by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes The Story of Cunda, the Goldsmith’s Son 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 Buddha Declared the Seven Factors of Non-Decline for Rulers. 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).
“Very well, Venerable Sir,” assented Ānanda. And the Buddha, accompanied by His large following of bhikkhus, went to Pāvā where He dwelled in the Mango grove monastery donated by Cunda, the goldsmith’s son.
(Cunda, the goldsmith’s son, was a very rich man. From his earlier meeting with the Buddha, he had benefited from His discourse and become a Stream-Winner. He built a big monastery in his mango grove and donated it to the Buddha. This was the last time the Buddha resided at the monastery.)
When Cunda, the goldsmith’s son, heard the news that the Buddha had arrived and was staying at his mango grove monastery, he approached Him, made obeisance to Him, and sat in a suitable place. The Buddha pointed out to Cunda, the benefits of the Doctrine, exhorted him to set himself up in the practice of the Dhamma, and gladdened him in the practice. After listening to His discourse, Cunda, said to the Buddha: “Venerable Sir, may it please the Bhagavā to accept my offering of food for tomorrow together with the company of bhikkhus.” The Buddha signified His acceptance by remaining silent.
Cunda, knowing that the Buddha had accepted his request, rose from his seat, and making obeisance to Him and left respectfully. The next day, he had choice foods of hard and soft kinds prepared at his home, including tender pork (sūkara maddava), meat of a wild pig that was neither too old nor too young. “Venerable Sir, it is time (to proceed). The foodoffering is ready,” he announced to the Buddha.
(Herein, the Pāli word for tender pork (sūkara maddava), is interpreted by some teachers as soft rice boiled with fine differently-tasting cow’s milk, while others also say that it means a special food prepared with some delicious and highly nutritive concoction called rasāyana. They say that Cunda had this special meal prepared for the Buddha in the belief that it would not cause the passing away of the Buddha.)
Then in the morning, the Buddha, taking His alms-bowl and robe, went to the house of Cunda, accompanied by the bhikkhus, and sat on the seat prepared for Him.
Having thus seated, the Buddha said to Cunda, the goldsmith’s son: “Cunda, you may serve Me the tender pork prepared by you; and you may serve the other food prepared by you to the company of bhikkhus.”
“Very well, Venerable Sir,” asserted Cunda, and accordingly served the personally prepared tender pork to the Buddha, and the other personally prepared food to the bhikkhusangha.
After finishing the meal, the Buddha said to Cunda: “Cunda, bury the remaining tender pork in a pit. I see no one else, besides me, in all the celestial world of devas, māras and Brahmās, or in this human world of samaṇas and brāhmanas, rulers and men who, should he perchance eat it, could digest it well” thus declared the Buddha categorically.
“Very well, Venerable Sir,” assented Cunda and accordingly buried the remaining tender pork in a pit. Then he approached the Buddha, made obeisance to Him, and sat in a suitable place. And the Buddha taught Cunda a discourse on the Doctrine. Then the Buddha rose from His seat and departed.
Thereafter, subsequent to the meal offered by Cunda, the Buddha became afflicted with a severe illness, an acute form of dysentery with discharge of blood, causing great pain near unto death but He bore the pain with mindfulness and clear comprehension, without perturbation.
Then He said to Ānanda: “Come, Ānanda, let us go to Kusināgara.” “Very well, Venerable Sir,” assented Ānanda.
(It should be noted here that the dysentery came upon the Buddha not on account of Cunda’s food offering. It is meant here that the affliction came merely subsequent to the meal but not because of it. As a matter of fact, Cunda’s specially prepared meal strengthened the Buddha. If not for Cunda’s highly nourishing food, the Buddha would not be able to withstand the onslaught of the severe illness.
Thanks to Cunda’s tender pork meal, the Buddha found strength to journey to Kusināgara on foot.)