Met the Gods of Ten Thousand Worlds (Dec. 3)

Met the Gods of Ten Thousand Worlds
After three awesome messengers have issued three warnings, the
gods of ten thousand worlds decide who is to be the new Buddha.
Then the parents, the conception, the birth of the god-child demand
constant vigilance.
Read: THE BIRTH OF THE BUDDHA Vol. 45, pp. 603-612

THE BIRTH OF THE BUDDHA
Translated from the Introduction to the Jataka (i.47 21)

NOW while the Future Buddha was still dwelling in the city
of the Tusita gods, the "Buddha-Uproar," as it is called,
took place. For there are three uproars which take place
in the world,—the Cyclic-Uproar, the Buddha-Uproar, and the Universal-
Monarch-Uproar. They occur as follows:—
When it is known that after the lapse of a hundred thousand
years the cycle is to be renewed, the gods called Lokabyuhas, inhabitants
of a heaven of sensual pleasure, wander about through the
world, with hair let down and flying in the wind, weeping and
wiping away their tears with their hands, and with their clothes red
and in great disorder. And thus they make announcement:—
"Sirs, after the lapse of a hundred thousand years, the cycle is to be
renewed; this world will be destroyed; also the mighty ocean will
dry up; and this broad earth, and Sineru, the monarch of the mountains,
will be burnt up and destroyed,—up to the Brahma heavens
will the destruction of the world extend. Therefore, sirs, cultivate
friendliness; cultivate compassion, joy, and indifference; wait on
your mothers; wait on your fathers; and honor your elders among
your kinsfolk."
This is called the Cyclic-Uproar.
Again, when it is known that after a lapse of a thousand years an
omniscient Buddha is to arise in the world, the guardian angels
of the world wander about, proclaiming:
"Sirs, after the lapse of a thousand years a Buddha will arise in the
world."
This is called the Buddha-Uproar.
And lastly, when they realize that after the lapse of a hundred
years a Universal Monarch is to arise, the terrestrial deities wander
about, proclaiming:—
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604 BUDDHISM
"Sirs, after the lapse of a hundred years a Universal Monarch is
to arise in the world."
This is called the Universal-Monarch-Uproar. And these three are
mighty uproars.
When of these three Uproars they hear the sound of the Buddha-
Uproar, the gods of all ten thousand worlds come together into one
place, and having ascertained what particular being is to be The
Buddha, they approach him, and beseech him to become one. But
it is not till after omens have appeared that they beseech him.
At that time, therefore, having all come together in one world,
with the Catum-Maharajas, and with the Sakka, the Suyama, the
Santusita, the Paranimmita-Vasavatti, and the Maha-Brahma of each
several world, they approached the Future Buddha in the Tusita
heaven, and besought him, saying,—
"Sir, it was not to acquire the glory of a Sakka, or of a Mara, or of
a Brahma, or of a Universal Monarch, that you fulfilled the Ten
Perfections; but it was to gain omniscience in order to save the
world, that you fulfilled them. Sir, the time and fit season for your
Buddhaship has now arrived."
But the Great Being, before assenting to their wish, made what is
called the five great observations. He observed, namely, the time, the
continent, the country, the family, and the mother and her span of
life.
In the first of these observations he asked himself whether it was
the right time or no. Now it is not the right time when the length
of men’s lives is more than a hundred thousand years. And why
is it not the right time ? Because mortals then forget about birth, old
age, and death. And if The Buddhas, who always include in their
teachings the Three Characteristics, were to attempt at such a time
to discourse concerning transitoriness, misery, and the lack of substantive
reality, men would not think it worth while listening to
them, nor would they give them credence. Thus there would be no
conversions made; and if there were no conversions, the dispensation
would not conduce to salvation. This, therefore, is not the right time.
Also it is not the right time when men’s lives are less than a
hundred years. And why is it not the right time? Because mortals
are then exceedingly corrupt; and an exhortation given to the exceed-

 

