4-26 Divine powers of Asanga Bodhisattva convert Vasubandhu Bodhisattva

English

Once upon a time, about 900 years after the Buddha’s death, there lived a Buddhist philosopher called Asanga Bodhisattva in the country of Ayodhyā, central India. He had infinite wisdom and benevolence and compassion. At night, he ascended to Tushita Heaven to learn the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism from the Maitreya Bodhisattva and during the day, he descended to the human world to spread the knowledge for the good of humankind.

Asanga Bodhisattva

He had a younger brother philosopher, Vasubandhu Boddhisatva, who resided in Purusapura , a country in northern India. From an eastern country came Piṇḍola Bhāradvāj, a disciple of the Buddha and arahant, who bestowed upon Vasubandhu the teachings of Hinayana Buddhism. Being ignorant of Mahayana Buddhism, Vasubandhu highly valued these teachings. His older brother Asanga, who from afar observed his brother admiring Hinayana, thought he would manage to guide his brother into Mahayana. Then he asked one of his disciples to go to younger brother priest Vasubandhu to ask him to come immediately to see Asanga. Following the master’s order, the disciple reached Purusapura and then conveyed to Vasubandhu the message from his brother.

When he was about to leave following his brother’s request, in the evening, the disciple recited a Mahayana sutra called Dashabhumika (“Sutra on the 10 Stages”). Listening to the sutra, Vsasubandhu felt it to be truly profound and far beyond his understanding. “I have been so silly to have learned the teachings of Hinayana willingly, without listening to any of Mahayana’s profound teachings. The sin of defaming Mahayana must be unimaginably grave. All this resulted from my tongue, which is the root cause of the sin, and I will cut off it.” Grabbing a sharp knife, Vasubandhu was then about to cut off his own tongue with it.

Asanga, who with his divine powers saw from afar that x his brother had a knife, reached out his hand and grasped his brother’s hand so as to never let him go. Between the brothers lay a distance about three yojana, the length of a three-day march of the royal army. However, Asanga immediately came to Vasubandhu, stood by him, and remonstrated him. “You are now cutting your tongue to compensate, the height of stupidity. Originally, the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism preach the truth. All Buddhas glorify and all philosophers revere them. Those were the teachings that I have wanted to bestow upon you. You should immediately stop what you are about to do, and learn them. Cutting your tongue will never mean your sincere regret. It is with your tongue that you defamed Mahayana, but you should use it to praise Mahayana now. Finishing his words, the elder brother philosopher vanished from the sight of his brother, Vasubandhu, who followed his elder’s words, stopped trying to cut off his tongue and rejoiced.

Vasubandhu Bodhisattva

Subsequently Vasubandhu visited Asanga in his country and learned all Mahayana teachings so smoothly, as though water were being transferred from one jar to another. The elder brother was a wonderfully good teacher. Later, the younger brother completed a treatise on Mahayana consisting of more than 100 chapters and spread their teachings across the world. This is the story of Vasubandhu Boddhisatva, who has been devotedly worshipped by people around the world.


[Translation]
Tomoco Yamamoto

[Cooperation]
Michael I. Shapiro
Shinichi Kusano

巻四第二十六話 無着の神通力が世親を改心させた話
今昔物語集 巻4第26話 無着世親二菩薩伝法語 第廿六今は昔、仏滅後九百年のころ、中天竺の阿輸遮国というところに、無着菩薩という聖人がいらっしゃいました。智恵甚深、弘誓広大でした。夜は兜率天に昇って弥勒の御許で大乗の法を学び、昼は閻浮堤(...

[Reference]
『今昔物語集(四)』国東文麿 講談社学術文庫

原始仏教聖典資料による釈尊伝の研究 <中央学術研究所>
佛學大辭典/富婁沙富羅 - 維基文庫,自由的圖書館
布路沙布邏
梵名 Purusapura。北印度犍馱羅國之都城,即今西北&#2...
阿踰陀國
梵名 Ayodhyā,巴利名 Ayojjhā。中印度古國,其地為&#213...
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