The Buddha gives a show of supernormal powers, flying in the air; the relatives give up their pride and together bow to him
This picture depicts an event that happened immediately following that depicted in the previous picture. It is the episode known as "the Buddha displays a miracle to dampen the pride of his relatives."
The Sakyan lords, the senior relatives of the Buddha, considered that they were older and therefore of higher standing than the Buddha, who was then only 36 years old. When they received him and went to visit him at the Nigrodha Park, they did not make any gestures of obeisance to the Buddha, but had the younger Sakyan princes and princesses sit in the front row and pay respects to the Buddha in their place, while they stood stiffly at the back.
The Pathamasambodhi relates that this was why the Buddha performed the miracle of flying into the air and sprinkling the dust from his feet onto the heads of the Sakyan lords.
Somdej Phra Mahasamanachao Kromphrayavachiranyanavarorosa, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand who compiled a biography of the Buddha, states in volume two of that biography, in relation to this episode:
"If we interpret this to mean that in fact the Buddha made a display of the anusasani patihariya, the miracle of teaching, that is, giving a teaching to the Sakyans that enlightened them, inspired them, encouraged them, gladdened them and caused them to give up their pride, and to regard the Buddha as their superior, as if he had flown into the air, this would be more acceptable."
King Suddhodana, who had gone to receive the Buddha and visit him, seeing this miraculous event, put his palms together in a gesture of homage, and all of the relatives gathered there gave up their pride and paid homage to the Buddha.
The Pathamasambodhi states: "At that moment, a great cloud gathered above them and released a downpour. The rain that fell then was what is known as bokkharavassa, being of red color and of such a nature that whoever wanted to become wet by it became wet, while whoever did not want to become wet stayed dry, and the rain drops simply bounced off their bodies like water off a lotus leaf."
Interpreting this, we could say that the Buddha and his relatives had been away from each other for so long that when they saw each other they were overjoyed and refreshed, as if their hearts had been drenched with a refreshing shower.
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