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Prasenajit

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Prasenajit
波斯匿王 (Skt; Pali Pasenadi; Jpn Hashinoku-o)

    The king of Kosala of ancient India in Shakyamuni's time. He is also known as the father of Shrimala, the Indian queen noted for her devotion to Buddhism.

According to the Medium-Length Agama Sutra, King Prasenajit was the same age as Shakyamuni.

He ruled the middle Ganges Valley from Shravasti, the capital of Kosala. Under his reign, Kosala rose to prominence as one of the two most powerful kingdoms in India, the other being Magadha.

Prasenajit had a sister named Vaidehi whom he gave in marriage to Bimbisara, king of Magadha.

Because of this relationship, Kosala and Magadha were on friendly terms.

According to one account, however, after Bimbisara's death, Prasenajit battled with Bimbisara's son Ajatashatru over possession of a tract of land in Kashithat Prasenajit had given to Bimbisara as his sister's dowry. This turned into a protracted conflict.

    At the urging of his wife, Mallika, Prasenajit became a follower of Shakyamuni Buddha and endeavored to protect and support the Buddhist Order. He often visited the Buddha while the latter was staying at the capital of Shravasti.

According to the Increasing by One Agama Sutra, shortly after Shakyamuni attained enlightenment, Prasenajit ascended the throne and wished to take a wife from the Shakyas, the tribe from which Shakyamuni had come and whose people were believed to be of noble birth. A man named Mahanama, a member of the Shakyas, gave the king his maidservant's beautiful daughter in marriage, falsely claiming that she was his own daughter. She bore him a prince, who was named Viru-dhaka.

When Virudhaka was eight years old, he went to Kapilavastu, the domain of the Shakyas, where he was informed of the truth behind his birth and thereby put to shame. Later, when he ascended the throne, this led him to destroy the great majority of the Shakyas.

    There are different accounts from Buddhist sources concerning Prasenajit's later years.

According to one, his throne was usurped by Viru-dhaka and he fled from his own country to Rajagriha, the capital of Magadha, but died on the outskirts of that city. Another account says that Virudhaka succeeded him in due course upon his death.

Pasenadi (Sanskrit: Prasenajit) (c. 6th century BCE) was a Aikṣvāka dynasty (a dynasty founded by King Ikṣvāku) ruler of Kosala. He succeeded his father Mahākosala. He was a prominent Upāsaka (lay follower) of Gautama Buddha, who built many Buddhist monasteries.

Life

Pasenadi studied in Taxila in his early life. His first queen was a Magadhan princess.

His second queen was Vāsavakhattiyā, daughter of Mahānāma, a Śākya by a slave girl Nāgamundā.Though she was a slave girl not the original daughter of Mahanama.

From this marriage, he had a son, Viḍūḍabha and a daughter Princess Vajira, whom he married to Ajatashatru.

His third and chief queen was Mallika, daughter of the chief of garland-makers. Once, while he was away from his capital Shravasti, his minister Dīgha Chārāyana placed his son Viḍūḍabha on the throne.

He went to Magadha to seek help from Ajatashatru in order to regain his throne. But before being able to meet him, Pasenadi died of exposure outside the gates of Rajagriha. The Puranas instead of Viḍūḍabha mention the name of Kṣudraka as his successor.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org