ART. XIX.--Women Leaders of the Buddhist Reformation. By MABEL BODE.
(Continued from page 566.)
In the sixth (Sutta) by the words yadidam Nandâ ti, he points out the Therî Nandâ as the chief of those who practise meditation.
It is related that this woman was reborn in a noble family at Ha.msavatî in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, and later on, when hearing the Teacher preach the Truth, and seeing him assign to a certain Bhikkhunî the chief place among those who practise the Meditations, she, forming a resolve, aspired to the same distinction.
[2. Dhammapâla calls this Therî Sundarînandâ.]
Then, after wandering in worlds of gods and men for a hundred thousand æons, she re-entered existence, born of Mahâpajâpatî Gotamî, before our Teacher's birth.
They gave her the name Nandâ. She was also called Rûpananda.
And afterwards, by reason of her loveliness, she came to be called Janapada Kalyâ.nî (the belle of the land).
Now, after our Buddha of the Ten Powers had attained to omniscience, and had returned to Kapilavatthu, and successively admitted Nandâ and Râhula into the Order, and then departed; and the great king Suddhodana had died, Mahâpajâpatî Gotamî, and the mother of Râhula went forth and entered the Order under the Teacher. She (Rûpanandâ) on seeing (all this) thought: "Since they renounced the world what have I to do here?" So, going to Mahâpajâpatî she entered the Order.
From the day she entered the Order she never went to minister to the Teacher, having heard it said: "The Teacher finds fault with beauty." When the time for the exhortation came round, she sent another Bhikkhunî, and bade her bring word of the discourse.
The Teacher saw that she was intoxicated with her own loveliness, and he said: "Let each one come and receive her exhortation for herself. None of the Bhikkhunîs may send others."
Then Rûpananda, not seeing any way out of it, went unwillingly to the exhortation.
Now, because of this conduct of her's, the Teacher created, by the power of Iddhi, the form of a woman, who, holding a palm-leaf, seemed to be fanning him.
Rûpanandâ seeing this, thought to herself: "For (such) a reason was I neglectful, and did not come! And, behold, women like this go about fearlessly near the Master! My beauty is not worth a sixteenth part of their's! Yet, ignorant of this, I have not come hither all this time!" And she stood utterly spell-bound gazing at the woman. And the Master recited to her, who had reached the climax of causes heaped up in former births, the stanza in p. 766 the Dhammapada, which begins: "Of bones is the fortress made"; and then uttered the Sutta beginning: "Whether walking or standing still--whether sitting or lying down."
And, she gaining (the knowledge of) decay and death, attained to Arahatship.
Now in the commentary on this passage the story is not told in full, since it is the same as the foregoing history of the Therî Khema.
Thenceforward Rûpananda held the first place among those who practised the meditations.
Afterwards the Teacher, seated at Jetavana, and assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs in turn, gave to the Therî Nandâ the chief place among those who practise meditation.
In the seventh Sutta by the words "Âraddhaviriyânam," he points out So.nâ as the foremost among those who are strenuous in effort.
They say that this woman re-entered existence in a noble family at Ha.msavatî, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara; and afterwards, when hearing the preaching of the Law, she saw the Master assign to a certain Bhikkhunî the chief place among those who are strenuous. She, after she had done homage to the Buddha, aspired to the same distinction.
And when she had wandered in the worlds of gods and men for twenty thousand æons, she re-entered existence in a noble family at Sâvatthî, at the time of the birth of this Our Buddha.
Afterwards, being herself a householder, and having borne many sons and daughters, she also established all of them, one after another, in the lay life (as householders).
From that time forth, thinking: "What can she do against us?" When she came to see them, they did not even greet her as "Mother." And So.nâ, mother of these many children, feeling in her own heart their lack of piety towards her, thought: "What is the good of my living any longer in the world?" And going forth she entered the Order.
Now the Bhikkhunîs put penances upon her as one who did not observe moderation, and whose conduct was
[1. .Tîkâ explains she thought "as I have established my sons, they will look after me. What is the use of a separate estate to me?" And dividing all her wealth she gave it to them.
