> Digital Library > Multimedia
Documentation > Jataka Stories > The
Story of Suddhodana
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|087 - Suddhodana|
Suddhodana was the king of Kapilavatthu and known in the history as the father of Gotama Buddha. He happened to be his father in numerous births, e.g., Katthahari, Alinachitta, Susimaa, Bandhanagara, Kosambi, Mahadhammapala, Dasaratha, Hatthipala, Maha-Umagga and Vessantara Jatakas.
The Buddha visiting Kapilavatthu after his Enlightenment
He belonged to the
dynasty of the Sakyan. King Sihahanu and Kacchanaa were his parents. He
had four brothers namely, Dhotadana, Sakkodana, Sukkodana and Amitodana;
and two sisters, namely, Amitaa and Pamitaa. Maya, the mother of
Siddhattha Gotama was his chief consort; but after her death her younger
sister Pajapati became his chief consort.
When Gotama was born
and the sage Asita visited the king’s court and placed the newly born
baby’s feet on his head, he, too, was surprised and worshipped the baby.
He worshipped him for the second time at a ploughing ceremony, when the
baby seated under the Jambu tree was absorbed in meditation.
As the soothsayers had
predicted that the baby would either be a recluse or a suzerain king,
he took special care to refrain him from those sights, which could inspire
him to renounce the worldly life.
When Gotama became a
sage and the news of his Enlightenment was reported to him he sent a
messenger with ten thousand companions to bring Buddha to Kapilavatthu.
But the messenger and his companions never returned as they preferred to
become monks and stay with the Master. The king then sent the messengers
for nine more times but no messenger ever returned, because they all
became the followers of the Buddha. Finally, the king sent Kaludayi, a
friend of the Buddha, who was born on the same day when the latter was
born. He, too, became a monk but kept his promise to extend the king’s
invitation to the Master.
On invitation of
Suddhodana, when the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu and stayed in Nigrodha
Arama; he went on his usual rounds of begging, When this news was reported
to the king that his son was begging in the streets of his kingdom he was
terribly upset. When he met and sought an explanation from the Buddha and
when the Buddha told him that there was nothing unusual for a Buddha to
beg he was satisfied with the answer. His satisfaction made him a
Sotapanna (‘Stream Enterer’; to be born in the world for the maximum
of seven times). He became a
Sakidagami, (one who could be born for the maximum of one more time) when
he heard the Buddha’s discourse after his meals in his palace, where he
had invited him. Further, he became an Anagami (Never-Returner to the
worldly birth) after hearing the Buddha’s Mahadhammapala Jataka.
Further, he became an Arahata (one who has attained the fourth stage of
the spiritual evolution; and has destroyed all worldly fetters) on his
death-bed when the Buddha came flying to teach him.
Suddhodana, thus, died as a lay Arahata.
Copyright IGNCA© 2002