King Bimbisara, inspired by the Buddha, officially offers the Bamboo Grove as the first Buddhist Monastery

When King Bimbisara, the King of Magadha, had listened to the Buddha's teaching and attained Stream Entry, he rose, bowed down at the Buddha's feet, and invited the Buddha, together with the 1,000 monks, to take the meal on the next morning at the royal palace. The Buddha consented to the invitation by remaining silent.

That was a tradition upheld by the Buddha and the monks in those days. If they were silent, that meant that they could accept the invitation. If they could not accept the invitation, for instance if someone were to ask the Buddha to receive the meal at his house every day for a whole rains retreat, the Buddha would answer, "Many are the people in this world who wish to make merit with us. It is not proper to invite us for the whole time." This means that he could not receive the invitation.

The next morning, the Buddha departed from the palmyra grove and entered the palace of King Bimbisara. The officials had arranged the alms food already. The King offered the food to the Buddha and his Order of monks [sangha].

When the Buddha and all the monks had eaten enough, King Bimbisara approached the Buddha and sat respectfully to one side. He pointed out to the Buddha that the palmyra grove was very far from the city. Moreover it was in a remote area, not convenient for entrance and egress. Then the King went on to say that his own Bamboo Grove, the Veluvana, was situated neither too near nor too far from the city, easy to get to, not crowded during the day and peaceful at night. In short, it was a fitting place for the Buddha and the Order to stay.

When the Buddha expressed his approval by remaining silent, King Bimbisara formally consecrated his offering of the Bamboo Grove as the first Buddhist monastery in the world by pouring water onto the Buddha's hand.

The Pathamasambodhi states: "At the very moment that the Omniscient One accepted the Bamboo Grove, the great earth resounded as if to announce, 'Buddhism has now been established in this world.'"
 

Copyright 2002 Mahidol University All rights reserved.
Mahidol University Computing Center, Rama VI Road, Rajathewi, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND Tel. (662) 354-4333