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Yasodharā's temple

Princess Yasodharā is chiefly famous as the wife of Prince Siddhartha, who became known as Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.


Yasodhara was the daughter of King Suppabuddha,[1][2] and Pamitā, sister of the Buddha's father, King Suddhodana. Her father was a Koliya [3] chief and her mother came from a Shakya family. The Shakya and the Koliya were branches of the Ādicca or Ikśvāku clan of the solar dynasty. There were no other families considered equal to them in the region and therefore members of these two royal families married only among themselves. [4]

She was wedded to her cousin, the Shakya prince Siddhartha in his 19th year when she was 16 years of age. At the age of 29 she gave birth to their only child, a boy named Rāhula. On the day of his birth the Prince left the palace. Yasodharā was devastated and overcome with grief. Hearing that her husband was leading a holy life, she emulated him by removing her jewellery, wearing a plain yellow robe and eating only one meal a day.[5] Although relatives sent her messages to say that they would maintain her, she did not take up those offers. Several princes sought her hand but she rejected the proposals. Throughout the six years that the Prince struggled for Enlightenment Princess Yasodharā followed the news of his actions closely and did likewise.

When the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu after enlightenment, Yasodharā did not go to see her former husband but thought: "Surely if I have gained any virtue at all the Lord will come to my presence." One day, after his meal the Buddha, accompanied by his two chief disciples entered the chamber of Yasodharā and sat on a seat prepared for Him. Hearing of His visit, Yasodharā swiftly came to him and clasping His ankles and placing her head at his feet reverenced Him.

Some time after her son Rāhula became a novice Monk, Yasodharā also entered the Order of Monks and Nuns and within time attained Arahantship. She was ordained as Bhikkhuni included among the five hundred ladies following the Pajapati Gotami to establish Bhikkhuni Order. She was declared as foremost in possessing the supernatural power among the Nuns. Amongst female disciples she was chief of those who attained great supernormal powers. She died at the age of 78, two years before the Lord Buddha's Parinibbāna.


In many legends of the Buddha's life,[6] Yashodharā meets Siddhārtha Gautama for the first time in a previous life, when as the young brahmin Sumedha, he is formally identified as a future Buddha by the then current Buddha, Dipankara.

Waiting in the city of Paduma for Dipankara, he tries to buy flowers as an offering to the Enlightened One, but soon learns that the king already bought all the flowers for his own offering. Yet, as Dipankara is approaching, Sumedha spots a girl named Sumidha (or Bhadra) holding eight lotuses in her hands. He speaks to her with the intention of buying one of her flowers, but she recognises at once his potential and offers him five of the lotuses if he would promise that they would become husband and wife in all their next existences.

In the thirteenth chapter of the Mahayana Lotus Sutra,[7] Yasodhara receives a prediction from Sakyamuni Buddha; Mahapajapati, too.


The meaning of the name Yasodhara (Sanskrit) [from yasas "glory, splendor" + dhara "bearing" from the verbal root dhri "to bear, support"] is Bearer of glory. Subba Row states that the name stands for one of three mystical powers (cf utpala-varna).[8] The names she has been called besides Yashodhara are: Yashodhara Theri (doyenne Yashodhara), Bimbadevi, Bhaddakaccana and Rahulamata (mother of Rahula). [9]


  1. "IX:12 King Suppabuddha blocks the Buddha's path". 2000-08-13. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  2. "Dhammapada Verse 128 Suppabuddhasakya Vatthu". Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  3. "Koliyā". Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  4. Why was the Sakyan Republic Destroyed? by S. N. Goenka (Translation and adaptation of a Hindi article by S. N. Goenka published by the Vipassana Research Institute in December 2003.)
  5. "The Compassionate Buddha". Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  6. Fu-pen-hing-tsi-king Miscellaneous Notices respecting the Birth and History of Buddha translated by Djinakûta, native of Gandhâra in the time of the Sui dynasty (581-617 A.D.)
  7. Lotus sutra including chapter thirteenTranslated by The Buddhist Text Translation Society in USA)
  8. "see Rakefet Dictionary". Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  9. French text: Yashodhara (glorieuse) est la cousine et l’épouse principale de Gautama, mère de son fils Rahula. Connue par les Jatakas (légendes de la vie du Bouddha), elle serait devenue du vivant de Gautama une ascète, une nonne prééminente et l’un des quatre arahants de son entourage possédant l’intuition absolue 1. Les détails de sa légende sont de nos jours surtout populaires dans le bouddhisme theravada. Elle est également nommée Yashodhara Theri (doyenne Yashodhara), Bimbadevi, Bhaddakaccana ou Rahulamata (mère de Rahula).
  • The Buddha and His Teaching, Nārada, Buddhist Missionary Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1988, ISBN 967-9920-44-5


See also

External links

bo:གྲགས་འཛིན་མ། cs:Jasódhara ja:耶輸陀羅 pt:Yashodhara sv:Yasodhara ta:யசோதரை th:พระนางยโสธรา zh:耶输陀罗