domingo, 7 de dezembro de 2008
Chogye Trichen Rinpoche: FORTUNATE TO BEHOLD, Introduction, CAP. 1
FORTUNATE TO BEHOLD
Chogye Trichen Rinpoche
Transl. Cyrus Sterns
This edition of Fortunate to Behold, originally written in Tibetan by ~hogye Trichen Rinpoche, has been translated and edited over a period of two months. It has been translated under Rinpoche's personal guidance, without which it could not have been completed in such a short time.
Due to the brief period available for research, it is possible that some errors may be found in the text, most notably in the translation of names from Tibetan back into the original Sanskrit. Those Sanskrit names which are uncertain have been marked with an asterisk (*). The questions from the Lumbini Development Committee, which are presented in Chapters III and IV, were originally written in Nepali, and translated into Tibetan for Chogye Rinpoche. The present English translation of these questions is based solely on the earlier Tibetan rendering.
I would like to thank my wife Maruta for her skillful editing, and invaluable assistance in the translation of difficult passages. My friends, David Jackson and Ngawang Samten Chophel, were kind enough to read portions of Chapter I, and make very helpful corrections and suggestions. Thanks are also due to Sahayogi Press for printing the book in time for the World Buddhist Conference.
I hope that Fortunate to Behold will be of value to all who are interested in the life of Sakyamuni Buddha. and the development of Lumbini Garden.
Cyrus Stearns Boudhnath, Nepal November 13, 1986
Our Enlightened Teacher, the Buddha, this Blessed One Sakyamuni, appeared here in this world to train living beings not trained by other Buddhas, at a time when five-fold degeneracy is rampant. For this purpose, he left Tusita heaven, entered a womb, was born at Lumbini attended by inconceivable miracles, amused himself as a youth by training in the martial arts, enjoyed a retinue of queens) experienced renunciation and practiced austerities, subdued Mara and actualized Buddhahood, turned the Dharmacakra, and passed into Nirvina. Yuvarija Ajita [Maitfeya] statedin the Uttaratantra:
Taking a deliberate birth, leaving the realm of Tusita, and entering a womb,
Being born, becoming skilled in the martial arts and enjoying a retinue of queens,
Experiencing renunciation, practicing austerities and traveling to Bodhgaya,
Vanquishing the hosts of Mara, gaining perfect enlightenment, turning the Dharmacakra, and passing into Nirvana.
These deeds are demonstrated in thoroughly impure worlds for as long as existence remains.
He demonstrated infinite deeds, such as these Twelve, at each place in India and Nepal where the splendor of benefit and happiness. Was established without exception for this world as well as for that of the gods. From among these, the city of Kapilavastu was the place where he entered the womb and where he maintained a kingdom, Lumbini was the birthplace, the Vi'uddha stupa was the place where he cast aside the kingdom of a Universal Emperor like spittle and experienced renunciation, the Niranjana River was the place where he practiced austerities for six years, the Vajrasana [in Bodhgaya] was the place 'where he vanquished the hosts of Mara and actually Awakened, the city of Sankissa was the place where he descended from heaven, Varanasi was the place where he turned the Dharmacakra, Sravasti was the place where he displayed great miracles, Kuinagara was the place where he passed into Nirvana, and Riijgir was the place of settling discord. He walked in such places as these, and they are blessed like stupas, down to the particles on earth there.
From among these, the Enlightened Teacher stated in his last testament when he was at the point of passing into Nirvina, that we who did not actually see the face of the Buddha should visit these four great holy places. As he stated in the Vinayakudrakavastu:
"Monks, after I have passed away, faithful males and females of good family should visit and remember these four places for as long as they live. What are the four? Here (Lumbini) the Blessed One was born. Here (Bodhgaya.) the Blessed One actualized perfect Buddhahood. Here (Varanasi) the Blessed One turned the Dharmacakra. Here (Kusinagara) the Blessed One passed into Parinirvana. Monks, after I have passed away, this should be told to those who come on pilgrimage and offer homage at those stupas."
