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8.1
After the rainy season of that year, the Buddha left Nigrodha.gif (845 bytes)ra.gif (845 bytes)ma Grove, heading towards the city of Sa.gif (845 bytes)vatthi.gif (57 bytes), capital of the State of Kosala, adjoining the State of Sakka on the South. In that capital there lived a millionaire named Sudatta, who used to listen to the Buddha's sermon in the City of Ra.gif (845 bytes)jagaha and had obtained the Eye of Dhamma thereby. He was very pious, taking delight in dispensing charity to the poor and the needy. He had built a charity home for the purpose and was affectionately given the appellation "Ana.gif (845 bytes)thapindika", one who always has lumps of rice for the needy and helpless. When "Ana.gif (845 bytes)thapindika", learned of the news of the Buddha's approaching his city, he undertook to arrange a welcoming ceremony on a grand scale for the Buddha. Pra_02.JPG (16102 bytes)

This was because he was the only Buddhist in Sa.gif (845 bytes)vatthi.gif (57 bytes). Upon the Buddha's arrival, he managed to buy a plot of land from a prince named Jeta at an exorbitant price of 54 koti (i.e. 540 million) and offered it as Jeta Grove, in which he also had a Gandhakuti.gif (57 bytes) (aromatic cell) built for the Buddha, together with other cells (i.e. living quarter) for other Bhikkhus. It was later within this grove that the Buddha spent His Rain Retreat periods most frequently, although off and on. He was recorded to have stayed for 19 rain periods, during which He had enlightened a countless number of men and women into the various stages of the Noble Path and Fruition

 

8.2
While the Buddha was at one time staying in the great Jeta Grove, queen Mallika.gif (845 bytes), consort of King Passendi of Kosala, used to come to listen to the Buddha's sermons and obtained the Eye of Dhamma. However this had not yet made any impression on the king. It happened one night when the king had seen what he thought was a nightmare. He recounted his dream to the astrologers, who concluded that it was an evil omen for the king's life and suggested him to perform a Yannn.gif (72 bytes)nnn.gif (72 bytes)a (Sacrificial rites) to at least assuage the evil spell. This the king believed and agreed to perform the rites in which quite a number of various kinds of animals were to be slaughtered to expiate the king's sin. Being informed of this, the resourceful Mallika.gif (845 bytes), knowing how a great danger was to befall the king as well as the animals, suggested that the king should go to discuss the matter with the Buddha, who she said was in a position to know about it better than other persons. In compliance with his queen's advice, the king went for the first time to see the Buddha, requesting Him to help banish the evil omen suggested by the nightmare. In response to the king's request the Buddha advised him to live a moral, altruistic life based on the Ten Practice Characteristics of a king add also to perform such philanthropic activities as the Four Manners of Giving Help. The king was impressed and declared himself a Buddhist from that time on. He then ordered all the Yannn.gif (72 bytes)nnn.gif (72 bytes)a rites cancelled.

 

8.2
In the meantime there occurred a bizarre incident that almost plunged the city of Sa.gif (845 bytes)vatthi.gif (57 bytes) in a state of chaos. This was because there was a ferocious bandit who appeared to be motivated by a desire. From each person he slaughtered he cut off only a finger which he added to his collection in the form of a garland worn around his neck. As such he was called An.gif (66 bytes)gulima.gif (845 bytes)la, the finger-necklaced thug. He reportedly wanted to collect one thousand of fingers before they rotted away, possibly for the purpose of performing mystic rites of some sort. But the collected fingers always decomposed before he could reach the target of one thousand and as such he was forced to start killing end collecting again and again until he could not remember how many times the process was repeated. For a long time had his heinous crimes continued unchecked and now the terror-stricken people, being afraid to go out alone or in a small group, were unable to earn their living as before. Despite the authorities' attempts to hunt him down, he still proved as elusive as ever. Recently he was reported to have collected 999 fingers on his necklace. They did not yet decompose and thus only one more was lacking. Now, was he to wait another day those fingers would all rot and he would have to start the 'killing spree' once again. To avoid such a trouble he made up his mind to murder his own mother and thus to fulfil the conditions of his witchcraft discipline. That morning, while on his way to his mother's home, the thug came across the Buddha while He was on His almsround. Of course, he saw the Buddha as his last victim and was delighted to have the Buddha's finger instead of his own mother's, With full speed he started out after the recluse who, he saw, was walking leisurely only some distance away. But no matter how fast and how long he had run, he could hot overtake the strange recluse in front of him. Exhausted, he shouted out, telling the Buddha to stop. The Buddha retorted, saying He had already stopped. This made the Finger-necklaces thug more angry. He mustered his strength and managed to catch up with the Buddha. He did overtake the Buddha but fell flat, panting, not knowing what to do but to accuse Him of how He had claimed to have stopped even while walking on. In reply the Buddha explained He had stopped the life of doing harm to others, whereas the thug had never attempted to do so. Such witty remarks brought An.gif (66 bytes)gulima.gif (845 bytes)la to his senses and he realized how thoughtlessly cruel he had been. Knowing this clairvoyantly, the Buddha delivered to him a sermon by which he was finally enlightened, becoming thereby an Arahant. He was then granted ordination as a Bhikkhu and later followed the Buddha to the Jeta Grove as a tamed lion.

