Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yasodhara: The supporter of Bodhisatta Gotama

Sumitta (Yasodhara-to-be) donated lotus flowers to Dipankara Buddha and aspired to be a whole supporter of future Bodhisatta Gotama. After supporting him for four asankheyyas and one hundred thousand kappas time, she finally became Yasodhara. It was her last life to support Bodhisatta Gotama who became Buddha then.

Yasodhara means ''bearer of glory''. As her name, she was very beautiful. She was also called Bhaddakacana, Bimbadevi, Rahulamata and Yasodhara Theri according to her life status.

Her parents were king Suppabuddha and queen Pamita. Siddhattha Gotama and Yasodhara were born on the same day. They were cousins.

When they were sixteen, a bride choosing ceremony was held for Siddhattha's marriage. The procession was almost done when Yasodhara reached. But she was the one chosen to be a bride.

Being worried, Yasodhara's father, king Suppabuddha asked Siddhattha to compete the fighting skills contest and testify his capability. Siddhattha won all the events and married Yasodhara. They spent thirteen years of luxurious and happy life together.

At the age of twenty nine, Yasodhara gave birth to a son, Rahula. On that night, Yasodhara slept soundly after tiredness of parturition, while Siddhattha renounced the world and left the palace to search true happiness.

Yasodhara's life was changed abruptly. Without her husband, all the luxuries, pleasure and joy were meaningless for her. Nevertheless, she took great care to her son. He was her only comfort.

Though she was in the palace, she stayed almost likewise her husband, a holy man, living in the forest. She wore plain clothes, did not use ornaments, ate only one meal a day and slept on the low bed.

Yasodhara was a loyal wife. She never remarried. Buddha returned His home town to see His father after attaining enlightenment. Yasodhara refused to greet Him. Instead, Buddha went to see her. She wept grievously, touching Buddha's feet. Soon she controlled herself and revered Him from a suitable place. Buddha discoursed Canda kinnara Jataka to acknowledge her devotion to Him.

In one of the previous births, Siddhattha was born as a Canda kinnara and Yasodhara was his mate Canda kinnari. Their residence was the Canda Mountain of Himava. They were inseparable lovers.

Once, the king who went hunting saw them singing and dancing by a small river. He fell for the mate Canda kinnari and shot Canda kinnara with an arrow to death. Then he proposed her, but in vain.

She put her dead husband's body in her arms and wept bitterly. She also protested devas for allowing the tragedy to take place. Because of her great loyalty, the deva appeared as a brahmin and restored Canda kinnara to life.

Later, Yasodhara became a nun and then an arahant. She was one of the only four disciples of Buddha with supernormal powers (Maha Abhinna), who could recall infinite eras of the past.

Yasodhara Theri passed away before Buddha when she was seventy eight.

Posted by Aye Sat

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