Nagasena Bhiksu Sutra 2.76

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T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues 2.76. The King makes offerings

Nāgasena said, “It is past midnight, I have to go back.”

Then the king ordered his attendants to have four rolls of cloth dipped in oil to serve as torches and sent Nāgasena to his temple saying, “You all should respect and attend to Nāgasena as if attending me.”

The attendants replied, “We understand.”

The king said, “To have such a teacher as Nāgasena and such a pupil like me, the realization of Dharma will be quick.”

As all the king’s questions were given suitable answers by Nāgasena, thus the king rejoiced. So the king ordered clothes worth ten-thousand coins to be offered to Nāgasena from the treasury.

The king said to Nāgasena, “From now on, you together with eight hundred sramanas, will be invited daily to my palace for meals and will also be provided with whatever you desire.”

Nāgasena then told the king, “I am a recluse who has no desire.”

The king said “Nāgasena, you should protect yourself and also protect me.”

“What do you mean, by protecting myself and you?”

“Because I am afraid that people would blame me of being miserly by saying, ‘Nāgasena has solved the king’s doubts, but has not received anything from the king.’ People might also blame you saying, ‘Nāgasena was unable to solve the king’s doubts, so the king has not offered him anything.’”

The king continued, “If you, Nāgasena, accept my present, I would earn great merit, and you would protect your fame as well. Just as a lion which is kept in a golden cage will always want to go out. Now, I am a king in the palace, but my mind is not happy. So I want to leave the country and learn the Dharma.”

After the king had finished his speech, Nāgasena got up and returned to the temple. When Nāgasena had just left, the king pondered by himself over what questions he had asked Nāgasena and what answers had been given by Nāgasena. Then the king thought, “The questions put by me were well replied to and explained by Nāgasena.”

And Nāgasena likewise, when he returned to the temple, thought the matter over to himself, “Whatever questions put to me by the king, I have replied to them all.” He thought to himself, “I explained all the questions put by the king.”

Nāgasena thought over these matters until morning. The next day, Nāgasena dressed himself, took his begging bowl, entered the palace, and sat in the royal hall. The king first paid homage to Nāgasena, then sat down and said, “Venerable Nāgasena, as soon as you had left, I thought to myself about what I had asked Nāgasena and what Nāgasena had replied. Then it occurred to me that whatever questions I asked, Nāgasena explained them well. These thoughts kept me happy up to the morning.”

Nāgasena also said to the king, “After I had returned to the temple, I also thought over what the king had asked me, and what I explained. I had explained all. These thoughts kept me happy up to the morning.” Having said this, Nāgasena wanted to depart, and the king paid homage to Nāgasena.

Here ends the Nāgasena Bhiksu Sutra