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Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas


[257] At the top, Beggars, of those of my Upasakas who uses the intimate mode [people who naturally relate to people as though on intimate terms; another such mode is the paternal mode where the attitude is that of a caring father] (vissasakanam) is Nakulapita gahapati.

Nakulapita gahapati and Nakulamata the Gahapatani

(DPPN: [this description will also serve for Nakulamata who appears in the list of eminent lay females to follow] A man and his wife, householders of Sumsumaragiri in the Bhagga country. When the Buddha visited the village and stayed at Bhesakalavana, they went to see him. They immediately fell at his feet, calling him "son" and asking why he had been so long away. It is said that they had been the bhodhisatta's parents for five hundred births and his near relations for many more. The Buddha preached to them and they became sotapannas. The Buddha visited their village once more when they were old. They entertained him, telling of their devotion to each other in this life and asking for a teaching which should keep them likewise together in after life. The Buddha referred to this in the assembly of the sangha, declaring them to be the most intimate companions among his disciples.

Once, when Nakulapita lay grievously ill, his wife noticed that he was fretful with anxiety. She assured him there was no need for anxiety on his part, either on behalf of her or his children. She spoke with such conviction that Nakulapita regained his composure of mind and grew well. Later he visited the Buddha and told him of this, and was congratulated by the Buddha on having such an excellent wife.

The Samyutta Nikaya contains records of conversations between Kakulapita and the Buddha. Both husband and wife are mentioned in lists of eminent disciples.

From: PTS: Woodward, trans., The Book of the Gradual Sayings, The Book of the Fours [This sutta is truly magical, I think every couple about to be married should read this one.]

Well matched

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying among the Bhagga near Crocodile Haunt, at Bhesakala Grove in Antelope park.

Now in the forenoon the Exalted One robed himself, and taking outer robe and bowl set out for the dwelling of the housefather, Nakula's father. On coming there he sat down on a seat made ready. Then the housefather, Nakula's father, and the housewife, Nakula's mother, came to see the Exalted One, and on coming to him saluted him and sat down at one side. So seated the housefather, Nakula's father, said this to the Exalted One:

'Lord, ever since the housewife, Nakula's mother, was brought home to me when a mere lad, she being then a mere girl, I am not conscious of having transgressed against her even in thought, much less in person. Lord, we do desire to behold each other not only in this very life but also in the life to come.'

Then also the housewife, Nakula's mother, said this to the Exalted One:

'Lord, ever since I, a mere girl, was led home to the housefather, Nakula's father, when he was a mere lad, I am not conscious of having transgressed against him even in thought, much less in person. Lord, we do desire to behold each other not only in this very life, but also in the life to come.'

[Then said the Exalted One:] 'Herein, householders, if both wife and husband desire to behold each other both in this very life and in the life to come, and both are matched in faith, matched in virtue, matched in generosity, matched in wisdom, then do they behold each other in this very life and in the life to come.

If both, believers, self-controlled, well-spoken,
Living as dhamma bids, use loving words
One to the other, manifold the blessings
That come to wife and husband, and to them
The blessing of a pleasant life is born.
Dejected are their foes, for both are good.
So in this world, living as dhamma bids,
The pair, in goodness matched, I' the deva-world
Rejoicing win the bliss that they desire.'