How The Buddha Saved A Suicidal Girl


All Buddhas, from thought to thought, who are are mindful of all beings…

– Shilashanti

According to the ‘Rajjumala-vimāna’, there was a servant’s daughter in Gayā, who was scolded and physically abused by her mistress from a brahmin family. (Yet, in the previous Kāśyapa Buddha’s time, their ‘roles’ were reversed.) To prevent her hair from being pulled while being beaten, the girl got her hair shaved off. Outraged at this, the mistress said that there is no escape, as she bound a rope around her neck for yanking, calling her Rajjumala, which means ‘rope necklace’.

One day, Śākyamuni Buddha, upon surveying the world with great compassion, saw Rajjumala to be ready to realise stream-entry, the first stage of spiritual awakening, as he sat under a tree nearby, continuing to radiate loving-kindness. Rajjumala was then feeling depressed and suicidal. She had taken a jar and pretended to be going to collect water, while actually looking for a tree to hang herself. 

Suddenly seeing the serene and faith-inspiring Buddha meditating, she felt drawn towards him, thinking he must be the Buddha, as she wondered if he would teach the path, even to those like her, so that she can transcend her misery. Reading her mind, the Buddha called out, ‘Rajjumala!… Come to the Tathāgata for refuge.’ As if anointed with ambrosia that was gentle, sweet, tender and able to dispel all grief, she approached and prostrated. 

Thereupon, the Buddha taught her the Four Noble Truths (on suffering, its causes, its end, and the path leading to it), and she attained steam-entry. Knowing she will no longer have a death wish, the Buddha moved on. Reflecting with patience and loving-kindness, Rajjumala decided to accept however her mistress treated her, as she returned with water. At the door, the master of the house, who was the mistress’ father-in-law saw her, and asked why she took so long, and why she looked radiant, as if completely transformed.

Replying with what happened, he was pleased and told his daughter-in-law to no longer hurt her, before going quickly to reverently invite the Buddha for a meal. After eating, all present sat to hear the Buddha speak the Dharma, who explained their past lives’ karmic relations. After the Buddha left for Śrāvastī, the father-in-law even adopted Rajjumala as his daughter, whom his daughter-in-law also now treated gently.

Here are three lessons from this incident. [1] Even seemingly unreasonable torment inflicted by others has its roots in karma. Since this is so, there should not be the endless cycle of retaliation with hateful vengeance, which should be broken with the dissolving of hatred and the forgiving of the hateful. Of course, we should minimise letting others hurt us too, as this create negative karma for themselves. When we transform well, others around us can be touched to transform too.

[2] Having perfect compassion for all with perfect wisdom on all, the Buddha is able to most skilfully help each and every being. However, as it takes two hands to connect and clap, beings must also be receptive, to go forth to the Buddha and his teachings, with open hearts and minds for refuge, to be truly helped. This can be done by us now too, through utmost sincere learning and practice of the Dharma that he already taught.

[3] The Buddha was able to use just one word, such as the name of Rajjumala, or a few kind words, such as ‘come for refuge’ to connect to her, and to eventually save her life, both physically and spiritually. The truth is, all Buddhas are sincerely mindful of every single being all the time, while they hope we can be mindful of them, to take refuge in them. The easiest way to be mindful of all Buddhas regularly is via mindfulness of their names. Amitābha Buddha’s name happens to represent all Buddhas’ names collectively, as it means ‘Immeasurable Buddha(s)’. Āmítuófó!

… 劝请诸众念念佛。

… urge and invite all beings, from thought to thought, to be mindful of Buddha[s].

– Shilashanti

Related Article:

How The Buddha Saved From A Mass Murderer

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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