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The Gospel of Buddha


  • Preface:
    by Paul Carus

  • Chapter 01:
  • Chapter 02:
    Samsara and Nirvana
  • Chapter 03:
    Truth the Saviour

    Prince Siddhattha becomes Buddha
  • Chapter 04:
    The Bodhisatta's Birth
  • Chapter 05:
    The Ties of Life
  • Chapter 06:
    The Three Woes
  • Chapter 07:
    The Bodhisatta's Renunciation
  • Chapter 08:
    King Bimbisara
  • Chapter 09:
    The Bodhisatta's Search
  • Chapter 10:
    Uruvela, the Place of Mortification
  • Chapter 11:
    Mara, the Evil One
  • Chapter 12:
  • Chapter 13:
    The First Converts
  • Chapter 14:
    Brahma's Request

    The Foundation of the Kingdom of Righteousness
  • Chapter 15:
  • Chapter 16:
    The Sermon at Benares
  • Chapter 17:
    The Sangha
  • Chapter 18:
    Yasa, the Youth of Benares
  • Chapter 19:
  • Chapter 20:
    The Sermon at Rajagaha
  • Chapter 21:
    The King's Gift
  • Chapter 22:
    Sariputta and Moggallana
  • Chapter 23:
  • Chapter 24:
    The Sermon on Charity
  • Chapter 25:
  • Chapter 26:
    The Three Characteristics and the Uncreate
  • Chapter 27:
    The Buddha's Father
  • Chapter 28:
  • Chapter 29:

    Consolidation of the Buddha's religion
  • Chapter 30:
    Jivaka, the Physician
  • Chapter 31:
    The Buddha's Parents Attain Nirvana
  • Chapter 32:
    Women Admitted to the Sangha
  • Chapter 33:
    The Bhikkhus' Conduct Toward Women
  • Chapter 34:
  • Chapter 35:
    The Uposatha and Patimokkha
  • Chapter 36:
    The Schism
  • Chapter 37:
    The Re-establishment of Concord
  • Chapter 38:
    The Bhikkhus Rebuked
  • Chapter 39:
  • Chapter 40:
    Name and Form
  • Chapter 41:
    The Goal
  • Chapter 42:
    Miracles Forbidden
  • Chapter 43:
    The Vanity of Worldliness
  • Chapter 44:
    Secrecy and Publicity
  • Chapter 45:
    The Annihilation of Suffering
  • Chapter 46:
    Avoiding the Ten Evils
  • Chapter 47:
    The Preacher's Mission

    The Teacher
  • Chapter 48:
    The Dhammapada
  • Chapter 49:
    The Two Brahmans
  • Chapter 50:
    Guard the Six Quarters
  • Chapter 51:
    Simha's Question Concerning Annihilation
  • Chapter 52:
    All Existence is Spiritual
  • Chapter 53:
    Identity and Non-Identity
  • Chapter 54:
    The Buddha Omnipresent
  • Chapter 55:
    One Essence, One Law, One Aim
  • Chapter 56:
    The Lesson Given to Rahula
  • Chapter 57:
    The Sermon on Abuse
  • Chapter 58:
    The Buddha Replies to the Deva
  • Chapter 59:
    Words of Instruction
  • Chapter 60:
  • Chapter 61:
    The Teacher Unknown

    Parables and Stories
  • Chapter 62:
  • Chapter 63:
    The Widow's Two Mites and the Parable of the Three Merchants
  • Chapter 64:
    The Man Born Blind
  • Chapter 65:
    The Lost Son
  • Chapter 66:
    The Giddy Fish
  • Chapter 67:
    The Cruel Crane Outwitted
  • Chapter 68:
    Four Kinds of Merit
  • Chapter 69:
    The Light of the World
  • Chapter 70:
    Luxurious Living
  • Chapter 71:
    The Communication of Bliss
  • Chapter 72:
    The Listless Fool
  • Chapter 73:
    Rescue in the Desert
  • Chapter 74:
    The Sower
  • Chapter 75:
    The Outcast
  • Chapter 76:
    The Woman at the Well
  • Chapter 77:
    The Peacemaker
  • Chapter 78:
    The Hungry Dog
  • Chapter 79:
    The Despot
  • Chapter 80:
  • Chapter 81:
    The Marriage-Feast in Jambunada
  • Chapter 82:
    A Party in Search of a Thief
  • Chapter 83:
    In the Realm of Yamaraja
  • Chapter 84:
    The Mustard Seed
  • Chapter 85:
    Following the Master Over the Stream
  • Chapter 86:
    The Sick Bhikkhu
  • Chapter 87:
    The Patient Elephant

