THE BIRTH OF GOTAMA BUDDHA
from a Pali text
The queen Mahamaya carried the future Buddha for a full ten (lunar) months in her womb, as if he were a vessel of sesame oil. Since she was with this child a long time, there arose in her a desire to go home to her relatives, so she said to the king, "Oh, sir, I wish to see my kinfolk in the town of Devadasa" The king agreed and had the road made even. Then he decorated it with banners, banana stalks and full pots. She was made to sit on a sedan chair and was lifted up to it by one thousand courtiers. The king sent her off with great pomp.
Now, in between the two towns, and belonging to the inhabitants of both, there was a pleasure grove of sala trees. It was named the Lumbini grove. At this time the grove was a mass of flowers from the topmost branches to the ground. Among the branches flew swarms of bees of five different kinds and flocks of various kinds of birds flew around singing sweet voices. All in all, this Lumbini grove resembled the Chittalata grove of Indra's heaven, and it was like a beautifully decorated banquet pavilion of a powerful king.
When the queen saw all of this the desire arose in her to go into this grove, so the courtiers accompanied her in. She approached the king sala tree of the grove, and wanted to catch hold of its branches. The sala tree's branches bent down within the queen's reach like the end of a thick-stemmed reed. She then stretched her hand out and seized the branch, whereupon her labor pains began. So, the people of the court hung a curtain around and departed. Thus, her delivery took place while she was standing up and holding tight to the sala tree's branch.
At that time there came four pure-minded great Brahman spirits carrying a gold net, and placing the Bodhisattva in this net they put him in front of his mother and said, "Be joyful, oh Queen, a powerful son has been born unto you!"
Now, other living beings when emerging from their mother's womb are smeared with disagreeable, impure matter, but it was not so with the Bodhisattva. He departed from his mother like a preacher coming down from his preacher's seat, or like a man descending a flight of stairs, spreading both his hands and feet. Not smeared by any impurity from his mother's womb, but shining pure and spotless was the Bodhisattva, like a gem on a piece of Benares cloth.
Even though both were pure, there poured from the sky streams of sweet water. These waters usually wash away all impurities, but since the Bodhisattva and his mother were already pure, the waters flowed down to honor and welcome them.
SUMMER AND AUTUMN 1976
FIVE PRIMARY PATHS TO ENLIGHTENMENT
l. THE CH'AN PATH--a seven-day meditation intensive. Walking and sitting meditation from 3 am to 12 midnight. Instructional talks. June 19-26.
2. THE PATH OF KNOWLEDGE--A two-week study of Great Vehicle Sutras and commentaries concentrating on the Avatamsaka Sutra. Meditation instruction. June 27-July 9.
3. THE PURE LAND PATH-Seven days of meditation on the mantric syllables of the name Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. Instruction in contemplation. July 10-17.
4. THE PATH OF DISCIPLINE—Three weeks of study and practice of the Vinaya and Rules of Deportment. July 18-August 8.
5. THE CH'AN PATH—same as 1 August 9-15.
6. THE SECRET PATH--Three weeks of study and practice of the methods of, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, one of the most important figures in Buddhism’s esoteric lore. August 16-September 8.
7. THE PATH OF DISCIPLINE--A five week, five-day study of the Bodhisattva Percepts. Also sutra study and meditation. September 8-October 19.
8. WORLDWIDE DHARMA PROPAGATION TOUR--open to all serious adepts. Places visited will probably include Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, India, Ceylon, and Europe. Group leaves late October Costs, must be borne by individual participants.
PROGRAMS WILL BE HELD BOTH AT GOLD MOUNTAIN MONASTERY AND TATHAGATA MONASTERY