, Sutta Piṭaka, and Abhidhamma Piṭaka. The Vinaya Piṭaka consists of the Books of Discipline of the Order of Monks founded by the Buddha. Incidentally it contains an account of the first two years of his ministry and of many other interesting events in his career. The Abhidhamma Piṭaka contains a systematic exposition of what may be called the Buddhist psychology of sensation; with it we are not concerned. The Sutta Piṭaka, the largest of the three divisions, contains the Books of Doctrine. The Sutta Piṭaka consists of five groups, called Nikāyas, namely, Four Nikāyas the Greater and One Nikāya the Less.

The first Four Nikāyas (also called Āgamas) are as follows: (1) Dīgha, (2) Majjhima, (3) Saṁyutta, (4) Aṅguttara. The Dīgha and Majjhima contain the long and medium-length discourses of the Buddha respectively. These are cast in the form of dialogues, somewhat after the manner of the Dialogues of Plato. The Saṁyutta and Aṅguttara contain explanations of points of doctrine, arranged in catechism fashion according to topic and number respectively. The Lesser Nikāya, called the Khuddaka, consists of fifteen books, grouped in three pentads. Of these fifteen books, perhaps the most interesting and important are the Jātakas, or Buddhist Birth Stories; the Sutta Nipāta, a collection of poetical dialogues and epic pieces (probably the oldest single book in the entire Canon); the Udāna, or Solemn Utterances of the Buddha (antique verse, together with a prose commentary ranking as canonical); and the Dhammapada.

The Dhammapada is an anthology of 423 Sayings of the Buddha in verse. This anthology is divided into twenty-six parts, or books (vaggas), the arrangement of the Stanzas being by subjects. These Stanzas are for the most part taken from other books of the Pāli canon and embody, if not the very words of the Buddha’s utterance, at least the actual spirit of his teaching. See the Introduction to F. Max Müller’s translation of the Dhammapada, in Sacred Books of the East, vol. x; also Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 63-65.43 In one recension or another the Dhammapada was dispersed throughout the Buddhist world. [28.26] The most noteworthy versions, in addition to the Pāli version, are the four Chinese versions from the Sanskrit, the earliest of which, an anthology of 500 Stanzas, was brought from India in 223 A.D. and, together with the rest of the Tripiṭaka, printed from blocks in 972 A.D., nearly seven centuries before Gutenberg. See Bunyiu Nanjio, Catalogue of the Chinese Translation of the Buddhist Tripiṭika. (There is a copy of this valuable and important work in the Library of the Peabody Institute, Baltimore.)44 Unfortunately this version has never been translated into any Occidental language. Next in importance is the Tibetan Udānavarga, also from the Sanskrit. The Udānavarga, which corresponds closely to the Udāna and the Dhammapada of the Pāli Tipiṭaka, was many years ago translated into English by W. W. Rockhill. Fragments of other versions of the Dhammapada are among the finds of recent explorations in Central Asia.


§ 5. Commentary: general character and structure of parts

From Vedic times Hindu commentators have delighted to introduce illustrative stories into their commentaries. The Brāhmaṇas, like the Talmud, abound in quaint and interesting tales. In the case of commentaries on Vedic and Sanskrit texts the principal purpose of the author is, as might be expected, to interpret and explain the words of the text. Since it frequently happens that a good story illustrates the meaning of a word or passage even better than a philological discussion, the author always allows himself the liberty of introducing such stories as may serve his purpose. At the same time he is careful to subordinate the element of fiction to his main purpose, namely, the exegesis of the text. He never introduces a good story merely for the sake of the story.

The tendency of commentators on the Pāli texts, however, is just the reverse. The verbal glosses begin to shrink, both in size and importance, and the stories begin to grow. Finally, as in the case of the Dhammapada Commentary, the exegesis of the text becomes a matter of secondary importance altogether and is relegated to the background. Ostensibly at least, and in name and form, the commentary remains a commentary. But in point of fact, and to all intents and purposes, what was once a commentary has become nothing more or less than a huge collection of legends and folk-tales.

Such a commentary is the Dhammapada Commentary. Ostensibly it is a commentary on the Stanzas of the Dhammapada. The author or compiler or translator says this very solemnly in the Introductory [28.27] and Concluding Stanzas. There exists, he says, in the Island of Ceylon, an erudite Commentary on the Dhammapada which has been handed down from time immemorial. But it is in the Cingalese language, and is therefore of use only to the few. The suggestion has been made to him by Elder Kumāra Kassapa that, were it to be translated into Pāli, it would conduce to the welfare of the whole world. The suggestion seems to him to be a good one, and he purposes to carry it into effect. It is his intention, therefore, to translate this Cingalese Commentary into Pāli. He will thus make clear everything that has not been made clear in the Stanzas themselves, whether in letter or in word. The rest he will also tell in Pāli, but more freely, in accordance with the spirit of the Stanzas.

Just what he means by the last statement is not at once apparent. But a study of the Commentary as a whole, in its relation to the Sacred Scriptures and to other Commentaries, makes his meaning abundantly plain. The reader will wish to know, first of all, who uttered the Stanza. He must be told that every one of the Stanzas is the very Word of the Buddha himself. But this will not satisfy his curiosity. He will ask many other questions about the Stanza; such, for example, as the following: Where was it uttered? when? why? for what purpose? with reference to what situation? with reference to what person or persons? The commentator will satisfy the reader’s curiosity on all of these points. He is thoroughly familiar with the Sacred Scriptures, and the Sacred Scriptures tell him that the Stanza was uttered either on one certain occasion or on any number of different occasions. He is familiar also with voluminous Commentaries, both In Pāli and in Cingalese. Moreover, he has at his command the immense storehouse of Hindu legend.

If a legend or story which he finds in the Sacred Scriptures or Commentaries can be improved on by alteration or expansion or compression, he makes such changes in it as suit his purpose. If a story will do very well just as it stands, he copies it word for word, sometimes telling where he got it, but more often not. Or it may suit his purpose better to tell the story in his own words, introducing original touches here and there. Or he may have heard a good story from a traveler or a sailor or a villager or a fellow-monk. No matter where he read the story, no matter where he heard it, no matter what its character, it becomes grist for his mill. For a detailed discussion of the author’s methods of handling motifs and story material generally, see Story v. 1, note 1.45 Some of the stories he tells sound as though [28.28] they had come out of drinking-taverns, and it is quite possible that they did. Like Kipling’s Homer, “Wot ‘e thought ‘e might require, ‘e went and took.” Not only does he display good judgment in selecting stories, and consummate skill in adapting them to his purpose, but he is also a first-rate story-teller on his own account. Many of the best stories cannot be traced to other sources, and of these at least a considerable number are doubtless original.

It will be observed that he does not claim to be the author of the verbal glosses. It is well for his reputation that he does not. Semi-occasionally a gloss is of some assistance in the interpretation of the text. But more often than not the glosses are not only of no assistance whatever, but are positively misleading. Words and expressions from eight to ten centuries old, whose meaning and history are perfectly well known to us, the glossographer, whoever he may be, interprets after the manner of the scholastics of the fifth century A.D. Such etymologies as he gives are, like all other Hindu etymologies, the merest puns and utterly valueless. The problem of really difficult words, he generally evades, either by not noticing the words at all, or by the familiar expedient of including the term defined in the definition. There are only two glosses of any real interest or value in the entire collection: the long glosses on Stanzas 324 and 354 (end of Stories xxiii. 3 and xxiv. 10 respectively). These have been translated in full. As an illustration of the glossographer’s stupid handling of difficult words, the short gloss on Stanza 415 (near the end of Story xxvi. 32) has been translated. All other glosses have been omitted from the translation.

The author or redactor or compiler of these legends and stories appears to have used as his models chiefly the prose-and-verse Udāna and the prose-and-verse Jātaka Book. In most cases there is no organic connection between the prose and the verse of the Udāna, and the same remark applies to the Dhammapada Commentary. So far as the stories of this collection conform to the type of the prose-and-verse Udāna, and a very large number do, no more need be said of them than that they consist of a Stanza and an illustrative tale. The structure of such stories as conform to the prose-and-verse Jātaka type, which form the bulk of the collection, is much more complex. Ordinarily each story of this type consists of eight subdivisions, as follows: (1) citation of the stanza (gāthā) to which the story relates; (2) mention of the person or persons with reference to whom the story was told; (3) story proper; or, more strictly, Story of the Present (paccuppanna-vatthu), [28.29] closing with the utterance of the (4) stanza or stanzas; (5) word-for-word commentary or gloss on the stanza; (6) brief statement of the spiritual benefits which accrued to the hearer or hearers; This enumeration of spiritual benefits generally takes the following form: “At the conclusion of the stanza (or discourse), that monk (or layman) was established in the Fruit of Conversion, and many others in the Fruits of the Second and Third Paths. The company present also profited thereby.” Since this formula adds nothing to the story, and the repetition of it becomes very wearisome, it has been omitted in the translation.46 (7) Story of the Past; or, more accurately, Story of Previous Existences (atīta-vatthu); (8) identification of the personages of the Story of the Past with those of the Story of the Present. Sometimes the Story of the Past precedes the Story of the Present, and not infrequently more than one Story of the Past is given.


§ 6. Subject-matter and motifs of the stories

§ 6 a. Fruit of Past Deeds and Rebirth as motifs. As in other collections of Hindu tales, the psychic motif and literary device most frequently employed is the Fruit of Past Deeds and Rebirth. It is no exaggeration to say that in each and every story it is at least the ostensible purpose of the writer to illustrate the truth of the maxim, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Every story is in a very strict, although by no means narrow, sense a “moral tale.” Sometimes, it is true, the obligation to point a moral weighs so heavily upon the writer that he deliberately spoils a good story for the sake of the moral. But this is infrequently the case. Ordinarily he selects, remodels, and invents, with the utmost freedom, stories of all sorts and kinds, ranging all the way from stories of heroic virtue and sanctity to stories of unspeakable villainy and unbelievable wickedness, moved apparently by one and only one consideration, namely, that of telling the best story he can think of.

The earth is always ready to yawn and swallow up a sinner, and the Avīci hell to envelop him with its flames. The troubles and woes of a sinner are frequently more amusing and picturesque than the evil deeds that brought them upon him. A sinner is certain to be punished sooner or later. If retribution does not overtake him in one state of existence, it surely will in a later state. The worse a man behaves in one state of existence, the better the chance to tell a good story about him in a later state. It will thus be apparent that the requirement that each story shall be a “moral tale,” far from hampering or restricting [28.30] the story-teller, opens up to him a field of immense possibilities. Sometimes even the temporary discomfiture of a sinner or the conversion of a sinner from his evil ways is a more effective device in the hands of the story-teller than his punishment. There are few more effective denouements in the world’s fiction than the disproof of the false accusation brought against the Buddha by the wandering nun Ciñcā (xiii. 9) and the conversion of the robber Aṅgulimāla (xiii. 6).

A correct understanding of the Buddhist doctrine of the Fruit of Past Deeds is essential to a just appreciation of its importance and effectiveness as a psychic motif and literary device. Good deeds, works of merit, a life of righteousness conformed to the ethical teachings of the Buddha, lead to happiness and prosperity in this life, and at death to rebirth either in a happier human estate or in one of the heavens. To be sure, this is not Salvation, for Salvation is Escape from the Round of Existences, Attainment of Nibbāna. Not Morality, but the Practice of Meditation, is the Way of Salvation, although of course Morality is the indispensable prerequisite to the Practice of Meditation. The merely moral man, however, will forever remain in the Round of Existences, and is therefore in a very real sense as far from Salvation as the sinner. But the Practice of Meditation, leading to Attainment of Nibbāna, while not without value as a literary motif, is of slight importance as compared with the Fruit of Past Deeds, more particularly the Fruit of Evil Deeds, and with it we are not chiefly concerned.

Just as good deeds lead to happiness, both here and hereafter, so evil deeds lead to sorrow and pain and adversity in this life, and at death to rebirth in one of the hells, in the animal kingdom, in the world of ghosts, or in the world of the fallen deities. The power of past deeds (kammabala), whether of the accumulated merit of good deeds (puñña) or of the accumulated merit of evil deeds (apuñña), is superior to all other powers spiritual or physical, human or superhuman. No man or deity or devil can stay the operation of the power of past deeds; there is no forgiveness of sins; every evil deed must be wiped out with the blood and tears of the evildoer. Moreover, as the Buddha makes abundantly clear in the Fifteenth Saṁyutta, the Round of Existences is without conceivable beginning; of it no starting-point in the past is known. Nor will there ever be an end of it for any human being unless by the Practice of Meditation, pursued with Energy and Heedfulness, he tear up by the roots and utterly destroy Craving, the cause of it. Now it is the burden of the Buddha’s complaint that most men walk in ways of wickedness, few in the way of [28.31] righteousness, and fewer still in the Way of Salvation. It is therefore not surprising that in Buddhist works of fiction, as in Hindu fiction in general, such extensive use should be made of this motif of the Fruit of Past Deeds; there is simply no limit to its possibilities as an instrument in the hands of the story-teller. A glance at a few of the most interesting instances of its employment in the legends and stories of this collection will make this abundantly clear.

In ii. 7 we are told that Sakka (Indra), King of the Thirty-three Gods, was at one time a Brahman youth named Magha, and that Magha obtained rebirth as Sakka by fulfilling Seven Vows. The rest of the Thirty-three Gods were in their human estate associated with Magha in the performance of works of merit. Vissakamma (the Indian Vulcan) was a common carpenter. Likewise three virtuous women of Magha’s household, by the performance of works of merit, obtained rebirth as wives of Sakka. The fourth, thinking it a sufficient distinction to be a cousin of Magha, did nothing but adorn herself and was therefore reborn as a crane. However, by observing the Five Precepts even to the point of abstaining from the eating of live fish, she obtained rebirth as a potter’s daughter; by persevering in the observance of the Five Precepts, she obtained rebirth as an Asura maiden and eventually became one of Sakka’s wives.

