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Considering the story we know about the life of Buddha as Siddhartha and also considering that Yesodhara was Buddha's partner in His many previous lives, can we say that Yesodhara was somehow instrumental in Siddhartha becoming a Buddha?

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With or without Her being in His life He would have made it?

(Her pervious life with Buddha is in wiki article and here.)

I know this question is as such irrelevant to practice but I am trying to get around this idea called 'soul-mates' which is in pop-media.

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It appears the stories in the question are not from the Pali suttas but are later commentary stories and Mahayana ideas probably created to salvage Gotama's misogynist reputation.

It appears Yasodharā is not mentioned in the Pali suttas, apart from supposedly as Bhaddakaccānā in AN 1.245. The Pali suttas appear silent on Yasodharā and only refer to Gotama's parents when Gotama left home.

So, at a later time, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life — and while my parents, unwilling, were crying with tears streaming down their faces — I shaved off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness.

MN 26

The Pali suttas do not report the traditional fables or children's stories about Gotama seeing a sick, old & dead man and secretly leaving home. Instead, the Pali suttas report Gotama unhappy with worldly life in his palaces and having an existential crisis (refer to Sukhamala Sutta).

Since Gotama left home after his son was born, it appears possible he made a deal with his father to bear an heir to the throne. In other words, his wife was probably unimportant, apart from her role of child bearing (breeding) for the family lineage.

Since Gotama was married for 13 years but childless, based on the above suttas mentioned, it appears obvious Gotama had little or no interest in sex. Obviously his family (clan), wife, child and royal status were a burden for him. This is probably why the Buddha taught in MN 26:

Monks, there are these two searches: ignoble search & noble search. And what is ignoble search? There is the case where a person, being subject himself to birth, seeks [happiness in] what is likewise subject to birth. Being subject himself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, he seeks [happiness in] what is likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement.

And what may be said to be subject to birth? Spouses & children are subject to birth. Men & women slaves... goats & sheep... fowl & pigs... elephants, cattle, horses, & mares... gold & silver are subject to birth. Subject to birth are these acquisitions, and one who is tied to them, infatuated with them, who has totally fallen for them, being subject to birth, seeks what is likewise subject to birth.

And what may be said to be subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement? Spouses & children... men & women slaves... goats & sheep... fowl & pigs... elephants, cattle, horses, & mares... gold & silver are subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement. Subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement are these acquisitions, and one who is tied to them, infatuated with them, who has totally fallen for them, being subject to birth, seeks what is likewise subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement. This is ignoble search.

In conclusion, Gautama Buddha's wife Yesodhara was probably highly instrumental in Him becoming a Buddha because she showed Gautama she was incapable of bringing Gautama any real happiness but would only bring burdens & misery.

  • If Gotama and Yasodharā were childless, what about Rāhula? – ChrisW Jul 19 '18 at 10:26
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    i wrote childless for first 13 years of marriage. Then unmarried as soon as become a father. Abandoned his wife. – Dhammadhatu Jul 19 '18 at 10:27
  • Thank you for this answer. If this version of stories is held correct I suppose my craving for the other to attain Nibbana ends. I am a Theravadin so I will take this as the truth. So in effect, you don't need that perfect wife who has followed you life after life, to attain Nibbana. This helps. Thanks again :). – user13135 Jul 19 '18 at 16:22
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ChrisW Jul 22 '18 at 10:23
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I am trying to get around this idea called 'soul-mates' which is in pop-media.

The term 'soul-mates' doesn't make sense in ultimate reality as there are no souls to begin with. But if you simply interpret it as being the perfect husband and wife, it has meaning in Buddhism.

With or without Her being in His life He would have made it?

Once the Buddha Deepankara gave the prediction that the Bodhisatta is going to be a Buddha, it was going to happen one way or the other. Yashodara Theri herself answers this question in her last words before she passed away.
“me saranam atthano” (“I am my own refuge”).

Nevertheless, she was the perfect wife to the Bodhisatta.

The relationship between Yashodhara and Prince Siddhartha was long and deep-rooted. It had started many, many years ago at the time of the Dîpankara Buddha. At that time, the Prince (Bodhisatta) was born as an ascetic by the name of Sumedha. After an exceedingly long period of practicing the ten virtues, the Bodhisatta Sumedha had finally completed the eight requirements to receive the definite proclamation of Buddhahood from the Dîpankara Buddha. Yashodhara, at that time, was born as a noble lady by the name of Sumitta. She saw the Buddha Dîpankara give the Bodhisattva eight handfuls of white jasmine flowers and the definite proclamation that He would be a Buddha by the name of Gotama, of the Sakyan caste, in the distant future. Cutting off her hair, she aspired to be His consort and helpmate and to support Him actively in His quest for Buddhahood.

Since then she had been the wife of no other but him during the entire period(100,000 world cycles and four infinite periods).

Another example for a perfect couple is Nakula matha and Nakula pitha.

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    If this version is accepted then it means really they are soul mates as its defined in popular media. I understand that there is no soul so no question of having soul mates, but loosely defined it as the person you will meet life after life in each reincarnation is defined as soul mate then it makes sense to call them soul mate. Also if this part of the story be stressed ' be His consort and helpmate and to support Him actively in His quest for Buddhahood.' then it directly means she was instrumental for His Nibbana. As it literally indicates she supported Him, so her support was needed. – user13135 Jul 19 '18 at 16:26
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    @FriedrickNietzsche it depends on what the term 'soul-mates' means to you. Buddhists do not have to protest against the usage of such terms. Especially if they are meant in a conceptual sense. If you are a married person, you will know that it's very useful to have a supportive wife, but it's not a necessity to succeed in life. It's the same case for the Bodhisatta. :) – Sankha Kulathantille Jul 19 '18 at 17:24
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Who we finally called Yashodhara was an integral part of who we now call Siddhartha Gautama's achievement. She not only was an integral part, she also achieved realization in that lifetime. Ignorantly claiming that the circumstances in which karma was dispelled are not necessary is counter-productive. For instance, even in his last lifetime as the Buddha, Siddhartha stepped on a briar and hurt his foot. Ananda said, "How can this happen?" Gautama said, "It's the last little bit of karma that I had to dispel."

Yashodhara and Siddhartha made a pact in the time of the Later Dipankara Buddha - they would travel together through all of the subsequent lifetimes until enlightenment and if one achieved, they would come back for the other. We see undisputed (finally, sigh) stories of Yashodhara copying everything Siddhartha did as an Aesthetic. Shaving hair, doning yellow robes, eating once a day....while still in the palace waiting for him. This is not the action of a distraught or angry wife. Let's think about it.

Male Chauvenistic tendancies aside (if we can bear it) Yashodhara was principle part of Siddhartha's history. If you believe that he was ACTUALLY omniscient and did ACTUALLY remember his lifetimes, you must assume he could tell stories about them.

Men who claim women are unequal practitioners, evidenced by the 8 extra rules that place women "below" men are right. Men and women are unequal. Women are superior Bodhissatvas. Naturally they give their bodies to others (carrying a child), Feed them from their own bodies, subjugate their own needs to take care of others.
More rules are always given to more serious practitioners. Ignorant beginners only have a few rules. Let us think about this, too.

  • Welcome to the site! May I ask -- where do you find the stories, which you referenced in the 2nd paragraph? About the pact, and about what Yashodhara did while waiting in the palace? – ChrisW Nov 7 at 18:31

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