2. .Tîkâ adds that after a few days her eldest son's wife said: "would that she would give us our half, thinking: 'this is my eldest son!' and that she would go back to her own house!" And the wives of her other sons said the same, and her daughters (from the eldest downwards) said the same, from the time she went to their houses.]
p. 769 unseemly. Thereupon her sons and daughters, seeing her undergoing penance, laughed her to scorn wheresoever they saw her, saying, "This woman does not, even to this day, know the Precepts!" When she heard their words, struck with dismay, she thought: "I must set about a way of self-purification." And thereafter, wherever she might be, either standing or sitting down, she repeated over the Dvatti.msâkâra. So, even as she had formerly been called "the Therî So.nâ, mother of many children," she thenceforward became known as "the Therî So.nâ, strenuous in effort."
Now, one day, when the Bhikkhunîs were going to the Vihâra, they said to her: "So.nâ, heat some water for the company of Bhikkhunîs." And they went away.
And then (while pacing to and fro in the hall where the fire was, and repeating over the Dvatti.msâkâra) she, even before the water boiled, reached the perfection of spiritual insight.
And the Master, although seated (far away) in the Perfumed Chamber, spoke this stanza, which she heard as from a vision:
| "Nay, let a man live a hundred years without sight of the Perfect Law,|
Better do I call the one-day's life of him who beholds the Perfect Law."
And she, having, at the end of the stanza, attained to Arahatship, thought:
"I have attained to Arahatship! Yet, when they all come back, not understanding this, they will find fault with me. And if I say nothing, great blame might be cast on me. I had better do something to show them a sign."
And she placed the water-jar hanging over the hearth on the camp-fire, but did not light the fire beneath it. When the Bhikkhunîs returned, on looking at the fire-place, and seeing no fire, they said: "We bade this old woman boil water for the company of Bhikkhunîs; but lo! to-day she has lighted no fire in the fire-place."
And So.nâ said: "Ladies! What do you want with fire? Should you wish to bathe in water made hot by fire, take water from the jar and bathe in it."
They, thinking: "There must be some reason for this!" went and plunged their hands in the water, and, feeling how hot it was, they brought a pot; and as they took up water in it, the vessel whence they took it filled up again.
Thereupon they were assured that So.nâ had attained to Arahatship. And all the younger Bhikkhunîs prostrated themselves utterly before her, falling at her feet and saying: "Oh, noble lady! for so long a time we have misunderstood, injured, and reviled you--Forgive us!" Thus did they beseech her forgiveness.
Moreover, the elder Bhikkhunîs, crouching before her, pleaded for forgiveness, saying, "Pardon us, noble lady!" And, from that time forth, the Therî, having in a short time attained the Fruit of the Paths (though she had entered the Order in her old age), became renowned for her virtue.
Afterwards the Master, when seated at Jetavana, and assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs one after another, put the Therî So.nâ in the foremost place among those who are strenuous in effort.
In the eighth Sutta, by the words dibbacakkhukânam yadida.m Sakulâ, he points out the Therî Sakulâ as the foremost among those who are gifted with the Higher Vision.
Now this woman also had been reborn, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, in a noble family at Ha.msavatî. And when she had come of age, when hearing the Master preach, she saw him exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those gifted with divine vision; she, forming a resolve, aspired to the same distinction. And, after wandering in worlds of gods and men for a hundred thousand æons, she was reborn in a noble family at Sâvatthî, at the time of the birth of this Our Buddha.
Later on, hearing the Master preach on the Truth, and becoming filled with Faith, she entered the Order, and, shortly after, attained to Arahatship.
From that time forth she became much practised in the Higher Vision.
Afterwards the Master, when seated at Jetavana, assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs one after another, placed this Therî first among those who have the gift of the Higher Vision.
9. Bhaddâ Ku.n.dalakesâ.
In the ninth Sutta by the words khippâbhiññâna.m, he points out Bhaddâ Ku.n.dalakesâ (the curly-haired) as the chief among those Bhikkhunîs who are swift to reach the Higher Insight.
This woman also was reborn in a noble family at Ha.msavatî, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara. And
[3. She is the author of the five verses, 107-11, in the Therî Gâthâ. The MSS. of Dhammapâla's commentary on that passage spell the name -kesî at p. 89 of Prof. Ed. Müller's edition, and -kesâ at p. 99.]
p. 778 when, on hearing the Master preach the Law, she had seen him exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those who are swift to reach the higher insight; she, forming a resolve, aspired to the same distinction.
