In Section Nine, by the words Of those who are quick to obtain the [Six] Supernatural Powers, the Teacher declares Bhadda, Kundalakesa to be foremost of nuns who are quick to obtain the [Six] Supernatural Powers.
For she also, reborn in the dispensation of the Buddha Padumuttara in the city Hamsavati in a respectable family, hearing the Teacher preach the Doctrine, seeing him assign preeminence among those who were quick to obtain the [Six] Supernatural Powers to a certain nun, made an Earnest Wish, aspiring to that rank.
After following the stream of the Round of Existences in the Worlds of the Gods and the world of men for a hundred thousand cycles of time, she was reborn in the dispensation of the Buddha Kassapa in the household of Kiki, king of Kasi, as one of seven sisters. For twenty thousand years she took upon herself the Ten Precepts, lived the Holy Life of a princess, caused cells of residence to be erected for the Order, and after following the stream of the Round of Existences in the Worlds of the Gods and the world of men during the interval between the Buddha Kassapa and the Buddha Gautama, was reborn in the dispensation of the Buddha Gautama in the city of Rajagaha in the household of a rich merchant. They gave her the name Bhadda, or Felicia, or Blessed.
That same day moreover, in that city, the house-priest of the king had a son born. At the time of his birth, throughout the city, beginning with the king's residence, weapons flashed light. The house-priest, very early in the morning, went to the king's residence and inquired of the king whether he had slept well. Said the king: "How, master, could you expect Us to sleep well? All last night the weapons in the royal residence flashed light; We saw them and were stricken with fear."
"Great king, don't worry about that. Not in your residence only did weapons flash light; it was the same all over the city." "What was the cause, master?" "In our house a boy was born under the constellation of a robber. He has come into existence as an enemy of the entire city. That was his sign; you have nothing to fear. But if you wish, we'll get rid of him." "So long as we suffer no injury, there is no necessity of getting rid of him."
Said the house-priest: "My son has actually brought his own name with him!" Accordingly he gave the boy simply the name Little Enemy. In the merchant's house Bhadda grew up, and likewise in the house-priest's house Little Enemy grew up. From the time he was old enough to play and run hither and yon, wherever he went, he laid hands on everything he saw, and filled the house of his mother and father. His father gave him a thousand reasons, but for all that could not stop him. But later on, when the boy had grown to manhood, the father, realizing that by no means in his power could he stop him, gave him two dark blue garments to wear, placed in his hands a housebreaking outfit and a block-and-tackle, and dismissed him, saying: "Get a living this way anyhow."
From that day on he would throw his block-and-tackle, climb the face of houses, make a breach in the wall, and taking goods deposited in other people's houses with as much assurance as though he had himself deposited them, go his way. In the entire city there was not a single house he didn't plunder.
One day the king, driving through the city in a chariot, asked his charioteer: "How comes it that the houses in this city are everywhere nothing but holes?" "Your majesty, in this city is a robber named Little Enemy who is breaking through walls and robbing people's houses." The king had the city watchman summoned: "In this city, I am told, is a robber who does this and that. Why don't you catch him?" "Your majesty, we can't get that robber with the goods!" "If you don't catch that robber to-day, I will do for you as does a king."
"Very well, your majesty," said the city watchman. He had men patrol the entire city, and catching that robber in the act of breaking through a wall and robbing other people of their property, arraigned him, goods and all, before the king. Said the king: "Conduct this robber out of the South gate and have him executed." The city watchman, in obedience to the king's command, having given that robber a thousand lashes at every cross-roads, went out of the South gate with him.
At that time this maiden Bhadda, daughter of the rich merchant, hearing the hubbub of the multitude, opened a window, looked out, and saw Little Enemy the robber being led along in this manner. Seeing, she pressed both hands to her heart and went and laid herself down on her splendid couch with upturned face. Now she was the sole dearly beloved daughter of that house, wherefore her kinsfolk could not bear even the slightest alteration for the worse in her facial expression. So when they saw her lying on her couch, they asked her: "What are you doing, dear girl?" "Did you see that robber being led to execution for committing a capital offense?" "Yes, dear girl, we saw him." "If I can have him, I will live; if I cannot have him,--death only for me!"
By no means whatever could they quiet her. "Life is better than death!" they concluded. So her father went to the city watchman, gave him a thousand pieces of money as a bribe, and said to him: "My daughter is in love with a robber. Get him off the best way you can." "Very well," said the city watchman. In obedience to the merchant's command he took the robber, dilly-dallied here and there until the sun was about to set, and when the sun was about to set, removing a certain man from the prison, freed Little Enemy from his bonds, sent Little Enemy to the merchant's house, bound the other man with bonds, conducted him out of the South gate, and slew him. Moreover slaves of the merchant escorted Little Enemy to the merchant's residence.
