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(from Manoratha Pû, Buddhaghosa's commentary on the A.nguttara Nikâya)






[London, The Royal Asiatic Society]


{Scanned and edited by Christopher M. Weimer, April 2002}
{circumflexes represent macrons in this file}

p. 517

ART. XIII.--Women Leaders of the Buddhist Reformation. By MABEL BODE.

SOME years ago the late Dr. Trenckner made a transcript of an important Pâli work, the commentary on the A.nguttara Nikâya, called Manoratha Pû ("Wish-Fulfiller"), written by the great Buddhist commentator, Buddhagosha. When this work is added, by-and-bye, to the list of Pâli Texts already published, its value, as a further contribution to our knowledge of early Buddhism, will hardly need putting forward--the book will speak for itself. Meanwhile, as it has not yet been edited, the following short extract from the Text, accompanied by a translation, may not be without interest.

   The chapter chosen illustrates the working of the great Buddhist reformation, in its original strength and freshness. It deals with certain contemporary disciples of Gotama, whose names appear in a section of the first Nipâta of the collection of Suttas called the A.nguttara Nikâya. Here we find a list of thirteen women-disciples, who, after entering the Order of "Bhikkhunîs," exercised great influence, either by their teaching or the holiness of their lives.

   In Gotama's discourse the disciples are named in turn, and the virtue that distinguishes each one is pointed out. The commentator adds, beneath every name, an account of the disciple's life, dwelling particularly on that part of her career in which she earned the "high place" assigned to her by the Master.

p. 518

   The sources from which the following portion of the Text has been taken are:--

1. Dr. Trenckner's beautifully clear and exact transcript of a MS. in the Siñhalese writing which he collated with a Burmese MS. of Nipâtas, 1-3. (Both the above MSS. are in the India Office Library, Nos. 30 and 31, Phayre Collection.)

   This transcript is referred to in the footnotes under the initials T.I., where readings differ.

2. A Siñhalese MS: very kindly lent me by Dr. Morris (referred to as S.M.).

   In the collection of Burmese MSS. at the British Museum there is a .Tîkâ (sub-commentary) on the Manoratha Pû rather on a part of it, viz. the first Nipâta.

   The comments on the chapter in question consist chiefly of paraphrases of the expressions used by Buddhagosha, and brief explanations of the scripture verses quoted by him in his account of the thirteen Therîs. There are also touches of extra detail added to a few of the stories. From the references made to other canonical works, the .Tîkâ would seem to be written for readers well versed in the Scriptures; and the meaning is apt to be a little obscure in places. It must be said too that, in this case, any difficulties, as far as the matter is concerned, are added to by the manner of the copying, for the sameness of the Burmese character lends itself to confusion, unless the rounded letters are finished off clearly and exactly; and the .Tîkâ betrays a rather careless hand.

   It has been very easy to correct doubtful readings in the Trenckner transcript, by means of comparison with Dr. Morris's MS. In nearly every case these readings are evidently mere copyists' blunders, which Trenckner has already noted as such, by underlining. Differences in the sense are so rare that the MSS. may almost be said to be, word for word, the same.

p. 519

   With regard to my own translation, I have made it as literal as I could, trying to reflect faithfully all the small shades of meaning in the original. In all passages where I met with difficulties, I have referred them to Professor Rhys Davids, feeling that I can thus justify myself in placing my work (imperfect as it would have been, without his most kind help) before readers whom the subject may interest.

   [This paper was prepared for the Ninth Congress of Orientalists held in London in 1892; and an abstract of it was read at the Congress. The Publication Committee being unable, for want of funds, to print it, the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society was kind enough to order its publication in this Journal.]



p. 522

Fourth Vagga.

1. Mahâpajapatî Gotamî.

   The first of the series of theris (that is to say Mahâ Gotamî) appears as the chief of those who are great in experience. Without going into the history of her former deeds, it is said that she entered existence in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, in a noble family at Ha.msavatî. Afterwards, hearing the Teacher discourse upon the Law, and seeing him exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place, she, forming a resolve, aspired to the same place. When p. 523 she had done deeds of charity her whole life through, and had taken the vow to fulfil the precepts, and had observed the Sabbath, after a hundred thousand Kappas had passed she was reborn at Benares, being the chief among five hundred slaves. Now when the Vassa season began, five hundred Pacceka Buddhas came down from the mountain caves to Isipatana and went about the city for alms. And just as they came to Isipatana they thought, "We will ask them to make ready a dwelling for us; huts for the Vassa season." So, donning mendicant's robes, and entering the city in the evening, they stood by the gate of a merchant's house.

   The chief of the women-slaves had taken her water-jar and was going down to the ford for water, when she beheld the five Pacceka Buddhas entering the city.

   The merchant, hearing the (reason of) their coming, said: "We have no time! Let them go away."

   Now, as they were departing from the city, the chief slave, bearing her water-jar, was entering (the city) and saw them. She greeted them and made obeisance to them, covering her face. "Sirs," she asked, "Wherefore did you enter the city, and wherefore are you leaving?" "We came to ask that a dwelling for the Vassa season might be built for us," they said.

   "And have you succeeded, sirs?" she said.

   "We have not succeeded, daughter," they said.

   "And these huts that should be built--can they be built only by gentlefolk or by poor folk?" she asked.

   "They can be built by any man soever."

   "Very good, sirs, we will do it," she said. "To-morrow receive your food from me." And having thus invited them and led them to the water-side, she once more took up her water-jar and went away. And, standing on the path leading to the ford, she said to each one of the slave-girls as they came along, "Stay here," and when they had all come, she said, "My daughters, will you always do the work of a slave for another, or do you desire to be freed from slavery?"

p. 524

   "We would fain be free this very day, mother," they answered.

   "If so, get your husbands to labour one day for these five hundred holy ones, who cannot find labourers and whom I have promised to provide for to-morrow," she said.

   "So be it," they said.