And after wandering in worlds of gods and men for a hundred thousand æons she was reborn (in the time of the Buddha Kassapa) as one of seven sisters, in the house of Kiki, the king of the Kâsi country. And for twenty thousand years, having taken a vow to keep the Ten Precepts, she lived a life of chastity, and had a dwelling built for the Order of Bhikkhus. And when she had passed on from world to world of gods and men, during the interval between the coming of one Buddha and another she re-entered existence in the family of the Treasurer in the city of Râjagaha, at the time of the birth of this Our Buddha.
They gave her the name Bhaddâ. And that very same day, and in the same city, a son was born to the King's chaplain.
At the moment he was born all the weapons in the city, beginning from those at the royal palace, grew wondrous bright.
And when the chaplain went on the morrow, he asked if the king had slept pleasantly.
The king replied: "How should we sleep pleasantly this day, reverend sir, when all night we were alarmed by seeing the weapons in our palace glowing bright!"
"Oh, great king," said the chaplain, "be not disturbed by reason of this! Not only at your palace did the weapons grow bright, but it was the same through the whole city."
"For what reason, reverend sir?"
"In our house a child was born under the robber's star. He has come as an enemy to the whole city. This is his sign. There is no special danger foretold against yourself. But if you wish it, we will put the child away."
The king said: "So long as he wrongs us not there is no need of putting him away."
The chaplain thought: "My son has come bringing p. 779 his name with him!" So he called him Sattuko ("Highwayman").
And Bhaddâ grew up in the Treasurer's house, while Sattuko, on the other hand, grew up in the chaplain's house.
From the time he was able to walk and run about in play, whatever he used to see in the places here and there where he rambled about, that did he take, and bring home till he filled his parents' house.
And his father, moreover, though threatening him with the stocks, was not able to stop him.
But later on, when he had come of age, his father, seeing that he could not possibly be prevented from doing this, gave him two dark-blue cloths to wear, and put in his hands such tools as he would need for house-breaking, and said to him: "Earn your own living then, even by this trade!" and he turned him adrift. And from that day forth he used to throw his weighted rope over the house-top, and climbing up and breaking through the joinings of the masonry, he would bear away the goods stored up in his neighbour's dwellings, even as if he had stored them there himself. And through the whole city there was not a house he had not robbed.
Now one day the king, when going about the city in his chariot, asked his charioteer:
"Pray, how is it that there is a breach to be seen in every single house in this city?"
"Your highness, in this city there is a robber they call Sattuko, who breaks down the masonry of the houses and carries off property."
The king caused the city-watchman to be summoned, and said to him: "We are told that there is even such a thief as this in the city! Why do you not lay hands on him?"
"Your highness, we cannot find this robber."
And the king said: "If you seize this thief to-day, well and good! If you don't seize him I will have you impaled."
And the watchman said: "So be it, your highness."
And he sent men about through the whole city. And having seen this man bearing away goods from a house he had broken into, he handed him over to the king.
And the king said: "Take this robber forth by the South Gate and kill him."
And the city-watchman, according to the king's command, took the robber, and had him beaten with a thousand lashes at each place where four streets met; and so he went on to the South Gate.
Just then Subhaddâ, the Treasurer's daughter, having unbolted her lattice, was looking forth because of the noise of the great crowd; and beheld the robber, "Highwayman," thus haled along. And, clasping both hands upon her heart, she went and lay upon her bed, with face bowed down. And since she was the only daughter of this family, her kinsfolk could not bear to see so much as a trifling trouble in her face; therefore, when they saw her lying on her bed, they asked her: "What ails you, dear one?"
"Did you see that robber led to execution?" said she: "Yes, yes; we saw him," they answered. "If he is mine I shall live, but if I do not have him, it will surely be my death!" said she.
They, failing to pacify her in any way whatsoever, came to the conclusion "better she should live than die!" So her father went to the city watchman, and giving him a thousand pieces of gold as a bribe, said to him:
"My daughter's heart is bound up in the robber. Set the man free by any stratagem whatever it may be!" "Very well!" said the watchman, and consented to the Treasurer's request. So he kept the robber lingering here and there till nearly sunset, and when the sun was about to set, he had a certain man brought out of the prison; and he caused Highwayman's fetters to be struck off, and sent him to the Treasurer's house, then binding the other
[1. This addition of Su to the name occurs also in Dhammapâla.]
p. 781 man with these fetters he led him away, dismissing him by the south gate.
Thereupon the Treasurer's slaves took Highwayman, and went to the Treasurer's house.
When he saw him, the Treasurer said: "I will fulfil my daughter's wish," so he caused Highwayman to be bathed in scented water, and had him adorned with all his jewels, and sent him to the upper part of the house.
