This lovely Tuesday night, please let me tell you the story of 'Beautiful Queen Mayadevi'.
19th century Nepalese statue of Māyā, Musée Guimet, Paris
Queen Mayadevi : The Buddha's Mother
Māyā married King Śuddhodana, the ruler of the Śākya clan of Kapilvastu. She was the daughter of King Śuddhodhana's uncle and therefore his cousin; her father was king of Devadaha.
Queen Māyā's white elephant dream, and the conception of the Buddha. Gandhara, 2-3rd century CE.
Māyā and King Suddhodhana did not have children for twenty years into their marriage. According to legend, One full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness in India.
According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha-to-be was residing as a bodhisattva in the Tusita heaven, and decided to be reborn on Earth for the last time. Māyā gave birth to Siddharta c. 563 BCE. The pregnancy lasted ten lunar months. Following custom, the Queen returned to her own home for the birth. On the way, she stepped down from her palanquin to have a walk under the Sal tree (Shorea robusta), often confused with the Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca), in the beautiful flower garden of Lumbini Park, Lumbini Zone, Nepal. Mayadevi was delighted by the park and gave birth standing while holding onto a Sal branch. Legend has it that Prince Siddhārtha emerged from her right side. Some accounts say she gave him his first bath in the Puskarini pond in Lumbini Zone. But legend has it that devas caused it to rain to wash the newborn babe. He was later named Siddhārtha, "He who has accomplished his goals" or "The accomplished goal".
Scholarly generally agree that most Buddhist literature holds that Maya died seven days after the birth of Buddha, and was then reborn in the Tavatimsa Heaven( fitting the pattern of the mothers of the other Buddhas who usually also die seven days after the birth of their sons), where the Buddha later preached the Abhidharma to her. Her sister Prajāpatī (Pāli: Pajāpatī or Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī) became the child's foster mother.
After Siddhartha had attained Enlightenment and become the Buddha, he visited his mother in heaven for three months to pay respects and to teach the Dharma.
Note: Māyā means "illusion" or "enchantment" in Sanskrit and Pāli. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā ("Great Māyā") and Māyādevī ("Queen", literally deva (goddess) Māyā). In Tibetan she is called Gyutrulma.
Love Buddha's dhamma,