(जो उत्पन्न हुआ है, मरता ही है)
बुद्धकाले, सावत्थियं नगरे,
बुद्धकाल में, सावत्थी नगर में
एकस्स धनिकस्स भरिया नाम।
एक धनी की पत्नि का नाम
किसा गोतमी आसि।
किसा गोतमी था।
तस्सा एकको पुत्तो आसि।
उसका एकलौता पुत्र था।
सो किंचि रोगेन कालं अकासि।
वह किसी बीमारी से मर गया।
तेन तस्सा सोक उम्मायो(उन्माद) उपज्जि।
इससे उसको शोक-उन्माद पैदा हुआ।
सोक उम्माद-वसेन सा
शोक उन्माद के वशीभूत वह
मत-कळेवरं अंकेन आदाय
मरे हुए बच्चे को गोद में लेकर
चित्त विक्खेयं हुत्वा
विक्षिप्त चित्त होकर
यहां-वहां घूमती थी।
पुत्तस्स मे जीवितं करोथ‘ति
‘मेरे पुत्र को जीवित कर दो’ कहती हुई
गेह द्वार हिण्डति।
घर-द्वार घूमती थी
किसी ने उसे
भगवा सन्तिके गन्त्वा, पुच्छितुं आह।
बुद्ध के पास जाकर, पूछने को कहा।
तस्मिं काले, भगवा जेतवने विहरति।
उस समय, भगवान जेतवन में विहर रहे थे।
सा भगवतो धम्मदेसना वेलायं गन्त्वा
वह भगवान के पास धम्मदेशना के समय जाकर
‘पुत्तस्स मे जीवितं करोथ’ति आह।
‘मेरे बच्चे को जीवित कर दो’ ऐसा कहा।
भगवा तस्सा चित्तं विक्खयं दिस्वा
भगवान ने उसके चित्त की विक्षिप्त-दशा देख
‘‘गच्छ नगरं पविसित्वा
‘‘नगर में जाओ और प्रवेश कर
यस्मिं गेहे कोचि मत पुब्बो न अत्थि
जिस घर में पूर्व में कोई मरा न हो,
ततो सिद्धत्थकं आहर‘ति आह।
वहां से सरसो ले आ,’’ ऐसा कहा
सा ‘‘साधु भंते’ति पक्कामि।
वह ‘साधु भंते’ ऐसा कह वापिस हुई।
नगरं पविसित्वा, पठम गेहे येव गन्त्वा
नगर में प्रवेश कर पहले घर में ही जाकर वह बोली-
‘‘मम पुत्तस्स भेसज्ज अत्थाय सिद्धत्थकं याचामि।
‘‘मेरे पुत्रा की दवा के लिए सरसो मांगती हूं।
सचे, एतस्मिं गेहे कोचि मत पुब्बो नत्थि,
यदि इस घर में पूर्व में कोई मरा नहीं हों
सिद्धत्थकं मे देथ’’ति आह।
तो मुझे सरसो दो’’, ऐसा कहा।
‘इध मते, सब्बे ‘ति आह।
‘‘यहां मरे हैं’’, सभी ने ऐसा जवाब दिया।
दुतियं, ततियं घरे गन्त्वा
दूसरे, तीसरे घर जाने के बाद
उन्माद कम हुआ।
पकति चित्ते ठिता चिन्तेसि-
वह चित्त प्रकृतिस्थ हो सोचने लगी-
‘सकले नगरे अयमेव निमयो भविस्सति।
सम्पूर्ण नगर में ऐसा ही नियम होगा।
सा नगरा च बहिरा निक्खमि,
वह नगर से बाहर निकली,
एवं सत्थु सन्तिकं अगमासि।
सत्था(बुद्ध) के पास आयी।
ठितं चित्तं तस्सा दिस्वा भगवा आह-
स्थिर चित्त देख उसका भगवान ने कहा-
‘जो उत्पन्न हुआ है, वह मरता ही है।’
अनिच्चावत संखारा, उप्पादवय धम्मिनो।
सारे संस्कार अनित्य हैं। उत्पन्न होकर क्षय होना उनका धर्म है।
भदन्त धर्मकीर्तिः भगवान बुद्ध का इतिहास और धम्मदर्शन, पृ. 96
Kisa Gotami has two of the most heart-rending stories in the Buddhist tradition associated with her name. The Commentary to this verse tells that when her young child had died, she refused to believe it was dead. After asking many people — in vain — for medicine that would revive the child, she was finally directed to the Buddha. When she told him her story, he offered to provide medicine for the child, but he would need some mustard seed — the cheapest Indian spice — obtained from a family in which no one had died. She went from house to house asking for mustard seed, and no one refused to give it to her. But when she asked if anyone had died in the family, the universal response was always, "Oh, yes, of course." After a while, the message sunk in: Death is universal. On abandoning the child's body to a charnel ground, she returned to the Buddha and asked to be ordained as a nun, and afterwards became an arahant.