And Subhaddâ thinking "My heart's desire is won!" adorned herself with those jewels that were left over, and went about serving him.
When he had passed a few days (thus) Highwayman thought: "I will have those jewels she wears to adorn her. By whatever wiles it may be, I must get those gems!"
So at the time when they were sitting happily near one another, he said to Bhaddâ:
"There is something I ought to say."
The Treasurer's daughter, full of contentment, as one who has received a thousand gifts, answered:
"Speak freely, my lord!"
And he said:
"You thought: 'His life was saved through me.' But when I was taken prisoner, I prayed to the goddess who dwells on that mountain, whence they throw down the robbers, and I besought her: 'If my life be saved I will offer gifts to thee'! It was through her my life was saved. Do you prepare an offering with all speed."
Subhaddâ, thinking, "I will do as he wishes," made ready an offering.
Then, adorning herself with all her jewels, and mounting one bullock cart with her husband, she went to the mountain where they used to cast down robbers. And purposing to offer gifts to the goddess, she was about to climb the mountain, when Sattuko thought to himself:
"If all our people were to climb the mountain with us, I shall have no chance of seizing on her jewels!"
So bidding her take the sacrificial vessel herself, he went on up the mountain.
And while talking with Bhaddâ, he had not a loving word for her, and she felt by his very manner what his purpose was.
Now he said to her: "Bhaddâ, take off your Sâ.taka (garment), and make a bundle here of those jewels you brought up hither upon you."
"Oh my husband, what wrong have I done?" she said.
"Why do you suppose I have come to offer gifts? Why I could tear out this goddess's liver and eat it! I came hither under pretence of offering gifts because I coveted your jewels."
But she said, "Whose, Sir, pray, are the jewels, and whose am I? We know nothing of any such idea as there being any difference between a thing belonging to you and one belonging to me. Still, all right Sir! Only fulfil one desire I have. Allow me once more, still dressed in my finery, to embrace you both face to face, and from behind your back."
And he consented, saying, "Very well!" And having embraced him face to face, she made as if she would embrace him from behind, and thrust him over the precipice. So falling through the air he was crushed to atoms.
And the goddess who haunted the mountain, seeing this wondrous deed, uttered these verses in her praise:
| 'Tis not on all occasions a man alone who is clever.|
A woman can be clever too, with her eyes open on all sides.
'Tis not on all occasions a man alone who is clever.
A woman can be clever too, should she give thought for a moment only.
Then Subhaddâ thought to herself: "I cannot go back to my own home thus! I will go forth and forsake the world by entering some order."
So she went to the dwelling of the Niga.n.thas (Jains), and begged them to admit her into their Order. And they said to her: "With what manner of ceremony will you be ordained?" She answered: "With your highest p. 783 ordination." And saying, "So be it!" they pulled out her hair with palmyra thorns, and thus ordained her.
And when her hair began growing again, it grew in curls, through its great abundauce, and for this reason she came to be called Ku.n.dalakesâ (Curly Locks).
Now when she had mastered all the teaching to be had in that place where she had been ordained, and saw that there was nothing further to be learned there, she wandered about in villages and market-towns, and wheresoever there were learnéd men, there did she acquire their learning, nay, all of it!
And, therefore, in many places they were not able to give any answers to her because she was so learnéd. So having found no one who was able to dispute with her, whatever village or town she entered, she used to make a heap of sand beside the gate and plant a Jambu-branch on it, and tell the children standing near:
"If any man is able to dispute with me he may trample down this branch!"
If in seven days there was no one who trampled it down, she used to take it away and depart thence.
At this time Our Blesséd One, reborn into this world, was living at Jetavana near Sâvatthî.
Now Ku.n.dalakesâ also arrived at Sâvatthî, and when she came to the city she planted her branch on a heap of sand in the very same way as before. And telling the children about it she went into the city.
Just then the Captain of the Faith, Sâriputto, was entering the city alone (the company of Bhikkhus having preceded him), and he saw the mound of sand and the branch.
"What has this been put here for?" he asked. The children told him about it, leaving nothing out.
"If that be so, take it down and trample on it, boys!" said he.
Some among them, when they had heard the Therâ's words, did not dare to trample on the branch, but others, that very moment trampled it to fragments.
Ku.n.dalakesâ, having finished her meal, was setting out, when she saw that the branch was trampled down, and she asked:
"Whose doing is this?"
