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Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 21.djvu/342

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294
xvi.
SADDHARMA-PUNDARÎKA.

sattva Mahfisattva Maitreya asked the Lord: How then, O Lord, has the Tathgata, after he left, when a prince royal, Kapilavastu, the town of the kyas, arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment on the summit of the terrace of enlightenment, not far from the town of Gay, somewhat more than forty years since, O Lord? How then has the Lord, the Tathgata, within so short a lapse of time, been able to perform the endless task of a Tatgata, to exercise the leadership of a Tathgata, the energy of a Tathgata? How has the Tathgata, within so short a time, been able to rouse and bring to maturity for supreme, perfect enlightenment this host of Bodhisattvas, this multitude of Bodhisattvas; a multitude so great that it would be impossible to count the whole of it, even if one were to continue counting for hundred thousands of myriads of ko/is of Æons? These Bodhisattvas, so innumerable, O Lord, so countless, having long followed a spiritual course of life and planted roots of goodness under many hundred thousands of Buddhas, have in the course of many hundred thousands of -/Eons become finally ripe.

It is just as if some man, young and youthful, a young man with black hair and in the prime of youth, twenty-five years of age, wouldrepresent centenarians as his sons, and say: * Here, young men of good family, you see my sons;' and if those centenarians would declare: 'This is the father who begot us/ Now, Lord, the speech of that man would be incredible, hard to be believed by the public. It is the same case with the Tathgata, who but lately has arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment, and with these Bodhisattvas Mah