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The King sees the Light.
As no one invited Him for the noonday meal on the following day, the Buddha, bowl in hand went from house to house in the streets of Kapilavatthu seeking alms together with His disciples. This was reported to the King, and he with agitated heart hurried to the scene and inquired of the Buddha why He thus disgraces the family.
"This is the custom of our lineage, O King" replied the Buddha to the King's astonishment.
"Surely, Lord, ours is the warrior lineage of Mahasammata, and not a single warrior has gone seeking alms." "This royal lineage is yours, O King; mine is the Buddha lineage." Standing in the street the Buddha then advised the King thus:-"Be alert! Be not heedless! Lead a righteous life. The righteous live happily both in this world and in the next."
The King saw the light of Truth and attained the first stage of Sainthood. Soon he took the bowl from the Buddha and conducted Him and His disciples to the palace and served them all with food. After the meal the Buddha preached the Dhamma thus:-"Lead a righteous life, and not one that is corrupt. The righteous live happily both in this world and in the next."
Thereupon the King attained Sakadagami-Once Returner, the second stage of Sainthood, and Maha Paj.a.pati Gotami attained the first stage of Sainthood.
On a later occasion, hearing the Dhammapala Jataka, the King attained Anagami-Never-Returner, the third stage of Sainthood.
On his deathbed, the King heard the Dhamma from the Buddha for the last time and attained Arahants.h.i.+p.
The Buddha and Princess Yasodhara.
When the Buddha visited the palace, all but Princess Yasodhara came to pay their reverence to the Buddha. Yasodhara thought:- Certainly if there is any virtue in me, the n.o.ble Lord Himself will come to my presence. Then will I reverence Him."
The Buddha handed His bowl to the King, and accompanied by His two chief disciples entered the chamber of Yasodhara and sat on the prepared seat, saying:- "Let the King's daughter reverence as she likes. Say nothing."
Swiftly she came, clasped His ankles, and placing her head on His feet, reverenced Him as she liked.
The King then commented on her great love and said:- "Lord, when my daughter heard that you were wearing yellow robes, she also robed herself in yellow; when she heard that You were taking one meal a day, she also did the same; when she heard that You had given up lofty couches, she lay on a low couch; when she heard that You had given up garlands and scents, she also gave them up; when her relatives sent messages to say that they maintain her, she did not even look at a single one. So virtuous was my daughter!"
"Not only in this birth but in a previous birth, too, she protected me, O' King," remarked the Buddha and cited the Candakinnara Jataka. Consoling her with these words, the Buddha left the palace.
After the death of King Suddhodana, when Maha Paj.a.pati Gotami became a Bhikkhuni, Yasodhara also entered the Order and later attained Arahants.h.i.+p. It may be mentioned that Princess Yasodhara was of the same age as the Buddha.
The Buddha and His Stepbrother Nanda.
Two days after the arrival of the Buddha in Kapilavatthu, Prince Nanda, the son of Queen Paj.a.pati Gotami, was celebrating his consecration ceremony, marriage ceremony, and the house-warming ceremony. It was on the occasion of these three festivals that the Buddha visited the palace.
The Buddha handed the bowl to Prince Nanda and uttering a Blessing rose to go without taking the bowl. The Prince followed Him. Princess Janapada Kalyani seeing Nanda following the Buddha said:-"Return quickly, O n.o.ble Lord!" Prince Nanda was deeply moved by these words that fell from the mouth of his fiancee, but with deference to the Buddha he could not return the bowl to Him. So, bowl in hand, he went to the park with the Buddha and was asked to join the Order.
With reluctance he entered the Order out of respect for Him as a Buddha and as an elder brother of his; but he was constantly thinking of his fiancee. The Buddha reading his thoughts devised a means to set him on the right path. With the object of showing him celestial nymphs the Buddha using His psychic powers, took him to a heavenly plane. On the way Nanda Bhikkhu was shown a singed she-monkey clinging to a burnt-up stump in a scorched field.
