Mahapajapati Gotami

Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī (Pali; Sanskrit Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī) was the step-mother and maternal aunt (mother's sister) of the Buddha. In Buddhist tradition, she was the first woman to seek ordination for women, which she did from Gautama Buddha directly, and she became the first bhikkhuni (Buddhist nun).[1][2]

Prajapati Gautami
Prince Siddhartha with his maternal aunt Queen Mahaprajapati Gotami
Prince Siddhartha with Mahaprajapati Gautami
Personal
Born
Pajāpatī
ReligionBuddhism
ChildrenNanda
Parents
  • Añjana (father)
  • Yashodhara (mother)
OccupationBhikkhuni
RelativesSuppabuddha (brother)
Yashodhara (daughter in law)
Senior posting
TeacherGautama Buddha

Biography

Tradition says Maya and Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī were Koliyan princess and sisters of Suppabuddha. Mahāpajāpatī was both the Buddha's maternal aunt and adoptive mother,[2] raising him after her sister Maya, the Buddha's birth mother, died.[3] Mahāpajāpatī died at the age of 120.[4]

"The story of the parinirvāṇa of Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī and her five hundred bhikṣuṇī companions was popular and widely transmitted and existed in multiple versions."[5] It is recorded in the various surviving Vinaya traditions, including the Pāli Canon and Sarvastivada and Mulasarvastivada versions.[5]

An eminent Therī, Mahāpajāpatī was born at Devadaha in the family of Suppabuddha as the younger sister of Māyā.[6] Mahāpajāpatī was so called because, at her birth, augurs prophesied[7] that she would have a large following.[7] Both sisters married King Suddhodhana,[3] leader of the Śākya. When Māyā died seven days after the birth of the Buddha, Pajāpati looked after the Buddha and nursed him.[3] She raised the Buddha and had her own children, Siddhartha's half-brother Nanda and half-sister Nanda.

Ordination of the first woman

Mahapajapati
Mahapajapati, first Buddhist nun and Buddha's stepmother ordains

When King Suddhodhana, died, Mahapajapati Gotami decided to attain ordination.[3] Mahapajapati Gotami went to the Buddha and asked to be ordained into the Sangha.[2] The Buddha refused[2] and went on to Vesāli. Undaunted, Gotami cut off her hair[2] and donned yellow robes[2] and with a large number of Sakyan ladies followed the Buddha to Vesāli on foot.[2][8] Upon arrival, she repeated her request to be ordained. Ananda, one of the principal disciples and an attendant of the Buddha, met her and offered to intercede with the Buddha on her behalf.[2]

Respectfully he questioned the Buddha, "Lord, are women capable of realising the various stages of sainthood as nuns?"

"They are, Ananda," said the Buddha.

"If that is so, Lord, then it would be good if women could be ordained as nuns," said Ananda, encouraged by the Buddha's reply.

"If, Ananda, Maha Pajapati Gotami would accept the Eight Conditions it would be regarded that she has been ordained already as a nun."[2]

Gotami agreed to accept the Eight Garudhammas and was accorded the status of the first bhikkhuni.[2] Subsequent women had to undergo full ordination to become nuns.

References

  1. ^ "A New Possibility". Congress-on-buddhist-women.org. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Life of the Buddha: (Part Two) The Order of Nuns
  3. ^ a b c d Maha Pajapati Gotami
  4. ^ Dhammadharini: Going Forth & Going Out ~ the Parinibbana of Mahapajapati Gotami - Dhammadharini Archived 2013-02-21 at Archive.today
  5. ^ a b Dhammadinā, The Parinirvāṇa of Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī and Her Followers in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya
  6. ^ Relatives and Disciples of the Buddha (archived 2011)
  7. ^ a b Women of the Buddhist scriptures: Mahapajapati Gotami
  8. ^ Bhikkhunis (archived 2011)

Bibliography

External links

Abhidharmadīpa

The Abhidharmadīpa or Lamp of Abhidharma is an Abhidharma text thought to have been authored by Vasumitra as a response to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā.

The text consists of verse and prose commentary. It currently survives as an incomplete collection of Sanskrit fragments. However, the text is valuable insofar as it confirms the identity of Vasubandhu as author of the Abhidharmakośakārikā.

