Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Publisher's Note

Something About Late Shri V.R. Gandhi
I - The Sankhya Philosophy
  II - The Yoga Philosophy
  III - The Naya Philosophy
  IV - Mimamsa
  V - The Vedanta Philosophy
  VI - Buddhism
  VII - Jainism
  Sanskrit Terms

VI - Buddhism



Within 5 months of his arrival at Benares, Gautama had sixty followers. And now he called them together and dismissed them in different directions to preach the truth for the salvation of mankind. "Go you now, O Bhikkhus, and wander for the gain of the many, for the welfare of Gods and men. Let not two of you go the same way. Preach, O Bikkhus, the doctrine which is glorious in the end, in the spirit and in the letter; proclaim a consummate, perfect and pure life of holiness."


At Uruvela, Gautama converted three brothers named Kashyapa who worshipped fire in the Vedic form and had high reputation as hermits and philosophers. The eldest brother Uruvela Kashyapa and his pupils first flung their hair, their braids, their provisions and the things for Agnihotr sacrifice into the river and received the Pavja and Upsanpada ordination from the Blessed one. His brothers, who lived by the river Niranjara and at Gaya, soon followed the example. The conversions of the Kashyapa created a sensation and Gautama with his new disciples and 1000 followers walked towards Rajgrha, the capital of Magadha. News of the new prophet soon reached the king and Sain.iya Bimbisara surrounded by numbers of Brahman and Vaeshya went to visit Gautama. Seeing the distinguished Uruvela Kashyapa there, the king could not make out if that great Brahmin had converted Gautama or if Gautama had converted the Brahmin. Gautama understood king's perplexity and in order to enlighten him asked Kashyapa, "What knowledge have you gained, O inhabitant of Uruvela, that has induced you who were renowned for your penances, to forsake your sacred fire?" Kashyapa replied that he had seen the state of peace and took no more delight in sacrifices and offerings. The king was struck and pleased and with his numerous attendants declared himself an adherent of Gautama, and invited him to take his meal with him the next day.


The solitary wanderer accordingly went, an honored guest, to the palace, of the king, and the entire population of the capital of Magadha turned out to see him. The king then assigned a Bamboo grove Vain.uvan close by for the residence of Gautama and his followers, and there, Gautama rested for some time. Shortly after Gautama obtained two renowned converts, Sariputta and Magellan.


The fame of Gautama had now traveled to his native town and his old father expressed a desire to see him once before he died. Gautama accordingly went to Kapilavastu, but according to custom remained in the grove outside the town. His father and relatives came to see him there. And the next day Gautama himself went into the town begging alms from the people who once adored him as their beloved prince and master. The story goes on to say that the king rebuked Gautama for this act, but Gautama replied it was the custom of his race. "But", retorted the king, "We are descended from an illustrious race of warriors and not one of them has ever begged his bread." "You and your family," answered Gautama, "may claim descent from kings; my descent is from the prophet, Buddha of the old."


The kings took his son to the palace where all the members of the family came to greet him except his wife. The deserted Yashodhara with a wife's grief and a wife's pride exclaimed, "If I am of any value in his eyes he will himself come; I can welcome him better here." Gautama understood this and went to her with only two disciples with him. And when Yashodhara saw her lord and prince enter a recluse with shaven head and yellow robes‑ her heart failed her; she flung herself to the ground, held his feet and burst into tears. Then remembering the impossible gulf between them, she rose and stood aside; she listened to his new doctrine and when subsequently Gautama was induced to establish an order of female mendicants Yashodhara became one of the first Buddhist nuns. Just at this time however she remained in her house but Rahula, Gautam's son, was converted. Gautam's father was aggrieved at this and asked Gautama to establish a rule that no one should in future be admitted to the order without his parents' consent. Gautama consented to this and made a rule accordingly.


