慈心第一的王妃-Samavati的故事

不放逸與勤奮是涅盤之道,那放逸之人邁向死徑。

選譯自南傳巴利英譯法句經

譯於八關齋戒日

 


     

       當佛陀駐錫在Ghosita精舍時,曾提及王妃Samavati的故事。

 

        在Bhaddavati城堙A住著一名財主,名叫Bhaddavatiya,而Ghosaka也是一名財主,但他們倆彼此從未見過面,只是從那些由Bhaddavati城來的商人得知對方的消息,但彼此都很仰慕對方。

        有一天,財主Bhaddavatiya家中突遭瘟疫的侵染,疾病蔓延開來,家堛漱H一一死去。當時,Bhaddavatiya與他的太太及女兒便開始逃難。經過一路上的顛沛流離,他們終於來到了Kosambi

        他們聽說Ghosaka長者樂善好施,每天都會佈施食物給窮人和盲人,於是他們便派女兒去乞討。

        這samavati從小生在富裕的家庭中,在自尊心與不幸的壓力下,乞討到了三份食物。回去後Bhaddavatiya因感嘆自己淪落至此境地,一時憂憤過度而去逝了。

       第二天,samavati乞討到了兩份食物,但母親也因傷心及疲累過度而去逝。

       第三天samavati只乞討一份食物,一名管家記得她三次來領取食物,於是誤會她前兩次是過於貪心才會乞討較多食物,但經詢問後才發現samavati悲慘的際遇。這管家聽後非常的憐憫samavati的遭遇,決定收她為乾女兒。

        有一天,因為samavati幫助管家解決了一項難題,被Ghosaka長者知道了,於是便詢問samavati的身世,後來得知是Bhaddavatiya的女兒,於是也將她收為乾女兒照顧她。

         某一天城市媮|行節日慶典,貴族婦女們按照習俗赤著腳,帶著隨從到河堥N浴。那天samavati也不例外,由五百名隨從陪伴,來到靠近皇宮附近的御河堥N浴。正巧國王Udena從窗口望下看時,看到了samavati的俏麗模樣,一時驚為天人,自此為他神魂顛倒、意亂情迷。

        國王決定要立samavati為妃,便打聽samavati的身世,並且放下身段追求samavati

        這時,另一位已被國王立為后妃的美女Magandiya,她就是那位父親以她向佛陀求親而被拒的大美女。Magandiya一向自負其美貌,對於佛陀當日將她的美貌色身比喻成裝滿糞便的花瓶一事,讓她的自尊深受打擊,故而一直記恨在心。

        現在,Magandiya知道samavati是一位虔誠的佛教徒,發現報復佛陀的機會來了。她故意在國王面前「妄語」、「兩舌」及「惡口」,誣陷samavati及她的隨從在皇宮牆壁上鑿了許多的洞,並作出越軌的事。

        又一次,Magandiya謊稱說samavati要殺害她,並事先將毒蛇塞進琴堙A等國王在彈奏時,毒蛇差點咬到國王,Magandiya 將一切罪狀都推到samavati身上。單純善良的Samavati面對這宮廷鬥爭實在外行,對此抹黑簡直百口莫辯。

        於是國王下令將samavati及她的隨從們都綁起來,準備用毒箭射殺她們。但samavati及她的隨從們對於國王並沒有絲毫的敵意或恨意,甚至對國王及弓箭手發自真心的關愛及慈心,散射慈心念力,結果毒箭竟奇蹟似的傷不到samavati及她的隨從們。

        國王對這項奇蹟感到非常驚奇,同時國王覺得samavati及她的隨從們可能是無辜的。於是靜下心來聽samavati的解釋,最後國王才發現誤會了samavati及她的隨從們,差點釀成大錯。

        國王除了愛慕以外,還更加敬重samavati。受到samavati的影響,國王漸漸對samavati所信奉的三寶:佛、法、僧開始感到興趣,於是決定迎請以佛陀為首的僧團進皇宮應供及說法。

        Magandiya發現她的毒計竟告失敗,非常惱怒,於是又生一毒計,決定放火燒死samavati及她的隨從們,不留任何一個活口。於是她寫了一封密函給她的叔叔,叫他偷偷的放火燒samavati的寢宮。

        這時,samavati及她的隨從們正依照佛陀的教導修行禪定,samavati提醒她的隨從們:「不要害怕!我們從過去無量生死以來不知已歷經多少次被火焚燒,我們現在要做的是不放逸,安住正念!」隨後大家便進入甚深禪定中,根本不顧危險,結果當然全部都葬身於火海之中。

        國王知道samavati及她的隨從們全部罹難的消息,自然是悲痛萬分,他懷疑是Magandiya的陰謀,於是佯裝不露聲色,說要成全Magandiya一個願望,就是厚封她的親戚們。等Magandiya及她的親戚們全都奉召入宮聽封時,國王立刻下令將他們全部逮捕起來當場處死。

       佛陀知道整件事的前因後果之後,對Magandiya的惡行感嘆地說:「那些有正念的人不會死,而那些不約束自己的人,活著就跟死了一般。」而對samavati的慈心及正念則讚譽為在家女弟子中「慈心第一」。  

II. (1) The Story of Samavati

While residing at the Ghosita monastery near Kasambi, the Buddha uttered Verses (21), (22) and (23) of this book, with reference to Samavati, one of the chief queens of Udena, king of Kosambi.

