Monday, May 17, 2010

In vicinity of Veluvana

Veluvana was the first land devoted for practicing the Dhamma and with the popularity of the religion; the area of this retreat grew too. It stretched far beyond its present boundaries and despite the huge size there were many other places in the vicinity where monks used to stay and the Buddha frequently preached law at these mediation retreats. Sitavana one of such places, it was here the historic meeting between the Buddha and Anathapindika the rich merchant of Savatthi took place.

Anathapindika in Sitavana

Sudatta was one of the most important lay disciples of the Buddha he offered the Buddha the famous Jeta Grove, the place where the Buddha spent maximum Varsaka. Because of his generosity he was also called Anathapindika, feeder of helpless and orphans. Among the disciples he was also known as “foremost in generosity”. The foundation of this long association was an exemplary meeting that took place at Rajgir and it’s very well versed in Sudatta Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya SN 10)
Anathapindika was on a business trip to Rajgriha and found his brother-in-law busy supervising an organized meal for the Buddha and his Sangha the following day. The brother-in-law was a faithful disciple who had built 60 huts for the Sangha in Rajgriha. Hitherto, he had been accustomed to his brother-in-law's full attention and to the other residents of the house receiving him gladly, but now he saw that they were busy, eagerly making elaborate preparations. He asked his preoccupied brother-in-law what this meant: "A wedding, a major sacrifice or a visit from the king?" The brother-in-law explained that the reverend ‘Enlightened one’ has accepted his invitation for meal and would be visiting them with his Sangha the following day.
The mention of the ‘Enlightened one’ caught Anathapindika complete attention and asked multiple times to confirm what he has heard before expressing his delight. Then, breathing a deep sigh of relief, Anathapindika said, “Even the sound alone of these words is indeed rare in this world — the Enlightened One — can one really see him?" His brother-in-law answered that while that day was not the time, the following day would be appropriate to bask in his presence.
His excitement about the impending opportunity made his toss and turn all night, the thoughts and feelings of such an anticipation was hard to contain Finally he couldn’t pretend to sleep anymore and woke up before dawn and went in the direction of the monastery. In the pre-dawn darkness, however, fear overcame him, doubts arose within him, and all his worldly instincts told him to turn back, but an inner voice kept him motivated to continue on. So he walked resolutely, till he encountered an image in the misty dawn, a figure walking silently to and fro, Anathapindika stopped. The figure then reached out to him with an indescribably harmonious voice: "Come, Sudatta!"
Anathapindika was startled at being addressed by his name, for no one there knew him by his original name. He was only known as Anathapindika, and besides, he was unknown to the Buddha and had come unexpectedly. Now he was certain that he was in the presence of the Enlightened One. Overwhelmed by the gravity of the encounter, he fell at the feet of the Blessed One, and asked him in a stammering voice if he slept well.
The Buddha replied,
Always, always, he sleeps in ease, the Brahman totally unbound, who doesn't adhere to sensual pleasures, who's without acquisitions & cooled. Having cut all ties & subdued fear in the heart, calmed, he sleeps in ease, having reached peace of awareness.
With the answer to this conventional question, Anathapindika came a little closer to the supra-mundane reality, since the Enlightened One explained that the arahants were always well, for they were beyond all possibilities for suffering. And then the Enlightened One, leading him step by step, spoke to him of giving, of virtue, of the heavens, of the perils, vanity, and defiling nature of sensual pleasures, and of the benefits of renunciation.
When the Blessed One saw that Anathapindika the householder was ready in heart and mind, pliable, unobstructed, uplifted and serene, he gave him the explanation of the Teaching which is unique to the Enlightened Ones: the noble truth of suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the path. With that, the pure eye of truth opened for Anathapindika: "Whatever has arisen must also cease." Anathapindika, who had understood the truth of the Teaching, had overcome all doubts and was without any wavering, certain in mind, and relying on no one else in the Master's Dispensation. He had achieved the attainment of stream-entry.
He then invited the Blessed One for a meal the next day at the home of his brother-in-law, and the Master accepted. After the meal, Anathapindika asked the Enlightened One if he might build a monastery for the Order in his hometown of Savatthi. The Buddha answered: "The Enlightened Ones love peaceful places." "I understand, O Master, I understand," answered Anathapindika, overjoyed with the acceptance of his offer. Buddha sent Sariputra to layout the plans for the buildings where he successfully designed lecture halls, meeting rooms, bedrooms, washrooms, a storage room, and other places of utilities; and thus became a renowned architect in the city. The Jethavana monastery thus became one of the popular places for meditation during rainy seasons; Buddha himself spent about 25 Vassavasa and delivered many discourses while staying here.

Next Post: Sukhumala Sona at Sitavana


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

Does it mean that BUDDHA spent twenty five years ( twenty five vassavas would mean twenty five years ) at Veluvana ( Rajgir) ? considering the fact that after attainig Nirvan , Lord Buddha lived for 45 years , 25 appears really big number. I would be very happy if it is true. What the professional historians have to say on this . Please elaborate. Regards

Deepak Anand said...

dear sir
buddha spent 25 rainy retreat at jetavana in sravasti and not in rajgriha.