Reaching heaven Nanda Bhikkhu beheld the celestial nymphs and was so much fascinated by them that he compared his charming fiancee to the old she-monkey.
"Would you like to have them, Nanda?" the Buddha questioned him.
"Yes, Lord!" he childishly replied.
"Well, then, I guarantee that you will possess them if you persevere as I bid you."
Hearing that Nanda Thera was living the Holy Life with the object of winning heavenly nymphs, the Bhikkhus ridiculed him, calling him 'hireling'. Eventually he became ashamed of his base motive, and by striving diligently attained Arahants.h.i.+p.
The Buddha and Prince Rahula.
On the seventh day after His arrival in Kapilavatthu Princess Yasodhara dressed up Rahula and pointing to the Buddha said:- "Behold, son, that great ascetic of majestic appearance. He is your father. Go up to Him and ask for your inheritance."
Young Rahula came to His presence, and asking for his inheritance, as advised by his mother, very affectionately said:- "O ascetic, even your shadow is pleasing to me."
After the noon meal he followed the Buddha uttering much else that was becoming. n.o.body attempted to stop him. Nor did the Buddha prevent him from following Him. On arrival at the park the Buddha summoned the Venerable Sariputta and said:- "Rahula asks me for his inheritance. I shall give him the seven-fold n.o.ble wealth, which I received at the foot of the Bodhi tree, and make him owner of an inheritance transcending this world. Ordain him, Sariputta."
Rahula, who was then only seven years of age, was admitted into the Order. King Suddhodana was deeply grieved to hear of this unexpected ordination of his beloved grandson. He came to the Buddha and humbly requested Him not to ordain any one without the prior consent of his parents.
The Buddha granted the request.
There are several instructive discourses preached specifically to the Venerable Rahula. Having come of age, he received the Higher Ordination and attained Arahants.h.i.+p in due time.
The Buddha and Ananda.
Ananda was a cousin of the Buddha. He entered the Order together with theSakyan.o.bles - Anuruddha,Bhaddiya,Bhagu,Kimbila,and Devadatta. Hearing a discourse from the Venerable Mantaniputta on the nature of things, he became a Sotapanna.
As he possessed a powerful retentive memory, and as he had the rare privilege of listening to all the discourses of the Buddha owing to his close a.s.sociation with Him, he was later appointed the "Treasurer of the Dhamma-Dhamma-Bhandagarika."
From the 55th year of the Buddha, until His Parinibbana in the 50th year, the Venerable Ananda ministered to all His needs acting as His favourite attendant. It was he who pleaded for the establishment of the Order of Nuns. At the First Council he was chosen to rehea.r.s.e the Dhamma. Thus every Sutta begins with his words - "Evam me sutam. - Thus have I heard."
As he was expected to take a leading part in the First Council, which was composedonlyof Arahants, he strove hard and attained Arahants.h.i.+p on the night preceding the Convocation while he was about to lie down on his couch. It is stated that he was the only disciple who attained Arahants.h.i.+p free from the postures of sitting, standing, walking or sleeping.
The Buddha and Devadatta.
Devadatta was the son of Suppabuddha, and hence the cousin and brother-in-law of the Buddha. He entered the Order in the early part of the Buddha's ministry, and was distinguished for psychic powers (Iddhi). Later, overcome by worldly gain and honor, he so completely changed his life that he became the greatest adversary of the Buddha. He once approached the Buddha and expressed his desire to lead the Order as the Teacher was old. The Buddha refused. Devadatta thereafter committed many an evil act for which he still suffers in Avici.
Knowing perfectly well that the Buddha would not a.s.sent, but in order to make it a pretext to disparage the Buddha and thereby win the support of the ignorant folk, he requested the Buddha to enforce the following five rules:- I. That monks should dwell all their lives in the forest, II. That they should live on alms begged, III. That they should wear Pamsukula robes (i.e., robes made from rags collected from the dust heap and cemeteries), IV. That they should live at the foot of a tree, V. that they should not eat fish or flesh throughout life.
