The Bodhisatta (Buddha-to-be)

Asita, the seer, visits the newborn prince

Asita the seer, in his mid-day meditation, saw the devas of the Group of Thirty — exultant, ecstatic — dressed in pure white, honoring Indra, holding up banners, cheering wildly, & on seeing the devas so joyful & happy, having paid his respects, he said: "Why is the deva community so wildly elated? Why are they holding up banners & waving them around? Even after the war with the Asuras — when victory was the devas', the Asuras defeated — even then there was no excitement like this. Seeing what marvel are the devas so joyful? They shout, they sing, play music, clap their hands, dance. So I ask you, who live on Mount Meru's summit. Please dispel my doubt quickly, dear sirs." "The Bodhisatta, the foremost jewel, unequaled, has been born for welfare & ease in the human world, in a town in the Sakyan countryside, Lumbini. That's why we're all so wildly elated. He, the highest of all beings, the ultimate person, a bull among men, foremost of all people, will set turning the Wheel [of Dhamma] in the grove named after the seers, like a strong, roaring lion, the conqueror of beasts." Hearing these words, Asita quickly descended [from heaven] and went to Suddhodana's dwelling. There, taking a seat, he said to the Sakyans: "Where is the prince? I, too, want to see him." The Sakyans then showed to the seer named Asita their son, the prince, like gold aglow, burnished by a most skillful smith in the mouth of the furnace, blazing with glory, flawless in color. On seeing the prince blazing like flame, pure like the bull of the stars going across the sky — the burning sun, released from the clouds of autumn — he was exultant, filled with abundant rapture. The devas held in the sky a many-spoked sunshade of a thousand circles. Gold-handled whisks waved up & down, but those holding the whisks & the sunshade couldn't be seen. The matted-haired seer named Dark Splendor, seeing the boy, like an ornament of gold on the red woolen blanket, a white sunshade held over his head, received him, happy & pleased. And on receiving the bull of the Sakyans, longingly, the master of mantras & signs exclaimed with a confident mind: "This one is unsurpassed, the highest of the biped race." Then, foreseeing his own imminent departure, he, dejected, shed tears. On seeing him weeping, the Sakyans asked: "But surely there will be no danger for the prince?" On seeing the Sakyans' concern he replied, "I foresee for the prince no harm. Nor will there be any danger for him. This one isn't lowly: be assured. This prince will touch the ultimate self-awakening. He, seeing the utmost purity, will set rolling the Wheel of Dhamma through sympathy for the welfare of many. His holy life will spread far & wide. But as for me, my life here has no long remainder; my death will take place before then. I won't get to hear the Dhamma of this one with the peerless role. That's why I'm stricken, afflicted, & pained."