THE BIRTH OF THE BUDDHA 605
ingly corrupt makes no impression, but, like a mark drawn with a
stick on the surface of the water, it immediately disappears. This,
therefore, also is not the right time.
But when the length of men’s lives is between a hundred years
and a hundred thousand years, then is it the right time. Now at
that time men’s lives were a hundred years; accordingly the Great
Being observed that it was the right time for his birth.
Next he made the observation concerning the continent. Looking
over the four continents with their attendant isles, he reflected: "In
three of the continents the Buddhas are never born; only in the
continent of India are diey born." Thus he decided on the continent.
Next he made the observation concerning the place. "The continent
of India is large," thought he, "being ten thousand leagues
around. In which of its countries are The Buddhas born?" Thus he
decided on the Middle Country.
The Middle Country is the country defined in the Vinaya as
follows:—
"It lies in the middle, on this side of the town Kajafigala on the
east, beyond which is Maha-Sala, and beyond that the border districts.
It lies in the middle, on this side of the river Salalavati on
the southeast, beyond which are the border districts. It lies in the
middle, on this side of the town Setakannika on the south, beyond
which are the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of
the Brahmanical town Thuna on the west, beyond which are the
border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the hill Usiraddhaja
on the north, beyond which are the border districts."
It is three hundred leagues in length, two hundred and fifty in
breadth, and nine hundred in circumference. In this country are
born The Buddhas, the Private Buddhas, the Chief Disciples, the
Eighty Great Disciples, the Universal Monarch, and other eminent
ones, magnates of the warrior caste, of the Brahman caste, and the
wealthy householders. "And in it is this city called Kapilavatthu,"
thought he, and concluded that there he ought to be born.
Then he made the observation concerning the family. "The Buddhas,"
thought he, "are never born into a family of the peasant caste,
or of the servile caste; but into one of the warrior caste, or of the

606 BUDDHISM
Brahman caste, whichever at the time is the higher in public estimation.
The warrior caste is now the higher in public estimation. I
will be born into a warrior family, and king Suddhodana shall be my
father." Thus he decided on the family.
Then he made the observation concerning the mother. "The
mother of a Buddha," thought he, "is never a wanton, nor a drunkard,
but is one who has fulfilled the perfections through a hundred
thousand cycles, and has kept the five precepts unbroken from the
day of her birth. N o w this queen Maha-Maya is such a one; and she
shall be my mother."—"But what shall be her span of life?" 1 continued
he. And he perceived that it was to be ten months and seven
days.
Having thus made the five great observations, he kindly made the
gods the required promise, saying,—
"Sirs, you are right. The time has come for my Buddhaship."
Then, surrounded by the gods of the Tusita heaven, and dismissing
all the other gods, he entered the Nandana Grove of the Tusita
capital,—for in each of the heavens there is a Nandana Grove. And
here the gods said, "Attain in your next existence your high destiny,"
and kept reminding him that he had already paved the way to it by
his accumulated merit. Now it was while he was thus dwelling,
surrounded by these deities, and continually reminded of his accumulated
merit, that he died, and was conceived in the womb of queen
Maha-Maya. And in order that this matter may be fully understood,
I will give the whole account in due order.
It is related that at that time the Midsummer Festival had been
proclaimed in the city of Kapilavatthu, and the multitude were enjoying
the feast. And queen Maha-Maya, abstaining from strong
drink, and brilliant with garlands and perfumes, took part in the
festivities for the six days previous to the day of full moon. And
when it came to be the day of full moon, she rose early, bathed in
perfumed water, and dispensed four hundred thousand pieces of
money in great largess. And decked in full gala attire, she ate of
the choicest food; after which she took the eight vows, and entered
lThat is, "How long is she to live after conceiving me?" And the answer is,
"Ten lunar [that is, the nine calendar] months of my mother’s pregnancy, and
seven days after my birth."

THE BIRTH OF THE BUDDHA 607
her elegantly furnished chamber of state. And lying down on the
royal couch, she fell asleep and dreamed the following dream:—
The four guardian angels came and lifted her up, together with
her couch, and took her away to the Himalaya Mountains. There,
in the Manosila table-land, which is sixty leagues in extent, they
laid her under a prodigious sal-tree, seven leagues in height, and took
up their positions respectfully at one side. Then came the wives of
these guardian angels, and conducted her to Anotatta Lake, and
bathed her, to remove every human stain. And after clothing her
with divine garments, they anointed her with perfumes and decked
her with divine flowers. Not far off was Silver Hill, and in it a
golden mansion. There they spread a divine couch with its head
towards the east, and laid her down upon it. N o w the Future Buddha
had become a superb white elephant, and was wandering about
at no great distance, on Gold Hill. Descending thence, he ascended
Silver Hill, and approaching from the north, he plucked a white
lotus with his silvery trunk, and trumpeting loudly, went into the
golden mansion. And three times he walked round his mother’s
couch, with his right side towards it, and striking her on her right
side, he seemed to enter her womb. Thus the conception took place
in the Midsummer Festival.
On the next day the queen awoke, and told the dream to the king.
And the king caused sixty-four eminent Brahmans to be summoned,
and spread costly seats for them on ground festively prepared with
green leaves, Dalbergia flowers, and so forth. The Brahmans being
seated, he filled gold and silver dishes with the best of milk-porridge
compounded with ghee, honey, and treacle; and covering these
dishes with others, made likewise of gold and silver, he gave the
Brahmans to eat. And not only with food, but with other gifts, such
as new garments, tawny cows, and so forth, he satisfied them completely.
And when their every desire had been satisfied, he told them
the dream and asked them what would come of it ?
"Be not anxious, great king!" said the Brahmans; "a child has
planted itself in the womb of your queen, and it is a male child and
not a female. You will have a son. And he, if he continue to live the
household life, will become a Universal Monarch; but if he leave

