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Nakulapitā

Nakulapitā.– A man and his wife (Nakulamātā), householders of Suṃsumāragiri in the Bhaggā country. When the Buddha visited the village and stayed at Bhesakalāvana, they went to see him. They immediately fell at his feet, calling him “son” and asking why he had been so long away. It is said that they had been the Bodhisatta’s parents for five hundred births and his near relations for many more. The Buddha taught them and they became Stream-winners. The Buddha visited their village once more when they were old. They entertained him, telling of their devotion to each other in this life and asking for a teaching which should keep them likewise together in after-life. The Buddha referred to this in the assembly of the Saṅgha, declaring them to be the most intimate companions (vissāsikā) among his disciples. (A.I.26, A.II.61 f, AA.i.216 f, 246; ii.514; SA.ii.182)

Once, when Nakulapitā lay grievously ill, his wife noticed that he was fretful with anxiety. She assured him there was no need for anxiety on his part, either on behalf of her or his children. She spoke with such conviction that Nakulapitā regained his composure of mind and recovered his health. Later he visited the Buddha and told him of this, and was congratulated by the Buddha on having such an excellent wife. (A.iii.295 ff)

The Saṃyuttanikāya (S.iii.1, S.iv.116; A.iv.268) contains records of conversations between Nakulapitā and the Buddha. Both husband and wife are mentioned in lists of eminent disciples. (A.iii.465; A.iv.348).

It is said that Nakulapitā’s desire for eminence was first conceived in the time of Padumuttara Buddha. He was then a householder of Haṃsavatī, and was present at an assembly where the Buddha declared someone to be chief of those living in harmony (vissāsika). A.I.216.


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