Samavati had five hundred maids-of-honour staying with her at the palace; she also had a maid servant called Khujjuttara. The maid had to buy flowers for Samavati from the florist Sumana everyday. On one occasion, Khujjuttara had the opportunity to listen to a religious discourse delivered by the Buddha at the home of Sumana and she attained Sotapatti Fruition. She repeated the discourse of the Buddha to Samavati and the five hundred maids-of-honour, and they also attained Sotapatti Fruition. From that day, Khujjuttara did not have to do any menial work, but took the place of mother and teacher to Samavati. She listened to the discourses of the Buddha and repeated them to Samavati and her maids. In course of time, Khujjuttara mastered the Tipitaka.

Samavati and her maids wished very much to see the Buddha and pay obeisance to him; but they were afraid the king might be displeased with them. So, making holes in the walls of their palace, they looked through them and paid obeisance to the Buddha everyday as he was going to the houses of the three rich men, namely, Ghosaka, Kukkuta and Pavariya.

At that time, King Udena had also another chief queen by the name of Magandiya. She was the daughter of Magandiya, a brahmin. The brahmin seeing the Buddha one day thought the Buddha was the only person who was worthy of his very beautiful daughter. So, he hurriedly went off to fetch his wife and daughter and offered to give his daughter in marriage to the Buddha. Turning down his offer, the Buddha said, "Even after seeing Tanha, Arati and Raga, the daughters of Mara, I felt no desire in me for sensual pleasures; after all, what is this which is full of urine and filth and which I don't like to touch even with my foot."

On hearing those words of the Buddha, both the brahmin and his wife attained Anagami Magga and Phala. They entrusted their daughter to the care of her uncle and themselves joined the Order. Eventually, they attained arahatship. The Buddha knew from the beginning that the brahmin and his wife were destined to attain Anagami Fruition that very day, hence his reply to the brahmin in the above manner. However, the daughter Magandiya became very bitter and sore and she vowed to take revenge if and when an opportunity arose.

Later, her uncle presented Magandiya to King Udena and she became one of his chief queens. Magandiya came to learn about the arrival of the Buddha in Kosambi and about how Samavati and her maids paid obeisance to him through holes in the walls of their living quarters. So, she planned to take her revenge on the Buddha and to harm Samavati and her maids who were ardent devotees of the Buddha. Magandiya told the king that Samavati and her maids had made holes in the walls of their living quarters and that they had outside contacts and were disloyal to the king. King Udena saw the holes in the walls, but when the truth was told he did not get angry.

But Magandiya kept on trying to make the king believe Samavati was not loyal to him and was trying to kill him. On one occasion, knowing that the king would be visiting Samavati within the next few days and that he would be taking along his lute with him, Magandiya inserted a snake into the lute and closed the hole with a bunch of flowers. Magandiya followed King Udena to Samavati's quarters after trying to stop him on the pretext that she had some presentiment and felt worried about his safety. At Samavati's place Magandiya removed the bunch of flowers from the hole of the lute. The snake came out hissing and coiled itself on the bed. When the king saw the snake he believed Magandiya's words that Samavati was trying to kill him. The king was furious. He commanded Samavati to stand and all her ladies to line up behind her. Then he fitted his bow with an arrow dipped in poison and shot the arrow. But Samavati and her ladies bore no ill wills towards the king and through the power of goodwill (metta), the arrow turned back, although an arrow shot by the king usually went even through a rock. Then, the king realized the innocence of Samavati and he gave her permission to invite the Buddha and his disciples to the palace for alms-food and for delivering discourses.

Magandiya realizing that none of her plans had materialized, made a final, infallible plan. She sent a message to her uncle with full instructions to go to Samavati's place and burn down the building with all the women inside. As the house was burning, Samavati and her maids-of-honour, numbering five hundred, kept on meditating. Thus, some of them attained Sakadagami Fruition, and the rest attained Anagami Fruition.

As the news of the fire spread, the king rushed to the scene, but it was too late. He suspected that it was done at the instigation of Magandiya but he did not show that he was suspicious. Instead, he said, "While Samavati was alive I had been fearful and alert thinking I might be harmed by her; only now, my mind is at peace. Who could have done this? It must have been done only by someone who loves me very dearly." Hearing this, Magandiya promptly admitted that it was she who had instructed her uncle to do it. Whereupon. the king pretended to be very pleased with her and said that he would do her a great favour, and honour all her relatives. So, the relatives were sent for and they came gladly. On arrival at the palace, all of them, including Magandiya, were seized and burnt in the palace court yard, by the order of the king.

When the Buddha was told about these two incidents, he said that those who are mindful do not die; but those who are negligent are as good as dead even while living.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 21. Mindfulness is the way to the Deathless (Nibbana); unmindfulness is the way to Death. Those who are mindful do not die; those who are not mindful are as if already dead.

Verse 22. Fully comprehending this, the wise, who are mindful, rejoice in being mindful and find delight in the domain of the Noble Ones (Ariyas).

Verse 23. The wise, constantly cultivating Tranquillity and Insight Development Practice, being ever mindful and steadfastly striving, realize Nibbana: Nibbana, which is free from the bonds of yoga*; Nibbana, the Incomparable!

* The bonds of yoga are four in number, viz., sense-pleasures (kama), existence (bhava), wrong belief (ditthi) and ignorance of the Four Noble Truths (i.e., avijja).

 

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