An Excerpt from Entryway to the Dharma, part 2

Written in 1167 C.E. By Lopön Rinpoche Sönam Tsemo
Translated in Jeffrey Schoening's Classical Literary Tibetan Class
with Jeff Bennett, Tom Linder, and Bill Sternhagen
(Continued from a previous entry in Sakya Chronicles, which presented the first two deeds of the Buddha: Descent from the God Realm and Birth)

The Third Deed: Skill in Crafts and Taking a Consort

Then, the Raising of That One: when the time came to study writing, [the Bodhisattva] went to a school of writing.
He said to the teacher: Teacher, which such as the divine writings (i. e. Sanskrit) will you teach me?  Saying that, he pronounced the sixty-four names of writings.
The teacher was astonished and said:

Among sentient beings (you are) a great marvel; although you are learned in all the treatises,
Because of conforming to the world, to the school of writing you have come.

I do not know even the name of those (writings), he said.
At that time, all the children became quite knowledgeable.
Then, the Bodhisattva himself went to a peaceful spot, and sitting in the shadow of a rose apple tree, analyzed the Dharma.  
At that time, when six young seers were flying in the sky miraculously, they were not able to proceed above the Bodhisattva, and (so) paid homage to his feet.
At that time, when the Bodhisattva wandered off and was sought out, because the king saw (the Bodhisattva) not abandoned being by the shadow when the sun passed and an array of worshiping devaputras (sons of gods), he rejoiced:

Since (you), Great Sage, were born, since (you), Radiant One, meditated,
O Guide, in this way two times, Protector, I salute your feet.

Then the Śākya elders gathered; in order that the lineage of the Ruler with a Wheel be unbroken, they requested he take a bride.  
The Bodhisattva thought:

I do not desire objects of desire; I do not (desire) a harem of beautiful women.
I will silently dwell in the deep forest, mind calmed with the bliss of meditative concentration.

He reconsidered, (saying):

Lotuses grow in filthy swamps.  Among happy  people a king obtains offerings.
When the Bodhisattva obtains an excellent entourage, then billions of beings will win immortality.

The wise bodhisattvas of yore, they all kept company with queens and children.
But, (they) were not impassioned with desire, nor strayed from the bliss of meditation.
I too shall train in those qualities.


So saying, he remained silent.
Then the king asked: What sort of lady will you wed?
The Bodhisattva replied: (I will wed) one who is praised with possessing these thirty-two qualities.
The king commanded the brahmins: You, go and seek one possessed with these qualities.  Because these qualities matter most, the caste is not paramount.
When the brahmins searched, they saw there was one so endowed called Gopā (Sa ‘tsho ma), a daughter of Śākya Dandapāni (Lag na be con).
(They) reported that to the king and (he said), “Ask her (hand in marriage).”
When the brahmins asked (her hand in marriage), Śākya Dandapāni said: We will give to the one skilled in crafts, arts, and sports, but your youth is not skilled at all.  
When that was reported to the king, the king was not pleased.  
The Bodhisattva beheld that and asked three times, “Father, what is wrong?” He explained in detail. Dandapāni challenges me.
The Bodhisattva said: A crafts, arts, and sports competition is acceptable.
The king said: Are you able? (The Bodhisattva said: I) am able.
Because such a (competition) was good, bells proclaimed, “A competition on the next day.”
Then Devadatta struck the Bodhisattva’s elephant with his palm and killed it.  Sundarananda (Mdzes dga’ bo) tossed that (elephant carcass) outside the village.  The Bodhisattva, without dismounting from his chariot, tossed that (carcass) with his little toe a distance of two miles.  
Then, in the midst of the many gathered people, starting with the writing competition, the writing teacher Viśvamitra said, “(They) are unable to compete with you.”
Then, at the time of the calculation competition, Shākya Arjuna was also unable to compete.
Likewise, when there were the leaping, swimming, strength, and throwing competitions, what need to mention the other youths?  Dandapāni was also not able to compete.
The gods, [exclaiming], “In that way also what a great wonder,” said:

This one dwells at the heart of the earth, the seat of buddhas of yore.
With calm abiding holding in the sky and arrows of empt[iness]
defeating the enemies, the defilements, and rending the net of (false) views,
you will obtain enlightenment, peace, untainted, and  without sorrow.


