I. Thông tin từ cuốn Đại Phật Sử 6B

6.      NAKULAPITU The Householder

  • His Past Aspiration

The future Nakulapitu was reborn into a worthy family in the city of HaÑsǎvatī, during the time of Buddha Padumuttara. While he was listening to a sermon by the Buddha, he saw a lay disciple being named by Him as the foremost among those who were close to the Buddha. He aspired to that title. After making extraordinary offerings, he expressed his wish in front of the Buddha, who then prophesied that his aspiration would be fulfilled.

(b)   His Last Existence as Nakulapitu The Householder

The future Nakulapitu was reborn either in the deva realm or the human realm for a hundred thousand world-cycles until, during the time of Buddha Gotama, he was reborn into a rich man’s family in Susumǎragira in the Province of Bhagga. When he succeeded to the family estate, he and his wife were called by the name of their son Nakula, as ‘the Father of Nakula’, Nakulapitu, and ‘the Mother of Nakula’, Nakulamǎtu.

The Buddha, on His tour of the country in the company of many bhikkhus, arrived at Susumǎragira and was sojourning in the BhesakaÄǎ Forest. (Susumǎragira, ‘the sound of a crocodile’, was the name of the town because, at the time of the founding of the town, a crocodile’s sound was heard. The forest was known as BhesakaÄǎ because it was the domain of a female demon by the name of BhesakaÄǎ.)

Nakulapitu and his wife went to the BhesakaÄǎ forest along with other people of the town to visit the Buddha. At the first sight of Buddha, the couple took Him as their own son and prostrating themselves before Him, said together: ‚O dear son, where have you been over this long time, away from us?‛

[Nakulapitu had, in the past five hundred existences, been the father of the Buddha- to-be; for five hundred existences, he had been His paternal uncle (junior to His father); for five hundred existences, he had been His paternal uncle (senior to His father); for five hundred existences, he had been His maternal uncle. Nakulamǎtu had, for the past five hundred existences, been the mother of the Buddha-to-be; for five hundred existences, she had been His maternal aunt (junior to His mother); for five hundred existences, she had been His maternal aunt (senior to His mother); for five hundred existences, she had been His paternal aunt. These long blood-relations of the past existences had left such a strong sense of affection in the hearts of the Nakulapitu and his wife for the Buddha that they perceived Him as their own son (who had been somehow staying away from them).]

The Buddha allowed the couple to remain at His feet (holding them) for as long as they wished, and waited until such time they were satisfied emotionally in the joy of seeing Him again. Then, when the parents of His past existences had gained a mental state of equanimity, the Buddha, knowing their mental framework, i.e. their inclination, preached them a discourse, at the end of which, they were established in the fruition of Stream-Entry Knowledge.

On a later occasion, when the Nakulapitu couple were advanced in age, they made another visit to Susumǎragira. The old couple invited the Buddha to their house and on the next day offered delicious food of various kinds. When the Buddha had finished His meal, the old couple approached Him, made their obeisance, and sat in a suitable place. Then Nakulapitu said to Him: ‚Venerable Sir, since in my youth I married my wife, I had never been disloyal to her even in my thoughts, not to speak of being disloyal physically. Venerable Sir, we wish to see each other in the present existence, and we wish to see each other in our future existences.‛

Nakulamǎtu also said likewise to the Buddha: ‚Venerable Sir, since in my youth I became the wife of Nakulapitu, I had never been disloyal to him, even in my thoughts, not to speak of being disloyal physically. Venerable Sir, we wish to see each other in our present existence, and we wish to see each other in our future existences.‛ (The Commentary to the A~guttara Nikǎya, Book One, gives only a brief account. We shall supplement this here.)

Thereupon, the Buddha said to them:

‚Lay supporters, if a certain couple wish to see each other in the present existence as well as in the future existences, their wishes will be fulfilled on these four conditions, namely, (1) they should have the same degree of conviction in the Teaching, (2) they should have the same degree of morality; (3) they should have the same degree of giving in charity; (4) they should have the same degree of intelligence.‛

Then the Buddha uttered the following stanzas:

  • ‚For that couple, both of whom possess conviction in Teaching, who have a liberal mind towards those who come for help, who have restraint (in thought, word and deed), who use kind words towards each other, who lead a righteous life ——
    • benefits multiply, and a life of ease and comfort is their lot. Unfriendly people bear malice against such a couple with equal morality (virtue).
  •  

for such a couple with equal morality (virtue) and good conduct who are desirous of sensual objects, living a life according to the Dhamma in the present existence, both of them find delight in this world and rejoice in the deva-world.‛

—— A~guttara Nikǎya, Book One ——

(c)   The Nakulapitu Couple designated as The foremost Disciples

The above discourse stemming from the intimate statements made by the Nakulapitu couple is known as the PaÔhama santajīvī Sutta. The discourse reveals the intimate relationship that existed between them and the Buddha in the nature of filial connection. The old couple evidently put great faith in and reliance on the Buddha, whom they considered as their own son. That was why they were disclosing their inner sentiments to the Buddha, without any sense of diffidence.

That was why, while the Buddha was staying in the Jetavana monastery and outstanding lay disciples were designated by Him as foremost in their own merit, He declared:

Bhikkhus, among My lay disciples who are close to the Buddha, Nakulapitu, the Householder, is the foremost.‛

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