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practise the life of religious persons who have forsaken the world !' His parents having consented to this arrangement, Sâma gave away all his worldly goods amongst the poor, and then, in company with his parents, sought the solitude of the mountains. Having reached a favourable spot, Sâma constructed a shelter of leaves and branches for his parents, and prepared a sufficient covering for them to take repose, so that they neither suffered from cold nor heat. After living thus for one year, provided by their son with every necessary—the sweet fruits that grew in the neighbourhood, and the cool water that ran by-protected from the rain and the sun's rays, surrounded by the birds and beasts of the forest, who showed no signs of fear, but delighted the blind couple with their songs and friendship, the deer coming at Sâma's call, and all the tenants of the forest following him wherever he moved—it so happened in the midst of all this that Sâma went down to the neighbouring stream, clad in his deer-skin coat, and with his pitcher in his hand, to fetch some water for his parents, who were now feeling the inconvenience of thirst, whilst herds of deer and feathered fowls were also drinking by the river's bank, without fear or thought of harm at Sâma's presence.
“At this time it happened that the King of the country of Ka-i (Kasi) had gone out to hunt in the mountain wilds. Coming near to the river where Sâma was, and seeing the herd of deer and the birds assembled there, he drew his bow and shot an arrow into their midst. The arrow pierced Sâma in the midst of his body. The boy, feeling the anguish of the poisoned barb, cried out in his pain, · Who has shot this poisoned arrow, and wounded me, a hermit boy?' (Sambódhi man). The King, hearing his voice, dismounted from his horse, and went straight to where Sâma was. The boy then addressed the King, and said, “ An elephant when dead has ivory teeth; a rhinoceros is killed for its horn, a kingfisher for its feathers, a deer for its skin; but as for me, who is it would kill me? I have neither teeth of ivory, nor horn, nor feathers, nor skin of deer; my flesh is useless for food; what evil then have I done that I should be thus ruthlessly shot dead ?'
“ The King answering said, “But who are you, clad in that deerskin doublet, and consorting with the wild herds of the forest?'
“Sama replied, 'I am one of Your Majesty's subjects, who, with my blind father and mother, am practising the life of a hermit. For twenty years or more we have not been molested either by tiger or
wolf, or poisonous insect, but now at last I am wounded to death by the arrow of the King.'
“ Then the winds and storm arose, and wailed through the forest ; the wild beasts and birds, the lions, tigers, and wolves, began to utter their cries, and the light of day was withheld, whilst the mountains quaked, the fountains were dried up and the flowers faded, as the thunders rolled and the earth shook. Then the blind hermits trembled for fear, and said, “What mean these portents ? Our son has long been gone to fetch us water. Can it be some poisonous creature has wounded him? Hark, how the beasts of the forest cry! Never before have we heard it so.
The winds are wailing loud on every hand; the trees are tossing to and fro. Alas! there must be some calamity.'
" Then the King, in great grief and with much remorse, exclaimed, 'I indeed, thinking to shoot a deer, have pierced this hermit through with my arrow. Oh! what a crime is mine! This is the just reward I reap for lusting after flesh! Now would I gladly give my whole treasury, my wives, and all my kingdom, could I but save the life of this youth!' And then the King essayed with his hand to draw forth the arrow from Sâma's breast, but so deeply was it seated that his attempt was vain. Then the birds of the forest flew round, coming from the four quarters, screaming with fear, whilst the mountains shook, and the King trembled with fear. Then Sâma said, “Your Majesty is not to blame; it is I who in some former life have committed wrong, which now brings its just punishment. I regret not my death on my own account, but I am moved with pity for my blind parents. Alas! they are very old, and their sight is gone! When' I am gone, what can they do? Alas! they will have no one to befriend them on earth! May the spirits and heavenly guardians protect them!'
"Then the King said, “May I undergo the torments of hell for a hundred Kalpas, but oh! may this youth survive!' and then prostrating himself before Sâma he wept from grief, and swore never to return to his kingdom, but in case of Sâma's death to abide in the mountain wilds, and tend on the aged parents of the youth ; and he called on all the powers of heaven to bear witness to his oath!
“Then Sâma replied, “If so you act, then I die contented, and your guilt will be removed.'
