The Debate Of King Milinda

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yawares
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The Debate Of King Milinda

Post by yawares » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:25 am

Dear Members

Tep gave me this book to read. Just 1 page and I'm hooked! Please let me share with you all.

The Milinda Panha is, with good reason, a famous work of
Buddhist literature, probably compiled in the first century
B.C. It presents Buddhist doctrine in a very attractive and
memorable form as a dialogue between a Bactrian Greek
king, Milinda, who plays the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and a
Buddhist sage, Nàgasena. The topics covered include most
of those questions commonly asked by Westerners such as
“If there is no soul, what is it that is reborn?” and “If there
is no soul, who is talking to you now?”

*************************
The Debate Of King Milinda
[Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala]

King Milinda went up to Nàgasena, exchanged
polite and friendly greetings, and
took his seat respectfully to one side. Then
Milinda began by asking:

1. “How is your reverence known, and what sir, is your
name?”

“O king, I am known as Nàgasena but that is only a
designation in common use, for no permanent individual
can be found.”

Then Milinda called upon the Bactrian Greeks and the
monks to bear witness: “This Nàgasena says that no
permanent individual is implied in his name. Is it possible
to approve of that?” Then he turned to Nàgasena and said,
“If, most venerable Nàgasena, that is true, who is it who
gives you robes, food and shelter? Who lives the righteous
life? Or again, who kills living beings, steals, commits
adultery, tells lies or takes strong drink? If what you say is
true then there is neither merit nor demerit, nor is there any
doer of good or evil deeds and no result of kamma. If,
venerable sir, a man were to kill you there would be no
murder, and it follows that there are no masters or teachers
in your Order. You say that you are called Nàgasena; now
what is that Nàgasena? Is it the hair?”

“I don’t say that, great king.”

“Is it then the nails, teeth, skin or other parts of the
body?”

“Certainly not.”

“Or is it the body, or feelings, or perceptions, or
formations, or consciousness? Is it all of these combined?
Or is it something outside of them that is Nàgasena?”

Still Nàgasena answered: “It is none of these.”

“Then, ask as I may, I can discover no Nàgasena.
Nàgasena is an empty sound. Who is it we see before us? It
is a falsehood that your reverence has spoken.”

“You, sir, have been reared in great luxury as becomes
your noble birth. How did you come here, by foot or
in a chariot?”

“In a chariot, venerable sir.”

“Then, explain sir, what that is. Is it the axle? Or the
wheels, or the chassis, or reins, or yoke that is the chariot?
Is it all of these combined, or is it something apart from
them?”

“It is none of these things, venerable sir.”

“Then, sir, this chariot is an empty sound. You spoke
falsely when you said that you came here in a chariot. You
are a great king of India. Who are you afraid of that you
don’t speak the truth?” Then he called upon the Bactrian
Greeks and the monks to bear witness: “This King Milinda
has said that he came here in a chariot but when asked what
it is, he is unable to show it. Is it possible to approve of that?”
Then the five hundred Bactrian Greeks shouted their
approval and said to the king, “Get out of that if you can!”

“Venerable sir, I have spoken the truth. It is because it
has all these parts that it comes under the term chariot.”

“Very good, sir, your majesty has rightly grasped the
meaning. Even so it is because of the thirty-two kinds of
organic matter in a human body and the five aggregates of
being that I come under the term ‘Nàgasena’. As it was said
by Sister Vajãra in the presence of the Blessed One, ‘Just as
it is by the existence of the various parts that the word
“Chariot” is used, just so is it that when the aggregates of
being are there we talk of a being’.”

“Most wonderful, Nàgasena, most extraordinary that
you have solved this puzzle, difficult though it was. If the
Buddha himself were here he would approve of your
reply.”

******************
yawares :anjali:

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GraemeR
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The Debate Of King Milinda

Post by GraemeR » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:41 pm

It's interesting that this is set not long after Alexander the Great and there were Greek kings in Afghanistan in those days!

Graham

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yawares
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Re: The Debate Of King Milinda

Post by yawares » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:55 pm

GraemeR wrote:It's interesting that this is set not long after Alexander the Great and there were Greek kings in Afghanistan in those days!

