ေႏြးေထြး လႈိက္လွဲစြာ ၾကိဳဆိုပါ၏။

Wednesday, July 9, 2008



"Happy is the birth of Buddhas. Happy is the teaching of the sublime Dhamma.
Happy is the unity of the Sangha. Happy is the discipline of the united ones."

The Conversion of Yasa and His Friends

In Benares there was a millionaire's son, named Yasa, who led a luxurious life. One morning he rose early and, to his utter disgust, saw his female attendants and musicians asleep in repulsive attitudes. The whole spectacle was so disgusting that the palace presented the gloomy appearance of a charnel house. Realizing the vanities of worldly life, he stole away from home, saying "Distressed am I, oppressed am I," and went in the direction of Isipatana where the Buddha was temporarily residing after having made the five Bhikkhus attain Arahantship.

At that particular time the Buddha, as usual, was pacing up and down in an open space. Seeing him coming from afar, the Buddha came out of His ambulatory and sat on a prepared seat. Not far from Him stood Yasa, crying -- "O distressed am I! Oppressed am I!"

Thereupon the Buddha said ? "Here there is no distress, O Yasa! Here there is no oppression, O Yasa! Come hither, Yasa! Take a seat. I shall expound the Dhamma to you."

The distressed Yasa was pleased to hear the encouraging words of the Buddha. Removing his golden sandals, he approached the Buddha, respectfully saluted Him and sat on one side.

The Buddha expounded the doctrine to him, and he attained the first stage of Sainthood (Sotāpatti).

At first the Buddha spoke to him on generosity (dāna), morality (sīla), celestial states (sagga), the evils of sensual pleasures (kāmādinava), the blessings of renunciation (nekkhammānisamsa). When He found that his mind was pliable and was ready to appreciate the deeper teaching He taught the Four Noble Truths.

Yasa's mother was the first to notice the absence of her son and she reported the matter to her husband. The millionaire immediately dispatched horsemen in four directions and he himself went towards Isipatana, following the imprint of the golden slippers. The Buddha saw him coming from afar and, by His psychic powers, willed that he should not be able to see his son.

The millionaire approached the Buddha and respectfully inquired whether He had seen his son Yasa.

"Well, then, sit down here please. You would be able to see your son," said the Buddha. Pleased with the happy news, he sat down. The Buddha delivered a discourse to him, and he was so delighted that he exclaimed:

"Excellent, O Lord, excellent! It is as if, Lord, a man were to set upright that which was overturned, or were to reveal that which was hidden, or were to point out the way to one who had gone astray, or were to hold a lamp amidst the darkness, so that those who have eyes may see! Even so has the doctrine been expounded in various ways by the Exalted One.

"I, Lord, take refuge in the Buddha, the Doctrine and the Order. May the Lord receive me as a follower, who has taken refuge from this very day to life's end!"

He was the first lay follower to seek refuge with the threefold formula.

On hearing the discourse delivered to his father, Yasa attained Arahantship. Thereupon the Buddha withdrew His will-power so that Yasa's father may be able to see his son. The millionaire beheld his son and invited the Buddha and His disciples for alms on the following day. The Buddha expressed His acceptance of the invitation by His silence.

After the departure of the millionaire Yasa begged the Buddha to grant him the Lesser and the Higher Ordination.

"Come, O Bhikkhus! Well taught is the Doctrine. Lead the Holy Life to make a complete end of suffering." With these words the Buddha conferred on him the Higher Ordination.

With the Venerable Yasa the number of Arahants increased to six.

As invited, the Buddha visited the millionaire's house with His six disciples.

Venerable Yasa's mother and his former wife heard the doctrine expounded by the Buddha and, having attained the first stage of Sainthood, became His first two lay female followers.

Venerable Yasa had four distinguished friends named Vimala, Subāhu, Punnaji and Gavampati. When they heard that their noble friend shaved his hair and beard, and, donning the yellow robe, entered the homeless life, they approached Venerable Yasa and expressed their desire to follow his example. Venerable Yasa introduced them to the Buddha, and, on hearing the Dhamma, they also attained Arahantship.

Fifty more worthy friends of Venerable Yasa, who belonged to leading families of various districts, also receiving instructions from the Buddha, attained Arahantship and entered the Holy Order.

Hardly two months had elapsed since His Enlightenment when the number of Arahants gradually rose to sixty. All of them came from distinguished families and were worthy sons of worthy fathers.

