Two) 18. Ambapali's
of all castes high and low, women as well as men
sought the teachings of the Buddha and he gladly received
Buddha and his disciples stopped one day at Vesali, a lady
named Ambapali offered them the use of her garden of mangoes
outside the city so that they might rest in the cool shade
of her trees.
was as lovely as the golden sun rising from the ocean, but
she was immoral in character. Lady Ambapali did not intend
to visit the Buddha, but her servant said to her, "Lady,
all the nobles and people went on foot to the Garden of Mangoes
yesterday. When I asked them why they had gone there, they
said that it was because of the man who is resting there.
There are no others like him. He is the son of a king and
has given up his kingdom so that he might find the Truth."
ready for new insight, Lady Ambapali leapt to her feet, rushed
to one of her coaches and rode toward the garden, casting
proud glances about her. When she arrived at the garden gate,
she descended from the coach and walked through the palms
and mango trees. It was very quiet, even the leaves did not
stir. Lady Ambapali walked quietly through the garden, until
she saw beneath the deep shade of tall trees a man who could
only have been the Buddha seated with folded hands and feet. Around his
head an aura glowed like the midnight moon.
stood there amazed, forgetting her beauty, forgetting herself,
forgetting all but the Blessed One. Right there, her whole
heart melted and flowed away in a river of tears. Very slowly,
she approached the Buddha and fell before his feet, laying
her face on the earth.
asked her to rise and be seated. He spoke the Dharma to her.
She listened to these great words with ears that drank them
as the dry earth that has longed for the rain. After she had
received the Dharma, Lady Ambapali bowed at his feet and invited
the Buddha and his disciples to a meal the following day.
The Buddha accepted her invitation.
nobles of Vesali had also come out to meet the Blessed One.
On the way to the Garden of Mangoes they met Ambapali and
heard that the Buddha had accepted her invitation to a meal
the following day.
They said to her, "Lady Ambapali, we have a bargain for
you. Sell us the honour of his company for great weights of
glowing with joy, said, "Sirs, even if you were to give
me Vesali and all its territories, yet I would not give up
this honourable meal."
the nobles went to the Buddha and requested the honour of
offering another meal, but the Buddha informed them that he
had accepted Ambapali's invitation.
day, Ambapali set sweet milk-rice and cake before the Buddha
and his followers, and she herself attended them in great
humility. After the Buddha had eaten, Ambapali sat on one
side, with folded palms and said, "Holy one, I present
this garden to the order. Accept it, if it be your will."
accepted the gift, seeing the purity of heart that offered
it. He then gladdened Lady Ambapali again with the Dharma.
This was the turning point of Ambapali's life: she understood
the Dharma and became a virtuous woman. Some time later she
entered the order of nuns and with the heart of wisdom strengthened
in her, she became an arahant.
the lotus does not grow on dry land but springs from black
and watery mud, Ambapali, despite her immoral past, managed
to achieve the height of spiritual development.
this incident, the Buddha and his disciples moved to a little
village nearby called Beluva. As the rainy season was about
to begin, the Buddha decided to spend the last rainy season
at this village.