Ajahn

Ajahn (Thai: อาจารย์, RTGS: achan, IPA: [ʔāː.tɕāːn], also romanized ajaan, aajaan, ajarn, ajahn, acharn and achaan) is a Thai language term which translates as "professor" or "teacher." It is derived from the Pali word ācariya, and is a term of respect, similar in meaning to the Japanese sensei, and is used as a title of address for high-school and university teachers, and for Buddhist monks who have passed ten vassa. The term "ajahn" is customarily used to address forest tradition monks and the term Luang Por, "Venerable father" is customarily used to address city tradition monks in Thai Buddhism.

Anāgāmi

In Buddhism, an anāgāmi (Sanskrit and Pāli for "non-returning") is a partially enlightened person who has cut off the first five chains that bind the ordinary mind. Anāgāmis are the third of the four aspirants.

Anagamis are not reborn into the human world after death, but into the heaven of the Pure Abodes, where only anāgāmis live. There they attain full enlightenment (arahantship).

The Pali terms for the specific chains or fetters (Pali: saṃyojana) of which an anāgāmi is free are:

Sakkāya-diṭṭhi: Belief in atmān or self

Sīlabbata-parāmāsa: Attachment to rites and rituals

Vicikicchā: Skeptical doubt

Kāma-rāga: Sensuous craving

Byāpāda: ill willThe fetters from which an anāgāmi is not yet free are:

Rūparāga: Craving for fine-material existence (the first 4 jhanas)

Arūparāga: Craving for immaterial existence (the last 4 jhanas)

Māna: Conceit

Uddhacca: Restlessness

Avijjā: IgnoranceKāmarāga and Byāpāda, which they are free from, can also be interpreted as craving for becoming and non-becoming, respectively.

Anāgāmis are at an intermediate stage between sakadagamis and arahants. Arahants enjoy complete freedom from the ten fetters. An anāgāmi's mind is very pure.

Assaji

Assaji (Pali: Assaji, Sanskrit: Aśvajit) was one of the first five arahants of Gautama Buddha. He is known for his conversion of Sariputta and Mahamoggallana, the Buddha's two chief male disciples, counterparts to the nuns Khema and Uppalavanna, the chief female disciples. He lived in what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in northern India, during the 6th century BCE.

Buddhism in Venezuela

Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people (roughly 0.2% of the population). The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.

Most identify with the Mahayana tradition, reflecting the religious heritage of their emigrant countries.

However, in the mid-1990s Keun-Tshen Goba (né Ezequiel Hernandez Urdaneta), together with Jigme Rinzen, founded a meditation center using the Shambhala Training method.

There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia.

Buddhist temple

A Buddhist temple is the place of worship for Buddhists, the followers of Buddhism. They include the structures called vihara, chaitya stupa, wat and pagoda in different regions and languages. Temples in Buddhism represent the pure land or pure environment of a Buddha. Traditional Buddhist temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace. Its structure and architecture varies from region to region. Usually, the temple consists not only of its buildings, but also the surrounding environment. The Buddhist temples are designed to symbolize 5 elements: Fire, Air, Earth, Water, and Wisdom.

Dharma talk

A Dharma talk (Sanskrit) or Dhamma talk (Pali) or Dharma sermon (Japanese: 法語 (ほうご, Hōgo), Chinese: 法語) is a public discourse on Buddhism by a Buddhist teacher.In some Zen traditions a Dharma talk may be referred to as a teisho (提唱). However, according to Taizan Maezumi and Bernard Glassman, a teisho is "a formal commentary by a Zen master on a koan or Zen text. In its strictest sense, teisho is non-dualistic and is thus distinguished from a Dharma talk, which is a lecture on a Buddhist topic." In this sense, a teisho is thus a formal Dharma talk. Vietnamese master Thich Nhat Hanh says the following about Dharma talks:

A Dharma talk must always be appropriate in two ways: it must accord perfectly with the spirit of the Dharma and it must also respond perfectly to the situation in which it is given. If it only corresponds perfectly with the teachings but does not meet the needs of the listeners, it's not a good Dharma talk; it's not appropriate.