The First Messengers of Truth (Dhammadūta)

The Buddha who, before long, succeeded in enlightening sixty disciples, decided to send them as messengers of Truth to teach His new Dhamma to all without any distinction. Before dispatching them in various directions He exhorted them as follows:

"Freed am I, O Bhikkhus, from all bonds, whether divine or human.

"You, too, O Bhikkhus, are freed from all bonds, whether divine or human.

"Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and happiness of gods and men. Let not two go by one way: Preach, O Bhikkhus, the Dhamma, excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, excellent in the end, both in the spirit and in the letter. Proclaim the Holy Life, altogether perfect and pure.

"There are beings with little dust in their eyes, who, not hearing the Dhamma, will fall away. There will be those who understand the Dhamma."

"I too, O Bhikkhus, will go to Uruvelā in Senānigāma, in order to preach the Dhamma."

"Hoist the Flag of the Sage. Preach the Sublime Dhamma. Work for the good of others, you who have done your duties."

The Buddha was thus the first religious teacher to send His enlightened ordained disciples to propagate the doctrine out of compassion for others. With no permanent abode, alone and penniless, these first missioners were expected to wander from place to place to teach the sublime Dhamma. They had no other material possessions but their robes to cover themselves and an alms-bowl to collect food. As the field was extensive and the workers were comparatively few they were advised to undertake their missionary journeys alone. As they were Arahants who were freed from all sensual bonds their chief and only object was to teach the Dhamma and proclaim the Holy Life (Brahmacariya). The original role of Arahants, who achieved their life's goal, was to work for the moral upliftment of the people both by example and by precept. Material development, though essential, was not their concern.

Founding of the Order of the Sangha

At that time there were sixty Arahant disciples in the world. With these Pure Ones as the nucleus the Buddha founded a celibate Order which "was democratic in constitution and communistic in distribution." The original members were drawn from the highest status of society and were all educated and rich men, but the Order was open to all worthy ones, irrespective of caste, class or rank. Both young and old belonging to all the castes, were freely admitted into the Order and lived like brothers of the same family without any distinction. This Noble Order of Bhikkhus, which stands to this day, is the oldest historic body of celibates in the world.

All were not expected to leave the household and enter the homeless life. As lay followers, too, they were able to lead a good life in accordance with the Dhamma and attain Sainthood. Venerable Yasa's parents and his former wife, for instance, were the foremost lay followers of the Buddha.

All the three were sufficiently spiritually advanced to attain the first stage of Sainthood.

With the sixty Arahants, as ideal messengers of Truth, the Buddha decided to propagate His sublime Dhamma, purely by expounding the doctrine to those who wish to hear.

Conversion of Thirty Young Men

The Buddha resided at Isipatana in Benares as long as He liked and went towards Uruvelā. On the way He sat at the foot of a tree in a grove.

At that time thirty happy young men went with their wives to this particular grove to amuse themselves. As one of them had no wife he took with him a courtesan. While they were enjoying themselves this woman absconded with their valuables. The young men searched for her in the forest, and, seeing the Buddha, inquired of Him whether He saw a woman passing that way.

"Which do you think, young men, is better; seeking a woman or seeking oneself?" questioned the Buddha.

"Seeking oneself is better, O Lord! replied the young men.

"Well, then, sit down. I shall preach the doctrine to you," said the Buddha.

"Very well, Lord," they replied, and respectfully saluting the Exalted One, sat expectantly by.

They attentively listened to Him and obtained "The Eye of Truth."

After this they entered the Order and received the Higher Ordination.

Conversion of the Three Kassapa Brothers

Wandering from place to place, in due course, the Buddha arrived at Uruvelā. Here lived three (Jatila) ascetics with matted hair known as Uruvela Kassapa, Nadī Kassapa, and Gayā Kassapa. They were all brothers living separately with 500, 300 and 200 disciples respectively. The eldest was infatuated by his own spiritual attainments and was labouring under a misconception that he was an Arahant. The Buddha approached him first and sought his permission to spend the night in his fire-chamber where dwelt a fierce serpent-king. By His psychic powers the Buddha subdued the serpent. This pleased Uruvela Kassapa and he invited the Buddha to stay there as his guest. The Buddha was compelled to exhibit His psychic powers on several other occasions to impress the ascetic, but still he adhered to the belief, that the Buddha was not an Arahant as he was. Finally the Buddha was able to convince him that he was an Arahant. Thereupon he and his followers entered the Order and obtained the Higher Ordination.

His brothers and their followers also followed his example. Accompanied by the three Kassapa brothers and their thousand followers, the Buddha repaired to Gayā Sīsa, not far from Uruvelā. Here He preached the Āditta-Pariyāya Sutta, hearing which all attained Arahantship.

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