The story of the seven marvelous escapes from death of the luck-child Ghosaka (ii. 1. 2) well illustrates, often in a most amusing way, the great variety of ways in which this motif is frequently employed within the limits of a single story. Ghosaka, in a previous existence as Kotūhalaka, cast his young son away in time of famine and was reborn as a dog. Dying of a broken heart for love of a Private Buddha, because of his straightforwardness and lack of deceit (which, the writer remarks, distinguish dogs from human beings), he was reborn as a god in the Heaven of the Thirty-three. In consequence of indulging in the pleasures of sense, he was reborn as the son of a courtezan. Because in his existence as Kotūhalaka he cast his own son away, he was himself cast away seven times. Because in his existence as a dog he made friends with a Private Buddha, he was miraculously preserved from death. The daughter of a rich man, because in his existence as Kotūhalaka she was his wife, fell in love with him at first sight and married him.

In xxvi. 33 d we are told that one day a monk who was an Arahat stopped at the house of a goldsmith to solicit gold for the erection of the shrine of the Buddha Kassapa. At that moment the goldsmith was [28.32] engaged in a quarrel with his wife. Irritated at the sight of the monk, he said angrily to his wife, “Throw your Teacher into the water!” As the fruit of this sin, in seven successive existences he was cast into the water on the day of his birth. But because he made reparation for the insult by offering three vessels of golden flowers at the shrine of the Buddha, a mountain of gold uprose for him in his seventh existence as Jaṭila.

The power of habit is considered to be the fruit of past deeds. In xxvi. 25 we are told that the monks once complained to the Buddha that one of their fellows was in the habit of accosting everybody he met with the epithet commonly applied to outcasts. The Buddha, after surveying the previous existences of the accused monk, informed his accusers that in five hundred successive existences the monk had been reborn as a Brahman, and that he used the epithet, not out of ill-will, but simply from the force of habit. There is a similar explanation in xviii. 9 of the various attitudes of five laymen while the Buddha was preaching. In five hundred successive existences the first had been a dragon, and therefore fell asleep; the second had been an earthworm, and therefore dug the earth with his finger; the third had been a monkey, and therefore shook a tree; the fourth had been an astrologer, and therefore gazed at the sky; the fifth had been a repeater of the Veda, and therefore listened attentively.

All manner of physical disabilities are looked upon as the fruit of past deeds. In xvii. 1 we read of a maiden who suffered from an eruption of the skin because in a previous existence as a queen, in a fit of jealousy and anger, she had ruined the complexion of a nautch-girl. In iii. 7 a monk suffers from an eruption of the skin because in a previous existence as a fowler he had been guilty of cruelty to birds. In v. 7 we are told that a youth once spat upon a Private Buddha. Moreover, in company with three other youths, he once murdered a courtezan for her jewels. At the moment of death the courtezan made the Earnest Wish that she might be reborn as an ogress, able to kill her murderers. The youth, because he spat upon a Private Buddha, was reborn as a leper. One day, shortly after he had obtained the Fruit of Conversion, he was set upon by a heifer and kicked in the head. As a matter of fact, the heifer was none other than the courtezan, who had been reborn as an ogress and who had disguised herself as a heifer to get revenge.

In i. 1 a a wicked physician blinds a woman who attempts to cheat him out of his fee for curing her of an affection of the eyes. In his next [28.33] existence as a monk he attains Arahatship and loses his eyesight at one and the same moment. In ix. 9 a wicked physician who was seeking employment for his services would have allowed a snake to bite some small boys. But one of the boys threw the snake on the physician’s head, and he was bitten to death. In his next existence as a hunter he tormented a monk and was devoured by his own dogs. In v. 3 a niggard is reborn as a monstrosity and is forced to beg his food from door to door. In xxiv. 1 an insolent monk is reborn as a fish with a bad breath. In vii. 9 c Sīvali remained in the womb of his mother for seven days and seven months and seven years for no other reason than that in a previous existence he once blockaded a city and reduced the inhabitants to starvation.

The killing of animals, no less than the murder of human beings, brings down upon the guilty person’s head the direst forms of retribution. In V. 1 c a queen once killed a ewe for food, and was reborn in hell. Afterwards, since the fruit of her wicked deed was not yet exhausted, her own head was cut off just as many times as there were hairs in the ewe’s fleece. In i. 10 a pig-killer goes stark mad and for seven days crawls about his house, squealing and grunting like a pig. Dying, he is reborn in the Avīci hell. In xviii. 1 a cow-killer cuts off the tongue of a live ox, has it cooked, and sits down to eat. The moment he places a piece of ox-tongue in his mouth, his own tongue is cleft in twain and falls out of his mouth. Going stark mad, he crawls about on his hands and knees, bellowing like an ox. Dying, he is reborn in the Avīci hell. In xii. 1 c we are told that because in a previous state of existence Prince Bodhi ate some bird’s eggs he was destined to remain childless all his life. In xxiv. 11 a rich man remains childless because he once killed his nephew for his money.

In x. 7 Moggallāna the Great, one of the Two Chief Disciples of the Buddha, is torn limb from limb by brigands and his bones ground into powder because in a previous existence he killed his mother and father. In xii. 5 Mahā Kāla, a faithful layman, is beaten to death because in a previous existence he beat a traveler to death in order to obtain possession of his wife. In ix. 11 a crow is burned to a crisp in mid-air because in a previous existence as a farmer he burned a lazy ox to death; the wife of a sea-captain is cast overboard as a Jonah because in a previous existence she drowned her dog; and seven monks are imprisoned in a cave for seven days because in a previous existence as young cowherds they thoughtlessly allowed a lizard to remain imprisoned in an ant-hill for seven days. Revenge pursued through [28.34] successive existences, the motive power being supplied by the Earnest Wish, is the theme of i. 4 and xxi. 2. In iii. 9, in consequence of expressing a wicked wish, a man is transformed into a woman, and thus is created the extraordinary situation of one and the same person being both the father and the mother of children. The writer remarks in the most matter-of-fact sort of way that there are no men who have not been women at some time or other, and no women who have not, at some time or other, been men.

§ 6 b. Other motifs. On the subject of repeated motifs in Hindu fiction, see the following papers by Professor Maurice Bloomfield: On Recurring Psychic Motifs in Hindu Fiction, and the Laugh and Cry Motif, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 36. 1916, pp. 54- 89; On Talking Birds in Hindu Fiction, in Festschrift für Ernst Windisch, pp. 349-361; The Character and Adventures of Mūladeva, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 52. 1913, pp. 616-650.47 Among the motifs found in this collection which are most frequently repeated in both Hindu and European fiction are the following:

Act of Truth: For a discussion of this motif, see E. W. Burlingame, The Act of Truth (Saccakiriya); a Hindu Spell and its Employment as a Psychic Motif in Hindu Fiction, in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1917.48 curse, i. 3 a; to cross rivers on dry foot, vi. 4 b; to ease childbirth, xiii. 6 (cf. xxvi. 31); to cool boiling oil, xvii. 3 b.
Arrow pierces five hundred warriors at once; on removing armor, they fall dead, iv. 3.
Arrow turns back, ii. 1. 6.

Bad company mars manners, xxv. 5 a.
Baling out the ocean, xx. 8 a.
Beauty fades, xi. 5, xxiv. 5.
Braggart, but of humble origin, xviii. 8.
Bow requiring a thousand men to string, ii. 1. 6, iv. 3.

Captive king and captor’s daughter, ii. 1. 4.
Change of sex, iii. 9.
Charm inadvertently recited, disperses robbers and saves king’s life, ii. 3 c.
Charm to attract and banish elephants, ii. 1. 1, ii. 1. 4.
Charmed life borne by luck-child, ii. 1. 2.
Child’s query, “Have we no relatives?” ii. 3 a, iv. 3.
Conflict between Devas and Asuras, ii. 7 6.
Cure for death, viii. 13 6.
Cure for gluttony, xv. 6, xxiii. 4.
Cure for love, xi. 2.

Daughter her father’s senior, i. 13.
Daughter of rich man falls in love with her inferior: with hunter, ix. 8; with slave, ii. 3 a, viii. 12; with thief, viii. 3.
David and Uriah, v. 1.
Death-warrant borne by self, ii. 1. 2. [28.35]
Delayed pursuit, ii. 1.4.
Destroyer of friendships, xx. 6 a.
Disloyal children: daughters, viii. 14; sons, xxiii. 3.
“Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched,” iii. 4.
Drunkenness: drunken Asuras, ii. 7 6; drunken prince, x, 9, xiii. 4; drunken asses, vi. 8; drunken women, xi. 1; drunkenness of Suppabuddha, ix. 12.

Earnest Wish, i. 4 (xxi. 2), i. 8, iv. 8 a, v. 7, viii. 2.
Enchanted hunter, ix. 8.

Fakirs: bat-wing, xxvi. 11; with radiance from navel, xxvi, 30 6; skull-tapper, xxvi. 37.
False accusation of Buddha by suborned nuns, xiii. 9, xxii. 1.
Fruit of Past Deeds, see Introduction, § 6 a.

Golden maiden, xvi. 5.

Haunted forest, i. 1, iii. 6.
Haunted pool, x. 8 a.
Head splitting into seven pieces, i. 1, i. 3, xiii. 10.
Heir in disguise, ii. 2.
Homesickness, iv. 3 a, xxi. 6.
Hunger-strike (āhāra-upaccheda), viii. 3, xv. 3, xvi. 6.

“I have conquered!” iii. 5, ix. 1.
Identification: by footprint, ii. 1. 5 (cf. xiv. 1), ix. 8; by ring and mantle, ii. 1. 1; by the voice, ii. 2.

Jealous woman maltreats rival, xvii. 1 b, xxii. 6.
Jonah, v. 3, ix. 9, ix. 11 b.
Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, xiii. 9 a.

King in disguise eavesdropping, ii. 3 c.

Laugh, ii. 1. 2 (p. 265), xvii. 3 b.
Laugh and cry, v. 16 c.
Cf. also Smile.
Lioness mother of a human being, xxv. 9.
Longing of pregnancy, iv. 3.
Magic bird, xii. 1 a.
Mind-reading, iii. 2, ii. 1. 6.
Moses in the bulrushes, xxvi. 33 c.
Multiplication of food by miracle, iv. 5, xviii. 10.
Multiplication of men by miracle, ii. 3 b.

Niggardliness, i. 2, iv. 5.

Oath to wash bench with human blood, iv. 3.

Pious fraud, ii. 7 b, iv. 10.
Pride goeth before a fall, i. 3, i. 14, v. 5, vi, 3, xviii. 4, xviii. 8. [28.36]

Rebirth, see Introduction, § 6 a.
Reflection in jeweled walls frightens warriors, xxvi. 34.
Removed, yet unremoved, xxvi. 23.
Riddling charm, ii. 3 c.
Riddling injunctions, iv. 8, xxi. 8.
Riddling phrases, ix. 8, i. 13.
Riddling questions, xiii. 7.
Riddling song, xiv. 3.

Slip of tongue, ii. 1. 2, xi. 7.
Smile of Buddha, x. 9, xi. 9, xxiv. 2, xxvi. 32.
Smile of Moggallāna, v. 12, v. 13, x. 6, xx. 6, xxii. 2.
Sounds of evil omen, v. 1.
Spit-fire monk and dragon, xiv. 6.
“Strike, but hear!” ix. 10.
Substitution of live cocks for dead cocks, ii. 1, 6.
Substitution of letter, ii. 1. 2.
Sword breaks, viii. 9 a.
Sycophants and rich youth, xi. 9.

Talkative tortoise, xxv. 3 a.
Talkativeness cured by tossing pellets of dung into the mouth, v. 13 a.
Transmutation of baser substances into gold, viii. 13 a, xvii. 3 a, xxiii. 8.
Treacherous wife, xxiv. 7 a.

Vow to spirits, i. 1, v. 1 b, viii. 3, viii. 9.

“We were three, we were two, I alone am left,” ii. 1. 3.
Women and monks: former wives, i. 6; innocent monk beaten by husband, xxvi. 22; phantom woman, x. 4; St. Antony motif, vii. 10, xxvi. 32.
Wooden elephant filled with warriors, ii. 1. 4.

§ 6 c. Humorous stories. The book abounds in humorous stories and amusing situations. Niggardliness, drunkenness, pride, and the temptations of women are favorite themes. In i. 2 we read of a Brahman, very appropriately named Never-Gave, of disposition so niggardly that when he wished to have a pair of ear-rings made for his son, he beat out the gold himself to save the expense of employing a goldsmith; when his son was attacked by jaundice, he refused the request of his wife that a physician be called, for fear of having to pay him his fee, but inquiring of various physicians what remedies they were accustomed to prescribe for such and such ailments, prescribed for his son himself; and when, as the result of his treatment, his son grew steadily worse and was about to die, he carried him out of the house and laid him down on the terrace, fearing that persons who called to see his dying son might get a glimpse of the wealth the house contained. When his son died, he had the body burned, and went daily to the [28.37] burning-ground and wept and lamented. The son, reborn as a deity, decided to teach the father a lesson, and resuming human form, went to the burning-ground and wept and lamented also. “Why are you weeping?” inquired the father. “I want the sun and the moon,” replied the son. “You are a fool.” “But which of us is the bigger, fool, I who weep for what exists, or you who weep for what does not exist?”

