Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bimbisara, the Ideal Father

Mother is always known to risk her life for carrying in her womb and giving birth to her child. Actually, father never hesitate to give his life for his child too. Literature showed that Bimbisara, the ideal father sacrificed his life to express his affection towards his son.

Bimbisara was the king of Magadha Empire. He extended his kingdom by defeating powerful kings. He used matrimonial alliances to strengthen his position as well. Thus, his empire was three hundred yojana vast with more than eight million villages. According to Mahavagga, he had five hundred queens, most of which senior ones were from his neighbouring powerful countries. He was also famous to have five unbounded wealthy persons (amitabhoga) in his kingdom.

Buddha visited Bimbisara after His enlightenment. Bimbisara offered meal and donated Veluvana Park to Buddha. After listening to Buddha's Maha Varada Kassapa Jataka, Bimbisara became Sotapanna. From then on, until he departed, he supported the further growth of Buddhism.

No matter how efficient and powerful king he might be, he sacrificed his life for his son, giving an example of the ideal father.

The tragic story started when Bimbisara's chief queen was pregnant. At that time, she had craving to drink the king's blood. When the king knew about that, he willingly cut his palm to ooze blood and fulfilled her desire. Owing to this event, the forecasters warned the king that his unborn child would be his enemy. But Bimbisara did not lessen his love at all. He even told his queen to take good care.

The child was born. The forecasters repeated their saying. Bimbisara neglected. The queen named her son ''Ajatasattu'' meaning ''unborn enemy''.

Once, the baby had an abscess in his thumb. He cried continuously of pain. With great love, Bimbisara carried the baby in his lap, keeping the baby's thumb in his mouth. Comfortably, the baby fell asleep. Soon, the abscess bursted out. Not to awake his son, the king swallowed all the pus and blood.

Ajatasattu fully grown up. One night, he attempted to kill his father. But he was caught. Instead of punishment, Bimbisara handed over the throne to his son.

The cruel son imprisoned his father and starved him. Ajatasattu's mother, the only person allowed to visit the king, brought food secretly in various ways for the king. Before long, Ajatasattu learnt about that and banned her entry.

Being Sotapanna, Bimbisara still survived by walking meditation. Then Ajatasattu ordered his men to cut the sole of his father's feet, put salt and oil mixture into it and let him walked on hot coal. Eventually, Bimbisara, the ideal father gave up his life with no regret.

Bimbisara immediately reborned in the Catumaharajika realm as Janavasabha deva.

Ajatasattu would have suffered in the lowest level of hell (avici), for committing Pancanantariya kamma.

Posted by Aye Sat

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