this unit: Soon
after the Buddha started teaching, people from all over
joined his community to dedicate their life to practicing
the Dharma. But not everyone who joined became a monk or
nun. What mattered was a person's desire to live a spiritual
life. The Buddha was the first religious teacher to encourage
his disciples to spread the Dharma so everyone could benefit.
First Messengers of Truth
Buddha together with sixty monks set up the first Order
of Sangha. These monks were the messengers of the Buddha
who helped to spread the Dharma.
sending the monks in all directions to teach the Dharma,
the Buddha instructed them to go forward for the good
of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion
for the world, for the welfare of gods and men. No two
of them travelled together along the same road. He said
that he himself was going to Uruvela.
Buddha was the first religious teacher to send out his
disciples to spread the Dharma. All his disciples only
had a robe to cover themselves and an alms-bowl to collect
food. Their main duty was to spread the Dharma and to
teach the people to do good, avoid evil and purify the
are the Sangha?
kinds of people who are willing to follow the Buddha's
teachings. They included the young, the old, the rich
and the poor. They lived in peace and harmony. However,
not everyone had to become a monk or nun. Buddhist lay
followers could also learn the Dharma just like Venerable
Yasa's parents and former wife. The monks taught the Dharma
to the people. In return, the lay followers provided the
necessary material needs like food, shelter, robes and
medicine for the monks and nuns.
becomes the First Nun
the fifth year after his Enlightenment, the Buddha returned
to Kapilavatthu with his disciples when he heard that
his father was seriously ill. After his father passed
away, Queen Pajapati told the Buddha, "Yasodhara,
my ladies-in-waiting and I wish to become nuns."
first the Buddha refused and explained, "The life
we lead is far too harsh for women. The Buddha's teachings
can be followed anywhere. It is not necessary to leave
the comfort of your home family." After that, the
Buddha went to Vesali.
Pajapati was not discouraged by the Buddha's comment.
She cut her hair, put on a yellow robe and accompanied
by Yasodhara and other Sakyan women, walked to Vesali.
The long journey caused their feet to swell. Looking very
weary and with their clothes covered in dust, they finally
arrived at the monastery where the Buddha was teaching.
In tears, In tears, Pajapati spoke to Ananda, the personal
attendant of the Buddha."Please ask the Buddha to
let us become nuns."
was Ananda who saw their determination to join the Order.
He asked the Buddha, "Can women lead a holy life
and become Arahants (fully enlightened ones) if they become
Buddha answered, "Yes Ananda, they can even in this
very life. Tell Pajapati and the others that I accept
them into the Order". This was how Pajapati, Yasodhara
and their companions became the first nuns. Thus, the
Order of Nuns was formed.
Note: Quiz uses
Now that you have
finished unit 5, why not see what you
have learned by doing the unit 5 Quiz?