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Sutta Nipata

Sutta Nipāta
3.1 Pabbajjā Sutta
The Going Forth

The Bodhisatta has an encounter with King Bimbisara before his enlightenment.

“I will tell of the going forth,
how the sage with fivefold vision1 went forth,
how, investigating with wisdom,
he desired the going forth.

‘This home life is confinement,
a basis for dust;
the going forth is like an open space’
Having seen in this way with wisdom, he went forth.

Having gone forth,
he avoided evil deeds by body.
Having given up verbal misconduct,
he purified his livelihood.

The Buddha first went to Rājagaha,
the city Giribbaja2 of the Magadhans.
Adorned with the excellent marks of a great man,
he walked for alms food in the city.

While standing in his palace,
King Bimbisāra saw him.
Having seen him having the marks of a great man,
he spoke this statement:

‘Sirs, look at him,
handsome, stately, pure;
posessing good conduct,
he looks just a plough-yoke’s length ahead.

‘With downcast eyes, ever mindful,
it seems he is not from a low family.
Let the king’s messengers run out.
Find out where the monk will go.’

The messengers sent by the king
followed closely behind him,
thinking: ‘Where will the monk go?
Where is his dwelling place?’

Walking on alms without skipping houses,
his sense doors guarded, well restrained,
clearly comprehending, ever mindful,
his bowl was soon filled.

Having walked on alms round,
the sage departed from the city.
He climbed Mount Paṇḍava:
‘His dwelling place must be here!’

Having seen that he had entered his dwelling,
the messengers then approached;
but one messenger returned
and informed the king:

‘Great king, this monk
lives on the eastern side of Paṇḍava.
He sits in a mountain cave,
like a tiger, a huge bull, or a lion.’

Having heard the messenger’s report,
King Bimbisāra set out in a fine chariot.
Hurriedly, he departed
in the direction of Mount Paṇḍava.

Having gone along as far as possible by chariot,
the king got down from his chariot;
having approached on foot,
he arrived and approached the great sage.

Having sat down, the king greeted him
and then made polite conversation.
When their polite conversation was finished,
he then spoke this statement:

‘You are young, a lad,
a youth in the prime of life,
posessing beauty and stature,
you seem to have the looks of a well-born khattiya king.

I will give you wealth—enjoy royal splendor
while shining at the head of an army,
accompanied by a troop of bull elephants.
Being asked, tell me of your birth.’

‘There is, great king, a country straight ahead,
on the slope of the Himalayas,
abounding in wealth and energy,
long ruled by the Kingdom of Kosala.

I am by clan an Ādicca,
by birth I am a Sakyan.
I have gone forth from that family, O king,
not longing for sensual pleasures.

Having seen the suffering of those desiring sensual pleasures,
and having seen the monk life as without fear and suffering,
I will go to strive for enlightenment:
it is here that my mind delights.”

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Sutta Nipāta 3.1 Pabbajjā Sutta: The Going Forth

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