   And, having agreed to this themselves, they told their husbands of it, when they came back from the forest.

   "Very well," said they, and assembled together at the door of the head-man's dwelling.

   Now the chief woman-slave said to them, "My friends, give your labour to these holy men." And pointing out her intention (and scolding with strong admonition those who did not wish to work) she made them agree.

   On the morrow, when she had given a meal to the Pacceka Buddhas, she gave the directions to all the slaves.

   They forthwith went into the forest and brought together building materials, and, dividing into parties of a hundred, they built, for each Buddha, huts, having first made an enclosure of cloisters. And they placed furniture, to wit, beds and chairs and drinking-water, there, and caused the Buddhas to take a vow to dwell there three months.

   And they appointed an order of feeding them, and if any man were not able (to do so) when his turn came, food was brought to him from the house of the chief slave, that he might give it.

   And, having thus fed them for three months, the chief woman-slave made each one of the women-slaves take off one cloth garment. There were five hundred thick cloths; and having caused these to be exchanged, she bought for each of the five hundred holy ones three robes. And, even as they beheld them, the five hundred Buddhas, passing through the air, returned to the mountain Gandhamâdano. So all these women, having spent their life in good deeds, were reborn in the Deva heaven. And the chief one, vanishing from thence, was reborn at a village of weavers near Benares, in the house of a master-weaver.

   Now, on a certain day, five hundred young Buddhas came p. 525 to Benares, invited by the king, and when they had come to the gate of the palace, looking about and seeing no one there, they turned back, and, setting forth by the city gate, they reached the village of weavers.

   This woman, seeing the Buddhas and saluting them in a friendly way, gave them food.

   They, after taking their meal in due manner, returned forthwith to Gandhamâdano.

   And the woman, after leading a virtuous life, and passing through deva worlds and the world of men, was reborn, just before our Teacher, re-entering life in the dwelling of the eminent Suppabuddho.

   Her family name was Gotamî. She was the younger sister of the celebrated Mâyâ. The Brahmins, who were learned in spells, having perceived the signs of greatness in these two, prophesied that the children conceived by them would be universal monarchs.

   The great King Suddhodano, holding a great festival at his coming of age, brought the two sisters home to his own palace.

   Afterwards our Bodhisat vanished from the Tusita heaven and re-entered existence in the womb of Mâyâ. Mâyâ, on the seventh day after his birth, was born again in dying the Tusita heaven. King Suddhodana raised Pajâpatî (aunt of the Blesséd One) to the place of Queen-consort. At this time the young prince Nanda was born. Pajâpatî, handing Nanda over to a foster-mother, continued to tend the Bodhisat.

   Later on, when the Bodhisat had secluded himself from the world and attained wisdom, doing good to mankind, and had, in due course, reached the town of Kapila, he entered the city, seeking alms.

   Now his father, the great king, having heard him preach the Law even on the high road, became converted. On the second day Nanda embraced the ascetic life, and on the seventh day Râhulo.

   Afterwards the Blesséd One took up his abode in a turretted hall near Vesâli. At this time the great King p. 526 Suddhodana died, having attained to Arahatship under the royal white umbrella.

   Then Pajâpatî conceived the thought of entering the religious life. And afterwards, at the end of the Ralahavivâda-Sutta, or Discourse on the strife and contention on the banks of the river Rohini, Pajâpatî set out, attended by five hundred young maidens, who had become converted, and who had come, all of one accord, to Pajâpatî, thinking, "we will enter the religious life under the Teacher." And placing Mahâpajâpatî at their head, and going to the Teacher they craved that they might enter the Order.

   But even this woman Pajâpatî, the first time she besought the Teacher that she might enter the Order, did not gain her desire.

   Therefore, sending for the barber, she caused her hair to be cut off, donned the yellow robe, and taking all these Sâkya women with her, she went to Vesâli, and got the Thera Ânanda to entreat the Holy One for her. And she did succeed in entering the religious life and receiving ordination, subject to the eight chief laws.

   And all the other women received ordination at the same time.

   This is a brief summary, as the story is related in full in the Canon.[1]

   When thus admitted to the Order, Pajâpatî, having approached the Teacher and made obeisance to him, stood on one side. And the Teacher preached the Doctrine to her, and this woman, instructed by the Teacher in ecstatic meditation, attained to Arahatship. And the other five hundred nuns, at the end of the discourse to Nandaka attained to Arahatship. Thus did this story arise.

   Afterwards, the Teacher, seated at Jetavana, when assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs, exalted Pajâpatî to the chief place among those who are great in experience.

[1. Vinaya, Texts III. 320-327.]

p. 529


2. Khemâ.

   In the second Sutta the name Khemâ means the Bhikkhunî so called. Now henceforth, without going into the history of their former deeds, I will say only whatever ought to be otherwise said, beginning (in the case of each one) from her first resolve.

   It is said that, in days gone by, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, this woman was reborn, a native of the city Ha.msavatî.

   Now, one day, seeing the thera Sujâta, one of the two chief disciples of that Blesséd One, going his round for alms, she gave him three sweetmeats. And that very day, she had her own hair cut off, and (bartered it for) gifts which she gave to the thera, uttering the prayer: "Hereafter, at some time when a Buddha appears in the world, may I become full of wisdom, like you!"

   Thenceforth, spending her life zealous in good works, and wandering from world to world among gods and men for a hundred thousand æons, she re-entered existence, at the time of the Buddha Kassapa, in the palace of Kiki, King of Kasî, as one among seven sisters; and for twenty thousand years she lived there a life of chastity, and, with her sisters, had a dwelling place built for the Blesséd One.

   Then, having passed the interval between that time and the birth of the next Buddha, wandering from life to life in the worlds of gods and men, she was reborn, in the time p. 530 of this Our Buddha, in the royal family in the city of Sâgala, in the Madda country.

   They gave her the name Khemâ; and her skin was of exceeding beauty, yellow as fine gold.

