spoken of in the writings can only be accounted for on the supposi
tion, which is more than a supposition, that they came to him in the
rainy season, when they could do but little in their missions ; and the
substantial unity of the Buddhist faith can only be accounted for on
the supposition that his instructions were constantly renewed at these
gatherings and their errors corrected.
NORTHWARD the noble Puma took his way
Till India's fields and plains were lost to view,
Then through the rugged foot-hills upward
And up a gorge by rocky ramparts walled,
Through which a mighty torrent thundered down,
Their treacherous way along the torrent's brink,
Or up the giddy cliffs where one false step
Would plunge them headlong in the raging stream,
Passing from cliff to cliff, their bridge of ropes
Swung high above the dashing, roaring waves.
At length they cross the frozen mountain-pass,
O'er wastes of snow by furious tempests swept,
And cross a desert where no bird or beast
Is ever seen, and where their way is marked
By bleaching bones strewn thick along their track.*
Some perished by the way, and some turned
While some of his companions persevered,
* I have substantially followed the description of this fearful
route given by Fa Hian, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, who passed by
it from China to India.
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 143
Cheered on by Puma's never-flagging- zeal,
And by the master's words from Puma's lips,
Until they reached the outmost wandering tribes
Of that great race that he had come to save.
With joy received, these wandering tribes their
For love makes friends where selfishness breeds
They soon are led to where their kindred dwell.
They saw the vanity of chasing wealth
Through hunger, danger, desolation, death.
They felt a power sustaining Puma's steps
A power unseen yet ever hovering near
They saw the truth of Buddha's burning words
That selfishness and greed drag down the soul,
While love can nerve the feeblest arm with
And asked that Puma take them as his aids.
But ere brave Puma reached his journey's end,
Near many hamlets, many Indian towns,
The moon, high risen to mark the noon of night.
Through many sacred fig-tree's rustling leaves*
Sent trembling rays with trembling shadows mixed
Upon a noble youth in orange robes,
His alms-bowl by his side, stretched out in sleep,
Dreaming, perchance, of some Benares maid,
Perchance of home and joys so lately left.
* Like the aspen, the leaf of the sacred fig-tree is always trrm
blinp. " Two Years in Ceylon," Cummiug.
144 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
Meanwhile the master with his little band
Toward Rajagriha backward wends his way,
Some village tree their nig-fatly resting-place,
Until they reached the grove that skirts the base
Of that bold mountain called the vulture-peak,
Through which the lotus-covered Phalgu glides,
O'erarched with trees festooned with trailing vines,
While little streams leap down from rock to rock,
Cooling the verdant slopes and fragrant glades,
And vines and shrubs and trees of varied bloom
Loaded the air with odors rich and sweet,
And where that sacred fig-tree spread its shade
Above the mound that held the gathered dust
Of those sage Brahmans who had sought to aid
The young prince struggling for a clearer light,
And where that banyan-tree for ages grew,
So long- the home of those five noble youths,
Now sundered far, some tree when night may fall
Their resting-place, their robe and bowl their all,
Their only food chance gathered day by day,
Preaching the common brotherhood of man,
Teaching the law of universal love,
Bearing the light to those in darkness sunk,
Lending a helping hand to those in need,
Teaching the strong that gentleness is great.
And through this grove where many noble souls
Were seeking higher life and clearer light,
He took his well-known way, and reached his cave
Just as the day was fading into night,
And myriad stars spangled the azure vault,
THB BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 145
And myriad lamps that through the darkness
Revealed the city that the night had veiled,
Where soon their weary limbs were laid to rest ;
But through the silent hour preceding" day,
Before the jungle-cock announced the dawn,
All roused from sleep in meditation sat.
But when the sun had set the east aglow,
And roused the birds to sing their matin-songs,
And roused the lowing herds to call their mates,
And roused a sleeping world to dail} 7 toil,
Their matins chanted, their ablutions made,
With bowl and staff in hand they took their way
Down to the city for their daily alms.
But earlier steps had brushed their dewy path.
From out the shepherd's cottage loving eyes
Had recognized the master's stately form,
And love-winged steps had borne the joyful news
That he, the poor man's advocate and friend,
The sweet-voiced messenger of peace and love,
The prince become a beggar for their sake,
So long expected, now at last returns.
From door to door the joyful tidings spread,
And old and young from every cottage came.