Following that, he spoke at lengtn, stating, "All who die with faith in me will go to happy destinies in higher worlds." And in other Sutras he stated that by going on pilgrimage to these four great holy places, even heinous sins would be purified.
Although there has been much talk that it is possible to identify equivalents for the four great holy places elsewhere, such as in east and west India, and even in Afghanistan to the west, the real ones are unmistakably these which are in central India and Nepal. The areas are related to each other, and because there are also stone pillars of Asoka at the four great holy 'places, and at KauambI, Bhakhra, Sankissa, Sanchi, and elsewhere, we can know them to be correct.
Asoka was of the Maurya royal lineage. The Maurya capital was at Patna. The first of the Maurya royal lineage was Candragupta, whose rule was a happy one for his subjects. He passed away in 298 B.C. His son Bindhusaragupta ruled for twenty-five years, and passed away in 274 B.C. He had three sons by his elder and younger queens, and Asoka, who was also the son of that king, was born to the wife of a merchant in 302 B.C., one hundred and eighty-one years after the passing of the Enlightened Teacher.
Their father the king asked the soothsayers, "Which of my four sons is able to be king?" They replied, "The one who sits on the best seat, the one who eats the best food; he will rule the kingdom." And they said, "The three sons enjoy thrones and silken cushions, in jeweled mansions within the palace. They enjoy for food the hundred favors of the court cuisine. This son [Asoka] sits only on the surface of the earth, for the best seat is the groung. And since he enjoys only rice, which is the best food, Asoka should be king."
Asoka accordingly became king of Taxila in 273 B.C. With the exception of the youngest one, he fought with his own brothers such as Susim, and was victorious in battle. In 269 B.C., two hundred and fourteen years after the Nirvana of the Enlightened Teacher, he assumed the control of the sovereign throne of all India. In 261 B.C, two hundred and twenty-two years after the Nirvana of the Enlightened Teacher, he led a great army to Kalihga. Many hundreds of thousands of people were killed and captured, and he was victorious in battle, but when he saw the endless suffering that had occured, Asoka fell into despair, and decided to seek a path for liberation from samsara.
He relied upon the Arhat Upagupta, who is universally known as the fourth of the seven successors to the disciples of the Enlightened Teacher, although some say it was the Arhat Kirti. In 258 B.C., two hundred and twenty-five years after the Nirvana, the Dharmaraja
Asoka entered the dharma gate of the Buddhist doctrine. From the time Dharmaraja Asoka entered the Buddhist doctrine, he looked upon all his subjects with only compassion and kindness. With the intention that they meet with this very doctrine of the Buddha which is the foundation of benefit and happiness for living beings of this world, he despatched countless messengers to many other countries on the outskirts of the Indian subcontinent, to encourage the people towards the Dharma.
He constructed ten million stupas on the Indian subcontinent, as prophecied by the Blessed One: "The king of Taxila will construct ten million stupas on the Indian subcontinent." Stupas of Asoka are known to be in many areas. He constructed ten million stupas, and established stone pillars for verification in the great holy places and elsewhere. Particularly in Lumbini, this can be clearly known from the text inscribed at that time on the stone pillar of Asoka, which has been translated in the present day into such languages as Nepali, Tibetan, and English.
Those deeds of A'oka were spoken ot by Acarya Dandin:
The famous image of the kings of old can be found in the natural mirror of oral tradition,
And even if those [kinas] disappear, see the undisintegrated nature [of their fame]!
As stated even though Asoka passed away long ago, his achievements such as the many stone pillars and many stupas are evident even now. It is certainly true that they will remain and not disintegrate until the aeon is finished.
There were several thoughtful succeeding kinas and ministers who performed minor restorations at Lumbini, beginning a with the supervision of the Nepalese King Tribhuvan. Particularly, His Majesty Late Kina Mahendra, like the Dharmarija Asoka comin a again for the benefit of this holy place, erected a stone pillar at the holy place, and implemented development, as is clear there from the temple, guest house, water facilities, hospital, and so on. During that period, in 1967, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. U Thant of Burma, had similar concerns, and appealed for the development of Lumbini. As a result, the International Development Committee was founded.