        Such was the happy ending of the story, by means of which there was no more of the finger-necklaced thug who used to terrorize the people of the land.

 

8.4
It was by this time that the Buddha had secured a firm foothold for His Dhamma in the Middle Country. Several significant states from the north to the South of the region were patrons of Buddhism. The number of His disciples was growing steadily Nevertheless, the Buddha did not suspend His efforts but was regularly wandering through the length and breath of the country, preaching to whoever could understand His Message wherever the person was dwelling at the time. This He had been tirelessly undertaking to do for forty-five years, especially the remaining forty years after He was offered the Jeta Grove. During this period He did not rest in self-complacency but took pains to travel to various villages, towns and states. Only during the Vassa or Rain Retreat periods did He sojourn where occasions perrmitted such as in the city of Kapilavatthu, Ra.gif (845 bytes)jagaha, or Vesa.gif (845 bytes)li.gif (57 bytes) (of the State of Vajji.gif (57 bytes)), Kosambi.gif (57 bytes) (of the State of Van.gif (66 bytes)sa) and several other places. It was in the citi of Sa.gif (845 bytes)vatthi.gif (55 bytes) that He stayed most frequently and longest, though off and on, the periods totalling 25 rainy seasons. At the Jeta Grove, He had stayed for 19 periods.

        During the four decades there were a number of significant events worth noting as follows:

  8.4.1 During the Buddha's sojourn in Sa.gif (845 bytes)vatthi.gif (57 bytes), there lived in that city a maiden named Visa.gif (845 bytes)kha.gif (845 bytes), daughter of a wealthy man by the name of Dhanannn.gif (72 bytes)jaya. She was fully blessed with the five characteristics of a beautiful girl and was also wise and strong. She listened to the Buddha's sermon and won the Eye of Dhamma, being thereby a Stream-winner, ever since she was seven years old. At the age of 16 she was married to Punnavaddhana, son of a millionaire named Miga.gif (845 bytes)ra in the same city. However, her husband's family members were disciples of Jainism but through her resourcefulness she successfully changed their attitude, thus transforming them into Buddhists. For ten times had she given birth to her offsprings, each time being twins. All the offsprings of hers grew up to be pious Buddhists like their mother. As for Visa.gif (845 bytes)kha.gif (845 bytes) herself, despite her age she always looked young and beautiful as ever. Throughout her life she continued to be a devoted patroness of the Buddha and all Bhikkhus. At one time she undertook to sell a very large and heavy piece of her ornament for a hugh sum of money with which to build a monastery for the Bhikkhus. The monastery was called Pubba.gif (845 bytes)ra.gif (845 bytes)ma, in which the Buddha was known to have stayed for six Rain Retreat periods.
  8.4.2 At another time while the Buddha, was sojourning in the Mango Grove of the town of Anupiya belonging to the Malla Kings, there came to see Him five of His paternal relatives viz. Bhaddiyara.gif (845 bytes)ja.gif (845 bytes), Anuruddha, aa.gif (75 bytes)nanda, Bhaggu and Kimbila, together with one of His maternal side viz. Devadatta, followed by a barber named Upali. They all sought His admission for ordination, which the Buddha granted to all in the same manner. Except Devadatta, all attained Arahatship some time later. Devadatta, however, was able to attain only the Jha.gif (845 bytes)na (Absorption) on the mundane level.
8.4.2 At another time, while the Buddha was entering the Jeta Grove, He saw an old Brahmin named Ra.gif (845 bytes)dha sweeping the area therein. He stopped and had a talk with the Brahmin, who told the Buddha that he wanted to be ordained but that the Bhikkhus, seeing he was very old, refused to comply with his wish. The Buddha called the Bhikkhus together and asked them if there was anybody who used to be offered anything by the old Brahmin. In reply Venerable Sa.gif (845 bytes)ri.gif (57 bytes)putta said the Brahmin used to give him a ladle of food some time ago in the city of Ra.gif (845 bytes)jagaha. So the Buddha authorized Venerable Sa.gif (845 bytes)ri.gif (57 bytes)putta to have Ra.gif (845 bytes)dha ordained by means of a disciplinary procedure newly established called n2.gif (67 bytes)atticatutthakamma. This was the transference of His own authority in ordaining a person to the Sangha i.e. a specific group of Bhikkhus concerned. After ordination, Bhikkhu Ra.gif (845 bytes)dha put forth his utmost efforts and before long achieved Arahatship
8.4.4 At another time, while the Buddha was staying in the town of Vesa.gif (845 bytes)li.gif (57 bytes), Venerable aa.gif (75 bytes)nanda, the Buddha's attendant Bhikkhu, managed through his ingenuity to have the Buddha grant ordination as Bhikkhuni.gif (57 bytes) to Maha.gif (845 bytes)paja.gif (845 bytes)pati.gif (57 bytes) Gotami, who had long besought the Buddha for the purpose. She was the Buddha's own aunt and foster-mother and, not long after being granted ordination, she was able to finalise her efforts, becoming the first Bhikkhuni.gif (57 bytes) Arahant thereby.

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