Life of the Buddha – Queen Mahāmāyā’s Dream

‘More than 2,500 years ago, there was a king called Suddhodana. He married a beautiful Koliyan princess named Maha Maya ( Māyādevī ). The couple ruled over the Sakyas, a warrior tribe living next to the Koliya tribe, in the north of India, in what is now known as Nepal. The capital of the Sakya country was laid out across the foothills of the Himalayas and called Kapilavatthu. …

One full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness in Nepal. The next day, early in the morning, the queen told the king about the dream. The king was puzzled and sent for some wise men to discover the meaning of the dream.

The wise men said, “Your Majesty, you are very lucky. The devas have chosen our queen as the mother of the Purest-One and the child will become a very great being.” The king and queen were very happy when they heard this. …’

The Birth of the Prince

‘About ten months after her dream of a white elephant and the sign that she would give birth to a great leader, Queen Maya was expecting her child. One day she went to the king and said, “My dear, I have to go back to my parents. My baby is almost due.” Since it was the custom in India for a wife to have her baby in her father’s house, the king agreed, saying, “Very well, I will make the necessary arrangements for you to go.”

The king then sent soldiers ahead to clear the road and prepared others to guard the queen as she was carried in a decorated palanquin. The queen left Kapilavatthu in a long procession of soldiers and retainers, headed for the capital of her father’s kingdom.

On the way to the Koliya country, the great procession passed a garden called Lumbini Park. This garden was near the kingdom called Nepal, at the foot of the Himalayan mountains. The beautiful park with its sala trees and scented flowers and busy birds and bees attracted the queen. Since the park was a good resting place, the queen ordered the bearers to stop for a while. As she rested underneath one of the sala trees, her birth began and a baby boy was born. It was an auspicious day. The birth took place on a full moon (which is now celebrated as Vesak, the festival of the triple event of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death), in the year 623 B.C.E.. …’

The Naming Ceremony

King Suddhodana had an old teacher who was known to be very wise. He was called Asita the Sage. Asita lived in the jungle. While sitting one day he heard the devas singing and saw them dancing. “Why are you so happy?” he asked. “Because the most excellent of all beings has been born at Lumbini Park to Queen Maha Maya,” replied the devas. When he heard this, Asita went quickly to see the king and queen and their newborn son.

The king was very happy to see his wise old teacher again. In the palace, after the sage was seated, the king brought the prince before him and said, “Teacher, my son was born only yesterday. Here he is. Please see if his future will be good.”

As the king said this, he lowered the infant prince before the sage so that he might examine him properly. However, the baby turned his feet on to the sage’s head. Thus surprised, Asita took hold of the baby’s feet and examined them very carefully, finding some marks on them. He got up and said, “This prince will become a very great teacher in this world.” The sage was very pleased and, putting his palms together, paid due respect to the baby prince. The king, seeing this, did the same. This was the first salutation of the king.

On the fifth day of his son’s life, the king invited five wise men to witness the naming ceremony and to suggest a good name for the prince. The wise men examined the birthmarks of the prince and concluded, “The prince will be King of Kings if he wants to rule. If he chooses a religious life then he will become the Wisest — the Buddha.”

The youngest of the five wise men, Kondanna, then said, “This prince will be the Buddha and nothing else.”

Then the wise men gave him the name Siddhartha meaning “wish-fulfilled” or “one who has accomplished his goal”.

Source:
https://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha/1lbud.htm

https://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha/2lbud.htm

https://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha/3lbud.htm

Picture:
Lalitavistara (Life of the Buddha) at Borobudur,
a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple,
Cental Java, Indonesia,
presented by Anandajothi Bhikkhu
at .. https://www.photodharma.net/Indonesia/Indonesia.htm

The Lalitavistara Sūtra is a Mahayana Buddhist sutra that tells the story of Gautama Buddha from the time of his descent from Tushita until his first sermon in the Deer Park near Varanasi. …
More here .. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalitavistara_Sūtra
.. and here …
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lalitavistara

B.C.E. : Before Common Era
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Era

– by CFFong

  • posted by Terence Seow