Home Visit | The Story of Lord Gautama Buddha
The school holidays arrived. Bimsara and Vishaka got ready to go to their grandmother’s home. Everybody really liked spending time with grandmother and grandfather. Brother Aloka, the son of aunt Sudu was eagerly awaiting their arrival. When Aloka saw them coming he shouted with joy.
“Hello, Bimsara!!! I was waiting for you!
All of them first paid respect to grandmother and grandfather. “With the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem, may all my children prosper and live in peace and harmony. May all of you live long!” both of them wished their children with so much love.
There was a big crowd gathered to worship the Triple Gem that evening. It was a blissful sight to watch Grandfather, Grandmother, Aunt Sudu, Uncle, Aloka, Mother, Father, Bimsara and Vishaka worshipping the Triple Gem together. Grandmother conducted the meditation on loving-kindness – by saying the verses aloud. She first concentrated on herself. This is how it is done;
First, focus on yourself and think like this…..!!! Let me be free of hatred…..! Be free of anger……! Be free of envy……! Be free of pain and sorrow….! Live with peace and harmony…..! Attain calmness and tranquillity…..! Just like me, all those who live in this house; Be free of hatred…..! Be free of anger……! Be free of envy……..! Be free of pain and sorrow….! Live with peace and harmony…..! Attain the mind of calm and tranquillity…..! All beings in this village…..All beings in this town…..All beings in this province...All beings in this country...All beings in the world; Be free of hatred…..! Be free of anger……! Be free of envy……..! Be free of suffering….! Live with peace and harmony…..! Attain the mind of calm and tranquillity…..!
Everyone felt content whilst spreading loving kindness in this manner. When the meditation was over, everyone had a pleasant smile on their face. Next, they all got ready for the Dhamma discussion. All got ready to listen to Dhamma from grandmother on that day as grandfather was meditating.
“Children, what do you discuss during your Dhamma discussion these days?” asked grandma.
“Mother, we are discussing the life of the Buddha these days. So far the children have learned up to the enlightenment of the Buddha” said Bimsara’s mother.
The mother looked at Bimsara. “Son, we should ask grandmother to tell us about the Buddha’s visit to his former palace, shouldn’t we?”
“Hmm! OK. I want to know about Prince Rahula. I remembered him while doing loving-kindness meditation”.
Then grandmother looked at her grandchildren and smiled lovingly. “This is how it happened; King Suddhodana was informed that the world is endowed with a Samma Sambuddha by the name of Gautama and He was dwelling in the city of Rajagaha. The king believed without doubt, that this was surely his son. With the hope of inviting the Buddha to the palace, the king sent several messengers. Every messenger became a bhikkhu disciple of The Buddha and never returned. Finally, the King called the minister Kaludai. With permission from the King to be ordained as a bhikkhu in the Buddhist order, Kaludai left the Palace. He became a bhikkhu. One year had passed since the enlightenment, and the Buddha was thirty-six years old. When spring began following the rainy season and the winter, the bhikkhu Kaludai invited the Buddha with nice stanzas as follows;
Compassionate lord Buddha – incomparable teacher, Trees are so beautiful – waving in gentle wind, Rainbow colored flowers and – ripe fruits so sweet Cover every path here – welcoming your feet. Compassionate lord Buddha – incomparable teacher, Pathway to Kapilawasthu – decorated by nature, Himalaya mount range – at a distance glazed white Kapilawasthu awaits your – compassionate help pure. Compassionate lord Buddha – incomparable teacher, It’s not very cold there – nor so hot you cannot bear, Journey that takes you there – will bring no weary sigh, Whole Shakya, and Koliya – await your sight dear. Compassionate lord Buddha – incomparable teacher, Farmers are plowing again – rain freshens lives again, Sowing feasts once again – bring the harvest, joy again, Longing to earn better – some people leave the state. Compassionate lord Buddha – incomparable teacher, Making my wish come true – I longed to ask you do, See our king, your father– little Prince Rahula too See your mother Prajapati – and Princess Yasodara Compassionate lord Buddha – incomparable teacher, To hear the noble dhamma – and gain all happiness, To end all the suffering – and attain Nibbana, Accept our humble plea – oh lord, approach, it is time.