Graham
Dear Graham,
I so love this book by Bhikkhu Pesala :heart: Tep just gave me yesterday. :thumbsup:

Are you sure you teach MATH not HISTORY?? :tongue: ....Well just like a song " Don't know much about history, don't know much biology, don't know much about science book , don't know much about french I took :jumping: ......WELL, THAT'S ME....yawares :tongue:

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Re: The Debate Of King Milinda

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:29 pm

I hope you have the latest edition — The Debate of King Milinda

Image
AIM ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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yawares
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Re: The Debate Of King Milinda

Post by yawares » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:11 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I hope you have the latest edition — The Debate of King Milinda

Image
Dear Bhikkhu Pesala,

I have the one with the hand...but I'll download the new one right now..Thank you so very much :thanks: ..I'll post the debates every other day :heart: Tep/I love your book. :heart:

With respect,
yawares :anjali:

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The Debate: 7 Rains/Discuss As A Scholar

Post by yawares » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:06 pm

Dear Members,

I think I will post the debate daily @ DW/DSG/Triplegem....(and SD/JTN in colors) ...all the debates are so wonderful :heart:

***************
:candle: The Debate Of King Milinda :candle:
[Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala]


#2. King Milinda went up to Nàgasena, exchanged polite
and friendly greetings, and took his seat respectfully to one
side. Then Milinda began by asking:

“How many ‘rains’ do you have Nàgasena?”

“Seven, your majesty.”

“How can you say it is your seven; is it you who are
seven or the number that is seven?”

Then Nàgasena said, “Your shadow is now on the
ground. Are you the king, or is the shadow the king?”

“I am the king, Nàgasena, but the shadow comes into
being because of me.”

“Just so, O king, the number of the years is seven, I am
not seven, but it is because of me that the number seven
comes into being and it is mine in the same sense as the
shadow is yours.”

Note:(A bhikkhu’s seniority is reckoned by the number of rainy seasons that have passed since
his ordination)

“Most wonderful, Nàgasena, and extraordinary. Well
has this puzzle been solved by you, difficult as it was.”

---------
#3. Then the king said, “Venerable sir, will you discuss
with me again?”

“If your majesty will discuss as a scholar, yes; but if
you will discuss as a king, no.”

“How is it then that scholars discuss?”

“When scholars discuss there is a summing up and an
unravelling; one or other is shown to be in error. He admits
his mistake, yet he does not become angry.”

“Then how is it that kings discuss?”

“When a king discusses a matter and advances a
point of view, if anyone differs from him on that point he is
apt to punish him.”

“Very well then, it is as a scholar that I will discuss.
Let your reverence talk without fear.”

“It is well your majesty.”

“Nàgasena, I will ask a question”, said the king.

“Ask it sir.”

“I have asked it, your reverence.”

“Then I have answered.”

“What have you answered?”

“What have you asked?”

Thinking, “This monk is a great scholar, he is quite
able to discuss things with me”, the king instructed his
minister, Devamantiya, to invite him to the palace with a
large company of monks and went away muttering,
“Nàgasena, Nàgasena.”

***********
yawares :anjali:

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The Debate: Soul In The Breath?/Going Forth

Post by yawares » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:57 pm

Dear Members,

I truly love/admire Bhikkhu Nagasena :heart: :anjali:

**************
The Debate Of King Milinda
[Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala]


#4. So, Devamantiya, Anantakàya and Mankura went to
Nàgasena’s hermitage to accompany the monks to the
palace. As they were walking along together Anantakàya
said to Nàgasena, “When, your reverence, I say, ‘Nàgasena’
what is that Nàgasena?”

“What do you think that Nàgasena is?”

“The soul, the inner breath, which comes and goes.”

“But if that breath, having gone out, should not return
would that man still be alive?”

“Certainly not.”

“And when those trumpeters and the like have blown
their trumpets does their breath return to them?”

“No venerable sir, it doesn’t.”

“Then why don’t they die?”

“I am not capable of arguing with you sir, pray tell me
how it is.”

“There is no soul in the breath. These inhalations and
exhalations are merely constituent powers of the bodily
frame.” Then the elder talked to him on the Abhidhamma
and Anantakàya was satisfied with his explanation.

Note: Thera (elder) is nowadays normally used only for bhikkhus of ten or more years standing
but Nàgasena was only seven rains.

---------------

#5. Then, after the monks had arrived at the palace and
finished their meal, the king sat down on a low seat and
asked, “What shall we discuss?”

“Let our discussion be about the Dhamma.”

