12
Oct

Learn about the Buddha’s half-sister and her reluctant path into Buddhism. Rupananda Theri


When she was born, Princess Nanda was celebrated and very well-loved. She was born to King Suddhodana, who was the Buddha’s father, and Mahapajapati Gotami, the Buddha’s step-mother who had raised him since birth. Nanda was well-bred, graceful, and extremely beautiful. In order to distinguish her from others with the same name, she was known as Rupananda, meaning “Beautiful Nanda.” Over time, many members of her family, the royal house of Sakyans, left to follow the Lord Buddha. Among them were Rupananda’s brother her cousins, her mother, and finally many other Sakyan ladies. They were extremely proud that a member of their clan had become the self-awakened Buddha. Rupananda decided that she too, would ordain. However, unlike the others, she did not ordain out of faith or desire for enlightenment. Instead, her main motivation was to conform and not stand out. For so long, her thoughts had been consumed by her beauty and popularity. Now that she was a Bhikkhuni, a female monk, Rupananda felt new pressure. When many of the Bhikkhunis would go to see the Buddha and listen to the Dhamma, Rupananda would make an excuse and refuse to go. One day, the Buddha called all the Bhikkhunis to him, and Rupananda refused to go. She was afraid that the Buddha would admonish her for her lack of practice and her obsession with her appearance. Eventually the Buddha sent her a personal invitation and she had no choice but to go see him. When she got there, Rupananda was ashamed and scared. However, the Buddha addressed her, spoke of her good qualities, and did not talk about things that displeased her. Pleasantly surprised, Rupananda took delight in his words. The Buddha knew that she was open to learning now, but was not ready for heavy instruction. Because the Buddha knew that Rupananda was obsessed with her beauty, he used his psychic powers to conjure up an even more beautiful girl. When Rupananda saw her, she could not take her eyes off of the mirage. But as Rupananda watched, the young, beautiful girl began to age rapidly right before her eyes. After the woman’s death, her body began to decay and all of her bodily fluids leaked out. Rupananda internalized this vision. She saw that just like the young, beautiful girl could not avoid aging or change, neither could she. She realized that the body that she cherished, adorned, and worshiped would eventually die, leak bodily fluids, and even be eaten by maggots. Nothing that was left would be desirable or attractive. At this moment, Rupananda changed her wrong views about her body. For her whole life, she saw her body as desirable. She believed that her body was beautiful, never-changing, and worthy of attachment. But now she knew the truth: Her body was constantly changing and aging; it was unable to be the way she wanted it to be. Rupananda then let go of all her attachments to her physical body, and became a Sotapanna a Stream-Enterer. What do you think the moral of this story is? We hope you enjoyed the video click LIKE if you did and click SUBSCRIBE if you want to see our uploads!

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