In iv. 5 we read of another miser, a rich man named Niggardly. One day he saw a half-starved countryman eating a round cake stuffed with sour gruel. The sight made him hungry; but for fear that, if he said anything to his wife, many others might wish to eat with him and his substance might thus be wasted, he walked about all day long, enduring the pangs of hunger as best he could, until finally he was forced to take to his bed. His wife begged him to tell her what was the matter with him, suggesting that perhaps the king or some member of his household might be the cause of his woe. “Nothing of the sort.” “Then perhaps you have a craving for something.” When Niggardly heard this, he was struck dumb. Finally he admitted that he should like a round cake to eat. “Why didn’t you tell me so before? I will bake enough cakes for all the residents of the street.” “Why for them.’’ “Then enough for you and your children and your wife.” “Why for them?” “Then enough for you and me.” “Why for you?” “Very well, I will bake just enough for you.” But for fear others might get wind of the fact that there was cooking going on in the house, Niggardly compelled his wife to bake the cake on the top floor of the house. By direction of the Buddha, Elder Moggallāna flew through the air to Niggardly’s house and stood poised in the air outside of the window. When Niggardly saw the Elder, knowing very well that he had come for food, he sputtered and blustered, declaring that, for all the Elder’s pains, he should get nothing. Finally the Elder began to belch forth smoke, whereupon Niggardly said to his wife, “Cook one tiny little cake for him and let’s get rid of him. But each cake his wife baked grew bigger than the previous one, and when his wife tried to take a single cake from the basket, the cakes all stuck together. In despair Niggardly presented cakes, basket, and all to the Elder.

We are told in ii. 7 b that when Magha and his thirty-two companions were reborn in the World of the Thirty-three as Sakka and the Devas, the Asuras prepared strong drink to welcome the new deities. Sakka and his companions would not touch it, but the Asuras got very [28.38] drunk. Then Sakka gave the signal, and his companions picked up the Asuras by the heels and flung them into the abyss. We read in x. 9 that King Pasenadi, pleased with his Prime Minister Santati, turned over his kingdom to him for seven days and gave him a nautch-girl. For seven days Santati steeped himself in liquor, and on the seventh day, magnificently adorned, seated on the back of the state elephant, set out for the bathing-place on the river. Even the Buddha smiled when he saw him, for he knew that he was destined on that very day to pass into Nibbāna. Returning from the river, Santati seated himself in his drinking-hall, and his nautch-girl stepped on the stage and began to dance and sing. Now the nautch-girl had fasted for seven days to improve her figure, and suddenly dropped dead of heart-failure. “Look to the lady!” cried Santati. “She is dead.” Instantly, says the text, all the liquor he had drunk during the preceding week vanished away like drops of water in a red-hot potsherd.

In xi. 1 we read that on a certain drinking festival five hundred men of Sāvatthi intrusted their wives to Visākhā and went on a spree for seven days. On the eighth day the drum announced resumption of work, and the men obeyed. But their wives, discovering that a great quantity of liquor remained, drank it surreptitiously and became uproariously drunk. In order to escape punishment at the hands of their husbands, they took to their beds and pretended to be sick. But their husbands discovered what was the matter with them and beat them well. At a subsequent drinking festival they accompanied Visākhā to the monastery, carrying jugs of liquor under their cloaks. After drinking the liquor, they seated themselves in the Hall of Truth in the presence of the Buddha. Visākhā requested the Buddha to preach the Law to them. But those same women were so drunk that their bodies swayed back and forth, and suddenly they took it into their heads to dance and sing. An evil spirit, seeing his opportunity, took possession of them. Immediately some of them clapped their hands and laughed, while others began to dance. The Buddha sent forth a ray of light from his eyebrow, and straightway there was black darkness. So terribly were those women frightened, says the text, that instantly the strong drink within their bellies dried up. In ix. 12 we are told that the Buddha’s father-in-law, Suppabuddha, because of a fancied grievance, intoxicated himself, sprawled in the street, and refused to allow the Buddha to pass. Seven days later, because of this insult, Suppabuddha fell down seven flights of stairs, was swallowed up by the earth, and was reborn in the Avīci hell. [28.39]

Amusing stories of pride, insolence, and obstinacy are i. 3, i. 14, v. 5, vi. 3, xviii. 4, and xviii. 8. In i. 3 we have an account of the haughty behavior of Elder Tissa, a cousin of the Buddha, towards some monks who came to pay their respects to him. Even when the Buddha directed Tissa to apologize to the monks, he refused to do so; whereupon the Buddha, remarking that this was not the first time Tissa had proved intractable, related the story of Devala and Nārada (i. 3 a). This story, one of the most entertaining and interesting in the entire collection, begins with a quarrel between two monks, culminates in curse and counter-curse, and ends with the avoidance of the consequences of the curse by the guilty monk by means of a trick. In xviii. 4 a proud monk is driven away with sticks and stones and falls into a cesspool. In xviii. 8 we have the age-long story of the youth of humble origin, who, when away from home, finds fault with everything and everybody and boasts and brags about how much better things are at home.

In i. 6 we read of the attempts of the former wives of two brothers who had become monks to recover their husbands. The two wives of the younger brother made their husband the butt of their ridicule, tore off his monastic robes, clothed him in white robes, and thus succeeded in their purpose. Now while the younger brother had only two wives, the older brother had eight, and the monks therefore expressed the opinion that the older brother would immediately succumb to their wiles. The Buddha, however, assured them that they were wrong. And so they were. For when the eight wives of the older brother sought to strip him of his monastic robes, he put forth his supernatural power, flew up into the air, and thus escaped from their clutches.

One of the most delightful stories in the entire collection is i. 9, the story of Nanda. Nanda became a monk in spite of himself, became dissatisfied with the Religious Life, and was won to complete obedience by the promise of a retinue of celestial nymphs, just as in a previous existence as a recalcitrant donkey he was won to obedience by the promise of a beautiful mate. Another good story is iii. 2, which turns on mind-reading. A monk is entertained in the house of a female lay disciple, who, as an Arahat, has the power of reading the thoughts of others. The monk has but to think of his needs, and his host immediately supplies them. But suddenly the thought occurs to him, “If I should entertain a single sinful thought, my host would doubtless seize me by the topknot and treat me like a criminal. I had best leave this house.” And this he does, returning to the Buddha. [28.40] The Buddha, however, sends him back, admonishing him to control his thoughts. In no long time the monk attains Arahatship. One day, curious to know what may have been the relations between him and his host in previous existences, he calls up before his mind ninety-nine previous existences, and to his horror perceives that in each of these existences his host murdered him. “Oh, what a sinner she has been!” thinks the monk. “Call up one more existence,” replies his host from her own chamber. The monk obeys. Calling up before his mind the hundredth existence, he perceives that in that existence she spared his life. Thereat he rejoices greatly and immediately passes into Nibbāna. The St. Antony motif is effectively employed in vii. 10 and xxvi. 32.

Common stupidity is, as might be expected, the theme of several ludicrous stories. In iv. 4 we are told that a hundred of our years are equal to a night and a day in the World of the Thirty-three Gods. One day Garland-wearer, a deity resident in the World of the Thirty-three, is informed that although men live only a hundred years, they are ever heedless and given to wicked ways. “Can it be possible that men are so stupid!” he exclaims. In i. 8 b Upatissa and Kolita invite their former teacher Sañjaya to accompany them to the Buddha. “No,” replies Sañjaya, “I am too old to become anybody’s pupil. Let the wise men go to the wise monk Gotama, and let the stupid come to stupid me.” In xi. 7 a a young farmer spends an entire year learning a single stanza which he is to recite by way of petition to the king. The stanza closes with the words, “Pray give me another ox.” When, however, the young farmer recites the stanza before the king, following his usual habit of saying the wrong thing instead of the right thing, he closes his petition as follows, “Pray take my other ox.”

In ii. 3 c we read of another young man who was so stupid that his teacher despaired of ever teaching him anything. But wishing to provide him with some means of earning his living, his teacher taught him a charm, impressing upon him the importance of repeating it constantly, to avoid forgetting it. And this was the charm, “You’re rubbing! you’re rubbing! why are you rubbing? I know too!” By this charm, recited inadvertently, the young man frightens robbers out of his house, and the king is saved from death at the hands of his barber. Out of gratitude the king appoints the young man Prime Minister. In ii. 1. 4 we read of another charm which did not work so well. King Udena had an elephant-charm which had always worked admirably until one day he tried it on what turned out to be a wooden elephant, posted on his frontier to entrap him. The wooden elephant was fitted [28.41] with mechanical appliances worked from the inside by sixty men and could move very rapidly. Moreover, its belly contained also a quantity of elephant-dung, which the men inside dumped at regular intervals. King Udena suddenly found himself the captive of his rival. King Caṇḍa Pajjota, who, it appears, had resorted to this ruse to get possession of Udena’s elephant-charm. Udena refused to teach him the charm unless he would pay him homage, but agreed to teach it to another. Caṇḍa Pajjota seated Udena on one side of a curtain and his own daughter on the other side, first telling Udena that his pupil was a hunchback and telling his daughter that her teacher was a leper. But Caṇḍa Pajjota lost both charm and daughter when Udena, in a fit of impatience, cried out, “Dunce of a hunchback!” and his pupil in indignation asked him to look and see for himself that she was no such thing.

In iv. 12 we are told that a disciple of the Buddha, angered by the repeated assertions of a friend that the Jain ascetics knew all about the past, the present, and the future, and could tell unerringly just what was going to happen and just what was not going to happen, resolved to teach those same ascetics a good lesson. So first preparing a trap for them, he invited them to his house. Suddenly they were all tipped over backwards and flung heels over head into a ditch filled with filth. In v. 13 a a cripple, seated behind a curtain, cures a house-priest of talkativeness by tossing pellets of goat’s dung into his mouth. In iii. 4 a discontented young monk, who has resolved to return to the life of a layman, muses on ways and means of earning a living as he stands and fans his uncle. Roused to a high pitch of anger at the thought that his future wife may disobey him, he swings his fan vigorously and brings it down on the head of the older monk. The older monk, who happens to be his uncle, knowing the thoughts that are passing through the mind of his nephew, calmly remarks, “Nephew, you didn’t succeed in hitting your wife; but why should an old monk suffer for it?” In viii. 10 a monk enters into a state of trance. A pack of thieves mistake him for the trunk of a tree, pile their sacks on his head and body, and lie down to sleep. In the morning they discover their mistake, beg the monk’s pardon, and are converted.

There is grim humor in the ruse by which, in ii. 1. 6, King Udena makes Māgandiyā confess her guilt to the crime of causing the death by fire of Sāmāvatī. “Whoever did this deed must have loved me greatly.” “It was I.” “I am delighted! Send for your relatives, and I will reward you all properly.” Thereupon many persons in no [28.42] way related to Māgandiyā come forward and claim relationship. When the king has them all in his power, he causes them to be tortured and put to death. Grim humor attaches also to the device by which, in xi. 2, the Buddha cures a monk of love. It appears that a monk once fell in love with the female lay disciple Sirimā, a former courtezan. Sirimā sickened and died. By order of the Buddha the corpse was exposed for four days and then offered to the highest bidder. No one would take her, even as a gift. “See,” said the Buddha, “this woman used to bring a thousand pieces of money a night; but now there is no one who will take her, even as a gift.” The monk was cured of love.

Many amusing stories are told about Sakka, the king of the gods. In xxvi. 23 Sakka, disguised as an old Brahman, finds himself an unwelcome guest in the house of another Brahman. “Put him out!” cries the Brahman’s wife. The Brahman tries to, but Sakka refuses to stir from where he sits. Then the Brahman’s wife suggests, “You take hold of one arm and I’ll take hold of the other.” The Brahman and his wife manage to drag him out of the house. But as soon as they turn around, they see Sakka sitting just where he sat before, waving his hands back and forth! In xvii. 1 c four deities quarrel over the possession of a celestial nymph and refer the decision to Sakka. The moment Sakka looks upon the nymph he desires her for himself. So he says to the four deities, “What manner of thoughts have arisen within you since you saw this nymph?” The first replies that his thoughts have been as restless as a battle-drum; the second, that his thoughts have run wild like a mountain torrent; the third, that his eyes have popped out like the eyes of a crab; the fourth, that his thoughts have been as restless as the banner on a shrine. Says Sakka, “Friends, I see that your thoughts are all on fire. My decision is that I will take her for myself.”

§ 6 d. Animal stories. The elephant appears more frequently in the stories of this collection than any other animal. Perhaps the best elephant-story in the book is i. 5 b, in which are related at length the ministrations of the noble elephant Pārileyyaka to the Buddha during the residence of the latter in Protected Forest. A monkey attempts to imitate the elephant, but comes to grief. When the Buddha takes leave of the elephant, the elephant dies of a broken heart, just as does the dog in ii. 1. 2 and the horse Kanthaka in the Nidānakathā. In i. 7 a a noble elephant, instead of crushing a hunter, rebukes him. Trained elephants appear in ii. 1. 1, ii. 7 b, and xiii. 10. In vi. 1 a [28.43] we read of an elephant who presented his son to some carpenters to show his gratitude to them for removing a thorn from his foot. In xxiii. 3 a the homesick elephant Dhanapāla will not eat for love of his mother. In xxv. 5 a we read of the elephant Damsel-face, who behaved very well with the well-behaved, but very badly with the ill-behaved. In xxiii. 6 we read of a warrior-elephant who stuck fast in the mud. His keeper arrayed himself as for battle and caused the battle-drum to be beaten. The moment the warrior-elephant heard the battle-call he made a tremendous effort and pulled himself out of the mud. In xiii. 10 a rogue elephant, holding a parasol in his trunk, is led up to the monk Aṅgulimāla. Now Aṅgulimāla, before his conversion, was a notorious brigand and murderer. When, therefore, the rogue elephant is led up to the former brigand, he is immediately cowed. He thrusts his tail between his legs, drops both his ears, closes his eyes, and stands motionless. “What a way for a rogue elephant to behave!” remarks the king. In ii. l b an elephant refuses to trample the virtuous. Similarly in ii. 1. 2 a bull and draft-oxen refuse to trample the child Ghosaka, and a she-goat gives him suck. In ii. 1. 1 and viii. 12 birds mistake human beings for pieces of meat and carry them off. Perhaps the most entertaining animal stories in the collection are i. 9 c, the story of the recalcitrant donkey; xii. 2 a, the story of the otters and the jackal; and xxvi. 11 a, the story of the ascetic and the lizard. The wail of a louse is the theme of xviii. 3.

