A Therī. She was foremost among nuns, of swift intuition,
and was born in the family of a treasurer of Rājagaha. On the same day, a son
was born to the king's chaplain under a constellation favourable to highwaymen,
and was therefore called Sattuka. One day, through her lattice, Bhaddā
saw Sattuka being led by the city guard to execution on a charge of robbery. She
fell at once in love with him and refused to live without him. Her father, out
of his love for her, bribed the guard to release Sattuka, let him be bathed in
perfumed water, and brought him home, where Bhaddā, decked in jewels, waited
upon him. Very soon, Sattuka began to covet her jewels and told her that he had
made a vow to the deity of the Robbers' Cliff that, should he escape, he would
bring him an offering. She trusted him and, making ready an offering, went with
him arrayed in all her ornaments. On arriving at the top of the cliff, he told
her of his purpose, and she, all undaunted, begged of him to let her embrace him
on all sides. He agreed to this, and then, making as if to embrace him from the
back, she pushed him over the cliff. The deity of the mountain praised her
presence of mind saying that men were not in all cases wiser than women.
Unwilling to return home after what had happened; she
joined the Order of the white robed Niganthas. As she wished to practise extreme
austerities, they dragged out her hair with a palmyra comb. Her hair grew again
in close curls, and so they called her Kundala-kesā ("Curly-hair").
Dissatisfied with the teaching of the Niganthas, she left them, and going to
various teachers, became very, proficient in discussion and eager for debate.
She would enter a village and, making a heap of sand at the gate, set up the
branch of a rose apple saying, "Whoever wishes to enter into discussion with me,
let him trample on this bough." One day, Sāriputta, seeing the bough outside
Sāvatthi, ordered some children to trample on it. Bhaddā then went to Jetavana
accompanied by a large crowd whom she had invited to be present at the
discussion. Sāriputta suggested that Bhaddā should first ask him questions; to
all of these he replied until she fell silent. It was then his turn, and he
asked "One what is that?" (probably meaning: "state any one fact true for
everyone") She, unable to answer, asked him to be her teacher. But
Sāriputta sent her to the Buddha, who preached to her that it were better to
know one single stanza bringing calm and peace than one thousand verses bringing
no profit. At the end of this sermon, Bhaddā attained arahantship, and the
Buddha himself ordained her.
In the time of Padumuttara Buddha, she had heard him
preach and place as foremost among nuns one whose intuition was swift (khippābhiññā).
She vowed that this rank should one day be hers. Later, when Kassapa was Buddha,
she was one of the seven daughters of Kikī, king of Benares, and was named
Bhikkhadāyikā (v.l. Bhikkhudāsikā). For twenty thousand years she remained
celibate and built a dwelling for the Order. A.i.25; AA.i.200ff.; ThigA.99ff.;
Ap.ii.560ff. The DhA. Account (ii. 217 ff.) differs in various details. There
Bhaddā is shut up by her parents at the top of a seven storied building with
only a single woman to wait on her, for "girls when young, burn for men!" It was
thus that she saw the robber.
In the Therīgāthā (Thig.vss.107-11)
are included several verses spoken by her when she had been a nun for fifty
years, wandering about in Anga, Magadha, Kāsi and Kosala, living on the people's