The Life of the Victorious Buddha

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The Departure [vv. 174-203]

“Sire, I have brought the horse, now is the time, O Best of Charioteers,” so said Channa to the Famous Protector of the Earth.

Then the Master of the Earth, after hearing the word spoken by Channa, descended from the palace, went to Kanthaka, and said this to him: “Delighting in the welfare of all beings, Kanthaka, carry me today for this one night, and having become an unsurpassed Buddha, I will carry the world with its men and Gods, across the ocean of existence, which is a great repository of terrors such as old-age, sickness and death.”

Having said this, he mounted the white horse, and with Channa holding his tail firmly, the One of Great Strength, having come close to the main gate, thought thus: “If the door is not opened by anyone, then together with Channa holding on to the tail, I will grip Kanthaka with my thighs, and jump over this tall, beautiful wall and depart.” Channa, who was endowed with firm strength, and Kanthaka the supreme horse, both thought of overcoming the wall in the same way. Then, having understood the Bodhisatta's mind, the Gods who were in possession of the door, rejoicing in the auspicious departure, opened the door.

Then Māra the Murderer thought: “This Siddhattha, the one who has accomplished his aim, I will make one who has not accomplished his aim,” and after going up and standing in the firmament he said this to him: “Do not renounce the world, Great Champion, seven days from now the divine Wheel Treasure will certainly appear to you.” The Murderer speaking thus, the Famous One said this to him: “Who are you?” and Māra showed himself. “Māra, I know my divine Wheel will appear! But you must go! Do not stand here! I have no need of Sovereignty, for, after making the whole of the ten-thousand world system resound, I will become a Buddha, the Sole Leader of the World.” The Great Being said this and Māra, being unable to accept the utterance, vanished right there and then. By saying this to the Wicked One he gave up the glory of the Universal Monarchy, as though it were a lump of spit in the early morning.

The Gods, bearing a thousand jewelled torches went to worship him, and having gathered in that place went before and behind him, and on both sides. The Lesser Divinities worshipped him right there, while a truly great army of Gods, delighting in play, like a shower of flowers raining down from the sky, came there from the ten-thousand world-systems, and, being greatly elated, they wandered around to and fro with their supremely subtle bodies.

The speedy noble-bodied kings of horses, going along that charming path, which had fragrant and excellent flowers and sweet incense powder, and golden flags and so on blazing forth, were impeded by the mass of flowers and were unable to go quickly. While the great festival was continuing on the delightful path in this way, going thirty leagues along the road for the rest of the night, and reaching the bank of the river Anomā, he descended from the back of the horse onto the spotless, cool, sandy ground, and resting, he said: “Channa, take this horse and the things that were brought and go back to the city.”

Having said this, while standing in that place, the Great Champion, with a very sharp sword cut off his fragrantly perfumed top-knot, and threw it into the sky. Sakka, the Thousand-Eyed One, desiring to worship it, rose into the sky and received the Hair Relic in a charming, golden casket, and installed it in the spotless Tāvatiṁsa Heaven, in the top of the Crest-Jewel Shrine, which was about a league in height, made of sapphire, and was such as brings joy to the eyes.

Having taken the eight requisites of a monk which had been brought by the Supreme Divinities, he also threw his excellent clothes into the sky. A Great Divinity caught them and made a delightful twelve-league high Clothes Shrine in the Heavenly world.

Then, after going to the Anupiya mango grove, and spending seven days there in the bliss of having gone forth, he went thirty leagues along the road in just one day, and reached Rājagaha and went out on alms-round.