In 1973, His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev ascended the golden throne and publicized the implementation of peace through non-alignment. In addition to the development at Lumbini, his administration has seen to the construction of a highway from Bhairawa to Lumbini, a garden of saplings, and so forth. In 1986 he appointed His Royal Highness Prince Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah as Chairman of the Lumbini Development Trust, which function he is performing.
I shall praise these vast Their Majesties, father and Mr. U Thant, by speaking verse Their Majesties, father and sons, as well as Mr. U. Thant, by speaking of their acts in verses
The sun moon, and planets illuminate the realms of earth and space.
From the joint resolutions of Thsir Majesties and U Thant, the flower of development adorns this world.
I, the present author was born into the Je clan, in a lineage descended from the gods of clear light. When I was even years old, I was taught reading, writing, and memorization by my elder brother, Jetsun Tartse Kenpo [1905-1939, 71st Abbot of Ngor Monastery], and was able to recite the Manju'rInimasamgIta from memory. When I was memorizing and practicing the recitation of the Praise of the Twelve Deeds of the Enlightened Teacher Saikiamuni, composed by Acharya Nigarjuna, the hairs on my body repeatedly stood on end upon reciting the line "When you were born in the auspicious Lumbini Garden . " Was it a sign that a link had been established from my past prayers, by which I would live in this great holy place in the later portion of my life?
H.H. the Thirteenth Dalai Lama appointed me at the age of nine to be the master of the doctrine at Nalendra Monastery to the north of Lhasa. I was installed on the throne at age twelve while still engaged in studies. From then until age thirty-nine, I stayed and maintained the traitional customs of past Gurus so that they did not decline. In 1959, when I was forty years old, there was a great change in our circumstances, and I left Tibet for Mustang. In 1961-1962 I traveled on pilgrimage to the holly places in India and Nepal. At Sirnath, Kunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen said to me, "The four great holy places have great blessing, and from among them, Lumbini is extremely sacred, and the supreme holy place, because if the Buddha had not been born he would not have performed the other deeds." I then felt intense faith in the birthplaoe, Lumbini.
For several years, beginning in the end of 1982, I worked as Secretary of Religion in Dharamsala. In 1963, my elder sister, the Mustang Rani passed away, and the Mustana Raja came with his son to Dharamsala. "If possible you should return to Mustana. If that isn't possible if you would stay in the monastery of His Majesty's Government in Lumbini, permission will be given. We will request for you," they said, and left.
In 1965 the Mustang Raja and his son made the appeal. His Majesty [Late King Mahendra's] relly was, "It is all right if you stay in the old temple. I have spoken with Secretary General U Thant, and it would be good if you were able to construtot a new temple as part of the development of Lumbini." I replied that there was a resident in the old temple, so it would be aood if we requested land to construct a new one. In 1967 the appeal was submitted, and approval was granted.
In 1969, Mr. Ramesh Jung Thapa, Director of the Department of Archeology, was sent to the holy place, and granted ten kata of land. Together with him, village panohayat leaders, town panohayat leaders, the land tax collector of Bhairawa, and the Lumbini Zonal Commissioner, measured the land, and gave the official land documents. Construction of the monastery was then begun, and I stayed in Lumbini. In 1973 and 1974, according to a request from the Department of Archeology that a history of Tilaurakot was needed, I wrote one which was translated into Nepali and English, and submitted on two occasions. They may have it in the Department, but my own notes were lost.
In February 1977 I was given a set of seven questions from the Administrative Officer of the Lumbini Development Committee. I offered my replies, in Tibetan, on March 3pd. In 1985, Wangchuk, one of my own students of literature emphatically told me, "It would be a shame if the usefulness to others of your composition were to be lost. But if there were a book summerizing the story of Lumbini, it would not be lost, and later would be of mutual benefit to everyone, including the Department." Aside from these reasons, it is also difficult to comprehend the entire story from the questions and replies alone. As a result, I have compiled the complete story, entitled "A Spectacle for the Mind," the story of Lumbini, a discourse fortunate to behold, and I present it here as Chapter I.