    The Last Days
  • Chapter 88:
    The Conditions of Welfare
  • Chapter 89:
    Sariputta's Faith
  • Chapter 90:
  • Chapter 91:
    The Mirror of Truth
  • Chapter 92:
  • Chapter 93:
    The Buddha's Farewell Address
  • Chapter 94:
    The Buddha Announces His Death
  • Chapter 95:
    Chunda, the Smith
  • Chapter 96:
  • Chapter 97:
    The Buddha's Final Entering into Nirvana

  • Chapter 98:
    The Three Personalities of the Buddha
  • Chapter 99:
    The Purpose of Being
  • Chapter 100:
    The Praise of All the Buddhas

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    The Gospel of Buddha

    Name and Form

    On one occasion the Blessed One entered the assembly hall
    and the brethren hushed their conversation. [1]

    When they had greeted him with clasped hands,
    they sat down and became composed.
    Then the Blessed One said:
    "Your minds are inflamed with intense interest;
    what was the topic of your discussion?"

    And Sariputta rose and spake:
    "World-honoured master, we were discussing the nature of man's own existence.
    We were trying to grasp the mixture of our own being which is called Name and Form.
    Every human being consists of conformations,
    and there are three groups which are not corporeal.
    They are sensation, perception, and the dispositions,
    all three constitute consciousness
    and mind, being comprised under the term Name.
    And there are four elements, the earthly element,
    the watery element, the fiery element, and the gaseous element,
    and these four elements constitute man's bodily form,
    being held together so that this machine moves like a puppet.
    How does this name and form endure and how can it live?"

    Said the Blessed One:
    "Life is instantaneous and living is dying.
    Just as a chariot-wheel in rolling
    rolls only at one point of the tire,
    and in resting rests only at one point;
    in exactly the same way, the life of a living being
    lasts only for the period of one thought.
    As soon as that thought has ceased
    the being is said to have ceased.

    "As it has been said:
    'The being of a past momemt of thought has lived,
    but does not live, nor will it live.
    The being of a future moment of thought will live,
    but has not lived, nor does it live.
    The being of the present moment of thought does live,
    but has not lived, nor will it live.'"

    "As to Name and Form we must understand how they interact.
    Name has no power of its own, nor can it go on of its own impulse,
    either to eat, or to drink, or to utter sounds, or to make a movement.
    Form also is without power and cannot go on of its own impulse.
    It has no desire to eat, or to drink, or to utter sounds, or to make a movement.
    But Form goes on when supported by Name,
    and Name when supported by Form.
    When Name has a desire to eat, or to drink,
    or to utter sounds, or to make a movement,
    then Form eats, drinks, utters sounds, makes a movement.

    "It is as if two men, the one blind from birth
    and the other a cripple, were desirous of going travelling,
    and the man blind from birth were to say to the cripple as follows:
    'See here! I am able to use my legs,
    but I have no eyes with which to see the rough
    and the smooth places in the road.'

    "And the cripple were to say to the man blind from birth as follows:
    'See here! I am able to use my eyes,
    but I have no legs with which to go forward and back.'

    "And the man blind from birth, pleased and delighted,
    were to mount the cripple on his shoulders.
    And the cripple sitting on the shoulders of the man blind from birth
    were to direct him, saying:
    'Leave the left and go to the right;
    leave the right and go the left.'

    "Here the man blind from birth is without power of his own, and weak,
    and cannot go of his own impulse or might.
    The cripple also is without power of his own, and weak,
    and cannot go of his own impulse or might.
    Yet when they mutually support one another
    it is not impossible for them to go.

    "In exactly the same way Name is without power of its own,
    and cannot spring up of its own might, nor perform this or that action.
    Form also is without power of its own, and cannot spring up of its own might,
    nor perform this or that action.
    Yet when they mutually support one another
    it is not impossible for them to spring up and go on.

    "There is no material that exists for the production of Name and Form;
    and when Name and Form cease, they do no go anywhither in space.
    After Name and Form have ceased,
    they do not exist anywhere in the shape of heaped-up music material.
    Thus when a lute is played upon, there is no previous store of sound;
    and when the music ceases it does not go any whither in space.
    When it has ceased, it exists nowhere in a stored-up state.
    Having previously been non-existent,
    it came into existence on account of the structure
    and stem of the lute and the exertions of the performer;
    and as it came into existence so it passes away.
    In exactly the same way, all the elements of being,
    both corporeal and non-corporeal
    come into existence after having previously been non-existent;
    and having come into existence pass away.