§ 6 e. Legends of the Saints. Especially noteworthy among the many legends of heroic sanctity found in the collection are the following: iv. 8, Visākhā; viii. 12, Paṭācārā; viii. 13 6, Kisā Gotamī; xiii. 6, Aṅgulimāla; and xiii. 7, The Weaver’s Daughter. Visākhā, a young woman of remarkable beauty, profound wisdom, and noble character, daughter of the wealthy Dhanañjaya and a disciple of the Buddha, is married to Puṇṇavaddhana, son of the wealthy Migāra, an adherent of the Jains. The story turns in a measure on the interpretation by Visākhā of Ten Riddling Injunctions given her by her father within the hearing of her father-in-law. Visākhā’s whole life is devoted to good works, and she lives to be a hundred and twenty years old. Paṭācārā, daughter of a wealthy merchant, runs away from home with her lover and in the course of time gives birth to two children. Her husband is bitten to death by a snake, one of her children is carried off by a hawk and the other swept away by a river, and her mother and father and brother perish in a whirlwind. Driven mad by [28.44] her sufferings, she is restored to sanity by the Buddha and attains Arahatship. Kisā Gotamī, daughter of a poverty-stricken house, loses her child by death and asks the Buddha for medicine wherewith to cure him. The Buddha tells her to obtain a pinch of mustard-seed in some house wherein no one has ever died. By degrees it dawns upon her that she has undertaken a futile task. When she returns to the Buddha and tells him that her quest has been in vain, the Buddha comforts her, admonishing her that death is common to all living beings. She too attains Arahatship. Aṅgulimāla, a notorious brigand and murderer, was converted by the Buddha and became a model disciple. The Weaver’s Daughter meditated on death for three years, answered correctly Four Riddling Questions asked her by the Buddha, and died on the same day.

§ 6 f. Stories of seven-year-old novices. One of the finest groups of stories in the collection is a group of six stories relating to seven-year-old novices. In v. 15 we read of a seven-year-old novice who acquired four names: Tissa, Food-giver, Blanket-giver, and Forest-dweller. Tissa won all hearts, received gifts in profusion, and walked with the Buddha. In vi. 5 we read of a novice named Wiseman and in x. 11 b of a novice named Happy, these names being given to them by reason of the fact that, from the day they were born, wisdom and happiness prevailed in their respective households. The two stories are closely similar and turn on the motif of the Practice of Meditation. The story of Spearman, viii. 9, a story of unusual interest for a variety of reasons, tells of the miraculous birth and miraculous preservation from death of another seven-year-old novice. In xxv. 12 c we read of the adventures of the novice Flower with a dragon. The story of the Four Novices, xxvi. 23, is one of the most amusing stories in the collection.

§ 6 g. Stories of good and evil spirits. Stories of benevolent and kindly tree-spirits, who, however, sometimes show resentment to the monks for intruding into their forest solitudes, are the following: i. 1, ii. 1. 6, iii. 6, vii. 9, xvii. 2, xix. 3. Allusions to the offering of human sacrifice to spirits of forest and mountain are contained in v. 1 b, viii. 3, and viii. 9 a. Man-eating ogres and ogresses appear in i. 4 (cf. xxi. 2) and x. 8 a. Instances of demoniacal possession are xi. 1, xv. 2, xxiii. 5, and xxvi. 21. The last two are plain cases of epileptic seizure. Stories of ghosts are the following: v. 12, v. 13, x. 6, xx. 6, xxii. 2. [28.45]


§ 7. Literary relations of the Dhammapada Commentary

§ 7 a. Relation to the Four Āgamas. The Dhammapada Commentary derives only a few stories from the Dīgha, Majjhima, and Aṅguttara Nikāyas. The story of the visit of Subhadda to the Buddha on his deathbed (xviii. 12) is derived from the Mahā-Parinibbāna Sutta of the Dīgha (16. 23-30), and the story of the entertainment of the Buddha by Bodhi-rājakumāra (xii. 1) is derived either from the Sutta of the same name in the Majjhima (85) or from the Vinaya (Culla Vagga, v. 21). From the Aṅguttara are derived the following stories: iii. 1, Meghiya; iv. 9, Ānandathera-pañha (almost word for word); vii. 6, Sāriputta; and (through the medium of Jātaka 40) the first page of ix. 4, Anāthapiṇḍika.

From the Saṁyutta are derived seventeen stories, fifteen of them almost word for word. Brief outlines of Saṁyutta stories are: xv. 2, Māra, and xxii. 2, Aṭṭhisaṁkhalikapetādayo. Verbally identical with the Saṁyutta, or nearly so, are the following: Introduction to ii. 7, Mahālipañha; iv. 11, Godhika; Introduction to v. 12, Ahipeta; Introduction to v. 13, Saṭṭhikūṭapeta; Introduction to x. 6, Ajagarapeta; xv. 6, Pasenadi Kosala; Introduction to xx. 6, Sūkarapeta; xxi. 6, Vajjiputtaka; xxiii. 3, Parijiṇṇabrāhmaṇaputtā; xxiii. 5, Sāṇu sāmaṇera; xxiii. 8, Māra; xxiv. 11, Aputtaka seṭṭhi; xxv. 11, Vakkali; xxvi. 16, Akkosaka; and xxvi. 40, Devahita. Five of these stories are stories about petas and are taken from the Lakkhaṇa Saṁyutta. It is possible that this group of stories forms the connecting link between the Lakkhaṇa Saṁyutta and the prose stories of the Petavatthu Commentary.

Synoptical Table A
A star means that the correspondence is close

Saṁyutta Nikāya

Dhammapada Commentary

i. 4. 3. 7, last stanza

*iii. 22118-21 = iv. 814-7

iii. 1. 9. 2-3: i. 75-76

*ii. 76-13

iii. 2. 3: i. 81-82

*xv. 6: iii. 264-267
*xxiii. 4: iv. 15-17 (brief)

iii. 2. 10: i. 91-92

*xxiv. 11: iv. 76-79

iv. 2. 8: i. 113-114

*xv. 2: iii. 257-259

iv. 2. 10: i. 116-117

*xxiii. 8: iv. 31-33

iv. 3. 3: i. 120-122

*iv. 11: i. 431-433

vi. 1. 10: i. 149-153

iv. 914-6 (reference)

vii. 1. 1: i. 160-161

*xxvi. 16: iv. 161-163 [28.46]

vii. 2. 3: i. 174-175

*xxvi. 40: iv. 233

vii. 2. 4: i. 175-177

*xxiii. 3: iv. 7-13

viii. 12, last stanza

*iv. 12718-19

ix. 9: i. 201-202

*xxi. 6: iii. 460-462

x. 5: i. 208-209

*xxiii. 5: iv. 18-25

xi. 2. 3: i. 230-231

*ii. 7 a: i. 26313-26515

xv: ii. 178-193

*ii. 3214-15 (reference)

xix: ii. 254-262

*v. 12: ii. 64
*v. 13: ii. 6820-6908
*x. 6: iii. 6013-6111
*xx. 6: iii. 41011-41117
*xxii. 2: iii. 479

xxii. 84: iii. 106-109

i. 3715-18 (reference)

xxii. 87: iii. 119-124

*xxv. 11: iv. 117-119


§ 7 b. Relation to the Vinaya. From the Vinaya are derived the following seventeen stories of the Dhammapada Commentary: i. 5, Kosambakā bhikkhū; the story of Sāriputta and Moggallāna in i. 8; the story of Rāhula in i. 9; i. 12, Devadatta; v. 14, Citta and Sudhamma; vi. 2, Assajipunabbasukā; vi. 3, Channa; vi. 8, Disorderly monks; vii. 3, Monk stores food; ix. 2, Seyyasaka; x. 1, Chabbaggiyā; X. 2, Chabbaggiyā; xii. 1, Bodhi-rājakumāra; xii. 7, Devadatta; the story of Piṇḍola in xiv. 2; xvii. 2, Monk and tree-spirit; xvii. 8, Chabbaggiyā; and xviii. 10, Meṇḍaka the Magician. The story of the monks’ quarrel in i. 5 is almost word for word the same as Jātaka 428, which in turn is derived from the Vinaya; the account of the Buddha’s sojourn in the forest in the same story is derived immediately from the Vinaya. The story of Rāhula in i. 9 is almost word for word the same as the corresponding story in the Nidānakathā, which in turn is derived from the Vinaya.

Synoptical Table B

Mahā Vagga, Vinaya

Dhammapada Commentary

i. 6. 7-9: i. 8

xxiv. 9: iv. 71-72

i. 14: i. 23-24

ii. 3211-122 (reference)

i. 23-24.4: i. 3923-4307

i. 8 b: i. 8815-9621

i. 54. 1-2, 4-5: i. 825-17 8230-8305

i. 11615-11801 (through Jātaka, i. 9117-9218)

v. 6: i. 18809-18903

xvii. 8: iii. 330

v. 8. 1: i. 1901-5

iii. 45116-22 (quotation)

v. 34: i. 24005-24507

xviii. 10: iii. 363-375

vi. 23. 1-9: i. 216-218

i. 4111-10

viii. 1: i. 268-281

ii. 16406 (reference) [28.47]

viii. 15: i. 290-294

i 40802

x. 1-5: i. 337-357

i 5: i. 53-65 (pp. 53-56 through Jātaka, iii. 486-587)

Culla Vagga, Vinaya


i. 13: ii. 929-1322

vi. 2: ii. 108-109

i. 18: ii. 1529 -l830

v. 14: ii. 74-83

v. 8: ii. 110-112

iii. 19912-20322

v. 21: ii. 127-129

xii. 1 b: iii. 136-137

vi. 11: ii. 166-167

x. 1: iii. 48-49

vii. 1-4: ii. 180-203

i. 12: i. 133-150

vii. 2. 5, stanza

iii. 15622-23

vii. 3. 17: ii. 19817-35

xii. 7: iii. 154

xi. 1. 12-16: ii. 29009-29226

vi. 3: ii. 110-112

Pārājika, Vinaya


i. 1-4: iii. 1-11

vi. 8: ii. 153-155

iv. 1: iii. 87-91

xxii. 3: iii. 480-481

Saṁghādisesa, Vinaya


i. 1: iii. 110-112

ix. 2: iii. 5

Pācittiya, Vinaya


xi. 1: iv. 34

xvii. 2: iii. 299-302

xxxiv. 1: iv. 78-79

ii. 14910 (reference)

xxxviii. 1: iv. 86-87

vii. 3: ii. 170-173

lxxiv. 1: iv. 145-146

x. 1: iii. 48-49

lxxv. 1: iv. 146-147

x. 2: iii. 49-50


§ 7 c. Relation to the Udāna. The Udāna is the source of twelve stories of the Dhammapada Commentary and contains parallels to three more. Two stories, i. 9, Nanda, and xxvi. 31, Sīvali, are almost word for word the same as the Udāna. In three stories, ii. 1. 6, Sāmāvatī, iv. 10, Mahā Kassapa, and v. 7, Suppabuddha kuṭṭhī, the Udāna is referred to by name and the prose of the Udāna is quoted. The following six stories are free versions of Udāna stories: iii. 8, Nanda gopala; viii. 2, Bāhiya Dārucīriya; xvi. 3, Visākhā; xxiv. 1, Kapilamaccha; xxv. 7, Soṇa Koṭikaṇṇa; and xxvi. 25, Pilindavaccha. The story of Sundarī, xxii. 1, is almost word for word the same as the Introduction to Jātaka 285, which in turn is derived from the Udāna. Parallel to stories of the Udāna are the story of Buddha and the elephant in i. 5, derived from the Vinaya (Mahā Vagga, x. 4. 6-7); the story of Devadatta’s schism in i. 12, also derived from the Vinaya (Culla Vagga, vii. 3. 17); and the story of Meghiya, iii. 1, derived from [28.48] the Aṅguttara. About one third of the Udāna is embodied in the Dhammapada Commentary.