The merchant left his wares without a guard ;
The housewife left her pitcher at the well ;
The loom was idle and the anvil still ;
The money-changer told his coins alone,
While all the multitude went forth to meet
Their servant-master and their beggar-prince.
146 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
Some brought the garden's choicest treasures
Some gathered lotuses from Phalgu's stream,
Some climbed the trees to pluck their varied bloom,
While children gathered every wayside flower
To strew his way their lover, savior, guide.
King Bimbasara from his watch-tower saw
The wild commotion and the moving throng,
And sent swift messengers to learn the cause.
With winged feet through vacant streets the} 7 flew,
And through the gates and out an avenue
Where aged trees that grew on either side,
Their giant branches interlocked above,
Made nature's gothic arch and densest shade,
While gentle breezes, soft as if they came
From devas' hovering wings, rustle the leaves
And strew the way with showers of falling bloom,
As if they, voiceless, felt the common joy.
And there they found the city's multitudes,
Not as in tumult, armed with clubs and staves,
And every weapon ready to their hands,
But stretching far on either side the way,
Their flower-filled hands in humble reverence
The only sound a murmur, " There he comes! "
While every eye was turned in loving gaze
Upon a little band in yellow robes
Who now drew near from out the sacred grove.
The master passed with calm, majestic grace,
Stately and tall, one arm and shoulder bare,
THE BODDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 147
With head close shorn and bare unsandaled feet ;
His noble brow, the wonder of his age,
Not clothed in terror like Olympic Jove's
For love, not anger, beamed from out those eyes,
Chang-ing- from clearest blue to softest black,
That seem to show unfathomed depths within,
With tears of holy pity glittering now
For those poor souls come forth to honor him,
All sheep without a shepherd groping on.
The messengers with reverence let him pass,
Then hastened back to tell the waiting king
That he who dwelt so long upon the hill,
The prince who stopped the bloody sacrifice,
With other holy rishis had returned,
Whom all received with reverence and joy.
The king with keenest pleasure heard their words.
That noble form, that calm, majestic face,
Had never faded from his memory.
His words of wisdom, words of tender love,
Had often stayed his hands when raised to strike,
Had often put a bridle on his tongue
When harsh and bitter words leaped to his lips,
And checked those cruel acts of sudden wrath
That stain the annals of the greatest kings,
Until the people to each other said :
" How mild and gentle our good king has grown !"
And when he heard this prince had now returned,
In flower-embroidered purple robes arrayed,
With all the pomp and circumstance of state,
Followed by those who ever wait on power,
He issued forth and climbed the rugged hill
148 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
Until he reached the cave where Buddha sat,
_Calm and majestic as the rounded moon
That moves serene along- its heavenly path.
Greeting 1 each other with such royal grace
As fits a prince greeting a brother prince,
The king 1 inquired why he had left his home ?
Why he, a Chakravartin's only son,
Had left his palace for a lonely cave,
Wore coarsest cloth instead of royal robes,
And for a scepter bore a beg-ging - bowl ?
" Youth," said the king-, "with full and bounding-
Youth is the time for boon companionship,
The time for pleasure, when all pleasures please ;
Manhood, the time for g-aining- wealth and power ;
But as the years creep on, the step infirm,
The arm grown feeble and the hair turned gray,
'Tis time to mortify the five desires,
To give religion what of life is left,
And look to heaven when earth begins to pall.
I would not use my power to hold you here,
But offer half my king-dom for your aid
To g-overn well and use my power arig-ht."
The prince with g-entle earnestness replied :
"O king-, illustrious and world-renowned !
Your noble offer throug-h all coming- time
Shall be remembered. Men will praise an act
By likening- it to Bimbasara's gift.
You offer me the half of your domain.
I in return beseech you share with me
Better than wealth, better than kingly power,
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 14
The peace and joy that follows lusts subdued.
Wait not on age for age brings feebleness
But this great battle needs our utmost strength.
If you will come, then welcome to our cave ;
If not, may wisdom all your actions guide.
Ruling your empire in all righteousness,
Preserve your country and protect her sons.
Sadly I leave you, great and gracious king,
But my work calls a world that waits for light.
In yonder sacred grove three brothers dwell
Kasyapa, Gada, Nadi, they are called ;
Three chosen vessels for the perfect law,
Three chosen lamps to light a groping world,
Who worship now the gross material fire
Which burns and wastes but fails to purify.
