The Life of the Victorious Buddha

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The Purchasing of Jeta's Wood [vv. 405-422]

Then the best of merchants, Sudatta by name, took many of his wares, and having gone from his home at Sāvatthī to the house of his merchant friend in the pleasant Rājagaha, he heard his auspicious friend say: “A Buddha, a Lord of Men, has arisen in the world.” His heart was uplifted with the joy that had arisen, and thinking that night had became day, he departed from that place.

The darkness along the main road being dispelled by the power of the Gods, he went to the delightful Cool Wood, and saw the Great Seer resplendent like the full moon, blazing forth like a lantern, which brought joy to the eyes, and accepting on his head His supreme feet, Sudatta, the Devout One, listened to the profound, subtle, spotless, noble Dhamma, which is adorned with a thousand methods, and attained the fruit of Stream-Entry. Then he invited the Leader of the World, the Sambuddha, together with the Saṅgha for a meal.

After giving them a pleasurable alms-meal furnished with good colour, smell, and taste, and obtaining the Teacher's promise for his coming to the noble town of Sāvatthī, while going along the path, he had built league after league charming, beautifully-made, excellent monasteries, and gave a great deal of wealth to support them.

Then, having returned to Sāvatthī, which is adorned with a hundred palaces, and is resplendent with decorated towers, city gates, and so on, which in every way surely mocks the city of the Lord of the Gods, being endowed with every good fortune, and adorned with dance and song, and so on, he thought: “Where will the Leader of the World, the Gracious One, live?”

Then looking on all sides for a place that was suitable for a monastery, he saw Prince Jeta's garden, which was like Sakka's garden Nandana, being furnished with shade and water and so forth. The Greatly Famous One bought that piece of land by covering it with ten million gold pieces and in that noble place, which carried off the minds of men and immortals, he built the very large Fragrant Cottage for the Buddha, which was always agreeable with the sound of nets of jingling bells, crowded with golden turrets, delightful with countless jewels, having a sunshade cover adorned with strings of pearls, which was most resplendent with many-coloured canopies, decorated with flowers, and so forth - a noble, beautiful crown for the earth.

He also built large dwellings for the Victor's spiritual sons, well-decorated with many glorious beds, seats and canopies, pavillions, walkways and so on, which captivated the mind's eye at all times. Then he also built lakes having soft, spotless, white sand, with railings and large charming enclosures, having pleasing and very cool water, and crowded with sweet-smelling white water lilies and lotuses.

The merchant had the best of monasteries made, the delightful Jeta's Wood by name, which was resplendent with full-blossoming Sal, Asana, Asoka, Iron Wood, Alexandrian Laurel, Areca Palms, and so on; which was guarded by a superb, delightful rampart shaped like a lordly snake's hood, as large as Mount Kailash, and that monastery shone like a wish-fulfilling jewel that accomplished all the people's desires and needs.