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vii.
153
ANCIENT DEVOTION.

 
 

CHAPTER VII.

ANCIENT DEVOTION[1].

Of yore, monks, in the past, incalculable, more than incalculable, inconceivable, immense, measureless Æons since, nay, at a period, an epoch far beyond, there appeared in the world a Tathâgata, &c, named Mahâbhiâânâbhibhû, endowed with science and conduct[2], a Sugata, &c. &c, in the sphere Sambhava (i. e. origin, genesis), in the period Mahârûpa. (You ask), monks, how long ago is it that the Tathâgata was born? Well, suppose some man was to reduce to powder the whole mass of the earth element as much as is to be found in this whole universe; that after taking one atom of dust from this world he is to walk a thousand worlds farther in easterly direction to deposit that single atom; that after taking a second atom of dust and walking a thousand worlds farther he deposits that second atom, and proceeding in this way at last gets the whole of the earth element deposited in eastern


  1. Pûrvayoga, which recurs as the heading of chaps. XXII and XXV, would at first sight seem to mean 'former conjunction,' but that does not answer any more than 'ancient devotion.' I think that yoga here is an alteration of yuga, age, period, or a Prâkritism for yauga, i.e. referring to an age. A Sanskrit pûrva-yauga would be formed like pûrva-yâyâta, &c; cf. Pânini VI, 2, 103. The original meaning of pûrva-yoga is, I suppose, pre-history. Cf. pubbayogo ti pubbakammam, Milinda Pañho, p. 2.
  2. I. e. with light and motion.