Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/80

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76 BUDDHISM. excellent law.' Two-thirds of each year he spent as a wander- ing preacher. The remaining four months, or the rainy season, he abode at some fixed place, teaching the people who flocked around his little dwelling in the bamboo grove. His five old disciples, who had forsaken him in the time of his sore tempta- tion in the wilderness, now came back to their master. Princes, merchants, artisans, Brahmans and hermits, husbandmen and serfs, noble ladies and repentant women who had sinned, were added to those who believed. Buddha preached throughout Behar, Oudh, and the adjacent districts in the Norih-Western Provinces. He had ridden forth from his father's palace as a brilliant young prince. He now returned to it as a wandering preacher, in dingy yellow robes, with shaven head and the begging bowl in his hand. The old king heard him with reverence. The son, whom Buddha had left as a new-born babe, was converted to the faith; and his beloved wife, from the threshold of whose chamber he had ridden away into the darkness, became one of the first of Buddhist nuns. Legend of Buddha's Death, and Last Words. — Buddha's Great Renunciation took place in his thirtieth year. After long self-preparation, his public teaching began when he was about thirty-six, and during forty-four years he preached to the people. In foretelling his death, he said to his followers : ' Be earnest, be thoughtful, be holy, Keep steadfast watch over your own hearts. He who holds fast to the law and discipline, and faints not, he shall cross the ocean of life and make an end of sorrow.' ' The world is fast bound in fetters,' he added ; ' I now give it deliverance, as a physician who brings heavenly medicine. Keep your mind on my teaching : all other things change, this changes not. No more shall I speak to you. I desire to depart. I desire the eternal rest (Nirvana)' He spent the night in preaching, and in comforting a weeping disciple. His latest words, according to one account, were, ' Work out your salvation with diligence.' He died calmly, at the age of eighty, under the shadow of a fig-tree, according to the commonly re- ceived tradition in 543 b.c. ; or according to later criticism in 478 B.C. The Law of Karma. — The secret of Buddha's success was,