    "There is not a self residing in Name and Form,
    but the co-operation of the conformations
    produce what people call a man.

    "Just as the word 'chariot'
    is but a mode of expression for axle, wheels, the chariot-body
    and other constituents in their proper combinations,
    so a living being is the appearance of the groups
    with the four elements as they are joined in a unit.
    There is no self in the carriage
    and there is no self in man.

    "O bhikkhus, this doctrine is sure and an eternal truth,
    that there is no self outside of its parts.
    This self of ours which constitutes Name and Form
    is a combination of the groups with the four elements,
    but there is no ego entity,
    no self in itself.

    "Paradoxical though it may sound:
    There is a path to walk on,
    there is walking being done,
    but there is no traveller.
    There are deeds being done, but there is no doer.
    There is a blowing of the air, but there is no wind that does the blowing.
    The thought of self is an error
    and all existences are hollow as the plantain tree
    and as empty as twirling water bubbles.

    "Therefore, O bhikkhus,
    as there is no self, there is no transmigration of a self;
    but there are deeds and the continued effect of deeds.
    There is rebirth of karma; there is reincarnation.
    This rebirth, this reincarnation, this reappearance of the conformations
    is continuous and depends on the law of cause and effect.
    Just as a seal is impressed upon the wax
    reproducing the configurations of its device,
    so the thoughts of men, their characters, their aspirations
    are impressed upon others in continuous transference
    and continue their karma,
    and good deeds will continue in blessings
    while bad deeds will continue in curses.

    "There is no entity here that migrates,
    no self is transfered from one place to another;
    but here is a voice uttered here and the echo of it comes back.
    The teacher pronounces a stanza and the disciple
    who attentively listens to his teacher's instruction, repeats the stanza.
    Thus the stanza is reborn in the mind of the disciple.

    "The body is a compound of perishable organs.
    It is subject to decay;
    and we should take care of it as of a wound or a sore;
    we should attend to its needs
    without being attached to it, or loving it.

    "The body is like a machine,
    and there is no self in it that makes it walk or act,
    but the thoughts of it, as the windy elements,
    cause the machine to work.

    "The body moves about like a cart.
    Therefore 'tis said:

      "As ships are by the wind impelled,
      As arrows from their bowstrings speed,
      So likewise when the body moves
      The windy element must lead.

      "Machines are geared to work by ropes;
      so too this body is, in fact,
      Directed by a mental pull
      Whene'er it stand or sit or act.

      "No independent self is here
      That could intrinsic forces prove
      To make man act without a cause,
      To make him stand or walk or move.

    "He only who utterly abandons all thought of the ego
    escapes the snares of the Evil One;
    he is out of the reach of Mara.

    "Thus says the pleasure-promising tempter: [26]

      "So long as to the things
      Called 'mine' and 'I' and 'me'
      Thine anxious heart still clings,
      My snares thou canst not flee."

    "The faithful disciple replies: [28]

      "Naught's mine and naught of me,
      The self I do not mind!
      Thus Mara, I tell thee
      My path thou canst not find."

    "Dismiss the error of the self
    and do not cling to possessions which are transient
    but perform deeds that are good,
    for deeds are enduring
    and in deeds your karma continues.

    "Since then, O bhikkhus, there is no self,
    there cannot be any after life of a self.
    Therefore abandon all thought of self.
    But since there are deeds and since deeds continue,
    be careful with your deeds.

    "All beings have karma as their portion:
    they are heirs of their karma;
    they are sprung from their karma;
    their karma is their kinsman;
    their karma is their refuge;
    karma allots beings to meanness or to greatness.

      "Assailed by death in life's last throes
      On quitting all thy joys and woes
      What is thine own, thy recompense?
      What stays with thee when passing hence?
      What like a shadow follows thee
      And will Beyond thine heirloom be?

      "T'is deeds, thy deeds, both good and bad;
      Naught else can after death be had.
      Thy deeds are thine, thy recompense;
      They are thine own when going hence;
      They like a shadow follow thee
      And will Beyond thine heirloom be.

      "Let all then here perform good deeds,
      For future weal a treasure store;
      There to reap crops from noble seeds,
      A bliss increasing evermore."

      End Chapter 40

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    The Gospel of Buddha
    The Gospel of Buddha
    Compiled from ancient records by Paul Carus, 1894

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