The Play in Full
Degé Kangyur, vol. 46 (mdo sde, kha), folios 1.b–216.b
Translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
The Play in Full tells the story of how the Buddha manifested in this world and attained awakening, as perceived from the perspective of the Great Vehicle. The sūtra, which is structured in twenty-seven chapters, first presents the events surrounding the Buddha’s birth, childhood, and adolescence in the royal palace of his father, king of the Śākya nation. It then recounts his escape from the palace and the years of hardship he faced in his quest for spiritual awakening. Finally the sūtra reveals his complete victory over the demon Māra, his attainment of awakening under the Bodhi tree, his first turning of the wheel of Dharma, and the formation of the very early saṅgha.
This text was translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the supervision of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.
Cortland Dahl, Catherine Dalton, Hilary Herdman, Heidi Koppl, James Gentry, and Andreas Doctor translated the text from Tibetan into English. Andreas Doctor and Wiesiek Mical then compared the translations against the original Tibetan and Sanskrit, respectively. Finally, Andreas Doctor edited the translation and wrote the introduction.
The Dharmachakra Translation Committee would like to thank Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche for blessing this project, and Khenpo Sherap Sangpo for his generous assistance with the resolution of several difficult passages.
This translation has been completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of 簡源震及家人江秀敏，簡暐如，簡暐丞 Chien YuanChen (Dharma Das) and his wife, daughter, and son for work on this sūtra is gratefully acknowledged.
Monks, while the god in this way was encouraging the Bodhisattva, a dream occurred to King Śuddhodana. As he was sleeping, King Śuddhodana dreamed that the Bodhisattva was leaving the palace in the quiet of the night,  surrounded by a host of gods. As the Bodhisattva left the palace, the king saw that he had become ordained and was wearing the saffron-colored robes.
As soon as the king awoke, he immediately asked the chamberlain, “Is the young prince with the consorts?”
The chamberlain replied, “Yes, Your Majesty.”
King Śuddhodana, sitting in the female quarters, thought to himself, “Then the young prince will surely leave us soon, as these omens foretell.” As a sharp pain shot through his heart, he began to scheme: “My young prince must never even set foot in the palace gardens. He must always remain inside with the maidens so that he will be addicted to their pleasures. He must never leave us!”
Then, in order for the young prince to enjoy himself, King Śuddhodana erected three palaces for each of the three seasons—hot, rainy, and cold. [F.95.a] The Hot Season Palace was very cool, the Rainy Season Palace was both cool and warm, and the Winter Palace was naturally warm. At each palace five hundred guardsmen walked up and down the staircase. While they were ascending and descending the stairs, their calls could be heard for a distance of half a league. Everyone thought, “The young prince will never be able to leave without being noticed.”
Nevertheless all the astrologers and fortunetellers kept making the same prediction, saying, “The young prince will leave through the Gate of Auspiciousness.” So the king had massive door panels fitted into the Gate of Auspiciousness, so large that it took five hundred men to open and close each of them. The calls of these five hundred men could be heard half a league away. The king provided the palaces with the five desirable things, the likes of which had never been seen before. There were constantly young maidens around the Bodhisattva, playing their instruments, singing songs, and dancing for him.
On hearing that, King Śuddhodana thought to himself, “My young prince has never been to the parks to see their lovely grounds. However, if I allow him to visit the parks, the young prince must be surrounded by women. That way he can really enjoy amorous delights and surely he will not leave us then.”
As King Śuddhodana had such love for the Bodhisattva and wanted to please him, he dispatched bell ringers and made the following announcement to the people in his city: “Seven days from now, the young prince will be visiting the grounds of the pleasure grove. You must all make sure that the young prince does not catch sight of anything disagreeable, so take care that everything that is not beautiful has been removed, and every nice thing, pleasing to the senses, has been brought forth!”
Accordingly, on the seventh day, the entire city was beautifully adorned. The parks were also adorned with canopies of cloth in various colors, as well as parasols, flags, [F.95.b] and banners. The road on which the Bodhisattva was to proceed had been sprinkled and swept, sprayed with perfumed water, and scattered with fresh flower petals. Incense burners dispensed fragrant smoke, and along the road vases had been placed and plantain trees planted. The road was shaded with silk canopies in many colors, and festooned with nets of tiny jewel bells and decorative garlands and tassels. Four army divisions had also taken position along the route, and members of the retinue were busy adorning the young prince’s consorts.
Amid all this activity, while the Bodhisattva was exiting through the eastern gate of the city on his way to the parks, through the power of the Bodhisattva the gods from the pure realms emanated an old man on the road ahead. He was a decrepit old man, so skinny that the veins on his body protruded. His teeth had fallen out  and he was covered in wrinkles everywhere. His hair was gray and he was hunched over like the rafters in a gable roof. Weak and broken, he had to use a stick to keep himself from falling. He was in pain and his vitality was long gone. The only sounds that emerged from his throat were a dry wheezing. As he stood there on the road, with the weight of his upper body supported by his stick, all his limbs were shaking and trembling.
When the Bodhisattva saw the man, he asked his charioteer the following, even though he already knew the answer:
The charioteer replied:
The charioteer replied:
So the Bodhisattva turned his fine chariot around and returned to the city.
However, monks, sometime later, while the Bodhisattva was setting out for the parks through the southern city gate, again accompanied by a large parade, he saw on the road a man suffering from disease. His body was weak, and he was suffering greatly as he lay in his own urine and feces. There was no one to take care of him or assist him, and he was breathing only with the greatest difficulty. When the Bodhisattva saw this man, he turned to the charioteer and asked him the following, even though he already knew the answer:
The charioteer replied:
However, monks, sometime later, while the Bodhisattva was setting out for the parks through the western city gate, accompanied by a large parade, he saw on the road a dead man who had reached his end. The corpse was lying on a stretcher, covered by a cotton cloth. It was surrounded by a group of relatives who wailed, cried, and lamented. [F.96.b] As they followed the deceased, they pulled out their hair, threw dust on their heads, beat their chests, and lamented loudly.
When he saw this, the Bodhisattva turned to the charioteer and asked him the following, even though he already knew the answer:
The charioteer replied:
Monks, sometime later, while the Bodhisattva was setting out for the parks through the northern city gate, through the power of the Bodhisattva the gods emanated a mendicant in the street where they were passing. The Bodhisattva saw the mendicant and noticed that he was peaceful. He was self-controlled and restrained. He had pure conduct, and his eyes didn’t wander but looked down ahead at a distance of six feet. His behavior was beautiful and exquisite, as was the way he walked. The way he looked ahead and to the left and right was also beautiful. When he bent and stretched his limbs, he did so in an exquisite manner. The way he wore his robes and his offering bowl was delightful to see.
The charioteer replied:
Monks, King Śuddhodana both saw and heard that the Bodhisattva had been inspired in these ways. So in order to guard the Bodhisattva even more, he erected a perimeter wall around the palace, dug trenches, and strengthened the gates. He also posted guards, alerted his brave soldiers, and even prepared the cavalry. All of them were in full armor. In order to guard the Bodhisattva, he placed a full army division at each of the junctions by the four city gates to keep watch day and night, and told them to prevent the Bodhisattva from eloping. At the quarters of the consorts he directed everyone to  continuously sing and play music, and not to stop for even a moment.
“You must apply all your skills in pleasure and games!” he told them. “Use all your female trickery and keep persevering with the young prince so that when his mind becomes attached to you, he will not want to leave for the sake of ordination!”
On this topic, it is said:
This concludes the fourteenth chapter, on dreams. 
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