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“ In due time the Buddha was conceived. Of this event Maia was warned in a vision. She was borne away on her couch, and placed on an immense rock in the Himalayan forest. From thence she was led to a golden palace standing on a silver mountain. From thence she saw a golden mountain, whereon the Royal Being, that should be a Buddha, marched in the form of a white elephant. He came to the foot of the mountain of silver, and passed round to its northern side.
In his trunk he held a lotus flower. Having ascended the mountain he trumpeted loudly, and entered the golden palace. Thrice he marched around the couch, and at
, the end of the third circuit, he appeared to enter 'her right side and pass into her womb. Then the earth trembled. The universe trembled and quaked. The blind saw. The deaf heard. The horses neighed with delight. All pain ceased. The air was filled with flowers. The elepliants trumpeted their joy. The rivers stayed their current. The whole sky was dotted with fire kinds of lotuses. And there was a mighty sound of music, spontaneously rising from the instruments of the angels:
“ The Buddha dwelt in his mother's womb without pain or discomfort. He sat in the womb enjoying the full use of reason, fully aware of his existence. The body of his mother became so clear that mother and child could see cach other, and converse together. Such were the effects of the infinite merits of the Grand Being; and thus was Buddha conceived in the world of men."1
THE ANNUNCIATION AND CONCEPTION OF JESUS.
“ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man named Joseph, of the house of David ; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said : Hail, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him she was troubled. The angel said unto her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And behold thou shalt conceive and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing that I know not a man! And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon
1 Wheel of the Law. pp. 79-100. Legend of Gautama by Bigandet. Chapter I,
thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore, also, that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And Mary said, Be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judea."
• When Maia had completed a period of ten months, the time of her confinement was close at hand. She obtained the king's permission to visit her parents. Between the cities of Kapila and Dewadaha was a forest of splendid trees. As soon as the cortège had reached it five water-lilies shot forth spontaneously from the stem and main branches of each tree. Standing under an engyin tree, she desired to pluck a sprig from the branches, and the branches bent themselves down that she might reach the sprig that she desired. Standing there, holding the branch, with her face turned to the east, she brought forth her son, without pain or any of the circumstances which attend that event with women in general. Then there came down from the skies, upon mother and son, gentle showers of cold and warm water, succeeding each other alternately, in regular order.
“ Immediately that he left his mother's womb he raised his eyes upwards, and then lowering them, he saw there was no being equal to him. Conscious of bis superiority, he jumped over a distance of seven lengths of a foot, in a northern direction, exclaiming, — . This is my last birth. There shall be to me no other state of existence ; I am the greatest of all beings.'
“ Then ten thousand worlds quaked. The universe was illumined with an exceeding bright light. A refreshing shower fell upon each of the four continents, and all musical instruments gave out harmonious sounds of themselves. In all places there appeared the thirty-two miraculous signs that had attended his conception in the womb. At the same moment that Gautama was born into the world, seven other things were born also; namely, the Princess Phimpha, Ananda, Kaludari, Channa, the horse Kantika, the great Bodhi or sacred Po tree, and the four great golden vases suddenly reappeared.”
2 Legend of Gautama. Chapter II.
BIRTH OF JESUS.
“ And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And Joseph went unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with his espoused wife. And so it was that while they were there the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not ; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will towards
And when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go now even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”
“ In those days lived a holy man named Kaladewila. He had the power of flying through the air. This day he had transported himself to the Davadungsa heavens ; and, sitting there, he heard the rejoicings of the angels, and was told by them of the birth of King Suddhodana's son. Immediately he returned to the earth, and entering the palace, seated bimself before the king. The king ordered the ladies in attendance to bring the child to do reverence to the holy man ; but instead of doing reverence, he rose into the air and placed his two feet on the curled hair of the venerable personage. The persons present thought that the head of the imprudent child would be split in seven parts as a punislıment; but Kaladewila, learing the seat of honour, bowed down and did homage to him who would be the Buddha. Kaladewila, who by his great spiritual attainments, could tell all that had taken place during forty preceding worlds, and foresee all that would happen for forty generations to come, perceived that the body of the Grand Being was marked by all the signs of eminence, and that he would certainly become Buddha, and his countenance beamed with joy. He predicted the future destiny ol the child, and in confirmation pointed out eighty remarkable features of beauty, and especially a complete network of delicate tracery on the child's skin, where he observed a series of thirty-two ornamental symbolic designs, most conspicuous on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet."4
8 In the Lalita Vistara be is called Asita, a Rathee, or hermit
RECOGNITION OF JESUS.
“ And behold there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, a just and devout man; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed to him that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ, and he came into the temple when the parents brought in the child Jesus. And he took him up in his arms, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the faco of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. This child is set for the fall and rising again of many, and for a sign that shall be spoken against.”
IV. WISDOM OF GAUTAMA.
“ When he had reached his sixteenth year, his father had built for him three palaces, one for each season of the year, and each nine stories high, and forty thousand maidens were in constant attendance upon him. He passed from one palace to another in a circle of ever-renewed pleasures and amusements. It was then that he was married to the beautiful Yathaudara, his first cousin.
“ While he was spending his time in the midst of pleasures, his relatives complained to the king of the conduct of his son. They remonstrated against his mode of living. They said, .so far as we know, he has never learned anything.' Then the king told his son what the princes had said ; and he answered,
4 Bigandet's Legend, etc.
• My father, I have all these accomplishments without having studied them. I will show my relatives in the presence of the best masters that I am fully conrersant with the eighteen sorts of arts and sciences.' On a day appointed, in the midst of the princes and the people, he showed his skill by string. ing a bow which required a thousand ordinary men to string, and firing an arrow from it, pierced a hair that hung so far froin him that no other man could see it at that distance. Then the princes presented their daughters to be his wives; and he passed his days in luxury and comfort.”5
WISDOM OF JESUS.
“ And when he was twelve years old, his parents went up to Jerusalem to the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem, and his parents knew it not. After three days seeking him, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And he returned with his parents to Nazareth, and was subject to them.”
V. TEMPTATION OF GAUTAMA.
“ When twenty-nine years of age his queen bore him a son. When the event was made known to him, he remarked with great coolness, . That child is a new and strong tie I will have to break. His son was named Rahula. The night he abandoned his princely life he sat down upon a royal couch surrounded by a crowd of the most fascinating young damsels, who executed all sorts of dances to the sound of ravishing music, and displayed in all their movements the graceful forms of their well-shaped persons, in order to woo him to pleasure, and make an impression upon his heart. But it was in vain. He soon fell into a deep sleep. Disappointed in their purpose, the damsels soon followed his example. Gautama awoke a little before midnight, and looking around him saw the various attitudes of the sleeping damsels. Some were snoring; others lay with their moạths wide open ; others rolled about in ungraceful attitudes, and let their clothes fall off their bodies ; and all were sleeping in a most unseemly 6 Bigandet's Legend; also Wheel of the Law. 6 " The demon that causes eclipses,” Burnouf. “ The abandoned,” Benfey