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The Gospel of Buddha:Chapter 32: Women Admitted to the Sangha

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Yasodhara had three times requested of the Buddha
that she might be admitted to the Sangha,
but her wish had not been granted.
Now Pajapati, the foster-mother of the Blessed One,
in the company of Yasodhara, and many other women,
went to the Tathagata entreating him earnestly
to let them take the vows and be ordained as disciples. [1]

And the Blessed One, foreseeing the danger that lurked in admitting women to the Sangha,
protested that while the good religion ought surely to last a thousand years it would,
when women joined it, likely decay after five hundred years;
but observing the zeal of Pajapati and Yasodhara for leading a religious life
he could no longer resist and assented to have them admitted as his disciples. [2]

Then the venerable Ananda addressed the Blessed One thus: [3]

"Are women competent, Venerable Lord,
if they retire from household life to the homeless state,
under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata,
to attain to the fruit of conversion,
to attain to a release from a wearisome repetition of rebirths,
to attain to saintship?" [4]

And the Blessed One declared:
"Women are competent, Ananda,
if they retire from household life to the homeless state,
under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata,
to attain to the fruit of conversion,
to attain to a release from a wearisome repetition of rebirths,
to attain to saintship. [5]

"Condider, Ananda, how great a benefactress Pajapati has been.
She is the sister of the mother of the Blessed One,
and as foster-mother and nurse,
reared the Blessed One after the death of his mother.
So, Ananda, women may retire from household life to the homeless state,
under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata." [6]

Pajapati was the first woman to become a disciple of the Buddha
and to receive the ordination as a bhikkhuni. [7]

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