This beautiful Sunday, I proudly present the most impressive, almost eternal love story
of princess Yasodhara and prince Siddhattha. This long and deep-rooted episode
began in the
time of the Buddha Dipankara. I love this story very, very much.
After All : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhFsIgmxlWI
Yasodhara: The Most Beautiful Bride
[From Relatives and Disciples of the Buddha by Radhika Abeysekera (excerpts)]
Yasodhara was the daughter of King Suppabuddha and Queen Pamita. As King
Suppabuddha was one of King Suddhodana's younger brothers, she was one of Prince
Siddhattha's cousins. Yasodhara was born on the same day as Prince Siddhattha.
She was exquisitely beautiful, with golden skin and blue-back hair that cascaded
down to her feet.
Prince Siddhattha was sixteen when his parents decided that it was a suitable
time for him to marry. As was the custom at that time, a great celebration was
held and princesses from all over the country were brought in procession for the
Prince to choose from. None of them attracted his attention. The Prince treated
them with gifts but refused them all. The procession was almost finished when
Yasodhara came rushing in, to inquire if there were any gifts left for her. The
Prince then arose from His throne, and taking the pearl necklace that adorned
his person, gently placed it around her neck. Prince Siddhattha chose His
cousin, Yasodhara, to be His bride.
At first King Suppabuddha was against the marriage. He knew that the wise men
had foretold that Siddhattha would leave the palace and His crown to become a
Buddha. He also felt that the gentle, compassionate Prince might not be skilled
in warfare, and as such, not be suitable for his daughter. The princess,
however, wanted to marry no one else but Siddhattha.
King Suppabuddha, wishing to test Prince Siddhattha, arranged a tournament for
Him to display His skills in archery, riding and swordsmanship. Sportsmen from
all over the country gathered to challenge the Prince. Siddhattha, however, was
an excellent sportsman. He excelled in all the events and ousted the best men in
the country. King Suppabuddha therefore relented and gave his daughter in
marriage to Prince Siddhattha.
The relationship between princess Yasodhara and prince Siddhattha was long and
deep-rooted. It had started long, long time ago at the time of the Dipankara
Buddha. At that time, the Prince (Bodhisatta) was born as an ascetic by the name
of Sumedha. After an exceedingly long period of practising the ten virtues, the
Bodhisatta Sumedha had finally completed the eight requirements to receive the
definite proclamation of Buddhahood from the Dipankara Buddha. Yasodhara, at
that time, was born as a noble lady by the name of Sumitra. She saw Sumedha give
eight handfuls of white jasmine flowers to the Buddha Dipankara , and the Buddha Dipankara
proclaimed that Sumedha would be a Buddha by the name of Gotama, of the
Sakyan caste, in the distant future. Cutting off her hair, she aspired to be His
consort and helpmate and to support Him actively in His quest for Buddhahood.
This strong aspiration and the meritorious deeds that she performed over a long
period of time resulted in her being the Bodhisatta's consort and supporter
throughout many births. During this very long period in which the Bodhisatta completed
the virtues she actively supported His quest for perfection.
In fact, her dying words reflected this devotion. She referred to the fact that
she had been the wife of no other but Him during the entire period and had
helped Him to achieve in 100,000 world cycles and four infinite periods what
other Buddhas take eight and sixteen infinite periods to achieve.
When the Buddha visited the palace in Kapilavatthu for the first time, all but
Princess Yasodhara came to pay homage to Him. She held back, thinking,
"Certainly if there is any virtue in me, the Noble Lord Himself will come to my
presence." After the meal the Buddha, accompanied by His two male chief
disciples, entered her chamber and sat down on the seat prepared for Him. He
then said, "Let the king's daughter reverence me as she likes." On seeing the
Buddha, Yasodhara came forward quickly, and clasping His ankles, placed her head
on His feet and paid reverence to Him as she wished.
Yasodhara's devotion to the Buddha was heralded by her father-in-law, King
Suddhodana. He informed the Buddha of her devotion by saying, "When my daughter
heard that you had taken to wearing simple yellow robes, she too gave up her
jewels and wore yellow robes. When she heard that you had only one meal a day,
she too had only one meal a day. When she heard that you slept on low, hard
beds, she too gave up the luxurious palace couches and beds. And when she heard
that you had given up garlands and perfume, she too gave up garlands and
perfume. When her relatives sent messages of young men who wanted to support her
she did not even look at a single one."
