Two) 6. The Buddha and the Queen
as the Buddha had appointed two chief disciples, Venerable Sariputta
and Venerable Moggallana, for the order of monks, he appointed
two chief female disciples for the order of nuns. They were
Venerable Khema and Venerable Uppalavanna.
was one of the beautiful queens of King Bimbisara. The conversion
of Khema was one of the rare cases where the Buddha used his
psychic powers to make a change in the heart of another. The
Buddha never used his powers to control another person's emotions,
but merely to create understanding and make wisdom arise.
was beautiful like a full moon reflected on a still lake at
midnight. Her cheeks were smooth as lotus petals and her eyes
sparkled like gems. As she had heard that the Buddha did not
speak well of physical beauty, she had no wish to see him.
cool, breezy morning, Khema decided to visit the monastery which
King Bimbisara had built for the Buddha in the Bamboo Grove.
Squirrels were scampering in the fruit trees that threw long
shadows on the grass. The ponds were covered with water lilies
and a light scent of jasmine was in the air.
was soon drawn to a deep, clear voice coming from the preaching
hall. It was unlike anything she had heard before. It sounded
more beautiful than the singing of birds at the break of dawn.
The voice was warm, relaxed and full of love and concern. Its
words were words of wisdom.
a bee being attracted to a flower, Khema moved to the hall where
the Buddha was preaching. As she did not want the Buddha to
recognise her she pulled her scarf down over her face and sat
at the back of the hall. What she did not know was that the
Buddha knew who she was and what she was thinking.
his psychic powers, the Buddha created the image of a most beautiful
young lady about the age of sixteen standing by his side and
fanning him. Khema gasped in wonder at her beauty and rolled
her eyes in admiration for the girl.
look at her finely shaped nose, her mouth, her arms and fingers,"
thought Khema. "With her perfect complexion, she looks
like a fully bloomed flower in spring. She is far more beautiful
than anyone I have ever seen, and is far, far more beautiful
for the moment Khema thought her eyes were playing tricks on
her. Did she see this young girl growing older? Oh yes. And
the beauty was fading from this lovely creature. Some wrinkles
appeared on her face and the smile on her lotus-like lips changed
into a toothless grin. Her hair turned grey, then white. The
limbs that were slender and strong became thin and feeble, and
she fell on the floor. From a young lady, this image had changed
into an eighty-year-old woman.
saw this old woman die and rot until her bones turned to dust.
She then realised that just like the lovely image, one day she
too would grow old and die. All vanity of external beauty fell
from her and she instantly understood the impermanence of the
physical body and life.
attained arahantship, and entered into the order of nuns after
asking King Bimbisara's consent. She became renowned for her
insight knowledge amongst the order of nuns.