One of the three Nandās who became
Bhikkhunīs - the others being Nandā, sister of Nandatthera and
Because of her very great beauty she earned the sobriquet of Janapadakalyānī.
The Udāna Commentary (170) gives details of her beauty, which justified her
title; see also J. i.394.
Janapadakalyānī was engaged to be
married to Nanda, but on the day fixed for the marriage the Buddha induced Nanda
to join the Order, in spite of Nanda's wishes, and in due course he became an
arahant. Later, when women were admitted to the Order, Janapadakalyānī, feeling
she had nothing to look forward to, became a Bhikkhunī under
Pajāpatī. For a
long time she would not visit the Buddha, having heard that he spoke
disparagingly of physical beauty, but one day, inspired by curiosity, she
accompanied her colleagues to hear the Buddha preach. He, being aware of her
thoughts, created the form of a most beautiful maiden who stood fanning him. As Janapadakalyānī sat gazing at her, enraptured by her beauty, she saw her
gradually reach extreme old age, passing through all the stages, until at last
she saw her die, leaving her body to decompose and become a mass of filth. At
the critical moment, the Buddha uttered the appropriate words and
Janapadakalyānī became a Sotāpanna. The Buddha then preached the
Kāyavicchandanika Sutta and she became an arahant (Ud.iii.2; J. i.91; SnA.i.241f,
243f, 254, 273; DhA.i.97, 100).
She seems to have been known also as
Rūpanandā. DhA.iii.113f; but see Rūpanandā; perhaps here we have a confusion of
legends. In the northern books she is called Bhadrā. (Rockhill, p.55.)
In one of her previous lives,
Janapadakalyānī was born as a she-mule; she sorely tempted Nanda, who was then a
mule belonging to a merchant named Kappata (DhA.i.105).
Sundari Nandā also seems to have
been called Janapadakalyānī.