608 BUDDHISM
the household life and retire from the world, he will become a Buddha,
and roll back the clouds of sin and folly of this world."
Now the instant the Future Buddha was conceived in the womb
of his mother, all the ten thousand worlds suddenly quaked, quivered,
and shook. And the Thirty-two Prognostics appeared, as follows:
an immeasurable light spread through ten thousand worlds;
the blind recovered their sight, as if from desire to see this his glory;
the deaf received their hearing; the dumb talked; the hunchbacked
became straight of body; the lame recovered the power to walk; all
those in bonds were freed from their bonds and chains; the fires
went out in all the hells; the hunger and thirst of the Manes was
stilled; wild animals lost their timidity; diseases ceased among men;
all mortals became mild-spoken; horses neighed and elephants
trumpeted in a manner sweet to the ear; all musical instruments
gave forth their notes without being played upon; bracelets and other
ornaments jingled; in all quarters of the heavens the weather became
fair; a mild, cool breeze began to blow, very refreshing to men; rain
fell out of season; water burst forth from the earth and flowed in
streams; the birds ceased flying through the air; the rivers checked
their flowing; in the mighty ocean the water became sweet; the
ground became everywhere covered with lotuses of the five different
colors; all flowers bloomed, both those on land and those that grow in
the water; trunk-lotuses bloomed on the trunks of trees, branchlotuses
on the branches, and vine-lotuses on the vines; on the ground,
stalk-lotuses, as they are called, burst through the overlying rocks
and came up by sevens; in the sky were produced others, called
hanging-lotuses; a shower of flowers fell all about; celestial music
was heard to play in the sky; and the whole ten thousand worlds
became one mass of garlands of the utmost possible magnificence,
with waving chowries, and saturated with the incense-like fragrance
of flowers, and resembled a bouquet of flowers sent whirling through
the air, or a closely woven wreath, or a superbly decorated altar of
flowers.
From the time the Future Buddha was thus conceived, four angels
with swords in their hands kept guard, to ward off all harm from
both the Future Buddha and the Future Buddha’s mother. No
lustful thought sprang up in the mind of the Future Buddha’s

THE BIRTH OF THE BUDDHA 609
mother; having reached the pinnacle of good fortune and of glory,
she felt comfortable and well, and experienced no exhaustion of body.
And within her womb she could distinguish the Future Buddha,
like a white thread passed through a transparent jewel. And whereas
a womb that has been occupied by a Future Buddha is like the shrine
of a temple, and can never be occupied or used again, therefore it
was that the mother of the Future Buddha died when he was seven
days old, and was reborn in the Tusita heaven.
Now other women sometimes fall short of and sometimes run over
the term of ten lunar months, and then bring forth either sitting or
lying down; but not so the mother of a Future Buddha. She carries
the Future Buddha in her womb for just ten months, and then
brings forth while standing up. This is a characteristic of the mother
of a Future Buddha. So also queen Maha-Maya carried the Future
Buddha in her womb, as it were oil in a vessel, for ten months; and
being then far gone with child, she grew desirous of going home to
her relatives, and said to king Suddhodana,—
"Sire, I should like to visit my kinsfolk in their city Devadaha."
"So be it," said the king; and from Kapilavatthu to the city of
Devadaha he had the road made even, and garnished it with plantain-
trees set in pots, and with banners, and streamers; and, seating
the queen in a golden palanquin borne by a thousand of his courtiers,
he sent her away in great pomp.
Now between the two cities, and belonging to the inhabitants of
both, there was a pleasure-grove of sal-trees, called Lumbini Grove.
And at this particular time this grove was one mass of flowers from
the ground to the topmost branches, while amongst the branches
and flowers hummed swarms of bees of the five different colors, and
flocks of various kinds of birds flew about warbling sweetly.
Throughout the whole of Lumbini Grove the scene resembled the
Cittalata Grove in Indra’s paradise, or the magnificently decorated
banqueting pavilion of some potent king.
When the queen beheld it she became desirous of disporting herself
therein, and the courtiers therefore took her into it. And going
to the foot of the monarch sal-tree of the grove, she wished to take
hold of one of its branches. And the sal-tree branch, like the tip of
a well-steamed reed, bent itself down within reach of the queen’s

