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VI:7 The lady who abused the bhikkhus (Kana)
Kana Mata was a devoted lay disciple of the Buddha. Her daughter Kana was married to a man from another village. As Kana had been on a visit to her mother for sometime, her husband sent a message asking her to come home. Her mother requested her to wait for a few more days as she wanted to send along some cakes for her son-in-law.
The next day, Kana Mata made some cakes. When four bhikkhus came to her house for almsfood, she offered all the cakes to the bhikkhus, leaving none for Kana to take home to her husband. Kana was also not able to go home for the next three consecutive days because her mother had again offered all the cakes she had made to the bhikkhus when they came for almsfood.
As a result, Kana's husband took for himself another wife. Kana became very bitter towards the bhikkhus. She accused them of having ruined her marriage. She then reviled and abused every bhikkhu she saw. So all the bhikkhus kept away from her house.
The Buddha, knowing what had happened,* went to the house of Kana Mata. The Buddha sent for Kana and questioned her. 'Did my bhikkhus take what was given to them or what was not given to them?' Kana answered that the bhikkhus had taken only what was given to them, and then added, 'They were not in the wrong, only I was in the wrong.' Thus, she admitted her fault, asked for pardon and even paid her respects. The Buddha then gave a discourse. At the end of the discourse, Kana attained the first stage of Sainthood.
On the way back to the monastery, the Buddha met King Pasenadi of Kosala. On being told about Kana and her bitter attitude towards the bhikkhus, King Pasenadi asked whether the Buddha had been able to make her realise her fault and make her see the Truth (Dhamma). The Buddha replied, 'Yes I have taught her the Dhamma and I have also made her rich spiritually.'
Then the king gave the Buddha an assurance that he would make Kana rich in her present life. The king then summoned Kana to the palace. When she arrived he announced, 'Whoever can support my daughter Kana in comfort may take her'. One of his ministers adopted Kana as his daughter and gave her all his wealth. He said to her, 'You may give in charity as much as you like.' Every day, Kana made offerings to holy people who came to her house.
When told about Kana giving generously in charity, the Buddha said, 'Bhikkhus, the mind of Kana which was foggy and muddled was made clear and calm after listening to the Dhamma.'
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