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Budha thought within himself, there are many among my disciples, who can make a display of great wonders: it is meet that the crowds should be aware of it, and see how with hearts stout like that of the lion, they are ready to perform the most wonderful feats. He said aloud: "Who are they, those who can work wonders?—let them come forward. Many came in his presence with a lion like boldness and a thundering voice, craving for the honor of displaying supernatural powers. Among them was a rich man named Anathapeing, a female child called Hera, a grown up woman, and Mankalan. They volunteered their services to perform the most extraordinary wonders in order to frighten at once the heretics, and make them to understand that if such a power belonged to the disciples, what must be that of Budha himself. But Budha would not accept their proffered services, and said to them, that the people had not been assembled there for their sake, but for his, and that to him alone was reserved the task of enrapturing the crowd, by the great wonders he was preparing to show. Addressing Mankalan, he said to him that being a Budha he could not leave to others the trouble of performing his own duty. In former existences, when he was a bullock, he drew from a muddy place a heavily laden cart, to save a Brahmin's property, and rejoice his heart.
Budha ascended into the immense road he had created in the air, in the presence of the crowd that filled a place of eighteen youdzanas in breadth and twenty-four youdzanas in length. These wonders which he was about to display, were the result of his own wisdom, and could not be imitated by any one. He caused a stream of water to issue from the upper part of his body and ffames of fire from the lower part and on a sudden the contrary took place again, fire issued from his right eye and streams of water from his left eye, and so on from his nostrils, ears, right and left, in front and behind, the same wonder happened in such a way, as the streams of fire succeeded the streams of water, but without mingling with each other. Each stream in an upward direction reached the seats of Bramahs, each stream in a downward direction penetrated as far as hell. In an horizontal direction, they rear heel the extremities of the world. From each of his hairs, the same wonderful display feasted the astonished eyes of the assembled people. The six glories gushed as it was from every part of his body, and made it appear resplendent beyond description. Having no one to converse with, he created a personage, who appeared to walk with him. Sometimes he sat down whilst his companion was pacing along and at other times he himself walked, whilst his interlocutor was either standing or sitting. During all the while Budha put to him questions which he readily answered, and in his turn replied to the interrogations he made to him. At intervals, Phra preached to the crowd who were exceedingly rejoiced and sung praises to him. According to their good dispositions, he expounded the various points of the law. The people who heard him, and saw the wonderful works he performed, obtained the understanding of the four great principles.
74. In glancing over the episode of Thoodandana's deputation to his son to invite him to come and visit his native country, the reader is almost compelled to confess that the motive that influenced the King was but inspired by the natural feeling of beholding once more before he died, him whose fame, spread far and wide, rendered him an object of universal admiration. Was the monarch ever induced by crnsiderations of a higher order, to send for Budha? There is no distinct proot in support of this supposition. He was a father, and he but obeyed and followed the impulse of his paternal heart. He entertained a high sense of his son's distinguished qualifications, he had faith in the wonderful signs foretelling his future matchless greatness. He desired, therefore, to honor him in an extraordinary way, on the very spot where he had been born. But he appeared to concern himself very little about the doctrines he was preaching with a never equalled success. The King exhibited a great amount of worldly mindedness, until his mind had been enlightened by the oral instructions of the great reformer.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to form an accurate idea of the effect caused on the mass of the people by Budha's preachings. We see that eminent and zealous reformer surrounded with thousands of distinguished disciples, in the country of Balzagnio. These converts belonged chiefly to the class of anchorites and philosophers already alluded to in some foregoing notes, as existing at the time Budha began to enter the career of preaching. But the great bulk of the populations of the various places he visited, seemed to have received for a long time, little or no impressions from his discourses. The opponents of Budha, the Brahmins in particular, exercised a powerful influence over the public mind. They used itmostefFectually for retaining the ancient hold over the masses. It required the extraordinary display of the greatest wonders to break through the almost insuperable barriers raised by his enemies. From tbat period we see the people following Budha, crowding round him, and showing unmistakeable signs of belief in him.
