Life of the Buddha

Electronically Distributed by BuddhaNet

(Part One) 24. The Story of Prince Nanda

On the third day after the Buddha’s return to Kapilavatthu he was invited to the wedding of Prince Nanda, his youngest stepbrother, and his new bride, Princess Janapada Kalyani. The Buddha attended the wedding and celebrations, blessed them all, left his begging bowl with Nanda and went away.

Nanda thought, “I will go to the temple and return the bowl.” While he was there, Nanda and the Buddha talked for a while before the Buddha said, “Nanda, would you like to be a monk?”

“Yes, Sir,” said Nanda, and the Buddha ordained him.

Afterwards Nanda, thinking of his beautiful bride, became very sad and unhappy. “Why are you so sad, Nanda?” asked the monks.

“Brothers, I am disappointed. I do not like this life. I want to leave it and go home.”

The Buddha then came to talk to Nanda. First the Buddha showed him a she-monkey whose nose and tail were burnt and fur singed and bloodied. “Do you see this monkey, Nanda? Then take good note of her,” said the Buddha.

Then the Buddha showed Nanda 500 celestial nymphs. “Nanda, do you see these nymphs?”

“Yes,” answered Nanda.

“Who is prettier? The nymphs or Janapada Kalyani?”

“Sir, as my bride is prettier than the burnt monkey, so are the nymphs compared to Janapada Kalyani.”

“Well, Nanda, what then?”

“Reverend Sir, how does one obtain the celestial beings?”

“By performing the duties of a monk.”

“In that case I shall take the greatest pleasure in living the monk’s life,” said Nanda and he began to follow the Buddha’s teaching very carefully.