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The Gospel of Buddha


  • Preface:
    by Paul Carus

  • Chapter 01:
  • Chapter 02:
    Samsara and Nirvana
  • Chapter 03:
    Truth the Saviour

    Prince Siddhattha becomes Buddha
  • Chapter 04:
    The Bodhisatta's Birth
  • Chapter 05:
    The Ties of Life
  • Chapter 06:
    The Three Woes
  • Chapter 07:
    The Bodhisatta's Renunciation
  • Chapter 08:
    King Bimbisara
  • Chapter 09:
    The Bodhisatta's Search
  • Chapter 10:
    Uruvela, the Place of Mortification
  • Chapter 11:
    Mara, the Evil One
  • Chapter 12:
  • Chapter 13:
    The First Converts
  • Chapter 14:
    Brahma's Request

    The Foundation of the Kingdom of Righteousness
  • Chapter 15:
  • Chapter 16:
    The Sermon at Benares
  • Chapter 17:
    The Sangha
  • Chapter 18:
    Yasa, the Youth of Benares
  • Chapter 19:
  • Chapter 20:
    The Sermon at Rajagaha
  • Chapter 21:
    The King's Gift
  • Chapter 22:
    Sariputta and Moggallana
  • Chapter 23:
  • Chapter 24:
    The Sermon on Charity
  • Chapter 25:
  • Chapter 26:
    The Three Characteristics and the Uncreate
  • Chapter 27:
    The Buddha's Father
  • Chapter 28:
  • Chapter 29:

    Consolidation of the Buddha's religion
  • Chapter 30:
    Jivaka, the Physician
  • Chapter 31:
    The Buddha's Parents Attain Nirvana
  • Chapter 32:
    Women Admitted to the Sangha
  • Chapter 33:
    The Bhikkhus' Conduct Toward Women
  • Chapter 34:
  • Chapter 35:
    The Uposatha and Patimokkha
  • Chapter 36:
    The Schism
  • Chapter 37:
    The Re-establishment of Concord
  • Chapter 38:
    The Bhikkhus Rebuked
  • Chapter 39:
  • Chapter 40:
    Name and Form
  • Chapter 41:
    The Goal
  • Chapter 42:
    Miracles Forbidden
  • Chapter 43:
    The Vanity of Worldliness
  • Chapter 44:
    Secrecy and Publicity
  • Chapter 45:
    The Annihilation of Suffering
  • Chapter 46:
    Avoiding the Ten Evils
  • Chapter 47:
    The Preacher's Mission

    The Teacher
  • Chapter 48:
    The Dhammapada
  • Chapter 49:
    The Two Brahmans
  • Chapter 50:
    Guard the Six Quarters
  • Chapter 51:
    Simha's Question Concerning Annihilation
  • Chapter 52:
    All Existence is Spiritual
  • Chapter 53:
    Identity and Non-Identity
  • Chapter 54:
    The Buddha Omnipresent
  • Chapter 55:
    One Essence, One Law, One Aim
  • Chapter 56:
    The Lesson Given to Rahula
  • Chapter 57:
    The Sermon on Abuse
  • Chapter 58:
    The Buddha Replies to the Deva
  • Chapter 59:
    Words of Instruction
  • Chapter 60:
  • Chapter 61:
    The Teacher Unknown

    Parables and Stories
  • Chapter 62:
  • Chapter 63:
    The Widow's Two Mites and the Parable of the Three Merchants
  • Chapter 64:
    The Man Born Blind
  • Chapter 65:
    The Lost Son
  • Chapter 66:
    The Giddy Fish
  • Chapter 67:
    The Cruel Crane Outwitted
  • Chapter 68:
    Four Kinds of Merit
  • Chapter 69:
    The Light of the World
  • Chapter 70:
    Luxurious Living
  • Chapter 71:
    The Communication of Bliss
  • Chapter 72:
    The Listless Fool
  • Chapter 73:
    Rescue in the Desert
  • Chapter 74:
    The Sower
  • Chapter 75:
    The Outcast
  • Chapter 76:
    The Woman at the Well
  • Chapter 77:
    The Peacemaker
  • Chapter 78:
    The Hungry Dog
  • Chapter 79:
    The Despot
  • Chapter 80:
  • Chapter 81:
    The Marriage-Feast in Jambunada
  • Chapter 82:
    A Party in Search of a Thief
  • Chapter 83:
    In the Realm of Yamaraja
  • Chapter 84:
    The Mustard Seed
  • Chapter 85:
    Following the Master Over the Stream
  • Chapter 86:
    The Sick Bhikkhu
  • Chapter 87:
    The Patient Elephant

