The Buddha reached the stairs. And Nanda expected him to take back his bowl. But he didn't. So he walked respectfully and quietly behind him, and the other monks followed. The Buddha came to the bottom of the stairs. Nanda thought, now, certainly the Buddha will take the bowl. But he didn't. They continued through the courtyard toward the outer gate. And still Nanda followed silently, his head bowed.
Seeing Nanda among the Buddha's retinue, Janapada Kalyani came out onto the balcony. She was a glistening beauty, her wet hair loose and falling past her shoulders. She was still holding a comb as she noticed Nanda carrying the Buddha's bowl. She called out, "Dear Nanda, return to me quickly."
Nanda became uneasy and troubled, but he could not bring himself to say anything about it to the Buddha. He followed until they reached the monastery. Just as he was ready to set the bowl down and race back to Kalyani, the Buddha turned and saw him standing there with the bowl in his hands, so he gently asked: "Nanda, would you like to be ordained as a monk?"
Although Kalyani's words were still ringing in his ears, he could not bring himself to refuse Buddha's kind offer. He found himself answering, "Yes, venerable sir."
Nanda's hair was shaved. In place of his royal clothing, he was given ascetic robes. Yet within, the longing for gorgeous Kalyani and the pleasures and royal comforts he was about to inherit pricked him. Although he tried to behave like a monastic, he failed. He could neither meditate nor concentrate on learning the Dharma.
The Buddha called for him and asked, "Nanda, is it true that you want to disrobe?" Nanda answered, "Yes, venerable sir." "Why?" the Buddha asked.
"Venerable sir," Nanda explained, "I accepted these robes because you asked me. Out of respect for you, I could not refuse them. But Janapada Kalyani's beautiful figure as she came out onto the balcony combing her wet hair and her inviting words, 'Dear Nanda, return to me quickly' are things I cannot get out of my mind. So I am returning to her and the palace to become ruler of the land."
"Then you may be interested in seeing this," the Buddha said as he invited Nanda on a journey into space.
Nanda held the Buddha's robe, and by use of supernormal powers, immediately traveled over the Earth on the way to a deva world named Tavatimsa. Along the way, they passed a burned field where a lonesome female monkey with a burned nose, ears, and tail was sitting on a charred tree stump.
When they appeared in the Tavatimsa spaceport, Sakka, the chief commander there, was seated in a great command station. Impossibly beautiful maidens (heavenly "nymphs," devis, apsaras, gandharvis) were busily preparing and polishing a glimmering white "mansion" (platform or spacecraft).
Eventually, even Janapada Kalyani joined the Order of Nuns (Bhikkuni Sangha) and became one of the arahants (saints).