The compa.s.sionate, far-seeing Buddha declared that those who wished were free to observe them, but He would not make them compulsory.
Devadatta made this refusal a weapon to cause a schism in the Order. Instigated by Him, Ajatasattu caused the death of his innocent and devout father, King Bimbisara.
Failing in all efforts to destroy the Buddha, finally Devadatta himself made an unsuccessful attempt to kill Him by hurling a rock from above on His head. Books state that in the remote future he would become a Pacceka Buddha, named Atthissara, as a result of the Holy Life he red before his wicked career.
The Buddha's Ministry.
The Buddha's successful ministry lasted 45 years. From His 35th year, the date of His Enlightenment, till His death in His 80th year, He served humanity both by example and precept, with no personal motive. Throughout the year He wandered fromplace toplace,teaching the Dhamma to the people and liberating them from the bonds of Samsara. During the Rainy Season (Va.s.sana-July to November) He lived in retirement, as was customary with all ascetics, owing to the incessant rains.
The First Twenty Years.
According to the Buddhavamsa commentary, His first twenty years were spent as follows:- 1st Year - Benares.
After preaching the Dhammacakka Sutta on the Asalha full-moon day, He spent the first Va.s.sana (Retreat)intheDeerParkatIsipatana,near Benares. Here there was no special building for Him to reside.
2nd, 3rd and 4th Years - Rajagaha.
When the Buddha visitedKingBimbisara,he offeredhisBambooGrove (Veluvana)tothe Buddha and His disciples. This was an ideal solitary place for monks as it was neither too far nor too close to the city. Three rainy seasons were spent in this quiet grove.
5th Year - Vesali.
During this year whilst He was residing in the Pinnacled-Hall at Mahavana near Vesali, He heard of the impending death of King Suddhodana and repairingtohisdeath-chamberpreachedthe Dhamma to him. Immediately after he attained Arahants.h.i.+p, for seven days he enjoyed the bliss of Emanc.i.p.ation and pa.s.sed away.
The Order of Nuns.
Bhikkhuni Sasana was founded in the 5th Va.s.sana year of the Buddha. After the death of King Suddhodana, Maha Paj.a.pati Gotami, desirous of joining the Order, approached the Buddha who was then residing at Kapilavatthu and begged permission for women to be admitted into the Order. For several reasons the Buddha refused and returned to Vesali.
But Maha Paj.a.pati Gotami, without being discouraged, cut off her hair and wearing yellow garments went on foot to Vesali, accompanied by many other Sakyan ladies, experiencing many a hards.h.i.+p. Weeping they stood outside the porch of the Pinnacled Hall in Mahavana where the Buddha was residing. TheVenerable Ananda, moved by the pathetic sight, appealed to the Buddha on their behalf. Again He refused thrice but was finally persuaded by the entreaties of the Venerable Ananda on condition that Maha Paj.a.pati Gotami would agree to observe the following eight Chief Rules:- 1. A nun, even of a hundred years' standing by Upasampada, should salute a Bhikkhu and rise before him, though he had received the Higher Ordination that very day. '
2. A nun should not spend a Retreat in a place where there is no Bhikkhu.
3. Every fortnight a nun should ask from the Order of monks the time of Uposatha meeting and when a Bhikkhu would come to admonish them.
4. ThePavaranaceremonyaftertheRetreat should be held by a nun in the presence of the Order of both Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis.
5. Major offences of a nun should be dealt with by the Order of both Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis.
6. A female novice (Sikkhamana) who remains on probation for two years should receive the Higher Ordination from the Order of both Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis.
7. A nun should on no account rebuke or abuse a Bhikkhu.
8. Nuns should not give admonition to Bhikkhus, but Bhikkhus should admonish nuns.
Paj.a.pati Gotami gladly agreed to abide by these eight Chief Rules. By accepting them she automatically received the Lesser and Higher Ordination. The other Sakyan ladies also received their Lesser and Higher Ordination. All of them later attained Arahants.h.i.+p. Yasodhara and Nanda, the daughters of Paj.a.pati Gotami, were also admitted into the Order.