Chapter II: The Honorable Tsechu Rinpoche, who is Head of both the Dhurgamchetra and the Nepal Buddhist Societies, and a member of the Rajsabha, emphatically requested together with a long silk scarf and a gift, that I present a clear statement concerning Kapilavastu and Devadaha. Accordingly, these can be known from the presentation of the page and paragraph numbers within "A Spectacle for the Mind." There is also additional explanation of what is not clear therein.
Chapter III: The seven questions from the Administrative Officer of the Lumbini Development Committee are clearly presented here together with the page and paragraph numbers in "A Spectacle for the Mind."
Chapter IV: Five are most further questions and presented together here clear if arranged in sequence.
Chapter V: This chapter concerns the manner in which the temple structure, as well as its contents, was constructed upon the land bestowed by His Majesty Late King Mahendra to the Mustang Raja and Chogye Trichen within the holy place of Lumbini. Also included here is a catalogue of the consecrated contents within the gilt image of ""he Sage, and a numbered identification of te stories corresponding to each of the excellen~ murals, such as those of the Twelve Deeds of the Enlightened Teacher.
Chapter VI: This chapter concerns the establishment at Lumbini Garden of a three-year retreat center for meditation upon the essence of the doctrine, and the corresponding practice for three years from 1978 through 1980, with six practitioners successfully completing the preliminaries, the main practice, and the conclusion.
Chapter VII: This chapter concerns the establishment of the second meditation three-year retreat in Boudhnath and future building of plans for a retreat
Chapter VIII: This chapter concerns the construction of the Great Maitreya Temple structure, as well as its contents, which is beside and very close to the precious [Boudhnath] Stupa, from its inception at the 1983 celebration of the [Buddha's] Descent from Heaven until its successful completion two years later at the 1985 celebration of the Descent from Heaven.
These eight chapters were begun and composed as described above, and are intended as repayment for the kindness of our Enlightened Teacher, and as an historical service, a rejoicing in the policies of Their Majesties, father and sons.
This was begun with deep sincerity by Subhasita, who has the title Chogye Jetsun Tri, in the Great Maitreya Monastery of Yiga Chudzin at the Boudhnath Stupa, on 27/3/043, or July 11, 1986, the 4th day of the 6th Tibetan month, which is the celebration of the Enlightened Teacher's turning of the Dharmacakra. It was completed at Lumbini Garden, in the monastery of Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihara, Tashi Rabten Ling, on 2/6/043, or September 18, 1986, the 15th day of the second 7th Tibetan month.
On the occasion of their Visit to this holy place, I offer this book with affectionate respect to the delegates of the fifteenth World Buddhist Conference, which is being held in Kathmandu.
May it bring benefit to the doctrine and all living beings!
A MARVELOUS SPECTACLE FOR THE MIND
Though all the Victors are equal in form and primordial wisdom,
May we be nurtured by the Lord of Sages,
whose exceptional awakened mind 'of loving kindness for degenerate beings
Is a golden flower whose fame magnificently beautifies all the three-fold universe.
Behold a Sepectacle narrative praise, About Lumbini Garden with which any connection
The place where all the auspicious conditions of every excellent attribute
in samsara and nirvana combined,
And from which shone forth the Lamp of the World.
The Creation of the Present Aeon and the Ori in of the akya clan
The result of the manifold karma, virtuous and sinful, [accumulated] by all infinite sentient beings, appears as the structure of the animate and inanimate world, [in all its] manifold happiness and suffering. As stated by Acarya Vasubandhu in Abhidharmakosa, "Manifold worlds arise from karma." Thus thre appear manifold manifestations of karma, in which the shape of the world is such as round, flat, or square.
In any case, the animate and inanimate world is created by the four elements at the beginning of an aeon [kalpa]. For the length of its duration, there is a long low point of decline in [average] lifespan, a long high point of increase in lifespan, and a period in between. At the end of a long period of many years, the animate and inanimate are scattered and destroyed by fire, water, and air, and there is nothing. Each [cycle] of creation, duration, destruction, and nothingness, is referred to as an aeon.