   Now when she had come of age, she entered the household of King Bimbisâra.

   And it was told her of the Blesséd One, who was dwelling in a royal precinct, not far from Râjagaha: "The Master finds fault with beauty;" so she, being intoxicated with her own loveliness, and fearing lest he should point out blemishes in her too, would not go to see him.

   The king thought to himself: "I am a chief supporter of the Master. Yet she, the consort of so leading a disciple, does not go to see him who has the ten Powers of Wisdom. I don't like it!"

   So he bade the Court poets compose a poem on the glories of the Veluvana Hermitage, and told them: "Go and sing that in the hearing of Khemâ, the Queen."

   She, hearing of the beauty of the Hermitage, was seized with a desire to go there, and asked the king's leave. The king replied: "Go to the Hermitage by all means; but you will not be able to return thence without paying your respects to the Teacher."

   She made no reply to the king, but started forth on her way.

   The king said to the attendants who were going with her: "If the Queen, as she is returning from the Hermitage, should catch sight of the Blesséd One, well and good! But if she does not, do you point him out to her, in the king's name."

   Now the Queen, after wandering about the Hermitage during the day, was about to depart, without having seen the Blesséd One. So the royal attendants, against her will, led her into the presence of the Master.

   The Master, seeing her approaching, created, by the power of Iddhi, the form of a nymph of heavenly beauty, who, holding a palm-leaf, seemed to be fanning him.

   Khemâ, the Queen, beholding this nymph, thought to p. 531 herself: "Alas! I am undone!--inasmuch as women of loveliness so divine surround the Blesséd One! I am not worthy to be even as their handmaid. Methinks it is by nothing else but my wicked thoughts that I am undone!"

   And, drawing this conclusion, she stood spell-bound, gazing at the woman. And, even as she gazed, the woman (by the stedfast will of the Tathâgata) seemed to pass from her first youth and change to middle-age, and from middle-age she seemed to pass on to old age, and stood there, with hair grown grey and teeth become all loose and broken. And then the Queen, still watching, saw her fall, fan and all, lifeless to the ground.

   Then Khemâ, (since all the causes heaped up in her former existences wrought this result in her,) thought thus: "So glorious and beautiful a body has fallen thus on destruction! Even to a like end must this my body come!" And at the moment she was thinking this, the Master uttered this verse of the Dhammapada: "They who are slaves to lust drift down the stream, as the spider down the web he himself has made. But, parting from it, they forsake the world, and, with gaze no longer set on life, they put far from them the pleasures of lust!"

   And, at the end of the stanza, she, even as she stood there, acquired the Pa.tisambidhâs (the Four Gifts of Perfect Understanding) and attained to Arahatship.

   Now he who attains to Arahatship while he is yet a layman, must pass away in death that very day or enter the religious life. She therefore, understanding that the end of her days was near, thought to herself, "I will ask permission to forsake the world, myself."

   And, making obeisance to the Master, she returned to the palace, and, saluting the king, stood before him.

   The king, feeling from her very manner that she had reached the noble state of Arahatship, said to her: "Queen, have you then really been to see the Blesséd One?"

   "Oh great king," she answered, "What you have seen is of little moment. But to me the Blesséd One has been fully revealed, even to the utmost. I pray you, let me p. 532 forsake the world!" And the king granted her request, and sent her in a golden palanquin to the nunnery, where she should dwell.

   Now since she, while still a laywoman and called Khemâ, had attained to Arahatship, it became noised abroad that she must have been one gifted with great wisdom.

   This is the story thus far.

   Now afterwards the Master, seated at Jetavana, when assigning places, one after the other, to the Bhikkhunîs, gave to the therî Khemâ the chief place among those who are full of wisdom.

p. 540


3. Uppalava.n.nâ.

   In the third Sutta by Uppalava.n.nâ, he means the Therî, who came by that name, because she had a skin like the colour in the heart of the dark blue lotus.

   They say that this woman re-entered existence in a noble family at Ha.msavatî, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara. p. 541 And afterwards, on hearing the Law preached, she had seen the Master exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those who are gifted with spiritual powers, and (thereupon) for seven days, she showed great hospitality to the Order of Bhikkhus, with the Buddha at their head, and she herself aspired to that same high place.

   And after spending her whole life in good deeds, and passing from world to world of gods and men, she was reborn, as one of seven sisters, in the palace of Kiki, the king, in the city of Benares, in the time of the Buddha Kassapa. And for twenty thousand years she lived a life of chastity, and had a dwelling built for the Order of Bhikkhus, and was then reborn in the Deva heaven. And falling from thence, and again entering the world of men, she was reborn in a certain village, as one who laboured with her hands for a living.

   One day, when she was going to her hut in the field, she saw, in a certain pond, a lotus blossom that had opened that very morning. So she stepped down into the pond, and took that same lotus blossom and a lotus leaf to hold the seeds. Then she cut some heads of rice in the field and sat down in her hut, and when she had separated the seeds and counted them there were five hundred.

   At this moment, a certain Pacceka Buddha, having arisen from a trance on the mountain Gandhamâdano, came and stood at a spot near her.

   Now, when she saw the Pacceka Buddha, she took the seeds and the lotus-blossom, and coming down from her hut, she threw the seeds into the alms-bowl of the Pacceka Buddha, and gave him the lotus-blossom, as a cover for the bowl.

   But when the Pacceka Buddha had gone on a little way, the thought came to her: "A flower is of no use to an ascetic! I will get back the blossom and adorn myself with it."

   So she went and took the blossom from the Pacceka Buddha's hand.

   But then she thought: "If the holy man had not wanted p. 542 the flower he would not have let me put it on his bowl. For a certainty, he must have need thereof."

   So she went back, and put the leaf again on the top of the bowl, and begged the forgiveness of the Pacceka Buddha.

   And she uttered this prayer: "Sir, may this gift of seeds bring this result to me--may I have children even as the seeds in number! and because of the gift of the lotus, may lotus-blossoms spring up in my footsteps, wheresoever I may be born again!"

