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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Therigatha >> Therigatha6.3
Adapted from Archaic Translation By Mrs. Rhys Davids 1909
Compared with the Pali Tipitaka at www.tipitaka.org



6.3 Khema, Daughter Of The King's Family At Sagala In Magadha, Wife Of King Bimbisara, Rajagaha, Foremost Of The Theris Who Were Distinguished For Insight, Ranked By The Buddha As A Model Theri
Now she, when Padumuttara was Buddha, became a slave to others, dependent for her livelihood on others, at Hansavati. And one day, seeing the Elder, Sujata, seeking alms, she gave him three sweet cakes, and at the same time took down her hair  and gave it to the Elder, saying: 'May I in the future become a disciple, great in wisdom, of a Buddha!' After many fortunate rebirths as Queen among both gods(angels) and men, for that she had created good karma(deeds) to the utmost, she became a human, when Vipassi  was Buddha. Renouncing the world,lived a holy life of celibacy for ten thousand years, she was a learned preacher of the Dhamma(path of eternal truth). Reborn, when Kakusandha was Buddha, in a wealthy family, she made a great park for the Order, and delivered it over to the Order with the Buddha at their head. She did this again when Konagamana was Buddha. When Kassapa was Buddha she became the eldest daughter of King Kiki,  named Samani, lived a holy life of celibacy, and gave a cell to the Order. Finally, in this Buddha-era (of Gautam Buddha), she was born in Magadha, at Sagala,  as one of the King's family, and named Khema. Beautiful, and with skin like gold, she became the wife of King Bimbisara. While the Master(Buddha) was at the Bamboo Grove(Veluvana monastery) she, being infatuated with her own beauty, would not go to see him, fearing he would look on this as a fault in her. The King made persons praise the Grove to her to induce her to visit it. And accordingly she asked him to let her see it. The King went to the Vihara(monastery), and seeing no Master, but determined that she should not get away, he instructed his men to let the Queen see Him of the Ten Powers(Buddha), even by constraining her. And this they did when the Queen was about to leave without meeting the Master(Buddha). As they brought her reluctant, the Master, by his magical power, conjured up a woman like a celestial nymph, who stood fanning him with a palmyra leaf. And Khema, seeing her, thought: 'Verily the Bhagwa(Lord Buddha) has around him women as lovely as goddesses(angels). I am not fit even to wait upon such. I am undone by my base and mistaken notions!' Then, as she looked, that woman, through the firm will of the Master, passed from youth to middle age and old age, till, with broken teeth, grey hair, and wrinkled skin, she fell to earth with her palm-leaf. Then Khema, because of her ancient resolve, thought: 'Has such a body come to be a wreck like that? Then so will my body also!' And the Master(Buddha), knowing her thoughts, said:

'They who are slaves to lust drift down the stream, 

Like to a spider gliding down the web 

He of himself has created. But the released, 

Who all their bonds have snapped in two, 

With thoughts elsewhere intent, forsake the world, 

And all delight in sensual pleasure put far away'.

The Commentaries say that when he had finished, she attained Arahantship (enlightenment equal to Buddha), together with thorough grasp of the Dhamma(path of eternal truth) in form and meaning. But according to the Apadana, she was established only in the Fruit of one who has entered the Stream(Sotapana, first divine awakening), and, the King consenting, entered the Order then she became an Arahant(enlightened equal to Buddha). 
From that time on she became known for her great insight(Panna, divine understanding), and was ranked foremost in this by the Bhagwa(Lord Buddha), seated in the assembly of Ariyans(followers) at the Jetavana Grove Vihara(monastery).
And as she sat one day to meditate under a tree, Mara(devil) the Evil One, in youthful shape, drew near, tempting her with sensuous ideas:

You are fair, and life is young, beautiful Khema! 

I am young, even I, too–Come, O fairest lady!

While in our ear fivefold harmonies murmur melodious,

we will seek our pleasure'. (139)


This body vile, foul seat of disease and corruption,

Loathing I feel, and oppression. Cravings of lust are uprooted. (140)

Lusts of the body and sense-mind cut like daggers and spears.

Speak not to me of delighting in anything of sensuous pleasure!

Verily all such vanities now no more may delight me. (141)

Slain on all sides is the love of the world, the flesh, and the devil. [1]

Torn apart is the darkness of ignorance once that beset me.

Know this, O Evil One! Destroyer, know yourself defeated! (142)


Lo! you who blindly worship stars of sky,

You who worship fire in forest, wait upon Agni,

Ignorant of the real are you all, you foolish and young,

Believing that you this way may find purification from evil.  (143) 

As for me I worship the Enlightened Buddha, the Utmost Human, [2]

Utterly free from all sorrow, doer of the Teacher's commandments'. (144)


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