3. The Story about the Elder Nun Uppalavaṇṇā


Uppalavaṇṇā Therī’s story is not only the longest in this collection, but also the most complicated and fantastical. She made the usual aspiration under the Buddha Padumuttara, and was later reborn in Buddha Kassapa’s time, where she was one of the seven sisters who built a residence for the Community.

Later, she was reborn again and became a manual worker. While working in the fields she saw an Independent Buddha and gave a donation of 500 pieces of puffed rice, and a lotus flower, and made an aspiration to have 500 children in the future and for lotus flowers to appear under her feet when she walked about.

Afterwards she was reborn in Heaven, where lotus flowers did indeed spring forth under her feet, and was later reborn inside a lotus flower back on earth. She was adopted by a hermit, from whose thumb milk miraculously sprang forth, and she was brought up in the seclusion of the forest, and named Padumavatī. It means: one who is like a lotus, and is one of only a few names we know from previous lives in this cycle of stories.

Her beauty was once again outstanding, surpassing that of normal humans, and when she was seen by a forester he mentioned the matter to the King, who came and claimed her for his Chief Queen.

Her exaltation to such a high position upset the other women in the harem and they plotted against her. She became pregnant, but the King was called away to a border dispute, and she gave birth in the meantime, to one main son (Mahāpaduma), and 500 other sons, said to be moisture-born.

The jealous concubines bribed the midwife to replace the child with a blood-stained log and to make out that Padumavatī was not a real human being. The King returned from the battle and heard that she had had an unnatural birth and without enquiring into it banished her from the Palace.

The women wished to hold water sports, and took the 500 children with them in baskets and set them afloat on the river, apparently to dispose of them. However, the baskets were caught in nets and brought to the King, who, through the intervention of Sakka, discovered the women’s deceit, and reinstated Padumavatī.

The King made the women Padumavatī’s slaves, but she freed them in her magnanimity, and even gave her sons to them to be cared for. The sons, in turn, once grown up, realised the impermanence of life and became Independent Buddhas, at which point Padumavatī, overcome by grief and illness at their departure, died and was reborn in a poor family nearby.

One time she saw eight Independent Buddhas, her former sons, and offered them a meal for the following day. They recognised her as their former Mother, and brought the others along for the meal too, so that she could earn more merit, and both the food she had prepared and the house she gave it in expanded to accommodate the larger number. Satisfied with her gift she aspired to have the colour of a blue lily’s heart in a future life.

In her last life this wish was fulfilled, and they named her Uppalavaṇṇā because of her skin colour. It is the name of the Blue Lily flower. She was so desirable it is said that all the Kings and merchants asked for her in marriage. Her Father, not wishing to anger any of them by choosing one over the others, arranged for her ordination instead.

She went forth and soon attained Liberation, together with the spiritual power of transformation. Before the Buddha performed the double miracle, she offered to perform a miracle of transformation herself, and was later placed foremost of the female disciples who had spiritual power.

Such is a synopsis of the story, and it is a long one, spun out with many details, and we see how her strong aspirations for particular bodily characteristics seem to underpin her eventual ability to attain spiritual power and especially the power of bodily transformation.

Her appointment to this position makes her the female counterpart to Ven. Moggallāna, as one of the two Chief disciples on the female side.

The story is long and intricate and one thing it demonstrates is that people who have close family ties, or who are kammically linked in a strong enough fashion, generally get reborn in proximity to their former acquaintances, These may be connected by love, like Siddhattha and Yasodharā; or by enmity like Siddhattha and Devadatta. just as Padumavatī was reborn close to her children after they became Independent Buddhas.

AN 1.5.3

Etad-aggaṁ bhikkhave mama sāvikānaṁ bhikkhunīnaṁ
This is the foremost of my nun disciples, monastics, amongst those

iddhimantīnaṁ, RTE, PTS: iddhimantānaṁ. yad-idaṁ Uppalavaṇṇā.
who have spiritual powers, that is to say, Uppalavaṇṇā.

AA 1.5.3

Tatiye, “Uppalavaṇṇā”, ti
In the third (story), about “Uppalavaṇṇā”,

nīluppalagabbhasadiseneva SHB, PTS: nīluppalagabbhasadisena. vaṇṇena samannāgatattā evaṁ laddhanāmā Therī.
as she was endowed with a colour similar to a blue lily’s heart Lit: the calyx, or leaves surrounding the flower. the Elder Nun received this name.

Her Aspiration

Sā kira Padumuttarabuddhakāle,
At the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, it seems,

Haṁsavatiyaṁ kulagehe paṭisandhiṁ gaṇhitvā,
she was conceived in a good family home in Haṁsavatī,

aparabhāge mahājanena saddhiṁ Satthu santikaṁ gantvā, Dhammaṁ suṇantī,
and later, after going with the populace into the presence of the Teacher, while listening to the Dhamma,

Satthāraṁ ekaṁ bhikkhuniṁ iddhimantīnaṁ RTE, PTS: iddhimantānaṁ. aggaṭṭhāne ṭhapentaṁ disvā,
seeing the Teacher place a certain nun as being foremost in spiritual powers,

sattāhaṁ Buddhappamukhassa bhikkhusaṅghassa PTS: saṅghassa. mahādānaṁ datvā,
and giving a great donation to the Community of monastics with the Buddha at their head for seven days,

taṁ ṭhānantaraṁ patthesi.
she aspired for that position herself.

Building a Residence for Buddha Kassapa’s Monks

Sā yāvajīvaṁ kusalaṁ katvā devamanussesu saṁsarantī,
She did good deeds for the rest of her life and being reborn amongst gods and humans (only),

Kassapabuddhakāle Bārāṇasīnagare, RTE: Bārāṇasi-; and similarly in compounds throughout.
in the city of Bārāṇasī, at the time of the Buddha Kassapa,

Kikissa Kāsirañño gehe paṭisandhiṁ gaṇhitvā,
she was conceived in the home of Kiki, the King of Kāsi,

sattannaṁ bhaginīnaṁ abbhantarā hutvā,
and became (one) amongst seven sisters,

vīsativassasahassāni brahmacariyaṁ caritvā,
lived as a celibate for twenty-thousand years,

Bhikkhusaṅghassa pariveṇaṁ kāretvā, RTE, ChS: katvā. devaloke nibbattā.
had a residence made for the Community of monks, and was reborn in the world of the gods.

Feeding a Paccekabuddha with Puffed Rice

Tato cavitvā, puna manussalokaṁ āgacchantī, RTE: gacchantī.
Passing away from there, In the Traditions several lives are mentioned at this point, including one under the Buddha Vipassī. None of these are mentioned here. The life which herein follows is disposed of in one verse in the Traditions. and coming again to the world of humans,

ekasmiṁ gāmake, ChS: gāme. sahatthā kammaṁ katvā jīvanakaṭṭhāne nibbattā.
she was reborn in a certain little village, and made a living in that place by doing Here we see the absolutive used in its original instrumental sense. manual labour.

Sā ekadivasaṁ khettakuṭiṁ gacchantī,
One day, while going to the hut in the field,

antarāmagge ekasmiṁ sare pāto va,
on the highway near a lake in the morning time,

pupphitaṁ padumapupphaṁ disvā taṁ saraṁ oruyha,
she saw a blossoming lotus flower and descended into the lake,

tañ-ceva pupphaṁ lājapakkhipanatthāya paduminipattañ-ca RTE, ChS: paduminiyā pattañ-ca. gahetvā,
and took that flower in a lotus leaf used to wrap puffed rice,

kedāre sālisīsāni chinditvā, kuṭikāya RTE: kuṭiyaṁ. nisinnā, lāje bhajjitvā,
cut the tips of rice in the field, and while sitting in the field, she roasted the rice,

pañca lājasatāni gaṇesi.
and counted five-hundred pieces of puffed rice.