Among those aeons, the aeons in which a Buddha does not appear in the world are known as "dark aeons," because without the teaching of an unerring path to the creatures of this world, they experience only the caus~s and results of suffering, as though in utter darkness.
The aeons in which a Buddha appears in this world are known as "aeons illuminated by a lamp," because through the illumination of the Buddhadharma, the darkness of inner and outer attachment, aggression, and ignorance are cleared away, and only the causes and results of virtue and happiness are experienced.
Because in this world each "lamp aeon" does not appear except in the midst of many "dark aeons," it is rare for a Buddha to appear in this world. Having appeared, it is rare for the Dharma to be taught. It is rare for the doctrine which is taught to remain. To obtain a human body is extremely rare, and so at this time when the four rarities have come together, if one is able to enter the Buddhist doctrine it is extremely fortunate and very meaningful.
Question: If it is stated that one thousand and two Buddhas appear in this present aeon, why are there no "dark aeons" in between?
Answer: This great aeon is a special one, unlike others. According to the Acintiuhyanirdesa-Sutra, at a time in the past, many aeons ago, during the aeon known as Beautiful Illumination, the completely perfect Buddha named King of Infinite Precious Qualities appeared in the world known as Ornamentation. At that time there was a king named Arenemi who ruled the four continents from his perfect palace, and who had seven hundred thousand queens and a thousand princes. During that time the king honored that Buddha together with the sangha of monks for ten million years. Then he thought, "All these thousand princes have for ten million years only dwelt in the presence of the Buddha while awakening the thought of enlightenment. It is certain that in the future when a good aeon appears, they will successively become enlightened. I shall investigate who will first become a Buddha."
He wrote the names of the thousand youths, and placed them in a vase of seven jewels. He made offerings in front of the Buddha for seven days, and then in the midst of the retinue of queens, the thousand sons, the ministers, and many people, he drew forth the written names from within the vase where they had been shuffled. First was Krakucchanda, second was Kanakamuni, third was Kasyapa, fourth was our Enlightened Teacher §akyamuni, fifth was Maitreya, and so on until the last of the thousand, the youngest prince Anantamati.
Answer: Our Enlightened Teacher, the
Buddha, the Blessed One, knows what can be known exactly as it is and in full extent, with no confusion of circumstances, and is free of the four causes of ignorance. What the clan of each Buddha will be, together with the name of each father, mother, son, queen, and attendants, such as the Supreme Pair, is clear
and precise within the Bhadrakalpika-Sutra, and thus is something we can believe in.
According to the word of the Blessed Buddha, the way the present aeon was created and the source of the origin of the ~akya clan is described below. The word of the Buddha is composed of statements which he actually spoke, such as the Pratimoksa-Sutra, questions and replies between Bodhisaftvas and Arhats which he endorsed at the conclusion, such as the Pra,inaparamita, which are approved statements, and blessed statements in which Arhats and Bodhisattvas spoke after having been blessed by the Buddha focusing his attention upon them.
When the Blessed One was residing in the Nyagrodha pleasure grove at Kapilavastu, the Sakyas asked how their own clan had originated. The Blessed One blessed Maudgalyayana with his attention, and told him to tell how the Sikya clan originated. This, then, was both a blessed and approved statement. Maudgalyayana looked with the eye of primordial wisdom, and described [the origin of the clan].
In the very beginning of this world, in an empty vacuum of space a great wind stirred, from which fire blazed forth, and a vast mandala of water was created as condensation from the fire and wind. The fire and water was agitated by the wind, and like butter from churned milk, it gradually was created in the form of the earth, and became solid, endowed with such things as color, taste, texture, and odour.
At the same time as this, the sentient beings of the first aeon descended from [the realm] of the gods of clear light. They had complete sense faculties and limbs, and were beautiful like gods. Their own bodies shown with light, they were able to fly uniapeded in the sky, and they subsisted on the food of concentrated meditation. And yet, through desire they became attached to the taste of the film on the nectar, which was like honey, and taking it with their forefingers, they ate it.
