[II. Progress of the Sāsana]

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[14: Yasa's Mother and his Former Wife]

Then the Gracious One, after dressing in the morning time, and picking up his bowl and robe, went with the venerable Yasa as the ascetic who attends on him to the merchant householder's home, and after approaching he sat down on the prepared seat. Then the venerable Yasa's Mother The Aṅguttaranikāya commentary (AA 14.7, Sujātavatthu) says this was Sujāta, who had offered milk-rice to the Bodhisatta just before his Awakening, and that she was named the foremost of the female lay followers (upāsikā) to take refuge.01 and his former wife Lit: former second.02 approached the Gracious One, and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, they sat down on one side.

The Gracious One spoke about the gradual teaching to them, that is to say: talk about giving, talk about virtue, talk about heaven, the danger, degradation, and defilement of sensual desires, and the advantages of renunciation, (these) he explained. When the Gracious One knew that they had ready minds, pliable minds, open minds, uplifted minds, confident minds, he explained to him the Dhamma teaching the Awakened Ones have discovered themselves: Suffering, Origination, Cessation, Path.

Just as it is known that a clean cloth without a stain will take the dye well, just so to them on that very seat, the dust-free, stainless Vision-of-the-Dhamma arose:

“Whatever has the nature of arising, all that has the nature of ceasing.”

They, having seen the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma, penetrated the Dhamma, crossed over uncertainty, being without doubts, having attained full confidence, having become independent of others in the Teacher's teaching, said this to the Gracious One:

“Excellent, venerable Sir! Excellent, venerable Sir! Just as, venerable Sir, one might set upright what has been overturned, or open up what has been closed, or show a path to one who is lost, or carry an oil lamp into the darkness, (thinking): ‘those with vision will see forms’, just so has the Dhamma been explained by the Gracious One in countless ways. We go, venerable Sir, to the Gracious One for refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to the Community of monks. Please bear it in mind, Gracious One, that we are female lay followers who have gone for refuge from today forward for as long as we have the breath of life,” and they became the first female lay disciples in the world with the three(-refuge) formula.

Then Yasa's Mother and Father and former wife having with their own hands served and satisfied the Gracious One and the venerable Yasa with excellent food and drinks, Sometimes translated as solid and soft (food) (e.g. Horner). Ajahn Ṭhānissaro (BMC 1) suggests that bhojanīya = staple food, and khādanīya = non-staple food. I have previously tried using this and other translations, but the idiomatic thing to say in English is food and drinks, which although it doesn't accurately translate the Pāḷi, does get the meaning across.03 when the Gracious One had eaten and washed his hand and bowl, sat down on one side. Then the Gracious One, after Yasa's Mother and Father and former wife had been instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered with a Dhamma talk, having risen from the seat, went away.