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Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 21.djvu/351

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DURATION OF LIFE OF THE TATHÂGATA.

I announce final extinction, young men of good family, though myself I do not become finally extinct. For in this way, young men of good family, I bring (all) creatures to maturity, lest creatures in whom goodness is not firmly rooted, who are unholy, miserable, eager of sensual pleasures, blind and obscured by the film of wrong views, should, by too often seeing me, take to thinking: 'The TatMgata is staying 2 / and fancy that all is a child's play 8 ; (lest they) by thinking 'we are near that Tath&gata' should fail to exert themselves in order to escape the triple world and not conceive how precious 4 the TatMgata is. Hence, young men of good family, the Tathdgata skilfully utters these words : The apparition of the Tath&gatas, monks, is precious (and rare). For in the course of many hundred thousand myriads of ko/is of Æons creatures may happen to see a Tath&gata or not to see him 5 . Therefore and upon that ground, young men of good family, I say : The apparition of the Tath&gatas, monks, is precious (and rare).

All this is perfectly true in the mouth of a personification of the sun, of time, of eternity, or of yos, but quite unintelligible in the mouth of some individual of the human race. Moments of time expire, time never ceases. The termination of every day, month, year, &c. must remind us of our being mortal, and is a call from the Buddha to us, an inducement to lead a virtuous and holy life.

I. e. time stands still; we shall never die.

In the margin added, not realise the idea of his (i. e. time's) preciousness.

Durlabha.

Nobody is certain whether the present day is his last or not; in other words, whether he has seen the Tath&gata for the last time, or shall see him again to-morrow, &c. Therefore the Tath&gata is so precious.