The Arahant Disciples having departed each one on his own chosen way, the
Buddha proceeded to the district of Uruvel
people. On His way He stopped for a rest in a cotton farm. There were at the
moment a group of thirty youths called Bhaddavaggya. All except one brought their own wives for a
sporting excursion there. The one without a wife had brought a prostitute
instead. Now, while the youths were momentarily off guard, the prostitute
stealthily made off with their valuables. Realizing the fact some time
later, the youths, hurriedly hunting the thief, came across the Buddha while
He was taking a rest. They asked Him if He had seen the woman they were
looking for. In return the Buddha asked them philosophically if they should
look for the woman or for themselves. This came as a surprise to the youths,
who were somehow struck by the metaphysical, thought-provoking nature of the
Buddha's pregnant question. They replied, saying they preferred to look for
'themselves', as suggested by the Buddha. Seeing they were ready for
instruction, the Buddha preached to them the Five Themes of Progressive
Importance or Anupubbikath
as before. When at the end of the sermon they all attained Arahathood, He
granted them the Ehi form of ordination and sent them forth to preach the
Dhamma in distant lands.
It was in the afternoon of that day when the Buddha left the cotton farm and
arrived at the district of Uruvela on the shore of river Nerajar.
There dwelt a large number of matted-haired hermits numbering one thousand.
The leaders were three brothers named Uruvel Kassapa, Nad Kassapa and Gay Kassapa, with the retinue of five hundred, three
hundred and two hundred hermits respectively. The eldest brother Uruvela
Kassapa's hermitage was situated upstream, whereas those of the two younger
ones respectively downstream. These hermits were highly revered by the
townspeople, who regarded them as the holy ones.
Upon His arrival the Buddha went straight to Uruvel Kassapa's hermitage, asking for permission to stay overnight there. The hermit was not pleased but later allowed Him to spend the night within the fire-shed where He knew there were some deadly, venomous snakes waiting. But the Buddha readily accepted the challenge and passed the time therein without any harm befalling to Him. In the small hours of the night the matted-haired hermits, who had learnt of the 'stranger recluse' who dared to stay within their forbidden shed gathered to the place, assuming He would have been killed by then. They were amazed to see Him silently engaged in walking meditation as if nothing had happened. This was the first display of the Buddha's superior psychic powers to be followed by a series of such displays no less dramatic and, to those hermits, incredible but true. Finally, convinced that he was no match for the Buddha, Uruvel Kassapa admitted defeat and floated all the fire-worshipping paraphernalia down the river and asked for ordination, which the Buddha granted them Himself i.e. through the Ehi manner.
Now Uruvel's two younger brothers, Nad and Gay Kassapa, seeing their elder brother's paraphernalia floating down the river, thought that some danger would have befallen him. They hurried to Uruvel and, having learned about the fact, did the same thing and together with all their retinue hermits asked for ordination. All were admitted similarly. After a time the Buddha proceeded to the district of Gayssa together with all the former matted-haired hermits. There He delivered to them, possibly in conformity to their tendency and temperament, a Sermon on Fire, elaborating how many fires within their own minds there were, and how those fires can be extinguished. At the end of the sermon they all attained Arahathood.
Having stayed in the district of Gayssa for some time,
the Buddha led the one thousand matted-haired hermits, now His Arahant
Disciples, to the city of Rjagaha capital of
the state of Magadha. They took lodging within the Latthi Grove, near King
Bimbisra's palace. No sooner had He
arrived than the news was spread from mouth to mouth, that there now arrived
in Magadha a son of the Sakyans who, having renounced the world and attained
Enlightenment, undertook to come there in order to preach to the people His
sublime and Transcendental Dhamma. When the news reached King Bimbisra,
he proceeded, together with his courtiers and other people totalling twelve
Nahuta (1 Nahuta = 10,000), to see the Buddha. But the Buddha, seeing a
great number of people was still doubtful, not knowing whether they were
Uruvel's disciples or vice versa. Uruvel informed the people publicly of how he
and the other fire-worshipping hermits had abandoned their former belief and
practices. This having been done and the audiences having been made ready to
listen, the Buddha delivered to them a sermon on the Five Themes of
Progressive Importance. After the sermon most of the people were able to win
the Eye of Dhamma, becoming Stream-winners, whereas the rest were impressed
and took a solemn vow declaring themselves lay disciples, taking the Triple
Gem as their Refuge for lives.
The king then invited the Buddha, together with the Bhikkhus, to a meal in
his palace on the following day. He took pains to attend upon all the
Bhikkhus himself. After the meal he offered his Bamboo Grove, which was a
secluded place with serene atmosphere suitable for those aspiring for
spiritual exertion, to the Bhikkhus with the Buddha as their chief and
leader. He poured the water from his urn as token of the offering of an
immovable thing. The Grove had been thence forward a delightful place of
seclusion for both the Buddha and His Bhikkhus. It was the first 'monastery'
In the Bamboo Grove the Buddha and His former fire-worshipping Bhikkhus had
been staying until the first day of the waxing moon of the third month i.e.
the Mgha lunar month. There were during the period 250
monks of the Paribjaka
(mendicants) type headed by two youths called Upatissa and Kolita. They all
obtained the Eye of Dhamma (becoming Stream-winners), having been relayed
the instruction by Venerable Assaji, one of the Five Ascetics earlier
mentioned. All were later ordained through the Ehi-method by the Buddha
Himself and, with the exception of their two leaders Upatissa and Kolita,
won through to Arahatship when they were some time later given another
instruction by the Buddha.
It was seven days after that when Venerable Kolita, having been further
instructed by the Buddha, was able to attain Arahatship. Then on the
fifteenth day of the waxing moon, the fullmoon day of Mgha
lunar month, Venerable Upatissa, while attending the Buddha fanning Him in
the cave called Sukarakht near the Vulture Peak, was also
listening to the sermon the Buddha delivered to a mendicant named Dghanakha. Contemplating uninterruptedly the meaning
of the sermons, he attained the Arahatship thereby.
So it was that all the former 250 mendicants had won through to the highest grade of Noble Disciples on this day. It is worth noting that Venerable Upatissa was later nominated the Buddha's Right Hand Disciple, being foremost in Wisdom, and generally known by the name of Srputta. Venerable Kolita, later to be known as Moggallna, was nominated the Buddha's Left Hand Counterpart, being foremost in psychic powers.
|In the afternoon of the same day, after the Buddha had returned from the Sukarakht cave to the Bamboo Grove, there was an assemble without prior appointment of 1,250 Arahants, 1000 of them being the former matted-haired hermits, whereas the remaining 250 being the former mendicants. They were all heading towards the Grove for the purpose of seeing the Buddha. This was something of a miracle in that the assemble consisted of four significant facts viz. firstly, the Bhikkhus therein were all Ehi-ordained, being admitted into the Order personally i.e. by the Buddha Himself; secondly, they were all Arahant disciples; thirdly, they all came there without prior appointment and incidentally at the same time; and fourthly, the occasion was on the fullnoon day of the Magh month, during which the moon was supposed to pass, in the course of its orbit, a cluster of stars called Magh. This was at that time considered by other religious traditions high auspicious for performing religious rites. Considering this fourfold coincidence, the Buddha delivered to the Bhikkhus a special sermon called Ovadapatimokkha, the epitome of His doctrine. This was the occasion occuring only once in the time of the Buddha.|
Back to Content Next Topic
Copyright © 2002 Mahidol
University All rights reserved.