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Strong-Laywoman Sujata

Strong-Laywoman Sujata - 4 46 Experience The Master...

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'f ) d I f I 46 4' The Master considered what had been done by previous Buddhas [and E c resolved to accept their offering. But he realized he had no bowl.] So, the Buddhism four great divine kings came and offered him bowls made of stone. The South Asia Master, saying, "May the merit of their deed be great," declared that the four bowls should become one, and that is what happened. Then the mer- chants placed the rice cakes and sweets into the bowl of the Tatagata and offered him water when he was finished. And at the conclusion of his meal, they saluted the Master and sat down to one side. Then the Master preached the Dharma to them, and at the conclusion of the sermon they took double refuge in the Buddha and the Dharma. Then they saluted the Master and, wishing to return to their own city, said: "Good sir, give us a memento of yourself that we can worship." The Master then rubbed his head with his right hand and gave the two men eight handfuls of hair relics. The two men made golden boxes for the relics, and, taking them to their own city, Asitafjana, they erected a shrine for the living hair relics, there at the city gate. On each festival day, a blue ray of light still issues forth from the shrine. Source: Translated from Manorathapirali: Buddhaghosa's Commentary on the Aguttara Nikiya, ed. M. Walleser and H. Kopf (London: Pali Text Sci- ety, 1924), 1:382-84. 2.1.2 Te Lyoman Sujata Tapassu and Bhallika were the first male lay disciples of the Buddha. The first female lay disciple was Sujata. Laywomen have always played an imporant role in the Buddhist community, but the story of Sujata is noteworthy for a number of reasons. She was not only the Buddha's first female disciple of any kind (it took a while before the Buddha was willing to ordain women as nuns, see 2.1.4), but she was, in a sense, a devotee of the Buddha even be- fore his Buddhahood and even before she knew who he was. In the Pali tra- 1 it is she who gives the Buddha the offering of milk-rice that marks the end of his practice of extreme asceticism and that sustains him throughout the attainment of his enlightenment and for seven weeks thereafter until, in fact, the food offering made by Tapassu and Bhallika. Her devotional offering
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