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Udāna

Udāna
2.8 Suppāvāsa Sutta
Lady Suppāvāsa

Even after having a child in the womb for seven years, Suppāvāsa would still like to have 7 more children. Seeing this, the Buddha speaks verses about the danger of attachments.

This is as I heard from the Blessed One. At one time the Blessed One was staying in the city of Kundiyā, in the Kundadhāna forest. In the city of Kundiyā, Suppāvāsa was a daughter from the Koliyan clan, who had been pregnant for seven years. For seven days, the baby was stuck and she experienced difficult labour. Even though she was experiencing painful, sharp and severe pains, she endured them with the help of the following three thoughts: “The Blessed One is indeed a Supremely Enlightened One. He taught the Dhamma for abandoning this sort of suffering. The disciples of the Blessed One are indeed practising the pure path. They are following the path to abandon this sort of suffering. Nibbāna is indeed the ultimate happiness, where this sort of pain is not found.”

Then Suppāvāsa said to her husband, “Dear husband, you may go to the Blessed One, pay homage with your head at his feet, ask whether he is free from illness and affliction, strong and living in comfort. Further, say to him, ‘Bhante, Suppāvāsa, the daughter of the Koliyan clan, pays homage to the Blessed One with her head at his feet and asks whether the Supreme Buddha is free from illness and affliction, strong and living in comfort. Further, please say to him, Bhante, Suppāvāsa, the daughter of the Koliyan clan, has been pregnant for seven years and for seven days and she experiences difficult labour because the baby is stuck. Severe and sharp pains have touched her. However, she endures them with the help of three thoughts: “The Blessed One is indeed a Supremely Enlightened One. He taught the Dhamma for abandoning this sort of suffering. The disciples of the Blessed One are indeed practising the pure path. They are following the path to abandon this sort of suffering. Nibbāna is indeed the ultimate happiness, where this sort of pain is not found.”’”

Responding, “Yes I will” to Suppāvāsa, her husband went to the Blessed One, worshiped him and sat down to one side. Sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Bhante, Suppāvāsa, the daughter of the Koliyan clan, pays homage to the Blessed One with her head at your feet and asks whether you are free from illness and affliction, strong and living in comfort. She also says, “Bhante, Suppāvāsa, the daughter of the Koliyan clan, has been pregnant for seven years and for seven days and she experiences difficult labour because the baby is stuck. Severe and sharp pains have touched her. However, she endures them with the help of three thoughts: ‘The Blessed One is indeed a Supremely Enlightened One. He taught the Dhamma for abandoning this sort of suffering. The disciples of the Blessed One are indeed practising the pure path. They are following the path to abandon this sort of suffering. Nibbāna is indeed the ultimate happiness, where this sort of pain is not found.’”

The Blessed One, blessed her out of compassion, “May Suppāvāsa, the Koliyan daughter be well! May she be healthy! May she give birth to a healthy child!”

Just after the Blessed One ended his blessings, Suppāvāsa became well, healthy and gave birth to a healthy son.

Saying, “Very well Bhante,” Suppāvāsa’s husband accepted the blessings of the Blessed One. He got up from his seat, worshiped the Blessed One and returned home.

As soon as he returned home, he saw that Suppāvāsa was well and very healthy. Amazingly, she had delivered a healthy son. On seeing this, he thought, “How amazing the Buddha is! How marvellous the Buddha is! How wonderful the Buddha’s psychic powers are! The Buddha’s power is indeed remarkable! Just after the blessings of the Blessed One, Suppāvāsa has become well and healthy. She amazingly has given birth to a healthy son.” Thinking thus, he was delighted, joyful and extremely happy.

Then Suppāvāsa addressed her husband, saying: “Come, dear husband, you must go to the Blessed One, pay homage with your head at his feet, and say, “Bhante, Suppāvāsa, the daughter of the Koliyan clan, pays homage to the Blessed One with her head at your feet.” She also says, “Bhante, Suppāvāsa, the daughter of the Koliyan clan, has been pregnant for seven years and for seven days and experienced difficult labour because the baby was stuck, but now she is happy and healthy, and has given birth to a healthy son. She invites the community of monks, with the Buddha at its head, for seven days of meals. May the Blessed One agree to Suppavāsā’s seven meals, together with the community of monks.’”

Responding, “Yes I will!” to Suppavāsā, the husband went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “Bhante, Suppavāsā the daughter of the Koliyan clan, pays homage to the Blessed One with her head at your feet. She also says, ‘Bhante, Suppavāsā the daughter of the Koliyan clan, who was pregnant for seven years and for seven days and experienced difficult labour because the baby was stuck, is happy and healthy, and has given birth to a healthy son. She invites the community of monks, with the Buddha at its head, for seven days of meals. May the Blessed One agree to Suppavāsā’s seven meals, together with the community of monks.’”

Now at that time a certain lay follower had invited the community of monks, with the Buddha at its head, for the next day’s meal. That lay follower was a supporter of Venerable Mahā Moggallāna. So the Blessed One addressed Venerable Mahā Moggallāna saying, “Come, Moggallāna. Go to the lay follower and, say to him, ‘Suppavāsā the daughter of the Koliyan clan,who was pregnant for seven years and for seven days and experienced difficult labour because the baby was stuck, is happy and healthy, and has given birth to a healthy son. She has invited the community of monks, with the Buddha at its head, for seven days of meals. Let Suppavāsā offer the seven meals. Afterwards, you can offer yours.’ He’s your supporter.”

Responding, “As you say, Bhante,” to the Blessed One, Venerable Mahā Moggallāna went to the lay follower and, said to him, “Suppavāsā the daughter of the Koliyan clan, who was pregnant for seven years and for seven days and experienced difficult labour because the baby was stuck, is happy and healthy, and has given birth to a healthy son. She has invited the community of monks, with the Buddha at its head, for seven days of meals. Let Suppavāsā offer the seven meals. Afterwards, you can offer yours.”

“Bhante, if Venerable Mahā Moggallāna will be my guarantor for three things, my wealth, life and faith, then let Suppavāsā offer the seven meals. Afterwards, I will offer mine.”

“For two things, friend, will I be your guarantor, your wealth and life. Only you are the guarantor of your faith.”

“Bhante, if Venerable Mahā Moggallāna will be my guarantor for two things, my wealth and life, then let Suppavāsā offer the seven meals. Afterwards, I will offer mine.”

Then Venerable Mahā Moggallāna, having informed the lay follower, went to the Blessed One and said, “The lay follower, Bhante, has been informed. Let Suppavāsā offer the seven meals. Afterwards, he will offer his.”

So for seven days Suppavāsā the daughter of the Koliyan clan, with her own hand served and satisfied the community of monks, with the Buddha at its head, with delicious food. She had the child worship the Blessed One and the community of monks. Then Venerable Sāriputta said to the child, “I hope, son, that things are bearable for you. I hope that things are comfortable for you. I hope that there’s no pain.”

“How, Venerable Sāriputta, would things be bearable for me? How would they be comfortable for me, living seven years in a pot of blood?”

Then Suppavāsā, thinking, “My son is talking with the Marshal of Dhamma!,” was delighted and overjoyed.

The Blessed One, knowing that Suppavāsā was delighted and overjoyed, said to her, “Suppavāsā, would you like to have another son like this?”

“Oh Blessed One, I would like to have seven more sons like this!”

Then, on realizing the danger of attachment, the Blessed One spoke the following inspired verses:

“Sad things in the guise of happy things, dislikeable things in the guise of likeable things, pain in the guise of joy, overcome one who is heedless.”

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Udāna 2.8 Suppāvāsa Sutta: Lady Suppāvāsa

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