Page:Gospel of Buddha.djvu/90

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At that time there lived in Uruvelā the Jatilas, Brahman hermits with matted hair, worshipping the fire and keeping a fire-dragon} and Kassapa was their chief.1

Kassapa was renowned throughout all India, and his name was honored as one of the wisest men on earth and an authority on religion.2

And the Blessed One went to Kassapa of Uruvelā, the Jatila, and said* "Let me stay a night in the room where you keep your sacred fire."3

Kassapa, seeing the Blessed One in his majesty and beauty, thought to himself "This is a great muni and a noble teacher. Should he stay over night in the room where the sacred fire is kept, the serpent will bite him and he will die." And he said: "I do not object to your staying over-night in the room where the sacred fire is kept, but the serpent lives there; he will kill you and I should be sorry to see you perish."4

But the Buddha insisted and Kassapa admitted him to the room where the sacred fire was kept.5

And the Blessed One sat .down with his body erect, surrounding himself with watchfulness.6

In the night the dragon came to the Buddha, belching forth in rage his fiery poison, and filling the air with burning vapor, but could do him no harm, and the fire consumed itself while the World-honored One remained composed. And the venomous fiend became very wroth so that he died in his anger.7

When Kassapa saw the light shining forth from the room he said: "Alas, what misery! Truly, the countenance of Gotama the great Sakyamuni is beautiful, but the serpent will destroy him."8

'In the morning the Blessed One showed the dead body