Synoptical Table C


Dhammapada Commentary

i. 10: 6-9, Bāhiya Dārucīriya

viii. 2: ii. 209-217

ii. 8: 15-18, Suppavāsā

xxvi. 31: iv. 192-194, Sīvali

iii. 2: 21-24, Nanda

i. 9: i. 115-125

iii. 3: 24-27, Yasoja

xxiv. 1: iv. 37-46, Kapilamaccha

iii. 6: 28-29, Pilindavaccha

xxvi. 25: iv. 181-182

iii. 7: 29-30, Mahā Kassapa

iv. 10: i. 423-430

iv. 1: 34-37, Meghiya

iii. 1: i. 287-289

iv. 3: 38-39, gopalaka

iii. 8: i. 322-325, Nanda gopala

iv. 5: 41-42, Pālileyyaka

(i. 5): i. 5614-5916, Pārileyyaka

iv. 8: 43-45, Sundarī

xxii. 1: iii. 474-478

v. 3: 48-50, Suppabuddha kuṭṭhī

v. 7: ii. 33-37

v. 6: 57-59, Soṇa Koṭikaṇṇa

xxv. 7: iv. 101-112

v. 8: 60-61, Devadatta

(i. 12): i. 141-142

vii. 10: 79, Sāmāvatī

(ii. 1. 6): i. 221-222

viii. 8: 91-92, Visākhā

xvi. 3: iii. 278-279


§ 7 d. Relation to the Works of Buddhaghosa. So little of Buddhaghosa’s work has been published that no more than a brief sketch of the relation of the Dhammapada Commentary to his writings is here possible. The principal works of Buddhaghosa are the Visuddhi-Magga and the Commentaries on the Dīgha, Majjhima, Saṁyutta, and Aṅguttara Nikāyas. The approximate date of the Visuddhi-Magga is 410 A.D. The rest of his works are later, for they presuppose the existence of the Visuddhi-Magga and frequently refer to it. [28.49]

The Dhammapada Commentary is demonstrably later than the works of Buddhaghosa, for much the same reason that the Commentaries on the four greater Nikāyas are later than the Visuddhi-Magga. Nothing is more certain than that the Jātaka Book is earlier than the Dhammapada Commentary. The Dhammapada Commentary refers frequently to the Jātaka and contains from forty to fifty stories derived from it, nearly one half of them being verbally identical with Jātaka stories. If, therefore, references occur in the Jātaka Book to the Commentaries of Buddhaghosa, the priority of the latter both to the Jātaka Book and to the Dhammapada Commentary is clearly established. The Jātaka Book refers at least twice to Commentaries of Buddhaghosa: at i. 13123-24 to Aṅguttara Commentary and at v. 384-5 to Saṁyutta Commentary.

Moreover, there is evidence in the Dhammapada Commentary itself of the existence of Buddhaghosa’s Commentaries. The story of Sāṇu the novice, xxiii. 5: iv. 18-25, is almost word for word the same as the story of Sāṇu in the Commentary on Saṁyutta x. 5 (see Dhammapada Commentary, iv. 255, note 1). At iv. 914-6 Dhammapada Commentary refers to the Kokālika Sutta and to the Commentary thereon; that is to say, either to Saṁyutta vi. 1. 10 and Commentary or to Sutta-Nipāta iii. 10 and Commentary. The Dhammapada Commentary makes such extensive use of Saṁyutta material, taking over more than a dozen stories of the Saṁyutta word for word, that the reference is probably to the Saṁyutta and to the Saṁyutta Commentary. The balance of probability in favor of the Saṁyutta is still further increased by the fact that the form of the name given as the title of the Sutta is Kokālika in the Dhammapada Commentary and in the Saṁyutta, but Kokāliya in the Sutta-Nipāta.

Synoptical Table D 1

The Commentaries on the Dhammapada, Therī-Gāthā, and Aṅguttara have the following stories in common:





1 Kuṇḍalakesī

viii. 3: ii. 217-227

xlvi. 9-102

JRAS., 1893, pp. 771-785

2 Paṭācārā

viii. 12: ii. 260-270

xlvii. 108-112

“ “ “ 552-560

3 Kisā Gotamī

viii. 13: ii. 270-275

liii. 174-176

“ “ “ 791-796

4 Nandā

xi. 5: iii. 113-119

xli. 80-86

“ “ “ 763-766

5 Khemā

xxiv. 5: iv. 57-59

lii. 126-128

“ “ “ 527-532

6 Dhammadinnā

xxvi. 38: iv. 229-231

xii. 15-16

“ “ “ 560-566

[28.50] A comparison of the text of the Therī-Gāthā Commentary with the text of the Dhammapada Commentary and of the Aṅguttara Commentary reveals the fact that in the case of Stories 1, 3, 5, and 6 the Therī-Gāthā Commentary follows the Aṅguttara Commentary, frequently word for word; but that in the case of Stories 2 and 4 the compiler of the Therī-Gāthā Commentary uses both the Aṅguttara Commentary and the Dhammapada Commentary as authorities.

In Story 2, Paṭācārā, Th. 2. cm. 10808-10904 follows A. cm. almost word for word; but Th. 2. cm. 10908-11228 is almost word for word the same as Dh. cm. ii. 26221-27011. In Story 4, Nandā, Th. 2. cm. 8031-8112 follows A. cm. almost word for word; but Th. 2. cm. 8131-8212 although much briefer than Dh. cm., is almost word for word the same as Dh. cm. iii. 11305-11811. Nanda is called Janapada-Kalyāṇī Rūpa-Nandā in Dh. cm. and A. cm., and Sundarī Nandā Janapada-Kalyāṇī in Th. 2. cm. Abhirūpa-Nandā (Th. 2. cm. xix) is her double, just as Vāsitthī (Th. 2. cm. li) is Paṭācārā’s double. Story 5, Khemā, is similar to Story 4, Nandā.

A comparison of the text of the Dhammapada Commentary with the text of the Aṅguttara Commentary tends to show that in every ease the Dhammapada Commentary version and the Aṅguttara Commentary version are derived independently of each other from a common original. The Story of the Past, a prominent feature of the Aṅguttara Commentary versions, is entirely lacking in the Dhammapada Commentary version of Stories 1, 3, 4, and 5, and is only briefly referred to in the same version of Stories 2 and 6.

Synoptical Table D 2 The references [to the Aṅguttara Commentary] are to the native subdivisions of the Commentary on the Etadagga Vagga and to the pages of the Colombo edition of 1904.49

Dhammapada Commentary


Aṅguttara Commentary

i. 8 b g: i. 96-97, 104-112


i. 2-3: 91-100

i. 8 c: i. 97-99


i. 1: 84-88

i. 9: i. 115-125


iv. 8: 190-192

ii. 1: i. 169-191, 199-231

Udena (Parts 2, 3, 5, 6)

vii. 3-4: 249-264

ii. 3: i. 239-255

Culla Panthaka

ii. 1-2: 129-135

iv. 8: i. 384-420


vii. 2: 241-249

V. 14: ii. 74-83


vi. 3: 229-231

vi. 4: ii. 112-127

Mahā Kappina

iv. 9: 192-196

vii. 9: ii. 188-200 (cf. xxvi. 31)

Khadiravaniya Revata

ii. 5: 137-141

viii. 2: ii. 209-217

Bāhiya Dārucīriya

iii. 8: 170-173

viii. 3: ii. 217-227


v. 9: 220-224 [28.51]

viii. 12: ii. 260-270


v. 4: 213-215

viii. 13: ii. 270-275

Kisā Gotamī

v. 12: 225-227

ix. 1: iii. 1-5

Culla Ekasāṭaka

i. 4: 102-104

xi. 5: iii. 113-119

Nandā (Janapada-Kalyāṇī)

v. 6: 217-218

xiv. 2: iii. 199-230

Yamaka Pāṭihāriya

Introd.: 77-79

xvii. 3: iii. 302-314


vii. 5: 264-268

xvii. 5: iii. 317-321


vi. 10: 238-239

xxiv. 5: iv. 57-59


v. 2: 205-207

xxv. 7: iv. 101-112


vii. 8: 270-271

xxv. 11: iv. 117-119


ii. 10: 152-153

xxvi. 25: iv. 181-182


iii. 7: 169-170

xxvi. 31: iv. 192-194 (cf. vii. 9)


ii. 9: 149-152

xxvi. 37: iv. 226-228


iii. 4: 163-165

xxvi. 38: iv. 229-231


v. 5: 215-217

In every case the two versions appear to be derived independently of each other from a common original. It is perhaps worthy of note that the first three and last three pages of the Cullaseṭṭhi Jātaka are verbally identical with Buddhaghosa’s version of the story of Culla Panthaka. Compare Jātaka 4 (i. 114-123) with Aṅguttara Commentary 129-135. That the redactor of the Jātaka Book has borrowed most of his story from the Aṅguttara Commentary is plain from the reference to the Aṅguttara Commentary at Jātaka i. 13123. The compiler of the Dhammapada Commentary has in turn borrowed the story of Culla Panthaka (ii. 3 a b) from the Jātaka Book, and while still retaining the Jātaka stanza, has substituted an entirely different Story of the Past.50

Versions of all of the six stories which go to make up the story of Udena, ii. 1: i. 161-231, occur in the writings of Buddhaghosa. For Buddhaghosa’s version of Parts 2, 3, 5, and 6, see his Aṅguttara Commentary, pages 249-264, as noted above. The story of the birth and youthful career of Udena (cf. ii. 1. 1) and the story of the winning of Vāsuladattā by Udena (cf. ii. 1. 4) are related briefly in the Commentary on Majjhima 85 (see F. Lac"te, Essai sur Guṇāḍhya et la B?hatkathā, p. 251). The story of the compassing of Sāmāvatī’s death by Māgandiyā (cf . ii. 1. 6: i. 210-231) is related briefly in Visuddhi-Magga, xii. 169 ff. Visuddhi-Magga, xii. 149 ff., contains a brief outline of the story of the death of Moggallāna (cf. x. 7: iii. 65-71). These stories of Buddhaghosa and the parallel stories in the Dhammapada Commentary are undoubtedly drawn from a common source.

The Khuddaka-Pāṭha Commentary is the only work of Buddhaghosa which has been published in its entirety. Buddhaghosa is undoubtedly the author of it, for it closely resembles, in language and [28.52] style, Buddhaghosa’s better known writings and frequently quotes from the Visuddhi-Magga and from the principal Commentaries of Buddhaghosa. Three stories of the Dhammapada Commentary are derived from the Khuddaka-Pāṭha Commentary. The story of Sāriputta and Moggallāna, i. 10017-10421 is substantially the same story as Khuddaka-Pāṭha Commentary, 20204-20606. The story of the monks and the tree-spirits, iii. 6: i. 313-316, is a much abbreviated version of Khuddaka-Pāṭha Commentary, 23207-23523, 25125-25220. The story of the Buddha’s visit to Vesāli, xxi. 1: iii. 436-439, is almost word for word the same as Khuddaka-Pāṭha Commentary, 16022-16510, 19622-20106. At 12916-21 Buddhaghosa refers to the stories of Sumana the gardener, Mallikā, and others as instances of benefits received for rendering honor to whom honor is due, and at 12921-13024 he gives an outline of the story of Sumana referred to. It is in all respects the same as Dhammapada Commentary, v. 9: ii. 40-47, save only that the latter version lacks the cliché of the Buddha’s smile. Here again Buddhaghosa and the compiler of the Dhammapada Commentary have drawn from the same source.


§ 7 e. Relation to the Jātaka Book. The Dhammapada Commentary is more intimately related to the Jātaka Book than to any other book, canonical or uncanonical, and derives a greater amount of material from the Jātaka than from all other known sources combined. Over fifty stories of the Dhammapada Commentary, representing from one fifth to one quarter of its bulk, are either derivatives of Jātaka stories or close parallels. In addition many other Jātaka stories are referred to and many Jātaka stanzas are quoted. For example, in i. 12, fourteen Jātakas are referred to and twelve stanzas are quoted.

Verbally identical with Jātaka stories, or nearly so, are the following: story of the monks’ quarrel in i. 5; story of Rāhula in i. 9; story of Culla Panthaka in ii. 3 (Story of the Past entirely different); story of Sakka and the parrot in ii. 9; iv. 3, Viḍūḍabha; iv. 5, Macchariyakosiya; ix. 4, Anāthapiṇḍika (brief); x. 8, Bahubhaṇḍika; xiii. 9, Ciñcā; xv. 1, Ñātikalahavūpasamana (brief); xvii. 5, Sāketa brāhmaṇa; xx. 8, Sambahulā mahallakā; xxii. 1, Sundarī; xxiv. 4, Bandhanāgāra; xxv. 2, Haṁsaghātaka; and story of tortoise and geese in xxv. 3. Closely following the Jātaka versions, but yet not word for word, are the following: v. 2, Kassapa’s companion; story of the stone-thrower in v. 13; ix. 9 a, Physician, boys, and snake; xii. 4, Birth of Kumāra Kassapa; xxvi. 32, Sundarasamudda.

Free versions of Jātaka stories are the following: i. 2, Maṭṭhakuṇḍali; [28.53] i. 7, Devadatta (more detailed); i. 12, Devadatta (very free); story of Magha in ii. 7; iii. 5, Cittahattha; iv. 3 a, Kesava; story of Hell-Pot in V. 1; vi. 7, Mother of Kāṇā; vi. 8, Pack of vagabonds; vii. 9 c, Sīvali’s previous states of existence; x. 7, Death of Moggallāna; xi. 1, Visākhā’s companions (very free); xi. 7, Lāḷudāyi; xii. 2, Upananda; xii. 3, Padhānikatissa (very free); xiv. 2, Twin Miracle (much longer and more detailed); xvi. 5, Anitthigandha; xviii. 5, Discontented monk; xviii. 8, Tissadahara; xx. 5, Padhānakammika; xxiv. 7, Culla Dhanuggaha; xxiv. 11, Aputtaka seṭṭhi; xxv. 1, Pañca bhikkhū; xxv. 5, Vipakkhasevaka; xxvi. 11, Kuhaka brāhmaṇa; xxvi. 31, Sīvali. Similar stories: i. 3 a, Devala and Nārada, is similar to the story of Jātimanta and the Bodhisatta in Jātaka 497; v. 1 c. Woman and ewe, is similar to Jātaka 18; viii. 3, Kuṇḍalakesī, is similar to Jātaka 419, Sulasā; xvi. 2, Loss of a son, is similar to Introduction to Jātaka 354.

