King Bimbisara, Royal Patron
Bimbisara had once offered half his kingdom to the ascetic
Gautama, who had turned down the bargain because he wanted
to search for Enlightenment. Later, King Bimbisara had asked
Gautama to promise to return to Rajagaha to enlighten him,
should the ascetic find what he was looking for.
Gotama became the Buddha, the Enlightened One, he did not
forget his promise to come back. He decided to revisit Rajagaha
with a large number of his disciples. His fame as a religious
teacher was spreading in the city and it eventually reached
the ears of King Bimbisara.
hearing that the Buddha had arrived at his city's gateway,
the king went out with a large number of his subjects to welcome
the Buddha and his disciples. He approached the Buddha and
paid his respects, but some of his subjects did not know to
whom they should pay their respects the Buddha, or
Venerable Kassapa. They wondered whether the Buddha was leading
a holy life under Venerable Kassapa or the reverse, as both
were highly respected religious teachers.
Buddha read their thoughts and asked Venerable Kassapa why
he had given up his fire sacrifice. Understanding the motive
behind the question Venerable Kassapa explained that he preferred
the peaceful state of nirvana to useless sensual pleasures.
After this he fell at the feet of the Buddha and said, "My
teacher, Lord, is the Exalted One: I am the disciple."
devout people were very glad to hear of the conversion. The
Buddha then preached the Dharma, and King Bimbisara attained
the first stage of sainthood (sotapanna). After realising the doctrine,
King Bimbisara addressed the Buddha. "Formerly, O Reverend
Sir, when I was a prince, I had five wishes. They are now
fulfilled. My first wish was to become king. My second wish
was that a Fully Enlightened One should visit my country.
My third wish was that I should associate with such an Enlightened
One. My fourth wish was that he should preach to me the doctrine.
My fifth wish was that I should understand that doctrine.
Now all these five wishes are fulfilled."
of gratitude for this spiritual gift from the Buddha, King
Bimbisara gave a park with a quiet bamboo grove for the use
of the Buddha and his disciples. This park was named the Bamboo
Grove. The Buddha spent three successive rainy seasons there
and three other rainy seasons later.
listening to the Dharma, the king became a good and pious
ruler but, due to his past bad karma, he had to face an untimely
and miserable death caused by his son's wickedness.