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The Gospel of Buddha

Preface

  • Preface:
    by Paul Carus


    Introduction
  • Chapter 01:
    Rejoice
  • 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:
    Enlightenment
  • Chapter 13:
    The First Converts
  • Chapter 14:
    Brahma's Request


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


    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:
    Visakha
  • Chapter 35:
    The Uposatha and Patimokkha
  • Chapter 36:
    The Schism
  • Chapter 37:
    The Re-establishment of Concord
  • Chapter 38:
    The Bhikkhus Rebuked
  • Chapter 39:
    Devadatta
  • 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:
    Amitabha
  • Chapter 61:
    The Teacher Unknown


    Parables and Stories
  • Chapter 62:
    Parables
  • 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:
    Vasavadatta
  • 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:
    Pataliputta
  • Chapter 91:
    The Mirror of Truth
  • Chapter 92:
    Ambapali
  • Chapter 93:
    The Buddha's Farewell Address
  • Chapter 94:
    The Buddha Announces His Death
  • Chapter 95:
    Chunda, the Smith
  • Chapter 96:
    Metteyya
  • Chapter 97:
    The Buddha's Final Entering into Nirvana


    Conclusion
  • 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

    Amitabha

    One of the disciples came to the Blessed One
    with a trembling heart and his mind full of doubt.
    And he asked the Blessed One:
    "O Buddha, our Lord and Master,
    why do we give up the pleasures of the world,
    if thou forbiddest us to work miracles
    and to attain the supernatural?
    Is not Amitabha, the infinite light of revelation,
    the source of innumerable miracles?"
    [1]

    And the Blessed One, seeing the anxiety
    of a truth-seeking mind, said:
    "O savaka, thou art a novice among the novices,
    and thou art swimming on the surface of samsara.
    How long will it take thee to grasp the truth?
    Thou hast not understood the words of the Tathagata.
    The law of karma is irrefragable,
    and supplications have no effect,
    for they are empty words."
    [2]

    Said the disciple:
    "So sayest thou there are no miracles and wonderful things?" [3]

    And the Blessed One replied: [4]

    "Is it not a wonderful thing,
    mysterious and miraculous to the worldling,
    that a man who commits wrong can become a saint,
    that he who attains to true enlightenment
    will find the path of truth
    and abandon the evil ways of selfishness?
    [5]

    "The bhikkhu who renounces the transient pleasure of the world
    for the eternal bliss of holiness,
    performs the only miracle
    that can truly be called a miracle.
    [6]

    "A holy man changes the curses of karma into blessings.
    The desire to perform miracles arises either from covetousness or from vanity.
    [7]

    "That mendicant does right
    who does not think:
    'People should salute me';
    who, though despised by the world,
    yet cherishes no ill-will towards it.
    [8]

    "That mendicant does right
    to whom omens, meteors, dreams,
    and signs are things abolished;
    he is free from all their evils.
    [9]

    "Amitabha, the unbounded light,
    is the source of wisdom, of virtue, of Buddhahood.
    The deeds of sorcerers and miracle-mongers are frauds,
    but what is more wonderous, more mysterious,
    more miraculous than Amitabha?"
    [10]

    "But, Master," continued the savaka,
    "is the promise of the happy region vain talk and a myth?" [11]

    "What is this promise?" asked the Buddha;
    and the disciple replied: [12]

    "There is in the west a paradise called the Pure Land,
    exquisitely adorned with gold and silver and precious gems.
    There are pure waters with golden sands,
    surrounded by pleasant walks and covered with large lotus flowers.
    Joyous music is heard, and flowers rain down three times a day.
    There are singing birds whose harmonious notes proclaim the praises of religion,
    and in the minds of those who listen to their sweet sounds,
    remembrance arises of the Buddha, the law, and the brotherhood.
    No evil birth is possible there, and even the name of hell is unknown.
    He who fervently and with a pious mind repeats the words 'Amitabha Buddha'
    will be transported to the happy region of this pure land,
    and when death draws nigh, the Buddha, with a company of saintly followers,
    will stand before him, and there will be perfect tranquillity."
    [13]

    "In truth," said the Buddha,
    "there is such a happy paradise.
    But the country is spiritual and it is accessible
    only to those that are spiritual.
    Thou sayest it lies in the west.
    This means, look for it where
    he who enlightens the world resides.
    The sun sinks down and leaves us in utter darkness,
    the shades of night steal over us,
    and Mara, the evil one, buries our bodies in the grave.
    Sunset is nevertheless no extinction,
    there is boundless light and inexhaustible life."
    [14]

    "I understand," said the savaka,
    "that the story of the Western Paradise
    is not literally true."
    [15]

    "Thy description of paradise," the Buddha continues, "is beautiful;
    yet it is insufficient and does little justice to the glory of the pure land.
    The worldly can speak of it in a worldly way only;
    they use worldly similes and worldly words.
    But the pure land in which the pure live
    is more beautiful than thou canst say or imagine.
    [16]