I go to tell them of Nirvana's Sun,
Perennial source of that undying flame,
The fire of love, consuming lust and hate
As forest fires devour the crackling thorns,
Until the soul is purified from sin,
And sorrow, birth and death are left behind."
He found Kasyapa as the setting sun
Was sinking low behind the western hills,
And somber shadows darkened Phalgu's vale,
And asked a place to pass the gathering night.
" Here is a grotto, cooled by trickling streams
And overhanging shades, fit place for sleep,"
Kasyapa said, " that I would gladly give ;
But some fierce Naga nightly haunts the spot
150 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
Whose poisoned breath no man can breathe and
"Fear not for me," the Buddha answered him,
" For I this nig-ht will make my dwelling- there."
" Do as you will," Kasyapa doubtful said,
"But much I fear some dire catastrophe."
Now mighty Mara, spirit of the air,
The prince of darkness, roaming through the earth
Had found this grotto in the sacred grove,
And as a Naga there kept nightly watch
For those who sought deliverance from his power,
Who, when the master calmly took his seat,
Belched forth a flood of poison, foul and black,
And with hot, burning vapors filled the cave.
But Buddha sat unmoved, serene and calm
As Brahma sits amid the kalpa fires
That burn the worlds but cannot harm his heaven.
While Mara, knowing Buddha, fled amazed
And left the Naga coiled in Buddha's bowl.*
Kasyapa, terrified, beheld the flames,
And when the first faint rays of dawn appeared
With all his fearful followers sought the cave,
And found the master not consumed to dust,
But full of peace, aglow with perfect love.
Kasyapa, full of wonder, joyful said :
" I, though a master, have no power like this
To conquer groveling lusts and evil beasts."
Then Buddha taught the source of real power,
* This is Asvag-hosha's version, but the Sanchi inscriptions make
the Nag-a or cobra rise up behind Buddha and extend its hood over his
head as a shelter.
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 151
The power of love to fortify the soul,
Until Kasyapa gathered all his stores,
His sacred vessels, sacrificial robes,
And cast them in the Phalgu passing near.
His brothers saw them floating 1 down the stream,
And winged with fear made haste to learn the
They too the master saw, and heard his words,
And all convinced received the perfect law,
And with their followers joined the Buddha's band.
The days pass on, and in the bamboo-grove
A great vihara as by magic rose,
Built by the king- for Buddha's growing- band,
A spacious hall where all mig-ht hear his words,
And little cells where each might take his rest,
A school and rest-house through the summer rains.
But soon the monsoons from the distant seas
Bring gathering clouds to veil the brazen sky,
While nimble lightnings dart their blinding flames,
And rolling thunders shake the trembling hills,
And heaven's downpourings drench the thirsty
The master's seed-time when the people rest.
For now the sixty from their distant fields
Have gathered in to trim their lamps afresh
And learn new wisdom from the master's lips
All but brave Purna on the Tartar steppes
Where summer is the fittest time for toil,
When India's rains force India's sons to rest.
152 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
The new vihara and the bamboo-grove
King- Bimbasara to the master gave,
Where day by day he taught his growing 1 school,
While rills, grown torrents, leap from rock to rock,
And Phalgu's swollen stream sweeps down the vale.
That Saraputra after called the Great
Had seen these new-come youths in yellow robes
Passing from street to street to ask for alms,
Receiving- coarsest food with g-entle thanks
Had seen them meet the poor and sick and old
With kindly words and ever-helpful hands
Had seen them passing- to the bamboo-grove
Joyful as bridegrooms soon to meet their brides.
He, Vashpa and Asvajit met one day,
Whom he had known beneath the banyan-tree,
Two of the five who first received the law,
Now clothed in yellow, bearing- beg-g-ing - bowls,
And asked their doctrine, who their master was,
That they seemed joyful, while within the grove
All seemed so solemn, self-absorbed and sad.
They bade him come and hear the master's words,
And when their bowls were filled, he followed them,
And heard the living- truth from Buddha's lips,
And said : " The sun of wisdom has arisen.
What further need of our poor flickering- lamps ?"
And with Mug-allan joined the master's band.