Consequently their bodies became heavy and coarse, and took on a bad color. When that was finished, they ate the quintessence of soil, which had a somewhat sweet taste. Then they ate uncultivated rice. The male and feaaie organs then formed, their bodies became dull, and they began to build homes. From their collective merit, the sun and moon then appeared. They sowed fields, and when it was time to gather the fruit, conflict ensued. One from among them, who was endowed with intelligence, allocated land to each one, and caused there to be no conflict. The land was allocated equally among everyone, but he himself was excluded from a share of land. As a result, everyone gave him one-sixth of their own shares of land, and he then had more than anyone.
In his hereditary lineage was the king Mahasammata.(1 The following section is based on the VinaYavastu, Derge edition, vol. 3, beginning on f. 266.) There were many generations in the famous royal lineage of Mahasammata. After a thousand generations, King Krkin appeared. The Buddha Ka'yapa appeared at that time, when lifespans were twenty thousand years. From Sujata, the son of Krkin, there successively descended one hundred kings in the city of Potala.
Karnika was the last kings, and he had two of the one hundred sons, Gautama and
Bharadvaja, the latter of whom ruled. The elder brother Gautama became a renunciate, and relied upon the Seer Asita. The Seer Gautama [was wrongly accused of murder and] met with bad circumstances, but because he was blameless and spoke the truth, [his teacher] the Acarya became gold in color. The Golden [Acarya] inspired Gautama, from whose member drops [of semen] fell into a bunch of sugarcane at the base of the torture tree [from which he was hung]. They were nurtured by the sun, and burst forth as two eggs, from which two youths appeared. The Golden Seer identified them as of the royal lineage of Mahasammata, and the younger brother was [eventually] 'placed on the throne.
Thereafter, the royal lineage was known by four names: Gautama, Angirasa, Su~yavamsa, and Iksvaku. One hundred members of the royal li~eage of Ik~vaku appeared in the city of Potala in the Noble Land. The last of the one hundred was known as [Iksvaku] Virudhaka, and to him were born four sons, Ulkamukha, Karakarnaka, Hastika'irsa, and Nupura. When his wife died, the king was plunged into despair. Through the efforts of the ministers, he took a new queen. A son, Rajyananda, was born, and through the powerful means of the ministers, he was placed on the throne.
The four sons of the good queen were exiled to a place near to the dwelling of the Master Kapila on the bank of the Lohita river close to the Himalayan mountains. Their brethren, such as relatives from their mother's side, many young boys and girls, followed after the four sons, and all abandoned attachment and longing for their own land. They settled in the place of Kapila, and so it became known as Kapilavastu. They slew deer for food and clothing, and prospered in that place. All were happy and content in their youth, and when they reached maturity, the Seer Kapila gave them guidanc~, saying, "You are of a high royal line, and it would be meaningless for you to join with a common line. You ~hould marry with your mother's relatives!'"
Their race greatly increased, and the ensuing clamour was harmful to the meditation of the Seer Kapila. Consequently he said, "There are four main royal lineages, the p~incipal and most important of which should remain in Kapilavastu. The great remainder of you should m'ove to the place known as Devadaha, because this place was prophecied by the gods." Accordingly they moved, and there also, from the single heriditary line a second one expanded, and a great city began.
On one occasion [Iksvaku] Virudhaka, the king of Potala, missed his banished 'sons, and dispatched his ministers to summon the boys. They returned, and then told him, "0King, you needn't worry. Those sons have taken Kapilav&stu. They slay deer, make tents with the hides, have fine food and clothing, and live happily. Not only that, they have married with girls from their mother's side, and they have very many descendants."