On his way back to Rajgrha, Gautama stopped for some time at Anupiya, a town belonging to the Mallas. And while he was stopping there he made many converts both from the Kolian and from the Shakya tribe, some of whom deserve special mention. Aniruddh, the Shakya, went to his mother and asked to be allowed to go into the houseless state. His mother did not know how to stop him and so told him, "If Bhaddiya, the Shakya, will renounce the world thou also mayest go forth into the houseless state." Aniruddha accordingly went to Bhaddiya and it was decided that they should embrace the order in seven days. Chulvagga, the Buddhist Sutra says: So Bhaddiya, the Shakyaraj, and Aniruddha, and Ananda and Bhagu and Kimball and Devadatt just as they had so often previously gone out to the pleasure ground with fourfold array, and Upali the barber went with them, making seven in all. And when they had gone some distance, they sent their retinue back and crossed over to the neighboring district and took off their fine things and wrapped them in their robe and made a bundle of them and said to Upali the barber; " Do you now, Upali, turn back. These things will be sufficient for you to live upon." But Upali was of a different mind so all the seven went to Gautama and became converts. And when Bhaddiya had retired into solitude, he exclaimed over and over, " O happiness! O happiness!" And on being asked the cause said: "Formerly, Lord when I was a king I had a guard, completely provided, both within and without my private apartments, both within and without and town and within the borders of my country. Yet though I was thus guarded and protected I was fearful, anxious, distrustful and alarmed. But bow, Lord, even in the forest at the foot of a tree in solitude I am without fear or anxiety, trustful and not alarmed; I dwell at ease, subdued, secure, with mind as peaceful as an antelope."


Of these converts Ananda became the most intimate friend and companion of Gautama and after his death led the band of 500 monks in chanting the Dharma in the council of Rajagrha. Upali, though barber by birth, became an eminent member of the order and his name is often mentioned in connection with the Vinyapitak. Devadatta became subsequently the rival and opponent of Gautama and is even said to have advised Ajatashatru, the prince of Magadha, to kill his father Bimbisara and then attempted to kill Gautama himself.


After spending his second Vas or rainy season in Rajagrha Gautama repaired to Sravasti, the capital of Kosalas, where Prasenajit reigned as king. A wood called Jaitvan was presented to the Buddhists and Gautama often repaired and preached there. Gautam 's instructions were always delivered orally and preserved in the memory of the people like all the ancient books of India, although writing was known at this time.


The third Vas was also passed in Rajagrha and in the fourth year from the date of proclaiming is creed Gautama crossed the Ganges, went to Vaisali and stopped in the Mahavana grove. Thence he is said to have made a miraculous journey through the air to settle a dispute between the Shakyas and Kolians about the water of the Boundary River Rohini. In the following year he again repaired to Kapilvastu and was present at the death of his father, then 97 years old.


    His widowed step‑mother Prajapati Gautami and his no less widowed wife Yashodhara had now no ties to bind then to the world and insisted on joining the order established by Gautama. The sage had not yet admitted women to the order and was naturally most reluctant to do so. But his mother was inexorable and followed him to Vaisali and begged to be admitted. Ananda pleaded her case but Gautama still replied: " Enough, Ananda, Let it not please thee that women should be allowed to do so." But Ananda persisted and asked, "Are women, Lord, capable when they have gone forth form the household life and entered the homeless state under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the blessed one, are they capable of realizing the fruit of conversion, or of the second path or of Arhat ship?"2 There could be only one reply to this Honor to women has ever been a part of religion in India and salvation and heaven are not barred to the female sex by the Hindu religion. "They are capable," reluctantly replied Gautama.


 And Prajapati and other ladies were admitted to the order as Bhikkhunee under some rules making them strictly subordinate to Bhikkhu. After this Gautama retired to Kausambi near Prayag (Allahabad).


In the sixth year after spending the rains at Kausambi Gautama returned to Rajagrha, and Kshema the queen of Bimbisara was admitted to the order. In same year Gautama is said to have performed miracles at Sravasti and went to heaven to teach Dharma to his mother who had died 7 days after his birth.


In the eleventh year Gautama converted the Brahmin Bharadvaja. In the next year he undertook the longest journey he had ever made and then preached the famous Mharahulsutan to his son Rahula, then 18 years old. Two years later Rahula was admitted in the order. In the fifteenth year he visited Kapilavastu again and addressed a discourse to his cousin Mahanama, who had succeeded Bhaddiya, the successor of Shuddhodana. Gautam's father‑in‑law Suprabuddha, the king of Koli, publicly abused Gautama for deserting Yashodhara but is said to have been swallowed up by the earth shortly after.


In the seventeenth year he delivered discourse on the death of Shrimati, a courtesan; in the next year he converted a weaver who had accidentally killed his daughter; in the following year he released a deer caught in a snare and converted the angry hunter who had wanted to shoot him; and in the twentieth year he similarly converted the famous robber Angulimala of the Chaliya forest.


For twenty‑five years more Gautama wandered through the Gangetic valley, preached piety and holy life to the poor, the lowly and misguided, made converts among the high and the low, the rich and the poor and proclaimed his law wherever he went. He died at the age of 80. He lived 45 years from the date of his proclaiming the new religion.