茉莉皇后(一)

茉莉皇后是古印度波斯匿王的愛妻,她由平民的身份一躍為皇后,簡直就是麻雀變鳳凰的印度版。當然這一切都是業力因緣使然,連她自己都覺得不可思議。以下是有關茉莉皇后傳奇性的一生,選譯自南傳巴利英譯聖典,就讓我們來瞭解一下茉莉皇后究竟對佛教做出了何等的貢獻。

選譯自南傳巴利聖典

凱瑪比丘尼英譯

優婆塞喬正一漢譯於西元2006/12/3八關齋戒日


在古印度佛陀還住世的時代,舍衛城中有一位專門製作花鬘的師傅,他有一個美麗、聰明又大方的女兒,叫做茉莉,這位師傅視她如掌上明珠。

有一天,茉莉剛滿十六歲,她和一群女性朋友相約到公共花園郊遊,她提著籃子,裡面裝著三份發酵米,準備做為午餐。當她走出城門時,對面正巧迎來一群要進城托缽乞食的沙門。走在最前端的領隊,相貌端嚴,俊美出眾,令茉莉心生敬仰,茉莉便將籃中的食物很恭敬地放進這位沙門的缽裡。

這位沙門領隊並不是別人,乃是三界至尊-佛陀。佛陀讓茉莉將食物放進手中的缽,茉莉此時仍不知佛陀的身份,雖然如此,但仍虔誠的跪在地上,頂禮世尊的雙足。供養完畢後,茉莉帶著溢滿身心的喜悅離去。

望著茉莉的離去,佛陀淺淺地一笑,身旁的侍者阿難尊者深知佛陀絕不會無緣無故的笑,便詢問佛陀原因。

佛陀說:「阿難,剛才離去的那位少女,就在今日將因供養如來的功德獲致大福報,她很快地就會成為拘薩羅國的皇后。」

這在古印度的當時簡直是不可思議,因為印度時至今日仍是四姓階級壁壘分明,拘薩羅國的國王又怎麼可能去拔擢一個出生低階種姓的少女為皇后?

統治當時古印度恆河流域的波羅奈及拘薩羅國的君主就是波斯匿王,他可以說是當時最有權勢的國王。那時他正和殺父的阿闍世王作戰,卻打一場敗仗。波斯匿王被迫撤退,當他騎馬返回首都時,突然聽到從花園裡傳來一個女孩的歌聲,那女孩就是茉莉,她因遇見充滿光輝的聖者而心生喜悅,唱著悅耳的歌聲。

波斯匿王被歌聲引進花園,茉莉並沒有因為眼前這位武士而躲開,反而趨近,牽著馬的韁繩,凝視著國王的雙眼。波斯匿王問茉莉是否已婚,她回答沒有。波斯匿王下馬,走到茉莉的跟前坐下,然後把頭靠在她的膝上,讓她撫慰戰場的失意。平靜後,波斯匿王讓她上馬坐在後面,送她回她父母家,晚上他派遣一組盛大的隊伍前來迎娶茉莉。

從那時起,茉莉成為波斯匿王的最愛,她被賜予許多忠僕,而她的美麗宛如女神般的莊嚴。後來舉國皆知她因極微薄的供養而獲致最崇高的地位,她也因此予人仁慈與慷慨的好印象。無論她走到哪裡,眾人都會高呼:「那是供養佛陀的茉莉皇后!」

待續....................。

Queen Mallika

At the time of the Buddha, a daughter was born to the foreman of the guild of garland-makers in Savatthi. She was beautiful, clever and well behaved and a source of joy to her father.

One day, when she had just turned sixteen, she went to the public flower gardens with her girl-friends and took three portions of fermented rice along in her basket as the day's sustenance.

When she was just leaving by the city gate, a group of monks came along, who had come down from the monastery on the hill to obtain almsfood in town. The leader among them stood out; one whose grandeur and sublime beauty impressed her so much, that she impulsively offered him all the food in her basket.

He was the Awakened One. He let her put her offering into his alms bowl. After Mallika — without knowing to whom she had given the food — had prostrated at his feet, she walked on full of joy. The Buddha smiled. Ananda, his attendant, who knew that the fully Enlightened One does not smile without a reason, asked therefore why he was smiling. The Buddha replied that this girl would reap the benefits of her gift this very same day by becoming the Queen of Kosala.

This sounded unbelievable, because how could the Maharaja of Benares and Kosala elevate a woman of low caste to the rank of Queen? Especially in the India of those days with its very strict caste system, this seemed quite improbable.

The ruler over the United Kingdoms of Benares and Kosala in the Ganges Valley was King Pasenadi, the mightiest Maharaja of his day. At that time he was at war with his neighbor, the King of Magadha.

The latter had won a battle and King Pasenadi had been forced to retreat. He was returning to his capital on the horse that had been his battle companion. Before entering the city, he heard a girl sing in the flower gardens. It was Mallika, who was singing melodiously because of her joy in meeting the Illustrious Sage. The King was attracted by the song and rode into the gardens; Mallika did not run away from the strange warrior, but came nearer, took the horse by its reins and looked straight into the King's eyes. He asked her whether she was already married and she replied in the negative. Thereupon he dismounted, lay down with his head in her lap and let her console him about his ill-luck in battle.

After he had recovered, he let her mount his horse behind him and took her back to the house of her parents. In the evening he sent an entourage with much pomp to fetch her and made her his principal wife and Queen.

From then on she was dearly beloved by the King. She was given many loyal servants and in her beauty she resembled a goddess. It became known throughout the whole kingdom that because of her simple gift she had been elevated to the highest position in the State and this induced her subjects to be kind and generous towards their fellow men. Wherever she went, people would joyously proclaim: "That is Queen Mallika, who gave alms to the Buddha." (J 415E)

to be continued.........

 

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