Tasmiṁ khaṇe Gandhamādanapabbate nirodhasamāpattito vuṭṭhito,
At that time, having arisen from the attainment of cessation on Mount Gandhamādana,

eko Paccekabuddho āgantvā tassā avidūre SHB, PTS: avidūraṭṭhāne. aṭṭhāsi.
a certain Independent Buddha came and stood not far away from her.

Sā Paccekabuddhaṁ disvā,
Having seen the Independent Buddha,

lājehi saddhiṁ padumapupphaṁ gahetvā, kuṭito oruyha,
she took a lotus flower together with the puffed rice, descended from her hut,

lāje Paccekabuddhassa patte pakkhipitvā, RTE: khipitvā.
placed the puffed rice in the Independent Buddha’s bowl,

padumapupphena pattaṁ pidhāya adāsi.
and covered the bowl over with the lotus flower.

Athassā Paccekabuddhe thokaṁ gate, etad-ahosi:
When the Independent Buddha had departed a short way she thought:

‘Pabbajitā nāma pupphena anatthikā,
‘One who has gone forth surely has no use for a flower,

ahaṁ pupphaṁ gahetvā piḷandhissāmī.’ ti
I will take the flower and adorn (myself).’

Gantvā Paccekabuddhassa hatthato pupphaṁ gahetvā, puna SHB, PTS omit: puna. cintesi:
She went to the Independent Buddha and took the flower from his hand, but thought again:

‘Sace Ayyo pupphena anatthiko abhavissa, RTE adds: taṁ.
‘If this Noble One had no use for a flower,

pattamatthake ṭhapetuṁ na adassa, RTE: ṭhapituṁ na adāsa.
he wouldn’t have allowed me to place it on the top of the bowl,

addhā Ayyassa SHB, PTS: assa. attho bhavissatī,’ ti puna gantvā,
indeed there will be a use for the Noble One,’ and she went back again,

pattamatthake ṭhapetvā, Paccekabuddhaṁ khamāpetvā,
placed it (back) on the top of the bowl, and begged the Independent Buddha for forgiveness,

“Bhante, imesaṁ me SHB, PTS: me imesaṁ. lājānaṁ nissandena lājagaṇanāya puttā assu,
saying: “Reverend Sir, may the result of my puffed rice be as many sons as there were pieces of rice,

padumapupphanissandena ChS: padumapupphassa nissandena. nibbattanibbattaṭṭhāne RTE: nibbattaṭṭhāne.
and the result of (giving) the lotus flower be that wherever I am reborn

me SHB, PTS omit: me. pade pade padumapupphaṁ uṭṭhahatū.” ti Patthanaṁ akāsi.
lotus flowers arise under my feet.” She made this aspiration.

Paccekabuddho tassā passantiyā va
As she was watching him, that Independent Buddha

ākāsena Gandhamādanapabbataṁ SHB, PTS: Gandhamādanaṁ. gantvā,
went through the air to Mount Gandhamādana,

taṁ padumaṁ Nandamūlakapabbhāre
° and washing his feet near to the Independent Buddhas’ rope ladder,

Paccekabuddhānaṁ akkamanasopānasamīpe pādapuñchanaṁ katvā ṭhapesi.
he placed the lotus on Mount Nandamūlaka.

Sā pi tassa kammassa nissandena, devaloke paṭisandhiṁ gaṇhi,
As a result of that deed, she gained conception in the world of the gods,

nibbattakālato paṭṭhāya cassā pade pade mahāpadumapupphaṁ uṭṭhāsi.
and from the time of her rebirth great lotus flowers appeared under her feet.

Padumavatī’s Early Life

Sā tato cavitvā pabbatapāde ekasmiṁ padumassare padumagabbhe nibbatti.
She passed away from there and was reborn on a lotus heart in one lotus lake at the foot of a mountain. Again in the Traditions, this life, which is so elaborated here, is recounted in just three verses.

Taṁ nissāya eko tāpaso vasati, so pāto va,
A certain ascetic lived near there, and in the morning time,

mukhadhovanatthāya saraṁ gantvā, taṁ pupphaṁ disvā cintesi:
he went to the lake in order to wash his face, saw the flower and thought:

‘Idaṁ pupphaṁ sesehi mahantataraṁ sesāni ca pupphitāni,
‘This flower’s head is the largest of (all) the heads of flowers,

idaṁ makuḷitam-eva bhavitabbam-ettha kāraṇenā?’ ti
through what reason did the bud come to be here?’

Udakaṁ otaritvā, taṁ pupphaṁ gaṇhi.
After descending into the water he took the flower.

Taṁ tena gahitamattam-eva pupphitaṁ,
As soon as he had taken it, it flowered,

tāpaso antopadumagabbhe nipannaṁ dārikaṁ RTE, ChS: nipannadārikaṁ. addasa.
and the ascetic saw a young girl lying in the heart of the lotus.

Diṭṭhakālato paṭṭhāya ca dhītusinehaṁ labhitvā,
From the time of (first) seeing her, paternal love Lit: daughter love. arose,

padumeneva saddhiṁ paṇṇasālaṁ netvā mañcake nipajjāpesi.
and he carried her with the lotus to his leaf-hut and lay her down on his couch.

Athassā SHB, PTS: Athassa tassā. puññānubhāvena aṅguṭṭhake khīraṁ nibbatti.
Through the power of her merit milk sprung from his thumb.

So tasmiṁ pupphe milāte, aññaṁ navaṁ pupphaṁ RTE, ChS: navapupphaṁ. āharitvā taṁ nipajjāpesi.
When that flower had faded, he brought a new flower and lay her in that.


Athassā ādhāvanavidhāvanena RTE: -vidhāvanavasena. kīḷituṁ samatthakālato PTS: samatthabhāvato. paṭṭhāya
Then from the time she began to play by running around here and there

padavāre padavāre RTE: pade pade. padumapupphaṁ uṭṭhāsi, SHB, PTS: uṭṭhāti.
at every step there arose a lotus flower,

kuṅkumarāsissa viyassā sarīravaṇṇo ahosi. PTS: hoti.
and the colour of her body was like rays of saffron.

Sā appattā devavaṇṇaṁ atikkantā mānusavaṇṇaṁ SHB: mānusaṁ vaṇṇaṁ; RTE: manussa-. ahosi.
Without having attained the radiance of a god she (nevertheless) surpassed the radiance of a human.

Sā pitari phalāphalatthāya gate paṇṇasālāyaṁ ohīyati. RTE: paṇṇasālāya ohiyati.
When her Father had gone to gather various kinds of fruit she remained behind in the leaf-hut.


Athekadivasaṁ, tassā vayappattakāle,
Then one day, when she had reached maturity,

pitari phalāphalatthāya gate, eko vanacarako taṁ disvā cintesi:
her Father having gone to gather various kinds of fruit, a certain forester saw her and thought:

“Manussānaṁ nāma evaṁvidhaṁ rūpaṁ natthi, vīmaṁsissāmi nan,”-ti
“Amongst mankind there is none as beautiful as this, I will enquire about her,”

tāpasassa āgamanaṁ udikkhanto nisīdi.
and he sat down looking for the coming of the ascetic.