At that time the gods thought, “When will this one be enlightened?”
Then, the Bodhisattva took (as wives) the excellent lady Gopā and a retinue of twenty thousand.
Then the Bodhisattva lived in the palace to the age of twenty-nine.
This is the Third Deed.

The Fourth Deed: The Great Departure


At that time, although the Bodhisattva was not wasting time, the Tathāgatas exhorted (him) with songs such as the “Dharmatā Exhortation”:

Seeing beings with their hundreds of sufferings, You made an aspiration of old:
“May I become the protector of beings, their shelter and refuge!
May I become an excellent benefactor and friend and advocate!”
Virtuous hero, recollect your previous deeds and your aspiration, “I shall benefit beings.”

Then the gods exhorted him.
Then, intending to go from park to park, when he went into the city, at the eastern gate he beheld the suffering of old age.
At the southern (gate), the suffering of illness; at the western, he beheld the suffering of death.  He understood that those arose in all beings.  Then, when he went to the northern, the gods emanated the form of a monk.
While the Bodhisattva knew, he asked, “What is this?”
Chandaka said: This is called “a monk,” one who is freed from suffering.
The Bodhisattva returned home and thought, “I will depart in a week.”
At that time, because there arose the sound from the cymbals saying, “The prince will depart in seven days,” everyone guarded the Bodhisattva.
Then, he went to the king unperceived by anyone the night he intended to depart, and he voiced this request:

Divine One, it is fit that the time has come for my departure.
Do not hinder me; please do not be unhappy.

The king said: Son, I will give you what you wish.  Do not say that!   
The Bodhisattva said: Father, I want freedom from birth, old age, sickness, and death.   
The king thought: That I am not able to give, but even when this one was born, he said, “(This) will be my final existence,” and the brahmins also predicted that he would depart, so he will certainly go, and with a few words gave his permission.
Then, when the Bodhisattva departed, he made these four aspirations:

I will proclaim the sound of Dharma to all sentient beings. I will remove the darkness of ignorance.
I will pulverize the mountain of pride. I will unravel the knot of craving.


So thinking, he went to the top of the palace and at midnight, when the constellation Pusyā (rgyal po rgyal) arose, he paid homage to all the buddhas of the ten directions and supplicating them again and again, said to Chandaka:

This auspiciousness, accomplishing all my goals, without doubt will be achieved this night, but
Chandaka, do not put if off, but swiftly give to me the royal horse decorated with adornments.

So, he brought the horse.
Then some of the gods intoxicated the guards, some made the harem of ladies unattractive, and some worshiped him.
The Four Great Kings lifted up the four legs of the horse and carrying the Bodhisattva and Chandaka in the sky, upon proceeding, day broke at a place six yojanas distant.
That very (Bodhisattva) cut off his locks.
Then, (the Bodhisattva) gave to Chandaka such things as the horse and head ornaments and said to him, “Chandaka, carry these and go to Kapilavastu.  Address my parents with my words: ‘The prince has gone but do not grieve.  He will return again having been enlightened.  Listening to the holy Dharma will soothe grief.’”
Chandaka said: Will I not be punished?
(The Bodhisattva) said: According to your kindness to me, you will be treated with kindness, do not fear.  Then Chandaka returned, and when he gave the account of the arrangement, by the blessing of the Bodhisattva sorrows were soothed.
Then as soon as the Bodhisattva thought, “I do not want these fine clothes, but need saffron-colored robes,” the devaputras in the form of hunters took the clothes of the Bodhisattva and presented him with saffron-colored robes.
The Bodhisattva put them on and was ordained.   
This is the Fourth Deed.