|Adam's Peak, the highest point on the Buddhist island of Sri Lanka (hellotravel.com)|
Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove in Anathapindika's abbey.
Now at that time, the Brahmin Janussonin was driving out of Savatthi in the middle of the day in a white chariot. He saw Pilotika the wanderer coming from afar and on meeting him said:
"Now where is Master Vacchayana [his clan name] coming from in the middle of the day?"
|Visiting a modern wonder - Lions's Rock, Sigiriya (NH53/flickr.com)|
|Lion's Rock fort, Sigiriya, a former Buddhist hermitage (hellotravel.com)|
"'The recluse Gotama, they say, will visit that village or town.' They formulate a question like, 'Having gone to the recluse Gotama, we will ask him this question of ours. If, having been asked like this, he answers like that, we will refute his teaching this way. If having been asked like that, he answers like this, we will refute his teaching this other way.'
"When I saw this first footprint in the recluse Gotama, I came to this conclusion: 'The Blessed One is fully self-awakened; the Dharma is well-taught by the Blessed One; the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is practicing in a good way.'
I. First footprint: Clever, learned Brahmins visit the Buddha with the intention of refuting his Dharma (Teaching). But after they have been instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged they do not ask questions. They ask to become disciples.
II. Second footprint: Clever, learned householders (laypersons) visit the Buddha, are instructed, have no more questions, and ask to become disciples.
III. Third footprint: Clever, learned householders visit the Buddha and end up asking to become disciples.
IV. Fourth footprint: Clever, learned Brahmins go see the Buddha, end up having no more questions and instead ask to becomes disciples, the not long after -- by realizing the Dharma for themselves -- they become arhats (enlightened/liberated beings).
The Brahmin Janussoni then went to visit the Blessed One. With regard to the elephant's footprint, the Buddha told him that a wise person would follow the footprints and other markings left by the elephant until actually seeing that it was a big bull elephant.
What are the footprints of an intrepid Wayfarer (Tathagata) like the Buddha? The first footprint of the Tathagata is... CONTINUED IN PART II