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Rahula









Many people in Kapilavatthu believed in the Tathagata and took
refuge in his doctrine, among them Nanda, Siddhattha's
halfbrother, the son of Pajapati; Devadatta, his cousin and
brother-in-law; Upali the barber; and Anuruddha the philosopher.
Some years later Ananda, another cousin of the Blessed One, also
joined the Sangha.

Ananda was a man after the heart of the Blessed One; he was his
most beloved disciple, profound in comprehension and gentle in
spirit. And Ananda remained always near the Blessed Master of
truth, until death parted them.

On the seventh day after the Buddha's arrival in Kapilavatthu,
Yasodhara dressed Rahula, now seven years old, in all the
splendor of a prince and said to him:

"This holy man, whose appearance is so glorious that he looks
like the great Brahma, is thy father. He possesses four great
mines of wealth which I have not yet seen. Go to him and entreat
him to put thee in possession of them, for the son ought to
inherit the property of his father."

Rahula replied: "I know of no father but the king. Who is my
father?"

The princess took the boy in her arms and from the window she
pointed out to him the Buddha, who happened to be near the
palace, partaking of food.

Rahula then went to the Buddha, and looking up into his face said
without fear and with much affection: "My father!"

And standing near by him, he added: "O samana, even thy shadow is
a place of bliss!"

When the Tathagata had finished his repast, he gave blessings and
went away from the palace, but Rahula followed and asked his
father for his inheritance.

No one prevented the boy, nor did the Blessed One himself.

Then the Blessed One turned to Sariputta, saying: "My son asks
for his inheritance. I cannot give him perishable treasures that
will bring cares and sorrows, but I can give him the inheritance
of a holy life, which is a treasure that will not perish."

Addressing Rahula with earnestness, the Blessed One said: "Gold
and silver and jewels are not in my possession. But if thou art
willing to receive spiritual treasures, and art strong enough to
carry them and to keep them, I shall give thee the four truths
which will teach thee the eightfold path of righteousness. Dost
thou desire to be admitted to the brotherhood of those who devote
their life to the culture of the heart seeking for the highest
bliss attainable?"

And Rahula replied with firmness: "I do. I want to join the
brotherhood of the Buddha."

When the king heard that Rahula had joined the brotherhood of
bhikkhus he was grieved. He had lost Siddhattha and Nanda, his
sons, and Devadatta, his nephew. But now that his grandson had
been taken from him, he went to the Blessed One and spoke to him.
And the Blessed One promised that from that time forward he would
not ordain any minor without the consent of his parents or
guardians.





Next: Jivaka The Physician

Previous: Yasodhara



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Buddha's Gospels