Buddhas mother alive when he renounced or dead 7 days after birth

“Later, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, though my mother and father wished otherwise and wept with tearful faces, I shaved off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and went forth from the home life into homelessness. MN 26

is the story of Buddhas mother dying seven days after his birth also in the EBT’s? if not where is it first seen?


I have learned this in the presence of the Buddha: ‘Seven days after the being intent on awakening is born, his mother passes away and is reborn in the host of Joyful Gods.’ This too I remember as an incredible quality of the Buddha.

Spoken by Ananda in MN 123 and approved by the Buddha later in the same.

It is a mystery, huh? Perhaps foster-mother was meant in MN 26? :thinking:

Looking more closely at the parallels: MN 26’s parallel (DA 22) also reports that his “father and mother wept.” But while MN 123 does have an Agama parallel (MA 32) which is equally mythical and majestic, it notably lacks this particular detail.

Venerable Analayo also points out that the MN account puts this statement about her death (hardly a “marvelous quality of the Buddha” per se) out of chronological order as well, making it extra suspect as a possible insertion. He then goes on to quote:

Obeyesekere 1997 (475) suggests that “the death of Māyā seven days after the Buddha’s birth cannot be taken literally, or even to mean that ‘she died soon after’ … rather, Māyā’s death is a structural requirement of the myth: the pure womb from which the Buddha was born could not thereafter be contaminated by childbirth or sexual pollution”

(From Ven Analayo’s comparative study)


Well, I’m not sure that the exact meaning would be that is marvelous in a positive sense, but rather in the astounding sense. And tied up with that is the fact that the mothers of last-birth-bodhisattas are always reborn in the Tusita heaven. That is something very special since we don’t come across many guarantees of Tusita rebirth. Certainly there is no other way a child ever guarantees that their mother will take a good rebirth, let alone in the Tusita heaven. So I don’t see how this isn’t a marvelous quality of the Buddha.

And I don’t think there is anything at all suspicious in the Buddha referring to his “mother and father”. Mahapajapati Gotama raised him as her own. If a child has only ever known one mother, it would be odd for them to say “although my step-mother and father wept…”


There’s even some disagreement about that, as the parallels, including some of the Theravāda’s own, place her in the Heaven of the Thirty Three. (Analayo 2012) :person_shrugging:

Care to share?

Personally I’d be fine to be reborn in either one if I have to be reborn anywhere (which I’m sure I will).


I’m taking Ven Analayo at his word here, as I don’t have the chops to look up all those references myself^

And, just to be clear, there is widespread agreement among the later texts (across traditions) that the Buddha’s mother died, was reborn in heaven, and there was taught the Dhamma…and it does seem straightforward enough to take “mother” as short for “foster mother” in MN 26.

I just also think it’s important to not be too over-confident (or over-concerned) about such details. The myths may or may not be history, but they’re certainly great stories (regardless of what the heaven was called) and that’s all they really need to be :slight_smile:

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As he sat there, outshining with the splendor of his own body all the other deities, his mother approached from the Palace of the Tusita gods and sat down on his right hand, the deity Indaka likewise approached and sat down on his right hand, and Aṅkura on his left hand.

This one indicates she came to the teaching from the Tusita realm. Does the article say somewhere else that she was born in Tavatimsa?


This is why I’m studying astrology currently to understand what Pali suttas sometimes refer to. One thing I can already say when text place him in heaven of thirty three that is referring to The Big Dipper. So I assume because Buddha was born in Taurus after seven days in the heaven a planet or stars that represents feminine(goddess) was ruling Taurus. See Nalaka Sutta for what was happening in the sky when Buddha was born first to understand everything.


See below that it all makes sense. Because from this website I got this info that connects it to many possibilities. One she is connected with Taurus. And the second she represents wives/sisters of the seven stars that are the Vedic sages. And other things can be also.

But in Buddhism there is a tradition that says that all Buddha mother dies after 7 days. That just means to astrology that the goddess in the sky was descending when Buddha was born or after 7 days it started to descend.

Here is the parts that I feel there a connection to the Buddha.

The Great Goddess and World Mother (Mahadevi) in Vedic Astrology

In Hindu thought, the Goddess is the Mother of the Universe from whom the origin, sustenance and dissolution of everything arises. She governs over the whole of time, as past, present and future, and all of space.

The Goddess is naturally associated with Taurus, ruled by Venus and where the Moon is exalted

KRITTIKA (26 40 Aries—10 00 Taurus), the Pleiades, seven sisters, wives of the seven Rishis (identified with the stars of the Big Dipper)

In conclusion, the Vedic view of the Mother of the Universe and Divine Feminine is to honor all of her forms reflected in time and the sky, from the youthful to the elderly, from the beautiful to the fierce, as mother, sister, daughter, wife and beloved, from the mundane to the Transcendent. This includes a wide variety of astrological and astronomical associations. Understanding the Goddess and the World Mother (Jaganmata, Jagadamba) is essential for understand the Vedic view of time and karma.

By seeing again the above it seems most probably Buddha was born a time where the sun was set at Taurus and Moon at Venus and because Nalaka Sutta says

will set turning the Wheel [of Dhamma]
in the grove named after the seers,
like a strong, roaring lion,
the conqueror of beasts."

That means Buddha was born in Leo rising.

That means the next Buddha might come in same time. :man_shrugging:

Ah! So they “met each other half way” between Tusita and Earth? Cute! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Elsewhere in Sanskrit, not in the Pāḷi. Venerable Analayo simply asserts that there is a “problem” in the Pāḷi account, without mentioning (as you point out) that the text is aware that this isn’t supposed to be her “home” level of heaven. Turns out the Pāḷi redactors are way ahead of us again! :joy:

Thanks for looking that up!:pray:

I don’t think this is a good take. For starters, the logic is not compelling: Obeyesekere argues that because the myth required it, then the episode was created. The problem here is that myths don’t require anything. Sure, the motif of a mother passing away is commonly found in myths, but myths are by their nature creative and diverse. They play with this idea in all kinds of different ways, and don’t determine any particular reading.

Moreover, the requirement of “purity” is not mythic but moralizing. It’s the hand of a monk, not a bard. This means that it’s an artificial element, which is contained neither in the events as they happened, nor in the primal myth, but in the commentary. The burden of myth is not to inculcate an ideal of magical purity, but to locate within the cycle of birth and death; myths aren’t afraid of a little mess.

At a more general level, the argument assumes that myth and history are exclusive. But this simply isn’t true. Myth and history are complementary; they consume each other. The fact that something has a mythic significance doesn’t mean that it isn’t “true”, for real events inform how the myth is shaped.

The mythic motif of the dead or absent mother, and the upbringing by the (typically “evil”) stepmother, is pervasive and resonant within myths precisely because the death of mothers during or after childbirth was so common. It was a story that had happened to your family and neighbors. It was a tragedy in many people’s lives, and as humans we deal with tragedy by telling stories. When we hear that story, when our own emotions are sublimated, abstracted, and shared, they become a little easier to bear.


Which is why I use the (hopefully more neutral) “incredible and amazing”. Similarly, Ven Bodhi has “astounding and amazing”. Unlike “marvellous”, you can use “amazing” (for example) in a negative sense, “It’s amazing that so many monastics are still using Windows when Ubuntu is right there.”

But I don’t think that’s quite the point Analayo is making here. Rather, the problem is that it’s not a quality of the Buddha. He refers to the Udana, where this is said to be an incredible thing, but not an incredible quality of the Buddha.

It’s still a doubtful point, though, because MN 123 is full of things that are not really qualities of the Buddha, but of his mother. :person_shrugging: