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This lovely Tang dynasty (618 - 907 C.E.) statue is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is thought to be of Ananda, the first cousin and devoted attendant of Shakyamuni Buddha. Ananda had a prodigious memory and is said to have remembered - word for word - many of the Buddha's discourses. These were transcribed in the First Buddhist Council and later became the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon. [NOTE: The Sutta Pitaka contains over 10,000 teachings attributed to the Buddha or his disciples]. 

Ananda was also known as a champion of women's rights and persistently "lobbied" the Buddha on behalf of the ordination of women. He eventually convinced him. [NOTE: Nice discussion of the first Buddhist Nuns here (thx, Barbara)].

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