Then they told her that the Captain of the Faith had caused it to be done.
And she thought to herself: "He must have known his own strength when he dared to tell them to trample down my branch! Surely he is some great man! But as for me, I am insignificant, and I shall not show to advantage alone! I had better go into the village and tell the people." And she did so.
[It must be understood that all the eighty thousand families in the city got to know of it according to their districts.]
Now the Thera, having finished his meal, seated himself at the foot of a certain tree. And this woman, Ku.n.dalakesâ, followed by a great crowd, went to the Thera, and, after greeting him, stood respectfully on one side and asked him: "Reverend sir, was it you who bade them trample down my branch?"
"Yes, it was I who had it trampled down," he answered.
"So be it, sir! Then let us dispute--you and I together," said she.
"So be it, Bhaddâ," he replied. "Which of us shall ask questions, and which shall answer?"
"It is my right to question?"
"Ask away, then, on whatever you understand," said he.
So, the Thera having agreed to it, she questioned him on such matters as she understood.
The Thera solved all she put to him. And when she had asked all her questions she was silent.
Then the Thera said to her:
"You have asked me many questions, Now, let me ask you this one question."
"Ask it, reverend sir," she said. And he asked her one riddle only: "What is the one?" Ku.n.dalakesâ answered: "Reverend sir, I do not know!"
"If you do not know even so little as that, how can you know anything else?"
And thereupon she fell down at the Thera's feet, saying: "I take you as my refuge, O reverend sir!"
"Nay, you must not come to me as a refuge, but to him who is the Lord and greatest in the world. He dwells at the Maha-Vihâra. Go you to him as your refuge!"
And she said: "I will do so, sir!"
And in the evening she went to the Master at the time of the preaching, and when she had prostrated herself wholly before him she stood on one side.
And the Master, by way of leading her to suppress the Sankhâras (Elements of Being), spoke to her this stanza, which is in the Dhammapada:
| "Though there be a thousand verses full of foolish sentences|
Better do I hold one sentence of a verse whereby, on hearing it, one is set at rest."
And, at the end of the stanza, even as she stood there she received the four Gifts of Perfect Understanding, and attained to Arahatship.
And she prayed that she might enter the Order, and the Master consented to her ordination. So, going to the home of the Bhikkhunîs, she renounced the world.
Afterwards it was talked of, among the four classes of disciples (Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunîs, and lay disciples, both men and women), how great must be this Bhaddâ Ku.n.dalakesâ to have attained to Arahatship at the end of a stanza of four lines. And the Master set forth the reason of this, and gave the Therî the chief place among those who are swift to reach the higher knowledge.
10. Bhaddâ Kâpilâni.
In the tenth Sutta by the words pubbenivâsâna.m (dwelling in the past), he points out Bhaddâ Kâpilâni as the chief among those who remember former states of existence.
They say that this woman, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, was reborn in a noble family at Ha.msavatî. And when, on hearing the Master preach the Law, she had seen him exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those who remember former births, she (forming a resolve) aspired to the same distinction.
And after wandering in worlds of gods and men for a hundred thousand æons, she re-entered existence in a noble family at Benares, at a time when there was no Buddha upon the earth.
Now there arose a quarrel between her and her brother's wife. And when the other had given food to a Pacceka Buddha she (Bhaddâ) thought:
"By giving him food she gets him into her own power." And she took the bowl from the hand of the Pacceka Buddha, and threw away the food, and filled it with mud, and gave it to him.
And the multitude blamed her for a fool, saying, "The quarrel was between you and your brother's wife, yet you did nothing to her! What harm has the Pacceka Buddha done to you?"
And she was put to shame by these words, and took the alms-bowl again and emptied out the mud, and washed it, and rubbed it with perfumed powder, and filled it with the four kinds of sweet food, and gave it into the hand of the Pacceka Buddha, shining with butter of the colour of the inside of the bloom of the lotus, and she uttered the prayer: "May my body become bright even as this food in the alms-bowl!"
All the rest should be understood as before told in the story of the Thera Mahâkassapo, (only adding that) the Thera took the right-hand road and went to the Blesséd One at the foot of the Bahu-puttaka Banyan Tree, and this woman Bhaddâ Kâpilâni took the left-hand road, and, since women had not then received permission to be ordained in Gotama's Order, went to the grove of the women who had entered the Order of the Wandering Ascetics.