Synoptical Table E

The letter I signifies that the correspondence is with the Introduction to the Jātaka (Story of the Present); the letter J that the correspondence is with the Jātaka proper (Story of the Past). An asterisk (*) signifies that the correspondence is close. References are to the number of the story and to the volume and page of the text.

Jātaka Book


Dhammapada Commentary

4:1.114-120, Cullaka Seṭṭhi


ii. 3: i. 239-250, Culla Panthaka

6:1.126-133, Devadhamma

(I* J*)

x. 8: iii. 72-78, Bahubhaṇḍika

12: i. 145-149, Nigrodhamiga


xii. 4: iii. 144-149, Kumāra Kassapa

14: i. 156-159, Vātamiga


xxvi. 32: iv. 194-199 Sundarasamudda

18: i. 166-168 Matakabhatta


v. 1 c: ii. 1714-l814 Woman and ewe

26:1.185-188 Mahilāmukha


xxv. 5: iv. 95-97 Vipakkhasevaka

31: i. 198-206 Kulāvaka


ii. 7: i. 263-281 Magha

40:1.226-231 Khadiraṅgāra


ix. 4: iii. 9-15 Anāthapiṇḍika

65: i. 301-302 Anabhirati

(I J)

xviii. 5: iii. 348-351 Aññatara kulaputta

68: i. 308-310 Sāketa

(I* J*)

xvii. 5: iii. 317-321 Sāketa

70: 1. 311-315 Kuddāla

(I J)

ill. 5: i. 305-313 Cittahattha [28.54]

71: i. 316-319 Varaṇa


xx. 5: iii. 407-410 Padhānakammika Tissa

78: i. 345-349 Ilīsa


iv. 5: i. 366-376 Macchariya Kosiya

80: i. 355-356 Bhīmasena


xviii. 8: iii. 357-359 Tissa dahara

96: i. 393-401 Telapatta


xxv. 1: iv. 83-86 Pañca bhikkhū

100: i. 407-408 Asātarūpa


xxvi. 31:iv. 192-194 Sīvali
vii. 9 c: ii. 196-200

107: i. 418-420 Sālittaka


v. 13 a: ii. 68-73 Saṭṭhikūṭapeta
xxv. 2: iv. 86-88 Haṁsaghātaka

119: i. 435 Akālarāvi


xii. 3: iii. 142-144 Padhānika Tissa

137: i. 477-480 Babbu

(I J)

vi. 7: ii. 149-153 Kāṇā-mātā

138: i. 480-482 Godha


xxvi. 11: iv. 152-156 Kuhaka

146:1.497-499 Kāka

(I J*)

xx. 8: iii. 421-425 Sambahulā mahallakā

182: ii. 92-94 Saṁgāmāvacara


i. 9: i. 115-122 Nanda

183: ii. 95-97 Vālodaka

(I J)

vi. 8: ii. 153-157 Pack of vagabonds

201: ii. 139-141 Bandhanāgāra

(I* J*)

xxiv. 4: iv. 53-57 Bandhanāgāra

211: ii. 164-167 Somadatta

(I J)

xi. 7: iii. 123-127 Lāḷudāyi

215: ii. 175-178 Kacchapa

(I J*)

xxv. 3: iv. 91-93 Kokālika

221: ii. 196-199 Kāsāva

(I J)

i. 7: i. 77-83 Devadatta

263: ii. 328 Culla Palobhana


xvi. 5: iii. 281-284 Anitthigandha

276: ii. 365-381 Kurudhamma

(I* J)

xxv. 2: iv. 86-90 Haṁsaghātaka

285: ii. 415-417 Maṇisūkara


xxii. 1: iii. 474-478 Sundarī

314: iii. 43-48 Story of the Hell-Pot

(I J)

v. 1: ii. 1-19

321: iii. 71-74 Kuṭidūsaka

(I* J)

v. 2: ii. 19-25 Kassapa’s pupil [28.55]

325: iii. 84-86 Godha


xxvi. 11: iv. 152-156 Kuhaka brāhmaṇa

328: iii. 93-94 Ananusociya


xvi. 5: iii. 281-284 Anitthigandha

346: iii. 142-145 Kesava


iv. 3 a: i. 342-345 Kesava

354: iii. 162-168 Uraga


xvi. 2: iii. 276-278 Aññatara kuṭumbika

367: iii. 202-203 Sāliya


ix. 9 a: iii. 33 Physician, boys, and snake

374: iii. 219-224 Culla Dhanuggaha

(I J)

xxiv. 7: iv. 65-69 Culla Dhanuggaha

390: iii. 299-303 Mayhaka

(I J)

xxiv. 11: iv. 76-80 Aputtaka seṭṭhi

400: iii. 332-336 Dabbhapuppha

(I J)

xii. 2: iii. 139-142 Upananda

419: iii. 435-438 Sulasā


viii. 3: ii. 217-227 Kuṇḍalakesī

428: iii. 486-490 Quarrel of the monks at Kosambi


i. 5: i. 53-66

429: iii. 491-494 Mahāsuka


ii. 9: i. 283-286 Nigamavāsī Tissa

449: iv. 59-62 Maṭṭhakuṇḍali

(I J)

i. 2: i. 25-37 Maṭṭhakuṇḍali

454: iv. 79-87 Ghata


i. 2: i. 25-37 Maṭṭhakuṇḍali

455: iv. 90-95 Mātiposaka


xxiii. 3: iv. 13-15 Verbal gloss

465: iv. 144-153 Bhaddasāla


iv. 3: i. 337-362 Viḍūḍabha

466: iv. 158-159 Samuddavāṇija


i. 12: i. 133-150 Devadatta

472: iv. 187-196 Mahā Paduma

(I* J)

xiii. 9: iii. 178-183 Ciñcā

483: iv. 263-267 Sarabhamiga


xiv. 2: iii. 199-230 Yamaka Pāṭihāriya

497: iv. 388-389 Jātimanta


i. 3 a: i. 39-43 Devala

507: iv. 469 Mahā Palobhana


xvi. 5: iii. 281-284 Anitthigandha [28.56]

512: v. 11 Kumbha


xi. l:iii. 100-103 Drunken women

522: V. 125-127 Sarabhaṅga


x. 7: iii. 65-71 Mahā Moggallāna

531: V. 282-285 Kusa


xvi. 5: iii. 281-284 Anitthigandha

533: v. 333-337 Culla haṁsa


i. 12: i. 133-150 Devadatta

536: V. 412-416 Kuṇāla


xv. 1: iii. 254-257 Ñātikalahavūpasamana

536: V. 43328-43408 Kuṇāla


xxvi. 32: iv. 194-199 Sundarasamudda

542: vi. 129-131 Khaṇḍahāla


i. 12: i. 133-150 Devadatta


§ 7 f. Relation to the Commentaries of Dhammapāla. Internal evidence proves conclusively that the Commentaries of Dhammapāla on the Thera-Gāthā, Therī-Gāthā, Vimānavatthu, and Petavatthu are later than the Dhammapada Commentary. Dhammapāla refers to the Dhammapada Commentary four times in Thera-Gāthā Commentary (cxc, ccv, ccxxx, ccxl) and once in Vimānavatthu Commentary (iii. 8). Thera-Gāthā Commentary refers (xxvi) to Therī-Gāthā Commentary as yet to come, and Vimānavatthu Commentary is referred to four times by Petavatthu Commentary. See Petavatthu Commentary, 7130-32 9217-29, 2446-10, 2575-11.51 Internal evidence further proves that between twenty-five and thirty stories contained in these four Commentaries are derived from the Dhammapada Commentary.

From the Dhammapada Commentary are derived most of the following stories of the Thera-Gāthā Commentary: Ix, Sīvali; Ixii, Vajjiputta; Ixvi, Meghiya; Ixviii, Ekudāniya; Ixix, Channa; xcv, Cakkhupāla; cxxxvi, Mahā Kāḷa; cxxxix, Nanda; clxxviii, Yasoja; cxc, Jambuka; ccv, Vakkali; ccxv, Sappadāsa; ccxix, Sumana; ccxxiv, Sundarasamudda; ccxxxv, Mahā Kappina; ccxl, Saṁkicca; cclix, Sāriputta; and cclxiv, Vaṅgīsa. Dhammapāla names the Dhammapada Commentary as the source of stories cxc and ccxl, and Aṅguttara Commentary and Dhammapada Commentary as the sources of story ccv.

In two stories of the Therī-Gāthā Commentary, xli and xlvii, Dhammapāla employs both Aṅguttara Commentary and Dhammapada Commentary as authorities. In the case of story xli, Nanda, the first fourteen lines are almost word for word the same as Aṅguttara Commentary; the rest of the story, although briefer than the original, is almost word for word the same as Dhammapada Commentary. Similarly in the story of Paṭācārā, xlvii, the first page is almost word for word the same as Aṅguttara Commentary; but the last four pages [28.57] are almost word for word the same as Dhammapada Commentary. For further details, see Introduction, § 7 d.

Four stories of the Vimānavatthu Commentary are derived from the Dhammapada Commentary, vii. 9, Maṭṭhakuṇḍali, is a free version of Dhammapada Commentary, i. 2. Verbally identical with Dhammapada Commentary are stories i. 15, Uttarā (= Dh. cm. xvii. 3); i. 16, Sirimā (= Dh. cm. xi. 2); and v. 2, Revatī (= Dh. cm. xvi. 9, Nandiya). Three stories of the Petavatthu Commentary are derived from the Dhammapada Commentary: i. 3, Pūtimukha (from Dh. cm. XX. 6); iv. 15 (cf. iv. 1), story of the Hell-Pot (from Dh. cm. v. 1); iv. 16, Saṭṭhikūṭa (from Dh. cm. v. 13).

Synoptical Table F

Psalms of the Brethren


Dhammapada Commentary

xxxix. 43-44


i. 3: i. 37-45

xliv. 48-49


xxiii. 5: iv. 18-25

lx. 60-62


xxvi. 31: iv. 192-194 (vii. 9 6): ii. 192-195

lxii. 63


xxi. 6: iii. 460-463

lxvi. 67


iii. 1: i. 287-289

lxviii. 68-69


xix. 3: iii. 384-386

xcv. 88-89


i. 1: i. 3-24

cxxxvi. 123-124

Mahā Kāḷa

i. 6: i. 66-77

cxxxix. 126-127


i. 9:i. 115-125

clxxviii. 166-167


xxiv. 1: iv. 37-46

cxc. 179-180


V. 11: ii. 52-63

ccv. 197-200


xxv. 11: iv. 117-119

ccxv. 214-215


viii. 11: ii. 256-260

ccxix. 220-221


(xxv. 12): iv. 129-137

ccxxiv. 228-230


xxvi. 32: iv. 194-198

ccxxx. 241 refers to ccxxxv. 254-257

Mahā Kappina

iv. 12: i. 434-447 vi. 4:ii. 112-127

ccxl. 266-268


viii, 9: ii. 240-253

cclix. 340-342


(i. 8): i. 88-96

cclxiv. 395-397


xxvi. 37: iv. 226-228


§ 8. Date of the Dhammapada Commentary: 450 A.D.

The facts brought out in the preceding discussion of the relation of the Dhammapada Commentary to the works of Buddhaghosa, to the Jātaka Book, and to the Commentaries of Dhammapāla make it abundantly clear that the works with which we are chiefly concerned must be arranged in the following chronological order: [28.58]

1. Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhi-Magga and Commentaries, 410-432 A.D. For Buddhaghosa’s life and work, see Rhys Davids’s articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. Cf. also Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 152-154, 157-161, 164-166.52
2. Jātaka Book (Jātaka-Aṭṭhavaṇṇanā); redactor unknown. On the Jātaka Book, see Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, chap, xi, pp. 189-209; Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 89-127, 153-154; and Winternitz’s article in Hastings, Encyclopaedia.53
3. Dhammapada Commentary (Dhammapada-Aṭṭhakathā); compiler unknown. On the Dhammapada Commentary, cf. Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 153-157, and his article on the Jātaka, in Hastings, Encyclopaedia.54
4. Dhammapāla’s Commentaries, latter part of fifth century A.D. On Dhammapāla, see Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 161-164, and Rhys Davids’s article in Hastings, Encyiclopaedia. According to Rhys Davids, Dhammapāla flourished in the last quarter of the fifth century A.D.55

An apparently naïve remark by the compiler of the Dhammapada Commentary in the story of the Hell-Pot, v. 1, gives us a possible clew to the date of the work. At the end of the story of the four adulterers, ii. 1113-16, he remarks, “Although the four wicked wights have been sinking in the Pot ever since King Pasenadi Kosala heard those sounds, not even yet (ajjāpi) have a thousand years elapsed.”

If Pasenadi is the king so often referred to as warring with Ajātasattu, we may set 500 B.C. as his approximate date. On Pasenadi, see Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, pp. 8-11. Vincent A. Smith, Early History of India, 2d ed., p. 44, puts Ajātasattu at 500-475 B.C.56 The remark referred to would then be good evidence that the Dhammapada Commentary was composed between 450 and 500 A.D. Moreover, the particle api would seem to indicate that at the time of writing the period of a thousand years was not quite up, but nearly so.

