Sunday, May 12, 2019

When the Buddha's mother died

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; Ranajit Pal
The story of the Buddha, which is allegorical and steeped in legend, took place in this region.
Artist's rendition of Queen Maya and the birth of Prince Siddhartha in Lumbini park

The Buddha's biological mother Queen Maya
The Scythians (Shakyians) were an exceedingly "proud" people, a euphemism that seems to mean they were tough warriors riding horses around "Saka/Shakya Land," what are now called "the Stans":
Prince Siddhartha, Bodhisattva
See for the proper placement of the Buddha's birthplace, which was not in Nepal or India, which became politically expedient locations to relocate it due to Islam's spread into formerly Buddhist lands and the internal upsurge of Vedic tradition (which came to be called "Hinduism" by the British who found an mindbogglingly diverse set of beliefs and practices all around the Indus River Valley and labelled the whole panoply "Indus-ism") in and around former cities as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, the birthplace of Maha Bharat ("Great India").
Indus River region, the Buddha's birthplace
This formerly wandering, nomadic band of tribes (Scythians/Sakas/Shakyans) became settled and grew rich due to trade along the Silk Route through their lands.

Merchants passed through and brought news, riches, and philosophy into these hinterlands -- particularly faraway Bamiyan (with its world-famous Buddhas), Mes Aynak, and Kabul/Kapilavastu (Buddhist-Afghanistan), the seasonal capitals the Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) grew up in at the foothills of the Himalayas (at the portion called the Hindu Kush) -- where the future Buddha was raised to be a ruler.

His mother, Queen Maha Maya Devi, was along with her sister, Maha Pajapati Gotami, a wife of the local Saka ruler, King Suddhodana, the Buddha's father.

This relationship is important because young Queen Maya passed away a week after Prince Siddhartha's birth in Lumbini (see for actual location), outside her own kingdom.

She was traveling to her parents' home to give birth, as is tradition in the region. She came to be lionized in legend as a sal tree deva/dryad (salabhanjika) holding a branch as she gives birth.

Her passing must have impacted the young Prince Siddhartha very deeply, but as he was only 7 days old, how conscious could this impact have been? His mother's sister and co-wife of the king, Queen Pajapati, stepped in and neglected her own children (the Buddha's half brother and sister, Nanda and Sundari Nanda) to raise the future king.

She doted on him and eventually, as Maya Devi was reborn among the devas back in the dimension (Tusita) she is said to have left in order to come to earth to be reborn and serve as his birth mother, became the world's first Buddhist nun. The prince, when he renounced the world, did not forget about his parents or subjects. Indeed, he renounced the throne and the world to go on a spiritual quest to save them.

He did this by realizing the ultimate truth and discovering the answer to the question, Why do we suffer? Discovering that, he realized what could be done about it. He rediscovered nirvana, "the end of all suffering," and taught the path to the end of suffering to his family -- his mothers (Maya and Pajapati), his wife (Princess Bimba/Yasodhara and harem-girl Mriga, the mother of Ananda according to some Buddhist records), his other son (Rahula), and all the Shakyians/Scythians in Shakya Land when he returned as a fully enlightened teacher (samma-sam-buddha) seven years later.

Since the Buddha's mother was now in the Tusita world in space (a "heaven" or deva world), he went to meet her in a lower world in space called the World of the Thirty-Three (Tavatimsa). There he taught her and the other devas the "Ultimate Doctrine" (Abhidharma) until they attained liberation and also brought that formulation of the teaching back down to earth so as to benefit human practitioners.

The Buddha's mother's death is, therefore, not recorded as a tragedy but as a working out of karma in line with pre-birth plans and arrangements which really worked out well. It gave Prince Siddhartha an impetus to leave his luxurious royal life of privilege and set off on a spiritual quest, which is something we can all take to heart. As for his father, King Suddhodana, the Buddha taught him and at his passing he was a noble one, someone in one or another of the stages of enlightenment.

The Buddha's aunt and foster-mother
As for his foster mother, she became the enlightened nun Ven. Maha Pajapati Gotami Theri. His former wife, Princess Bimba (known to the world by the epithet "Yasodhara") became the enlightened Buddhist nun and fierce disputant, the greatest debater in all the land, Ven. Bhaddhakaccana Theri. Her son (she is often called Rahulamata, "mother of Rahula," and many other names so that it is hard to track her and how famous she became). His cousin or other son, Ven. Ananda, became one of the great disciples whose memory served to record most of the sutras we have today. He attained full enlightenment just before the First Buddhist Council called by the other great disciple Maha Kassapa Thera.

Queen Pajapati and Siddhartha
It was a very happy ending for all who practiced the path, with perhaps the great exception of Princess Bimba's brother, the Buddha's cousin, Ven. Devadatta, the "Judas" figure in Buddhism. But even for him, who did the worst things (creating a schism in the sangha, trying to assassinate and usurp the Buddha on multiple occasions and succeeding in shedding his blood, convincing Prince Ajatasattu to assassinate his father, the noble (stream-enterer) disciple of the Buddha, King Bimbasara, and only seeing the error of his ways when it was too late. But the Buddha said even of him that he would eventually in the distant future attain liberation, after a great deal of suffering resulting from his bad karma, having set off on the way of practice toward complete liberation.

Mes Aynak was the Mahanaga Vihara ["Great Creature Monastic Complex"] of Trapusa

Dr. Ranajit Pal states that: The startling recent discoveries at Mes Aynak near Kabul (ancient Kapilavastu?) have dramatically altered the archeological basis of Buddhist history, though there is almost no realization among Western scholars about the implications of this find. The fact is that Mes Aynak totally destroys the fraudulent claims of a "Buddha Gautama of Lumbini in Nepal."

T. A. Phelps has recently exposed the forgeries of A. A. Fuhrer in Nepalese archeology, but surprisingly this continues to go ignored as an inconvenient truth.

The Buddhist name of Mes Aynak may have been Mahanaga Vihara or Nagamaha Vihara. This is usually placed in Sri Lanka (Ancient Ceylon), but the Ceylonese chronicles are often very confused. Nagamaha Vihara is said to be a monastic complex in Rohana built by Mahanaga, the brother of Devanampiya Tissa, but the name Tissa occurs in the Persepolis tablets, and there were many Tissas who were not related to modern Sri Lanka. More

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