Afterwards at the time when Mahâpajâpatî Gotamî p. 788 received the permission for women to enter (Gotama's) Order, then this Therî went to her, and from her received both the lower and the higher grade of ordination; and, striving after Spiritual Insight, attained to Arahatship, and became endowed with knowledge of her former births.
So the Master, seated at Jetavana, and assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs in turn, placed this Therî first among those who remember their former births.
11. Bhaddâ Kaccânâ.
In the eleventh Sutta by the words mahâbhiññappattâna.m he points out Bhaddâ Kaccânâ as the chief among those who attained to the Great Gifts.
Now, every single Buddha has four followers, who are gifted with the Great Insight. But the rest of the disciples are not so gifted. For the rest of the disciples can recall a hundred thousand æons, but, on the other band, these four, after attaining to the Great Gifts, can remember innumerable ages, a time longer than a hundred thousand æons.
Now, under the dispensation of Our Master, those who had the power of remembrance were the two chief disciples, and also the Thera Bakkula and Bhaddâ Kaccânâ.
These four were able to remember thus much. Therefore this Therî came to be called the chief among those who have attained to the Great Gifts. The name Bhaddâ Kaccânâ was given to her because her skin was beautiful, like gold (kañcana); nay, like the very finest of gold. On account of this she came by the name Bhaddâ Kañcanâ, and afterwards she came to be called Kaccânâ, which is a synonym for (her more usual designation) 'the mother of Râhula.'
She, too, had re-entered existence in a noble family at Ha.msavatî, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, and afterwards, when she (on hearing the Master preach the Truth) had seen him exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those who are endowed with the Great Gifts, she had aspired to the same distinction.
And after wandering in worlds of gods and men for a hundred thousand æons, she was reborn in the household of Suppabuddha, the Sâkya, at the time of the birth of this Our Buddha.
And when she came of age she was married to the Bodhisat. Afterwards she bore a son, who was named Râhula.
But, on the very day of his son's birth, the Bodhisat went forth. And when he had attained to perfect wisdom under the Bo-Tree, he, out of mercy to the world, returned in due course to Kapilavatthu, and reconciled his kinsfolk.
Afterwards, on the death ot the great King Suddhodana, Mahâpajâpatî, the Gotamî, together with five hundred other women, received ordination from the Master. And both the mother of Râhula and Rûpanandâ, going to the Therî, entered the Order.
And it was only from the time of her entering the Order that she became known as Bhaddâ Kaccânâ.
Now, afterwards, when she had reached the fulness of Spiritual Insight and attained to Arahatship, she lived in the practice of the Spiritual Gifts.
And, seated once upon a couch, she recalled, in one meditation, immeasurable ages, more than a hundred thousand æons. And since her merit in this became renowned, the Master, when seated at Jetavana, assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs in turn, put this Therî in the chief place among those who have attained to the Great Gifts.
[1. That is to Mahâpajâpatî.]
In the twelfth Sutta by the words lûkhacîvaradharâna.m ("those who wear a rough garment"), he points out Kisâgotamî as the chief among those who wear rags of the three kinds of roughness, taken from a dust heap.
Gotamî was the name, of this woman, but as she was (apt to be) soon wearied, they called her Kisâ Gotamî (the weakling). She, too, in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara was reborn in a noble family at Ha.msavatî, and when (while hearing the preaching of the Law) she had seen the Master exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those who wear rough garments, she, stoutly resolving, aspired to the same distinction.
And, after wandering in worlds of gods and men for a hundred thousand æons, she was reborn in the time of this Our Buddha, in a poor family at Sâvatthî. When she came of age she married. And she was treated with contempt, as being the daughter of poor folk.
Later on she bore a son, and thereupon she was treated with deference.
But when this child had come to an age to be able to run about hither and thither in play, it died.
And she grieved, thinking: "In this very household where I had been stripped of all advantage and honour, I rose to dignity from the moment of my child's birth! Surely these people will now try to cast out my son!"
So she took her child upon her side, and wandering from door to door, asked at one house after another, "Give me medicine for my child!" And, wherever they saw her the people jeered at her, clapping their hands, and saying, "Where did you ever yet see medicine for a dead child!" And yet, for all they spoke so, she could not understand.
Now a certain wise man saw her and thought to himself: "This woman is distraught through grief for her child. But though no other knows of any medicine for her, yet the Blesséd One will surely know." And he spoke thus to her: "Friend, there is no other who knows of any medicine for your child. (But) He who is greatest of all in the world of gods and men is dwelling in the Dhura Vihâra. Go then to him and ask him."