So my children, having recited sixty such verses, the bhikkhu Kaludai invited the Buddha to visit the palace of king Suddhodhana.
Thousands of people gathered to watch the Buddha followed by Arahant disciples, visiting the palace. However, the royal relatives of Shakya family were not very happy. They were upset because Prince Siddhartha abandoned the opportunity to become an Emperor and became a monk. They didn’t understand that their prince Siddhartha is now ‘A Buddha’. They also failed to understand that A Buddha is the teacher of all people who seek the truth and not a relative of the Royal family. They did not pay respect to the Buddha. The Buddha never required any respect from anyone, anyway. But the virtue of offering respect to those who deserve it is a very humble quality that will assist in comprehending Dhamma. Hence, the Buddha demonstrated an exceptional miracle. That was an unbelievable marvel of all times.
The Buddha elevated himself to the sky right in front of all the people watching Him. Then, one pore of His skin started discharging a thin flame of fire while another discharged a thin stream of water. This miraculous act of spraying fire and water from the body at the same time is called: ‘The Twin Miracles or Yamaka Maha Pratiharya’.
Then the Buddha created another image of the Buddha. The created Buddha image asked questions on Dhamma and the Buddha answered. Everyone kept looking at this magnificent miracle with great astonishment. Their eyes were wide open in admiration. They even forgot to breathe for a moment. When they started to understand Dhamma little by little, they realized the power of the Buddha and that they knew nothing compared to the knowledge of the Buddha. They understood that their Prince was now A Buddha. Everyone fell on their knees. Their hands reached their foreheads. In one voice they said ‘sadhu…!..sadhu….!..sadhu….!’. Their pride disappeared. They sought refuge in the Noble Triple Gem.
King Suddhodana and Queen Prajapati were very delighted. They had no doubts that their son had become a Buddha. However, they completely forgot about the meals (alms-giving) for the Buddha and for the Arahants on the following day. They were all lost in the discussion of the miraculous ability of the Buddha.
There is our Lord Buddha – walking in the sky, Gold is the color of the – robe glowing bright, Looking at us with much love – compassionate eyes, All are stunned gazing at this – ‘sadhu…sadhu’ praise. Dazzling red fire rays– streaming like a blaze, Drizzling blue water sprays – pouring like rain, Buddha in the sky glittering – red, blue, together, All are stunned gazing at this – ‘sadhu…sadhu’ praise. There another Lord Buddha – appeared in sky, Both look the same to me – walking in sky, They discuss pure Dhamma – which gives us joy, All are stunned gazing this – ‘sadhu…sadhu’ praise.
The Buddha with Arahants went for alms on the streets of Kimbulvathpura on the following day. When King Suddhodana heard this, he felt so ashamed. The prince who lived a lavish life with palaces with names Ramya, Suramya, and Subha were going for alms from the countrymen, with a clay bowl in His hand. The king couldn’t even drape his clothes properly as he rushed to his son. “Oh..!..Please, my son…! Why do you put me to shame? Do you think that there is no food in the palace? No person from our tribe has ever gone looking for alms.”
“My dear King. That is true…Never has anybody from your tribe been going out for alms. But the dear king, I belong to the Buddha tribe. Everyone from the Buddha tribe has been proceeding thus for alms. We are like the bees that suck the pollen without hurting the flower. We live without becoming a burden to anyone.”
The king understood it very well. Yet, he felt very sad. He invited the Buddha and the Sangha to his palace on the following day with due respect. Having accepted the invitation with compassion, the Buddha visited the palace on the following day with the Arahants and accepted the alms. The Buddha with so much compassion looked around and noticed that one person was not in the hall. Could my little daughter tell us who that was?”
