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Vaḍḍha's Mother

SHE, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, till the preparation for achieving emancipation was gradually become perfect, was, in this Buddha-era, reborn at the town of Bhārukaccha, 304 in a clansman's family. When married, she bore one son, and he was given the name Vaḍḍha. From that time she was known as Vaḍḍha's mother. Hearing a Bhikkhu preach, she became a believer, and, handing her child over to her kin, she went to the Bhikkhunīs, and entered the Order. The rest, not told here, may be filled in from Brother Vaḍḍha's story told in the Psalms of the Elder Brethren (Ps. ccii.). Vaḍḍha, to see his mother, went alone into and through the Bhikkhunīs' quarters and she, saying, 'Why have you come in here alone?' admonished him as follows:

O nevermore, my Vaḍḍha, do thou stray
Into the jungle of this world's desires.
Child of my heart! come thou not back and forth
To share, reborn, in all the ills of life. (204)

True happiness, O Vaḍḍha mine, is theirs
Who, wise and freed from longing and from doubt,
Cool and serene, have tamed the craving will,
And dwell immune from all the deadly drugs. (205)

The Way that Sages such as these have trod–
Leading to that pure vision how they may
Make a sure end of Ill–do thou, dear lad,
Study and cause to grow
305 to thine own weal. (206)

And Vaḍḍha, thinking, 'My mother is surely established in Arahantship,' expressed himself thus:

Now in good hope and faith thou speakest thus,
O little mother! well I trow, for thee.
Dear mother mine, no jungle bars the way. (207)

Then the Therī replied, showing her work was done:

Ah, no! my Vaḍḍha, whatsoe'er I do,
Or say, or think, in things or great or small,
Not e'en the smallest growth of jungly vice
Yet standeth in the onward way for me. (208)
For all the deadly poison-plants are killed
In me who meditate with strenuous zeal.
The Threefold Wisdom have I gotten now,
And all the Buddha's word have I fulfilled. (209)

The Brother, using her exhortation as a goad, and stimulated thereby, went to his Vihāra, and, seated in his wonted resting-place, so made insight to grow that he attained Arahantship. And reflecting in happiness on his attainment, he went to his mother, and declared his AÑÑĀ:

O splendid was the spur my mother used,
And no less merciful the chastisement
She gave to me, even the rune she spoke,
Fraught with its burden of sublimest good.
307 (210)
I heard her words, I marked her counsel wise,
And thrilled with righteous awe as she called up
The vision of salvation to be won. (211)

And night and day I strove unweariedly
Until her admonitions bore their fruit,
And I could touch Nibbana's utter peace. (212)

304 A seaport on the north-west seaboard, the Bharoch of to-day. See Jātaka, iii. 188.

305 Anubrūhaya=vaḍḍheyyāsi (Commentary). The name Vaḍḍha means grow, increase, develop; often applied to religious culture.

306 Vanatho. Jungle and vice are equally implied in this word. 'Poison-plants'= simply Āsavā.

307 Vaḍḍha's gāthā commences with a śloka to the same effect, using the same metaphor. Theragāthā, ver. 335-9.

Next: Canto X. Psalms of Eleven Verses