She was a native of Savatthi Country as she was born in the royal city from wealthy family. Since her skin and colour looked like green-white lotus flower, a rare thing in the world, her parents called her “Uppalavanna”. Her beauty got widespread fame in various nations so that ten kings and ten princes sent messagers, diplomats to her with valuable presents like rare rubies, priceless jade, gold bars in great purity. It is recorded in the Holy Scriptures, sacred literature, that not a single rich man failed to seek her hand in marriage. As she was attractive and popular among kings and millionaires, her parents could not make a choice, facing great difficulties since other rejected persons could be full of anger in their hearts and minds.
To avoid the dilemma, her noble father said to her by way of solution in peace and righteousness: “Good Daughter! You are a single damsel with great attractive colour of lotus. I cannot marry you to all these suitors. If I choose one of them, disputes would arise. Anger will prevail among rejected kings and millionaires. So if you like to become a bhikkhuni under Buddha’s Dispensation and Bhikkhuni Vinaya Rules, I will arrange the procedure correctly in a monastery as taught by the Exalted Buddha, the Blessed One in the whole universe. Do you want to become a true bhikkhuni ?”
Since from previous existences she had cultivated bhikkhuni parami with detached mind, hoping for the complete freedom from greatest ill (samsaric dukkha of repeated births and deaths) this question pleased her heart. Her father’s words seemed to be like the sweet-smelling hair-oil that poured down her body from her head to leg. She felt great bliss, unique happiness to renounce the world for the sake of supreme liberating holy Four Noble Truths. She knew she had a last life to exist as ‘Final Release’ was near at hand. She was destined to become a female Arahat in this very life. So she replied:
“Good Father! I am ready to become a bhikkhuni to cut off all worldly ties, to discard money, fame, followers, luxuries, attachments to life”. She spoke these words with joyful heart, with sacred aim of life. Therefore her father, the millionaires of the royal city, gave respect and honour by celebrating a huge feast with valuable food and transport. She was offered glorious clothes and shoes for the last farewell in this mundane, sorrowful world, the world of limitation and changeability.
After arrival at the samgha monastery, she was properly ordained according to eight Great Dhamma and also by Vinaya Rules taught by the Buddha as recorded in the original teaching. Since all bhikkhus and bhikkhunis had to perform daily assigned duties and responsibilities, she got an assignment one day to attend to the sima hall, to light candles, to clean the dirt and rubbish. As she dutifully lighted the oil lamps, flames came out brightly and dispelled darkness in the sima hall. Then she swept the floor of sima ordination hall. Then she looked at the burning light issuing from oil lamp. Since in past lives she had practised fire jhanic meditation day by day with concentrated diligence, now in this present life also she remembered Tejo kasina practice when she saw flaming oil lamps in sima hall. So, with devotion and vigilance she meditated the jhanic heat/light meditation (Fire Jhanic Concentration) day by day. Soon she attained, as a result, arahatta phala cittas with five supernormal powers, five expertises called vasibhava.
This very Uppalavanna Bhikkhuni tried her best and made a request to the Enlightened Buddha to perform The Miracle by herself, on behalf of Him. She spoke these words with determination and courage. Boldly she made this entreaty to the Compassionate Buddha, like lion’s roar.
In recognition of her supernormal power in uniqueness, the Buddha conferred a title of Unique Power in Full among all bhikkhunis in the world of sasana.
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Title- Ariyas, The Noble Ones