Prince Siddhartha’s ending his six years seeking the truth through abstinence, eating only a few seseme seeds a day, when he was near death and Sujātā, 13 year old milkmaid offered him a bowl of kheer, a milk-rice pudding,
There is another story that supports his ending his period of abstinence, saying while he was fasting, he remembered a time when he was a child of the king, resting in a tree and experienced complete presence and saw that neither excess nor abstinence was the way to knowing the truth and thus he went on to practice and teach the Middle Path, a balanced way of living which respects the body and the gifts that life gives us, yet does not perpetuate desire, aversion or unconsciousness.
It is said his 5 disciples were so shocked that when he ate, that they left him. The exquisite beauty of the Buddhist teachings is that they teach us to listen deeply to our own feelings, gaining wisdom and insights to find the truth for ourselves and then act accordingly.
It is believed that Sujatas home was the village of Bakraur near Bodh Gaya. The Sujata Stupa was dedicated to her there in the 2nd century BCE.
All that said, this statue came into being because Anom, her carver said "There is a woman I want to carve, she is sitting on her feet and holding a bowl". I said "Of course!". Later he noticed that Sujata traditionally has a head scarf in the manner of Indian women. In some ways she is like the Patacara, the Buddhist nun he carves, but holding a bowl or pot for food. You can decide who she is to you!
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