Sunday, May 13, 2012

Maha Maya’s (Motherly) Dream

C.B. Varma, Jataka Stories ( edited by Wisdom Quarterly

The Buddha's mother's name was Maya (illusion, beauty). She is often called Maha Maya, Great Maya. She was the daughter of the Sakyan Anjana of Devadaha and mother Yasodhara -- the daughter of Jayasena.

However, according to the Therigatha Atthakatha (Commentary 141) her father was Maha Suppabuddha, and according to the Apadana (ii.538) her mother was Sulakkhana.

Mahamaya possessed every virtue of being the mother of the Buddha. She never violated the practice of Five Precepts (the wholesome personal conduct of refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and consuming intoxicants that lead to heedlessness).

Furthermore, according to tradition, she had practiced the ten perfections (parami) for one thousand years thus making her suitable to become the mother of the Buddha. 

The day when the Buddha -to-be was to be conceived, she observed the lunar observance day fast. And that night she had a dream: She saw the Four Great Sky Kings of the quarters (catu-maha-rajas) take her to the Himalayas (Himava) and placed her on a bed under a sal tree.

Then the wives of the devas came and bathed her in Lake Anottata and dressed her in devi robes. They then took her to a golden palace and laid her in a magnificent couch, where the Bodhisat in the form of a white elephant holding a white lotus in his resplendent trunk entered her womb through her right side.

That was a full-moon day of Uttara Asalha to mark the beginning of a seven-day festival. She, too, had participated in the festival. Furthermore, on that day she did not sleep with her husband.

The next day she recounted her dream to the king, who in turn consulted the court astrologers. From them came the prophecy that the child would either be a world monarch or a universal spiritual teacher

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