   And, even as she gazed, the Pacceka Buddha, rising into the air, returned to Gandhamâdano; and, taking the flower, he placed it on the stairs used by the Pacceka Buddhas, up the slope which had (Lake) Manda at its base.

   And this woman also, as a result of that deed of her's, re-entered existence in the Deva heaven. And from the time of her birth there, there sprang up at her every footstep, a great lotus-blossom. Then, having fallen from thence she was reborn, in the heart of a lotus-flower, in a certain lotus-pond, at the foot of a mountain. Near to this spot there lived a hermit. Having gone to the pond one morning to wash his mouth, and seeing that blossom, he thought: "This blossom is larger than the rest. The others are full-blown, yet this is only a bud. There must be a reason for it." And he stepped down into the water and plucked the blossom; and, even as he plucked it, it opened, and the hermit saw, lying in the heart of the flower, a baby girl. As soon as he saw her he felt the love of a father for her, and he bore her, lotus and all, to his hut of leaves and laid her on his bed. And behold! by reason of the power of her virtue, there came milk from his thumb, wherewith to feed her.

   Now, when that blossom was faded, he brought another fresh one and laid her in it. And, from the time she was able to run hither and thither in play, at every step she took, a lotus-blossom sprang up. And her skin was like the colour of fine clay, and her beauty, though not wholly god-like, surpassed mortal beauty.

p. 543

   Now when her father went out to seek for fruits, she used to be left in the hut. So, one day, when she was grown up, and her father had gone to seek for fruits, a certain forester saw her and thought: "A being of such loveliness cannot be mortal! I must look into this!" And he seated himself, waiting for the hermit to come back.

   Now she, on her father's return, went to meet him, and took from his hand his carrying-pole and water-pot, and when they had come home, and he had sat down, she showed him the work she had done herself. And then the forester saw that she was a human being. So, after greeting the hermit, he seated himself.

   Now when the hermit had offered the forester roots and fruits, he asked him:

   "Sir, are you one who belongs to this place, or are you going hence?"

   "I am going hence, reverend sir, why should I stay here?"

   "When you have gone hence, will you be able to keep silence on what you have seen here?"

   "If you do not wish it, your reverence, why should I talk about it?"

   So he bade farewell to the hermit and set out. But, in order to recognize the road again, when he should return, he put marks on the branches and trees.

   Moreover, he went straight to Benares and saw the king.

   The king said to him: "What have you come here for?"

   And he said: "Your highness, I am your forester. And thus employed at the foot of a mountain I saw a jewel among women. So I have come hither." And he told him the whole matter.

   The king, after hearing his story, went forthwith to the foot of the mountain, and had a camp pitched hard by, and, together with that same forester and a few attendants he went to the hermit, at a time when he had just finished his meal and was sitting down.

   And on his arrival he saluted the hermit, and offered him a friendly greeting, and seated himself on one side.

p. 544

   Then the king, after placing at the hermit's feet such things as are needed for the use of an ascetic, said:

   "Reverend sir, what could we do in such a place as this? We must be getting off."

   "Go, then, great king!"

   "I am just off. But it is rumoured that there are people of the other sex here. Now that is a hindrance to the life of a recluse. Let her go away with me."

   "The thoughts of men are evil. How could she dwell amongst so many?"

   "Oh! we are able to take charge of her, and put her in a position of great standing above others."

   The hermit listened to what the king said, and summoned her, saying: "Come, Lotus, my child!" using the name which he had given her as a baby.

   And, at the very first summons, she came out of the hut and made obeisance to her father and stood there.

   Then her father said to her: "My child, you are grown up now. And henceforth, since the king has seen you, it is not well that you should live in this place. Go, my child, go with the king himself."

   "Very well, father mine," said she, consenting, and making obeisance to him.

   But even as she stood there she burst into tears. And the king said to himself: "I gather what the father wants." And, then and there, he had her seated on a heap of gold coins, put down there, and anointed queen.

   Then he took her away and brought her to his own city. And, from the time of her coming there, he did not look at the other women, but took delight only in her. Now those other women, waxing jealous, and anxious to cause division between her and the king, said to him: "This woman is not spruug from the race of men, great king! Where did you ever before see lotuses spring up in the footsteps of a human being? Truly this woman is uncanny! Put her away, great king!"

   But the king, hearing this, said nothing.

   Now soon afterwards a border province broke out into p. 545 revolt, and he, knowing that Padumavatî was far gone with child, left her in the city, while he went away to the border province.

   So those other women gave her serving-woman a bribe, and said to her: "As soon as her child is born, take it away and smear a log of wood with blood, and put it beside her."

   Now shortly afterwards Padumavatî was delivered. And Mahâ Paduma, the Prince, was alone in her womb, but five hundred children, less one, came into being from the moisture, at the moment when Mahâ Paduma was laid down, after his birth.

   Then the serving-woman, seeing that Padumavatî had not yet come to herself, smeared a log of wood with blood, and put it beside her, and told the other women. So the five hundred women, taking each of them one of the children, sent to the turners and caused boxes to be brought, and each laid therein the child she had taken, and sealed the box outside.

   And now, behold! Padumavatî came to herself, and asked the serving-woman: "Mother! what have I brought forth?" And the other, reviling her, said: "How could you be able to bear a child! This is the child of your womb!" and she put before her the log smeared with blood. And Padumavatî, on seeing that, was cast down, and said: "Break it up quickly and bear it away! Were anyone to see it, I should be sorely shamed!"

   And the servant, hearing this, as if she was anxious to destroy it, broke it up and flung it into the oven.

   And now the king, when he had returned from the border province, celebrated a festival, and pitching his camp outside the city, he toook up his abode there. Then those five hundred women went to welcome the king, and said to him: "You would not believe us, great king, you thought there was no reason in what we said! Now summon your consort's serving-woman, and question her! Your queen has given birth to a log of wood!"

