Rohini was one of Buddha's chief lay female disciples. She was a cousin of Buddha and sister of Anuruddha. She declined to enter the order of nuns with MahaPajapati Gotami. She attained stream entry and upon death entered heaven.
Rohini was one of the Buddha’s cousins and the sister of Anuruddha. When the ladies of the court decided to follow Pajapati Gotami and join the order of nuns, Rohini declined.
When Anuruddha visited Kapilavatthu with a large retinue of monks, all his relatives came to the monastery to pay their respects. Rohini, however, did not come. When Anuruddha inquired as to why his sister had not come he was informed that she was embarrassed to face people as she was suffering from an unsightly skin rash. Anuruddha asked that she be brought to his presence. Rohini came with her face covered by a veil.
Anuruddha asked Rohini to construct an assembly hall for the monks and nuns, as her affliction was of kammic origin. As she did not have the money needed to construct an assembly hall, she decided to sell her jewels to obtain the required funds. With the help of her Sakyan cousins and under the guidance of the Ven. Anuruddha, an assembly hall was built for the Buddha and His retinue. Upon the completion of the structure, Rohini’s unsightly rash disappeared. Rohini then invited the Buddha and His retinue for a meal.
The Buddha, having asked on whose account the assembly hall was built and who had provided the meal, was informed of Rohini’s surprising story. He then informed her of the cause of her unsightly rash. Many births ago she had been the chief consort of the King of Benares. She had had a falling out with one of the king’s dancing girls, whom he favored. Rohini, who was jealous of the dancing girl, had secured scabs from an infected person, crushed them to a powder and spread them on the bed and over the face of the dancing girl. This had led to an infection that had caused an ugly rash on the skin of the dancing girl. The kammic effect of this unwholesome act was the ugly rash that Rohini had. The wholesome effects of the building of the assembly hall had helped to nullify the effects of this evil kamma.
After listening to the Dhamma, Rohini attained the first stage of sainthood, Sotapanna. She became a supporter of the Buddha and His monks and continued to perform many meritorious deeds. At death she passed away to the Tavatimsa Heaven where she was born as the very beautiful consort of Sakka, the king of the Tavatimsa Heaven.
The story goes that once upon a time the Venerable Anuruddha went with his retinue of five hundred monks to Kapilavatthu. When the elder's kinsfolk heard that he had arrived, all except his sister, a maiden named Rohini, went to the monastery where the elder was in residence and paid their respects to him. The elder asked his kinsfolk, "Where is Rohini?" — "At home, reverend sir." — "Why didn't she come here?" — "Reverend sir, she is suffering from an eruption of the skin, and on this account was ashamed to come." The elder caused her to be summoned, saying, "Summon her immediately." Rohini fastened a covering of cloth about her face and went to the elder.
When she came into his presence, the elder asked her, "Rohini, why didn't you come here before?" — "Reverend sir, I am suffering from an eruption of the skin, and on this account I was ashamed to come." — "But ought you not to perform works of merit?" — "What can I do, reverend sir?" — "Cause an assembly-hall to be erected." — "What funds have I to use for this purpose?" — "Have you not a set of jewels?" — "Yes, reverend sir, I have." — "How much did it cost?" — "It must have cost ten thousand pieces of money." — "Well then, spend this in building an assembly-hall." — "Who will build it for me, reverend sir?" The elder looked at her kinsfolk who stood near and said, "This shall be your duty." — "But, reverend sir, what will you do?" — "I shall stay right here; therefore bring her the building materials." — "Very well, reverend sir," said they, and brought them.
The elder superintended the arrangements for the erection of the assembly-hall. Said he to Rohini, "Cause an assembly-hall two stories in height to be erected and as soon as the planks are put in place above, you take your stand below, sweep constantly, prepare seats, and keep the water-vessels filled with water." — "Very well, reverend sir," replied Rohini. So she spent her set of jewels in the erection of an assembly-hall two stories in height. As soon as the planks were put in place above, she took her stand below, swept, and performed the other duties, and monks sat therein constantly. Even as she swept the assembly-hall, the eruption subsided.
When the assembly-hall was completed, she invited the Order of Monks presided over by the Buddha; and when the Order of Monks presided over by the Buddha had taken their seats, filling the assembly-hall, she offered them choice food, both hard and soft. When the Teacher finished his meal, he asked, "Whose is this offering?" — "Your sister Rohini's, reverend sir." — "But where is she?" — "In the house, reverend sir." — "Summon her." She was unwilling to go. But in spite of her unwillingness, the Teacher caused her to be summoned all the same.
When she had come and saluted him and taken her seat, the Teacher said to her, "Rohini, why didn't you come before?" — "Reverend sir, I was suffering from an eruption of the skin and was ashamed to come." — "But do you know the reason why this eruption of the skin broke out on your body?" — "No, reverend sir, I do not." — "It was because of anger that this eruption of the skin broke out on your body." — "Why, reverend sir, what did I do?" — "Well then, listen," said the Teacher. So saying, he told her the following story.