The only ground to account for this undeniable result, is the philosophical method adopted by Budha in expounding the irinciplcs of his system. His mode of proceeding in the gradual development of his ideas, retained the alistruseness peculiar to subjects discussed in schools of Philosophy. The technical terms so familiar to scholars, prove enigmatical to the uninitiated vulgar. It takes a long time before maxims elaborated by scholars be so far popularized, as to be understood by the unlearned, which in every age and country have always constituted the great mass of the people. If the mind of the generality of men is unable to comprehend at first a system of doctrine, we cannot wonder at the slow progress made by the preachings of the great reformer: but the working of wonders is a are required many qualifications which are not to be easily met with, particularly in a Burmese to whom we may give credit for knowing well his own tongue, but who without taking away from his literary attainments, is certainly an indifferent Pali scholar. These translations may convey perhaps the general meaning of the original, but as regards the correct meaning of each term, it is a luxury tier denied to the reader of such rude and imperfect compositions.
76. The attentive reader of this work cannot fail to remark the general tendencies of Budhism to isolation, retirement, and solitudes. In a retired position, man's mind Is less distracted or dissipated by exterior objects, it possesses a greater share of self control, and is more fit for the arduous work of attentive reflexion and deep meditation. Whenever Budha attended by his followers reaches a place, where he Is to stay for a while, a grove without the city, is invariably selected. Thither the great preacher retires as in a beloved tolitude. He enfoys it beyond all that can be said, alone with his spiritual family, unconcerned about the affairs of this world, he breathes at ease the pure atmosphere of a complete calm, his undisturbed soul soars freely in the boundless regions of spiritualism. What he has seen and discovered in his contemplative errands, with a placid countenance and • mild voice, he imparts it to his disciples, endeavouring thereby to make them progress in the way of perfection.
In those solitary abodes of peace. Budha was willing to receive all those who wished for Instruction. They were all without distinction of rank or caste admitted in the presence of him who came professedly to point to men the way to happiness by helping them to disentangle themselves from the trammels of passions. He preached to all, the most excellent law. The tendency to retreat and withdrawal from worldly tumult ia in our own days conspicuous in the care taken by Budhistic monks to have their houses built in some lonely quarters of a town, assigned exclusively for that special purpose, or as is oftener the case, in fine places at a small distance from toe walls. Some of these groves, in the centre whereof rose the peaceful abode of Rahans, the writer has often seen and much admired. In towns or large villages, where the ground is uneven, the small heights are generally crowned with the dwellings of Rahans.
77. The narrative of Budha's reception in his father's royal city suggests reflexions. The first is that the saving: nemo Propeta in nun putrid, was as true in the days of Gaudama as in subsequent ages. The mountains of Kapilawot had often re-echoed the praises of Budha and the recital of his wonderful doings. The splendid retinue of twenty thousand distinguished converts that attended his person—the hitherto unwitnessed display of miraculous powers &c., all these high qualifications seemed more than sufficient to secure for him a distinguished reception among his kinsmen, who ought to have been proud of being connected with him by the ties of relationship. Such, however, Whs not the case. Actuated by the lowest feelings of basejealousy, the relatives refused to pay him the respect he was so well entitled to. Their wretched obduracy was to be conquered by the awe and fear his miraculous power inspired.
The second reflextion suggested by the recital of the ceremonies observed on the occasion of Budha's reception in his native country, is the truly pleasing fact of seeing the weaker sex appearing in public, divested of the shackles put upon it by oriental Jealousy. In Burmah and Slam, the doctrines of Budhism have produced a striking and to the lover of true civilisation a most interesting result, vis, the almost complete equality of the condition of women with that ot men. In those countries women are not miserably confined in the interior of their houses, without the remotest chance of ever appearing in public. They are seen circulating freely In the streets, they preside at the eomptoir, and hold an almost exclusive possession of the bazars. Their social position is more elevated in every respect than that of the persons of their sex In the regions where Budhism is not the predominating creed. They may be said to be men's com) anions and not their slaves. They are active, industrious and by their labors and exertions contribute their full share towards the maintenance of the family. The marital rights are fully acknowledged by a respectful behaviour towards their lords, in spite of all that has been said by superficial observers, I feel convinced that manners are less corrupted in those countries where women enjoy liberty than in those where they are burled alive, by a despotic custom, in the giave of an opprobrious slavery. Budhism disapproves or polygamy; bat it tolerates divorce. In this respect, the habits of the people are of a damnable laxity.