When the merchant's daughter saw him, she thought: "I will fulfil my desire." So she caused Little Enemy to bathe in perfumed water, caused him to be adorned with all the adornments, and sent him to the mansion. Bhadda, thinking, "Fulfilled is my aspiration," adorned herself with the adornments that were left over, and spent her time ministering to him. After spending a few days thus, Little Enemy thought: "This woman's ornaments must be mine; by hook or crook I must get hold of them." Accordingly, when they were seated together happily, he said to Bhadda: "There is something I have to say."
The merchant's daughter was as pleased at heart as though she had gained a thousand pieces of money. "Speak freely, Noble Sir," said she. Said Little Enemy: "You think: 'Through me this man has received his life.' But as a matter of fact, the instant I was caught, I made the following vow to the deity residing on the mountain called Robbers' Cliff: 'If I receive my life, I will make an offering to you.' Make haste and prepare an offering."
Bhadda, thinking, "I will fulfil his desire," prepared the offering, adorned herself with all her adornments, mounted the same conveyance, accompanied her husband to the mountain called Robbers' Cliff, and with the thought in her mind, "I will make an offering to the spirit of the mountain," started to climb the mountain.
Little Enemy thought: "If all climb the mountain, there will be no chance for me to get this woman's jewels." Accordingly he caused Bhadda alone to take the vessel containing the offering; having so done, he climbed the mountain. He talked with Bhadda, but the words he spoke were not friendly words. She knew, merely by his manner of acting, what he was up to.
Then said he to her: "Bhadda, take off your cloak and wrap up in it the jewels you have on." "Husband, what wrong have I done?" "You imagine: 'Why! but I came here for the purpose of making an offering!' But for my part, I could tear out the liver of this deity and devour it! As a matter of fact, the offering was only a pretext by which I got you here with the intention of taking your jewels." "But, Noble Sir, to whom the jewels belong, to him I also belong." "I don't admit anything of the sort. Your property is one thing, my property is another."
"Very well, Noble Sir. But fulfil this one wish of mine: Permit me, adorned just as I am, to embrace you both before and behind." "Very well," said he, consenting. She, knowing that he had consented, made a pretense of embracing him before and behind, and--flung him over the cliff. He fell through the air, and while yet in the air, was reduced to powder and dust. The deity residing on the mountain, realizing what a brilliant thing she had done, uttered these stanzas in praise of her good qualities:
"Not under all circumstances is that male wise,--
Then Bhadda, thought: "It is out of the question, as matters stand, for me to go back home again. I will leave this place, at any rate, retire from the world, and enter some religious order." So she went to the monastery of the Jains and asked the Jains to admit her to the religious life. Now they said to her: "What mode of religious life shall it be?" She replied: "Admit me to the very highest plane of your religious life." "Very well," said they. And tearing out her hair with a palmyra comb, they admitted her to the religious life.
When her hair came in again, it grew so thick that it hung in curls and ringlets. Solely through this circumstance she received the name Curly-hair, Kundalakesa.
In the place where she had adopted the religious life, there she learned all the branches of religious knowledge they had to teach. But coming to the conclusion that beyond these they had nothing of any special worth, she wandered through villages, market-towns, and royal cities, visiting all the places where there were wise men, and learning all the branches of religious knowledge they had to teach. In fact, so learned did she become that in many places men were unable to answer her questions.
Finding no one who could match question and answer with her, whenever she entered a village or a market-town, she would make a pile of sand at the gate, plant a rose-apple branch on it, and give the sign to the boys standing near: "Whoever has the courage to argue with me,--let him trample this branch under his feet!" For seven whole days there were none who trampled the branch under their feet. So she took it and departed.
At this time our Exalted One, reborn in the world of men, was in residence at Jetavana near Savatthi. Kundalakesa in due course reached Savatthi, and entering within the city, planted the branch on a pile of sand precisely as before, and gave the sign to the boys standing near. At this time Sariputta, Commander of the Faith, entered the city quite alone, having permitted the Congregation of Monks to precede him, and seeing the rose-apple branch on the pile of sand, asked: "How does this come to be planted here?" The boys told him what there was about it, omitting none of the details. "If that's the case, boys, take it and trample it under your feet." When the boys heard the Elder say this, there were some who did not dare trample it under their feet; but others, the very instant the Elder gave the word, trampled it under their feet and reduced it to powder and dust.