"Then the King, having learned from the youth where his parents
dwelt, and having been exhorted to break the news of his calamity with gentleness and consideration to them, accompanied by a few of his followers he proceeded to the spot. And then Sâma expired, while the birds, flocking together from every side, endeavoured to remove (lick) the flowing blood from his breast.
“ Then the parents of Sâma, hearing the King approach through the forest, were filled with alarm, and said, Who! who is this ! This is not our child approaching.' Then the King replied, “I am the monarch of Kasi ; hearing that you were dwelling alone in these mountain solitudes, I desired to come and offer you some sustenance.' The blind hermits thon inquired if all was well with the King that he should have come thus far, and that his arrival should be accompanied by such strange portents as had just occurred. The King assured them that all was well, and then inquired how they could find any comfort in residing there alone in the mountains; to which they replied, “We are happy, 0 King, in having a faithful and loving son called Sâma, who provides us with all we need. But let Your Majesty,' they said,
sit down, and partake of the fruits we have, and Sâma, who has gone to fetch us water, will soon return. Then the King, hearing these words, burst into tears and sad lamentation, and said, 'Oh, guilty man that I am ; whilst shooting the wild deer of the forest I have killed your son ! alas ! alas ! and now am I come to acquaint you therewith.' Then the parents began to tremble with anguish, as the great mountains shake and the earth is moved; whilst with their faces looking to heaven they cried, “Our son Sâma—the most dutiful in all the world, guiltless of any crime, exemplary for every virtue—what has he done that he should thus die! Let the winds blow amain, and the trees shake, and the earth quake, and the birds scream, for our Sâma shall never more return.'
Then the blind mother being overpowered with sorrow, her husband consoled her thus : 'No man living but must die! Impermanency is the universal Law!'
“ Then the King related to the father all the words of Sâma, on which he replied, 'Lead us, 0 King! to the spot where our son is lying. On this the King conducted them to the place where lay the dead body of their child. Then the father embracing his head, and the mother clasping his knees, leaning over his body they began with their hands to smooth his body, and to feel where the arrow had pierced him, and then looking up to heaven they cried, O ye spirits and heavenly powers ! ye guardians of the forest and the mountains ! bear witness with us that in all the earth there was none so dutiful and so pious as this our child! Oh! let not so dear a child be taken from us, his parents, old and blind. Oh! let him live.' And then they swore that in virtue of his piety and dutiful conduct, when they withdrew the arrow he should live again!
"On this the monarch of the Trayastrinshas Heaven-feeling his throne greatly moved-looking forth beheld these two, the blind parents of Sâma, embracing their son and invoking the heavenly powers. So also the King of the Tusita Heavens, hearing the same, in a moment both Sakra and Brahma and the four Kings descended to earth and came to the spot-and then, pouring some divine medicine into the mouth of Sâma, as they withdrew the arrow, lo! he lived again! “ At the same time the
eyes of both his parents were opened, whilst the birds around tuned forth a joyous chorus, and the gentle breezes sighed, and the sun gave forth his light, and the fountains flowed again, and the flowers burst into bloom, and the scented woods gave forth their odour, and all the trees resumed their former beauty.
"Then the King rejoiced, and with 'unrestrained delight fell down at Sakra's feet, and afterwards at the feet of the parents and of Sâma; whilst he vowed that whatever treasures he possessed he would bestow them on the followers of religion, and ever nourish and cherish them to atone for his sin ! Then Sâma said, “Let the King return to his dominion, and ever encourage piety and virtue; let the King no longer take life in the chase, for nought but future misery awaits those who wickedly deprive others of life.' Then the King, having seen the miracles which had been wrought on Sâma and his parents, returned to his kingdom, and took upon himself the five rules of a religious person, and practised continually the ten virtues of a professed disciple. And so he was born in Heaven.”
Then Buddha said, “At that time, Ananda! I was Sâma, the blind father was Suddhôdana, and the blind mother Mâya. The King of Kasi was Ananda! Sakra Raja was the present Maitreya Bodhisatwa !” And then he added, “It was because of my former piety as the child Sama that now I have arrived at the condition of Lord of the Three Worlds."
Having heard this story, the Bodhisatwas, Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasakis, filled with joy, accepted it and departed.
In conclusion, I wish once more to record my hope that the Buddhist Literature in China may be examined with that care it deserves; for I am persuaded that it will be found to contain valuable facts not to be recovered elsewhere, relating to the History of India during a period of great importance.