Sā pitari āgacchante, paṭipathaṁ gantvā,
As her Father was coming, she went out to meet (him),

tassa hatthato kācakamaṇḍaluṁ ChS: kājaka-; RTE: kājeka-. aggahesi,
took the carrying pole and water pot from his hand,

āgantvā, RTE: sayaṁ āgantvā. nisinnassa cassa attanā RTE: tāpasassa attano. karaṇavattaṁ SHB, PTS: kārakavattaṁ. dassesi.
and after he had come, while sitting she showed him the duties she had done.

Tadā so vanacarako manussabhāvaṁ ñatvā,
Then the forester understood she was human,

tāpasaṁ abhivādetvā, nisīdi.
worshipped the ascetic and sat down.

Tāpaso taṁ vanacarakaṁ vanamūlaphalāphalehi SHB, PTS: vanamūlaphalena. ca pānīyena ca nimantetvā,
The ascetic invited the forester with forest roots and various kinds of fruits and water,

“Bho purisa! Imasmiṁ yeva ṭhāne vasissasi, SHB, PTS: bhavissasi. udāhu gamisassī?” ti pucchi.
and asked: “Good sir! Will you stay in this place, or will you go?”

“Gamissāmi, Bhante, idha kiṁ karissāmī?” ti
“I will go, reverend Sir, what will I do here?”

“Idaṁ tayā diṭṭhakāraṇaṁ etto SHB, PTS add: va; RTE: ettha. gantvā, akathetuṁ sakkhissasī?” ti
“After going from here will you be able to keep quiet Lit: not speak. about the things you saw?”

“Sace Ayyo na icchati, SHB, PTS: Ayyā na icchanti. kiṁ kāraṇā kathessāmī?” ti
“If the Noble One does not wish (it), for what reason will I speak?”

Tāpasaṁ vanditvā, puna āgamanakāle maggasañjānanatthaṁ,
And after worshipping the ascetic, so as to recognise the path again when he returned,

sākhāsaññañ-ca RTE: sākhañ-ca padañ-ca. rukkhasaññañ-ca karonto pakkāmi.
he went away making marks on the branches and on the trees.

Padumavatī’s Marriage to the King

So SHB, PTS add: pi. Bārāṇasiṁ gantvā Rājānaṁ addasa, Rājā: “Kasmā āgatosī?” ti pucchi. RTE: pucchati.
After going to Bārāṇasī he saw the King, and the King asked: “Why have you come?”

“Ahaṁ Deva tumhākaṁ vanacarako,
“God-King, your forester,

pabbatapāde acchariyaṁ itthiratanaṁ RTE: itthī-. disvā, āgatomhī,” ti
having seen a wonderful treasure of a woman at the foot of a mountain, has returned,”

sabbaṁ pavattiṁ RTE: pavuttiṁ. kathesi.
and he told him all that had happened.

So tassa vacanaṁ sutvā, vegena pabbatapādaṁ gantvā,
(The King) heard his report and quickly went to the foot of the mountain,

avidūre ṭhāne khandhāvāraṁ nivesetvā,
set up camp not far from that place,

vanacarakena ceva aññehi SHB, PTS: appehi. ca purisehi saddhiṁ,
together with the forester and the other men,

tāpasassa bhattakiccaṁ katvā,
and after the ascetic had finished his meal duties,

nisinnavelāya tattha gantvā abhivādetvā,
at a time when he was sitting, he went and worshipped him there,

paṭisanthāraṁ RTE: paṭisaṇṭhāraṁ. katvā, ekamantaṁ nisīdi.
was received in a friendly manner, and sat down on one side.

Rājā tāpasassa pabbajitaparikkhārabhaṇḍaṁ pādamūle ṭhapetvā,
The King, after placing the requisite goods for one gone forth at the feet of the ascetic,

“Bhante imasmiṁ ṭhāne kiṁ karoma, gacchissāmā?” ti RTE, ChS: gacchāmā ti. āha.
said: “Reverend Sir, what will we do in this place, shall we go?”

“Gaccha Mahārājā.” ti
“Please go, Great King.”

“Āma, SHB, PTS omit: Āma. gacchāmi, Bhante,
“Yes, I will go, reverend Sir,

‘Ayyassa pana samīpe visabhāgaparisā atthī,’ ti assumha,
(but) we have heard: ‘The Noble One has the company of the opposite sex nearby’,

asāruppā esā pabbajitānaṁ, SHB, PTS: papañco eso pabbajitānaṁ; RTE: papañcā esā pabbajitānaṁ. mayā saddhiṁ gacchatu, Bhante.” ti
and this is unsuitable for those gone forth, please let her go with me, reverend Sir.”

“Manussānaṁ cittaṁ nāma duttosayaṁ, RTE: Manussānaṁ nāma cittaṁ duttaṁ ayaṁ.
“People’s minds are surely hard to please,

kathaṁ bahūnaṁ majjhe vasissatī?” ti
how will she live in the midst of so many (people)?”

“Amhākaṁ RTE: Tumhākaṁ. rucitakālato paṭṭhāya,
“Beginning from any time we please,

sesānaṁ jeṭṭhakaṭṭhāne ṭhapetvā paṭijaggissāmi, SHB, PTS: paṭijaggitum sakkhissāmā. Bhante.” ti
I will place (her) in a position senior to the rest and look after (her), reverend Sir.”


So Rañño kathaṁ sutvā, daharakāle gahitanāmavaseneva,
Having heard the King’s speech, because of the name she had taken in her youth,

“Amma Padumavatī,” ti dhītaraṁ pakkosi.
he called his daughter, saying: “Dear Padumavatī.”

Sā ekavacaneneva paṇṇasālato nikkhamitvā Pitaraṁ abhivādetvā aṭṭhāsi.
She emerged from the leaf hut at that single word, worshipped her Father and stood (there).

Atha naṁ Pitā āha: “Tvaṁ Amma vayappattā imasmiṁ PTS adds: ca. ṭhāne,
Then her Father said: “Dear, you have reached maturity in this place,

Raññā diṭṭhakālato paṭṭhāya, vasituṁ ayuttā, SHB, PTS: aphāsukaṁ; RTE: aphāsukā.
(but) from the time you were seen by the King, it has been inappropriate to live (here),

Raññā saddhiṁ SHB, PTS adds: yeva. gaccha, Ammā.” ti
you should go with the King, Dear.”

Sā: “Sādhu Tātā,” SHB, PTS omit: Tātā. ti Pitu vacanaṁ sampaṭicchitvā,
She replied to this word of her Father, saying: “Very well, Father,”

abhivādetvā parodamānā aṭṭhāsi. RTE: rodamānā gacchati.
worshipped (him), and stood there crying.

Rājā: ‘Imissā Pitu cittaṁ gaṇhāmī,’ ti
The King, (thinking): ‘I will win over her Father’s heart,’

tasmiṁ yeva ṭhāne kahāpaṇarāsimhi ṭhapetvā abhisekaṁ akāsi.
placed a heap of money in that place and anointed her.

Atha naṁ gahetvā, attano nagaraṁ ānetvā, RTE: netvā.
Then after taking her, and leading her to the city,

āgatakālato paṭṭhāya, sesitthiyo RTE, ChS: sesa-itthiyo. anoloketvā, tāya saddhiṁ yeva ramati.
from the time they returned, without even looking at the rest of the women, he took delight with her alone.

Padumavatī’s Disgrace

Tā itthiyo, issāpakatā,
Those women, being jealous by nature,

taṁ Rañño antare paribhinditukāmā evam-āhaṁsu:
and desiring to break her close connection with the King, said this:

“Nāyaṁ Mahārāja manussajātikā!
“This is not one born of humans, Great King!