King [Iksvaku] Virudhaka exclaimed, "They are daring to act like that, very daring." Daring is called "'akya," and so thereafter the royal lineage of Iksvaku was known as the royal lineage of sakya. When the father [Iksvaku] Virudhaka and Rajyananda both died, the'royal lineage of Potala was taken over by the Sakya
royal lineage, in succession from eldest to youngest between the four sons of the first queen of [Iksvaku] Viru~haka. Finally Nupura, the youngest of the four brothers acted as king of the Sakyas. His Bon was Vasistha, whose son was Guha. His lineage passed' to his son, grandson, and great-grandson, down through twenty-five thousand Sakya kings in the city of Kapilavastu.
At that point there were six kings with the name Ratha, such as Dasaratha. From Da'adhanu, who was the son of the last one, there were six with the name Dhanu. Dhanusthira, the sixth, had two sons: Simhahanu and Simhanada. From King Mahasammata d~wn to Simhah~nu there were various changes in the name of the royal lineage, but the unbroken line of descent was of a single lineage.
Simhahanu had four sons, Suddhodana, Suklodana, Dronodana, and Amrtodana. He also
had four daughters, Suddhi, Sukla, Drona, and Amrta. From among the eight broth~rs and sisters, the eldest was the daughter §uddha. This daughter Buddha went to become queen to the king of the city of Devadaha.
The reason this great holy place has the name Lumbini Garden
There was a son [Suprabuddha] born to the king of Devadaha and Suddha, and he was endowed with qualities of intelligence. He came to have as his queen a king's daughter who was known as Lumbini, "good woman of the city." Near the city capital Devadaha, a rich householder had a pleasure grove, a place for recreation. It was a garden perfectly replete with the finest water, flowers, and fruits, and with the calls of various birds therein. It was a place such as one might wish for. The king and his group of queens sometimes went there to amuse themselves. Queen Lumbini liked that pleasant garden, and wanted it. She asked [the king], "Please give it to me."
But the king said, "This is the householder's, and so it would be inappropriate for me to give it. If you want it, I shall make one even better than this in another place."
On this site [of Lumbini] there would appear many marvels at the birth of the Buddha. It was created as a place where there were more lotuses, more flowers which grow in swamp and grow on land, a greater variety of fruits, meadows, and a perfect abundance of waters, than there were even in the garden grove of the householder. In this place various kinds of birds such as peacocks, parrots, mynas, kraunca [GSprey], and kadamba [dark -grey-winged goose] gave forth captivatingly beautiful calls, and various kinds of wild animals such as herds of elephants wandered peacefully. The king made a wonderful, unprecedented place, like a divine garden grove, with such things as mansions, pleasure groves, and ponds. Because it was constructed for the sake of that queen, it was also given the name Lumbini.
So it is stated in the Vinayavastu.
During that period of time, King Simhahanu ruled the city state of Kapilavastu: In Devadaha it was the period during which Suprabuddha ruled. To Lumbini, the excellent queen of SuprabuddhaF there was born a marvelous daughter named Maya who was endowed with the marks and signs of one who would give birth to a king that would rule the world with his power. After that, a daughter even more marvelous than her, Mahamaya, was born. She was one who had transcended mundane activity, and whom the soothsayers prophecied would give birth to a Universal Emperor, endowed with excellent marks.
Si~hahanu thought, "How excellent it would be if a Universal Emperor appeared in my lineage.w As Suprabuddha had aspirations to become related to Simhahanu, there was a mutual exchange of letters between the kings, and the daughter of Suprabuddha, Mahamaya, who was endowed with the marks and signs of one who gives birth to a Universal Emperor, was taken to be married to Suddhodana, the son of King
Si~hahanu. Later, he also took the older [daughter] Maya after consultation in the
assembly, it not being against Sakya custom.
After his father, King Simhahanu, passed away, §uddhodana acted as king of Kapilavastu. King Suddhodana and queen Mahamaya both lived enjoyably and pleasantly in the pinnacle of Hasavati, the palace of the royal court at Kapilavastu.
At that time in Tu~ita heaven, the Sage, the great Bodhisattva, decided to display the manner of enlightenment here in this world. He saw five sights: his caste, country, time, lineage, and mother.
