The Buddha's Mom

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The Buddha's Mom

Postby chris98e » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:24 am

I just got done reading that the Buddha's mom gave birth to the buddha while being a virgin. The same thing as the virgin Mary mother of Jesus. Is that true? Is that the accepted belief?
:anjali:
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby manas » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:36 am

chris98e wrote:I just got done reading that the Buddha's mom gave birth to the buddha while being a virgin. The same thing as the virgin Mary mother of Jesus. Is that true? Is that the accepted belief?
:anjali:


Hi chris,

no where in the Pali scriptures have I ever come across that notion. In any case I do not think it is a helpful one. After all, the Buddha was born a human being, not a god. I can't speak for gods, but we human beings, in order to have a child, need to engage in sex. That's the way it is.

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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby chris98e » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:48 am

Yeah I've never read that before until now. It wasn't in a nikyia/agama but in an introduction book to buddhism.
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Last edited by chris98e on Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:54 am

I've been a theravada buddhist for 7 or 8 years and I've never heard of such thing before.
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby polarbuddha101 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:49 am

Heck, it seems the Buddha's mom didn't die shortly after giving birth either like the usual biography says.

"So, at a later time, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life — and while my parents, unwilling, were crying with tears streaming down their faces — I shaved off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:00 am

Hello all,

This might be of interest:

Māyā, Mahāmāyā
The mother of the Buddha (D.ii.52; see Thomas: op. cit., 25).

Her father was the Sākiyan Añjana of Devadaha, son of Devadahasakka, and her mother Yasodharā, daughter of Jayasena. (Mhv.ii.17ff.; elsewhere her father is called Mahā Suppabuddha (ThigA.141), while the Apadāna (ii.538) gives the name of her mother as Sulakkhanā).

Dandapāni and Suppabuddha were her brothers, and Mahā Pajāpatī her sister. Both the sisters were married to Suddhodana in their youth, but it was not till Māyā was between forty and fifty that the Buddha was born (Vibhā.278). She had all the qualities necessary for one who was to bear the exalted rank of being the mother of the Buddha: she was not too passionate, she did not take intoxicants, she had practiced the pāramī for one hundred thousand kappas, and had not, since her birth, violated the five sīlā. On the day of her conception she kept her fast, and in her sleep that night she had the following dream: the four Mahārāja gods took her in her bed to Himavā and placed her under a sāla tree on Manosilātala. Then their wives came and bathed her in the Anotatta Lake and clad her in divine robes. They then led her into a golden palace and laid her on a divine couch; there the Bodhisatta, in the form of a white elephant, holding a white lotus in his gleaming trunk, entered into her right side. This was on the day of the Uttarāsālhanakkhatta, after a festival lasting seven days, in which she had already taken part.

From the day of her conception she was guarded by the Four Regent Gods; she felt no desire for men, and the child in her womb could be seen from outside. At the end of the tenth month she wished to return to her people in Devadaha, but, on her way thither, she stopped at the sāla grove in Lumbinī and there her child was born as she stood holding on to the branch of a sāla tree (J.i.49ff). Seven days later Māyā died and was reborn as a male in the Tusita world, under the name of Māyādevaputta (Thag.vss.533f.; ThagA.i.502).

The Buddha visited Tāvatimsa immediately after the performance of the Twin Miracle at the foot of the Gandamba tree, on the full moon day of āsālha, and there, during the three months of the rainy season, the Buddha stayed, preaching the Abhidhamma Pitaka to his mother (who came there to listen to him), seated on Sakka's Pandukambalasilāsana, at the foot of the Pāricchattaka tree. (It is said that, during this time, at certain intervals, the Buddha would return to earth, leaving a seated image of himself in Tāvatimsa to continue the preaching while he attended to his bodily needs, begging alms in Uttarakuru and eating his food on the banks of Anotatta, where Sāriputta waited on him and learnt of what he had been preaching to the devas.) (DhSA.i.15; DhA.iii.216f)

The Commentaries (UdA.276f ) state the view, held by some, that had Māyā been alive the Buddha would not have shown such reluctance to bestow ordination on women. This view, says Dhammapāla is erroneous. It would have made no difference, for it is the dhammatā of all Buddhas that women shall be ordained, but subject to certain important restrictions. The mothers of all Buddhas die very soon after the birth of their son, because no other child is fit to be conceived in the same womb as a Buddha.

Māyā is mentioned in several Jātakas as the mother of the Bodhisatta - e.g., in

the Alīnacitta,
the Katthahāri,
the Kurudhamma,
the Kosambī,
the Khandahāla,
the Dasaratha,
the Bandhanāgāra,
the Mahāummagga,
the Mātuposaka,
the Vessantara,
the Susīma,
the Somanassa
the Hatthipāla.
According to some contexts, after her birth as Phusatī in the Vessantara Jātaka, Māyā became one of the daughters of King Kikī.

Māyā's resolve to be the mother of a Buddha was formed ninety one kappas ago in the time of Vipassī Buddha (J.vi.480f). She was then the elder daughter of King Bandhumā. One of the king's vassals sent him a piece of priceless sandalwood and a golden wreath, worth one hundred thousand. The sandalwood the king gave to his elder daughter and the wreath to the younger. The elder powdered the sandalwood and took it in a golden casket to the Buddha. Some of the powder she offered to the Buddha to be rubbed on his body, and the rest she scattered in his cell. It was the sight of the Buddha's golden body that inspired her with the desire to be the mother of such a being. Her sister later became Uracchadā.
http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... maayaa.htm

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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Sylvester » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:02 am

Hmm, it looks like this parthenogenetic myth is contrary to the Comy tradition. According to the Comy to the MN and Buddhavamsa, she was -

...kappasatasahassaṃ pūritapāramī jātito paṭṭhāya akhaṇḍapañcasīlā hoti, ...

endowed with parami of a hundred thousand aeons, of unbroken 5 precepts since birth...


