Gavesin Sutra

 
 
Inspiration from people who have reacted by embracing the advice of the Enlightened ones is always welcome, especailly though at times where appearances look to be so little positive.Here a truly beautiful way to turn adversity onto the path, may all being benefit and samayas upheld or repaired
 
Gavesin Sutra
 
On one occasion the Blessed One was wandering on a tour among the Kosalans with a large community of monks. As he was going along a road, he saw a large sala forest in a certain place. Going down from the road, he went to the sala forest. On reaching it, he plunged into it and at a certain spot, broke into a smile. Then the thought occurred to Ven. Ananda, "What is the cause, what is the reason, for the Blessed One’s breaking into a smile? It’s not without purpose that Tathagata’s break into smile." So he said to the Blessed One, "What is the cause, what is the reason, for the Blessed One’s breaking into a smile? It’s not without purpose that Tathagata’s break into smile."

"In this spot, Ananda, there was once a great city: powerful, prosperous, populous, crowded with people. And on that city, Kassapa the Blessed One, worthy & fully self-awakened, dwelled dependent. Now, Kassapa the Blessed One, worthy & fully self-awakened, had a lay follower named Gavesin who didn’t practice in full in terms of his virtue. But because of Gavesin, there were 500 people who had been inspired to declare themselves lay followers, and yet who also didn’t practice in full in terms of their virtue.

"Then the thought occurred to Gavesin the lay follower: ‘I am the benefactor of these 500 lay followers, their leader, the one who has inspired them. But I don’t practice in full in terms of my virtue, just as they don’t practice in full in terms of their virtue. In that we’re exactly even; there’s nothing extra [for me]. How about something extra!’ So he went to the 500 lay followers and on arrival said to them, ‘From today onward I want you to know me as someone who practices in full in terms of my virtue.’

"Then the thought occurred to the 500 lay followers: ‘Master Gavesin is our benefactor, our leader, the one who has inspired us. He will now practice in full in terms of his virtue. So why shouldn’t we?’ So they went to Gavesin the lay follower and on arrival said to him, ‘From today onward we want Master Gavesin to know the 500 lay followers as people who practice in full in terms of their virtue.’

"Then the thought occurred to Gavesin the lay follower: ‘I am the benefactor of these 500 lay followers, their leader, the one who has inspired them. I practice in full in terms of my virtue, just as they practice in full in terms of their virtue. In that we’re exactly even; there’s nothing extra [for me]. How about something extra!’ So he went to the 500 lay followers and on arrival said to them, ‘From today onward I want you to know me as someone who practices the chaste life, the life apart, abstaining from intercourse, the act of villagers.’

"Then the thought occurred to the 500 lay followers: ‘Master Gavesin is our benefactor, our leader, the one who has inspired us. He will now practice the chaste life, the life apart, abstaining from intercourse, the act of villagers. So why shouldn’t we?’ So they went to Gavesin the lay follower and on arrival said to him, ‘From today onward we want Master Gavesin to know the 500 lay followers as people who practice the chaste life, the life apart, abstaining from intercourse, the act of villagers.’

"Then the thought occurred to Gavesin the lay follower: ‘I am the benefactor of these 500 lay followers, their leader, the one who has inspired them. I practice in full in terms of my virtue, just as they practice in full in terms of their virtue. I practice the chaste life, the life apart, abstaining from intercourse, the act of villagers, just as they practice the chaste life, the life apart, abstaining from intercourse, the act of villagers. In that we’re exactly even; there’s nothing extra [for me]. How about something extra!’ So he went to the 500 lay followers and on arrival said to them, ‘From today onward I want you to know me as someone who eats only one meal a day, refraining in the night, abstaining from a meal at the wrong time.’

"Then the thought occurred to the 500 lay followers: ‘Master Gavesin is our benefactor, our leader, the one who has inspired us. He will now eat only one meal a day, refraining in the night, abstaining from a meal at the wrong time. So why shouldn’t we?’ So they went to Gavesin the lay follower and on arrival said to him, ‘From today onward we want Master Gavesin to know the 500 lay followers as people who eat only one meal a day, refraining in the night, abstaining from a meal at the wrong time.’

"Then the thought occurred to Gavesin the lay follower: ‘I am the benefactor of these 500 lay followers, their leader, the one who has inspired them. I practice in full in terms of my virtue, just as they practice in full in terms of their virtue. I practice the chaste life, the life apart, abstaining from intercourse, the act of villagers, just as they practice the chaste life, the life apart, abstaining from intercourse, the act of villagers. I eat only one meal a day, refraining in the night, abstaining from a meal at the wrong time, just as they eat only one meal a day, refraining in the night, abstaining from a meal at the wrong time. In that we’re exactly even; there’s nothing extra [for me]. How about something extra!’

"So he went to Kassapa the Blessed One, worthy & fully self-awakened, and on arrival said to him, ‘Lord, may I receive the Going Forth in the Blessed One’s presence. May I receive the Full Acceptance.’ So he received the Going Forth in the presence of Kassapa the Blessed One, worthy & fully self-awakened; he received the Going Forth. And not long after his admission — dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute — he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the chaste life, for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.’ And thus Gavesin the monk became another one of the arahants.

"Then the thought occurred to the 500 lay followers: ‘Master Gavesin is our benefactor, our leader, the one who has inspired us. Having shaven off his hair & beard, having put on the ochre robe, he has gone forth from the home life into homelessness. So why shouldn’t we?’

"So they went to Kassapa the Blessed One, worthy & fully self-awakened, and on arrival said to him, ‘Lord, may we receive the Going Forth in the Blessed One’s presence. May we receive the Full Acceptance.’ So they received the Going Forth in the presence of Kassapa the Blessed One, worthy & fully self-awakened; they received the Going Forth.

"Then the thought occurred to Gavesin the monk: ‘I obtain at will — without difficulty, without hardship — this unexcelled bliss of release. O, that these 500 monks may obtain at will — without difficulty, without hardship — this unexcelled bliss of release!’ Then those 500 monks — dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute — in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the chaste life, for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for themselves in the here & now. They knew: ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.’ And thus did those 500 monks — headed by Gavesin, striving at what is more & more excellent, more & more refined — realize unexcelled release.

"So, Ananda, you should train yourselves: ‘Striving at what is more & more excellent, more & more refined, we will realize unexcelled release.’ That’s how you should train yourselves."

 
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