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Mahaprajapati

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Mahaprajapati Gautami.jpg

 
Mahaprajapati
摩訶波闍波提 (Skt; Pali Mahapajapati; Jpn Makahaja-hadai)

    The aunt and foster mother of Shakyamuni, the younger sister of Maya, Shakyamuni's birth mother. She is also known as Gautamior Gotami. Gautamiis the feminine Form of Gautama, the surname of Shakyamuni's family. Mahaprajapati was a daughter of Suprabuddha, a wealthy man of the Shakya tribe who lived in Devadaha near Kapilavastu.Suprabuddha is also said to have been the ruler of Devadaha.

When Mayae consort of King Shuddhodana of Kapilavastu, died seven days after giving birth to Shakyamuni, Mahaprajapati became Shuddhodana's wife and raised Shakyamuni. She bore Shuddhodana a son, Nanda. After the Death of Shuddhodana, Mahaprajapati wished to renounce secular Life, imploring the Buddhist Order to receive her. Initially, however, Shakyamuni Buddha would not allow women to join the Buddhist Order. Mahaprajapati begged The Buddha earnestly and persistently to grant her request. Ananda also asked The Buddha to comply.

Finally, Shakyamuni admitted Mahaprajapati to the Order as the first Buddhist nun. She gave instruction to a number of nuns and was respected as their elder. The "Encouraging Devotion" (thirteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra predicts that she will become a Buddha named Gladly Seen by All Living Beings. She is said to have died three months before Shakyamuni.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org