Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Light of Asia (and the World)

Sir Edwin Arnold (; Wisdom Quarterly
Book The First
The Scripture of the Saviour of the World,
Lord Buddha--Prince Siddartha styled on earth
In Earth and Heavens and Hells Incomparable,
All-honoured, Wisest, Best, most Pitiful;
The Teacher of Nirvana and the Law [Dharma].

Then came he to be born again for [humans].

Setaketu, Tusita world, high in Sense Sphere
Below the highest sphere four Regents sit
Who rule our world, and under them are zones
Nearer, but high, where saintliest spirits dead
Wait thrice ten thousand years, then live again;
And on Lord Buddha, waiting in that sky,
Came for our sakes the five sure signs of birth
So that the Devas knew the signs, and said
"Buddha will go again to help the World."
"Yea!" spake He, "now I go to help the World.
This last of many times; for birth and death
End hence for me and those who learn my Law.
I will go down among the Sakyas,
Under the southward snows of Himalay,
Where pious people live and a just King."

That night the wife of King Suddhodana,
Maya the Queen, asleep beside her Lord,
Dreamed a strange dream; dreamed that a star
from heaven--

Splendid, six-rayed, in colour rosy-pearl,
Whereof the token was an Elephant
Six-tusked and whiter than Vahuka's milk--
Shot through the void and, shining into her,
Entered her womb upon the right. Awaked,
Bliss beyond mortal mother's filled her breast,
And over half the earth a lovely light
Forewent the morn. The strong hills shook; the waves
Sank lulled; all flowers that blow by day came forth
As 't were high noon; down to the farthest hells
Passed the Queen's joy, as when warm sunshine thrills
Wood-glooms to gold, and into all the deeps
A tender whisper pierced. "Oh ye," it said,
"The dead that are to live, the live who die,
Setaketu ("White Banner") reborn as Siddhartha ("Wish-Fulfilled") finally awakened.
Uprise, and hear, and hope! Buddha is come!"
Whereat in Limbos numberless much peace
Spread, and the world's heart throbbed, and a wind blew
With unknown freshness over lands and seas.
And when the morning dawned, and this was told,
The grey dream-readers said "The dream is good!
The Crab is in conjunction with the Sun;
The Queen shall bear a boy, a holy child
Of wondrous wisdom, profiting all flesh,
Who shall deliver men from ignorance,
Or rule the world, if he will deign to rule." More

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