Kundalakesa, having finished her breakfast, came out. Seeing the branch trampled to dust, she asked: "Whose is this work?" Then the boys told her that they themselves had done it, and that Sariputta, Commander of the Faith, had put them up to it. Thought she: "Had he not known his own strength, he would never have dared tell these boys to trample this branch under their feet. He must certainly be some great man. But as for me, since I am a person of no consequence, I shall not appear to advantage. The best thing for me to do is to go right back into the town and give the sign to my followers." She did so. (They are to understand that of the eighty thousand families who resided in the city, since they had all things in common, every one of them knew.)
As for the Elder, when he had finished his breakfast, he sat down at the foot of a tree. Now this nun Kundalakesa, surrounded by a great throng of people, went to the Elder, exchanged friendly greetings with him, took her stand on one side, and asked: "Reverend Sir, was it you who told those boys to trample that branch under their feet?" "Yes, it was I who told those boys to trample that branch under their feet." "That being the case, Sir, I should like to engage in a disputation with you." "All right, my lady."
"Whose privilege is it to ask questions, and whose to answer?" "As for asking questions, it is my privilege to do that; but you ask questions on whatever subject you are acquainted with." In accordance with the direction of the Elder, she asked him questions about every single doctrine she knew. The Elder answered every question she asked. When she had asked all of her questions, she became silent. Then said the Elder to her: "You have asked a great deal. Let me too ask a single question." "Ask it, Reverend sir." "What is One?"
Said Kundalakesa: "I don't know, Reverend Sir." "If you don't know that little bit, what else can you be supposed to know?" Then and there she fell at the Elder's feet, saying: "In you, Reverend Sir, do I seek refuge." "There is no such thing as seeking refuge in me. Residing at a neighboring monastery is the foremost individual in the world of men and the Worlds of the Gods. Seek refuge in him." "I will do so," said she. So at even-tide, when it was time for the Teacher to preach the Doctrine, she went to him, and saluting him with the Five Rests, took her stand on one side. The Teacher, knowing that by the course she had adopted she had trampled under her feet all existing things, uttered this stanza:
"Even if there were a hundred stanzas
At the conclusion of the stanza, even as she stood there, she attained Sainthood together with the [Four] Analytical Powers, and requested admission to the Order. The Teacher granted her admission to her. She went to the Nuns' Convent and was admitted.
On a later occasion the following talk began in the midst of the Fourfold Assembly: "Great indeed is this Bhadda Kundalakesa, who attained Sainthood at the conclusion of a stanza of four verses!" The Teacher, taking advantage of this opportunity, assigned to the nun Kundalakesa preeminence among those who are quick to obtain the [Six] Supernatural Powers.
In the Second Sutta, with the words of almsgivers, the Buddha declares Visakha Mother of Migara to be foremost of female lay disciples who delight in almsgiving.
She, they are told, was reborn in the dispensation of the Buddha Padurauttara in the city of Harhsavati, in a respectable family. Later on, hearing the Teacher preach the Doctrine, and seeing him assign a certain female lay disciple to the rank of foremost of almsgivers, she made an Earnest Wish, aspiring to that distinction.
Passing from birth to birth in the Worlds of the Gods and the world of men for a period of one hundred thousand cycles of time, she was reborn in the dispensation of the Buddha Kassapa in the household of Kiki king of Kasi as the youngest of seven sisters. For at that time
Samani and Samanagutta, and Bhikkhuni and Bhikkhadayika
were seven sisters. In the present dispensation, as
Khema and Uppalavanna and Patacara and Gotami
have they been reborn.
The seventh of these, Sanghadasi, after passing from birth to birth during the interval between the Buddha Kassapa and the Buddha Gautama, received a new conception in the dispensation of the Buddha Gautama in the kingdom of Ahga, in the city of Bhaddiya, in the womb of Lady Flower, chief consort of Treasurer Wealth-winner, son of Treasurer Ram. They gave her the name Visakha.
When she was seven years old, the Possessor of the Ten Forces, seeing that the Brahman Sela and other of his kinsmen in the faith possessed the faculties requisite for Conversion, journeying from place to place in that kingdom with a great company of monks, came to that city. Now at that time Householder Ram held the post of treasurer in that city, being the chief of five persons of great merit.
