Women Admitted To The Sangha





Yasodhara had three times requested of the Buddha that she might

be admitted to the Sangha, but her wish had not been granted. Now

Pajapati, the foster-mother of the Blessed One, in the company of

Yasodhara, and many other women, went to the Tathagata entreating

him earnestly to let them take the vows and be ordained as

disciples.



And the Blessed One, foreseeing the danger that lurked in

admitting women to the Sangha, protested that while the good

religion ought surely to last a thousand years it would, when

women joined it, likely decay after five hundred years; but

observing the zeal of Pajapati and Yasodhara for leading a

religious life he could no longer resist and assented to have

them admitted as his disciples.



Then the venerable Ananda addressed the Blessed One thus:



"Are women competent, Venerable Lord, if they retire from

household life to the homeless state, under the doctrine and

discipline announced by the Tathagata, to attain to the fruit of

conversion, to attain to a release from a wearisome repetition of

rebirths, to attain to saintship?"



And the Blessed One declared: "Women are competent, Ananda, if

they retire from household life to the homeless state, under the

doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata, to attain to

the fruit of conversion, to attain to a release from a wearisome

repetition of rebirths, to attain to saintship.



"Consider, Ananda, how great a benefactress Pajapati has been.

She is the sister of the mother of the Blessed One, and as

foster-mother and nurse, reared the Blessed One after the death

of his mother. So, Ananda, women may retire from household life

to the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline

announced by the Tathagata."



Pajapati was the first woman to become a disciple of the Buddha

and to receive the ordination as a bhikkhuni.





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