“Yes grandmother, yes I know…!… That was Princess Yasodara. That Princess was very sad. I have heard that Prince Siddhartha did not tell Princess Yasodhara about his renunciation, because if she was told she would die without being able to bear the pain. That shows how much she loved him.”
“Yes my little daughter, that noble lady loved Prince Siddhartha so much. From the moment she heard that the Prince had become a recluse, Princess Yashodara gave up all her jewelry. She rejected all fine clothes. Moreover, she stopped taking dinner. She slept on the floor on a mat. And she beseeched all the gods in the jungle to protect her prince.
It was not because she was proud that she did not come down. It was because her grief was too much. Thus, the Buddha walked up to the place where she was. He moved the flimsy curtain aside while standing at the door and saw that she was asleep.
When the Buddha called her “Dear Yasodhara!” she heard the voice which she had not heard for seven long years. She was amazed. She woke up startled. She raised her head and looked at the door. All this time, she remembered the Prince in royal attire. But whom she saw now was a serene, calm, monk in a saffron robe. Her sorrow overtook her.
She could not believe her eyes. Instead of her loving husband that she remembered, she saw Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha. So for a moment, she became somewhat unstable in her mind. She dashed towards the Buddha crying in great pain. She dropped herself at the feet of the Buddha, embraced the feet of the Compassionate Buddha and cried in lamentation.
The great Compassionate Buddha watched all this with a very calm and serene mind. Princess Yasodhara waited until her sorrow diminished. Finally, she felt embarrassed. She came back to her senses and remembered she was embracing the feet of the exalted Buddha. Then, she felt tremendous respect towards the Buddha. She worshiped Him with great admiration and stepped back. She sat while worshipping the Buddha. All who were at the palace were watching Princess Yasodhara. When she cried, everyone cried with her. The entire palace became quiet. The Buddha told a past incident bringing light to everyone’s mind.
Even in her previous lives, Princess Yasodhara had followed Prince Siddhartha with as much love as in this life. “Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful Satyr couple. The female satyr was very beautiful. She sang while plucking flowers in the forest. The male satyr loved to listen to her songs. They loved each other very much. One day, the King went hunting and spotted the two satyrs. When the king saw the gorgeous female satyr, he wanted to take her to his palace. He also realized that she was deeply in love with the male satyr. Finally, the king fired a poisoned arrow at the male satyr. The male satyr fell unconscious. When the she-satyr returned from the forest with flowers, she could not believe what she saw. with an arrow piercing his body, the he-satyr was lying down on the ground unconscious. She threw the flowers to the sky and hit her chest with her hands in sheer agony. The she-satyr wept in a deafening voice. Her heartbreaking voice echoed in the forest. Her grief spread through the forest like a song of sorrow. The trees and creepers withered with her wailing. The birds surrounded the she-satyr. They too started to weep with her. Rabbits sighed with sorrow. The deer cubs watched her with their eyes filled with tears. The elephants trumpeted. The lions roared. The butterflies sobbed by spraying nectar. The wind stopped blowing. The earth trembled. The King and his hunting squad could no longer bear the sorrow. They came out from their hiding places and broke and threw away all the bows and arrows.
They went up to the she-satyr, knelt down in front of her and asked for her mercy. She- satyr cried without stopping asking for her husband’s life. The King and the hunting crowd ran all over the place in the forest looking for medicinal herbs. Finally, they found some priceless medicine. They removed the arrow and applied for those medicines on the wound. The tears of the she-satyr wet the whole body of the he-satyr. He recovered gradually. The she-satyr was so happy. The King and the crowd watched with bewilderment. Then the King offered the whole jungle to the satyr couple. That she-satyr is none other than this Yasodhara. The he-satyr was me”. The people at the palace cried as the forest cried with the she-satyr when the Buddha said the Sanda Kiduru Jataka.