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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 Search

    Alara and Uddaha were renowed as teachers among the Brahmans,
    and there was no one in those days who surpassed them
    in learning and philosophical knowledge. [1]

    The Bodhisatta went to them and sat at their feet.
    He listened to their doctrines of the atman or self,
    which is the ego of the mind and the doer of all doings.
    He learned their views of the transmigration of souls and the law of karma;
    how the souls of bad men had to suffer
    by being reborn in men of low caste, in animals, or in hell,
    while those who purified themselves by libations, by sacrifices, and by self-mortification
    would become kings, or Brahmans, or devas,
    so as to rise higher in the grades of existence.
    He studied their incantations and offerings
    and the methods by which they attained deliverance of the ego
    from material existence in states of ecstacy. [2]

    Alara said:
    "What is that self
    which perceives the actions of the five roots of mind,
    touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing?
    What is that which is active in the two ways of motion,
    in the hands and in the feet?
    The problem of the soul appears in the expressions 'I say,'
    'I know and perceive,'
    'I come,' and 'I go'
    or 'I will stay here.'
    The soul is not thy body;
    it is not thy eye, not thy ear, not thy nose,
    not thy tongue, nor is it thy mind.
    The I is the one who feels the touch in thy body.
    The I is the smeller in the nose, the taster in the tongue,
    the seer in the eye, the hearer in the ear, and the thinker in the mind.
    The I moves thy hands and thy feet.
    The I is thy soul.
    Doubt in the existence of the soul is irreligious,
    and without discerning this truth there is no way of salvation.
    Deep speculation will easily involve the mind;
    it leads to confusion and unbelief;
    but a purification of the soul leads to the way of escape.
    True deliverance is reached by removing from the croud and leading a hermit's life,
    depending entirely on alms for food.
    Putting away all desire and clearly recognizing the non-existence of matter,
    we reach a state of perfect emptiness.
    Here we find the condition of immaterial life.
    As the munja grass when freed from its horny case,
    as a sword when drawn from its scabbard,
    or as the wild bird escaped from its prison,
    so the ego, liberating itself from all limitations, finds perfect release.
    This is true deliverance, but those only who will have deep faith will learn."

    The Bodhisatta found no satisfaction in these teachings.
    He replied: "People are in bondage,
    because they have not yet removed the idea of the ego.

    "The thing and its quality are different in our thought, but not in reality.
    Heat is different from fire in our thought,
    but you cannot remove heat from fire in reality.
    You say that you can remove the qualities and leave the thing,
    but if you think your theory to the end,
    you will find that this is not so.

    "Is not man an organism of many aggregates?
    Are we not composed of various attributes?
    Man consists of the material form, of sensation,
    of thought, of dispositions, and, lastly, of understanding.
    That which men call the ego when they say 'I am'
    is not an entity behind the attributes;
    it originates by their co-operation.
    There is mind; there is sensation and thought,
    and there is truth;
    and truth is mind when it walks in the path of righteousness.
    But there is no separate ego-soul outside of behind the thought of man.
    He who believes that the ego is a distinct being has no correct conception of things.
    The very search for the atman is wrong;
    it is a wrong start and it will lead you in a false direction.

    "How much confusion of thought comes from our interest in self,
    and from our vanity when thinking 'I am so great,'
    or 'I have done this wonderful deed?'
    The thought of thine ego stands between thy rational nature and truth;
    banish it, and then wilt thou see things as they are.
    He who thinks correctly will rid himself of ignorance and acquire wisdom.
    The ideas 'I am' and 'I shall be' or 'I shall not be'
    do not occur to a clear thinker.

    "Moreover, if our ego remains, how can we attain true deliverance?
    If the ego is to be reborn in any of the three worlds,
    be it in hell, upon earth, or be it in heaven,
    we shall meet again and again the same inevitable doom of sorrow.
    We shall remain chained to the wheel of individuality
    and shall be implicated in egotism and wrong.

    "All combinations is subject to separation,
    and we cannot escape birth, disease, old age, and death.
    Is this a final escape?"

