In family life Dhammadinna was married to a man named Visakha and were devoted to each other, enjoying a happy and comfortable life in Rajagaha. One day Visakha decided to hear the Buddha preaching the Dhamma and was very impressed by what he had heard. So he returned everyday to listen to the Dhamma and soon after he became a Non-Returner (Anagami) , the third stage of Buddhist Sainthood. This meant he had cut off all attachments to sense pleasures as well as eradicated his ill-will and thus shattering his bondage of repeated birth in Sasara.
While going home one day, he resolved to give up household life and become a bhikkhu. Upon reaching home, he explained to his wife, Dhammadinna, of his noble intention, then he handed over all his worldly wealth to her. His shocked but quick-witted wife then asked for permission to become a bhikkhuni (Buddhist nun) instead; as she too had realized the worthlessness of worldly wealth. Visakha gladly consented and prepared suitable offerings for the Sangha. He escorted his wife to the Bhikkhunis’ residence, offered the gifts, after which presented her for ordination.
Once ordained, Dhammadinna yearned to retreat to the forest to practise meditation in solitude. After obtaining permission, she left Rajagaha and joined some like-minded bhikkhunis at the forest hermitage. After acquainted with the new surroundings , she practised meditation intensively and because of her previous-life perfections, she soon attained Arahatship and uttered her triumphant paean of joy at her noble attainment.
Her noble victory had given her great insight and profound skill in explaining the Dhamma to others. Convinced that she had no further reasons to be there, she decided to return to Rajagaha where she could use her new Dhamma expertise to help and benefit others.
Her former husband Visakha, wanted to know why she had decided to return to Rajagaha. Knowing that it was rude to ask her out-rightly, Visakha chose to test her Dhamma knowledge instead. So after paying his respects, he questioned her at length about the Dhamma, the path and its fruits and she answered him clearly and accurately. Finally he questioned her about Arahatship but Dhammadinna did not answer, instead she sent him to see the Buddha.
On meeting the Buddha, the layman Visakha related the whole dialogue with Dhammadinna in detail. After hearing his account of the dialogue the Buddha praised Arahat Theri Dhammadinna saying that He would have answered in the same way. Such was the Buddha’s high regard for her as the Dhamma expositor and she was ranked as the most competent Dhamma teacher amongst all the other Bhikkhunis.