(The five persons of great merit were Treasurer Ram, Moon-lotus his principal wife, his son Wealth-winner, his wife Lady Flower, and Treasurer Ram's slave Punna. Treasurer Ram possessed limitless wealth; but not he alone,--in the jurisdiction of the great king Bimbisara there were five possessors of limitless wealth: Jotiya, Jatila, Ram, Punnaka, and Kakavaliya.)
When Treasurer Ram heard that the Possessor of the Ten Forces had come to his own city, he sent for the maiden Visakha, daughter of Treasurer Wealth-winner, and spoke thus: "Dear girl, both for you and for me this is an auspicious day. With the five hundred maidens who are your fellows, mount five hundred chariots, and accompanied by five hundred slave-maidens, go forth to meet the Possessor of the Ten Forces."
Hearing the words of her grandfather, she did so. Now because she well knew both what to do and what not to do, she proceeded in a vehicle as far as there was room for a vehicle to go; then, descending from the vehicle, she approached the Teacher on foot, bowed to him, and took her stand on, one side. Pleased with her conduct, the Teacher preached the Doctrine to her, and at the conclusion of his discourse both she and her five hundred maidens were established in the Fruit of Conversion.
Treasurer Ram also went to the Teacher, bowed to the Teacher, and sat down on one side. The Teacher also, because of his conduct, preached the Doctrine. At the conclusion of the discourse he was established in the Fruit of Conversion. Thereupon he invited the Teacher to be his guest on the morrow. On the following day he entertained in his own house the Congregation of Monks presided over by the Buddha, serving them with the choicest food, both hard and soft, and in like manner during the following fortnight provided them with abundant food. When the Teacher had remained in the city of Bhaddiya during his good pleasure, he departed.
From this point on, the story should be confined to the career of Visakha, to the exclusion of all other topics.
For the king of Kosala at Savatthi sent word to Bimbisara: "In my jurisdiction there is no personage possessed of limitless wealth; let him send us a personage possessed of limitless wealth!" The king took counsel with his ministers. His ministers said: "It is impossible to send a great personage, but we will send a single treasurer's son." And they mentioned Treasurer Wealth-winner, son of Treasurer Ram. The king, hearing their answer, sent him. And the king of Kosala gave him the post of treasurer in the city of Saketa, seven leagues from Savatthi, and provided him with a residence there.
Now there lived at Savatthi a treasurer named Migara, and he had a son named Punnavaddhana Kumara, who had just reached manhood. Now his father, knowing, "My son has reached manhood; it is time for me to get him married," sent out men who knew both what to do and what not to do, saying: "Seek out a maiden in a family of birth equal to our own." Seeing at Savatthi no maiden who pleased them, they went to Saketa.
Now that day Visakha, accompanied by five hundred maidens of age equal to her own, went to a certain pool to make holiday. As for those men, after making a tour of the city and seeing no maiden who pleased them, they stood outside of the city-gate. Now at that time the god began to rain. Accordingly those maidens who set out with Visakha, for fear of getting wet, entered the rest-house. Those men saw among those maidens also none that pleased them. Last of all those maidens, Visakha, not so much as recking of the rain, drenched though she was, entered the rest-house.
Those men, even when they saw her, thought: "In beauty there may be some other besides even superior to her; but this beauty of hers is like the ripe fruit of a pomegranate-tree which is all one mass of shade. By starting up a conversation and talking with her we shall find out whether her voice is sweet or not." So they said to her: "Dear girl, you act like a woman that has long since reached her maturity." "What do you see that makes you say this, friends?" "The other maidens who are your playfellows, for fear of getting wet, came quickly and entered the rest-house. But you act like an old woman; you do not come with quickened pace; although your robe is wet, you reck not of it. Would you act thus if an elephant or a horse were pursuing you?" "Friends, robes are not hard to get; indeed, in my house, robes are easy to get. But women are like goods offered for sale; if a woman breaks an arm or a leg, people are repelled by her bodily defects and spit upon her. That is why I came slowly."
Thought those men: "Like this maiden is no other maiden in this Land of the Rose-apple. Such as she is in beauty, such is she also in speech. She knows both what to do and what not to do; and as she knows, she talks." And they threw over her head a mass of garlands. Now Visakha thought: "Before, I was possessed by none other; but now I am possessed by another." Accordingly, in the manner prescribed by the rules of good breeding, she seated herself on the ground. And as she sat there, they drew a curtain around her. When she was fully clothed, she went home, accompanied by her retinue of slave-maidens. Those emissaries of Treasurer Migara also went right with her to the house of Treasurer Wealth-winner.
