The Perfection of Patience - Analysis of the Elements VI



We read further on:

“The son of a prominent family (the King who had gone forth as a monk)
thought,

‘Our teacher left the homelife and went forth alone,

he went on his way alone.

I feel shame and awe with regard to the Teacher.

I heard that after our Teacher had gone forth he did not go on a vehicle

and he did not use any footwear, not even one layer,

nor did he use a paper sunshade.’

 

That son of a prominent family thought,

‘I am travelling far and therefore I should not go alone.

I shall follow a group of merchants.’

When the son of a prominent family who was delicate by nature

walked on very hot ground,

the soles of both of his feet were with pus and wounds,

and therefore, he experienced painful feeling.

 

When the merchants had set up a camp, and sat down to rest,

the son of a prominent family went away to sit at the root of a tree.

There was nobody there to take care of his legs or massage his back.

That son of a prominent family attained the fourth jhana with Mindfulness of Breathing

and he could thus suppress the hardship of his journey, his tiredness and agitation.

He spent his time with the joy of jhana.

 

The next day at dawn he took care of his bodily needs

and followed again the group of merchants.

When it was time for breakfast,

the merchants took the bowl of the son of a prominent family

and placed in it hard food and soft food as an offering.

This food consisted of raw husked rice that was not delicious,

curry that was like a heap of gravel,

soup with very salty ingredients.

The son of a prominent family reflected on his resting place,

and the hard and soft food were like divine nectar to him

while he swallowed everything with a great deal of water.

 

He travelled one-hundred and ninetytwo leagues in all,

and although he passed close to the gates of the Jeta Grove,

he did not enquire where the Teacher was staying.

 

Why did he not enquire?

 

The answer is that he revered the Teacher,

and also because of the royal official letter sent by the King

which seemed to convey that the Teacher had appeared in Rajagaha,

since it stated, ‘The Tathagata has appeared in this world.’

Therefore he understood that the Buddha was dwelling in the city of Rajagaha.

Although he went near the gate of the Jeta Grove,

he travelled on fortyfive leagues more.

At sundown the son of a prominent family reached Rajagaha

and there he asked where the Teacher was staying.

 

When a villager learnt that he came from the northern country (Uttara
Pradesh)

he informed him as follows, ‘You have passed the city of Savatthí

and travelled on fortyfive leagues to Rajagaha,

but the Teacher is dwelling in Savatthí.’

 

The son of a prominent family, Pukkusati, thought,

‘Now it is not the right time to return to the city of Savatthí,

and today I shall first take lodging here.

Tomorrow I shall go to the Teacher’s dwelling place.’

He asked the villager 

where recluses who arrived at an inappropriate time could find a lodging.

 

The villager answered that he could dwell in this potter’s workshop.

 

Then the son of a prominent family asked the potter whether he could dwell there.

He entered and sat down,

in order to make use of the lodging in the workshop of that potter

 

Topic 282