[from XV. The Acceptance of the Great Monastery]

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[The Great Cloud Monastery and Queen Anulā]
1-37b ≠ Mhv. 1-26b

“The elephant stall is crowded,” said those who had assembled there, and outside the southern gate, in the delightful Joy Grove, in the King’s garden, which was well-covered, cool and grassy, the people reverentially prepared seats for the Elders.

Having left by the southern gate, the Elder sat down there, and the one skilled in Dhamma related the Simile of the Poisonous Snake. Probably SN 35. Sut. 238, although there are others that include a relevant simile. It was also taught by Majjhantika in Kasmīra-Gandhāra, see above XII v. 30.01 In that place one thousand breathing beings entered into the first Path and Fruit I.e. they became Stream-Enterers (Sotāpanna).02 on that day, and on the second day also two and a half thousand penetrated the Dhamma.

Many women from the great families came there, and after worshipping, sat down, filling the garden. The Elder taught the Discourse on the Fools and the Wise, MN 129; it relates the deeds done by fools and by wise men and their respective rewards.03 and one thousand of those women entered into the first Path and Fruit.

And so there in that garden the evening time set in, and therefore the Elders departed, saying: “We go to the mountain.”

Seeing them going men said: “The Elders have left straight away,” and they went and informed the King. The King went quickly, and after going and worshipping the Elder, the Lord of the Planet said: “Venerable Sir, it is far from here to the mountain in the evening, live comfortably right here in the Joy Wood.”

“It is unsuitable, being too near to the city,” he said.

Hearing that he uttered this statement to the Elder: “The Great Cloud Grove is neither too near nor too far, delightful, endowed with shade and water, be pleased to reside there. You should turn back, venerable Sir!” and the Elder turned back.

In that place where they turned back, on the banks of the Kadamba river, Which lay to the east of the city.04 the Shrine called the Turning Shrine was built.

The Best of Charioteers led the Elders to the south of the Joy Wood, through the Eastern Gate in the Great Cloud Grove. There, near the delightful Palace he spread good beds and chairs and said: “Dwell comfortably here.”

The King worshipped the Elders, and surrounded by his ministers, entered the city, but the Elders dwelt for the night right there.

Having gathered flowers in the morning, the Lord of the Planet after approaching the Elders and worshipping them with the blossoms, asked: “How? Did you live happily? Was the garden comfortable?”

“We did live happily, Great King, the garden is comfortable for strivers.”

He asked: “Is a monastery suitable for the Community, venerable Sir?”

The Elder said: “It is suitable,” and the one skilled in what was suitable and unsuitable spoke about the receiving of the Bamboo Grove Monastery. By the Buddha from King Bimbisāra; see The Great Chapter, section 40, elsewhere on this website.05

Hearing that the Lord of the World was happy and very joyful.

Queen Anulā together with five-hundred women came in order to worship the Elders, and after listening to the Dhamma teaching with faithful minds, they entered the second Path and Fruit. They became Once-Returners (Sakadāgāmī).06

Then Queen Anulā had a desire to go forth together with the five hundred women, and said this to the Lord of the World: “Today itself we will go forth, if it is your wish, Lord of the Earth.”

Hearing her statement the King said to the Elder: “Venerable Sir, Queen Anulā desires to go forth together with five hundred women, please give them the going-forth.”

“It is not suitable, Great King, for us to give the going-forth to women. Mahinda says this because he believes the dual ordination is necessary, whereby a bhikkhuṇī needs to be ordained by other nuns, and then have the ceremony confirmed by the monks. This is sometimes disputed, as the Buddha never revoked the original ordination by monks only. 07 There is in Pāṭaliputta Mentioned in Mahāparinibbānasutta (DN 16, elsewhere on this website) as Pāṭaligāma. So called because of the Trumpet Flowers (Pāṭali) that were growing there when it was founded; it is also known as Pupphapura and Kusumapura (both meaning Flower City).08 a nun who is my younger sister, Saṅghamittā by name, who is famous and very learned, Lord of Men.

Bring the southern branch from the Great Bodhi Tree of the Lord of Ascetics, It means: a sapling.09 and then also noble nuns, to the city in the Island of Laṅkā, King, as the Bodhi Trees of the three self-made Buddhas These are the three Buddhas preceding Gotama in this aeon: Kakusandha, Konāgamana and Kassapa; all the Buddhas have different Bodhi Trees, in their cases they were: Acacia Sirissa, Udumbara (Glamorous Fig Tree) and Nigrodha (Banyan Tree).10 were planted by the Kings so today the Bodhi Tree The Assattha or Fig Tree (Ficus Religiosa).11 of the famous Gotama, which has a resplendent halo, should be planted, Lord of the Earth.

Send a message into the presence of the King, our Father, saying: “Let her come,” and that Elder Nun will come and give the going-forth to these women.”

After saying: “Well said!” and taking the noble water-jug, the King said: “I give this Great Cloud Grove to the Community,” and sprinkled water over the right hand of the Elder Mahinda. This is a way of making a formal donation by pouring water; it was also done this way by King Bimbisāra when he donated the Bamboo Wood.12

As the water fell on the Earth with that statement the Earths, in excess of four myriads, for two hundred leagues in extent, or a thousand thick, bearing waters to their edge, shook on all sides.

Having seen that wonder, fearful, frightened and apprehensive, the Guardian of the Earth asked: “Why does the earth tremble?”

“Do not be afraid, Great King, the Dispensation of the One of Ten Powers will be established here, and because of that this Earth trembles. The first monastic dwelling place will be in this place.” I.e. the Mahāvihāra, or Great Monastery, which became the seat of Theravāda orthodoxy. The emphasis is changed somewhat from the Mahāvaṁsa version; there, as soon as he had given the Grove the Dispensation is said to be established; whereas here it will be established only when the monastery has been built.13

Having heard that statement, the Lord of the World had great faith, and offered sweet-smelling jasmine flowers to the Elder.

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