This wednesday with tears in my eyes, I proudly present a very touching story that might make you all cry too. But please have a happy day!
Thera Kumara-Kassapa And His Mother
[ Translated from Thai Dhammapada, Thai Version, by Dr. Tep Sastri ]
Once upon a time, there was a young daughter of a rich family who lived in Rajagaha City. She admired Buddha's teachings and loved to listen to his dhamma talks. Her heart was committed to joining the Buddha's Sangha Order, but her parents wanted a different life for her. They chose to marry her to a rich young man. As an obedient daughter, she complied with the parents' wish.
After having entered the matrimony for a while, she begged her husband to let her join the Sangha Order. Her husband finally gave her his blessings to become member of Buddha's Order. Thus she was ordained as a bhikkhuni and resided with lady-monks under Bhikkhu Devadatta.
Months passed by, one day the lady-monks of the community noticed that the new bhikkhuni was pregnant. They furiously disapproved of her and wanted her to be forced out of the Order. So they brought the case to Bhikkhu Devadatta who agreed that she must quit the Order. The young lady, however, argued that the Buddha should be the one to judge her and decide if she whether or not should be banished from the Order. After an intensive investigation by Upali Thera, the Buddha was counseled that the conception of her baby occurred prior to her joining the Order. Thus they concluded that she must not to be blamed or had to disrobe. This pregnancy case was so famous that even King Pasenadi and Upasika Visakha got involved.
After the bhikkhuni had given birth to a baby boy at the monastery, King Pasenadi adopted the baby and raised him as his own child in the royal palace. The babyboy was given the name 'Kumara-Kassapa'. The boy grew up and played happily with other royal children. But one day the other children were no longer friendly; they ridiculed him, mocking him for being an orphan --not a royal blood sibling. And it made him very sad and desolated. He was only seven years old then, when he went to see the Buddha and asked to be ordained as a samanera and to reside at the Buddha's place.
At the age of twenty he became a bhikku and soon asked for the Buddha's permission to go to Andhavana(Dark) Forest to meditate alone. Bhikkhu Kumara Kassapa made great progress in his meditation, dwelling in solitude. One night, while being in an intense meditative state, a superdeva named Suddhávása appeared in front of him. [The Deva once was his friend during the time of the Kassapa Buddha, and they used to practice meditation together.] Suddhávása Deva explained the reason for his appearance; it was because he had 15 questions for the Bhikkhu to ask the Buddha. ( See Vammika Sutta for the 15 questions.)
Kumara Kassapa then travelled days and nights to see the Buddha and delivered the Deva's 15 questions.
While Buddha was telling him the answers to all these questions one by one, Bhikkhu Kumara-Kassapa listened intensely to each answer such that he attained arahantship with the Four Patisambhida -- right at the end of the question #15!
Once there was a very learned prince named 'Payasi of Setavya' whose stubbornness and arrogance was well known throughout the city. But after meeting with and debating about his belief with Kumara-Kassapa, Payasi admitted in public that he was wrong in every category. He was so impressed with Kumara-Kassapa's Dhamma that he proclaimed himself a royal supporter of the Buddha and his monks from then on. Because of Kumara-Kassapa's keen knowledge of the Dhamma and his great skills in delivering it, the Buddha praised him as an "etadagga" who was foremost among those with the special gift of delivering varied and versatile discourses (cittakathikanam).
NOTE**: The mother of Bhikkhu Kumara-Kassapa was broken-hearted because King Pasenadi took her baby away to raise in his palace. She truly missed her kid through all those years and always wished that she could meet him again someday. Her wish came true one day, when she suddenly saw bhikkhu Kumara-Kassapa walking by for alms food! She was immensely happy, running to him so fast that she stumbled and fell to the ground in front of him. Bhikkhu Kumara-Kassapa realized that his mother was capable of enlightenment, but her overwhelming love has prevented her from unworldly attainments, therefore he intended to help her overcoming the worthless worldly love. So, instead of showing love and gladness, he criticized his mother that despite of her having been a bhikkhuni for quite a long time, it was shameful that she still could not let go of the wordly attachment. The ruse succeeded; his words cut through her heart like a knife. She suffered so deeply that she walked away from him and went back to the monastery. She then meditated continuously, nonstop, and was able to attain arahantship that very night.
NOTE: In the time of Padumuttara Buddha Kassapa was a learned brahmin, and having heard a monk ranked foremost in eloquence, he wished for a similar distinction and did many good deeds and merits towards the end.
NOTE: The superdeva was a deity of the Suddhávása brahma world. He was one of five friends who, in the time of Kassapa Buddha, had entered the Order and who, in order to meditate uninterruptedly, had climbed a rock by means of a ladder which they had then removed, thus cutting off their return. The eldest became an arahant in three days, the second (anuthera) was this superdeva, who had become an anágámí. The third was Pukkusáti, the fourth Báhiya Dárucíriya and the last Kumára-Kassapa. This superdeva was responsible for the arahantship both of Báhiya and Kumara-Kassapa.
Love Buddha's dhamma,