The Buddha acknowledged this devotion by saying that it was not only in this
birth that she had been devoted to him. And the Blessed One spoke kindly to Yasodhara,
telling of her great merits inherited from former lives. She had indeed been again and
again of great assistance to him. Her purity, her gentleness, her devotion had been invaluable
to the Bodhisattva when he aspired to attain enlightenment, the highest aim of mankind.
And so holy had she been that she desired to become the wife of a Buddha. This, then, was her karma,
and it was the result of great merits. Her grief had been unspeakable, but the consciousness of
the glory that surrounded her spiritual inheritance increased by her noble attitude during her life,
would be a balm that will miraculously transform all sorrows into heavenly joy.
Yasodhara gave up the household life and entered the order of bhikkhunis at the
same time as Maha Pajapati Gotami .She attained Arahanthship and was declared
the chief disciple among the theris who attained supernormal powers(mahaa-abhi~n~naa)
to recall infinite eras of the past (mahaabhi~n~naappattaana.m). She was one of the four
disciples of the Buddha who possessed such attainment, the others being Sáriputta, Moggallána
and Bakkula. She expressed her desire for this achievement in the time of Padumuttara Buddha.
NOTE: In general, the Buddha's disciples could only recall up to 100,000 world
cycles. Yasodara, the Buddha's two chief male disciples and the Elder Bakkula,
however, had supernormal powers and could recall incalculable eras. The
Yasodhara Theri passed away at the age of 78, prior to the Lord Buddha.
She joined the Order under Pajápatí Gotamí in the company of Janapadakalyání (Nandá), and in the Order she was known as Bhaddakaccáná Therí. Later, she developed insight and became an arahant. She could, with one effort, recall one asankheyya and one hundred thousand kappas (AA.i.205).
The Apadána account mentions how, just before her death, at the age of seventy eight(two years before Buddha's Parinibbāna), she took leave of the Buddha and performed various miracles. It also states that eighteen thousand arahants bhikkhunis, companions of Yasodhará, also died on the same day.
Yasodhara was once, after becoming a bhikkhuni, ill from flatulence. When Ráhula, as was his custom, came to visit her, he was told that he could not see her, but that, when she had suffered from the same trouble at home, she had been cured by mango juice with sugar. Ráhula reported the matter to his preceptor, Sáriputta, who obtained the mango juice from Pasenadi. When Pasenadi discovered why the mango juice had been needed, he arranged that from that day it should be regularly supplied. The Játaka relates how, in a past birth too, Sáriputta had come to Ráhulamátá's rescue.
*The Supatta Játaka, where Sáriputta, at Ráhula's request, obtained for her from Pasenadi rice with ghee, flavoured with red fish. This was for abdominal pain.
 Legends [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
In many legends of the Buddha's life, Yashodharā met Siddhārtha Gautama for the first time in a previous life,
in the time of Dípankara Buddha, when the Bodhisatta was born as Sumedha, she was a brahmin maiden, Sumittá by name.
One day, while waiting in the city of Paduma for the Buddha Dipankara, Sumedha tried to buy flowers as an offering to the Enlightened One, but soon learned that the king already bought all the flowers for his own offering. Yet, as Dipankara was approaching, Sumedha spotted a girl named Sumitta holding eight lotuses in her hands. He spoke to her with the intention of buying one of her flowers, but she gave him all of the lotuses, which he, in turn, offered to the Buddha. Dípankara, in declaring that Sumedha would ultimately become the future Buddha Gautama, added that Sumittá would be his companion in several lives.
The meaning of the name Yasodhara (Sanskrit) [from yasas "glory, splendor" + dhara "bearing" from the verbal root dhri "to bear, support"] is Bearer of glory. The names she has been called besides Yashodhara are: Yashodhara Theri (doyenne Yashodhara), Bimbadevi, Bhaddakaccana and Rahulamata (mother of Rahula). In the Pali Canon, the name Yasodharā is not found; there are two references to Bhaddakaccānā.
Love Buddha's dhamma,