"Friends, in what village do you live?" they were asked. "We are emissaries of Treasurer Migara, who lives in the city of Savatthi," they replied. "Our treasurer heard, 'In your house there is a maiden who has reached marriageable age,' and sent us." "Well done, friends! your treasurer may not be our equal in wealth, but he is our equal in birth. A man with all of the qualifications is hard to find! You tell your treasurer that we accept."
Hearing his reply, they went to Savatthi and gave joy and delight to the heart of Treasurer Migara. "Master," said they, "in Saketa, in the house of Treasurer Wealth-winner, we found a maiden!" Hearing this, Treasurer Migara was delighted in heart. "In the house of a great personage," thought he, "we have found a maiden!" He immediately sent word to Treasurer Wealth-winner: "We will straightway fetch the maiden; let them do what they should do!" Treasurer Wealth-winner sent back word to him: "This is no hard matter for us; but let the treasurer himself do what he should do!"
Treasurer Migara went to the king of Kosala and reported: "Sire, I have a wedding-festival in hand. I would fetch hither Visakha, daughter of Treasurer Wealth-winner, to be the wife of your slave Punnavaddhana. Give me leave to go to Saketa." "Very well, great treasurer. But ought We too to go?" "Sire, how is it possible to prevail upon personages like yourself to go?" The king, desiring to bestow favor on the son of a great personage, assented, saying: "Let be, great treasurer, I will go." So the king accompanied Treasurer Migara to the city of Saketa.
Treasurer Wealth-winner, hearing, "Treasurer Migara, they say, has arrived with the king of Kosala," went forth to meet the king, and escorted him to his own residence. Forthwith he ordered for Pasenadi Kosala and for the king's force and for Treasurer Migara both lodgings and requisites,--garlands, perfumes, garments, and the rest. "This, this man must have! this, this woman must have!"--of himself, he knew all. Severally, those people thought: "To us alone the treasurer is doing honor!"
Now one day the king sent a message to Treasurer Wealth-winner: "It is impossible for the treasurer to provide maintenance and support for us for a very long time. Let him appoint a time for the maiden's departure." The treasurer sent a message to the king: "The season of the rains has now arrived. It is impossible for four months to travel. Whatever your army should have, that it will be my duty to provide. Let your majesty depart only at such time as I may send him."
From that time on, the city of Saketa was like a village engaged in perpetual holiday. Thus three months passed. But the great-creeper parure for the daughter of Treasurer Wealth-winner was not yet completed. Now his foremen came and reported: "As for aught else, nothing is lacking,--but there is not enough firewood to cook food for the army." "Go, friends, take down the elephant-stables and horse-stables and cow-stables and cook food." The firewood they thus obtained and used for cooking lasted only a fortnight. Then they reported again: "Master, there is not enough firewood." "Friends, at this time of year it is impossible to procure firewood; therefore open the storehouse where the cloths are kept, take all the coarse cloths you can find, make wicks of them, soak them in a vessel of oil, and thus cook the food." The firewood they thus obtained and used for cooking lasted four full months.
Then Treasurer Wealth-winner, knowing that his daughter's great-creeper parure was completed, resolved: "To-morrow I will send my daughter." Accordingly, causing his daughter to sit close by, he admonished her, saying: "Dear girl, thus and so must a woman school herself to behave when she lives in her husband's family." That other treasurer, Migara, also, lying in the chamber immediately adjoining, heard the Admonitions which Treasurer Wealth-winner addressed to his daughter. And these were the Admonitions which Treasurer Wealth-winner addressed to his daughter:
"Dear daughter, so long as you live in the house of your father-in-law, The indoor fire is not to be carried outside; The outdoor fire is not to be carried inside; Give only to him that gives; Give not to him that gives not; Give both to him that gives and to him that gives not; Sit happily; Eat happily; Sleep happily; Tend the fire; Honor the household divinity."
These Ten Admonitions did Treasurer Wealth-winner give to his daughter. On the following day he assembled all the guilds of artisans, and standing in the midst of the king's army, appointed eight householders to be sponsors for his daughter, saying to them: "If to my daughter, in the place to which she is going, any fault is charged, you are to clear her of the charge."
Then he caused his daughter to be adorned with her great-creeper parure which cost nine crores of treasure, and gave her fifty-four cartloads of treasure to buy aromatic powders for the bath, five hundred slave-maidens to accompany her always, five hundred chariots drawn by thoroughbreds, of all manner of presents a hundred each; and having so done, dismissed the king of Kosala and Treasurer Migara.
