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Chapter 14: The Great Sages

After he left the town of Wángshè, Xīdá-duō went to see the sage Ēluó-lán 阿罗蓝, one of the wisest men in all the world. Xīdá-duō showed himself enthusiastic and courageous and very knowledgeable, and Ēluó-lán was very happy to take him as a student.

But one day Ēluó-lán said to him: "Now you know as much as I do, and you are free to leave. But rather than being my student, and rather than leaving, why not stay and help teach others."

Xīdá-duō protested that he had not yet learnt how to avoid the pains of birth, old age, sickness, and death. But Ēluó-lán claimed he had taught him all he could. What he had taught him was meditation (chándìng 禅定) to make his mind still, but not the knowledge of things of this world and other worlds (wúsuǒyǒu chùdìng 无所有处定), or the way to avoid birth, old age, sickness, and death. So Xīdá-duō left the sage Ēluó-lán and continued on his quest.

Eventually Xīdá-duō heard tell of a great sage named Yùtuó-luójiā 郁陀罗迦. Yùtuó-luójiā was happy to take the bright and talented former prince as a student, but soon, like Ēluó-lán before him, he had to say that he had taught Xīdá-duō everything he could, and he begged Xīdá-duō to stay with him to help teach others. Once again Xīdá-duō was disappointed because he had not learned about birth, old age, sickness, and death. So he left Yùtuó-luójiā and continued on alone.

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