Kahaṁ nāma tumhehi manussānaṁ
° Where in the past did you see amongst humans

vicaraṇaṭṭhāne padumāni uṭṭhahantāni diṭṭhapubbāni?
that lotuses would arise in the place they were walking?

Addhā ayaṁ yakkhinī, nīharatha RTE: haratha. naṁ Mahārājā!” ti
Surely this is a demoness, you must drive her away, Great King!”

Rājā tāsaṁ kathaṁ sutvā tuṇhī ahosi.
The King listened to their speech but was silent.

Athassa aparena samayena paccanto kupito.
Then at another time there was a border disturbance.

So: ‘Garugabbhā SHB, PTS: Garubhārā. Padumavatī,’ ti
Thinking: ‘Padumavatī is advanced in pregnancy,’ Lit: heavy in the womb.

taṁ nagare ṭhapetvā paccantaṁ agamāsi.
he left her in the city and went to the border area.


Atha tā itthiyo, tassā upaṭṭhāyikāya lañcaṁ ChS: lañjaṁ. datvā:
Then those women, having given a bribe to her nurse,

“Imissā dārakaṁ jātamattam-eva apanetvā,
said: “Remove her child as soon as it is born,

ekaṁ dārughaṭikaṁ lohitena makkhetvā, santike ṭhapehī,” ti āhaṁsu.
and having smeared a log of wood with blood, place it near her.”

Padumavatiyā pi na cirasseva gabbhavuṭṭhānaṁ ahosi.
Not long after Padumavatī was delivered (of her child).

Mahāpadumakumāro ekako va kucchiyaṁ vasi, ChS: paṭisandhiṁ gaṇhi.
The prince Mahāpaduma alone dwelt in her womb,

avasesā ekūnapañcasatā dārakā,
another four-hundred and ninety-nine sons,

Mahāpadumakumārassa Mātukucchito nikkhamitvā nipannakāle,
after the boy Mahāpaduma exited his Mother’s womb and was laying there,

saṁsedajā hutvā, nibbattiṁsu.
were reborn from moisture. This is one of the four ways creatures were thought to be born: aṇḍaja, egg-born, jalābuja, womb-born, saṁsedaja, moisture-born, opapātika, spontaneously born.

Ath’: ‘Assā na tāvāyaṁ SHB: tāva ayaṁ. satiṁ paṭilabhatī,’ ti SHB, PTS: labhatī ti. ñatvā,
Then understanding: ‘(I must act) before she recovers her mindfulness,’

RTE, ChS omit: . upaṭṭhāyikā ekaṁ dārughaṭikaṁ lohitena makkhetvā,
the nurse smeared a log of wood with blood,

samīpe ṭhapetvā tāsaṁ itthīnaṁ saññaṁ adāsi.
placed it near her, and signalled to those women.

Tā pañcasatāpi itthiyo ekekā ekekaṁ dārakaṁ gahetvā,
Those five hundred women each took a child,

cundakārakānaṁ SHB, PTS: cundānaṁ. santikaṁ RTE: santike. pesetvā,
employed nearby weavers, Cundakāra is defined as turner in PED, on the basis of one reading. Here the context makes it clear it must mean a weaver of baskets.

karaṇḍake PTS: karaṇḍakaṁ. āharāpetvā, attanā attanā gahitadārake,
had them bring baskets, and each took her own child,

tattha nipajjāpetvā, bahi lañchanaṁ katvā ṭhapayiṁsu.
lay him down there, made a seal on the outside and placed them aside.

Padumavatīpi kho saññaṁ labhitvā
When Padumavatī had recovered her senses

taṁ upaṭṭhāyikaṁ: “Kiṁ vijātamhi Ammā?” ti pucchi.
she asked her nurse: “What have I delivered, Lady?” Meaning was it a girl or a boy?

Sā taṁ santajjetvā: “Kuto tvaṁ dārakaṁ labhissasī?” ti
Menacing her she said: “Where will your son be found?”

Vatvā: “Ayaṁ te kucchito nikkhantadārako,” ti
Saying: “This is the child that exited from your womb,”

lohitamakkhitaṁ dārughaṭikaṁ purato ṭhapesi.
she placed the blood-smeared log of wood in front of her.

Sā taṁ disvā domanassappattā:
Seeing that she became depressed

“Sīghaṁ naṁ phāletvā apanehi, sace koci passeyya, lajjitabbaṁ bhaveyyā,” ti āha.
and said: “Having chopped it up, quickly remove it, if someone should see it, it would be a cause of shame.”

Sā tassā kathaṁ sutvā atthakāmā viya,
She listened to her speech as though wishing her well,

dārughaṭikaṁ phāletvā uddhane pakkhipi.
chopped it up and threw it on the fire-place.


Rājā pi paccantato āgantvā, nakkhattaṁ paṭimānento bahinagare,
Returning from the border areas, the King waited outside the city for the auspicious time, Lit: waiting for the right constellation.

khandhāvāraṁ bandhitvā SHB, PTS: māpetvā. nisīdi.
made camp and sat down.

Atha tā pañcasatā itthiyo Rañño paccuggamanaṁ āgantvā āhaṁsu:
Then the five-hundred women went out to meet the King as he was coming and said:

“Tvaṁ Mahārāja amhākaṁ ChS: na amhākaṁ. na saddahasi, amhehi vuttaṁ akāraṇaṁ viya hoti.
“You do not have faith in us, Great King, as though we speak without reason.

Tvaṁ Mahesiyā upaṭṭhāyikaṁ pakkosāpetvā,
After calling your Consort’s nurse,

paṭipuccha dārughaṭikaṁ te RTE: kho. Devī vijātā!” ti ChS omits: ti.
ask whether your Queen delivered a log of wood!”

Rājā taṁ kāraṇaṁ na upaparikkhitvā SHB, PTS: anupaparikkhitvā; omit following va. va:
The King, without properly investigating the reason,

‘Amanussajātikā PTS: manussajātikā? Printer’s mistake? RTE adds: ca. bhavissatī,’ ti taṁ gehato nikkaḍḍhi.
thinking: ‘She must be a non-human being,’ drove her from the house.


Tassā Rājagehato saha nikkhamaneneva padumapupphāni antaradhāyiṁsu,
With her departure from the Palace (all) the lotus flowers That used to appear under her feet. disappeared,

sarīracchavi pi vivaṇṇā RTE: sarīrañ-ca vivaṇṇaṁ. ahosi.
and her skin lost its radiance.

Sā ekikā va antaravīthiyā pāyāsi.
She went by herself along the middle of the street.

Atha naṁ ekā vayappattā mahallikā itthī disvā, dhītusinehaṁ uppādetvā:
Then a certain old and aged woman saw her and maternal Lit: daughter love. love arose,

“Kahaṁ gacchasi Ammā?” ti āha.
and she said: “Where are you going, Lady?”

“Āgantukamhi vasanaṭṭhānaṁ olokentī carāmī.” ti ChS: vicarāmī ti.
“I am a stranger roaming around looking for somewhere to live.”

“Idhāgaccha, SHB: Idha āgaccha. Ammā,” ti
She said: “Come here, Lady,”

vasanaṭṭhānaṁ datvā bhojanaṁ paṭiyādesi.
and she gave her a place to live and served her food.

Tassā iminā va RTE omits: va. niyāmena tattha vasamānāya,
As she was residing like this in that place,

tā pañcasatā itthiyo, ekacittā hutvā, Rājānaṁ āhaṁsu:
those five-hundred women, having one thought, said to the King:

“Mahārāja, tumhesu khandhāvāraṁ ChS: yuddhaṁ. gatesu,
“Great King, when you had gone to the camp,

amhehi Gaṅgādevatāya: ‘Amhākaṁ Deve vijitasaṅgāme āgate,
(we said) to the goddess of the Ganges: ‘When our God-King returns victorious from battle,

balikammaṁ katvā, udakakīḷaṁ karissāmā.’ ti
we will make an oblation and hold water sports.’

