BOOK TWO: CAMPAIGN OF CONVERSION
Book Two, Part I—Buddha and His Vishad Yoga
1. *To preach or not to preach* -- 2. *Proclamation of good news by Bramha Sahampati* -- 3. *Two types of conversion*
1. To Preach or Not to Preach
1. After having attamed enlightenment and after having formulated his way, doubt arose in the mind of the Buddha. Should he go forth and preach his doctrine, or should he continue to devote himself to his own personal perfection?
2. He said to himself, "True, I have gained a new doctrine. But it is too difficult for the common man to accept it and follow it. It is too subtle even for the wise.
3. "It is hard for mankind to liberate itself from the entanglement of God and Soul. It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in rites and ceremonies. It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in Karma.
4. "It is hard for mankind to give up its belief in the immortality of the Soul, and accept my doctrine that the Soul as an independent entity does not exist and does not survive after death.
5. "Mankind is intent on its selfishness, and takes delight and pleasure in it. It is hard for mankind to accept my doctrine of righteousness overriding selfishness.
6. "If I were to teach my doctrine, and others did not understand it; or, understanding it, did not accept; or, accepting it, did not follow it, it would be weariness to others and a vexation to me.
7. "Why not remain a sanyasi away from the world, and use my gospel to perfect my own self?" he asked himself. "At least I can do good to myself."
8. Thus as he reflected, his mind turned to inaction, not to teaching of the gospel.
9. Then Brahma Sahampati, knowing what was passing in the mind of the Buddha, thought, "Verily the world is being destroyed, verily the world is going to destruction, if the Tathagata, the fully enlightened, turns to inaction and not to teaching his doctrine."
10. Filled with anxiety, Brahma Sahampati left the Brahma world and appeared before the Buddha. And arranging his upper robe on one shoulder, he bent down and with clasped hands said, "Thou art no longer Siddharth Gautama, Thou art Buddha. Thou art the Blessed One who is blessed with the fullest enlightenment. Thou art the Tathagatha. How can thou refuse to enlighten the world? How can thou refuse to save erring humanity?
11. "There are beings full of impurity that are falling away through not hearing the doctrine.
12. "As the Lord knows," proceeded Brahma Sahampati, "Among the Magadhas arose in ancient times, doctrine impure, with many blemishes devised.
13. "Will not the Lord open for them the door of his immortal doctrine?
14. "As one upon a rocky mountain standing beholdeth all the people round about him, even thus, O thou, with wisdom distilled, ascending all, behold, look down, thou griefless one, upon those plunged in their griefs.
15. "Rise up, O hero, victor in battle, O caravan-leader, free from the debt of birth, go to the world and [do] not turn away from it.
16. "May the Lord in his compassion design to teach his gospel to men and to gods."
17. "O Brahma, Eminent and Excellent among men, if I did not give public utterance to my gospel, it is because I perceived vexation," was the reply of the Buddha.
18. Knowing that there was so much unhappiness in the world, the Buddha realised that it was wrong for him to sit as a sanyasi with folded arms and allow things to remain as they were.
19. Asceticism he found to be useless. It was vain to attempt to escape from the world. There is no escape from the world even for an ascetic. He realised that what is necessary is not escape from the world. What is necessary is to change the world and to make it better.
20. He realised that he left the world because there was so much conflict, resulting in misery and unhappiness, and for which he knew no remedy. If he can [=could] banish misery and unhappiness from the world by the propagation of his doctrine, it was his duty to return to the world and serve it, and not sit silent as the personification of inactive impassivity.
21. The Buddha therefore agreed to the request of Brahma Sahampati and decided to preach his doctrine to the world.
§ 2. Proclamation of Good News by Brahma Sahampati
1. Then, Brahma Sahampati, thinking, "I have been instrumental in persuading the Buddha to agree to preach his doctrine to the masses," felt extremely happy. He saluted the Buddha, went round him passing to the right, took a look, and departed.
2. On his way back he kept on proclaiming to the world, "Rejoice at the glad tidings. The Buddha, our Lord, has found the root of all evil and unhappiness in the world. He knows the way out.
3. "The Buddha will bring comfort to the weary and sorrow-laden. He will give peace to those stricken by war. He will give courage to those who are broken in heart. He will give to those who are suppressed and oppressed, faith and hope.
4. "Ye that suffer from the tribulations of life, ye that have to struggle and endure, ye that yearn for justice, rejoice at the glad tidings.
5. "Heal your wounds, ye that are wounded. Eat your fill, ye that are hungry. Rest, ye that are weary, and quench your thirst, ye that are thirsty. Seek the light, ye that are in darkness. Be of good cheer, ye that are forlorn.
6. "In his doctrine there is love to create a longing to own [=acknowledge] those who are disowned or unowned; to the degraded there is the ennoblement ever present to raise them; to the disinherited and the downtrodden there is equality blazing forth their path to advancement.
7. "His doctrine is the doctrine of righteousness, and his aim is to establish the kingdom of righteousness on earth.
8. "His doctrine is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9. "Blessed is the Buddha, for his is the path of reason, and his is the way of emancipation from superstition. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the middle way. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the law of righteousness. Blessed is the Buddha who teaches the peace of Nibbana. Blessed is the Buddha who preaches love, kindness, and fellowship to help fellow beings to obtain salvation."
§ 3. Two Types of Conversion
1. In the Buddha's scheme of things conversion has two meanings.
2. Conversion to the Order of Bhikkus, called Sangh.
3. Secondly, it means conversion of a householder as an Upasaka, or lay follower of the Buddha's Dhamma.
4. Except on four points, there is no difference in the way of life of the Bhikku and the Upasaka.
5. An Upasaka remains a householder. A Bhikku becomes a homeless wanderer.
6. Both the Upasakas and the Bhikkus must observe in their life certain rules.
7. Here again to the Bhikku they are vows, the breach of which ends in punishment. To the Upasaka they are precepts. They must be observed to the best of his ability.
8. An Upasaka can have property. A Bhikku cannot have.
9. To become an Upasaka, there is no ceremony.
10. To become a Bhikku, he must undergo a ceremony called Upasampada.
11.The Buddha converted those who came to him according to their wish, either as Bhikku or as Upasaka.
12. An Upasaka could become a Bhikku whenever he felt like it.
13. And a Bhikku had to cease to be a Bhikku when he committed a breach of the major vows, or whenever he wished to give up his membership of the Order.
14. It must not be understood that the Buddha converted only those whose names occur in the following pages.
15. The instances are chosen only to show that he did not observe any distinction as to caste or sex in admitting persons to his Sangh or preaching his Dhamma.
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