    The Last Days
  • Chapter 88:
    The Conditions of Welfare
  • Chapter 89:
    Sariputta's Faith
  • Chapter 90:
  • Chapter 91:
    The Mirror of Truth
  • Chapter 92:
  • Chapter 93:
    The Buddha's Farewell Address
  • Chapter 94:
    The Buddha Announces His Death
  • Chapter 95:
    Chunda, the Smith
  • Chapter 96:
  • Chapter 97:
    The Buddha's Final Entering into Nirvana

  • Chapter 98:
    The Three Personalities of the Buddha
  • Chapter 99:
    The Purpose of Being
  • Chapter 100:
    The Praise of All the Buddhas

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    The Gospel of Buddha

    The Bodhisatta's Renunciation

    It was night.
    The prince found no rest on his soft pillow;
    he arose and went out into the garden.
    "Alas!" he cried, "all the world is full of darkness and ignorance;
    there is no one who knows how to cure the ills of existence."
    And he groaned with pain. [1]

    Siddhattha sat down beneath the great jambu-tree and gave himself to thought,
    pondering on life and death and the evils of decay.
    Concentrating his mind he became free from confusion.
    All low desires vanished from his heart and perfect tranquillity came over him. [2]

    In this state of ecstacy he saw with his mental eye
    all the misery and sorrow of the world;
    he saw the pains of pleasure and the inevitable certainty of death
    that hovers over every being;
    yet men are not awakened to the truth.
    And a deep compassion seized his heart. [3]

    While the prince was pondering on the problem of evil,
    he beheld with his mind's eye under the jambu-tree
    a lofty figure endowed with majesty, calm and dignified.
    "Whence comest thou, and who mayest thou be?" asked the prince. [4]

    In reply the vision said: "I am a samana.
    Troubled at the thought of old age, disease, and death
    I have left my home to seek the path of salvation.
    All things hasten to decay;
    only the truth abideth forever.
    Everything changes, and there is no permanency;
    yet the words of the Buddhas are immutable.
    I long for the happiness that does not decay;
    the treasure that will never perish;
    the life that knows of no beginning and no end.
    Therefore, I have destroyed all worldly thought.
    I have retired into an unfrequented dell to live in solitude;
    and, begging for food, I devote myself to the one thing needful."

    Siddhattha asked: "Can peace be gained in this world of unrest?
    I am struck with the emptiness of pleasure and have become disgusted with lust.
    All oppresses me, and existence itself seems intolerable."

    The samana replied:
    "Where heat is, there is also a possibility of cold;
    creatures subject to pain possess the faculty of pleasure;
    the origin of evil indicates that good can be developed.
    For these things are correlatives.
    Thus where there is much suffering, there will be much bliss,
    if thou but open thine eyes to behold it.
    Just as a man who has fallen into a heap of filth
    ought to seek the great pond of water covered with lotuses, which is near by:
    even so seek thou for the great deathless lake of Nirvana
    to wash off the defilement of wrong.
    If the lake is not sought, it is not the fault of the lake.
    Even so when there is a blessed road
    leading the man held fast by wrong to the salvation of Nirvana,
    if the road is not walked upon,
    it is not the fault of the road, but of the person.
    And when a man who is oppressed with sickness,
    there being a physician who can heal him,
    does not avail himself of the physician's help,
    that is not the fault of the physician.
    Even so when a man oppressed by the malady of wrong-doing
    does not seek the spiritual guide of enlightenment,
    that is no fault of the evil-destroying guide."

    The prince listened to the noble words of his visitor and said:
    "Thou bringest good tidings,
    for now I know that my purpose will be accomplished.
    My father advises me to enjoy life and to undertake worldly duties,
    such as will bring honour to me and to our house.
    He tells me that I am too young still,
    that my pulse beats too full to lead a religious life."