1.) Caste: Most Buddhas appear in the
ruling caste [K~atriya] or the priestly caste [Brahmin]. Seeing that at the present time the ~uling caste was accorded respect, he decided to appear in the ruling caste.
2.) Country: So that it would not be said that the Bodhisattva had taken birth in a barbarian borderland, he decided to appear in the central country.
3.) Time: Buddhas do not appear while lifespans are as long as eighty thousand years, because renunciation and sadness cannot be awakened. Nor do they appear when lifespans have decreased to less than one hundred years, in a place where five-fold degeneracy is rampant. Hence he decided that in order to train living beings with lifespans of one hundred years, who were not the trainees of other Buddhas, he would appear during a time then lifespans were one hundred years.
4.} Lineage: From among the ruling caste, he decided to appear in the lineage of the Sakya King Suddhodana, which was a lineage accorded respect and in which both maternal and paternal ancestors had behaved faultlessly for seven generations.
5.) Mother: He decided to appear as the son of mother Mahamaya, a woman endowed with such qualities as excellent physique and intelligence, who would not become distracted by selfish aims, one who had prayed in front of past Buddhas, "Oh! May I become the mother of a Buddha!" and who was able to hold a great Bodhisattva within her womb for ten months.
Then, at Hamsavati in Kapilavastu, he entered into is mother's womb in the form of an elephant endowed with six tusks. Beginning from the time he entered the womb, his mother naturally maintained a moral discipline which shunned the ten non virtues, wished to release the prisoners of the Kapilavastu state, and wanted to give generously to the poor and beggars. King Suddhodana accomplished [these things] in accordance with her wishes. Furthermore, as she wished to gaze upon pleasant garden groves, and wanted to be at the base of a tree in the Lumbini Garden Grove when it was time to give birth, the king sent a message to King Suprabuddha, saying, "Your daughter wishes to be in the Lumbini Garden Grove, so decorate it with ornaments!"
From Kapilavastu as well, preperations were made to beautify the garden grove, and when it was nearly time for her to depart, a horse¬borne palanquin made from four kinds of jewels was arranged. Queen Mahamaya was surrounded with groups of elephants, horses, youths, and chariots, as well as hosts of troops and gods, filling all the earth and sky. Together with this retinue, she departed and traveled to Lumbini Garden.
(Thus it is stated in the Abhiniskramana Sutra.)
When the time came for the Perfect Buddha, the Blessed One, to be born in Lumbini Garden, his mother stretched up and held the branch of a tree with her hands. What kind of a tree was it? It was a plaksa tree [waved-leaf fig tree, Ficus Infectoria].
It is stated in the Vinayavastu: "Then, when she [ie. Mayadevi] went to the Lumbini Garden she saw an asoka tree [Jonesia Asoka Roxb.] with extremely wide flowers. She wished to give birth there, and while she was there holding that tree…"
It also says in the Buddhavatamsaka-Sutra:
"The preceding omens [of impendIng birth], those ten great illuminations, occurred before the arrival of the Buddha. They• also thoroughly illuminated all the dense darkness of the thoughts and minds of boundless and limitless sentient beings.
"0 Son of a good family [Le. Ma:r;libhadra], when the mother Mahamayidevi arrived at the site of the plak~a tree, the bodies as well as all the masses of offerings of all those who were intent upon presenting offerings to the great Bodhisattva, all the powerful ones of the worldly realm who had assembled, the sons and daughters of the gods of the three realms together with their retinues, and the nagas, yaksas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, and mahoragas, with their assembled retinues, were thoroughly illuminated by the magnificent splendor, glory, color, and form of Mahamayadevi."
Hence it is certain it was a plaksa tree, with perfectly petalled flowers.
When the Blessed Buddha subdued the Maras in the evening, and directly and fully Awakened at dawn at the Vajrasana [of Bodhgaya], the tree against which he rested his back was a bodhivrksa [Indian fig tree, Ficus religiosa]. Nowadays they are well known at the Vajrasana [of Bodhgaya] ,and in such areas as this [Lumbinil and Sri Lanka. Everywhere they are regarded as blessed, they are planted, and they grow.