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Sunday, 8 February 2015

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Beauty is only skin deep

During the time of the Buddha's dispensation, Jenta was born as a princess in the city of Vesali. In her earlier births, she observed the eight precepts. Due to the meritorious acts of the previous births she was born as an extremely pretty girl. She was the beauty queen of Vesali.

She selected her own handsome cousin as her partner and the parents fixed an auspicious time for their wedding. Tragedy struck.

On the eve of the wedding, the bridegroom met with a fatal accident. Jenta's parent's were overcome with sorrow. She was so depressed that she decided not to marry again and to become a Bhikkhuni. She entered the Bhikkhuni Order as a pupil of the chief Bhikkhuni Prajapati Gotami.

Although she entered the Order, she could not concentrate on meditation as she was always thinking about the loss of her lover and her beauty.

Beauty

As Jenta was very conscious about her beauty, she was reluctant to visit the Buddha as she heard that he preached that everything in the world was considered impermanent, including beauty. The Buddha with his divine eye saw that it was her last birth and that she would attain the bliss of Nibbana. The Buddha though that she would realise the transience of beauty.

The Buddha made her to see a very beautiful female appearing before him and fanning him. Jenta was amazed to see such a beautiful female, prettier than herself.

Little by little, the beautiful female withered and changed in to an old woman, bent, weak, skin shrivelled up and ugly. The beautiful face faded. Her hair turned grey. Then the old woman fell dead with her mouth open. It was an ugly and terrible sight.

Divide

Jenta realised that she too will be like the divine damsel, in times to come and will grow old, wither away and die.

The Buddha advised her that Jenta's beauty would not last long. “Life is impermanent. It's short. It is subject to change. Meditate and shatter all fetters that bind you in the Sansaric journey.”

Jenta meditated peacefully and eliminated all bonds. She achieved her goal, the bliss of Nibbana.

The following Therigatha was uttered by Jenta.

Ye Me Satta Bojjhanga Magga Nibbana Pattiya
Bhavite te Maya Sabbhe Yatha Buddena Destia
Ditthohi me so Bhagava Antimoyam Samussayo
Vikkhino Jati Sansaran, Natthidani Punabbhavo'ti

I have realised the seven stages of enlightenment as the Buddha taught me. They led me along the path to liberation. I have attained Nibbana awakening the spiritual condition of a Buddha or Bodhisatva. This is my last birth. The cycle of my re-birth is no more.

 

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