5:29 h Buddhist
Buddhacarita ("Acts of the Buddha"; Buddhacaritam, Devanagari बुद्धचरितम्) is an epic poem in the Sanskrit mahakavya style on the life of Gautama Buddha by Aśvaghoṣa, composed in the early second century CE.

The Buddhacarita



Book I.

That Arhat is here saluted, who has no counterpart, who, as bestowing the supreme happiness, surpasses (Brahman) the Creator, who, as driving away darkness, vanquishes the sun and, as dispelling all burning heat, surpasses the beautiful moon.

There was a city, the dwelling-place of the great saint Kapila, having its sides surrounded by the beauty of a lofty broad table-land as by a line of clouds, and itself, with its high-soaring palaces , immersed in the sky.

By its pure and lofty system of government it, as it were, stole the splendour of the clouds of Mount Kailāsa, and while it bore the clouds which came to it through a mistake, it fulfilled the imagination which had led them thither .

In that city, shining with the splendour of gems, darkness like poverty could find no place; prosperity shone resplendently, as with a smile, from the joy of dwelling with such surpassingly excellent citizens.

With its festive arbours, its arched gateways and pinnacles , it was radiant with jewels in every dwelling; and unable to find any other rival in the world, it could only feel emulation with its own houses.

There the sun, even although he had retired, was unable to scorn the moon-like faces of its women which put the lotuses to shame, and as if from the access of passion, hurried towards the western ocean to enter the (cooling) water.

‘Yonder Indra has been utterly annihilated by the people when they saw the glories acquired by the Śākyas,’ uttering this scoff, the city strove by its banners with gay-fluttering streamers to wipe away every mark of his existence.

After mocking the water-lilies even at night by the moonbeams which rest on its silver pavilions, by day it assumed the brightness of the lotuses through the sunbeams falling on its golden palaces.

A king, by name Śuddhodana, of the kindred of the sun, anointed to stand at the head of earth’s monarchs, ruling over the city, adorned it, as a bee-inmate a full-blown lotus.

The very best of kings with his train ever near him , intent on liberality yet devoid of pride ; a sovereign, yet with an ever equal eye thrown on all , of gentle nature and yet with wide-reaching majesty .

Falling smitten by his arm in the arena of battle, the lordly elephants of his enemies bowed prostrate with their heads pouring forth quantities of pearls as if they were offering handfuls of flowers in homage.

Having dispersed his enemies by his preeminent majesty as the sun disperses the gloom of an eclipse, he illuminated his people on every side, showing them the paths which they were to follow.

Duty, wealth, and pleasure under his guidance assumed mutually each other’s object, but not the outward dress; yet as if they still vied together they shone all the brighter in the glorious career of their triumphant success.

He, the monarch of the Śākyas, of native pre-eminence, but whose actual pre-eminence was brought about by his numberless councillors of exalted wisdom, shone forth all the more gloriously, like the moon amidst the stars shining with a light like its own .

To him there was a queen, named Māyā, as if free from all deceit (māyā) an effulgence proceeding from his effulgence, like the splendour of the sun when it is free from all the influence of darkness, a chief queen in the united assembly of all queens.

Ocean 2.0 Reader. Empty coverOcean 2.0 Reader. Book is closedOcean 2.0 Reader. FilterOcean 2.0 Reader. Compilation cover