And now five strang-ers from the Tartar steppes,
Strangers in form and features, language, dress,
Guided by one as strange in dress as the}',
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 153
Weary and foot-sore, passed within the gates
Of Rajagriha, while the rising 1 sun
Was still concealed behind the vulture-peak,
A laughing-stock to all the idle crowd,
Whom noisy children followed through the
As thoughtless children follow what is strange,
Until they met the master asking alms,
Who with raised hand and gentle, mild rebuke
Hushed into silence all their noisy mirth.
" These are our brothers," Buddha mildly said.
" Weary and worn they come from distant lands,
And ask for kindness not for mirth and jeers."
They knew at once that calm, majestic face,
That voice as sweet as Brahma's, and those eyes
Beaming with tender, all-embracing love,
Of which, while seated round their argol fires
In their black tents, brave Purna loved to tell,
And bowed in worship at the master's feet.
He bade them rise, and learned from whence they
And led them joyful to the bamboo-grove,
Where some brought water from the nearest stream
To bathe their festered feet and weary limbs,
While some brought food and others yellow robes
Fitter for India's heat than skins and furs
All welcoming their new-found friends who came
From distant lands, o'er desert wastes and snows,
To see the master, hear the perfect law,
And bring the message noble Purna sent.
154 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
The months pass on ; the monsoons cease to blow,
The thunders cease to roll, the rains to pour ;
The earth, refreshed, is clothed with living green,
And flowers burst forth where all was parched and
And bus} r toil succeeds long" days of rest.
The time for mission work has come.
The brethren, now to many hundreds grown,
Where'er the master thought it best were sent.
The strongest and the bravest volunteered
To answer Purna's earnest call for help,
And clothed in fitting robes for piercing cold
They scale the mountains, pass the desert wastes,
Their guide familiar with their terrors grown ;
While some return to their expectant flocks,
And some are sent to kindred lately left,
And some to strangers dwelling near or far
All bearing messages of peace and love
Until but few in yellow robes remain,
And single footfalls echo through that hall
Where large assemblies heard the master's words.
A few are left, not yet confirmed in faith ;
And those five brothers from the distant north
Remain to learn the sacred tongue and lore,
While Saraputra and Kasyapa stay
To aid the master in his special work.
From far Kosala, rich Sudata came,
Friend of the destitute and orphans called.
In houses rich, and rich in lands and gold, .
But richer far in kind and gracious acts,
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 155
Who stopped in Rajagriha with a friend.
But when he learned a Buddha dwelt so near,
And heard the gracious doctrine he proclaimed,
That very night he sought the bamboo-grove,
While roofs and towers were silvered by the moon,
And silent streets in deepest shadows lay,
And bamboo-plumes seemed waving- silver sprays,
And on the ground the trembling 1 shadows played.
Humble in mind but great in gracious deeds,
Of earnest purpose but of simple heart,
The master saw in him a vessel fit
For righteousness, and bade him stay and learn
His rules of grace that bring Nirvana's rest.
And first of all the gracious master said :
" This restless nature and this selfish world
Is all a phantasy and empty show ;
Its life is lust, its end is pain and death.
Waste not your time in speculations deep
Of whence and why. One thing we surely know:
Each living thing must have a living cause,
And mind from mind and not from matter springs ;
While love, which like an endless golden chain
Binds all in one, is love in every link,
Up from the sparrow's nest, the mother's heart,
Through all the heavens to Brahma's boundless
And lusts resisted, daily duties done,
Unite our lives to that unbroken chain
Which draws us up to heaven's eternal rest."
And through the night they earnestly communed,
Until Sudata saw the living truth
156 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
In rising- splendor, like the morning sun,
And doubts and errors all are swept away
As gathering 1 clouds are swept by autumn's winds.
Bowing in reverence, Sudata said :
" I know the Buddha never seeks repose,
But gladly toils to give to others rest.
that my people, now in darkness sunk,
Might see the light and hear the master's words I
1 dwell in King Pasenit's distant realm
A king renowned, a country fair and rich
And yearn to build a great vihara there."
The master, knowing well Sudata's heart
And his unselfish charity, replied :
" Some give in hope of greater gifts returned ;
Some give to gain a name for charity ;
Some give to gain the rest and joy of heaven,
Some to escape the woes and pains of hell.
Such giving is but selfishness and greed,
But he who gives without a selfish thought
Has entered on the noble eightfold path,
Is purified from anger, envy, hate.