Then the king said, “What is the purpose, your
reverence, of your going forth and what is the final goal at
which you aim?”

“Our going forth is for the purpose that this suffering
may be extinguished and that no further suffering may
arise; the complete extinction of grasping without
remainder is our final goal.”

“Is it, venerable sir, for such noble reasons that
everyone joins the Order?”

“No. Some enter to escape the tyranny of kings,
some to be safe from robbers, some to escape from debt
and some perhaps to gain a livelihood. However, those
who enter rightly do so for the complete extinction of
grasping.”

***************
yawares :anjali:

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yawares
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The Story Of Nagasena

Post by yawares » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:15 pm

Dear Members,
This lovely Monday I proudly present the story of Thera Nagasena :heart: :anjali:

**************
:candle: Nagasena:The Great Debater :candle:
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]


Nāgasena was a Brahmin who became a Buddhist sage lived about 150 BCE. His answers to questions about Buddhism posed by Menander I (Pali: Milinda), the Indo-Greek king of northwestern India (now Pakistan), are recorded in the Milinda Pañha.

Etymology of Name
Sanskrit in origin, Nāga means cobra, snake, serpent, or dragon, and also can refer to snake-human hybrids, an ancient super-race who were the mythological founders of many Asian countries. Sena means army. Therefore the name can be translated as "Army of Nāga" or "Host of Dragons", signifying a very powerful supernatural presence.

Milinda Panha
There is almost universal agreement that this text was later expanded by numerous other authors, following the "Question and Answer" pattern established in the early books. The version extant today is very long, and has signs of inconsistent authorship in the later volumes. There is no agreed-upon point at which Nagasena's authorship may be said to end (and the work of other hands begins), nor has this been perceived as an inherently important distinction by monastic scholars.

The text mentions that Nagasena learned the Tripitaka under the Greek Buddhist monk Dhammarakkhita near Pātaliputta. He also reached enlightenment and became an arhat under his guidance.

Other personalities mentioned in the text are Nāgasena's father Soñuttara, his teachers Rohaa, Assagutta of Vattaniya and another teacher named Āyupāla from Sankheyya near Sāgala.

Thai tradition
There is a tradition that Nagasena brought to Thailand the first representation of the Buddha, the Emerald Buddha. According to this legend, the Emerald Buddha would have been created in India in 43 BCE by Nagasena in the city of Pataliputra (today Patna).

Nagasena is not known through other sources besides the Milinda Panha and this legend.

Depictions
Nagasena is one of the 18 Lohans or Arhats, similar to the Apostles in Christianity. Statues show a bald, elderly monk scratching his ear with a stick to symbolize purification of the sense of hearing. An adherent of Buddhism should avoid listening to gossip and other nonsense so that they are always prepared to hear the truth.

*************************
:heart: Love Buddha's dhamma,
yawares/sirikanya :heart:

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yawares
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Re: The Debate: 7 Rains/Discuss As A Scholar

Post by yawares » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:33 pm

I'm so happy to see replies from members @ DSG

Dear Yawares,
Sadhu! He was so wise. So happy u appraciate milindhapanha. I got this recently
from Sarah and Jon as a dhamma gift. Very very helpful.

Best wishes
Lukas
------------
Dear Lukas,

Oh..I'm happy that you got a great gift! This book is so precious!

yawares
--------------
Dear Yawares,
> >
> > I find the Milindapanha to be a wonderful text also.

Josh
------------
> Dear Josh,
>
> Thank you very much for reading...I love love Milindapanha..Bhikkhu Nagasena
was so wise...I'll try to find Nagasena story to post real soon..I so love him.
>
> yawares

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yawares
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The Debate:Rebirth/Escape Rebirth/Illustration

Post by yawares » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:00 pm

Dear Members,
Today is Uposatha Day. :anjali:

********
The Debate Of King Milinda
[Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala]


6. The king said, “Is there anyone who is not reborn
after death?”

“Yes there is. The one who has no defilements is not
reborn after death; the one who has defilements is reborn.”

“Will you be reborn?”

“If I die with attachment in my mind, yes; but if not,
no.”

---------------

7. “Does one who escapes from rebirth do so by the
power of reasoning?”

“He escapes both by reasoning and by wisdom, confidence,
virtue, mindfulness, energy and concentration.”

“Is reasoning the same as wisdom?”

