Category Archive: Buddhist Heroes

Oct 23

Naḷinikā’s Story (or: The Seduction of an Innocent)


Naḷinikā’s Story (or: The Seduction of an Innocent) – Naḷinikājātakavaṇṇanā (Jā526)   – Translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu

Now while the Teacher was living in Jeta’s Wood he told this about the seductions of a former wife. And in regard to this story, he asked the monk what was the cause of his dissatisfaction, and he said: It is because of my former wife.

“Monk, this one has been unbeneficial to you in the past also, and having lost the absorption because of her, you came to a great calamity,” and after saying that he told a story about the past.

In the past, when King Brahmadatta was ruling in Bārāṇasī, the Awakening One was born in a noble and wealthy brāhmaṇa family, and when he came of age he learned a craft….

Later, after going-forth in the Seer’s ordination and attaining the absorptions and deep knowledges, he made his dwelling in the area of the Himālayas. Then at the place where the Seer was urinating, one deer ate grass mixed with semen and drank the water. So much was her mind bound to him that, when she became pregnant, ……..


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Sep 05

Buddha-carita, or Life of Buddha – Aśvaghoṣa

UntitledTranslated by E B Cowell

The Sanskrit text of the Buddha-carita was published at the beginning of last year [i.e 1893] in the ‘Anecdota Oxoniensia,’ and the following English translation is now included in the series ‘Sacred Books of the East.’ It is an early Sanskrit poem written in India on the legendary history of Buddha, and therefore contains much that is of interest for the history of Buddhism, besides its special importance as illustrating the early history of classical Sanskrit literature.

It is ascribed to Aśvaghoṣa; and although there were several writers who bore that name, it seems most probable that our author was the contemparary and spiritual advisor of Kaniṣka in the first century of our era. Hiouen Thsang, who left India in A. D. 645, mentions him with Deva, Nāgārjuna, and Kumāralabdha, ‘as the four suns which illumine the world;’1 but our fullest account is given by I-tsing, who visited India in 673.

He states that Aśvaghoṣa was an ancient author who composed the Alaṅkāra-śāstra and the Buddha-carita-kāvya, – the latter work being of course the present poem.


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Aug 31

The Stories about The Foremost Elder Nuns – translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu

UntitledIn the Book of the Ones in the Numerical Collection (Aṅguttaranikāya, 1.14) there is a bare list of seventy-four monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen whom the Buddha singled out as excelling in a certain spiritual quality they had developed.

No more information is given about them there, or the circumstances that led up to their being given these positions.

Although some of them are known from other places in the discourses to have held these positions, like the eldest disciples, others would be unknown today, if they were not named here.

The commentary on the Numerical Discourses, a section of which is translated here, tries to fill in this lacuna by providing detailed histories of the disciples, telling when and where they made an aspiration to hold the position; the good deeds they did, and the story of their last life.

Some of the life histories given here are long and detailed, while others are brief and hardly accomplish their aim of explaining why they were appointed to their position; a number are justly famous, while a few are short and easily forgotten. 

All the stories, however, play a very important role in the teaching, as they show that people with very different backgrounds – both fortunate and unfortunate – were capable of attaining the highest aim in life when given the right teachings at the right time, and they therefore serve as inspirations and role models for us today. 


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