The canonical verses associated with Kisa Gotami's name, however, tell a different story, which is identical to the story that the Commentary attributes to Patacara: Pregnant with her second child, she was returning to her parents' home, along with her husband and small firstborn child, to give birth. Along the way, a great storm blew up, and she asked her husband to provide shelter for the family. As he was cutting grass and sticks to build a shelter, a snake bit him and he died of the poison. Unsheltered, and wondering at her husband's long absence, Patacara gave birth and had to spend the night sheltering both her children against the rain and wind with nothing more than her body. The next morning, she found her husband dead. Distraught, she decided to return to her parents' home. However, a river — swollen from the rain of the previous night — ran across her way. Unable to carry both children across the river, she left her first-born on the near bank and waded through the raging current carrying her baby. Placing the baby on the far bank, she turned back to fetch her first-born. A hawk, seeing the baby, took it for a piece of flesh, and swooped down on it. Seeing this, Patacara raised her hands and tried to chase it away, but to no avail: The hawk picked up the baby and carried it off. Meanwhile, her first-born — seeing his mother raising her hands — took it for a signal to cross the river. As he jumped into the raging current, he was carried off to his death. Overwhelmed with grief, Patacara returned to her parents' home, only to learn that it had burned down from a lightning strike in the previous night's storm. Her parents and brother were at that moment being cremated on a single pyre. At this point, she went mad and began wandering around half-naked. Only on coming into the Buddha's presence did she recover her senses. He taught her the Dhamma, and eventually she ordained and became an arahant.
Why this story is attributed to Patacara in the Commentary when it is obviously Kisa Gotami's in the Canon, is hard to tell. Some scholars have suggested that the tales in the Pali commentaries were imported from other Buddhist traditions, such as the Mulasarvastivadin. Thus, the differences between the canonical verses and the commentarial tales stem from the fact that the different traditions attributed particular stories to different elder monks and nuns. For instance, the Pali Canon attributed the story of the woman whose family was destroyed in a single day to Kisa Gotami, while the tradition from which the Commentary drew attributed it to Patacara. If that's the case, it's interesting to note how the commentators who adopted these tales nevertheless remained faithful to their Canon. Instead of trying to change the Pali to fit with the commentarial source on which they drew, they allowed the discrepancies between the two sources to stand: one of many instances in which the discrepancies between the Canon and the commentaries suggest that the monks who handed down the Pali Canon tried to keep it intact even when they didn't agree with it.
Later Theravadin texts have tried to cover over the discrepancies between Kisa Gotami's verses and the Commentary to those verses by insisting that the passage in the verses beginning, "Going along, about to give birth," and ending, "my husband dead, I reached the Deathless," is actually Patacara speaking, but this seems unlikely: Why would one arahant butt in on another one's tale?
At any rate, regardless of which story is Patacara's, and which Kisa Gotami's, both speak to the universality of death, and the power of the path of practice: that in the midst of this human world with all its sorrows, there is still a way to find that which is free from grieving, aging, and illness: the Deathless.
Theri Gatha 10.1
After flowing-on for a hundred thousand ages,
she evolved in this Buddha-era among gods and men
in a poor family in Savatthi.
Her name was Gotami-tissa,
but because her body was very skinny
she was called 'Skinny Gotami.'
When she went to her husband's family,
she was scorned [and called] 'daughter of a poor family.'
Then she gave birth to a son,
and with the arrival of the son she was treated with respect.
But that son, running back and forth
and running all around, while playing met his end.
