(Semantic game players don't.)
Back to The Surangama Sutra
(much more tried and true wisdom than any of the polylogist crap that came out of the twentieth century)
Upon this occasion, Prasenajit the King of Sravasti in celebration of the anniversary of his father's death, prepared a special feast of choice vegetables and dainties, and came personally to call upon the Lord Buddha and to invite him and all the Great Bodhisattvas-Mahasattvas to attend a reception at the royal palace. At the same time the elders and wealthy laymen of the city added to the King's celebration by preparing jointly another feast and invited all the Disciples of the Lord Buddha to attend while the Lord and the Great Disciples were with the King. The Lord Buddha, knowing all about it, bade his Great Disciple Manjusri to first lead part of the Bodhisattvas-Mahasattva and Arhats [saints] to attend the Laymen's homes and to receive their offerings.
Ananda was the only one of the Great Disciples who was noticeably absent. Owing to a previous engagement in a distant district, he had not yet returned. He was quite alone and when he reached the Meditation Hall upon his return, he found it deserted, not a single disciple about, nor were there any offerings from their patrons in sight. Then Ananda, thoughtful as ever, took his alms bowl and entered into the city begging food from house to house in regular order, his only thought being to receive the offerings from all alike even to the last danapati. It mattered nothing to Ananda whether the offering was small or generous, attractive or repulsive, whether the giver was of the Kshatriya [Warrior (second) cast] caste or the Candra [Chandala, an outcast] caste, to him the all important thing was to practice kindness and compassion on all alike with no discrimination whatever. He sought only to attain the inestimable merit of delivering all sentient beings, treating them all alike.
Ananda had heard that the Lord on one occasion Nat rebuked Subhuti and Mahakatyayana for showing discrimination towards Arahats in their practice of begging. He greatly admired the Lord's liberal mind and determined that he would not commit the same fault himself. He was proud of his good name and did not wish to give cause for people having suspicions or for slandering about himself, so he quietly crossed the dried moat that surrounded the city, entered the city-gate with solemn gravity. He was a noticeable figure in his neat attire and solemn manner as if he was on a special mission to receive some ceremonial offering.
While Ananda was begging in orderly succession, he came to the house of a prostitute name Maudenka who had a beautiful daughter named Pchiti. This young maiden was attracted by Onondaga youthful and attractive person and pleaded earnestly with her mother to conjure the young monk by the magic spell of "bramanyika." This the mother did and Ananda coming under the spell of its magic became fascinated by the charm of the young maiden and entered the house and her room.
As soon as the feast was ended, the Lord Tathagata [Title of the Buddha, "such-come" in Chinese, generally used to denote both the Buddha and the state of perfect godhead in wisdom ("Tathagataship") attainable by any man. It should be understood that there is no "God" in Buddhism, and that anybody can become a Buddha.] returned to the Meditation Hall in the Jeta Grove. King Prasenajit and his royal ministers and many of the prominent elders and wealthy laymen of the city returned with the Lord to listen further to his wonderful and precious teaching, the like of which they had never before heard. The Lord as usual first sitting quietly became absorbed in Samadhi [a state of superconsciousness following meditation], radiating from the crown of his head rays of soft and tender brightness, like lotus petals surrounded by innumerable leaves. In the center of the Lotus petals there was a vision of the Nirmanakaya Buddha ["Transformation body," one of the three bodies of Buddha. The other two are "Dharmakaya" (body of the Law) and "Sambhogakaya" (the body of Bliss).] sitting with feet crossed intuiting and radiating the intrinsic Dharani [from the glossary: Dharana. Fixing the mind on one object in Yoga practice. Ed.].
The Lord Buddha had known all along what was happening to Ananda and now called Manjusri and bade him repeat the Great Dharani at the place where Ananda was yielding to temptation. As soon as Manjusri reached the house, the magic spell lost its power and Ananda returned to self-control. Manjusri encouraged Ananda and they returned with him to meet the Lord Buddha.