610 BUDDHISM
hand. Then she reached out her hand, and seized hold of the branch,
and immediately her pains came upon her. Thereupon the people
hung a curtain about her, and retired. So her delivery took place
while she was standing up, and keeping fast hold of the sal-tree
branch.
At that very moment came four pure-minded Maha-Brahma
angels bearing a golden net, and, receiving the Future Buddha on
this golden net, they placed him before his mother and said,—
"Rejoice, O Queen! A mighty son has been born to you."
Now other mortals on issuing from the maternal womb are
smeared with disagreeable, impure matter; but not so the Future
Buddha. He issued from his mother’s womb like a preacher descending
from his preaching-seat, or a man coming down a stair, stretching
out both hands and both feet, unsmeared by any impurity from
his mother’s womb, and flashing pure and spotless, like a jewel
thrown upon a vesture of Benares cloth. Notwithstanding this, for
the sake of honoring the Future Buddha and his mother, there came
two streams of water from the sky, and refreshed the Future Buddha
and his mother.
Then the Brahma angels, after receiving him on their golden net,
delivered him to the four guardian angels, who received him from
their hands on a rug which was made of the skins of black antelopes,
and was soft to the touch, being such as is used on state occasions;
and the guardian angels delivered him to men who received him on
a coil of fine cloth; and the men let him out of their hands on the
ground, where he stood and faced the east. There, before him, lay
many thousands of worlds, like a great open court; and in them,
gods and men, making offerings to him of perfumes, garlands, and
so on, were saying—
"Great Being! There is none your equal, much less your superior."
When he had in this manner surveyed the four cardinal points,
and the four intermediate ones, and the zenith, and the nadir, in
short, all the ten directions in order, and had nowhere discovered
his equal, he exclaimed, "This is the best direction," and strode
forward seven paces, followed by Maha-Brahma holding over him
the white umbrella, Suyama bearing the fan, and other divinities
having the other symbols of royalty in their hands. Then, at the

THE BIRTH OF THE BUDDHA 611
seventh stride, he halted, and with a noble voice, he shouted the
shout of victory, beginning,—
"The chief am I in all the world."
Now in three of his existences did the Future Buddha utter words
immediately on issuing from his mother’s womb: namely, in his
existence as Mahosadha; in his existence as Vessantara; and in this
existence.
As respects his existence as Mahosadha, it is related that just as
he was issuing from his mother’s womb, Sakka, the king of the
gods, came and placed in his hand some choice sandal-wood, and
departed. And he closed his fist upon it, and issued forth.
"My child," said his mother, "what is it you bring with you in
your hand?"
"Medicine, mother," said he.
Accordingly, as he was born with medicine in his hand, they gave
him the name of Osadha-Daraka [Medicine-Child]. Then they
took the medicine, and placed it in an earthenware jar; and it was
a sovereign remedy to heal all the blind, the deaf, and other afflicted
persons who came to it. So the saying sprang up, "This is a great
medicine, this is a great medicine!" And thus he received the name
of Mahosadha [Great Medicine-Man].
Again, in the Vessantara existence, as he was issuing from his
mother’s womb, he stretched out his right hand, and said,—
"Pray, mother, is there anything in the house? I want to give
alms."
Then, after he had completely issued forth, his mother said,—
"It’s a wealthy family, my son, into which you are born;" and
putting his hand in her own, she had them place in his a purse containing
a thousand pieces of money.
Lastly, in this birth he shouted the shout of victory above-mentioned.
Thus in three of his existences did the Future Buddha utter words
immediately on issuing from his mother’s womb. And just as at
the moment of his conception, so also at the moment of his birth
appeared the Thirty-two Prognostics.
Now at the very time that our Future Buddha was born in Lum-

 

612 BUDDHISM
bini Grove there also came into existence the mother of Rahula, and
Channa the courtier, Kaludayi the courtier, Kanthaka the king of
horses, the Great Bo-tree, and the four urns full of treasure. Of
these last, one was a quarter of a league in extent, another a halfleague,
the third three-quarters of a league, and the fourth a league.
These seven2 are called the Connate Ones.
Then the inhabitants of both cities took the Future Buddha, and
carried him to Kapilavatthu.
2 In making up this number the Future Buddha is to be counted as number I,
and the four urns of treasure together as number 7.

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