Because of this, sorrow-to-the-point-of-madness arose in her.
She thought: "Before I was one who received only scorn,
but starting from the time of the birth of my son I gained honor.
These [relatives] will now try to take my son,
in order to expose him outside [in the charnel ground]."
Under the influence of her sorrow-to-the-point-of-madness,
she took the dead corpse on her hip and
wandered in the city from the door of one house to another
[pleading]: "Give medicine to me for my son!"
People reviled her, [saying] "What good is medicine?"
She did not grasp what they were saying.
And then a certain wise man, thinking
"This woman has had her mind deranged by sorrow for her son;
the ten-powered [Buddha] will know the medicine for her,"
said: "Mother, having approached the fully awakened one,
ask about medicine for your son."
She went to the vihara
at the time of the teaching of dhamma and said,
"Blessed One, give medicine to me for my son!"
The master, seeing her situation, said,
"Go, having entered the city,
into whatever house has never before experienced any death,
and take from them a mustard seed."
"Very well, Sir." [she replied],
and glad of mind she entered the city and came to the first house:
"The master has called for a mustard seed
in order to make medicine for my son.
If this house has never before experienced any death,
give me a mustard seed."
"Who is able to count how many have died here?"
"Then keep it. What use is that mustard seed to me?"
And going to a second and a third house,
her madness left her and her right mind was established
— thanks to the power of the Buddha.
She thought, "This is the way it will be in the entire city.
By means of the Blessed One's compassion for my welfare,
this will be what is seen."
And having gained a sense of spiritual urgency from that,
she went out and covered her son in the charnel ground.
She uttered this verse:
It's not just a truth for one village or town,
Nor is it a truth for a single family.
But for every world settled by gods [and men]
This indeed is what is true — impermanence.
And so saying, she went into the presence of the master.
Then the master said to her,
"Have you obtained, Gotami, the mustard seed?"
"Finished, sir, is the matter of the mustard seed" she said.
"You have indeed restored me."
And the master then uttered this verse:
A person with a mind that clings,
Deranged, to sons or possessions,
Is swept away by death that comes
— Like mighty flood to sleeping town.
At the conclusion of this verse, confirmed in the fruit of stream-entry,
she asked the master [for permission] to go forth [into the homeless life].
The master allowed her to go forth.
She gave homage to the master by bowing three times,
went to join the community of nuns,
and having gone forth, received her ordination.
It was not long before, through the doing of deeds with careful attention,
she caused her insight to grow... and she became an arahant.
2. My teacher Sudharma always taught me
that in the stillness and silence of meditation, each of us is alone with our
practice. At the same time, we are supported by the presence of others whom we
know to be encountering similar demons of regret and longing, fear and doubt,
drowsiness and the insistent habit of constructing a self-identity through the
mental activities of remembering, planning, and imagining. We think our
experience is unique, and often we suffer in our isolation. But once we make
contact with others and share our stories, we discover that we are not alone.
We can learn from others, and they can learn from us. As I’ve often mentioned,
Sudharma was a proponent of stories as examples of experience. Below, is the
story of Patacara, a story I have chosen in honor of Sudharma and of the women
who often dedicate their lives to so such great causes, often forgetting about
the most precious gem that lies within their own hearts. I dedicate this story
to my Acariya and my friend Jill who are each far more enlightened then
they can imagine.
Patacara’s story of loss was important initially only to her…..significant because it was through that experience that she lost her right mind and then regained it in the presence of the Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion. When she joined the order of nuns, her story became important to others. Among the seventy-three poems in the collection known as the Therigatha, more verses refer to Patacara than to any other nun. “I went to a nun I thought I could trust,” are the words of Uttama. “She pulled out the arrow hidden in my heart,” says Patacara Pancasata. Through her practice, Patacara was able to move from the particular details of her own loss to an understanding of the universal truth of impermanence. As a teacher and mentor to other nuns, she demonstrated that transformation is possible.
At the time of the Buddha, in Ancient India, the city of Savatthi lay on a great trade route leading south to Ujjain and north to Rajagaha. It was here that the Theri (fully ordained nun in Theravada), the nun known as Patacara, was born. Her name at birth is lost to us, but not her story.
