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Verse 82: The Story of Kanamata

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (82) of this book, with
reference to the mother of Kana, Kanamata.

Kanamata was a devoted lay disciple of the Buddha. Her daughter Kana was married to a man
from another village. As Kana had been on a visit to her mother for some time, her husband
sent a message for her to come home. Her mother told her to wait for one more day as she
wanted to send along some sweet meals with her for her husband. The next day, Kanamata
made some cakes, but when four Bhikkhus stood at her door for alms, she offered some
to them. The four Bhikkhus told other Bhikkhus about the cakes from Kanamata's house
and they also came to stand at the door of Kanamata, as a devotee of the Buddha and his
disciples, offered her cakes to the Bhikkhus as they came in, one after another. The
result was that in the end there was none left for Kana and she did not go home on that day.
The same thing happened on the next two days; her mother made some cakes, the
Bhikkhus stood at her door, she offered her cakes to the Bhikkhus, there was nothing
left for her daughter to take home, and her daughter did not go home. On the third day, for
the third time, her husband sent her a message, which was also an ultimatum stating that if she
failed to come home the next day, he would take another wife. But on the next day also Kana
was unable to go home because her mother offered all her cakes to the Bhikkhus. Kana's
husband then took another wife and Kana became very bitter towards the Bhikkhus. She used
to abuse all Bhikkhus so much so that the Bhikkhus kept away from the house of Kanamata.

The Buddha heard about Kana and went to the house of Kanamata; there Kanamata offered
him some rice gruel. After the meal, the Buddha sent for Kana and asked her, "Did my Bhikkhus
take what was given them or what was not given them ?" Kana answered that the Bhikkhus had
taken only what was given them, and then added, "They were not in the wrong; only I was in the
wrong." Thus, she owned up her fault and she also paid homage to the Buddha. The Buddha then
gave a discourse. At the end of the discourse, Kana attained Sotapatti Fruition.

On the way back to the monastery, the Buddha met King Pasenadi of Kosala. On being told
about Kana and her bitter attitude towards the Bhikkhus, King Pasenadi asked the Buddha
whether he had been able to teach her the Dhamma and, make her see the Truth (Dhamma).
The Buddha replied, "Yes, I have taught her the Dhamma, and I have also made her rich in her
next existence." Then the king promised the Buddha that he would make Kana rich even in this
existence. The king then sent his men with a palanquin to fetch Kana. When she arrived, the
king announced to his ministers, "Whoever can keep my daughter Kana in comfort may take
her." One of the ministers volunteered to adopt Kana as his daughter, gave her all his wealth,
and said to her, "You may give in charity as much as you like." Every day, Kana made offerings
to the Bhikkhus at the four city-gates. When told about Kana giving generously in charity, the
Buddha said, "Bhikkhus, the mind of Kana which was foggy and muddled was made clear and
calm by my words."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 82. Like a lake which is deep, clear and calm, the wise
after listening to the Teaching of Dhamma become serene.

Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.


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