   And the king, without looking into their motive, thought: p. 546 "She is not of the human race!" And he drove her forth from his house.

   And, as for her, even as she departed from the royal palace, her lotus-blossoms vanished and the colour of her skin grew wan.

   So, all alone, she went through the streets.

   Now a certain aged woman saw her, and feeling a motherly tenderness for her, said to her:

   "Daughter, where are you going?"

   "I am wandering about, seeking a dwelling-place among strangers," she answered.

   "Come here then, my daughter!" And she gave her a home and provided her with food.

   Now, when she was living there in this way, the other five hundred women, agreeing together, said; "The people have petitioned the king, saying: 'Great king, when we have gone to your camp, and with you have offered sacrifice to the goddess of the Ganga River (since our king has returned victorious), let us celebrate a river-festival!' Let us tell the king this," they said.

   And the king, well pleased with what they said, went to hold a river-festival.

   Then did those women, each one carrying the child she had taken, keeping it out of sight, go to the river, and, each one covering up her box to hide it, they threw the boxes into the water. But lo! these boxes, going along, were caught in some nets spread under the water. Then, on the river-festival being celebrated, when the time came for the king to cross the river, the people drew their nets. And, seeing these boxes, they brought them to the king. The king looked at the boxes and said: "What is in these boxes, friends?"

   "We do not know, your highness."

   And the king caused the boxes to be opened and looked within. The first to be opened was the box wherein was the child of the great lotus-flower.

   And in the box of each one of the children, on the very day they had been laid in it, milk had appeared by a miracle.

p. 547

   Sakko, the king of gods, in order to free the king's mind from doubt on this (matter), had caused letters to be written on the boxes inside, saying:

   "These children were born of Padumavatî. They are the sons of the king of Benares. Now they are the glory of Padumavatî. And the other five hundred women put them into boxes and cast them into the water. Be this known to the king!"

   As soon as the boxes had been opened, and the king had had the letters read and seen the children, he lifted up the Child of the Lotus-flower, and said: "Quick! quick! get ready the chariot; harness the horses. This day I will go into the city to make it sweet for certain women (I know of)!"

   So going up to his upper chamber, and bidding them tie up a thousand pieces of money and put the bundle on an elephant's neck, he made proclamation:

   "Whosoever shall point out Padumavatî let him receive the thousand pieces of money!"

   Now when Padumavatî heard the proclamation she told her mother, saying:--

   "Go you, my mother, and receive the thousand pieces from the neck of the elephant!"

   "Nay," she said, "I dare not go and take such a sum!"

   And when Padumavatî had spoken twice and three times, her mother said:

   "What shall I say, that I may receive it, my daughter?"

   "Say to them, 'My daughter, Padumavatî, is the queen!' and so receive it," she answered.

   And the mother said: "Well, well, so be it!" and she went and received the casket with the thousand pieces.

   So the men asked her: "Mother, have you seen Padumavatî, the queen?"

   "I have not seen her," she answered, "But my daughter says that she has seen her."

   "Stay! mother, where is this daughter of yours?" they asked, and they went with her, and, recognizing Padumavatî they fell at her feet.

p. 548

   And then, having seen that this was Padumavatî, the queen, they said:

   "Truly a grievous wrong has been done to this woman, that she, being the consort of so great a king, should dwell in such a place as this, unguarded!"

   And on returning, the king's attendants drew white curtains round the dwelling of Padumavatî, and set a guard at the door, and went and told the king.

   And the king sent a golden palanquin for her, but she said: "I will not go thus! Let them spread a beautiful carpet, woven in many colours, all the way from my dwelling to the royal palace; and let them fix up above a canopy of cloth, studded with gold stars, and I will go on foot, decked out with all the royal gems, to adorn me. So will the whole city be witness of my glory!"

   And the king said: "Do as Padumavatî desires."

   And then said Padumavatî: "When they have adorned me with all the jewels, I will go!" And she set out.

   And as she passed along, step by step, lotus-blossoms sprang up, breaking through the gorgeous, many-coloured carpet, wheresoever she trod.

   So, when she had displayed her glory before all the people, she went up into the royal palace; moreover, she had all those gorgeous carpets given to the old woman, as a reward for keeping her.

   And, besides this, the king sent for the other five hundred women, and said to her (Padumavatî), "I give these women to you as your slaves, oh queen!"

   "It is well, great king!" she answered. "But make it known to the whole city that they have been given to me."

   So the king caused it to be proclaimed:

   "These five hundred women, who injured Padumavatî, have even been given to her as slaves!"

   But she found that the giving of these women as her slaves was not noticed by everyone in the city, so she asked the king:

   "Will you give me leave to free my slaves, your highness?"

p. 549

   "As you wish, queen!"

   "Very well, then; send for that crier and bid him again proclaim:

   "Padumavatî, the queen, has freed those five hundred women--one and all--who were given to her as her slaves!"

   And when they had been freed, she handed over to each one of them one of her five hundred sons to bring up, and she herself kept Mahâpaduma, the child of the great lotus-flower.

   Now afterwards, when these children had grown old enough to play about, the king had gardens and all manner of play-grounds made for them.

   These boys, when they were sixteen years old, were all disporting themselves in the royal pleasure-pond covered with lotuses, and they saw fresh blossoms opening and faded blossoms falling from their stalks, and they thought:

   "Thus, indeed, does decay overtake such a thing as this when the causes of its growth are stopped; how much more then must a like future be the lot of our bodies!"

   And setting their minds upon this thought they all attained to the knowledge which is the gift of Pacceka Buddhas, and, coming up (from the water), they seated themselves, cross-legged, each in the middle of a lotus.

   Now the attendants who had come with them, seeing that the day was far advanced, said to them:

   "Little masters! Do you not know what time it is?"

   But they kept silence. So the attendants went and told the king:

   "Your highness! The young princes are sitting, each in a lotus-flower, and when we speak to them they make no manner of answer."

