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he gave the order to turn home, as he had lost all delight in his beautiful surroundings. Some time afterwards in driving out again, he caught sight of a leper, and when Channa answered his questions about this apparition, he was so deeply impressed in mind that from then on, he shunned all pleasures and began to think about human misery. After a longer time had elapsed, the prince encountered a third apparition. He saw a decayed corpse lying at the wayside. Greatly perturbed he turned home at once and cried out: "Woe to men! Of what use to me is all royal splendour, all this pomp and all these pleasures, if they are not able to save me from old age, from sickness and death? How unhappy is mankind! Are there no means to put an end to suffering and death ever renewing themselves with every new birth?" Henceforth, this question incessantly occupied him. Riding out at a later time, he found an answer. An ascetic appeared to him, wearing a garb of yellow as do the Buddhist brethren, his awe-inspiring features clearly reflecting the deep peace of his mind.

This apparition indicated to him the way in which he had to seek the solution of his great problem. His resolution to quit the world like that reverend ascetic and to go out into the wilderness, slowly ripened. And then, all at once he put this resolution into effect, in the unshakeable conviction that it would be given him to discover the end of every form of suffering.

To this problem, for him the greatest, the six following years of most horrible self-mortifications were devoted; as the custom of India of that day held this to be the way leading soonest to the perception of truth. As he said himself: "Whatever feelings painful, burning and bitter, ascetics and brahmins ever have undergone in the past, undergo in the present, or shall undergo in the future: this is the utmost; further they cannot go." To this one goal

was devoted that time of quiet inward contemplation, in which he next immersed himself when he had convinced himself of the uselessness of all painful asceticism, and which at last brought him the solution of his great problem. In triumph he first communicated it to the five monks who had surrounded him during the time of his self-martyrdom, but who had left him when he had recognized this way as erroneous. "An Exalted One, O monks, is the Accomplished One; a Supremely Awakened One is He! Give ear, O monks, the deathless has been attained. I will instruct you, I will impart to you the doctrine. Following my instructions, ye shall know and realize that utmost noble goal of the holy life for yourselves even in this present lifetime." And in fact, like the Master, they also soon attained to "the incomparable security, the birthless, the free from growth and decay and disease, the deathless, the sorrowless, the stainless." They attained the end of suffering.

This gospel of the ending of suffering henceforth constituted the only theme of the Buddha, the Awakened One, as thenceforward he called himself. To its propagation the following forty-five years of his life were devoted. Every day, yea, every hour he could say of himself: "As before so also now, I preach only Suffering and the Cessation of Suffering." "As the great ocean, ye disciples, is penetrated by only one taste, the taste of salt, even so, disciples, this Doctrine and this Order are penetrated by only one taste, the taste of salvation." This, the sole content of his teaching, he made externally knowable by condensing it into the Four Most Excellent Truths of Suffering, within which everything good is contained: "Just as all living creatures that go upon feet find passage-way in the footsteps of the elephant, the footprint of the elephant being by them held in the highest esteem by reason of its great size, even so, all things whatsoever that are good and salutary are contained

and comprehended in the Four Most Excellent Truths, namely in these: the Most Excellent Truth of Suffering, the Most Excellent Truth of the Arising of Suffering, the Most Excellent Truth of the Ceasing of Suffering and the Most Excellent Truth of the Path that leads to the Ceasing of Suffering." Certainly his knowledge was not restricted to these four excellent truths; his mind had penetrated the abysses of existence in other directions also, more deeply than any other mortal; but with deliberate intention he communicated nothing of it to mankind, but exclusively limited himself to the four excellent truths: "Once upon a time, the Venerable One was staying at Kosambi in a Sinsapa-forest. And the Venerable One took up a few sinsapa leaves in his hand and said to his disciples: "What do you think, my disciples, which is more, these few sinsapa leaves I hold in my hand, or the other leaves in the sinsapa wood above?"-"The few leaves, Lord, that the Venerable One holds in his hands, are small in number; much more are the leaves in the sinsapa forest above."-"Even so, disciples, what I have perceived and have not communicated to you is much more than what I have communicated to you. And why, O disciples, have I not revealed this to you? Because, O disciples, it would not be of advantage to you, because it does not promote the higher life in all its purity, because it does. not lead to disgust with the world, to annihilation of all lust, to the ceasing of the transitory, to peace, to the higher knowledge, to awakening, to Nirvana. Therefore I have not communicated it to you. And what, disciples, have I communicated to you? What Suffering is, disciples, I have communicated to you; what the Arising of Suffering is, disciples, I have communicated to you; what the Ceasing of Suffering is, disciples, I have communicated to you; and what is the Path that leads to the Ceasing of Suffering, disciples, I have communicated to you."