When it was time for his daughter to go, he summoned the men who had charge of the cattle-pens and said to them: "Friends, in the place to which my daughter is going, she will need milch-cows to provide her with milk to drink, and bulls to yoke to her conveyances. Therefore open the gates of the cattle-pen on the road which my daughter takes, allow a space eight leagues in width to become filled with a multitude of cattle,--three-quarters of a league distant there is such-and-such a cave,--when the herd of cattle reaches that point, give a signal on a drum and close the gates of the cattle-pen." "Very well," said they, promising to do as the treasurer said. And so they did. When the gates were opened, those splendid cattle came out one after another; and even after the gates were closed, through the merit of Visakha, both the older powerful cattle and the younger untamed cattle leaped over the fence, one after another, and struck into the road.
Now when Visakha reached the gate of the city, she thought to herself: "Shall I enter the city sitting in a closed carriage or standing up in a chariot?" Thereupon the following thought occurred to her: "If I enter the city sitting in a closed carriage, the splendor and magnificence of my great-creeper parure will be visible to none." Accordingly she entered the city standing up in a chariot, showing herself to all the city. When the residents of Savatthi beheld Visakha's state, they said: "This, they say, is Visakha! this beauty and this state become her alone!" Such was the splendid state in which she entered Treasurer Migara's house. On the very day of her arrival, the residents of the entire city said: "Treasurer Wealth-winner did us high honors when we visited his own city." Therefore they sent presents to Visakha according to their power and ability. And all the presents which were sent to her, Visakha distributed among the various families throughout the city.
Now in the middle of the night Visakha's thoroughbred mare gave birth to a foal. Visakha went to the stable with slave-maidens carrying torches, and having gone there, caused the mare to be bathed with hot water and anointed with oil. Having so done, she went back to her own quarters again.
For seven days Treasurer Migara presided over the festivities in honor of his son's marriage, and during all this time, although the Tathagata was in residence at a neighboring monastery, he completely ignored him. On the seventh day, having first provided seats, he filled his entire residence with Naked Ascetics, and sent the following message to Visakha: "Let my daughter come and salute the Saints!"
Now Visakha had attained the Fruit of Conversion and was one of the Noble Disciples, and was therefore pleased and delighted when she heard the word "Saints." But when she entered the hall where the Naked Ascetics were sitting, and looked at them, she said: "Such as they,--Saints! Why did my father-in-law summon me into the presence of men so utterly lacking sense of modesty and fear of sin? Fie! fie!" Thus reproaching him, she went back to her own quarters again.
When the Naked Ascetics saw Visakha, they all reproached the treasurer with one accord, saying: "Householder, could you get no other woman? Why did you introduce into your house this disciple of the monk Gautama,--this Jonah of Jonahs? Remove her from this house immediately!" At this the treasurer thought: "It is impossible for me to remove this woman from the house on the mere say-so of these ascetics; this woman is the daughter of a great personage." Accordingly he dismissed the Naked Ascetics, saying: "Teachers, young women are likely to do all sorts of things, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Hold your peace."
The treasurer caused a high couch to be prepared for him, seated himself thereon, took a golden spoon, and waited on by Visakha, began to eat rich rice porridge flavored with honey out of a golden bowl. At this time a certain monk who was going his round for alms, in the course of his round, came to the door of the treasurer's house. When Visakha saw him, she thought: "It is not proper for me to announce this monk to my father-in-law." So she stepped aside, that her father-in-law might not see the Elder. But that simpleton, although he saw the Elder, pretended not to see him, and with bowed head kept right on eating rice porridge. Visakha perceived within herself: "Although my father-in-law sees the Elder, yet he makes no sign." And approaching the Elder, she said: "Pass on, Reverend Sir. My father-in-law is eating stale fare!"
Now up to this time Treasurer Migara had resisted the importunities of the Naked Ascetics. But the very instant he heard Visakha say: "My father-in-law is eating stale fare!" he removed his hand from the bowl and said: "Take away this rice porridge and remove this woman from this house! To think that at a time of festivity she should accuse such a man as I am of eating unclean food!" But in this house all the slaves and servants belonged to Visakha. Who, therefore, would take hold of her hands and her feet? There was no one who dared even open his mouth!
Now when Aisakha heard the words of her father-in-law, she said: "Dear father-in-law, this is no sufficient reason why I should leave your house. It is not as if I were a common wench brought hither by you from some bathing-place on the river. Daughters who have mothers and fathers living do not leave the house of their father-in-law for any such reason as this. Indeed, for this very reason, when I set out to come hither, my father summoned eight householders and placed me in their hands, saying: 'If against my daughter any fault is charged, you are to clear her of the charge.' Send, therefore, for my sponsors and let them clear me of the charge."
