Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Buddha And King Pasenadi Of India

The Buddha And King Pasenadi Of India Image


King Pasenadi ruled in KOSALA, which was a province north of MAGADHA -- where the Buddha lived -- ruled by KING BIMBISARA. The capital of the kingdom of Kosala was SAVATTHI), where the Buddha frequently visited as a wandering teacher in northern India.

One of King Pasenadi's sisters was the chief queen of King Bimbisara, which made him the brother-in-law of King Bimbisara.

King Pasenadi became a follower of the Buddha very early on and remained a loyal supporter. His chief queen was Mallika, a wise and spiritual queen who was well versed in the Dharma and acted as the king's guide on several occasions.

Although raised far to the west (ancient Gandhara, modern Afghanistan), the Buddha mainly taught in northern India around Magadha.

The first time the king met the Buddha, he asked, "How is it that Master Gautama claims he has gained full enlightenment? Master Gautama is both young in years and young as a renunciate."

The Buddha replied, "Great King, there are four things that should not be looked down on or despised because they are young:

* noble warrior (KSHSTRIYA)
* serpent ("naga", a simple snake or a reptilian shape-shifter)
* fire, and a
* monastic ("bhikkhu").

An enraged young warrior may ruthlessly cause harm to others. The bite of even a small snake may kill. A little fire may become a huge inferno that destroys building and forests. Even a young monastic may be a saint [fully enlightened]."

Hearing this, King Pasenadi understood that the Buddha was indeed a wise teacher and decided to become his follower.

Ancient India extended west to modern Iran. Evidence shows the Buddha's hometown, Kapilavastu, was near modern Bamiyan and Kabul, whereas Lumbini was in the province of Baluchestan (S.E. Iran, S.W. Afghanistan, W. Pakistan). See

The king liked going to the Buddha to seek advice. During his official duties, he often found time to visit and speak to the Buddha.

When discoursing with the Buddha one day, he received news that Queen Mallika had given birth to a daughter. The king was not pleased with the news because he had been longing for a son.

The Buddha spoke in praise of women. He reminded the king: "Some women are better than men, O king. There are women who are wise and good, who regard their mothers-in-law as goddesses and are pure in thought, word, and deed. They may one day give birth to brave sons who would rule a country."

The king remembered then once hearing the Buddha say, "It is the dear ones whom we love [with deluded attachment] that bring us [through whom we bring ourselves] sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair."

The king asked Queen Mallika whether she agreed with the Buddha. She said that if the Buddha had said so, it must be true. But the king was not satisfied. "How can a "loved" one bring sorrow?" he wondered.

Queen Mallika approached a brahmin to ask the Buddha to explain this. Having heard many stories to explain the problem, the brahmin related them to the queen. She then quizzed the king: "Sire, what is your opinion, is your daughter Princess Vajira dear to you?"

"Yes, Mallika, she is very dear to me," answered the king.

"If some misfortune were to befall Princess Vajira, would that bring sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair?"

"Yes," answered the king.

"Sire, it was because of this that the Buddha said that it is dear ones whom we love that bring sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair."

"Mallika," exclaimed the king, "It is wonderful! It is marvelous! How far the Enlightened One sees with understanding."

When the king later lost a battle to his nephew (King Bimbisara's patricidal son) and had to retreat to his capital of Savatthi, the Buddha commented to his disciples that neither the victor nor the defeated experience peace:

"Victory breeds hatred.

The defeated live in pain.

Happily the peaceful live,

Giving up victory and defeat.

Later there was another battle. The two kings fought again and King Pasenadi won. Moreover, he captured King Ajatasattu, his nephew, alive with all his war elephants, chariots, horses, and soldiers.

The king thought that he might release the young king but keep his elephants, horses, and men. He wanted the satisfaction of keeping these material possessions as the prizes of victory.

On hearing his, the Buddha told his disciples that it would have been wiser for King Pasenadi not to have kept anything for himself. The truth of this statement applies even to our modern war-weary world:

"A man may plunder, as he will.

When others plunder in return,

He who is plundered will plunder in return.

The Wheel of Karma turns round

and makes the ones who are plundered plunderers.

King Pasenadi of Kosala passed away at 80 when his son, Prince Vidudabha [as in THE TRAGIC CASE of King Bimbisara, a stream enterer, when he was overthrown by his treacherous patricidal son Prince Ajatasattu], revolted against him.

Then as now, wandering yogis are regarded as "saints" in India (Vitor E. Santos/Flickr).


One evening, when King Pasenadi was having a discussion with the Buddha, there passed on the road a wandering band of yogis with long knotted hair, hairy bodies, and long fingernails.

They walked by slowly, with heads bowed. At once the king got up, approached them, and knelt down in homage, uttering his own name three times.

The king came back to the Buddha and said, "Venerable sir, there were saints among those ascetics. Just see how calmly they walked with heads bent low."With his divine eye faculty the Buddha saw that those men were not saints, not even yogis, but spies who were sent out to gather information.

"Your majesty," explained the Buddha, "by mere appearances alone it is not possible for one who leads a life of comfort and sensual pleasure to know the real nature of another.

If we want to understand a people's real nature, their good and bad qualities, we must associate with them for some time. We must be wise and develop sharpness of mind."

"We can know people's purity by conversing with them, observing their courage in the face of misfortune, and even understand their level of wisdom during discussions with them. Bad people, O king, sometimes pretend to be good, and it is difficult for you to judge their moral character."


There is ample evidence of ETs ("devas, asuras, nagas, kinnaras"), UFOs ("vimanas"), and even nuclear weapons in the long history of ancient India, including ancient Buddhist texts that frequently mention cosmology.

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