The Buddha even goes so far as to reject every setting up of problems that go beyond this exclusively practical purpose, all theoretical questions and all speculative enquiries, particularly those about the essence of the world or of ourselves, as a mere overflow of our tendency towards polymathy and terminating only in "a blind alley of views, a cave, a gorge of views" and thus only involving the inexperienced mortal still deeper in suffering. Accordingly, the Buddha especially does not teach any system of philosophy; not only no kind of metaphysics, but also no ontology nor dianoiology. Concerning the world in itself, its origin, its duration, its laws, he is indifferent, since any such predictions and statements are ultimately without any practical purpose for mankind. All this has interest for him only in so far as it is of practical value for the annihilation of suffering. Therefore in his teaching those philosophers who, corrupted by the thirst for knowledge for its own sake, wish to have every enigma of existence solved, will lose their labour, since, if the saying holds good of any one, it holds good of the Buddha: "Non meum est docere doctores." It is not my task to teach scholars. Apart from this, the enigma of the world belongs to those enigmas "with which to dabble only leads to perplexity;" while those dabbling with it resemble men born blind, who have been led to touch an elephant. The first of them touches the head, the other the trunk, the third one the foot, the fourth one the tail, and now each of them cries out: "The elephant looks like this; no, he looks like that," until the combat of opinions turns into a combat of fists. Such investigators entirely mistake the situation wherein they find themselves. This is like that of explorers who have ventured into a lonely desert and on every side are beset by wild animals. Instead of thinking about defending themselves against these animals and saving their lives, they enter upon zoological studies of them, which


end in themselves being devoured by the beasts, together with the results of their studies. The Buddha himself sums up their standpoint as follows.

"It is as if, Mālunkyāputta, a man had been wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and companions, his relatives and kinsfolk, were to procure for him a physician or surgeon; and the sick man were to say, 'I will not have this arrow taken out until I have learnt whether the man who wounded me belonged to the warrior caste, or to the Brahmin caste, or to the agricultural caste, or to the menial caste!' "Or again he were to say, 'I will not have this arrow taken out until I have learnt the name of the man who wounded me and to what clan he belongs.'

"Or again he were to say, 'I will not have this arrow taken out until I have learnt whether the man who wounded me was tall, or short, or of middle height.'

"Or again he were to say, 'I will not have this arrow taken out until I have learnt whether the bow which wounded me was a capa, or a kodanda.

"Or again he were to say, 'I will not have this arrow taken out until I have learnt whether the bow-string which wounded me was made from smaller-wort, or bamboo, or sinew, or maruva, or from milkweed.'

"Or again he were to say. 'I will not have this arrow taken out until I have learnt whether the shaft which wounded me was feathered from the wings of a vulture, or of a heron, or of a falcon, or of a peacock.'

"Or again he were to say, 'I will not have this arrow taken out until I have learnt whether the shaft which wounded me was wound round with the sinews of an ox, or of a buffalo, or of a monkey.' That man would die, Mālunkyāputta, without ever having learnt this.

"In exactly the same way, Mālunkyāputta, any one who should say, 'I will not lead the religious life under the Blessed

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