“No. Animals have reasoning but they do not have
wisdom.”

----------

8. “What, Nàgasena, is the characteristic mark of
reasoning; and what the mark of wisdom?”

“Taking hold is the mark of reasoning, cutting off is
the mark of wisdom.”

“Give me an illustration.”

“How do barley reapers reap the barley?”

“They grasp the barley into a bunch with the left
hand and, with a sickle in the right hand, they cut the
barley.”

“Just so, O king, the recluse takes hold of his mind
with reasoning and cuts of the defilements with wisdom.”

***********
yawares :anjali:

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The Debate: #9 The Characteristic Mark Of Virtue?

Post by yawares » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:28 pm

Dear Members.

The Debate Of King Milinda
[Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala]


#9. “What, Nàgasena, is the characteristic mark of virtue?”

“Supporting, O king, for it is the basis of all good
qualities: the five controlling faculties14 and the five moral
powers,15 the seven factors of enlightenment16 the eight
factors of the noble path,17 the four foundations of
mindfulness18 the four right efforts,19 the four bases of
success,20 the four absorptions,21 the eight freedoms,22 the
four modes of concentration23 and the eight great attainments.
24 Each of these has virtue as its support and in
him who builds on it as the foundation all these good
conditions will not decrease.”

“Give me an illustration.”

“Just, O king, as all forms of animal and plant life
flourish with the earth as their support, so does the recluse,
with virtue as the support, develop the five controlling
faculties and so on.25 And this was said by the Blessed One:

“When a wise man, established well in virtue,
Develops concentration and understanding,
Then as a bhikkhu, ardent and sagacious,
He succeeds in disentangling this tangle.”26

------
Note:
14. Confidence, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom.
15. Confidence, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom.
16. Mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, tranquillity, concentration, and equanimity.
17. Right view, –thought, –speech, –action, –livelihood, –effort, –mindfulness, and
–concentration.
18. Mindfulness of the body, feelings, thoughts, and mind-objects.
19. Effort to prevent and remove unwholesome states and to develop and maintain
wholesome states.
20. Eagerness, energy, tenacity, wisdom.
21. Four stages of one-pointedness or jhàna.
22. Eight stages of release of the mind by intense concentration.
23. Meditations on love, compassion, sympathetic-joy, and equanimity.
24. Four formless jhànas and four form jhànas.
25. cf. S. v. 45.
26. S. i. 13, 165, Vism. (opening verse).

***********to be continued**********
yawares :anjali:

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The Debate Of King Milinda : #10 - #11

Post by yawares » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:12 pm

Dear Members.

The Debate Of King Milinda
[Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala]


#10. “What is the characteristic mark of confidence?”

“Clarification and inspiration. As confidence springs
up in the mind it breaks through the veil of the five
hindrances and the mind becomes clear, serene and
undisturbed; thus confidence clarifies. Inspiration is the
mark when the meditator, perceiving how the minds of
others have been set free, aspires to the attainment of what
he has not yet reached, to the experience of what he has not
yet felt and the realisation of what he has not yet
understood. For this was said by the Blessed One:

“By confidence he crosses over the flood,
By vigilance the sea of life,
By steadfastness all grief he stills,
By wisdom he is purified.”27

Note: 27. S. i. 214; Sn. v 184.
----------

#11. “What, venerable sir, is the characteristic mark of
energy?”

“Reinforcing, O king, so that those good qualities,
which it supports, do not fall away.”

“Give me an illustration.”

“Just as, O king, when his army has been broken up
by a larger one the king would call to mind every possible
ally to reinforce his army and break up the large army.
Thus reinforcing is the mark of energy. For this was said by
the Blessed One:
“The energetic noble disciple, O monks,
Puts away unwholesomeness and cultivates good,
Shuns the blameworthy and develops the blameless,
And thus does he keep his mind pure.”28

Note: 28. A. iv. 110.

------to be continued------
yawares :anjali:

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King Milinda And His Conversion

Post by yawares » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:33 pm

Dear Members,
The more I read about Thera Nagasena :anjali: and King Milinda the more I wish to find their stories. And now I found what I need to know.

