With the begging bowl | Daily News


With the begging bowl

When the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu for the first time after his Enlightenment he stayed at the Nigrodharama monastery. There he expounded the Dhamma to his relatives. King Suddhodana thought that the Buddha, being his own son, would not go anywhere, but would surely come to the palace for almsfood the next day; but he did not specifically invite the Buddha. However, the next day, he ordered almsfood to be prepared for him and his bhikkhus.

As there was no special invitation for almsgiving on that day, the Buddha and his bhikkhus went on their almsround. Before proceeding he considered within himself, 'Did the Buddhas of the past, upon entering the city of their kinsfolk, straightaway enter the houses of the relatives, or did they go from house to house to receive alms?' Perceiving that they did go from house to house, the Buddha went along the streets of Kapilavatthu seeking alms.

On hearing of this seemingly humiliating conduct of the Buddha from his daughter-in-law, Yasodhara, the King greatly perturbed, went to the Buddha and said, 'Son, why do you ruin me? I am overwhelmed with shame to see you begging alms. Is it proper for you, who used to travel in a golden palanquin, to seek alms in this very city? Why do you put me to shame?'

Whereupon the Buddha replied, 'O King, I am not putting you to shame. I am following the custom of my Buddha lineage. All previous Buddhas have lived by seeking alms.'

The King understood that this was the way of the Buddhas and accepted it.

The Buddha preached the blessings of monkhood and listening to that both Prajapathi Gothami and King Suddhodana attained Sotapanna stage. The Buddha discovered his wife in his lay life Yasodhara was missing in the crowd.

He came to know she is residing in the balcony, and he chose to go up himself to see her. Then he preached the Sandakinduru Jataka. Listening to the Buddha, Yasodhara developed an interest to become a nun. But the Buddha had other plans. So he wanted Yasodhara to wait a little.

It was a show of grandeur when the Buddha visited his hometown. Not only humans, but many kind of deities had also visited to witness the arrival of the Buddha. The Conqueror preached the nature of the Buddhahood. He taught the importance of following percepts.

Pajapathi's son Nanda and Yasodhara's son Rahula became monks too during this eve. These two sons, especially his own grandson Rahula was much consolation for King Suddhodana in the absence of Prince Siddhartha.

He became much crestfallen. So the Buddha issued an act not to make children monks without consent of their parents. He preached Dharmapala Jataka during this event, and the King became Anagami. This was coordinated by Minister Kaludai. The Buddhas never visit their hometown without invitation. Kaludai, on the other hand, had done so much merits in previous existences so he could maintain good relationship among relatives.

- SM

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