Patthitaṁ atthi, etam-atthaṁ Deva jānāpemā.” ti
This was our aspiration, and this matter, God-King, we now make known.”


Rājā tāsaṁ vacanena tuṭṭho, Gaṅgāyaṁ RTE: Gaṅgāya. udakakīḷaṁ SHB, PTS: Gaṅgāya udakakīḷikaṁ. kātuṁ agamāsi.
The King, being satisfied with their statement, went to the Ganges to sport in the water.

Tā pi attanā attanā gahitaṁ karaṇḍakaṁ, RTE, PTS: gahitakaraṇḍakaṁ.
All of them took their baskets,

paṭicchannaṁ katvā, ādāya nadiṁ gantvā,
covered them over, went to the stream,

tesaṁ karaṇḍakānaṁ paṭicchādanatthaṁ pārupitvā pārupitvā, RTE omits: pārupitvā.
wrapped up the baskets in order to disguise them,

udake patitvā karaṇḍake vissajjesuṁ.
dropped them in the water and sent the baskets off.

Te pi kho karaṇḍakā sabbe saha SHB, PTS: sabbe pi. gantvā RTE: sabbeva samāgantvā. heṭṭhāsote pasāritajālamhi laggiṁsu.
All those baskets went off together and got caught in nets that had been fastened under the stream.

Tato udakakīḷaṁ kīḷitvā, Rañño uttiṇṇakāle,
Then after playing at water sports, at the time the King was emerging,

jālaṁ ukkhipantā te karaṇḍake disvā, Rañño santikaṁ ānayiṁsu. SHB, PTS: nayiṁsu.
seeing the baskets suspended in the net, they were brought to the King.

Rājā karaṇḍake disvā: SHB, PTS: oloketvā. “Kiṁ Tātā karaṇḍakesū?” ti āha.
The King, seeing the baskets, said: “What is in the baskets, Dears?”

“Na jānāma Devā.” ti
“We do not know, God-King.”

So te karaṇḍake vivarāpetvā olokento,
The baskets were opened while he was watching,

paṭhamaṁ Mahāpadumakumārassa karaṇḍakaṁ RTE: Mahāpadumakumārakaraṇḍakaṁ. vivarāpesi.
and they first opened the boy Mahāpaduma’s basket.

Tesaṁ pana sabbesam-pi karaṇḍakesu nipajjāpitadivase yeva,
For all of them as they were laying in the baskets during the day,

puññiddhiyā aṅguṭṭhato SHB, PTS: aṅguṭṭhake; RTE: aṅguṭṭhakesu. khīraṁ nibbatti.
milk had sprung from their thumbs through the power of their merit.

Sakko Devarājā tassa Rañño nikkaṅkhabhāvatthaṁ,
Sakka, the King of the Gods, in order to dispel the King’s doubts,

antokaraṇḍake akkharāni likhāpesi:
had had these words Lit: these letters. written inside the baskets:

“Ime kumārā Padumavatiyā kucchimhi SHB, PTS: kucchismiṁ. nibbattā, Bārāṇasirañño puttā,
“These boys were reborn in Padumavatī’s womb, and are the King of Bārāṇasī’s sons,

atha ne Padumavatiyā sapattiyo pañcasatā itthiyo,
then the five-hundred women, who are Padumavatī’s rivals,

karaṇḍakesu pakkhipitvā udake khipiṁsu.
placed them in baskets and threw them in the water.

Rājā imaṁ kāraṇaṁ jānātū.” ti
Let the King understand the reason.”

Padumavatī’s Redemption

Karaṇḍake vivaritamatte SHB, PTS: vivaṭamatte. Rājā akkharāni vācetvā,
As soon as the baskets were opened the King had the words Lit: letters. read out,

dārake disvā, Mahāpadumakumāraṁ ukkhipitvā:
and seeing his sons, he raised up the boy Mahāpaduma, and said:

“Vegena SHB: Vegavegena. rathe yojetha, PTS: yojetvā. asse kappetha, ahaṁ ajja antonagaraṁ pavisitvā,
“Quickly prepare the chariot, harness the horses, I will enter the city today

ekaccānaṁ mātugāmānaṁ piyaṁ karissāmī.” ti
and endear some of those women.”

Pāsādaṁ SHB, PTS: Pāsādavaraṁ. āruyha, hatthigīvāya RTE: hatthigīvāyaṁ. sahassabhaṇḍikaṁ RTE: sahassakaraṇḍakaṁ. ṭhapetvā,
He ascended the palace, placed a bag with a thousand coins on an elephant’s neck,

bheriṁ SHB: nagare bheriṁ. carāpesi: “Yo Padumavatiṁ passati, so SHB, PTS omit: so. imaṁ sahassaṁ gaṇhatū.” ti
and had the drum beat, (announcing): “He who finds Padumavatī, can take this thousand (coins).”

Taṁ kathaṁ sutvā Padumavatī Mātu ChS: Mātuyā. saññaṁ adāsi:
Hearing that announcement Padumavatī informed her (adopted) Mother,

“Hatthigīvato sahassaṁ gaṇha, Ammā.” ti
saying: “Take the thousand (coins) from the elephant’s neck, Lady.”

“Nāhaṁ evarūpaṁ gaṇhituṁ visahāmī.” ti ChS: Ahaṁ evarūpaṁ gaṇhituṁ na visahāmī ti.
“I do not dare to take such a thing.”

Sā dutiyam-pi tatiyam-pi vutte,
Having said it a second and a third time,

“Kiṁ vatvā, gaṇhāmi Ammā?” ti āha.
she said: “After saying what, Lady, shall I take it?”

“ ‘Mama dhītā Padumavatiṁ Deviṁ passatī,’ ti SHB, PTS: Padumavatī Devī nāmā ti. vatvā, gaṇhāhī.” ti
“ ‘My daughter has found Queen Padumavatī,’ after saying that, take (it).”

Sā: ‘Yaṁ vā taṁ vā hotū,’ ti PTS: yaṁ hotu taṁ hotū ti. gantvā sahassacaṅkoṭakaṁ SHB, PTS: -caṅgoṭakaṁ. gaṇhi.
She, thinking: ‘What will be, will be,’ went and took the box with a thousand (coins).

Atha naṁ manussā pucchiṁsu: “Padumavatiṁ Deviṁ passasi, Ammā?” ti
Then the men questioned her: “Did you find Queen Padumavatī, Lady?”

“Ahaṁ na passāmi, dhītā kira me passatī,” ti āha.
She said: “I did not find (her), but it seems my daughter found (her).”

Te: “Kahaṁ pana sā Ammā?” ti vatvā,
They said: “But where is she, Lady?”

tāya saddhiṁ gantvā Padumavatiṁ sañjānitvā, pādesu nipatiṁsu.
and going with her and recognising Padumavatī, they fell at her feet.

Tasmiṁ kāle sā: ‘Padumavatī Devī ayan!’-ti ñatvā,
At that time understanding: ‘This is Queen Padumavatī!’

“Bhāriyaṁ vata itthiyā kammaṁ kataṁ,
she said: “Indeed, a really serious thing was done to the woman,

yā evaṁvidhassa Rañño Mahesī samānā, evarūpe ṭhāne nirārakkhā vasī!” ti āha.
she being a Consort to such a King, and she dwelt in such a place without protection!”