    The venerable figure shook his head and replied:
    "Thou shouldest know that for seeking a religious life no time can be inopportune." [9]

    A thrill of joy passed through Siddhattha's heart.
    "Now is the time to seek religion," he said;
    "now is the time to sever all ties
    that would prevent me from attaining perfect enlightenment;
    now is the time to wonder into homelessness and, leading a mendicant's life,
    to find the path of deliverance."

    The celestial messenger heard the resolution of Siddhattha with approval. [11]

    "Now, indeed," he added, "is the time to seek religion.
    Go, Siddhattha, and accomplish thy purpose.
    For thou art Bodhisatta, the Buddha-elect;
    thou art destined to enlighten the world.

    "Thou art the Tathagata, the great master,
    for thou wilt fulfil all righteousness and be Dharmaraja, the king of truth.
    Thou art Bhagavat, the Blessed One,
    for thou art called upon to become the saviour and redeemer of the world.

    "Fulfil thou the perfection of truth.
    Though the thunderbolt descend upon thy head,
    yield thou never to the allurements that bequile men from the path of truth.
    As the sun at all seasons pursues his own course, nor ever goes on another,
    even so if thou forsake not the straight path of righteousness,
    thou shalt become a Buddha.

    "Persevere in thy quest and thou shalt find what thou seekest.
    Pursue they aim unswervingly and thou shalt gain the prize.
    Struggle earnestly and thou shalt conquer.
    The benediction of all deities, of all saints,
    of all that seek light is upon thee,
    and heavenly wisdom guides thy steps.
    Thou shalt be the Buddha, our Master, and our Lord;
    Thou shalt enlighten the world and save mankind from perdition."

    Having thus spoken, the vision vanished,
    and Siddhatta's heart was filled with peace.
    He said to himself: [16]

    "I have awakened to the truth
    and I am resolved to accomplish my purpose.
    I will sever all ties that bind me to the world,
    and I will go out from my home to seek the way of salvation.

    "The Buddhas are beings whose words cannot fail:
    there is no departure from truth in their speech.

    "For as the fall of a stone thrown into the air,
    as the death of a mortal,
    as the sunrise at dawn,
    as the lion's roar when he leaves his lair,
    as the delivery of a woman with child,
    as all these things are sure and certain -
    even so the word of the Buddhas is sure and cannot fail.

    "Verily I shall become a Buddha." [20]

    The prince returned to the bedroom of his wife to take a last farewell glance
    at those whom he dearly loved above all the treasures of the earth.
    He longed to take the infant once more into his arms and kiss him with a parting kiss.
    But the child lay in the arms of his mother
    and the prince could not lift him without awakening both. [21]

    There Siddhattha stood gazing at his beautiful wife and his beloved son,
    and his heart grieved.
    The pain of parting overcame him powerfully.
    Although his mind was determined,
    so that nothing, be it good or evil, could shake his resolution,
    the tears flowed freely from his eyes,
    and it was beyond his power to check their stream.
    But the prince tore himself away with a manly heart,
    suppressing his feelings but not extinguishing his memory. [22]

    The Bodhisatta mounted his noble steed Kanthaka,
    and when he left the palace, Mara stood in the gate and stopped him:
    "Depart not, O my Lord," exclaimed Mara.
    "In seven days from now the wheel of empire will appear,
    and will make thee sovereign over the four continents and the two thousand adjacent islands.
    Therefore, stay, my Lord."

    The Bodhisatta replied:
    "Well do I know that the wheel of empire will appear to me;
    but it is not sovereignty that I desire.
    I will become a Buddha and make all the world shout for joy."

    Thus Siddhattha, the prince, renounced power and worldly pleasures,
    gave up his kingdom, severed all ties, and went into homelessness.
    He rode out into the silent night,
    accompanied only by his faithful charioteer Channa. [25]

    Darkness lay upon the earth,
    but the stars shone brightly in the heavens.

    End Chapter 7

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    The Gospel of Buddha
    The Gospel of Buddha
    Compiled from ancient records by Paul Carus, 1894

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