Ekūposathikā Chapter, the Second

[11. Ekūposathikā1]

In the city, Bandhumatī,
there was a king2 named Bandhuma.3
On the day of the full moon, he
took on4 Full-Moon-Day observance.5 (1) [131]

At that time [I also lived] there;
I was a water-jug slave-girl.
Seeing the army, with the king,
I reflected in this way then: (2) [132]

The king himself, breaking his reign,
took on Full-Moon-Day observance.
Surely that karma’s bearing fruit:
the populace is delighted. (3) [133]

Having considered thoroughly
my bad rebirth and poverty,
after gladdening [my] mind, I
took on Full-Moon-Day observance. (4) [134]

Having observed the Full Moon Day
in the Buddha’s6 dispensation,
Due to that karma done very well,
I went to Tāvatiṃsa [then]. (5) [135]

There my well-made divine mansion
welled up an [entire] league in height,
appointed with fine gabled cells,
decorated with large couches. (6) [136]

A [whole] lakh of celestial nymphs
are always looking after me.
Having surpassed the other gods,
I outshine them all of the time. (7) [137]

I was fixed in the chief queen’s place
of sixty-four kings of the gods.
I was fixed in the chief queen’s place
of sixty-three wheel-turning kings. (8) [138]

Having a golden complexion,
I transmigrated through lifetimes.
Everywhere I am distinguished:
fruit of Full-Moon-Day observance. (9) [139]

Elephant and horse carriages,
and complete chariot riggings;
I obtain every one of those:
fruit of Full-Moon-Day observance. (10) [140]

Things made of gold, things of silver,
also things made out of crystal,
and likewise made of ruby too;
I obtain all of those [fine things]. (11) [141]

Silken garments and woolen ones,
clothes made of khoma and cotton,
and [other] very costly clothes;
I obtain all of those [fine things]. (12) [142]

Food and drinks and solid foodstuffs,
and likewise clothing, beds and chairs;
I would obtain all those [items]:
fruit of Full-Moon-Day observance. (13) [143]

Superb scents as well as garlands,
[facial] powders and ointments too;
I would obtain all that [make-up]:
fruit of Full-Moon-Day observance. (14) [144]

Gabled cell-[adorned] palaces,
pavilions, storied mansions, caves;
I would obtain all those [dwellings]:
fruit of Full-Moon-Day observance. (15) [145]

[When] I was [but] seven years old,
I went forth into homelessness.
When the eighth month [thence] had arrived,
I attained [my] arahantship. (16) [146]

My defilements are [now] burnt up;
all [new] existence is destroyed.
All [my] defilements are destroyed;
now there will be no more rebirth. (17) [147]

In the ninety-one aeons since
I did that [good] karma back then,
I’ve come to know no bad rebirth:
fruit of Full-Moon-Day observance. (18) [148]

Being in Best Buddha’s presence
was a very good thing for me.
The three knowledges are attained;
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (19) [149]

The four analytical modes,
and these eight deliverances,
six special knowledges mastered,
[I have] done what the Buddha taught! (20) [150]

Thus indeed Bhikkhunī Ekūposathikā spoke these verses.

The legend of Ekūposathikā Therī is finished.

  1. “One Full-Moon-Day Observance-er”. Uposatha is a technical term for the weekly “sabbath” rituals according to the lunar calendar. These rites — on the day of the new moon, the full moon, the waning moon and no moon — became ubiquitous in the early centuries of the Buddhist era (and these “sabbaths” were observed by non-Buddhist groups as well). Among Buddhists, monks and nuns would meet for chanting of the monastic discipline and other rites of the assembly (sanghakamma), and would preach to and perform rituals for laypeople, especially devout upāsakas (male) and upāsikās (female) who on that day would adopt three more stringent disciplinary precepts in addition to the usual five precepts, spending the day living as quasi-monastics. This is what King Bandhumā is here credited with establishing, and what the rebirth precursor of Ekūposathikā did as the foundation of her future arahantship.

  2. lit., “a kṣatriyan”.

  3. the wife of this king also planted the seeds for arahantship (as Ekapiṇḍadāyikā) in the time of Gotama Buddha. See above, Therī-apadāna v. [46].

  4. lit., “set up,” “arranged for” “produced” “was born in”. The verb (upapajjati) is used throughout Apadāna to mean “rebirth,” implying that taking on the Uposatha observance was considered a sort of new birth of the person who did it.

  5. lit., “he set up the [observance of] Uposatha.”

  6. lit., “Supreme Buddha’s”