   "Let them sit just as they please," said the king.

   So watch was kept over them all night, and thus they sat in the same way, each in the heart of a lotus, until daybreak.

   The next day the attendants drew near, and said:

   "Princes! Know that it is time to go!"

   "We are not princes!" they answered, "We are Pacceka Buddhas!"

p. 550

   "Nay, sirs, it is a hard saying that you say," said the attendants. "Pacceka Buddhas are not like you. They have hair and beards but two inches long, and carry the eight needful things for ascetics bound about their bodies."

   "Nay, then, your saying is harder still," answered the youths, and they touched themselves on the head with the right hand. And forthwith, all the marks that are characteristic of laymen vanished from them, and moreover the eight things needful for ascetics were there, bound about their bodies!

   Then, even while all the multitude were gazing at them, they passed through the air to the cave at the foot of the mountain Nanda.

   And then, indeed, Padumavatî, the queen, said: "I, who had many sons, am left childless!" therefore she wasted away, and forthwith died.

   And she was reborn in a village by the gates of the city Râjagaha, among those who toiled for their living. And in due course she got married.

   Now, one day, she had taken some rice-gruel to her husband in the field, and while she was among their own children, she saw eight Pacceka Buddhas passing through the air, at the time they go forth seeking alms. And immediately she ran and told her husband: "Look! see those holy Pacceka Buddhas! Let us invite them and give them food."

   But her husband said: "Those are birds, not ascetics! They are often going about thus. Those are not Pacceka Buddhas."

   Now, even as they were talking, these Pacceka Buddhas alighted at a spot hard by.

   So this woman gave them such food as lay in her means, saying, moreover, to eight of them:

   "Accept your daily food from me!"

   "Very well, sister!" they answered. " Truly your hospitality goes thus far, and eight seats, indeed, there are (provided). But if you saw many other Pacceka Buddhas besides, you would be less open-hearted!"

p. 551

   Now, on the following day, she made ready eight seats, and prepared to do honour to the eight Pacceka Buddhas, and sat down. And the eight who had been invited told the rest about it, saying: "Noble brothers! do not go elsewhere to-day, but, one and all, show favour to this, our mother."

   So, on hearing what these few said, they went, one and all, passing through the air together, and appeared at this woman's door. And she (not only when she recognized those whom she had first received, but also when she saw many others) was not perturbed, but brought them all into her house and made them sit down in the seats. And, as they seated themselves, one after another, every ninth one, in turn, caused eight more seats to appear, and seated himself in the chief place. And even as the number of seats grew, so did the dwelling grow larger.

   And, when they were all seated, this woman offered the five hundred such hospitality as she had prepared for the eight, and there was sufficient. Then she brought eight handfuls of blue lotuses and laid them at the feet of those same Pacceka Buddhas that she had invited, saying:

   "Sirs, may I, hereafter, wheresoever I may be born again, have a skin in colour like to the heart of these dark lotuses!"

   And the Pacceka Buddhas thanked the mother and went back to Gandhamâdano.

   And this woman, after spending her whole life in good deeds, and after falling from that life, and being reborn in the deva heaven, returned to existence in the family of the Treasurer at Sâvatthî, at the time of the birth of this, Our Buddha. And, because her skin was of a colour like the heart of the dark lotus, they gave her the name Uppalava.n.nâ.

   Now, when she had come of age, every Prince and every Treasurer in Jambudîpa sent to the Treasurer, her father, saying: "Give me your daughter in marriage!" And there was not one who did not send to him.

   So the Treasurer thought to himself: "I cannot satisfy all these men! But I can hit on a stratagem." And he p. 552 sent for his daughter and said to her: "My child, have you strength to forsake the world?"

   And to her, since she had reached her last birth, these words were as sweet as if oil, a hundred times refined, were sprinkled on her head. Therefore she said to her father: "Dear father, I will forsake the world."

   And when he had done honour to her, he took her to the home of the Bhikkhunîs, and caused her to be ordained.

   And, only a little while after, she entered the Order, her turn came to have the key of the Hall of Assembly. And when she had lighted her lamp and swept the hall, she fixed her mind in contemplation of the lamp, and, standing even thus, gazing again and again, she brought about that rapt meditation which is centred on fire. And, making this her stepping-stone, she attained to Arahatship. And, together with the Fruit of Arahatship, she became also versed in the miraculous gift of Iddhi.

   Afterwards, on the day that the Master wrought the Twofold Miracle, she broke out into exultation and said: "I, too, Master, will work a miracle!" like the roaring of a lion.

   It was on account of this that the Master, when seated at Jetavana, assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs in turn, exalted this Therî to the chief place among those who have the gift of Iddhi.

p. 556


4. Pa.tâcârâ.

   In the fourth Sutta, by the words "of those who are versed in the Rules of the Order (Vinaya), namely Pa.tâcârâ," he points out the Therî Pa.tâcârâ as the chief among those who are versed in the Rules of the Order.

   They say that this woman, in the time of the Buddha Padumattara, was reborn in a noble family at Ha.msavatî.

   Afterwards, when hearing the Master preach the law and seeing him raise a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those versed in the Vinaya, she, forming a resolve, aspired to the same distinction.

   And, having spent her whole life in good works, and having passed through deva worlds and worlds of men, she re-entered existence, as one of seven sisters dwelling in the household of Kiki, the king, in the time of the Buddha Kassapo. And for twenty thousand years she lived a life of chastity, and built a dwelling for the Order of Bhikkhus, and after being reborn once more in the deva heaven, during the interval between the coming of two Buddhas, she re-entered existence (at the time of the birth of this, Our Buddha) in the household, of the Treasurer at Sâvatthî.