    "However, the repetition of the name Amitabha Buddha
    is meritorious only if thou speak it
    with such a devout attitude of mind
    as will cleanse thy heart
    and attune thy will to do works of righteousness.
    He can only reach the happy land whose soul
    is filled with the infinite light of truth.
    He only can live and breathe in the spiritual atmosphere
    of the Western Paradise who has attained enlightenment.
    [17]

    "Verily I say unto thee,
    the Tathagata lives in the pure land of eternal bliss
    even now while he is still in the body;
    and the Tathagata preaches the law of religion
    unto thee and unto the whole world,
    so that thou and thy brehtren may attain
    the same peace and the same happiness."
    [18]

    Said the disciple: "Teach me, O Lord,
    the meditations to which I must devote myself
    in order to let my mind enter
    into the paradise of the pure land."
    [19]

    Buddha said: "There are five meditations. [20]

    "The first meditation is the meditation of love
    in which thou must so adjust thy heart
    that thou longest for the weal and welfare
    of all beings including the happiness of thine enemies.
    [21]

    "The second meditation is the meditation of pity,
    in which thou thinkest of all beings in distress,
    vividly representing in thine imagination
    their sorrows and anxieties so as to arouse
    a deep compassion for them in thy soul.
    [22]

    "The the third meditation is the meditation of joy
    in which thou thinkest of the prosperity of others
    and rejoicest with their rejoicings.
    [23]

    "The fourth meditation is the meditation on purity, in which thou considerest the evil consequences
    of corruption, the effects of wrongs and evils.
    How trivial is often the pleasure of the momemt
    and how fatal are its consequences!
    [24]

    "The fifth meditation is the meditation on serenity,
    in which thou risest above love and hate, tyranny and thraldom, wealth and want,
    and regardest thine own fate with impartial calmness and perfect tranquillity.
    [25]

    "A true follower of the Tathagata
    founds not his trust upon austerities or rituals
    but giving up the idea of self
    relies with his whole heart upon Amitabha,
    which is the unbounded light of truth."
    [26]

    The Blessed One after having explained his doctrine of Amitabha,
    the immeasurable light which makes him who receives it a Buddha,
    looked into the heart of his disciple and saw still some doubts and anxieties.
    And the Blessed One said:
    "Ask me, thy son, the questions which weigh upon thy soul." [27]

    And the disciple said:
    "Can a humble monk, by sanctifying himself,
    acquire the talents and supernatural wisdom called Abhinnyas
    and the supernatural powers called Iddhi?
    Show me the Iddhi-pada, the path to the highest wisdom?
    Open to me the Jhanas which are the means of acquiring samadhi,
    the fixity of mind which enraptures the soul."
    [28]

    And the Blessed One said: "Which are the Abhinnyas?" [29]

    The disciple replied: "There are six Abhinnyas:
    (1) The celestial eye;
    (2) the celestial ear;
    (3) the body at will or the power of transformation;
    (4) the knowledge of the destiny of former dwellings, so as to know former states of existence;
    (5) the faculty of reading the thoughts of others; and
    (6) the knowledge of comprehending the finality of the stream of life."
    [30]

    And the Blessed One replied:
    "These are wondrous things;
    but verily, every man can attain them.
    Consider the abilities of thine own mind;
    thou wert born about two hundred leagues from here
    and canst thou not in thy thought,
    in an instant travel to thy native place
    and remember the details of thy father's home?
    Seest thou not with thy mind's eye the roots of the tree
    which is shaken by the wind without being overthrown?
    Does not the collector of herbs see in his mental vision,
    whenever he pleases, any plant with its roots,
    its stems, its fruits, leaves,
    and even the uses to which it can be applied?
    Cannot the man who understands languages
    recall to his mind any word whenever he pleases,
    knowing its exact meaning and import?
    How much more does the Tathagata understand the nature of things;
    he looks into the hearts of men and reads their thoughts.
    He knows the evolution of beings and forsees their ends."
    [31]

    Said the disciple:
    "Then the Tathagata teaches
    that man can attain through the Jhanas
    the bliss of Abhinnya."
    [32]

    And the Blessed One asked in reply:
    "Which are the Jhanas through which man reaches Abhinnya?" [33]

    The disciple replied: "There are four Jhanas.
    The first Jhana is seclusion in which one must free his mind from sensuality;
    the second Jhana is a tranquillity of mind full of joy and gladness;
    the third Jhana is a taking delight in things spiritual;
    the fourth Jhana is a state of perfect purity and peace
    in which the mind is above all gladness and grief."
    [34]

    "Good, my son," enjoined the Blessed One:
    "Be sober and abandon wrong practices
    which serve only to stultify the mind."
    [35]

    Said the disciple: "Forbear with me, O Blessed One,
    for I have faith without understanding
    and I am seeking the truth.
    O Blessed One, O Tathagata, my Lord and Master,
    teach me the Iddhipada."
    [36]

    The Blessed One said:
    "There are four means by which Iddhi is acquired:
    (1) Prevent bad qualities from arising.
    (2) Put away bad qualities which have arisen.
    (3) Produce goodness that does not yet exist.
    (4) Increase goodness which already exists.
    Search with sincerity, and persevere in the search.
    In the end thou wilt find the truth."
    [37]

    End Chapter 60


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

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