The evidence furnished by this remark agrees perfectly with the evidence we find in the Dhammapada Commentary regarding the chronological order of Buddhaghosa’s works, Jātaka Book, Dhammapada Commentary, and Dhammapāla’s Commentaries. It is certain that the Dhammapada Commentary is later than the Jātaka Book, and that the Jātaka Book is later than the works of Buddhaghosa. Now the date of Buddhaghosa’s literary activity is approximately 410-432 A.D. Therefore we shall probably be not far from right if we fix 440 A.D. as the approximate date of the redaction of the Jātaka Book and 450 A.D. as the approximate date of the Dhammapada Commentary. [28.59]


§ 9. Authorship of the Dhammapada Commentary

The authorship of the Dhammapada Commentary is ascribed in the colophon to Buddhaghosa. This colophon, however, is the only evidence the four volumes of text contain that such is the case. The question is one which affects not only the Dhammapada Commentary, but the Jātaka Commentary as well. Indeed, so closely does the Dhammapada Commentary resemble the Jātaka Commentary, both in form and content, and so dependent on the Jātaka Commentary is the Dhammapada Commentary, that the problem of their authorship is a single problem, not to be divided, and best approached from the side of the Jātaka.

Buddhaghosa expressly names himself as the author of the Visuddhi-Magga, the Commentary on the Vinaya Piṭaka, and the Commentaries on the four greater Nikāyas in the introductory stanzas to these works. In the Gandhavaṁsa, a Burmese work of the seventeenth century A.D., he is also named as the author of the Commentaries on the Pātimokkhas, Abhidhamma Piṭaka, Khuddaka-Pāṭha, Dhammapada, Sutta-Nipāta, Jātaka, and Apadāna. Gandhavaṁsa, JPTS., 1886, p. 59.57 In the second part of chapter xxxvii of the Mahāvaṁsa, which contains an account of Buddhaghosa’s literary career, the yet more sweeping statement is made that Buddhaghosa “translated all the Cingalese Commentaries into Pāli.” Text in Andersen’s Pāli Reader, part 1, pp. 113-114 (11427-28).58

Rhys Davids, in discussing the authorship of the Jātaka Commentary, argues that this statement by no means implies that Buddhaghosa is the author of all the Commentaries we possess. See Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. lxiii-lxvi.59 In his opinion Buddhaghosa would certainly not have begun work on the Jātaka Commentary before completing Visuddhi-Magga, Vinaya Commentary, and the Commentaries on the four greater Nikāyas. Yet this is practically what we are asked to believe. Otherwise we should expect to find in the introductory stanzas to the Jātaka Commentary at least a reference to Buddhaghosa’s principal works. As a matter of fact, while three elders are there mentioned with respect, there are no references to Buddhaghosa’s teachers in India and Ceylon and no allusions to his conversion, journey from India, or previous writings. The argument from silence seems to Rhys Davids to be convincing. [28.60]

Fausböll, referring to the statement of the Gandhavaṁsa that Buddhaghosa is the author of the Jātaka Commentary, argues that while it is certain that Buddhaghosa is the author of the Visuddhi-Magga, the Commentary on the Vinaya, and the Commentaries on the four greater Nikāyas, it is incredible that he should have written six others equally long, especially if he remained only three years in Ceylon and was not only a translator, but also an independent writer. See the Postscriptum to Fausböll’s edition of the Jātaka, vol. vii. pp. viii-ix.60

The arguments of Rhys Davids and Fausböll are convincing and apply also to the Dhammapada Commentary. Cf. Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 152-154.61 Indeed, on account of the dependent relation of the Dhammapada Commentary to the Jātaka Commentary, they apply with even greater force to the Dhammapada Commentary. But the strongest argument of all is this: The Jātaka Commentary and the Dhammapada Commentary differ so widely in language and style from the genuine works of Buddhaghosa as to make it in the highest degree improbable that he is the author of either of them. In Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. ii. p. 886, col. 2, Rhys Davids says of the Jātaka Commentary and the Dhammapada Commentary: “In both style and matter each of these books differs from the other, and from such portions of the works of Buddhaghosa as are accessible to us.” The last half of this statement is quite correct, but the first half is utterly wrong. The Jātaka Book and the Dhammapada Commentary are so similar in language and style and subject-matter as to arouse the suspicion that they are by the same author. There is no absolute proof that this is the case, however. See Introduction, § 7 e. For a comparative study of the Dhammapada Commentary and Aṅguttara Commentary versions of a typical story, see E. Hardy, Story of the Merchant Ghosaka, in JRAS., 1898, pp. 741-794.62 The cumulative force of these three arguments is irresistible.

Buddhaghosa is not the author of the Jātaka Commentary or of the Dhammapada Commentary. Their authors are unknown.


§ 10. References to Dhammapada Commentary stories
in Milindapañha iv and vi

It has long been the opinion of scholars that, while Books ii and iii of the Milindapañha date from the beginning of the Christian era. Books iv-vii and parts of Book i are as late as the fifth century A.D. See Schrader, Fragen des Konigs Menandros, Einleitung, pp. vii-xxxv; also
Winternitz, History of Buddhist Literature, pp. 139-146.
Books iv-vii are full of references to the Jātaka Book, and Books iv and vi refer to many stories and legends found only in fifth century Commentaries. The publication of the Dhammapada Commentary [28.61] enables us to identify a considerable number of these stories. Book iv, at p. 115 of the text and p. 291, refers to a group of seven stories, and Book vi, at p. 350, to a group of ten additional stories, all of which (with a single exception) occur either in the Dhammapada Commentary or in the Jātaka Book or in the Vimānavatthu Commentary. Most of these stories, however, occur in the Dhammapada Commentary and nowhere else.

The Dhammapada Commentary stories referred to are as follows: i. 2, Maṭṭhakuṇḍali; (possibly) iv. 8, Suppiyā; iv. 12, Garahadinna; V. 3, Ānanda seṭṭhi; v. 9, Sumana mālākāra; v. 11, Jambuka ājīvaka; ix. 1, Ekasāṭaka brāhmaṇa; xi. 2, Sirimā nagarasobhinī; xiii. 7, Pesakāradhitā; xvii. 3, Puṇṇa bhātaka; xvii. 5, Sāketa-brāhmaṇassa āḷāhanadassana; xvii. 6, Puṇṇā dāsī; xxi. 8, Cūḷā Subhaddā. In addition Milindapañha at 34921, 35003, and 35004 refers respectively to the three principal legends of the Dhammapada Commentary version of the Twin Miracle, xiv. 2; namely, 1. Twin Miracle, 2. Preaching of the Abhidhamma in the World of the Thirty-three, 3. Descent to earth of the Buddha and attendant deities. Most of the references at Milindapañha 349 appear to be to the Commentary on the Sutta-Nipāta.

These references are of little assistance in fixing the date of the Dhammapada Commentary, but tend to prove that Books iv-vii of Milindapañha are as late as the beginning of the sixth century A.D.

Synoptical Table G

I Milindapañha 11512-16

Dhammapada Commentary

Other Commentaries


1* Sumana mālākāra

v. 9: ii. 40-47


2* Ekasāṭaka brāhmaṇa

ix. 1: iii. 1-5

A. cm. 102-104


3* Puṇṇa bhataka

xvii. 3: iii. 302-307


4 Mallikā devī

Jā. cm. iii. 405-406


5 Gopalamātā


6 Suppiyā upāsikā

(iv. 8): i. 4116-10

(Cf. Vin. 1. 21710-21810)


7* Puṇṇā dāsī

xvii. 6: iii. 321-325

Jā. cm. ii. 286-287


II Milindapañha 3509-15




1* Sumana mālākāra

V. 9: ii. 40-47 (4718)

See Story 1 above

2* Garahadinna

iv. 12: i. 434-447 (44614)

3* Ānanda seṭṭhi

v. 3: ii. 25-29 (2907)

4* Jambuka ājīvaka

V. 11: ii. 52-63 (6319)

5 Maṇḍūka devaputta

Vv. cm. 216-219 (21926)

6* Maṭṭhakuṇḍali devaputta

i. 2: i. 25-37 (3707)

Vv. cm. 322-330 (33033); Jā. cm. iv. 59-62


II Milindapañha 3509-15

Dhammapada Commentary

Other Commentaries

7 Sulasā nagarasobhinī

Jā. cm. iii. 435-439

8* Sirimā nagarasobhinī

xi. 2: iii. 104-109 (10917)

9* Pesakāradhītā

xiii. 7: iii. 170-176 (17515)

10* Cūḷā Subhaddā

xxi. 8: iii. 465-471 (47105)

11* Sāketa-brāhmaṇassa āḷāhanadassana

xvii. 5: iii. 317-321 (32010)

Jā. cm. i. 308-310


§ 11. Parallels to Story-Cycle of Udena See F. Lac"te, Essai sur Guṇādhya et la B?hatkathā, pp. 247-273.64

The story of Udena is the longest, and in many respects the most interesting, of all the stories of the Dhammapada Commentary. It is in reality a cycle of six stories of diverse origin and character, dealing with the fortunes of Udena, his principal treasurer, and his three queen-consorts. Only two of the stories are mainly concerned with the fortunes of Udena, the rest being introduced by simple and familiar literary devices. The story of the fortunes of Udena in the Dhammapada Commentary stands in much the same relation to the embedded stories as the frame-story of Udena in the Kathāsaritsāgara to the rest of the collection. Parallels to one or more of the stories are found in Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhi-Magga, Buddhaghosa’s Commentaries on the Majjhima and Aṅguttara, the Divyāvadāna, Kathāsaritsāgara, and other Sanskrit collections, and the Tibetan Kandjur. The kernel of two of the stories is derived from the Sutta-Nipāta and the Udāna.

Story ii. 1. 1: i. 161-169 relates the circumstances of the birth and youthful career of Udena. The same story is related briefly by Buddhaghosa in his Commentary on Majjhima 85 (see Lac"te, p. 251). A somewhat different version of the story is found in chapter ix of the Kathāsaritsāgara.

Story ii. 1. 2: i. 169-187 relates the seven marvelous escapes from death of the luck-child Ghosaka, and is preceded by an account of Ghosaka’s previous kamma. The same story is related in detail by Buddhaghosa in his Commentary on the Etadagga Sutta of the Aṅguttara. See footnote number 1 on next page.65 For a comparative study of the two versions, see E. Hardy, JRAS., 1898, pp. 741-794. Parallels occur in many Sanskrit collections, and in fact in almost all of the literatures of the world. For a comparative study of the Oriental versions, see J. Schick, Das Glückskind mit dem Todesbrief. J. Schick, Corpus Hamleticum (Berlin, 1912): 1 Abteilung, 1 Band, Das Glückskind mit dem Todesbrief, Orientalische Fassungen.66 [28.63]

Story ii. 1. 3: i. 187-191 relates the circumstances under which Sāmāvatī became one of the queen-consorts of Udena. Buddhaghosa’s version of Parts 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the Udena-cycle is found in his Aṅguttara Commentary at pages 249-264, as stated above at p. 50, Synoptical Table D 2. – Postscript footnote.67 Similar in all respects is the story of Pradyota and ≠āntā (Sāmāvatī) in the Kandjur. See A. Schiefner, Mahākātjājana und König Tskaṇḍa-Pradjota: Memoires de l’academie impériale des sciences de St.-Pétersbourg, viie série, tome xxii, No. 7.68 V, Epidemie zu Udshdshajinī (pp. 14-17).

Story ii. 1. 4: i. 191-199 relates the capture of Udena by Caṇḍa-Pajjota and the winning of Vāsuladattā by Udena. Close parallels to this story occur in the Kathāsaritsāgara and Kandjur. See Kathāsaritsāgara, frame-story of chapters xi-xiv; and Schiefner, Mahākātjājana, xv, Udajana’s Gefangennehmung und Rettung (pp. 35-40). The same story is related very briefly by Buddhaghosa in his Commentary on Majjhima 85 (see Lac"te, p. 251).

Story ii. 1. 5: i. 199-203 (cf. xiv. 1: iii. 193-199) relates the Buddha’s rejection of Māgandiyā’s offer of his daughter in marriage. The source of this story is Sutta-Nipāta, iv. 9, or some derivative thereof. A close parallel is Divyāvadāna, xxxvi, part 1, pp. 515-529. For a Sanskrit parallel from Eastern Turkestan, see A. F. R. Hoernle, JRAS., 1916, pp. 709 ff.

Story ii. 1. 6: i. 208-231 relates the compassing of Sāmāvatī’s death by Māgandiyā, and is preceded by the stories of the three treasurers, the monks and the tree-spirit, and Khujjuttarā. A close parallel to this story is Divyāvadāna, xxxvi, part 2, pp. 529-544. Brief outlines of the story occur in Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhi-Magga, xii. 169 ff., and in Schiefner, Lehensbeschreibung ≠ākyamuni’s (from the Kandjur), p. 47 (247). The burning of Sāmāvatī and her five hundred women is the subject of Udāna, vii. 10. The Dhammapada Commentary quotes the Udāna-passage word for word.


§ 12. Parallels to Dhammapada Commentary stories in Sanskrit (Divyāvadāna) and Tibetan (Kandjur)

The Divyāvadāna contains four parallels to stories of the Dhammapada Commentary. The story of Meṇḍhaka, chaps, ix-x, pp. 123-135, is a close parallel to the Dhammapada Commentary story of Meṇḍaka, xviii. 10: iii. 363-376. The story of the Twin Miracle in Divyāvadāna, chap, xii, pp. 143-166, is closer to Jātaka 483: iv. 263-267, than to [28.64] Dhammapada Commentary, xiv. 2: iii. 199-230. The Divyāvadāna version of the story of Culla Panthaka, Cūḍāpaksha, chap, xxxv, pp. 483-515, differs materially from the version common to Jātaka 4: i. 114-120, and Dhammapada Commentary, ii. 3: i. 239-250. The Story of the Past is the story of the mouse-merchant, as in the Jātaka. Part 1 of the story of Mākandika, chap, xxxvi, pp. 515-529, is a close parallel to the story of Māgandiyā in Dhammapada Commentary, xiv. 1: iii. 193-199 (cf. ii. 1. 5: i. 199-203). Part 2 of the story of Mākandika, chap, xxxvi, pp. 529-544, is a close parallel to the story of the compassing of Sāmāvatī’s death by Māgandiyā in Dhammapada Commentary, ii. 1. 6: i. 213-231. In Divyāvadāna, Māgandiyā’s motive is jealousy; in Dhammapada Commentary, it is hatred of the Buddha. On Divyāvadāna, xxxvi, see Lac"te, pp. 258-262.