Koliya

The Koliyas were Kshatriya of the Adicca (Iksvaku) clan of the Solar Dynasty from the Indian subcontinent, during the time of Gautama Buddha.The family members of the two royal families, that is the Koliyas and Sakyas married only among themselves. Both clans were very proud of the purity of their royal blood and had practised this tradition of inter-marriage since ancient times. For example, Suddhodana's paternal aunt was married to the Koliyan ruler Añjana. Their daughters, Mahamaya and Mahapajapati Gotami, were married to Śuddhodana, the chief of the Sakyans. Similarly, Yashodhara, daughter of Suppabuddha, who was Añjana’s son, was married to the Sakyan prince, Gautama Buddha. Thus, the two royal families were related by marriage bonds between maternal and paternal cousins since ancient times. In spite of such close blood-ties, there would be occasional rifts between the two royal families, which sometimes turned into open hostility.

Kuri (kitchen)

A kuri (庫裏, lit. warehouse behind) or kuin (庫院, lit. warehouse hall) is the kitchen of a Zen monastery, typically located behind the butsuden (or, Buddha Hall). Historically the kuri was a kitchen which prepared meals only for the abbot and his guests, though in modern Japan it now functions as the kitchen and administrative office for the entire monastery.

List of Buddhas

This is a list of historical, contemporary, and legendary figures which at least one school of Buddhism considers to be a Buddha and which have an article on Wikipedia:

Acala

Adi-Buddha

Akshobhya

Amitābha, principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism

Amoghasiddhi

Bhaisajyaguru

Budai

Dīpankara Buddha

Five Tathagatas

Gautama Buddha

Kakusandha

Kassapa Buddha

Koṇāgamana Buddha

Lokesvararaja

Nairatmya

Nichiren Daishonin, Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law (Nikko Lineage)

Padumuttara Buddha

Padmasambhava

Ratnasambhava

Satyanama

Sumedha Buddha

Tara

Tonpa Shenrab

Vairocana, embodiment of the Dharmakaya

Vajradhara

Vajrayogini

Yeshe Tsogyal

List of suttas

Suttas from the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.

List of Digha Nikaya suttas

List of Majjhima Nikaya suttas

List of Samyutta Nikaya suttas

List of Anguttara Nikaya suttas

List of Khuddaka Nikaya suttas

Maya (mother of the Buddha)

Queen Māyā of Sakya (Pali: Māyādevī) was the birth mother of Gautama Buddha, the sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. She was sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha.In Buddhist tradition Maya died soon after the birth of Buddha, generally said to be seven days afterwards, and came to life again in a Hindu-Buddhist heaven, a pattern that is said to be followed in the births of all Buddhas. Thus Maya did not raise her son who was instead raised by his maternal aunt Mahapajapati Gotami. Maya would, however, on occasion descend from Heaven to give advice to her son.Māyā means "illusion" in Sanskrit. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā ("Great Māyā") and Māyādevī ("Queen Māyā"). In Tibetan she is called Gyutrulma and in Japanese is known as Maya-bunin (摩耶夫人). Also Sinhalese known as මහාමායා දේවී (Mahāmāyā Dēvi).

Nanda (half-brother of Buddha)

Prince Nanda, also known as Sundarananda (handsome Nanda), was the younger half-brother of the Buddha. He shared the same father as the Buddha, King Śuddhodana, and his mother, Mahapajapati Gotami, was the Buddha's mother's younger sister. The Buddha's biological mother died 7 days after Prince Siddhartha, the person who would become the Buddha, was born.

It was seven years after his Enlightenment that the Buddha, at the request of his father, who missed him dearly, returned to his home city of Kapilavatthu.

On the third day of his return, the Buddha, after partaking of his meal, silently handed his bowl to Nanda, rose and exited. Thinking that the Buddha would take his bowl back, Nanda followed him until he reached the Park of Nigrodha, where the Buddha was staying. This was the Buddha's silent demonstration of the Dhamma to his younger brother: a scene which is often represented in Greco-Buddhist art.

When they arrived at the Park, the Buddha questioned Nanda regarding whether he might become a monk. Although Nanda had just wedded the beautiful Janapada Kalyāni, that same day, he took ordination and joined the community of Monks.