*************
THE QUESTIONS OF KING MILINDA
[Translated from the Milindapañha]

As a consequence of the conquest of the Persian empire, the Greeks gained control of Bactria, modern Afghanistan, together with northern India. The local Greek rulers managed to establish their independence from the Seleucid empire which first held control over the area. Greek rule of Bactria continued until about 165 BC when the Shakas destroyed the Bactrian kingdom. Greeks continued to rule, however, in southern Afghanistan and northwestern India for another 150 years. The most important of these kings was Menander, known as Milinda in Buddhist sources, who ruled about 115-90 BC. Buddhism had reached the area as a consequence of the missionaries which the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka had sent more than a century earlier.

Why Nagasena went to Bactria

In the land of the Bactrian Greeks there was a city called Sagala, a great center of trade. Rivers and hills beautified it, delightful landscapes surrounded it, and it possessed many parks, gardens, woods, lakes and lotus-ponds. Its king was Milinda, a man who was learned, experienced, intelligent and competent, and who at the proper times carefully observed all the appropriate Brahminic rites, with regard to things past, future and present. As a disputant he was hard to assail, hard to overcome, and he was recognized as a prominent sectarian teacher.

One day a numerous company of Arhats, who lived in a well-protected spot in the Himalayas, sent a messenger to the Venerable Nagasena, then at the Asoka Park in Patna, asking him to come, as they wished to see him. Nagasena immediately complied by vanishing from where he was and miraculously appearing before them. And the Arhats said to him: "That king Milinda, Nagasena, constantly harasses the order of monks with questions and counter-questions, with arguments and counter-arguments. Please go, Nagasena, and subdue him!" But Nagasena replied: "Never mind just this one king Milinda! If all the kings of India would come to me with their questions, I could well dispose of them, and they would give no more trouble after that! You may go to Sagala without any fear whatever!" And the Elders went to Sagala, lighting up the city with their yellow robes which shone like lamps, and bringing with them the fresh breeze of the holy mountains.

The Venerable Nagasena stayed at the Sankheyya hermitage together with 80,000 monks. King Milinda, accompanied by a retinue of 500 Greeks, went up to where he was, gave him a friendly and courteous greeting, and sat on one side. Nagasena returned his greetings, and his courtesy pleased the king's heart.

Said the king, "Bhante Nagasena, will you converse with me?"


"Your majesty, if you will converse with me as the wise converse, I will, but if you converse with me as kings converse, I will not."

"Bhante Nagasena, how do the wise converse?"

"Your majesty, when the wise converse, whether they become entangled by their opponents’ arguments or extricate themselves, whether they or their opponents are convicted of error, whether their own superiority or that of their opponents is established, nothing in all this can make them angry. Thus, your majesty, do the wise converse."

"And how, bhante, do kings converse?"

"Your majesty, when kings converse, they advance a proposition, and whoever opposes it, they order his punishment, saying, ‘Punish this fellow!’ Thus, your majesty, do kings converse."

"Bhante, I will converse as the wise converse, not as kings do. Let your worship converse in all confidence. Let your worship converse as unrestrainedly as if with a monk or a novice or a lay disciple or a keeper of the monastery grounds. Be not afraid!"

"Very well, your majesty," said the elder in assent.
-----------
Conversion of the King

The king, as a result of his discussions with the Venerable Nagasena, was overjoyed and humbled; he saw the value in the Buddha's religion, gained confidence in the Triple Jewel, lost his spikiness and obstinacy, gained faith in the qualities of the Elder -- in his observation of the monastic rules, his spiritual progress and his general demeanor -- became trusting and resigned, free from conceit and arrogance. Like a cobra whose fangs have been drawn, he said: "Well said, well said, Nagasena! You have answered my questions, which would have given scope to a Buddha, you have answered them well! Apart from the Elder Sariputra, the supreme general of the Dharma, there is no one in this religion of the Buddha who can deal with questions as well as you do. Forgive my transgressions, Nagasena! May the Venerable Nagasena accept me as a lay-follower, as one who takes his refuge with the Triple Jewel, from to-day onwards, as long as I shall live!"


**********
:heart: Love Buddha's dhamma,
yawares/sirikanya :heart:

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The Debate: the characteristic mark of Energy/Mindfulness

Post by yawares » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:58 pm

Dear Members.

The Debate Of King Milinda
[Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala]


#12. “What, venerable sir, is the characteristic mark of energy (vīriya)?”

“Reinforcing, O king, so that those good qualities, which it supports, do not fall away.”

“Give me an illustration.”

