(Last Updated on : 16-03-2015)
Pali tradition says that every Buddha was offered milk-rice(or Payesam) from some maiden just before they attained enlightenment. Vipassi Buddha was offered milk-rice from the daughter of Sudassana Setthi; Sikhi Buddha accepted the milk-rice from daughter of Piyadassi Setthi, Vessabhu Buddha got the milk rice from Sirivaddhana, Kakusandha Buddha accepted the milk-rice from a Brahmin girl Vajirindha of the village Suchirindha; Kongamana Buddha got it from a Brahaman woman named Aggisoma while Kasyapa Buddha took the payesam from his wife Sunanda. The last Buddha was Gautama Buddha, who was offered milk-rice by Sujata.
Buddha left his two gurus Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta and was separated from the five monks with whom he had taken several penances in Uruvela. He sat under a banyan tree called the Ajapala Nigrodha. He felt that extreme austerities were not at all necessary for the spiritual achievement and to achieve the spiritual goal. The natural human drive for the normal human food arose in his mind. A woman, named Sujata fulfilled his desire by offering him the milk-rice.
Sujata was the daughter of the landowner of the Senani village near Uruvela. She had pledged once that she would offer the milk-rice to the spirit of the tree if she gave birth to a son. As her wish was fulfilled she asked her maid Punna to visit the tree and prepare the place for offering. When Punna reached the place she saw Gautama sitting under the tree. She mistook him as the tree-god and told the matter to Buddha. Sujata became delighted and reached the spot to offer him milk-rice from the golden bowl.
accepted the golden bowl filled with milk-rice. Then he walked to the riverbank, took bath in the Suppatthita and then ate the food. This was his only meal, which he took after forty-nine days of fasting. After that Buddha attained enlightenment.
Sujata belonged to a very wealthy family and was married to the son of Anathpindika. She was arrogant, did not respect others and disobeyed her husbands and parents. As a consequence of her attitude there were much trouble in that family. One day, while Buddha visited the house of Anathapindika, he heard the unusual uproar of the house and asked the reason for the noise.
Anathapindika replied that it was his daughter in law Sujata, who did not listen to her parents in law as well as husband. She did not even honor or pay respect to the respected one. Then Buddha called Sujata to him and told her very softly and kindly that there were seven types of wives a man might have and asked her which one was she? Sujata wanted to know about the types.
Buddha replied the first kind of wife is bad and undesirable. She is troublesome, wicked, short-tempered, pitiless and not faithful to her husband. The second type of wife is like a thief. She wastes the money her husband has earned. The third type of wife is like a master. She is lazy and thinks only about herself. She is cruel and has no sense of compassion, always scolding her husband and gossiping. The other types of wives are good and praiseworthy. There is a wife who is like mother. She is kind and compassionate and takes care of her husband like her son and careful with the money. The other kind of wife is like a sister. She is respectful, modest and obedient to her husband just like a younger sister to her brother. There are wives who are like friends to her husband. She rejoices at the sight of her husband, just like a friend who meets other friend after long time. She is of noble birth, virtuous and faithful. The last type of wife is like the maid of the house. She is calm and obedient and does not show any sign of anger even her husband uses some harsh words to her. She is obedient to her husband's wishes. After describing all the types of wives Lord Buddha addressed Sujata and asked her which kind of wife she was and which type she wanted to be.
Sujata was ashamed of her past conducts and said that from the day onwards, she would change her behavior and would be a good and understanding wife. She changed her behavior accordingly and became her husband's helper and both of them worked together towards enlightenment.