The Tibetan Kandjur exhibits parallels to stories of our collection. Thus three stories in Schiefner, Mahākātjājana und König Tshaṇḍa-Pradjota, are strikingly similar to stories of the Dhammapada Commentary. Stories v and xv, corresponding respectively to Dhammapada Commentary, ii. 1. 3 and ii. 1. 4, have been discussed above. The third story, xix, Pradjota’s Träume und deren Deutung durch Mahākātjājana, relates Mahā Kātyāyana’s interpretation of twelve words heard and eight visions seen in a dream by King Pradyota. It is a striking parallel to the story in Dhammapada Commentary, v. 1: ii. 1-12, and Jātaka 314: iii. 43-48, of the Buddha’s interpretation of four syllables heard by King Pasenadi; to the story in Jātaka 418: iii. 428-434, of the Bodhisatta’s interpretation of eight sounds heard by the King of Benāres; and to the Buddha’s interpretation of the sixteen dreams of King Pasenadi in Jātaka 77: i. 334-346. Stories xix-xx form a striking parallel to the story of the king’s dreams in Bidpai’s Fables. See Keith-Falconer, Introduction, pp. xxxi-xxxiii, and translation, pp. 219-247; also Knatchbull’s translation, pp. 314-338.


§ 13. Hardy’s Legends of Gotama Buddha (Cingalese)

Chapter vii of Robert Spence Hardy’s Manual of Buddhism contains fifty-two legends of Gotama Buddha, representing in bulk nearly one half of the work. Most of these legends are derived from a Cingalese translation of the Jātaka Book or from medieval Cingalese collections of legends and stories. From a comparison of the contents of the Dhammapada Commentary with the contents of this [28.65] chapter it appears likely that nearly one half of Hardy’s Legends are indirectly, through the medium of medieval Cingalese collections, derived from the Dhammapada Commentary. The correspondences are indicated in the following table:

Hardy’s Legends of Gotama Buddha


Dhammapada Commentary


Page (Ed. 2)





Sāriputta and Moggallāna


8 b



Buddha visits Kapila


9 a]



Nanda and Rāhula


9 a-b













Buddha visits Vesāli










































2 a-d





2 e-f








Sounds of evil omen





Sākiyas and Koliyas





Devadatta and Ajātasattu





Death of Devadatta





Death of Moggallāna









§ 14. Rogers’s Buddhaghosha’s Parables (Burmese)

In 1870 Captain T. Rogers published under the title Buddhaghosha’s Parables an English translation of twenty-nine Burmese legends and stories. Of these, fifteen are late Burmese versions of legends and stories of the Dhammapada Commentary. The correspondences are indicated in the following table:

Buddhaghosha’s Parables


Dhammapada Commentary


















Tissa Thera





Culla Kāla and Mahā Kāla





Udena The story of Ghosaka is omitted and the story of Sāmāvatī is compressed into one paragraph.69


1 [28.66]



Culla Panthaka





Probationer Tissa





Mahā Kappina Thera





Probationer Paṇḍita





Kisā Gotamī





Girl and Hen





Hen and Little Sow





Culla Sumana














§ 15. Previous translations of Dhammapada and of parts of Commentary

The Dhammapada has been translated many times. The following list contains the titles and names of authors of all the complete translations: Pāli into Latin: Dhammapadam, V. Fausböll, Hauniae, 1855. Revision of the same: The Dhammapada, V. Fausböll, London, 1900. Pāli into English: Buddha’s Dhammapada, or Path of Virtue, F. Max Müller (in the Introduction to Captain T. Rogers, Buddhaghosha’s Parables), London, 1870. Also the following revisions of the same: The Dhammapada, F. Max Müller, forming part 1 of volume x of the Sacred Books of the East, 1st ed., Oxford, 1881; 2d ed., Oxford, 1898. Dhammapada, James Gray, 1st ed., Rangoon, 1881; 2d ed., Calcutta, 1887. Hymns of the Faith (Dhammapada), Albert J. Edmunds, Chicago, 1902. The Buddha’s Way of Virtue, in the Wisdom of the East Series, W. D. C. Wagiswara and K. J. Saunders, New York, 1912. Pāli into German: Das Dhammapadam, A. Weber, in ZDMG., 14. 1860; reprinted in Indische Streifen, 1. 1868. Worte der Wahrheit, L. V. Schroeder, Leipzig, 1892. Der Wahrheitspfad, K. E. Neumann, Leipzig, 1893. Pāli into French: Le Dhammapada, Fernand H”, Paris, 1878. Pāli into Italian: Il Dhammapada, P. E. Pavolini, Mailand, 1908. Sanskrit into Chinese into English: Texts from the Buddhist Canon, commonly known as Dhammapada, Samuel Beal, London, 1878. Sanskrit into Tibetan into English: Udānavarga, W. W. Rockhill, London, 1883.

Only a few of the stories of the Dhammapada Commentary have ever been translated. The first four stories are translated by C. Duroiselle in volume ii of the review Buddhism, Rangoon, 1905-08. The first two stories are translated by Godefroy de Blonay and Louis de la [28.67] Vallée Poussin in the Revue de l’ Histoire des Religions, 26. 1892. Stories i. 5 and iv. 3 are translated by the same scholars in the same Revue, 29. 1894. Warren, Buddhism in Translations, contains iv. 4 (pp. 264267), i-v. 8 (pp. 451-481), iv. 11 (pp. 380-383), x. 7 (pp. 221-226), xvii. 2 (pp. 430-431), and xxv. 2 (pp. 432-433). A translation of the story of Ghosaka (ii. 1. 2, Story of the Present) by E. Hardy is given in JRAS., 1898, pp. 741-794. For an analysis of the stories of Books i-iv, see my paper, Buddhaghosa’s Dhammapada Commentary, in Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 45, pp. 467-550. For translations of parallel stories in the Jātaka Book, see the Cambridge translation into English, or J. Dutoit’s translation into German. The German version is vastly superior to the English.


§ 16. Editions of the text of the Dhammapada Commentary

In 1855 extracts from the Commentary were published by V. Fausböll in his edition of the Dhammapada. These extracts form the basis of the admirable translations by H. C. Warren in Buddhism in Translations (see Introduction, § 15, paragraph 2). In 1906 the Pāli Text Society began the publication of a complete edition of the text, under the editorship of H. C. Norman of Benāres. The contents and date of publication of the several installments are as follows: Vol. i, part 1, containing Book i, 1906. Vol. i, part 2, containing Books ii-iv, 1909. Vol. ii, containing Books v-viii, 1911. Vol. iii, containing Books ix-xxii, 1912. Vol. iv, containing Books xxiii-xxvi, 1914. Vol. v. Indexes, 1915. Much to the regret of all students of Pāli literature, Professor Norman died on April 11, 1913, before the publication of the fourth and last volume of the text. The revision of the last three or four sheets of the text and the copying and revision of the Indexes was completed by a pupil of Norman’s, Pandit Lakshman Shastri Tailang. There are two excellent native editions of the Commentary: a Burmese edition by Ū Yan, Rangoon, 1903, and a Cingalese edition by W. Dhammānanda Mahā Thera and M. Ñāṇissara Thera, Colombo, 1898-1908. The Pāli Text Society edition of the Commentary contains so many errors, the result not only of careless proof-reading, but of failure to exercise good judgment and common sense in the choice of readings, that the translator has been obliged to rely mainly on the Burmese native edition. The readings of this edition are generally given (although not always correctly) in the footnotes of the London edition. [28.68]


§ 17. Brief list of books on the life and teachings of the Buddha

Many books have been written about the Buddha, but not many good ones. Bibliography: Buddhism, a list of references in the New York Public Library. Compiled by Ida A. Pratt, New York Public Library, 1916. On the life of the Buddha, see T. W. Rhys Davids’s article Buddha in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., and A. S. Geden’s article Buddha in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. On the teachings of the Buddha, see Rhys Davids’s article Buddhism in the Britannica. The best handbook of the life and teachings of the Buddha is R. Pischel, Leben und Lehre des Buddha, in the Series Aus Natur und Geisteswelt, Band 109, 2 Auflage, Leipzig, 1910. The following books will also be found useful: T. W. Rhys Davids, Buddhism: its History and Literature, in American Lectures on the History of Religions, New York and London, 1904. Edmund Hardy, Der Buddhismus nach älteren Pāli-Werken dargestellt, Münster, 1890. Edmund Hardy’s brief manual Buddha in the Sammlung Göschen, Leipzig, 1905. Hermann Oldenberg, Buddha: Sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde, 6 Auflage, Stuttgart und Berlin, 1914. Reginald S. Copleston, Buddhism, Primitive and Present, in Magadha and Ceylon, 2d ed., London, 1908. H. Kern, Manual of Indian Buddhism, in the Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie, Strassburg, 1896.

On Primitive Buddhism in its relation to other Indian religions, see G. F. Moore, History of Religions, vol. i, chap, ii, and H. Oldenberg, Die Indische Religion, in Die Religionen des Orients, Teil i, Abteilung iii. 1, of Die Kultur der Gegenwart. For a comprehensive sketch of Buddhism as a world-religion, see H. Hackmann, Buddhism as a Religion, in Probsthain’s Oriental Series, vol. ii, London, 1910. On the early history of Buddhism in India, see T. W. Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, in The Story of the Nations, London and New York, 1911. On the history of the Buddhist sects, see Rhys David’s article Hīnayāna in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. On the Buddhist literature, see M. Winternitz, Die Buddhistische Litteratur, in Geschichte der Indischen Litteratur, Zweiter Band, Erste Hälfte, Leipzig, 1913; also A. A. Macdonell’s article Literature (Buddhist) in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, and Rhys Davids’s article Buddhism in the Britannica.

Translations of Selections: H. C. Warren, Buddhism in Translations, in Harvard Oriental Series, vol. iii, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sixth Issue, 1915; J. Dutoit, Das Leben des Buddha, Leipzig, 1906; K. Seidenstücker, Pāli-Buddhismus in Ubersetzungen, Breslau, 1911; M. Winternitz, Buddhismus, in A. Bertholet, Religionsgeschichtliches [28.69] Lesebuch, Tübingen, 1908. Complete Translations of Texts: Of the Vinaya, Pātimokkha, Mahā Vagga, and Culla Vagga have been translated by T. W. Rhys Davids and H. Oldenberg in Sacred Books of the East, vols, xiii, xvii, and xx. Of the Dīgha, Suttas 1-13 (vol. i) have been translated by K. E. Neumann, Die Reden Gotamo Buddhos aus der längeren Sammlung Dīghanikāyo des Pāli-Kanons, I Band, München, 1907; Suttas 1-23 (vols, i-ii) by T. W. Rhys Davids, Dialogues of the Buddha, vols, i-ii (vols, ii-iii of the Sacred Books of the Buddhists), London, 1899, 1910. The entire Majjhima has been translated by K. E. Neumann, Die Reden Gotamo Buddhos aus der mittleren Sammlung Majjhimanikāyo des Pāli-Kanons, 3 Bde., Leipzig, 1896-1902; Suttas 1-50 have been translated into English by the Bhikkhu Sīlacāra, Discourses of Gotama the Buddha, vols, i-ii, London, 1912, 1913. Of the Aṅguttara, Nipātas 1-3 (vol. i) have been translated by E. R. J. Gooneratne, Galle, Ceylon, 1913. For translations of the Dhammapada, see Introduction, § 15. The Udāna has been translated by D. M. Strong, London, 1902. The Itivuttaka has been translated by J. H. Moore, Sayings of the Buddha, New York, 1908. The Sutta Nipāta has been translated by V. Fausböll, part 2 of volume x of the Sacred Books of the East, 1st ed., Oxford, 1881; 2d ed., Oxford, 1898; also by K. E. Neumann, Die Reden Gotamo Buddhos aus der Sammlung der Bruchstiicke Suttanipāto des Pāli-Kanons, Leipzig, 1905, 2 Auflage, 1911. The Thera-Gāthā and Therī-Gāthā have been translated by K. E. Neumann, Die Lieder der Monche und Nonnen Gotamo Buddhos, Berlin, 1899; also, together with the greater part of the stories in prose from the Commentaries of Dhammapāla, by Mrs. C. A. F. Rhys Davids, Psalms of the Early Buddhists: i. Psalms of the Sisters (Therī-Gāthā Commentary), London, 1909; ii, Psalms of the Brethren (Thera-Gāthā Commentary), London, 1913. Of the Jātaka Book there are two complete translations: the Cambridge translation into English and the far superior translation into German of J. Dutoit. The Nidānakathā has been translated by T. W. Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, London, 1880. The Milindapañha has been translated by T. W. Rhys Davids in Sacred Books of the East, vols, xxxv, xxxvi. – Addendum. Dīghanikāya in Auswahl ühersetzt by R. Otto Franke, Göttingen, 1913. Suttas 1-5, 8, 9, 11, 13, 16, 21, 26, 27.