    Said Uddaka: "Consider the unity of things.
    Things are not their parts, yet they exist.
    The members and organs of thy body are not thine ego,
    but thine ego possesses all these parts.
    What, for instance, is the Ganges?
    Is the sand the Ganges?
    Is the water the Ganges?
    Is the hither bank the Ganges?
    Is the farther bank the Ganges?
    The Ganges is a mighty river and it possesses all these several qualities.
    Exactly so is our ego."

    But the Bodhisatta replied: "Not so, sir!
    If we except the water, the sand, the hither bank and the farther bank,
    where can we find any Ganges?
    In the same way I observe the activities of man in their harmonious union,
    but there is no ground for an ego outside it parts."

    The Brahman sage, however, insisted on the existence of the ego, saying:
    "The ego is the doer of our deeds.
    How can there be karma without a self as its performer?
    Do we not see around us the effects of karma?
    What makes men different in character, station, possessions, and fate?
    It is their karma, and karma includes merit and demerit.
    The transmigration of the soul is subject to its karma.
    We inherit from former existences the evil effects of our evil deeds
    and the good effects of our good deeds.
    If that were not so, how could we be different?"

    The Tathagata meditated deeply on the problems of transmigration and karma,
    and found the truth that lies in them. [13]

    "The doctrine of karma," he said, "is undeniable,
    but thy theory of the ego has no foundation.

    "Like everything else in nature,
    the life of man is subject to the law of cause and effect.
    The present reaps what the past has sown,
    and the future is the product of the present.
    But there is no evidence of the existence of an immutable ego-being,
    of a self which remains the same and migrates from body to body.
    There is rebirth but no transmigration.

    "Is not this individuality of mine a combination, material as well as mental?
    Is it not made up of qualities that sprang into being by a gradual evolution?
    The five roots of sense-perception in this organism
    have come from ancestors who performed these functions.
    The ideas which I think, came to me partly from others who thought them,
    and partly they rise from combinations of the ideas in my mind.
    Those who have used the same sense-organs, and have thought the same ideas
    before I was composed into this individuality of mine are my previous existences;
    they are my ancestors as much as the I of yesterday is the father of the I of to-day,
    and the karma of my past deeds conditions the fate of my present existence.

    "Supposing that were an atman that performs the actions of the senses,
    then if the door of sight were torn down and the eye plucked out,
    that atman would be able to peep through the larger aperture
    and see the forms of its surroundings better and more clearly than before.
    it would be able to hear sounds better if the ears were torn away;
    smell better if the nose were cut off;
    taste better if the tongue were pulled out;
    and feel better if the body were destroyed.

    "I observe the preservation and transmission of character;
    I perceive the truth of karma,
    but see no atman whom your doctrine makes the doer of your deeds.
    There is rebirth without the transmigration of a self.
    For this atman, this self, this ego in the 'I say' and in the 'I will' is an illusion.
    If this self were a reality, how could there be an escape from selfhood?
    The terror of hell would be infinite, and no release could be granted.
    The evils of existence would not be due to our ignorance and wrong-doing,
    but would constitute the very nature of our being."

    And the Bodhisatta went to the priests officiating in the temples.
    But the gentle mind of the Sakyamuni was offended
    at the unnecessary cruelty performed on the altars of the gods.
    He said: [19]

    "Ignorance only can make these men prepare festivals
    and hold vast meetings for sacrifices.
    Far better to revere the truth than try to appease the gods by shedding blood.

    "What love can a man possess
    who believes that the destruction of life will atone for evil deeds?
    Can a new wrong expiate old wrongs?
    And can the slaughter of an innocent victim blot out the evil deeds of mankind?
    This is practising religion by the neglect of moral conduct.

    "Purify your hearts and cease to kill,
    that is true religion.

    "Rituals have no efficacy;
    prayers are vain repetitions;
    and incantations have no saving power.
    But to abandon covetousness and lust,
    to become free from evil passions,
    and to give up all hatred and ill-will,
    that is the right sacrifice and the true worship."

    End Chapter 9

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

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