Nanda obtained a new conception in Kapila City in the womb of Malm Pajapati Gotami. On his name-day he gave joy and pleasure to his assembled kinsfolk; therefore they named him Prince Nanda, or Joy.
The Great Being, having attained Omniscience, having set in motion the glorious Wheel of the Doctrine, in gracious condescension to mankind proceeded from Rajagaha to Kapila City. At first sight he established his father in the Fruit of Conversion. On the following day he went to his father's residence, gave admonition to the Mother of Rahula, and preached the Doctrine to the rest of the people besides.
On the following day, while the ceremonies of Prince Nanda's sprinkling, house-warming, and marriage were in progress, he went to his residence, permitted the Prince to take his bowl, and for the purpose of making a monk of him, set out in the direction of the monastery. The sprinkling-ceremony did not thus weigh heavily upon Prince Nanda. He took the bowl. As he departed with the Teacher, Belle-of-the-land, on an upper floor of the splendid mansion, opened a window and screamed: "As soon as ever you can, Noble Sir, please come back!" Nanda heard this, and overmastered with desire and lust, gazed at her. But out of reverence for the Teacher he did not dare take the hint and do as he wished to do. Therefore his heart burned.
"He will turn around here! he will turn around here!" thought Nanda. But for all his thinking, the Teacher conducted him to the monastery and made a monk of him. Even while the Teacher was making a monk of him, he did not dare resist, but consented by remaining silent.
But from the day when he became a monk, he remembered only the words which Belle-of-the-land had spoken. And to him she seemed to come and stand not far off. Oppressed with discontent, he would go a little way, and every time he passed a shrub or a bush, the Possessor of the Ten Forces seemed to stand before him. As a cock's feather is tossed into the fire, even so he would whirl around and go back again into his own place of residence.
Thought the Teacher: "Nanda is excessively unheedful; he cannot suppress discontent. I must extinguish his passion." So he said to him: "Come, Nanda, let's make a journey to heaven!" "Exalted One, how am I to go to a place to which only those can go who possess magical power?" "You just make up your mind to go! Go, and you will see!"
By the supernatural power of the Possessor of the Ten Forces, Nanda made the journey to heaven with the Tathagata himself. Looking at the abode of Sakka king of gods, he saw five hundred celestial nymphs. The Teacher saw Nanda looking at those nymphs with pleasure as his aim. Seeing, he asked: "Nanda, do these nymphs please you, or does Belle-of-the-land?" "Reverend Sir, in comparison with these nymphs, Belle-of-the-land looks like a female monkey blind of one eye, with ears and nose cut off!" "Nanda, nymphs like these are not hard to win for those who practice meditation!" "If, Reverend Sir, the Exalted One is my surety, I will practice meditation." "You trust me, Nanda! Practice meditation with confidence. In case you die with rebirth as your lot, I guarantee that you will win them." So!
The Teacher, having journeyed to heaven as he pleased, returned once more to Jetavana. From that time on, Elder Nanda practiced meditation night and day in the hope of winning the nymphs. The Teacher gave orders to the monks: "You walk about and say here and there: 'In Nanda's place of residence, a certain monk,--so they say!--having made the Possessor of the Ten Forces his surety, is practicing meditation in the hope of winning celestial nymphs!'"
The monks, having promised to do as the Teacher said, walked about within earshot of the Elder and said: "Venerable Nanda is a hireling,--so they say! Venerable Nanda is one bought-with-a-price,--so they say! He is leading the Holy Life in the hope of winning celestial nymphs! The Exalted One,--so they say!--has guaranteed that he shall win five hundred pink-footed celestial nymphs!"
Now the instant he attained Sainthood, a certain deity informed the Exalted One of that fact. Moreover the Exalted One himself was fully aware of it. On the following day Elder Nanda approached the Exalted One and spoke thus: "Reverend Sir, I release the Exalted One from the promise which he made when he, the Exalted One, guaranteed that 1 should win five hundred pink-footed celestial nymphs."