"What she says is right," said the treasurer. Accordingly he summoned the eight householders and said to them: "This young woman, even before the seventh day was over, said of me as I was sitting in the house of festivity: 'My father is eating unclean food!' " "Is what he says true, dear girl?"
"Dear friends, it is of course true that my father did desire to eat unclean food. But I did not say that he had so done. The facts are these: A certain Elder on his round for alms stopped at the door of the house. My father-in-law here was eating rich rice porridge and did not notice him. For that reason I said to the Elder: 'Pass on, Reverend Sir. My father-in-law in his present state of existence is storing up no new merit, but is consuming old merit.' That is all I said." "Noble sir, here is no fault. Our daughter talks reason. Why do you get angry?"
"Noble sirs, granted that there is no fault to be found with her for that! But on the very day she came, without so much as making a sign to my son, she went where she pleased." "Is what he says true, dear girl?" "Dear friends, I did not go where I pleased. The facts are these: My thoroughbred mare had given birth to a foal in the stable attached to this house. I thought to myself: 'It is not right that I should sit here and make no sign.' So I ordered my slaves to procure torches, and accompanied by my slaves, both male and female, I went to the stable and saw to it that proper care was given to the mare." "Noble sir, our daughter does work in your house which is not fit even for female slaves to do. What fault do you find in this?"
"Noble sirs, let it be granted that this was to her credit. But on the day when she came hither, her father gave her certain admonitions. The indoor fire is not to be carried outside, said he. But could we live without giving fire to the neighbors who live on both sides of us?" "Is what he says true, dear girl?" "Dear friends, my father was not speaking with reference to that fire. What he meant was this: If your mother-in-law or other female members of the household engage in private conversation within the house, their conversation is not to be communicated to slaves, whether female or male; for such conversation becomes gossiped about and leads to quarrels. It was with reference to that that my father spoke, friends." "Noble sirs, let this be as it may. But her father said to her: The outdoor fire is not to be carried inside. When the fire in the house is extinguished, what else can we do than to bring fire in from without?" "Is what he says true, dear girl?" "Dear friends, my father was not speaking with reference to that fire. What he meant was this: The conversation of slaves and servants is not to be communicated to persons within the household; for such conversation becomes gossiped about and leads to quarrels. It was with reference to that that my father spoke, dear friends."
Thus she was found free from fault in this matter, and as in this so also in the others. And this is the true meaning of the remaining admonitions: Give only to him that gives means that one should give only to those that return borrowed articles. Give not to him that gives not means that one should not give to those who do not return borrowed articles. Give both to him that gives and to him that gives not means that when poor kinsfolk and friends seek assistance, one should give to them, whether or not they are able to repay.
Sit happily means that when a wife sees her mother-in-law or her father-in-law, she should stand and not remain sitting. Eat happily means that a wife should not eat before her mother-in-law and her father-in-law and her husband have eaten. She should serve them first, and when she is sure that they have had all they care for, then and not until then may she herself eat. Sleep happily means that a wife should not go to bed before her mother-in-law and her father-in-law and her husband. She should first perform the major and minor duties which she owes them, and when she has so done, then she may herself lie down to sleep. Tend the fire means that a wife should regard her mother-in-law and her father-in-law and her husband as a flame of fire or as a serpent-king.
"Granted that all these things are to her credit. But her father bade her reverence the household divinity. What is the meaning of that?" "Is what he says true, dear girl?" "Yes, dear friends, my father said that also. But this is what he meant: 'Dear girl, when a monk, after keeping residence in a remote lodging, comes to the door of your house, and you see him, you must first give to such monks of whatever food there is in the house, both hard and soft; only after you have so done, may you yourself eat.'" Then said those sponsors to the treasurer: "But you, great treasurer, when you see monks, are satisfied to give them nothing at all. Is not that so?" The treasurer, seeing no other answer to make, sat with bowed head.
Then the householders asked him: "Treasurer, is there any other fault in our daughter?" "Noble sirs, there is not." "But why, if she is without fault, do you seek without cause to remove her from your house?" At this moment Visakha said: "At first, of course, it would not have been proper for me to leave at the command of my father-in-law. But on the day when I came hither my father entrusted me to your care and placed me in your hands, to determine my guilt or my innocence. Now it is my pleasure to go." And she gave orders to her slaves both female and male: "Make ready my carriages and other conveyances."
