The Buddha, His Life and Teachings


1. Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India (Calcutta: Signet Press, 1946) p.143.
2. Ibid.
3. In Sanskrit, Siddhârtha Gautama.
4. The warrior class.
5. Sir Edwin Arnold, The Light of Asia.
6. Ibid.
7. A.I,146.
8. For a detailed account see M. No. 36, trans. by I.B. Horner in Middle Length Sayings, Vol. I (PTS.). See also R. Abeysekara, “The Master’s Quest for Light” (Kandy, BPS) BL Ó.
9. Mahâ Saccaka Sutta, M. No. 36.
10. Elsewhere we see the defilement of false view (ditthâsava) added to these as the fourth taint.
11. M. No. 36; I,249.
12. Dhp.153 – 154. Trans. by Ñanamoli Thera.
13. A bodhisatta (Skt. bodhisattva) is one who adheres to or is bent on (satta) the ideal of enlightenment, or knowledge of the Four Noble Truths (bodhi). In this sense, the term may be applied to anyone who is bent on supreme enlightenment (sammâ-sambodhi). A Bodhisatta fully cultivates ten perfections or pârami, which are essential qualities of an extremely high standard initiated by compassion, and ever tinged with understanding, free from craving, pride, and false views (tanhâ ,ditthi , and mâna) that qualify an aspirant for Buddhahood. They are: dâna, sila, nekkhamma, pañña, viriya, khanti, sacca, adhitthâna, mettâ, and upekkhâ,generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, effort, forbearance, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness, and equanimity.
14. 2500 Years of Buddhism, Foreword, p.ix, Government of India, 1971.
15. Vin.I,10; V,420.
16. S.III,66.
17. Ud.1. See too the author’s Dependent Origination (Wheel No.15).
18. At this time there was as yet no Order (sangha).
19. Vin.I,4.
20. M. No. 26; I,167- 68.
21. For a comprehensive explanation of these truths, see the author’s The Buddha’s Ancient Path; Bhikkhu Ñanamoli, Three Cardinal Discourses of the Buddha (Wheel No. 17); Francis Story, The Four Noble Truths (Wheel No. 34/35); Nyanatiloka Thera, The Word of the Buddha. All published by BPS.
22. Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, S.V,420.
23. The Bosat (Vol. 5, No.I, 1942), Vajirarama, Colombo, p.8.
24. S.V,437.
25. M. No. 22; I,140.
26. S.V,588; M. No. 92; Vin.I,45; Thag. 828.
27. In 273 B.C. Emperor Asoka came on pilgrimage to this holy spot and caused a series of monuments and a commemorative pillar with the lion capital to be erected. This capital with its four magnificent lions upholding the dharmacakra, “the Wheel of Dharma,” now stands in the museum of Sarnath, Benares, and is today the official crest of India. The dharmacakra festival is still held in Sri Lanka.

Jawaharlal Nehru writes: “At Sarnath near Benares, I would almost see the Buddha preaching his first sermon, and some of his recorded words would come like a distant echo to me through two thousand five hundred years. Asoka’s pillars of stone with their inscriptions would speak to me in their magnificent language and tell me of a man who, though an emperor, was greater than any king or emperor.” (The Discovery of India, p.44.)

28. The “rains” is the three months of seclusion during the rainy season, i.e. from July to October in India.
29. Vin.I,21.
30. It is interesting to note that this greatest of Indian rishis (seers) was born under a tree in a park, attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, set in motion the Wheel of Dhamma at the Deer Park under trees, and finally passed away under the twin sâla trees. He spent most of his time in the open in forests and in the villages of India. The south branch of the Bodhi Tree was brought to Sri Lanka by the arhat nun Sanghamittâ, daughter of Asoka the Great of India, in the third century B.C. The oldest recorded tree in the world, it still flourishes at Anuradhapura.
31. The whole of this discourse is at A.IV,354, Ud.34 – 37, and in brief at Dhammapada Commentary, I,287. In the elder’s verse (66) in Theragâthâ, it is said that Venerable Meghiya was of a Sâkyan râjâ’s family. The Dhammapada verses (33, 34) are as follows:

The unsteady fickle mind
Hard to guard and hard to control,
The wise man straightens
Even as a fletcher an arrow.

Like a fish jerked out of its watery abode
And cast on land, this mind quakes;
(Therefore) the realm of Mâra
Should be abandoned.

32. Ariya-pariyesana Sutta, M.No. 26; I,264.
33. The word is applied only to those who have fully destroyed the taints. In this sense the Buddha was the first arahat in the world, as he himself revealed to Upaka.
34. S.III,66.
35. Mahâ Parinibbâa Sutta, D. No. 16; II,100.
36. M. No. 38; I,264.
37. Dhp. 276.
38. S.I,156.
39. Vatthûpama Sutta, M. No. 7. See Nyanaponika Thera, The Simile of the Cloth (Wheel No. 61/62).
40. P.D. Premasiri, “The Buddhist Concept of A Just Social and Political Order,” Young Buddhist, Singapore.
41. Sn. 455, 456; Chalmer’s translation (Harvard Oriental Series).
42. See G.P. Malalasekera and K.N. Jayatilleke, Buddhism and the Race Question (Wheel 200/201).
43. Psalms of the Early Buddhists – The Sisters, trans. by C.A.F. Rhys Davids (PTS Translation Series).
44. Jâtaka No. 485.
45. Vin.I,82+83. See Piyadassi Thera and J.F. Dickson, Ordination in Theravâda Buddhism Wheel No.56.
46. M. No. 62. For a full translation see Advice to Râhula (Wheel No. 33).
47. C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Psalms of the Early Buddhists – The Sisters, p.120.
48. Vin.I,302.
49. “To the north-east of the monastery of Jetavana,” wrote General Alexander Cunningham in his Archaeological Report, 1862+3, “there was a stûpa built on the spot where the Buddha had washed the hands and feet of a sick monk. The remains of the stûpa still exist in a mass of solid brick work at a distance of 550 feet from the Jetavana Monastery.” In General Cunningham’s map of Sâvatthi (modern Sahet-Mahet), the site of this stûpa is marked H. in the plan. Archaeological Survey of India (Simla 1871), p.341.
50. Metta Sutta, Sutta Nipâta, 149, 149; Chalmer’s trans.
51. Edwin Arnold, The Light of Asia.
52. These are the attha loka-dhamma, the eight vicissitudes of life.
53. S.II,138.
54. D.I,3.
55. Dhammapada, 310.
56. Comy. on the Dhammapada, Vol. I, p.147.
57. D. No. 16, translated as Last Days of the Buddha (BPS).
58. These four stages are: sotâpatti (stream-entry); sakadâgâmi, (once-return); anâgâmi (non-return); and arahatta (the final stage of sainthood). Arahatship is the stage at which fetters are severed and taints rooted out.
59. The MahâParinibbâna Sutta (D. No. 16) records in moving detail all the events that occurred during the last months and days of the Master’s life.
60. The passages in quotations are taken with slight alterations from the “Book of the Great Decease” in Dialogues of the Buddha, Digha Nikâya, Part II.