“Just as, O king, when his army has been broken up by a larger one the king would call to mind every possible ally to reinforce his army and break up the large army. Thus reinforcing is the mark of energy. For this was said by the Blessed One:

“The energetic noble disciple, O monks,
Puts away unwholesomeness and cultivates good,
Shuns the blameworthy and develops the blameless,
And thus does he keep his mind pure.”17

[17 . S. i. 214; Sn. v 184]
-------------------------
#13. “What, Nāgasena, is the characteristic mark of mindfulness (sati)?”

“Noting and keeping in mind. As mindfulness springs up in the mind of the recluse, he repeatedly notes the wholesome and unwholesome, blameless and blameworthy, insignificant and important, dark and light qualities and those that resemble them thinking, ‘These are the four foundations of mindfulness, these the four right efforts, these the four bases of success, these the five controlling faculties, these the five moral powers, these the seven factors of enlightenment, these are the eight factors of the noble path, this is serenity, this insight, this vision and this freedom.’ Thus does he cultivate those qualities that are desirable and shun those that should be avoided.”

“Give me an illustration.”

“It is like a king’s treasurer who reminds his master of the size of the army and the amount of wealth in his treasury.”

“How is keeping in mind a mark of mindfulness?”

“As mindfulness springs up in the mind, he searches out the categories of good qualities and their opposites thinking, ‘Such and such qualities are beneficial and such are harmful.’ Thus does he make what is unwholesome in himself disappear and maintain what is good.”

“Give me an illustration.”

“It is like the Prime Minister of the king who advises him on the right course of action. And this was said by the Blessed One:

“Mindfulness, I declare, O monks, is helpful everywhere.”18

[18. A. iv. 110.2 S. v. 115]

********to be continued************
yawares :anjali:

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The Past Lives Of Thera Nagasena/ King Milinda

Post by yawares » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:34 pm

Dear Members,

This so.. so cold Texas Friday, I proudly present the amazing past lives of King Milinda/Nagasena. :anjali:

*********
:candle: THEIR PREVIOUS HISTORY (PUBBA-YOGA) :candle:
[ From sacredtexts.com ]

By Pubba-yoga is meant their past Karma (their doings in this or previous lives). Long ago, they say, when Kassapa the Buddha was promulgating the faith, there dwelt in one community near the Ganges a great company of members of the Order. There the brethren, true to established rules and duties, rose early in the morning, and taking the long-handled brooms, would sweep out the courtyard and collect the rubbish into a heap, meditating the while on the virtues of the Buddha.

One day a bhikkhu told a novice to remove the heap of dust. But he, as if he heard not, went about his business; and on being called a second time, and a third, still went his way as if he had not heard. Then the bhikkhu, angry with so intractable a novice, dealt him a blow with the broom stick.

This time, not daring to refuse, he set about the task crying; and as he did so he muttered to himself this first aspiration: 'May I, by reason of this meritorious act of throwing out the rubbish, in each successive condition in which I may be born up to the time when I attain Nirvâna, be powerful and glorious as the midday sun!'

When he had finished his work he went to the river side to bathe, and on beholding the mighty billows of the Ganges seething and surging, he uttered this second aspiration: 'May I, in each successive condition in which I may be born till I attain Nirvâna, possess the power of saying the right thing, and saying it instantly, under any circumstance that may arise, carrying all before me like this mighty surge!'

Now that bhikkhu, after he had put the broom away in the broom closet, had likewise wandered down to the river side to bathe, and as he walked he happened to overhear what the novice had said. Then thinking: 'If this fellow, on the ground of such an act of merit, which after all was instigated by me, can harbour hopes like this, what may not I attain to?' he too made his wish, and it was thus: 'In each successive condition in which I may be born till I attain Nirvâna, may I too be ready in saying the right thing at once, and more especially may I have the power of unravelling and of solving each problem and each puzzling question this young man may put-carrying all before me like this mighty surge!'
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Then for the whole period between one Buddha and the next these two people wandered from existence to existence among gods and men. And our Buddha saw them too, and just as he did to the son of Moggalî and to Tissa the Elder, so to them also did he foretell their future fate, saying: 'Five hundred years after I have passed away will these two reappear, and the subtle Law and Doctrine taught by me will they two explain, unravelling and disentangling its difficulties by questions put and metaphors adduced.'