Patacara’s father was a wealthy merchant and treasurer in Savatthi. Patacara and her brother grew up in luxury, attended by many servants. Among them was a boy from a nearby village, just a little older than Patacara. His daily task was fetching water and sweeping the courtyard. Playful and clever, he became the children’s companion and playmate. The three children formed a close friendship.
Patacara was a beauty. Even before she came of age, she drew attention whenever she went with her mother to the market. When she was sixteen, her parents resolved to marry her as soon as possible. One day, they informed her that they had chosen a young man of her own caste. But Patacara’s heart was already taken. She had fallen in love with her childhood friend, and the two had formed a plan to run away.
One evening Patacara slipped out of the house while her mother was bathing. Taking a few small valuables…..a carved ivory pendant and a collection of silver bangles…..she went to meet her lover at the city gates. For three days they journeyed on foot to his home village, where they set up their household. In time, Patacara became pregnant. As the baby grew within her, so did her longing to return to her family for the birth of her first child.
“Sami, my lord,” she said to her husband, “let us go to the house of my family.” Her husband nodded and agreed, but every day he made some excuse to delay their departure. At last, Patacara said to herself, “This dear fool will not take me.” She put the house in order and, asking the neighbors to inform her husband, she set off alone.
When her husband returned from cutting firewood and learned where she had gone, he blamed himself: “Because of me, my beloved wife is on the road without protection.” Following her footsteps, he soon caught up with her. But they had waited too long. Patacara’s child was born right there on the road. As soon as her child was born, Patacara’s desire to see her family lessened, and she willingly turned back to the village with her husband. A year later, all happened a second time as before: she became pregnant, and the same longing returned…..to give birth in her family home, with her mother at her side. Again, her husband delayed. Again, Patacara set out on her own, heavy with child, carrying her young son on her back.
It was the start of the rainy season. Her husband caught up with her as a great storm arose and her labor pains began. Lightning flashed all around, and great thunderclaps echoed in the sky. Rain began to fall in an unending torrent.
“My lord,” she said, “Please find us a place that is sheltered from the rain.”
Her husband went looking here and there and found a thicket, where the ground was covered in dry leaves. Quickly he built a rough shelter and led her there. Then, taking his axe, he went to cut some sturdy branches.
Meanwhile, Patacara gave birth on the bed of dry leaves, while the rain continued to fall. All night, she huddled there, holding her newborn child and her young son close to her and waited for her husband to return. When daylight came, there was still no sign of him. Weak from giving birth, she went in search of him and found him, dead, by an anthill, bitten by a poisonous snake. In great grief, Patacara continued on her journey to Savatthi, blaming herself: “It is because of me that my husband has died.”
Towards midday day they came to the banks of the Aciravati. The river was swollen with rain following the storm. Patacara knew she hadn’t the strength to carry both children across at the same time. She took her older son and sat him down a good distance from the water, on the bank, telling him to wait for her. Then, with her newborn wrapped close and high on her chest, she waded into the raging river, taking care with each step. Reaching the other side, she climbed the bank, sat down and nursed her son. Tenderly, she set him on the ground. As she went down to the river, she kept looking back to where her infant lay. How could she leave him there, unprotected? Halfway across the stream she saw a great hawk circling, drawn by the sight of the flesh-colored bundle lying on the ground. Fearful, Patacara raised both hands in the air and called out, “Su! Su! Be gone!” Again and again she cried out, making a great sound. But the hawk paid no attention. Swooping down, it gathered the infant up in its talons and carried it away.
Meanwhile, Patacara’s older son, hearing his mother call out, and seeing her raise her hands in the air, thought she was calling to him. Joyfully, he ran down the bank and into the river, where the current swept him away.
Patacara wept and wailed. She made her way to shore and climbed the bank to rejoin the road to Savatthi, sobbing and repeating, “My husband has died on the road. Both of my sons are dead: one was swept away by the river; the other was taken by a hawk.” As she went along, she saw a man approaching.
“Good sir, are you a resident of Savatthi?” she asked, clinging to the thought of her family and the comfort they would give her.
“Indeed I am,” he replied.
“In Savatthi,” she continued, “there is a certain street. Do you know it? In that street is the house of my family. My father is the treasurer of the city. Do you know him?”
“I do,” he said quietly, “But please, do not ask for news of your family. Ask for news of any other family in Savatthi.”