And she, thinking: "This man is telling me the truth," took her son and went and stood at the back of the assembly, as the Blesséd One was seated in the seat of the teacher. And she said to him: "Master, give me medicine for my child?"
The Master, seeing what destiny (was in store for her), said to her: "This is well done Gotamî, that you should come hither for medicine! Go now, enter the town, and starting from one end walk through the whole of it, and in whatsoever house death has never yet been, there get some white mustard-seed."
And she answered: "That will I, master!" and, joyful in heart, took her way townwards. And at the very first house she said, "The Blesséd One bids me get white mustard-seed as medicine for my child. Give me some mustard-seed."
"Here, then, Gotamî," said they, and brought mustard-seed and gave it to her. But she would not take it p. 795 simply so, and she asked further, "But has anyone ever died in this house?"
"What are you saying, Gotamî? The number of those that have died here can no man count!"
"Then never mind, I must not accept the mustard-seed," she said, "The Blesséd one told me not to take it from any house where death has been."
But when she had gone in this same way to the second and to the third house, she thought to herself: "It will be the same throughout the whole city! This thing was surely (fore)seen by the Buddha in his mercy and love." And her heart was moved within her. And going forth out of the city, even to the open graveyard, she took her child by the hand, saying:
"Little one! I thought death had befallen thee (alone), but lo! it is the law common to thee and to all mankind!"
And she put him down in the graveyard, and uttered this verse:
| "This is the Law not only for villages or towns--|
Not for one family is this the Law,
For all the wide worlds both of men and gods,
This is the Law--that all must pass away!"
But when she had thus spoken, she went to the Master. And the Master said to her: "Did you get any mustard-seed, Gotamî?"
And she answered: "The work of the mustard-seed is done! (But) be you (now) a refuge unto me!"
Then the Master spoke this verse to her (which is in the Dhammapada): "To him who is wrapt in his children and his possessions, whose mind is distracted.
To him comes death, bearing (all) away, even as the flood bears away the sleeping village."
And at the end of the verse, even as she stood there, she reached the Fruit of the Paths, and she prayed that she might enter the Order. And the Master granted her wish. So, first paying solemn obeisance three times to the p. 796 Master, she went to the home of the Bhikkhunîs and entered the Order.
And after rising to the higher grade in the Order, it was not long before, earnest in careful meditation, she perfected her Spiritual Insight.
Then the Master, even as in a vision, spoke this verse--
| Let a man live a hundred years,|
Beholding not the Deathless State,
'Twere better to have lived a single day
The life of him who knows the Deathless State.
And at the end of the stanza she attained to Arahatship. And she became eminent in the greatest degree in the right observance of the Eight Requisites, and used to don robes rough in the three (prescribed) ways.
Afterwards, when the Master, seated at Jetavana, was assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs one after another, he gave to this Therî the chief place among those who wear the rough robe.
In the thirteenth Sutta by the words saddhâdhimuttâna.m (intent upon Faith) he points out Sigâlakamâtâ as the foremost among those who are firmly established in the characteristic of Faith.
They say that in the time of the Buddha Padumuttara this woman was reborn in a nobleman's bouse at Ha.msavatî. And when (on hearing the Law preached) she had seen the Master exalt a certain Bhikkhunî to the chief place among those who are intent upon Faith, she, making a resolve, aspired to the same distinction.
And, after wandering in worlds of gods and men for a hundred thousand æons, she, at the time of the birth of this Our Buddha, was reborn in the Treasurer's family, in the city of Râjagaha. And having married into a family of equal rank with her own, she gave birth to a son. They called him young Sigâlaka. For this reason she came to be named "the Mother of Sigâlaka."
One day, when she had been hearing the Master preach the Law, she received Faith, and entered the Order under him.
From the time of her entering the Order she became gifted with Faith to the very utmost.
And having gone to the Vihâra, to hear the preaching of the Law, she stood gazing at the bodily perfection of the Blesséd One.
The Master, perceiving that she was firmly established in the virtue of Faith, for her sake preached the very doctrine in such wise as to fill her with belief. So this Therî also, making Faith the basis, reached up to Arahatship. And afterwards the Master, when seated at Jetavana, assigning places to the Bhikkhunîs in turn, gave to this Therî the chief place among those who are intent on Faith.