Te pi Rājapurisā Padumavatiyā nivesanaṁ RTE adds: netvā. setasāṇīhi parikkhipāpetvā,
The King’s men set up white curtains around Padumavatī’s residence,

dvāre ārakkhaṁ RTE: rakkhaṁ. ṭhapetvā gantvā ChS omits: gantvā. Rañño ārocesuṁ.
placed a guard at the door and went and informed the King.


Rājā suvaṇṇasivikaṁ pesesi.
The King send a golden palanquin.

Sā: “Ahaṁ evaṁ na gamissāmi!
She said: “I will not go in this way!

Mama vasanaṭṭhānato paṭṭhāya yāva Rājagehaṁ etthantare
From my dwelling place all along the way until the Palace

varapotthakacittattharaṇe SHB, PTS: -cittattharake. attharāpetvā,
spread noble and beautiful carpets made of cloth,

upari suvaṇṇatārakavicittaṁ celavitānaṁ RTE: sovaṇṇatārakavicittacelavitānaṁ. bandhāpetvā,
have canopies set up adorned with golden stars above,

pasādhanatthāya SHB: pasādhānatthāya. sabbālaṅkāresu pahitesu, padasā va gamissāmi.
and when all ornaments are sent for my adornment, I will go by foot.

Evaṁ me nāgarā sampattiṁ passissantī!” ti āha.
Thus the city-folk will see my good fortune!”

Rājā: “Padumavatiyā yathāruciṁ SHB: ruciṁ. karothā,” ti āha.
The King said: “Do it according to Padumavatī’s pleasure.”

Tato Padumavatī, sabbapasādhanaṁ SHB: sabbapasādhānaṁ; Thai: sabbaṁ pasādhanaṁ. pasādhetvā,
Then Padumavatī was adorned with all ornaments,

“Rājagehaṁ gamissāmī,” ti maggaṁ paṭipajji.
and saying: “I will go to the Palace,” proceeded along the path.

Athassā akkanta-akkantaṭṭhāne, Thai: akkantākkantaṭṭhāne.
Then at each place she stepped,

varapotthakacittattharaṇāni SHB, PTS: -cittattharakaṁ. bhinditvā, padumapupphāni uṭṭhahiṁsu.
after breaking through the noble and beautiful carpets made of cloth, lotus flowers arose.

Sā mahājanassa attano sampattiṁ dassetvā, Rājanivesanaṁ āruyha,
After she had shown off to the populace her good fortune, she ascended the Palace,

sabbe cittattharaṇe, SHB, PTS: sabbe pi te cittattharake. tassā mahallikāya posāvanikamūlaṁ SHB, PTS: posāvanikamūle. katvā, dāpesi.
and by way of giving an allowance to the old lady for her expenses, had all those beautiful carpets given (to her).


Rājā pi kho SHB, PTS omit: kho. tā pañcasatā itthiyo pakkosāpetvā,
The King had the five-hundred women summoned,

“Imā ChS: Imāyo. te Devi dāsiyo katvā, demī,” ti āha.
and said: “After making these slaves, I give them to the Queen.”

“Sādhu Mahārāja etāsaṁ mayhaṁ SHB, PTS omit: mayhaṁ. dinnabhāvaṁ sakalanagare RTE: -nagāre. jānāpehī.” ti
“Very good, Great King, please make known to the whole city your gift to me of these (women).”

Rājā nagare bheriṁ carāpesi:
The King had the drum beat in the city (announcing):

“Padumavatiyā dubbhikā pañcasatā itthiyo etissā eva SHB: dūbhikā pañcayatā (sic) itthiyo etissā va. dāsiyo katvā, dinnā.” ti
“After making these five-hundred treacherous women slaves, I have given them to Padumavatī.”

Sā: ‘Tāsaṁ sakalanagarena SHB, RTE: -nāgarena. dāsibhāvo sallakkhito,’ ti ñatvā,
Understanding: ‘Their slavery has been seen by the whole city,’

“Ahaṁ mama dāsiyo bhujissā kātuṁ labhāmi Devā,” ti Rājānaṁ pucchi.
she made a request of the King, saying: “I desire to give freedom to my slaves, God-King.”

“Tava icchā Devī!” ti
“As you wish, Queen!”

Evaṁ sante, tam-eva bhericārikaṁ SHB, PTS: bherivādakaṁ. pakkosāpetvā,
This being so, he summoned the drummer,

“ ‘Padumavatideviyā attano dāsiyo katvā,
° and said: “ ‘After (these women) were made slaves to Padumavatī,

dinnā pañcasatā itthiyo sabbā va bhujissā katā,’ ti
she has given freedom to all five-hundred of them,’

puna bheriṁ carāpethā,” ti RTE: cārāpethā ti. āha.
beat the drum (and announce this).”

Sā tāsaṁ bhujissabhāve kate,
When they were given their freedom,

ekūnāni pañcaputtasatāni ChS: pañcasataputtāni. tāsaṁ yeva hatthe posanatthāya datvā,
she gave the four-hundred and ninety-nine sons into their hands for bringing up,

sayaṁ Mahāpadumakumāraṁ yeva gaṇhi.
and took the boy Mahāpaduma herself.

Padumavatī’s Loss

Atha aparabhāge, tesaṁ kumārānaṁ kīḷanavaye sampatte,
Then later, when those boys had reached playing age,

Rājā uyyāne nānāvidhaṁ kīḷanaṭṭhānaṁ kāresi.
the King had various types of playgrounds made in the garden.

Te attano soḷasavassuddesikakāle sabbe va ekato hutvā,
When they were sixteen years of age they all came together,

uyyāne SHB, PTS omit: uyyāne. padumasañchannāya maṅgalapokkharaṇiyā kīḷantā,
and while playing in the royal bathing pool covered with lotuses in the garden,

navapadumāni pupphitāni SHB, PTS: pupphantāni. purāṇapadumāni ca vaṇṭato patantāni disvā,
having seen new lotuses blossoming and old lotuses falling from their stalks,

‘Imassa tāva anupādinnakassa SHB: anupādiṇṇakassa. evarūpā jarā pāpuṇāti,
they thought: ‘When even a thing such as this, which is not produced by previous deeds, It means they are not creatures developed enough to have intentional life. undergoes decay,

kim-aṅgaṁ SHB, PTS: aṅga. pana amhākaṁ sarīrassa idam-pi hi evaṁgatikam-eva bhavissatī!’ ti
how much more then will our bodies be subject to the same destiny!’

Ārammaṇaṁ gahetvā, sabbe va Paccekabodhiñāṇaṁ RTE: Paccekabuddhañāṇaṁ. nibbattetvā,
Grasping this meditation object they all produced the knowledge characterising the Independent Awakening, I.e. they became Paccekabuddhas.

uṭṭhāyuṭṭhāya padumakaṇṇikāsu pallaṅkena nisīdiṁsu.
and, after rising (from there), sat down cross-legged in the heart of the lotuses. Lit: in the pericarps.


Atha tehi saddhiṁ āgatā Rājapurisā, SHB, PTS: saddhiṁ gatapurisā; RTE: saddhiṁ āgatapurisā. bahugataṁ RTE: bahutaraṁ. divasaṁ ñatvā,
Then the King’s men who had come with them, understanding that most of the day had passed,

“Ayyaputtā tumhākaṁ velaṁ jānāthā?” ti āhaṁsu.
said: “Noble Children, do you know the time?”

Te tuṇhī RTE: Te sabbe tuṇhī. ahesuṁ.
They remained silent.

