Sunday, March 15, 2009

Story Of The Buddha & Buddhism ( Part 29 - 32 )

Part 29

Venerable Anada reciting Ratana Sutta Paritta to relieve the people of Vesali from attacks of famine and pestilence

There was scarcity of rain at Vesali (modern Besrah) and many people died from the effects of famine which attacked it . The offensive smell from the corpses brought demons and ogres into the town and there were more deaths. To make matters worse, a disease very much like modern plague broke out, and there were still more deaths. The people discussed ways and means of relief from attacks of famine and disease. They eventually agreed to invite the Buddha for that purpose, and requested the Blessed One to come over from Rajagaha together with his retinue of monks. When the Blessed One arrived at Vesali in the royal barge there was a heavy downpour of rain which washed away all the corpses and the town had become clean. On arrival at the city gate the Venerable Ananda learnt the Ratana Sutta Paritta and recited it by walking round the city in between its three walls, and sprinkling the holy water from his bowl now and again while going round the city with the Licchavi Princes accompanying him. Thus, all the evil spirits were driven away from the city which was rendered free from diseases

Part 30

Mahapajapati Gotami begging permission for women to be admitted into the order as Nuns

The Buddha was dwelling at Kapilavatthu in Banyan Park Monastery. Maha-pajapati Gotami approached the Buhhda along with five hundred women of the Sakya clan, and begged permission for women to be admitted into the Order as Nuns. The Buddha refused permission saying, "Enough, O Gotami, do not ask that women be admitted into the Order as Nuns". She went away sorrowful and sad.

Later, when the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesali, Mahapajapati Gotami had her hair cut off, put on yellow garments and with five hundred of Sakya women followed to Vesali. She dared not enter the monastery grounds and stood outside the porch. Now the Venerable Ananda saw her standing there, and went to the Buddha and asked several times for permission to admit women into the Order as Nuns. At last, the Blessed One gave the permission and women were admitted to the Order. Thus an Order of Nuns was founded

Part 31

The Buddha converting Saccaka, the ascetic, who came to match his doctrine with that of the Buddha

There was in Vesali an ascetic called Saccaka, well-versed in a variety of dogmas and philosophies. He was a teacher of the princes. As he had humiliated many heretical teachers of the day, he was planning to defect also the Blessed One in argument. He met the Venerable Assaji one day and came to know about the doctrine of the Blessed One. He therefore came to the Buddha in order to have a debate on the doctrine. A great crowd came to watch the results of the debate.

During the debate, the Blessed One said, "Matter or form is insubstantial (that is, there is no such thing as a creative soul)". The ascetic refuted it by saying "There is a creative soul". The Blessed One then said, "If there is a creative soul, why does it not create a beautiful form" The hermit could not rebut it and sat quietly. The Buddha asked him for the second time and he still kept quiet. Now Sakka, lord of the gods, came and, assuming the form of a huge demon, threatened to strike him with his celestial weapon. When he was questioned for the third time he admitted that "matter or form is insubstantial"

Part 32

Dedication ceremony of the Jetavana monastery by Anathapindika, the millionaire

The Buddha was dwelling in Rajagaha, at the end of the first rainy season. Now, Anathapindika, the Millionaire, arrived in Rajagaha in connection with business. He heard that the Blessed One had attained the Supreme Wisdom of a Buddha, and had a strong desire to go to Him that very night, but could not do so. He went to bed with his thoughts fixed on the Blessed One. His faith in the Buddha was so intense that he could not sleep well and was between waking and sleeping, when a light emanated from his body. Thinking it to be daylight he went to where the Blessed One was.

When he met the Buddha, he was established in the fist holy stage of the Aryan Path. He came back, at once, to Savatthi and looked for a site to build a monastery, and found a park belonging to Prince Jeta, in a very quiet place, well connected with roads and neither too near nor too far from the town. He bought this park covering the whole site with gold coins and erected the famous Jetavana Monastery at great cost. He donated it to the Buddha and his many disciples after inviting them to come over from Rajagaha