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THE DREAMER IN THE WOOD
NOW the Buddha once upon a time lived alone in the woods,
in the ecstasy of meditation. For wild fruits he went
no further afield. When fruit grew upon the tree, he ate
the fruit; in time of flowers, he ate flowers. When the
leaves grew, he ate leaves. When leaves were none, he ate
the bark of trees. Thus, in the highest contentment he lived
a long time in that place.
Now on a day, Sakka, the King of the gods, appeared before
him and, wishing to test him, said: "Behold yon man, all
black of hue, my spirit likes him not."
Now by his divine insight the Buddha knew that Sakka spoke
to him. And he made answer and said:
"Though black of hue, I am a true Brahmin. A man is not
black by reason of his outer skin; only can sin make him
black." Thus he discoursed to Sakka, and it was as he had
made the moon to rise in the sky. And the god asked him
what boon he would crave.
And the Divine being asked to be free of three things:
malice, hatred and greed.
Then Sakka: "What is bad in these things?" And Buddha
made answer, "Because hatred grows from small to great
and is ever full of bitterness. Malice brings evil. First
word, then touch, next fist, then staff, and last the
swordstroke flashing free. When men are urged by greed,
then arise fraud and deceit and swift pursuit of savage
"Then," said Sakka, "choose another boon."
Then said the Buddha, "Grant that in the woods where I
live alone, no disease may mar my peace, or break my ecstasy."
Then said Sakka, "He chooseth no thing connected with
food." And he granted yet another boon.
And the Buddha said, "Let no creature ever be harmed for
me in body or in mind."
And Sakka made the tree bear fruit perennially, and
saluting the Buddha by touching his head with joined
hands, he said:
"Dwell here for ever free from disease," and returned
to his throne.