Te SHB, PTS omit: Te. purisā gantvā Rañño ārocesuṁ: “Kumārā Deva padumakaṇṇikāsu nisinnā,
Those men went to the King and informed him: “The princes, God-King, are sitting in the hearts of the lotuses,

amhesu kathentesu pi vacībhedaṁ na karontī.” ti
and when we speak they make no reply.”

“Yathāruciyā tesaṁ nisīdituṁ dethā.” ti
“Allow them to sit as they wish.”

Te sabbarattiṁ gahitārakkhā,
The whole night a guard was set,

padumakaṇṇikāsu nisinnaniyāmeneva aruṇaṁ uṭṭhāpesuṁ.
and they sat in this way in the hearts of the lotuses until dawn arose.

Purisā RTE: Purisā gantvā. punadivase upasaṅkamitvā, “Devā velaṁ jānāthā” ti āhaṁsu. RTE omits: āhaṁsu.
The men approached on the following day and said: “Princes, do you know the time?”

“Na mayaṁ Devā Paccekabuddhā nāma mayan.”-ti
“We are not Princes, we are now Independent Buddhas.”

“Ayyā tumhe bhāriyaṁ kathaṁ kathetha,
“Noble Sirs, you are saying something very grave,

Paccekabuddhā nāma tumhādisā na SHB, PTS: na tumhādisā. honti,
Independent Buddhas are surely not like you are,

dvaṅgulakesamassudharā, SHB: dvaṅgulakesamassū pana. kāye paṭimukka-aṭṭhaparikkhārā RTE: paṭimukkāṭṭhaparikkhārā. hontī.” ti
they have hair and beard (only) up to two inches long, and on their bodies are fastened the eight requisites.” The eight requisites are the three robes, the bowl, a razor, a needle, a belt and a water-strainer.

Te SHB, PTS: tena tumhe bhāriyaṁ kathethā ti. dakkhiṇahatthena sīsaṁ parāmasiṁsu, tāvad-eva gihiliṅgaṁ antaradhāyi,
They stroked their heads with their right hands, and at that moment the signs of home life vanished,

aṭṭha parikkhārā kāye paṭimukkā RTE: kāyapaṭimukkā. va ahesuṁ.
and the eight requisites appeared on their bodies.

Tato passantasseva mahājanassa ākāsena Nandamūlakapabbhāraṁ agamaṁsu.
As the populace was watching they went through the air to Mount Nandamūlaka.


Sā pi kho Padumavatī Devī: ‘Ahaṁ bahuputtā hutvā, niputtā RTE: niyuttā. jātā!’ ti
Queen Padumavatī thought: ‘After having so many children, I have become childless!’

Hadayasokaṁ PTS: Hadayasosaṁ. patvā, teneva rogena ChS: sokena. kālaṁ katvā,
Her heart having been overcome by grief, she died from this illness,

and in a small village near the gate of the city of Rājagaha The Traditions specify that it was on the slope of Mt. Isigili, one of the seven mountains surrounding Rājagaha. This life again only requires four verses in the Traditions.

sahatthena kammaṁ katvā jīvanakaṭṭhāne RTE, PTS: jīvanaṭṭhāne. nibbatti.
she was reborn, and made a living in that place by doing manual labour.

Feeding 500 Paccekabuddhas

Aparabhāge, SHB, PTS: Atha aparabhāge. kulagharaṁ gantvā, SHB, PTS: gatā.
Later she went to a good family home, That is, she got married.

ekadivasaṁ sāmikassa khettaṁ RTE: khette. yāguṁ haramānā,
and while carrying rice-porridge one day to her husband’s field,

tesaṁ attano puttānaṁ antare,
in the midst of her children,

aṭṭha Paccekabuddhe bhikkhācāravelāya PTS: -velāyaṁ. ākāsena gacchante SHB, PTS: ākāsena āgacchante. disvā,
she saw eight Independent Buddhas going through the air at the time they went for alms,

sīghaṁ sīghaṁ SHB: sīghasīghaṁ. gantvā, sāmikassa ārocesi:
and going quickly, she informed her husband,

“Passa Ayya PTS: Ayyo; RTE: Passatha Ayye. Paccekabuddhe ete nimantetvā bhojeyyāmā.” ti ChS: bhojessāmā ti; RTE: bhojanaṁ dassāmā ti.
saying: “Look, Noble Sir, let us invite these Independent Buddhas and feed (them).”

So āha: “Samaṇasakuṇā nāmete aññatthā pi PTS: nāma te aññadāpi. evaṁ caranti,
He said: “These are birds (who look like) ascetics who are flying somewhere,

na ete Paccekabuddhā.” ti
they are not Independent Buddhas.”

Te tesaṁ kathentānaṁ RTE: kathaṁ kathentānaṁ. yeva avidūre ṭhāne SHB, PTS: avidūraṭṭhāne. otariṁsu.
As they were talking they descended to a spot not far away.

Sā itthi RTE: itthī. taṁ divasaṁ attano SHB, PTS: attanā. bhattakhajjabhojanaṁ SHB, PTS: labhanakaṁ khajjabhojjaṁ. tesaṁ datvā,
That woman on that day gave her own rice and other solid food to them herself,

“Sve pi aṭṭha SHB, PTS: aṭṭha pi. janā mayhaṁ bhikkhaṁ gaṇhathā,” ti āha.
and said: “Tomorrow, eight people can take my alms food.”

“Sādhu upāsike tava sakkāro RTE adds: ca. ettako va hotu, āsanāni ca aṭṭheva hontu,
“Well said, lay woman, such is your hospitality, let there be just eight seats then,

aññe pi bahū SHB, PTS: aññe pana bahū pi. Paccekabuddhe disvā, tava cittaṁ sandhāreyyāsī.” ti ChS: pasādeyyāsī ti.
but seeing a great many Independent Buddhas, your heart would be uplifted.”


Sā punadivase, aṭṭha āsanāni paññāpetvā,
On the following day she prepared eight seats,

aṭṭhannaṁ sakkārasammānaṁ paṭiyādetvā, nisīdi.
arranged them with great respect for the eight of them, and sat down.

Nimantitā Paccekabuddhā RTE, ChS: Nimantitapaccekabuddhā. sesānaṁ saññaṁ adaṁsu:
The Independent Buddhas who were invited informed the rest,

“Mārisā ajja aññattha agantvā, PTS: anāgantvā.
saying: “Sirs, without going anywhere else today,

sabbe va tumhākaṁ Mātu saṅgahaṁ karothā.” ti
all of you show your regard for your Mother.”

Te RTE omits: Te. tesaṁ vacanaṁ sutvā, sabbe va ekato, ākāsena āgantvā, RTE: gantvā.
Hearing their words, they all came through the air together,

Mātugehadvāre pātur-ahesuṁ.
and appeared at the gate of their Mother’s house.

Sā pi paṭhamaṁ laddhasaññatāya PTS: laddhasaññā tāya. bahū pi RTE omits: pi. disvā, na kampittha,
Having seen a great many more than those whom she had perceived at first and, without wavering,

sabbe pi SHB, PTS: sabbe va. te RTE omits: te. gehaṁ pavesetvā āsanesu RTE, PTS: āsane. nisīdāpesi.
she ushered them all into the house and made them sit down on the seats.

Tesu SHB: Tesu pi. paṭipāṭiyā nisīdantesu,
As they were sitting down in order,

navamo SHB, PTS: navamo navamo. aññāni aṭṭha āsanāni māpetvā sayaṁ dhurāsane nisīdi. SHB, PTS: nisīdati.
a further eight seats appeared through supernatural power and the ninth sat himself down on the nearest seat.