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The novice re-incarnation as King Milinda

Of the two the novice became the king of the city of Sâgala in India, Milinda by name, learned, eloquent, wise, and able; and a faithful observer, and that at the right time, of all the various acts of devotion and ceremony enjoined by his own sacred hymns concerning things past, present, and to come. Many were the arts and sciences he knew--holy tradition and secular law; the Sânkhya, Yoga, Nyâya, and Vaiseshika systems of philosophy; arithmetic; music; medicine; the four Vedas, the Purânas, and the Itihâsas; astronomy, magic, causation , and spells; the art of war; poetry; conveyancing --in a word, the whole nineteen .

As a disputant he was hard to equal, harder still to overcome; the acknowledged superior of all the founders of the various schools of thought. And as in wisdom so in strength of body, swiftness, and valour there was found none equal to Milinda in all India. He was rich too, mighty in wealth and prosperity, and the number of his armed hosts knew no end.

Now one day Milinda the king proceeded forth out of the city to pass in review the innumerable host of his mighty army in its fourfold array (of elephants, cavalry, bowmen, and soldiers on foot). And when the numbering of the forces was over, the king, who was fond of wordy disputation, and eager for discussion with casuists, sophists 1, and gentry of that sort, looked at the sun (to ascertain the time), and then said to his ministers: 'The day is yet young. What would be the use of getting back to town so early? Is there no learned person, whether wandering teacher 2 or Brahman, the head of some school or order, or the master of some band of pupils (even though he profess faith in the Arahat, the Supreme Buddha), who would be able to talk with me, and resolve my doubts?'

Thereupon the five hundred Yonakas said to Milinda the king: 'There are the six Masters, O king!--Pûrana Kassapa, Makkhali of the cowshed 1, the Nigantha of the Nâta clan, Sañgaya the son of the Belattha woman, Agita of the garment of hair, and Pakudha Kakkâyana. These are well known as famous founders of schools, followed by bands of disciples and hearers, and highly honoured by the people. Go, great king! put to them your problems, and have your doubts resolved 2.'

So king Milinda, attended by the five hundred Yonakas, mounted the royal car with its splendid equipage, and went out to the dwelling-place of Pûrana Kassapa, exchanged with him the compliments of friendly greeting, and took his seat courteously apart. And thus sitting he said to him: 'Who is it, venerable Kassapa, who rules the world?'

'The Earth, great king, rules the world!'

'But, venerable Kassapa, if it be the Earth that rules the world, how comes it that some men go to the Avîki hell , thus getting outside the sphere of the Earth?'

When he had thus spoken, neither could Pûrana Kassapa swallow the puzzle, nor could he bring it up; crestfallen, driven to silence, and moody , there he sat.

Then Milinda the king said to Makkhali of the cowshed 3: 'Are there, venerable Gosâla, good and evil acts? Is there such a thing as fruit, ultimate result, of good and evil acts?'

'There are no such acts, O king; and no such fruit, or ultimate result. Those who here in the world are nobles, they, O king, when they go to the other world, will become nobles once more. And those who are Brahmans, or of the middle class, or workpeople, or outcasts here, will in the next world become the same. What then is the use of good or evil acts ? '

'If, venerable Gosâla, it be as you say then, by parity of reasoning, those who, here in this world, have a hand cut off, must in the next world become persons with a hand cut off, and in like manner those who have had a foot cut off or an ear or their nose!'

And at this saying Makkhali was silenced.

Then thought Milinda the king within himself : 'All India is an empty thing, it is verily like chaff! There is no one, either recluse or Brahman, capable of discussing things with me, and dispelling my doubts.' And he said to his ministers: 'Beautiful is the night and pleasant! Who is the recluse or Brahman we can visit to-night to question him, who will be able to converse with us and dispel our doubts 3?' And at that saying the counsellors remained silent, and stood there gazing upon the face of the king.

Now at that time the city of Sâgala had for twelve years been devoid of learned men, whether Brahmans, Samanas, or laymen. But wherever the king heard that such persons dwelt, thither he would go and put his questions to them. But they all alike, being unable to satisfy the king by their solution of his problems, departed hither and thither, or if they did not leave for some other place, were at all events reduced to silence. And the brethren of the Order went, for the most part, to the Himâlaya mountains.

*****************Tomorrow..The Bhikkhu re-incarnation as Nagasena :anjali: ***********
:heart: Love Buddha's dhamma,
yawares/sirikanya :heart:

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