The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

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

This page describes Kali, the Female Disciple of Kararaghara 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 life Stories of Female Lay Disciples. 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).

Biography (10): Kālī, the Female Disciple of Kararaghara

(a) Her Past Aspiration

The future Kālī was reborn into the family of a Rich Man in the city of Haṃsāvathī, during the time of Buddha Padumuttara. While listening to a sermon by the Buddha, she saw a female lay disciple being named by Him as the foremost in devotion to the Buddhas, even before meeting the Buddha. She strongly aspired to be such a person in her future existence. After making great offerings to the Buddha, she made her aspiration in front of Him. The Buddha predicted that her aspiration would be fulfilled in her future life.

(b) Her Last Existence as Kālī, Daughter of A Householder

The future Kālī, after being reborn in either the deva realm or human realm for a hundred thousand world-cycles, was reborn as a daughter of a householder in Rājagaha, during the time of Buddha Gotama. She was named Kālī by her parents.

When she came of marriageable age, she was given in marriage to a son of a householder of Kuraraghara, which was a market town in Avanti Province (Southern India) and had to go and live with her parent-in-law in that town. After a time, she became pregnant from her wedlock.

When her pregnancy advanced, Kālī considered it unwise to have the child born at a place away from her own parents’ home, and thus she went back to Rājagaha. Then, on one night (the full moon of Āsāḷhā (July), 103 Great Era, the day the Dhammacakka Sutta was taught), at midnight, she happened to overhear the devas, Sātāgira and Hemavata, discussing the salutary effects of the Triple Gems above her mansion, in mid-air. She was instilled with devotion for the Buddha so much so that even without having met Him, she was established in the Fruition of Stream-Entry. (For details, refer to Chapter 10.)

Kālī was the first among the females who attained sotāpatti-magga and became an ariya disciple so that she was the eldest among the Buddha’s female disciples. That very night, she gave birth to a child (the future Venerable Sona Kutikaṇṇa) and after staying at her parents’ house for as long as she liked, she returned to Kuraraghara.

(c) Kālī The Foremost Female Lay Disciple

On one occasion, when the Buddha sat in glory at the congregation of bhikkhus, in the Jetavana monastery and naming distinguished female lay disciples, He declared:

Bhikkhus, among My female lay disciples who are devoted to Me, even without having met Me, Kālī of Kuraraghara is the foremost.”

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