Yāva āsanāni vaḍḍhanti, tāva gehaṁ vaḍḍhati.
As the seats increased, so did the house increase (in size).

Evaṁ tesu sabbesu pi RTE omits: pi. nisinnesu,
When they were all thus seated,

sā itthi RTE: itthī. aṭṭhannaṁ Paccekabuddhānaṁ paṭiyāditaṁ sakkāraṁ RTE: paṭiyāditasakkāraṁ.
° the woman respectfully offered what was prepared for the eight Independent Buddhas

pañcasatānam-pi yāvad-atthaṁ datvā,
to the five hundred,

aṭṭha nīluppalahatthake āharitvā,
and bringing eight handfuls of blue lilies in her hand,

Nimantitapaccekabuddhānaṁ RTE: Nimantitaṁ paccekabuddhānaṁ. yeva pādamūle ṭhapetvā āha:
she placed them at the feet of the Independent Buddhas she had invited and said:

“Mayhaṁ Bhante nibbattanibbattaṭṭhāne
“Reverend Sirs, in whatever place I am reborn

sarīravaṇṇo imesaṁ nīluppalānaṁ antogabbhavaṇṇo viya SHB, PTS omit: viya. hotū.” ti
may the colour of my body be like the colour of the inside of this blue lily’s heart.”

Patthanaṁ akāsi. SHB, PTS omit: patthanaṁ akāsi.
She made this aspiration.

Paccekabuddhā Mātu anumodanaṁ katvā Gandhamādanaṁ yeva agamaṁsu.
The Independent Buddhas rejoiced with their Mother and returned to Gandhamādana.

Her Last Life

Sā pi yāvajīvaṁ kusalaṁ katvā, tato cutā devaloke nibbattitvā,
She did good deeds for the rest of her life, and after passing away from there and being reborn in the world of the gods,

imasmiṁ Buddhuppāde, Sāvatthiyaṁ seṭṭhikule paṭisandhiṁ gaṇhi,
when this (Gotama) Buddha arose, she was conceived in a merchant’s family in Sāvatthī,

nīluppalagabbhasamānavaṇṇatāya, cassā Uppalavaṇṇā tveva nāmaṁ akaṁsu.
and as she was the same colour as the heart of a blue lily, she was given the name Uppalavaṇṇā. Uppala = blue water-lily; vaṇṇa = colour.


Athassā vayappattakāle
When she had reached maturity

sakala-Jambudīpe rājāno ChS: Jambudīparājāno. ca seṭṭhino ca seṭṭhissa santikaṁ RTE: sakalajambūdīparājāno va seṭṭhissa santika. pahiṇiṁsu:
all the Kings in the Rose-Apple Isle The normal designation for what we now roughly call India. and the merchants also sent (a message) to the merchant, saying:

“Dhītaraṁ amhākaṁ detū.” ti
“Please give us your daughter.”

Apahiṇanto nāma nāhosi.
There were none known to be not sending (this message).

Tato seṭṭhi cintesi:
Then the merchant thought:

‘Ahaṁ sabbesaṁ manaṁ gahetuṁ na sakkhissāmi, upāyaṁ panekaṁ karissāmī,’ ti
‘I will not be able to satisfy Lit: grab the mind. all of them, I will have to employ some skilful means,’

dhītaraṁ pakkosāpetvā, SHB, PTS: pakkositvā. “Pabbajituṁ Amma sakkhissasī?” ti āha.
and after summoning his daughter, he said: “Will you be able to go forth, Daughter?”

Tassā pacchimabhavikattā, taṁ ChS: Pitu. vacanaṁ sīse āsittasatapākatelaṁ viya ahosi,
(Because of) being in her last rebirth, that word was like medicated oil sprinkled on her head,

tasmā RTE: tasmā taṁ. pitaraṁ: “Pabbajissāmi, Tātā” ti āha.
therefore she said to her Father: “Father, I will go forth.”

So tassā sakkāraṁ katvā, bhikkhunī-upassayaṁ netvā, pabbājesi.
He paid respects to her, led her to the nunnery, and had her go forth. In Buddhist countries these days, at the ordination the postulant will pay respects to their parents for the last time, and straight after the ordination, the parents pay respect to the socially elevated child. Here it seems the Father paid respects as soon as she agreed to ordination.


Tassā acirapabbajitāya eva, uposathāgāre kālavāro PTS: tālavāro. pāpuṇi.
Not long after she had gone forth, The Traditions state it was less than two weeks. her turn (to work) in the observance hall arose.

Sā dīpaṁ jāletvā, uposathāgāraṁ sammajjitvā,
She lit the lamp, swept the observance hall,

padīpasikhāya RTE, ChS: dīpasikhāya. nimittaṁ gaṇhitvā, SHB, PTS: gaṇhitvā ṭhatvā va.
and grasping the sign of the crest of the lamp,

punappunaṁ olokayamānā,
while looking at it again and again,

tejokasiṇārammaṇaṁ jhānaṁ RTE: tejokasiṇajjhānaṁ. nibbattetvā,
and producing absorption on the fire meditation subject,

tad-eva pādakaṁ katvā, Arahattaṁ pāpuṇi.
and making that a basis, she attained Liberation.

Arahattaphalena saddhiṁ yeva ca PTS omits: ca. iddhivikubbane ciṇṇavasī ahosi.
Together with the fruit of Liberation she also mastered the spiritual power of transformation. This is the power to transform oneself into many beings, and from many to become one again.


Sā aparabhāge Satthu yamakapāṭihāriyaṁ karaṇadivase, RTE, ChS: yamakapāṭihāriyakaraṇadivase.
Later, on the day the Teacher performed the double miracle, Performed to confute the heretics, it consisted of emitting fire and water from his body.

“Ahaṁ Bhante pāṭihāriyaṁ karissāmī,” ti sīhanādaṁ nadi.
she roared a lion’s roar, saying: “I will perform a miracle, reverend Sir.” Along with others on that day, Uppalavaṇṇā offered to perform a miracle. However, the Buddha didn’t allow her, or anyone else, to perform any miracles at that time. The following few lines are from the Dhammapada Commentary to vs. 181.

“Kathaṁ karissasī?” ti puṭṭhā
Being asked “What miracle will you perform?”

āha: “Ahaṁ, Bhante, samantā dvādasayojanaṁ PTS: dvādasayojanikaṁ. parisaṁ dassetvā,
she said: “Reverend Sir, after showing (myself) before an assembly for twelve leagues on all sides,

āvaṭṭato chattiṁsayojanāya parisāya parivuto,
surrounded by an assembly that is thirty-six leagues from front to back,

Cakkavattirājā hutvā āgantvā, tumhe vandissāmī.” ti
after taking the form of a Universal Monarch and approaching, I will worship you.” The Traditions record a different miracle whereby she fashioned a chariot and four horses.

Satthā: “Jānāmi te ānubhāvan,”-ti.
The Teacher said: “I know your power.”

Satthā idaṁ kāraṇaṁ, aṭṭhuppattiṁ katvā,
For this reason the Teacher, as the occasion had arisen,

Jetavanavihāre RTE: Jetavanamahāvihāre. nisinno, paṭipāṭiyā bhikkhuniyo ṭhānantaresu ChS: ṭhānantare. ṭhapento,
while sitting in Jeta’s Wood, in placing the nuns successively in their different positions,

imaṁ Theriṁ iddhimantīnaṁ RTE, PTS: iddhimantānaṁ. aggaṭṭhāne ṭhapesī. ti
placed this Elder Nun in the foremost position of those possessing spiritual power.



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