   And, when she came of age, she had a lover, who was a hired labourer at her own home. But afterwards she was to have been married into a family of equal rank with her's. So she told her lover: "After to-morrow there will be a hundred door-keepers to keep you from seeing me! If you have the spirit, take me with you and depart this very moment!" So he took an elephant suited for his purpose, and, taking her with him, departed to his own village, three or four leagues from the city, and there took up his abode.

   Later on she was with child,[1] and when the full time had come for her delivery, she said: "Husband! We are friendless here! Let us go to my home."

[1. From here down to the birth of the second child the story is nearly word for word the same as that of Little Roadling in Jâtaka I. pp. 114, 115 (No. 4).]

p. 557

   But he, saying: "We will go to-day" and "We will go to-morrow," and failing to go, let the time slip by. So she, seeing this, thought, "This slow-coach will never take me. He is out; I will go alone to my home!" and she set out. He, having returned and not seeing her, inquired of the neighbours and heard that she had gone home. So thinking, "It is through me that she, the daughter of a noble house, has come to wretchedness!" he followed close after her and overtook her.

   And on the journey her travail came upon her. Then she said: "That very thing which was the reason for our journey has happened now, on the way! why need we go any further?" So they turned back.

   And again she was with child.

   And all the rest should be understood in full, the same as before. But, at the moment when her travail came upon her, in the midst of the journey, great storm-clouds arose on every side. So she said to her husband: "There has arisen, out of due time, a mighty storm! Try to make me a place of shelter from the rain." "I will" he said. And he made a hut of twigs; and, thinking, "I will bring some grass for a thatch," he began to cut some grass at the foot of an ant-hill. then a snake on the ant-hill bit him in the foot, and he fell dead on that very spot.

   And thinking, "He will be returning now! He will come back now!" she waited, the whole night through. (Then) she thought, "Surely he has said to himself 'This woman has no friends!' and so has left me by the roadside and gone away!"

   But when the day broke and she was looking for him, following his trail, she saw him, where he had fallen dead. Then, weeping at the thought: "My husband has perished for my sake!" she took her younger child upon her side and, leading the elder by the hand, she went on her way. And she saw that in the middle of the road was (a stream) she would have to cross, and thought: "Now I cannot go across carrying both the children at once. I will put the elder boy on this bank, and carry the younger one across p. 558 to the further side. And when I have laid him down on my head-cloth, I will return and take the other and go across." So she went down into the stream. But just as she, coming back, reached the middle of the river a certain hawk, thinking "This is a piece of meat," flew down to peck at the child she had left. She threw up her hands to scare away the hawk. The elder boy, seeing the motion of her hands, thought, "She is beckoning to me," and stepped down into the stream.

   And he lost his foothold and was borne away by the torrent. And the hawk, even before she could reach him, bore away the other child.

   So, overwhelmed with her great sorrow, she went on her road, wailing out this lamentation:

"Dead are both my sons,
And my husband dead upon the road!"

   And thus, making her moan, she reached Sâvatthî, and went to the quarter where the noble families dwelt. But since, because of her grief, she could not distinguish her own home, she questioned people: "In this place there lived such and such a family. Where is their house?"

   They answered: "What do you mean by asking for that family? Their dwelling was blown down by a whirlwind. They were slain, all of them, and now they are burning there, on one funeral pyre, all, both young and old! Look! you can see the curling upwards of the smoke!"

   And when she heard this she said: "What do you tell me?" And, unable to bear the oppression of her clothes, naked, as at her birth, stretching forth her arms and weeping, she went to the funeral pyre of her kinsfolk. And, putting a finishing touch to that song of lamentation, she bewailed herself, saying:

"Dead are both my sons,
And my husband dead on the road,
And my mother and father and kinsfolk
They burn on one funeral pyre!"

p. 559

   And though men gave her a garment; again and again she tore it up and cast it aside. And so she roamed about, and, wherever she was seen, a great crowd of people followed her. And, on account of this behaviour of hers, men said: "This woman goes about without keeping on a garment," and so they gave her the name Pa.tâcârâ (she who goes about unclad). Or, perhaps, as this shameless wandering about naked became well-known, they said (in scorn): "This is a wise way of going about!" and they gave her this very name Pa.tâcârâ (she who goes about wisely).

   Now one day, when the Master was preaching the Law to a great multitude, she had entered the Vihara and stood at the back of the assembly.

   Then the Master, suffusing her with the felt sense of his loving-kindness, said to her: "Sister, return to your right mind! Sister, return to your right mind!"

   And, even as she heard these words of the Master, deep shame came upon her, and, on the very spot where she stood, she crouched upon the ground. And a man who stood near threw a garment over her. And she put it on and listened to the preaching. And the Master uttered this verse (which is in the Dhammapada) to her for her to notice:--

   "Neither in children is refuge, nor in parents, nor in relations;
   To him, whom Pale Death assails, there is no refuge in kinsfolk!
   It is when he has realised this, that the wise man, guarded in conduct,
   Can swiftly, yea swiftly, make plain the road that leads to Nirvana."[1]

   And at the end of the stanza, even as she stood there, her conversion was firmly established. And, drawing near to the Master, she did homage to him and begged that she might enter the Order. And he consented, saying:

   "Go to the home of the Bhikkhunîs and enter the Order."

[1. Dhammapada, verse 288.]

p. 560

   And when she was ordained, she attained, soon afterwards, to Arahatship. And, grasping the Buddha's teaching, she became versed in the Canon Law.

   So, on a festive occasion, when the Master, seated at Jetavana, was assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs in turn, he put Pa.tâcârâ in the chief place among those who are versed in the Vinaya.

p. 562

5. Dhammadinnâ.

   In the fifth Sutta by the words dhammakathikâna.m he points out Dhammadinnâ as the chief among those Bhikkhunîs who preach.

   They say that this woman was reborn, in the condition of a slave, at Ha.msavatî in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, and having done service to the Thera Sujâta, one of the two chief disciples of Padumuttara, the Blesséd One, she aspired to the said distinction.

