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
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.
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.