The Perfection of Patience - Analysis of the Elements V

We read further on in the Commentary:

“As regards King Pukkusati,

he arranged for decorations beginning with the border area.

He arranged that the city would be decorated

so that the royal present from King Bimbisara could be received.

When the royal present arrived in Takkasila it was a day of vigil (uposatha).

The courtiers who received the royal present

announced the contents of the royal official letter to the King.

After the King had listened to this

he considered the duties he had to fulfill towards the courtiers

who had come to offer the royal present.

He let the royal present be carried to the palace and he said,

‘Let nobody enter here’.

He asked people to guard the gate,

he opened the window (used for receiving at official occasions),

he had the royal present placed on a high bed,

and he himself sat down on a low seat.

He broke the royal seal,

and he took off the coverings.

When he opened the boxes subsequently

and saw the box made of bamboomatting,

he considered, ‘I believe that other Gems do not have such accompaniments,

and thus we should listen to this Jewel.

This Jewel was certainly born in the Middle Country.’

When he had opened those boxes and broken the royal seal,

he took away from both sides the delicate blanket made of animal hair,

he saw the golden sheet and unrolled this.

He considered:


‘These letters are really beautifully carved out in all details:

they are of equal size, neat and quadrangle.

I will start to read them from the beginning.’

An intense feeling of joy arose in the King

when he read and reread about the excellent qualities of the Buddha

who appeared in this world.

The tips of the ninetynine thousand bodyhairs stood on end.

Because of his extreme delight and rapture

the King did not know whether he should stand or sit down.


When intense rapture arose within the King he said:

‘We heard the teachings which are difficult to come across,

even in a hundred thousand aeons,

and this could happen because of a friend.’

When the King was unable to read on,

he sat down until his rapture quieted down.

Then he started to read on about the excellent qualities of the Dhamma:

‘The Dhamma that was wellspoken by the Buddha...’

The King experienced intense rapture and he sat down again

until the strength of his rapture quieted down.

After that he read about the excellent qualities of the Sangha,

‘The ariyan disciples practise in the right way...’

and he experienced intense rapture in the same way.


Then he read about the meditation subject of Mindfulness of Breathing,

and finally he attained the fourth and the fifth stage of jhana.

The King spent his time with the happiness of jhana.

Other people could not see him, except for the royal page.

About one month passed in this way.

The citizens assembled at the royal courtyard and announced with acclamations:

‘Since the day the King has received the royal present

he has not looked anymore at the city 

nor at the shows of the dancing girls

nor has he given judgement.

May the King return the royal present to his friend.’


The citizens said further: ‘Usually Kings try to deceive even with presents.

They try to get hold of the kingdom of other Kings.

What should our King do?’


The King heard the sound of these acclamations and he considered:

‘Shall we maintain the Kingdom or shall we maintain the teachings?’

After that he thought, ‘We shall maintain the teachings of this Teacher.’


He took his sword which he kept on a bed and cut off his hair.

He requested his royal page to buy two yellow robes

and an earthenware alms bowl at the market.

He dedicated himself to the Teacher with the words,

‘Arahats in the world, we dedicate ourselves in going forth.’

He put on one yellow robe and then donned another one.

He carried his bowl on his shoulder and left his palace.


The citizens saw three dance girls standing at the three doors,

but they could not recognize the King who came out of the palace.

They thought that he was a Silent Buddha

who had come to preach Dhamma to the King.”
King Pukkusati left his royal palace and all his possessions in order to go forth. He must have had the utmost patience to change his usual way of life and status, in order to be able to realize the four noble Truths. If one has not accumulated such patience one is not able to act like King Pukkusati.

Topic 282