Rediscovering the Buddha: Legends of the Buddha and Their Interpretation

By Hans H. Penner | Go to book overview

2
The Perfection of Giving

After several world evolutions, a king named Sivi lived in a city called Jetuttara. He had a son named Sanjaya. When Sanjaya came of age the king introduced him to a princess named Phusati, the daughter of King Madda, and handed the kingdom over to him, thereby making Phusati his consort queen.

Now Phusati, after many aeons of rebirths, would become the mother of Gotama. Before that time, however, and after passing to and fro between the worlds of the gods and humans, she became the chief queen of Sakka, king of the gods. One day, Sakka realized that her time was exhausted and took her to one of the glorious pleasure gardens called Nandana. There, sitting together on a fabulous couch, he told her to choose whatever on earth she wanted. Not knowing the circumstances of her rebirth, Phusati felt slightly faint and asked Sakka what she had done to be sent to the world of humans from such a lovely place? Sakka replied that she remained dear to him and that she had done nothing wrong, but that all of her merit had been used up, was gone, and her departure was near. She should make ten wishes before she died. Phusati agreed. When she made her wishes she left that sphere and was conceived in the womb of King Madda’s queen. She grew up in royal splendor, surpassing all in beauty. When she became sixteen she married Prince Sanjaya.

Sakka remembered that only nine of the ten wishes had been fulfilled, and he resolved that her tenth wish, “a goodly son,” would now be brought to pass. Now at that time the Buddha-to-be was in

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