The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes The Accession to the Throne contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Performance of the Ploughing Ceremony. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Part 6 - The Accession to the Throne

The Assumption of Kingship attended upon by Forty Thousand Sakyan Princesses

In this manner, Prince Siddhattha displayed his skill in archery to dispel all distrust, disdain, slander and reproach heaped upon him by his royal relatives. His was a feat of skill which had no equal, it was so marvellous and rare to witness. Thereupon, all the royal relatives, being cleared of the doubts and misgivings which they had entertained earlier, joyously proclaimed: “Never before in the royal annals of the Sakyan dynasty had anyone witnessed such feats of mastery as we have witnessed now,” and thus showering praises on the Prince. They were so fully delighted with such incomparable prowess and all-round accomplishments of the Prince, that they willingly sent him their own royal daughters, who were beautifully dressed and adorned, for royal betrothal. The princesses of pure birth and matchless beauty sent to the royal court numbered forty thousand.

The Beauty of Queen Yasodharā

Among the forty thousand Sakyan princesses, the crown, the crest, and the foremost was Princess Yasodharā whose maiden name was Bhaddakaccānā.

Yasodharā Devī was, as has been said above, one of the connatals of the Prince. She was born out of the union of the Sakyan ruler Suppabuddha, the son of the Prince’s grandfather, King Añjana of Devadaha Kingdom, and Princess Amitta, who was the younger sister of King Suddhodāna. The Princess earned the name of Yasodharā for being endowed with pristine fame and great retinue. (Yaso = great retinue and high repute; dharā = bearer. Hence, Princess who is endowed with great retinue and high repute.)

She was of golden colour, permanently eye-catching and beautiful, like an image cast of solid gold or as if the natural flesh and body was made of gold. With her matchless, proportionate body, and of dazzling radiance, she was comparable in beauty and comportment to the victory flag-post erected in the scenic and delightful celestial Kīḷāmaṇḍala Amusement Park of Mara King named Manobhū. Like that of the celestial nymph (Devaccharā), her bodily radiance could illuminate the whole of her private chamber which was otherwise shrouded in total darkness. She was also endowed with five feminine charms of a virtuous lady, namely, (1) the beauty of skin (chavi-kalyāṇa); (2) the beauty of flesh and muscles (maṃsa-kalyāṇa); (3) the beauty of veins (nhāru-kalyāṇa), (4) the beauty of bone structure, (aṭṭhi-kalyāṇa); or the beauty of teeth formation, (dantakalyāṇa); (5) the beauty of hair, (kesa-kalyāṇa);or, in other words, the beauty of bones, of skin, of hair, of flesh and of youth.

She also possessed pleasurable touch (sukha-samphassa) like the feel of cotton ginned a hundred times. She was free from six blemishes, viz., being too dark or too white; being too fat or too thin; being too short or too tall; the sweet fragrance of choice sandalwood emanating from her faultless graceful body always pervaded the air; her coral coloured mouth was always fragrant with the scent of the blue lotus. Baddakaccānā, Yasodharā Devī, was the noble 'treasure of the woman' worthy to be the consort of a Universal Monarch ruling over the four Continents.

The above description of the Princess Yasodharā gives only a few distinguishing features for easy portrayal. In fact, she was unique among human beings and excelling female deities too. She was actually enjoying the merits which had accrued finally and simultaneously from all the Perfections she had fulfilled and the deeds of merit she had performed in the previous innumerable existences. Subsequently, she became a lady of excellence and great worth, endowed with the most admirable peerless beauty amongst ladies of virtue and nobility.

Inauguration Ceremony

The eighty thousand royal relatives headed by King Suddhodāna, assembled at a grand and magnificent convention and celebrated the coronation of Prince Siddhattha, which included the raising of the royal white umbrella over his head, the sprinkling of cool water (abhiseka) and the formal ascension to the golden throne.

From among the forty thousand princesses presented by the Sakyan relatives, ten thousand princesses were assigned to Yasodharā Devī to form her personal suite. The remaining thirty thousand princesses were assigned to be resident attendants in the three palaces, ten thousand in each of them.

Prince Siddhattha, surrounded by young maidens of noble Sakyan origin, was like a youthful deva being attended upon by deva princesses or like Sakka, the King of Devas; and he was entertained with very pleasant music played by all-female troupes. He lived amidst great and magnificent luxury of royalty, comparable to that of a Universal Monarch. He took up residence in the three magnificent and elegant palaces of Ramma, Subha, and Suramma in turn, according to the three seasons, leading a life of happiness and comfort.

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