Buddha’s supporters patronize and help in the spread of Buddhism
Support and patronage from the different royal houses and lay followers played a vital role to the growth of the Sangha , its missionary activities and the successful spread of Buddhism. The Lord Buddha Gotama, Himself, realized the importance of such support and patronage for the success of His mission.
- He donated his pleasure garden, Veluvana to the Buddha so that members of Sangha could have a more settled life and be protected from wild beasts. Lay people could go there to listen to the dhamma. Buddha spent 6 rainy retreats There.
- He built a storeyed house and provided attendants to see to the maintenance of the house.
- He appointed his personal physician, Jivaka, to attend to the medical needs of the Buddha and the Sangha.
- He encouraged his family members, royal officers and subjects to listen to the dhamma and to practice them in their daily lives.
- He also helped the Buddha to formulate several important rules for members of the Sangha. They were not to ordain those who were in royal service as future leaders might not be sympathetic towards Buddhism. He also suggested holding Uposatha Days like the followers of other religions.
- He became a Buddhist after listening to a discourse.
- He was a frequent visitor of the Buddha (he would visit the Buddha up to 3 times a day). He would be engaged in valuable discussions with the Buddha. These were recorded in the Samyutta Nikaya as Kosalasamyutta.
- He also spent a great deal in alms giving and various gifts to the Sangha.
- He built a monastery called Kajakarama in front of the Jetavana and offered it to the nuns.
- He also influenced his family members to Buddhism. His son, Brahmadatta became an arahant after joining the Sangha and his sister, Sumana became a nun.
King Pajjota of Avanti
- A devout Buddhist, who offered valuable gifts to the Sangha.
- He sent his royal priest, Mahakaccayana to visit the Buddha and listen to the Dhamma. Mahakaccayana was converted to Buddhism. With the King’s support, the royal priest converted many to Buddhism and established monasteries as well.
King Udena of Vatsa
- When he became a Buddhist, he gave meals daily to monks at his palace and also constructed many monasteries. Due to his support, Kosambi became a great center of Buddhism.
- Chief alms giver and famous for his generous support of the Buddha and the Sangha.
- He purchased a park from Prince Jeta and built the famous Jetavana monastery. Buddha spent 19 rainy retreats there and the monastery became the focal point of Buddhism.
- He supplied the Sangha with all the necessities.
- Several monks went daily to his home for the noon meals.
- Even when he was in poverty and was without much funds, he still continued to provide food for the monks.
- 2 of his daughters attained Stream Entry whilst another attained the stage of Once Returner.
- His son showed no interest at first but enticed by his father, he first kept the Uposatha Day and later went to the monastery to listen to the sermon. He attained Stream Entry and followed his father’s generous donation.
- Foremost amongst Buddha’s female lay donors.
- She was generous and helpful to the community of monks.
- She was responsible for the construction and donation of a monastery called the Pubbarama to the Sangha.
- She requested the Buddha to grant her 8 wishes which the Buddha did. They were:
- She invited the Buddha to her home and her father-in-law attained first stage of sainthood after listening to the Buddha’s sermon. Later her mother-in-law also attained first stage of sainthood.
- Gradually she succeeded in converting her husband’s household to a Buddhist one.