Terrified, Patacara insisted, “But they are my family. I am asking you for news of my family.”
“Dear woman, did you see how the heavens poured down all night long?”
“Indeed, I did, sir. Why do you ask this question?”
“I will explain. Something has happened in the house of the treasurer.”
“In the storm last night, the house collapsed, crushing and killing the treasurer, his wife, and son. All three are burning on the funeral pyre as we speak. From here you can see the smoke.” He pointed towards a dark cloud in the distance.
It was at that moment that Patacara lost her mind. She began to wander, unaware that her clothes were falling from her, muttering and repeating:
“Both of my sons…..their time is done.
And on the road, my husband, dead;
My mother, father, and brother
Lie burning on the funeral heap.”
Seeing her, men called her “Madwoman,” and threw sweepings at her, clods of earth and other refuse. Stumbling and weeping, driven here and there, she came to the outskirts of the city where she wandered into the grounds of Jetavana, the Buddha’s monastery.
It was the rainy season, and the Buddha was in residence. Seated in the midst of a great assembly, he was teaching the Dhamma. He saw Patacara at the edge of the gathering, naked and filthy, her breasts swollen with milk for the child she had lost. Despite her appearance, the Buddha perceived her readiness for insight. Drawn by the Buddha’s voice, Patacara ceased her babbling and approached. The crowd saw her and cried out, “Do not let that madwoman come any closer.” But the Buddha said, “No. Do not prevent her. Let her come.” As she stood before the Buddha, he spoke to her directly, saying, “Sister, come to your senses.” So it happened. Through the power of the Buddha, she recovered her mind.
Immediately, she became aware that her clothing had fallen off. Filled with shame, she crouched down and covered herself. A man in the crowd threw his cloak to her. Wrapping herself in the cloak, she bowed to the Buddha.
“Bhante,” she said, “be a support to me. I am friendless, childless, without parents or family or home.” She recounted her sorrows: “One son was taken by a hawk. One was swept away by the river. My husband died on the road. My mother, my father, and my brother were killed when their house collapsed. All three were cremated on the same funeral pyre.”
The Buddha replied, “Patacara, each of us will die. Neither our sons, nor husbands, nor any relative can be a shelter, protection, or refuge for us. The path to freedom is accomplished by attending to our own actions, through restraint and purification of conduct.” He spoke these verses:
“No children will be a refuge,
Nor any relations at all.
The one who is taken by death
Will find no shelter among kin.
Knowing this, understanding this,
the wise one, restrained by virtue,
quickly clears the obstacles
on the path that leads to freedom.”
As the Buddha finished his teaching, Patacara attained the first stage of enlightenment…..the fruition state of stream-entry. She requested permission to enter the order of nuns. The Buddha brought her to the Bhikkhunis and ordained her himself.
Patacara then devoted herself to the practice of insight. One day, she took a clay jar, filled it with water, and washed her feet. When she poured the water out, she noticed that it made a path in the dust. The stream went a short distance and stopped. A second time she poured the water out. This time the path made by the stream of water was longer. A third time she poured the water out and watched as the water went further still. Memories of her family came back to her. “Just as the first stream was short, so was the life of my children. Just as the second stream was longer, so were the lives of my husband and brother. And the third stream, longer than the others, is like the life-span of my parents, who lived into old age.”
Deeply penetrating the truth of impermanence, Patacara was fully awakened. She spent her time with others, both inside the community and outside, comforting and teaching them. She became a great teacher and guide. Her poem of awakening comes down to us through the ages:
Young Brahmins, they enjoy their wealth, caring for their families.
Seeds of grain are sown in the ground and the field is tilled by the plough.
Why do I, endowed with virtue, following the Buddha’s teaching,
Neither indolent nor proud, still not attain release?
When I washed my feet, late at night, three times I poured the water out.
I watched and saw the path it made, from the higher ground to the low.
Whereupon, I composed my mind like a noble steed, a thoroughbred.
Taking my lamp in hand, I rose and entered my simple abode.
I checked the bed, as I do at night, then approached the couch to rest.
What happened next? I took the needle and lowered the wick, like this.
With the quenching of the lamp-flame my mind was completely freed.
Post a Comment