3:1  The Going Forth

I will praise the Going Forth,

how he went forth, the One with Eyes,

how he reasoned and chose the Going Forth.

“Household life is confining,

a realm of dust,

while going forth

is the open air.”

Seeing this, he went forth.

On going forth,

he avoided evil deeds in body.

Abandoning verbal misconduct,

he purified his livelihood.

Then he, the Buddha, went to Rājagaha,

the mountain fortress of the Magadhans,

and wandered for alms,

teeming with the foremost marks.

King Bimbisāra, standing in his palace, saw him,

and on seeing him, consummate in marks,

said this:

“Look at this one, sirs.

How handsome, stately, pure!

How consummate his demeanor!

Mindful, his eyes downcast,

looking only a plow-length before him.

This one’s not like one

from a lowly lineage:

Have the royal messengers hurry

to see where this monk will go.”

They—the messengers dispatched—

followed behind him.

“Where will this monk go?

Where will his dwelling place be?”

As he went from house to house—

well-restrained, his sense-doors guarded,

mindful, alert—

his bowl filled quickly.

Then he, the sage, completing his alms round,

left the city, headed for Mount Paṇḍava.

“That’s where his dwelling will be.”

Seeing him go to his dwelling place,

three messengers sat down,

while one returned to tell the king.

“That monk, your majesty,

on the flank of Paṇḍava,

sits like a tiger, a bull,

a lion in a mountain cleft.”

Hearing the messenger’s words,

the noble-warrior king

straight away set out by royal coach,

for Mount Paṇḍava.

Going as far as the coach would go,

the noble-warrior king

got down from the coach,

went up on foot,

and on arrival sat down.

Sitting there,

he exchanged courteous greetings,

and after giving friendly greetings,

said this:

“Young you are, and youthful,

in the first stage of youth,

consummate in stature & coloring

like a noble-warrior by birth.

You would look glorious

in the vanguard of an army,

arrayed with an elephant squadron.

I offer you wealth : Enjoy it.

I ask your birth : Inform me.”

“Straight ahead, your majesty,

by the foothills of the Himalayas,

is a country consummate

in energy & wealth,

inhabited by Kosalans:

Solar by clan,

Sakyans by birth.

From that lineage I have gone forth,

but not in hope of sensuality.

Seeing the danger in sensuality

—and renunciation as rest—

I go to strive.

That’s where my heart delights.”

vv. 405–424

See also: MN 26; MN 36; AN 3:39; AN 5:57