Thereupon the treasurer detained those householders and said to Visakha: "Dear daughter-in-law, it was through ignorance that I spoke. Pardon me." "Dear father-in-law, I pardon you freely so far as in me lies. But I am the daughter of a house which has firm faith in the Religion of the Buddha, and we cannot exist without the Congregation of Monks. If I may be permitted to minister to the Congregation of Monks according to my inclination, I will remain." "Dear daughter-in-law, you may minister to your monks to your heart's content."
Visakha caused an invitation to be sent to the Possessor of the Ten Forces, and on the following day, having first caused seats to be prepared, filled the house with the Congregation of Monks presided over by the Buddha. The Naked Ascetics also, hearing that the Teacher had gone to Treasurer Migara's house, went there and seated themselves in a circle about the house. Visakha gave Water of Donation, and sent the following message to her father-in-law: "The feast is all ready. Let my father-in-law come and wait upon the Possessor of the Ten Forces."
Treasurer Migara listened to the words of the Naked Ascetics and said: "Let my daughter wait upon the Supremely Enlightened One." Visakha served the Possessor of the Ten Forces with food flavored with all manner of choice flavors, and when the meal was over, again sent word: "Let my father-in-law come and hear the Possessor of the Ten Forces preach the Doctrine." Thought the treasurer: "Now it would be quite unjustifiable for me not to go;" and because of his desire to hear the Doctrine, set out. The Naked Ascetics said to him: "If you are determined to hear the monk Gautama, sit outside of a curtain and hear him." And preceding him, they drew a curtain around. Treasurer Migara went and sat outside of the curtain.
Said the Tathagata: "You may sit beyond a curtain or beyond a wail or beyond a mountain, or you may sit beyond the range of mountains that encircles the earth; I am the Buddha, and can make you hear my voice." And as though laying hold of a mango-tree laden with golden fruit by the trunk and shaking it, he preached the Doctrine. At the conclusion of the discourse the Treasurer was established in the Fruit of Conversion. Raising the curtain, he reverenced the feet of the Teacher with the Five Rests, and saying to Visakha, "Under the Teacher, you, dear girl, are henceforth my mother," he adopted Visakha as his own mother. From that time on Visakha was known as Mother of Migara.
One day, while a holiday was in progress in the city, Visakha reflected, "Within the city is no goodness," and accompanied by her slave-maidens, set out to hear the Teacher preach the Doctrine. On the way she reflected, "To go into the presence of the Buddhas proudly dressed is not fitting." So she took off her great-creeper parure and placed it in the hands of a slave-maiden. Then she approached the Teacher, saluted him, and sat down on one side. The Teacher preached the Doctrine. Visakha, at the conclusion of the discourse, saluted the Possessor of the Ten Forces and set out in the direction of the city.
Now as that female slave walked along, she remembered that she had left somewhere or other the parure she received from her mistress, and turned back for the parure. Thereupon Visakha asked her: "But where did you leave it?" "In the apartment of the Perfumed Chamber, my lady." "Very well,--go and get it. From the moment it was left in the apartment of the Perfumed Chamber, it has been improper for us to take it back again. Therefore we will do penance by giving it up. But if it be left there, it will be an obstacle to the Noble Monks."
On the following day the Teacher, accompanied by the Congregation of Monks, came to the door of Visakha's house. Now in her house seats were always ready. Visakha took the Teacher's bowl, escorted the Teacher into the house, and caused him to sit down on a seat already prepared. When the Teacher had finished his meal, Visakha brought that parure, laid it at the Teacher's feet, and said: "This, Reverend Sir, I give to you." The Teacher declined to accept it, saying: "Adornment is not permitted to monks." "I know, Reverend Sir; but I will have this appraised and with the money I will have built a Perfumed Chamber as a place of residence for you." Then the Teacher graciously accepted.
Visakha had the parure appraised, and with the nine crores of treasure it brought caused a Perfumed Chamber to be erected as a place of residence for the Tathagata in Pubbarama monastery,--a monastery adorned with a thousand cells. Now in the morning Visakha's residence was ablaze with yellow robes, a very eddy of the breezes of holy men. As in the house of Anatha Pindika, so also in her house, all the foods were always ready. In the morning she did honor to the Congregation of Monks with worldly gifts; after breakfast, causing both the medicaments and the eight varieties of drinks to be carried with her, she went to the monastery and gave alms to the Congregation of Monks. Afterwards, having heard the Teacher preach the Doctrine, she went home.
Subsequently, when the Teacher assigned the female lay disciples, one after another, to their respective positions of preeminence, he assigned Visakha Mother of Migara to the rank of foremost of alms givers.