However, Nanda enjoyed no spiritual happiness. His thoughts were constantly directed towards to Janapada Kalyāni and his heart pined for her.

Learning of this, the Buddha took Nanda on a journey to Tavatimsa Heaven or Trāyastriṃśa. On the way Nanda saw a she-monkey that had lost her ears, nose and tail in a fire, clinging to a charred stump. When they reached the heaven abode, Nanda saw beautiful celestial nymphs and the Buddha asked Nanda: "Which do you consider more beautiful? Those nymphs or Janapada Kalyāni?"

Nanda replied: "Venerable Sir, Janapada Kalyāni looks like the scalded she-monkey, compared to those nymphs."

The Buddha said: "Nanda, can you see that what you thought to be exceedingly beautiful now pales in comparison to greater beauty?"

Upon hearing this, Nanda practiced diligently with the object of winning the celestial nymphs. However, when the other monks learned of Nanda's wish they ridiculed him and he eventually saw his motive as base, and renouncing desire, attained Arhatship.

There is a poem in Theragatha collection of verses believed to have been authored by Nanda praising the Buddha for having become an arahant.Abeysekera writes: "On realizing the exquisite happiness of Nibbana, Nanda approached the Buddha and thanked Him respectfully by saying, "Lord I release you from your promise of celestial bliss." The Buddha then informed Nanda that He had been released from the promise the moment he had reached the supreme bliss of Nibbana, because the bliss of Nibbana was greater and transcended any celestial bliss."

Punna

Pūrṇa Maitrāyanīputra (Sanskrit; Pali: Puṇṇa Mantānīputta, Chinese: 富楼那弥多罗尼子; pinyin: fùlóunàmíduōluónízǐ), also simply known as Pūrṇa (Sanskrit; Pali: Puṇṇa), was an arhat and one of the ten principal disciples of Gautama Buddha.

Rinpoche

Rinpoche, also spelled Rimboche and Rinboku (Tibetan: རིན་པོ་ཆེ་, Wylie: rin po che, THL: Rinpoché, ZYPY: Rinboqê), is an honorific term used in the Tibetan language. It literally means "precious one", and may be used to refer to a person, place, or thing--like the words "gem" or "jewel" (Sanskrit Ratna).

The word consists of rin(value) and po(nominative suffix) and chen(big).

The word is used in the context of Tibetan Buddhism as a way of showing respect when addressing those recognized as reincarnated, older, respected, notable, learned and/or an accomplished Lamas or teachers of the Dharma. It is also used as an honorific for abbots of monasteries.

Thero

Thero (commonly appearing in the masculine and feminine forms thera and therī respectively) is an honorific term in Pali for senior bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (Buddhist monks and nuns) in the Buddhist monastic order. The word literally means "elder". These terms, appearing at the end of a monastic's given name, are used to distinguish those who have at least 10 years since their upasampada (higher ordination). The name of an important collection of very early Buddhist poetry is called the Therigatha, "verses of the therīs".

The terms mahāthera and mahātherī (the prefix mahā meaning 'great' in both Sanskrit and Pali} are used to refer to very distinguished elderly and venerable monks and nuns considered to have reached a higher level of spiritual development.

Usage of these terms varies according to the Buddhist tradition and culture. In Sri Lanka, these terms are widely used.

Some prominent theras and therīs:

Ananda thera

Mahapajapati Gotami therī

Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero

Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero

Ayya Tathaaloka therī

Gangodawila Soma Thero

Nyanaponika Thera

Nanavira Thera

Uppalavanna

Uppalavannā (Chinese: 蓮華色比丘尼 or 優缽華色比丘尼) was considered to be one of the two chief female disciples of the Buddha, the other being Khema.

She was the daughter of a wealthy merchant and was known for her great beauty. Her name means "one with the hue of the blue lotus".

Ṛddhi

In Buddhism, rddhi powers (Sanskrit; Pali: iddhi) are "psychic powers", one of the five or six supernormal powers (abhijñā) of the mundane plane attained by performing the four dhyānas. The normal Sanskrit meaning of ṛddhi is "increase, growth, prosperity, success, good fortune, wealth, abundance".

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