In the Order of Nuns Khema and Uppalavanna were appointed the two chief Female Disciples, as were Sariputta and Moggallana in the Order of Monks.
6th Year - Mankula Hill.
Just as He performed the "Twin Wonder" (Yamaka Parihariya) to overcome the pride of His relatives at Kapilavatthu, here too He did the same a second time to convert others.
7th Year- Tavatimsa Heaven A few days after the birth of the Bodhisatta his mother Queen Maha Maya died and was born as a Deva in the Tavatimsa Heaven. In this 7th year during the rainy three months, He preached the Abhidhamma to the Devas of this Celestial Plane, headed by His mother Deva. Daily He came to earth and gave a summary of His sermon to the Venerable Sariputta, who in turn expounded the same doctrine in detail to his disciples. What is embodied in the present Abhidhamma Pitaka is supposed to be this detailed exposition of the Dhamma by Him.
It is stated that on hearing these philosophical discourses the mother Deva attained the First Stage of Sainthood.
8th Year - Bhesakala Forest
Near Sumsumara Rock, In the Bhagga District.
9th Year - Kosambi It was in this year that Magandiya harboured a grudge against the Buddha for what He uttered when her father proposed to give her in marriage to Him.
l0th Year - Parileyyaka Forest Owing to some unfortunate dispute that could not be settled between two parties of Bhikkhus, the Buddha retired to this forest for the Retreat. It was on this occasion, according to the story, that an elephant and a monkey ministered to His needs.
11th Year - Eka.n.a.la, Brahmin village The interesting Kasibharadvaja Sutta was delivered here.
l2th Year - Veranja During this period the Buddha and His disciples were compelled to live on food used for horses. The stay at Veranja forms the introduction to the Vinaya.
l3th Year - Caliya Rock l4th Year - Jetavana Monastery, Savatthi The Venerable Rahula received his Higher Ordination at this time on the completion of his 20th year.
l5th Year - Kapilavatthu The tragic death of King Suppabuddha, the father of Princess Yasodhara, occurred in this year. It should be noted that the Buddha spent only one Retreat in his birthplace.
l6th Year - City of Alavaka The conversion of Alavaka, the demon, who feasted on human flesh, took place on this occasion.
l7th Year - Rajagaha l8th Year- Caliya Rock l9th and 20th Year - Rajagaha
It was in the 20th year that the Buddha converted the notorious murderer Angulimala. Ahimsaka - Innocent - was his original name. He belonged to a distinguished family, and was the most ill.u.s.trious and favorite pupilof his renowned teacher.
Unfortunately his a.s.sociates grew jealous of him, concocted a false story, and succeeded in poisoning the teacher against him. The enraged teacher, without any investigation, contrived to put an end to his life by ordering him to fetch a thousand fingers as a present. In obedience to the teacher, though with great reluctance, he repaired to the forest and started killing people to collect fingers for the necessary offering. Later he wore a garland of these fingers to ascertain the number - hence the name Angulimala.
When he had collected 999 fingers, so the book state and was ready to complete the number, the Buddha appeared on the scene. Angulimala made a vain attempt to kill the Buddha, but was eventually converted to the n.o.ble Dhamma and was admitted into the Order. One day as he went on his alms-round he saw a woman in travail. Moved by compa.s.sion he reported this pathetic case to the Buddha who then taught the Angulimala Paritta which runs as follows:- "Sister, since I was born in the Ariyan clan, I know not that I consciously destroyed the life of any living being."
"By this truth may you be whole, and may your child be whole!"
He studied this Paritta, and going to the presence of the suffering sister sat on a seat separated from her by a screen, and made this Act of Truth. Instantly she was delivered of the child with great ease. The efficacy of this Paritta persists to this day.
In due course Venerable Angulimala attained Arahants.h.i.+p.
The remaining twenty-five years were spent in Savatthi at the Jetavana Monastery, built by Anathapindika, the millionaire, and at Pubbarama, built by Visakha,the chief benefactress of the Buddha.