Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Visit to kapilvasthu- Rahula joined the Sangha

During the first year of the Buddha’s stay at Rajgriha there were so many people who renounced the physical world to follow in the teachings of the Buddha that there were monks all around. The disruption in the usual way of living and young broken families caused some resentment in people and when the Buddha came to know about the displeasure he and his followers are causing the people by the sheer influence of their presence, he decided to move, the Buddha went first to Dakkhināgiri (Vin.i.77ff).and then when the invitation from the Buddha’s father finally reached him, he decided to visit the birth place of Siddhartha, the kingdom that he would have been the heir of had he not renounced the world. Suddhodana, Siddhartha’s father heard the news of the Buddha’s stay at Rajgriha and sent a messenger with ten thousand companions to invite the enlightened soul back to his own motherland in Kapilavastu. But the messenger and his companions converted to monks when they met the Buddha and could never return to their country. King Suddhodana continued to send many more messengers at least nine more times but none of them returned to the palace as they all became followers of the Buddha and joined the ascetic way of life. Finally, the king sent Kaludayi, a childhood friend of Gautama who was born on the same day as the Buddha. He too became a monk when he heard the Buddha preach but he kept his promise of conveying Suddhodana`s message to the Buddha.

When Bimbisara learnt about the Buddha’s plan to visit Kapilavatthu, he resurfaced the entire path of about 5 leagues from from Rajgriha to the Ganges and provided cushion of flower petals throughout the way so that some of the hardship of the Buddha’s journey is reduced. He ordered to build rest areas at the interval of each league for proper relaxation and meditation. The king himself accompanied the Buddha to the banks of river Ganga and took care of the Buddha’s need himself. It was a five day journey and two men with parasol walk on either side to the Buddha to keep the heat of the sunshine away while each monk was accompanied by one man carrying parasol. While the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu, Bimbisara eagerly waited at the banks of the river and set up his temporary court there and then upon the Buddha’s return he was escorted back to Rajgriha with the same fanfare as when he was leaving. (DhA.iii.438 ff)

The Buddha returned from Kapilavatthu with many Sakyans ordained into the Sangha including Ananda. Also, the Buddha’s Son Rahula was now part of the Sangha as a novice and accompanied the Buddha to Rajgriha; the Buddha trusted Sariputra and Moggallana for teaching the youngest member of the Sangha, Rahula. While Sariputta taught Rahula knowledge of the Dhamma, Moggallana concentrated on teaching him proper conduct. Even though Rahula was only seven when he became a novice monk, he was very eager to accept the instruction and was exceptionally cultured and obedient. Each morning he would rise and taking a handful of sand, throw it up in the air saying, "Today may I receive from my teachers as much advice and instruction as these grains of sand."

Shortly after Rahula’s ordination, the Buddha taught him the importance of telling the truth. This discourse is known as the Rahulovada Sutta. The Buddha placed truth as the highest of all virtues. The seekers of Truth, (those who have as their goal Nibbana) should not break the precept of Truth. The Buddha explained the virtue of truth in a way a young child could understand.

Next Post: Rahula learns lessons of life

1 comment:

Kaushal Kishore , Kharbhaia , Patna : कौशल किशोर ; खरभैया , तोप , पटना said...

" when Bimbisar learnt ---- he resurfaced the enire path of about 5 leagues from Rajgriha to the Ganges -----. He orderd to build rest houses ----."
The challenge before us is to identify the route - distnace of 5 leagues - Buddha Marg - using history , literature and modern science and technology.
The historians specialising in Magadh history such as Romila Thapar , Prof R S Sharma etc may provide some clue.the rest is to be filled by archeological survey and exacavation and making intelligent guess for filling the gaps.
Was it Rajgir , Nalanda , Biharsharif , Noorsaray , Chandi , Diamaa , Daniamaa ,Phatuha
Nalanda ,Piparnausa ,Parawalpur ,then the series of villages having mounds ,Chamheda ,Kachhiamaa , Diamaa , Daniamaa .
the last leg before Phatuha must have been Diaamaa , singariaamaa , Daniamaa , Mchhariamaa and then to Phatuha. and therafter to crossing Ganga before reaching Chechar and to Vaisali.
It is true that I can not keep my self off from speculating about the issue of Buddha Marg for long.