No mention of the eight precepts here.
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby plwk » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:43 am

Heck, it seems the Buddha's mom didn't die shortly after giving birth either like the usual biography says.

"So, at a later time, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life — and while my parents, unwilling, were crying with tears streaming down their faces — I shaved off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

You do know right, that the Lord had a step mother, Mahapajapati, who is also Mahamaya's sister who took to nursing Him after the passing of her sister....
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it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:59 am

This myth about the virgin birth may have arisen because at the time of the Bodhisatta's concetpion his mother Mahāmāyā was observing the eight precepts (the day after his parents had had intercourse). From that time on she had no sexual desire, and died seven days after the Bodhisatta's birth.
She had all the qualities necessary for one who was to bear the exalted rank of being the mother of the Buddha: she was not too passionate, she did not take intoxicants, she had practised the perfections (pāramī) for one hundred thousand world-cycles, and had not, since her birth, violated the five precepts (sīlā). On the day of her conception she kept her fast, and in her sleep that night she had the following dream: the four Mahārāja gods took her in her bed to Himavā and placed her under a sāla tree on Manosilātala. Then their wives came and bathed her in the Anotatta Lake and clad her in divine robes. They then led her into a golden palace and laid her on a divine couch; there the Bodhisatta, in the form of a white elephant, holding a white lotus in his gleaming trunk, entered into her right side. This was on the day of the Uttarāsālhanakkhatta, after a festival lasting seven days, in which she had already taken part.
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Heaviside » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:09 pm

Though my reading of such things dates from perhaps a half century ago and my memory of it thus suspect, I recall that the Buddha’s virgin birth was one of the Jataka Tales (actually, not a virgin birth, but one instigated by a bull white elephant in some versions!). And I have always thought of these stories as myths that grew up ex post facto, much like those of Christ.

As such things are not subject to independent and objective verification, I look upon them as nonsense---or, at best, certainly irrelevant. (Not meaning any sarcasm toward the OP here, simply adding my independent opinion!)

P.S. As I just noticed after posting, Bhikku Pesala has already pointed out the white elephant story. To make a weak pun, the story itself is something of a "white elephant". (Perhaps Modus Ponens will read this and inform me what kind of logical fallacy that statement is!)
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby alan... » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:17 pm

chris98e wrote:I just got done reading that the Buddha's mom gave birth to the buddha while being a virgin. The same thing as the virgin Mary mother of Jesus. Is that true? Is that the accepted belief?
:anjali:


in the original scriptures it says that he was born, that's it. his mother was married to his father so i doubt she was a virgin. if she was a virgin and magically conceived him the scriptures surely would have specified this amazing happening!

the problem here is that after the original story was recorded many people created their own versions and even more ideas popped up in later mahayana and vajrayana literature.

if you accept only the original, oldest scriptures there is no virgin birth story. if you accept the myriad stories that came after, developing over the next thousand + years, then his mother was a virgin and a thousand other random things happened.

taking just the oldest scriptures as fact, buddhism is unique, a specific training for the mind to be free.

taking the late buddhist literature as fact makes buddhism have elements of every single religion known to man and so it becomes common and similar to all other traditions. the late literature developed across many many countries and was influenced by a ton of other religions.
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Digity » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:27 pm

chris98e wrote:I just got done reading that the Buddha's mom gave birth to the buddha while being a virgin. The same thing as the virgin Mary mother of Jesus. Is that true? Is that the accepted belief?
:anjali:

Where did you read this?

I don't worry too much about these matters. They don't have much bearing on the Buddha's teachings.
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Cassandra » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:18 pm

chris98e wrote: in an introduction book to buddhism.


There you go :tongue:
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Digity » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:22 pm

What's the name of the book?
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:03 pm

Heaviside wrote:Though my reading of such things dates from perhaps a half century ago and my memory of it thus suspect, I recall that the Buddha’s virgin birth was one of the Jataka Tales (actually, not a virgin birth, but one instigated by a bull white elephant in some versions!). And I have always thought of these stories as myths that grew up ex post facto, much like those of Christ.

As such things are not subject to independent and objective verification, I look upon them as nonsense---or, at best, certainly irrelevant. (Not meaning any sarcasm toward the OP here, simply adding my independent opinion!)

P.S. As I just noticed after posting, Bhikku Pesala has already pointed out the white elephant story. To make a weak pun, the story itself is something of a "white elephant". (Perhaps Modus Ponens will read this and inform me what kind of logical fallacy that statement is!)


It's called the "pun fallacy". When you warn others that it is a bad pun, it becomes a good pun. :tongue:

:mrgreen:

I don't have a clue what fallacy it is. My favorite subject is mathematical logic, not the logic of arguments. Although related, they are different things.
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Re: The Buddha's Mom

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:34 pm

IMO the White Elephant pun is a Red Herring.

My best guess is that this myth about the virgin birth derives from The Gospel of the Buddha by Paul Carus, published in 1894.

His wife Maya-devi was beautiful as the water-lily and pure in mind as the lotus.
As the Queen of Heaven, she lived on earth, untainted by desire, and immaculate. [2]

The king, her husband, honoured her in her holiness,
and the spirit of truth, glorious and strong in his wisdom
like unto a white elephant, descended upon her. [3]
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