A Novel of the Life of Gautama Based on the Pali Canon and Other Buddhist Scriptures
Also by Lousie Ireland-Frey:
The outline of the historical life of the man who became The Enlightened One is well known: his birth to the ruler of the northern Indian tribe of Sakyas, the prophesies at his birth of his future greatness, his over-protection during his first decades by a father who tried to prevent him from seeing the Four Signs which the prophesies said might sway him from choosing to become a Monarch, and his eventual rebellion, after seeing the Four Signs (an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a monk). In despair at what he was told was the inevitability of disease, aging and death, he escaped from the palace, vowing that he would discover how to save mankind from these. This ended the first period of his life.
Knowing practically nothing of the outside world, he first sought the company of a famous Brahmin teacher, Arada Kalama, and studied his doctrine for several months, going on from there to a second famous teacher, Rudraka Ramaputra. After this, with five Sakyas who had joined themselves to him as a future Enlightened One, he spent six years attempting, by every means known to him, to achieve understanding of pain, suffering and death and how to overcome them. The only method he did not try was deliberate self-torture. He even came very close to starving himself to death before renouncing ascetic renunciation as another dead end.
After slowly recovering his strength, he determined to make one ultimate Endeavor, and set himself to meditate until he either broke through into Knowledge or died trying. That was the night when he finally achieved Enlightenment in its several various aspectsand he knew that he had discovered what he had set out to do: to find a way to end suffering and death. This night of miraculous Illumination was the end of the second stage of his life.
Now begins the third stage. He is not a god but is more than manan Awakened One.
"It is difficult to find a work that expresses what the philosopher or religious leader went through on a personal level: the doubts, anxieties, and at times total discouragement. The Blossom of Buddha does this in a very real way and hence brings a much deeper meaning to the life of Buddha." H.G. Rosenberg, S.D., psychoanalyst
"As I have been reading your work I realize that you know your subject deeply. Also I am impressed with the excellence of the English through which you convey your thought ... rereading parts of your manuscript, I am more and more convinced that you have done a fine piece of work.... I read a part of it to [my wife] last night and she became enthusiastic over it." Rev. Charles G. Girelius
"We feel the urge to tell you how deeply affected your wonderful story on the Buddha has left us ... time did not exist when deeply immersed in the story. which reaches beyond surface words and leaves a radiance of glory." Dr. and Mrs. Dwight
"I am impressed with the quality and the sensitivity of the writing.... The language is consistent and sensitive. There is a Biblical simplicity in the words and the way you have composed them which enhances the dignity and seriousness of the story of the evolvement of a human able to move beyond the usual human condition. The tone is both simple and lofty as is appropriate for the subject of the novel. You might call it an historical novel, since the story is based on historical material which was enhanced when the materials were not available... The logic of the interpolated parts is clear It has adventure, romance, agony. ecstasy, and awe. ... All in all, it is a powerful piece of writing and should be published." Hazel James Jones, Ph.D.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Volume 3
1. After Enlightenment
2. The First Lay Followers
3. Baranasi: The First Sermon to the Five in the Deer Park of Isipatana
4. Baranasi: The First New Disciples
5. The Sangha Grows
6. Uruvilva: The Fire Worshippers led by the Kasyapa brothers, join the Sangha
7. Rajagriha: King Bimbisara’s gift of the Cool Grove
8. Rajagriha: Anatha-pindika
9. The Return to Kapilavastu
10. Rahula and Nanda
11. The Lord’s Daily Life
12. Back to Baranasiand on to Rajagriha
13. Women in the Sangha
14. Years of Teaching1
15. The Last Years
On the hillside under a lone Bodhi tree sat the lone man, facing the east. Sunrise was brightening the earth around him. The aureole around his form was not only sunlight but the visible exaltation of his mind, his spirit. A line from the triumphant poem he had composed still sang in his mind: "The end of pain has been reached at last, at last!"
Time, timelessness - he existed in both at once. His vision, grown so wide and high during the watches of the night, required a while to narrow down into the accustomed earthly dimension.
Still in an exalted mood he recalled the time, six years ago when the urge from his own soul had finally forced him to go out from his home and family to seek the way to end suffering and death. It was a Call he could not ignore nor deny.
The past six years had tested this high purpose, had shaped and firmed his soul. After the period of stress, doubt and struggle, the Great Illumination had occurred during the hours of this one miraculous night, the culmination of the Great Endeavor.
Until now he knew that he had not attained complete Illumination. Now he knew that he had.
In this night Siddhartha Gautama had ceased to exist and a Tathagata had come into being: "One who has attained to the Truly So." The attributes of a human being - pride, egoism, self-centered desires, personal ambition - had been detached.
When the petals of a blossom are detached one does not say, "It is a flower," even if the fragments remain there. But just as the center of the flower remains a while, covering the precious hidden seeds, so does the Nama-rupa of the man remain a while: his body and the name his parents gave him, encasing the deathless "Jewel in the Lotus."
He stood up and stretched his arms wide, as if his body could no longer hold all the vast expanded feelings in him.
Blue Dolphin, 2008
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