The bonds of pain and sorrow are unloosed ;
The way to rest and final rescue found.
Let your hands do what your kind heart desires."
Hearing this answer, he departs with joy,
And Buddha with him Saraputra sent.
Arriving" home, he sought a pleasant spot,
And found the garden of Pasenit's son,
And sought the prince, seeking to buy the ground.
THE BUDDHA AND THK CHRIST BOOK VIII. 157
But he refused to sell, yet said in jest :
" Cover the grove with gold, the ground is yours."
Forthwith Sudata spread his yellow coin.
But Gata said, caught by his thoughtless jest :
" Spread not your gold I will not sell the ground."
" Not sell the ground ?" Sudata sharply said,
" Why then said you, ' Fill it with yellow gold'?"
And both contending sought a magistrate.
But Gata, knowing well his earnestness,
Asked why he sought the ground ; and when he
He said: " Keep half your gold ; the land is yours,
But mine the trees, and jointly we will build
A great vihara for the Buddha's use."
The work begun was pressed both night and day ;
Lofty it rose, in just proportions built,
Fit for the palace of a mighty king.
The people saw this great vihara rise,
A stately palace for a foreign prince,
And said in wonder : ' ' What strange thing is this ?
Our king to welcome thus a foreign king
To new-made palaces, and not with war
And bloody spears and hands to new-made graves,
As was his father's wont in times gone by ?"
Yet all went forth to meet this coming prince,
And see a foreign monarch's royal pomp,
But heard no trumpeting of elephants,
Nor martial music, nor the neigh of steeds,
But saw instead a little band draw near
In yellow robes, with dust and travel-stained ;
But love, that like a holy halo crowned
158 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
That dusty leader's calm, majestic brow,
Hushed into silence every rising 1 sneer.
And when Sudata met this weary band,
And to the prince's garden led their way,
They followed on, their hands in reverence joined,
To where the stately new vihara rose,
Enbowered in giant trees of every kind
That India's climate grows, while winding streams
Along their flowery banks now quiet flow,
Now leap from rocks, now spread in shining pools
With lotuses and lilies overspread,
While playing fountains with their falling" spray
Spread grateful coolness, and a blaze of bloom
From myriad opening- flowers perfumes the air,
And myriad birds that sought this peaceful spot
Burst forth in every sweet and varied song
That India's fields and groves and gardens know.
And there Sudata bowed on bended knee,
And from a golden pitcher water poured,
The sign and sealing of their gift of love
Of this vihara, Gatavana called,
A school and rest-house for the Buddha's use,
And for the brotherhood throughout the world.
Buddha received it with the fervent prayer
That it might give the kingdom lasting peace.
Unlike Sudata's self, Sudata's king
Believed religion but a comely cloak
To hide besetting sins from public view,
And sought the master in his new retreat
To talk religion and to act a part,
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 159
And greetings ended, said in solemn wise :
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown ;
But my poor kingdom now is doubly blest
In one whose teaching's purify the soul
And give the highest and the humblest rest,
As all are cleansed who bathe in Rapti's stream."
But Buddha saw through all this outer show
His real purposes and inner life :
The love of pleasure blighting hig-h resolve,
The love of money, root of every ill,
That sends its poison fibers through the soul
And saps its life and wastes its vital strength.
" The Tathagata only shows the way
To purity and rest," the master said.
" There is a way to darkness out of light,
There is a way to light from deepest gloom.
They only gain the goal who keep the way.
Harsh words and evil deeds to sorrow lead
As sure as shadows on their substance wait.
For as we sow, so also shall we reap.
Boast not o'ermuch of kingly dignity.
A king most needs a kind and loving heart
To love his subjects as an only son,
To aid not injure, comfort not oppress,
Their help, protector, father, friend and guide.
Such kings shall live beloved and die renowned,
Whose works shall welcome them to heavenly rest."
The king, convicted, heard his solemn words
That like an arrow pierced his inmost life.
To him religion ceased to be a show
Of chants and incense, empty forms and creeds,
160 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
But stood a living- presence in his way
To check his blind and headlong 1 downward course,
And lead him to the noble eightfold path,
That day by day and step by step shall lead
To purity and peace and heavenly rest.
Kapilavastu's king 1 , Suddhodana,
His step grown feeble, snowy white his hair,