14. King Pasenadi of Kosala Learns the Pain of Love (1)
Pasenadi was the king of Kosala, which was north of Magadha
ruled by King Bimbisara. The capital of the kingdom of Kosala
was called Savatthi. One of King Pasenadi's sisters was the
chief queen of King Bimbisara, which made him the brother-in-law
of King Bimbisara.
Pasenadi of Kosala had become a follower of the Buddha very
early in the Buddha's ministry and had remained a loyal supporter
ever since. His chief queen was Mallika, a wise and religious
queen who was well versed in the Dharma and acted as his religious
guide on several occasions.
first time the king met the Buddha, he asked, "How is it
that Master Gotama claims he has gained full enlightenment?
Master Gotama is both young in years and young as a monk."
Buddha replied, "Great King, there are four things that
should not be looked down upon and despised because they are
young. They are a noble warrior, a serpent, a fire and a bhikkhu
(monk). An enraged young warrior may ruthlessly cause harm to
others. The bite of even a small snake may kill. A little fire
may become a huge inferno that destroys building and forests.
Even a young monk may be a saint."
this, King Pasenadi of Kosala understood that the Buddha was
indeed a wise teacher and decided to become his follower.
Pasenadi liked going to the Buddha for advice. Even during his
official duties, he found time to speak to the Buddha. When
talking to the Buddha one day he received news that his wife,
Queen Mallika, had given birth to a daughter. The king was not
pleased with the news because he wanted a son.
Buddha, unlike any other religious teacher, spoke well of women.
He said, "Some women are better than men, O king. There
are women who are wise and good, who regard their mothers-in-law
as goddesses, and who are pure in word, thought and deed. They
may one day give birth to brave sons who would rule a country."
king remembered then once hearing the Buddha say this: "It
is the dear ones whom we love that bring sorrow and lamentation,
pain, grief and despair." The king asked Queen Mallika
whether she agreed with the Buddha. She said that if the Buddha
had said so, it must be true. But the king was not satisfied.
"How can a loved one bring sorrow?" wondered the king.
Mallika approached a Brahmin to ask the Buddha to explain this.
Having heard many stories to explain the problem, the Brahmin
related them to the queen. She then asked the king, "Sire,
what is your opinion, is Princess Vajira, your daughter, dear
Mallika, she is very dear to me," said the King.
some misfortune were to happen to Princess Vajira, would that
bring sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair?"
said the King.
it was because of this that the Blessed One said that dear ones
whom we love bring sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair."
said the King, "it is wonderful, it is marvelous! How far
the Blessed One sees with understanding."
King Kosala later lost in battle to his nephew and had to retreat
to his capital at Savatthi, the Buddha commented to his disciples
that neither the victor nor the defeated would experience peace:
The defeated live in pain.
Happily the peaceful live,
Giving up victory and defeat."
In a later
battle, the two kings fought again and King Kosala not only
won, but captured his nephew King Ajatasattu alive with all
his elephants, chariots, horses and soldiers. King Kosala thought
that he would release the young king, but not his horses, elephants
and others. He wanted the satisfaction of keeping these material
possessions as the prizes of victory.
hearing about this, the Buddha told his disciples that it would
have been wiser for King Kosala not to have kept anything for
himself. The truth of this statement still applies to this modern
man may plunder, as he will. When others plunder in return,
he who is plundered will plunder in return. The Wheel of Deeds
turns round and makes the ones who are plundered plunderers."
Pasenadi of Kosala passed away in his eightieth year when his
son Vidudabha revolted against him.