Introduction: This is the story of a female who strives hard to attain Nibbana in this very life. Here she met all the three factors:
a. Bahuputtika had accrued enough perfection in the past
b. Bahuputtika entered the Order of Sangha
c. Bahuputtika living her last existence in this very life
Having met all the three qualifications, she attained Nibbana in this very life. This again shows that any one irrespective of male or female, one could attain Nibbana in this very life, if he or she meets the three factors.
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (115) with reference to Bahuputtika, a mother of many children.
Dhammapad Verse Verse 115
Once in Savatthi, there lived a couple, with their seven sons and seven daughters. All the children got married and the family was doing quite well. Then, the father died and the mother kept all the property without giving anything to the children. Her sons and daughters wanted the inheritance, so they said, to their mother, “What benefit do we get from our property? Can’t we make it multiply? Can’t we look after our mother?” They said such things again and again so their mother thought that her children would look after her, and she finally divided up the property without leaving anything for herself.
After the division of the property, she first went to stay with her eldest son, but her daughter-in-law complained and said, “She has come and stayed with us, as if she has given us two shares!”, and such other things. So, Bahuputtika went to stay with her second son, and the same things were said. Thus, she went from one son to another, from one daughter to the next; but none of them was willing to take her on for a long stretch of time and none paid her due respect.
The old lady was hurt and felt bitter against her children; she left her family and became a bhikkhuni. Because she was a mother of many children she came to he known as Bahuputtika. Bahuputika realized that she became a bhikkhuni only in her old age and that she must not be negligent, but must make use of the remaining period of her life to the utmost. So, for the whole night, she meditated on the Dhamma taught by the Buddha. The Buddha seeing her from the Jetavana monastery, through supernormal power, sent forth the radiance and appeared seated in front of her. Then the Buddha said to her, “The life of one who does not practice the Dhamma taught by me is useless, even if he were to live for a hundred years.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 115. Better than a hundred years in the life of a person who does not comprehend the Noble Dhamma (Dhammamuttamam), is a day in the life of one who comprehends the Noble Dhamma.
At the end of the discourse Bahuputtika attained Arahatship.