Rediscovering the Buddha: Legends of the Buddha and Their Interpretation

By Hans H. Penner | Go to book overview

8
The Buddha Meets a King and
Two Brilliant Ascetics

The Enlightened One was becoming quite famous. After a stay at Bodh-Gaya, the place of his enlightenment, the Buddha decided to take a large number of monks to Rajagaha, the capital city of Magadha. When he finally arrived there he settled near the town in the pleasure garden known as the Bamboo Grove, near a sacred shrine. Rajagaha was the seat of the famous king of Magadha named Bimbisara.

The king was told of the Buddha’s arrival. He was told, “This was indeed the perfected one, fully awakened, the knower of all worlds, unrivaled in the superknowledge that he had attained by himself. He makes known the truth and this world together with its gods, Maras and Brahmas. He teaches the Doctrine and explains the path that completely satisfies and is pure. Good and rare indeed is the opportunity to see such a perfected one as this.”

Without hesitation, King Bimbisara decided to visit the Buddha with a vast number of Magadha, Brahmins, and householders. As the crowd reached the grove, some exchanged greetings with him and sat down near the Buddha while others shouted out their names or their family names to him; others just kept silent and sat down. Many in the crowd were curious; did the great ascetic place himself under the tutelage of Kassapa ofUruvela, or had Kassapa placed himself under the instruction of the Buddha? The Buddha, of course, understood what was going on in the minds of the crowd and turned to the venerable Kassapa and said, “What knowledge have you

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