   After having spent her whole life zealous in good works she was reborn in heaven. All is to be understood to have p. 563 followed (according to this resolve of her's) even as in the history of the Therî Khemâ, already to1d.

   Furthermore, in the time of the Buddha Phussa, this woman (while dwelling in the house of a servant, in the almshouse of the three half-brothers of the Master), whenever she was told to give one thing, gave two.

   Thus, giving of everything without stint, she passed ninety-two æons and re-entered existence as one of seven sisters, dwelling in the palace of Kiki, the king, in the time of the Buddha Kassapa.

   And for twenty thousand years she lived a life of chastity, and she had a dwelling built for the Order of Bhikkhus. And after wandering from world to world of gods and men, during the interval between the coming of one Buddha and another, she was reborn in a nobleman's family, at the time of the birth of this Our Buddha.

   And afterwards she entered the household of Visâkha, the Treasurer.

   Now Visâkha, tha Treasurer (who was a friend of the King Bimbisâra), the very first time he went with the king to see him who is gifted with the Ten Powers, was straightway converted, and, soon after, attained the Fruit of the Third Path.

   When he went back to his house that day Dhammadinnâ[1] was standing at the head of the stairs with outstretched hands, but he mounted to the house-top without even touching her hand;[2] and during his meal he never said: "Give me this," or "Bring me that."

   Dhammadinnâ, taking a spoon, served him with food, thinking:

   "He would not lean on the hand I held out to support him; and, whilst eating, he says not a word to me! What wrong have I done?"

[1. The .Tîkâ adds, she had unbolted the lattice, and seeing him coming thought: "What is the matter with him?" And, going to meet him, she stood at the head of the stairs.

2. She thought to herself: "I shall know why, to-morrow, at the time of the morning meal" (.Tîkâ).]

p. 564

   So, when he had finished, she asked him: "Sir, what wrong have I done?"

   "You have done no wrong, Dhammadinnâ, but, from this day forth, our living thus in love together must not be--nor can we stand or sit together, nor can I eat and drink what you bring to me, from time to time.

   "If it be your wish, dwell in this house; but if you desire to depart to your own home, depart, taking with you whatsoever treasure you may need."

   But she answered: "If that be so, neither will I take up and bear away what you, with such disgust, even as it were but spittle and vomit, have cast aside! Give me leave, too, to forsake the world."

   Visâkha said: "So be it, Dhammadinnâ!" And be sent her, in a golden palanquin, to the home of the Bhikkhunîs.

   Now, after she had entered the Order, she thought to herself: "Truly, this Treasurer, albeit he still remains a layman, has put an end to his trouble; but my sorrow lasts on, since I entered the Order. I must do something else to end it."

   And so, going to her teacher and superior, she said: "Noble ladies, my soul finds no joy in this crowded spot--I will go and dwell in a village."

   The Therîs, feeling that they could not offend her (since she, on her entrance into the Order, had come from a nobleman's household), took her with them and went to the village, where she was to dwell.

   And since, in former births, she had subdued the Sankhâras, she shortly afterwards gained the Four Gifts of Perfect Understanding and attained to Arahatship.

   And now she thought thus: "I have reached the summit of all that should be done; what need is there for me to dwell here? I will go to Râjagaha. There my kinsfolk, for my sake, shall do many good works." And taking the Therîs with her she returned even to the city.

   Visâkha, on hearing that she had come back, thought: "She has soon returned! Can it be that she is discontented with the religious life?"

p. 565

   So, in the evening, he went to her, and bowing down before her, seated himself on one side. And thinking: "It would not be seemly to ask her if she is discontented," he began by asking her a question about the five Khandhas, or constituent elements of Being.

   Then, as easily as one could cut through the stalk of a lotus with a sword, Dhammadinnâ answered each question as soon as he asked it.[1]

   And the disciple saw how keen[2] was the wisdom of the Therî Dhammadinnâ, and when he had questioned her, in every way in turn, on those three paths whereunto he himself had attained, he questioned her, even as a learner, about the paths that lead to Arahatship.

   Then Dhammadinnâ, in her turn, knowing that the disciple had but reached the Fruit of the Third Path, and thinking: "Now is he overstepping his own province and rushing on too far," kept him back, saying:

   "You will not be able, brother Visâkha, to understand the answers to questions on things beyond your limit--even such as Nirvâna, brother Visâkha, the duties of the religious life, the final bliss of Nirvâna, and those things whose end is Nirvâna. And if you desire (to learn) go to the Blesséd One, O brother Visâkha, and ask him concerning these matters; and even as he expounds them to you bear them in mind."

   And Visâkha went to the Blesséd One and told him all about the questions and answers.

   The Teacher, after hearing what he had to say, answered: "In my daughter there is no lust after life past, present, or to come."

   And when he had spoken thus, he uttered this verse which is in the Dhammapada:

   "He who cares not to call anything his own, either in this birth, or in a past birth, or in a birth to come; him, indeed, do I call a Brahman, for he is free from craving."[3]

[1. .Tîkâ explains "sûra bhâva.m" by "tikkha bhâva.m."

2. The conversation is given in full in the Culla Vedalla Sutta (pp. 299-305 in the Pali Text Society's edition of Majjhima Nikaya).

3. Dhammapada, verse 421.]

p. 566

   Then, having praised the bhikkhunî Dhammadinnâ, he spoke thus to the disciple Visâkha: "Wise, Oh Visâkha," is the bhikkhunî Dhammadinnâ, great in wisdom, Oh Visâkha, is the bhikkhunî Dhammadinnâ, and, furthermore. if you asked me, Visâkha, concerning this matter, I myself should expound it to you, even as the bhikkhunî Dhammadinnâ expounded it. And this is the meaning thereof--Do you bear it in mind."

   Thus did this story arise.

   And arterwards the Master, seated at Jetavana assigning places to the bhikkhunîs in turn, when he had explained this very Culla Vedalla gave the Therî, on that occasion, the chief place among those who preach.

[To be continued.]