King of Māgadha and patron of the Buddha.
According to the Pabbajā Sutta Snp.405ff. the first meeting between the Buddha and Bimbisāra took place in Rājagaha under the Paṇḍavapabbata, only after the Buddha’s Renunciation. The king, seeing the young ascetic pass below the palace windows, sent messengers after him. On learning, that he was resting after his meal, Bimbisāra followed him and offered him a place in his court. This the Buddha refused, revealing his identity. The Buddha returned to Rājagaha immediately after his conversion of the Tebhātika Jaṭilā. He stayed at the Supatiṭṭha cetiya in Latthivanuyyāna, whither Bimbisāra, accompanied by twelve nahutas of householders, went to pay to him his respects. The Buddha preached to them, and eleven nahutas, with Bimbisāra at their head, became sotāpannas. On the following day the Buddha and his large retinue of monks accepted the hospitality of Bimbisāra. At the conclusion of the meal, Bimbisāra poured water from a golden jar on the Buddha’s hand and dedicated Veḷuvana for the use of him and of his monks. Vin.i.35ff.
It may have been in Veḷuvana that the king built for the monks a storeyed house, fully plastered. Vin.ii.154 With the attainment of sopātatti, the king declared that all the five ambitions of his life had been fulfilled: that he might become king, that the Buddha might visit his realm, that he might wait on the Buddha, that the Buddha might teach him the doctrine, that he might understand it. Vin.i.36
Bimbisāra’s chief queen was Kosaladevī, daughter of Mahākosala and sister of Pasenadi. On the day of her marriage she received, as part of her dowry, a village in Kāsi, for her bath money. Her son was Ajātasattu.
Bimbisāra’s death was a sad one: he was mirdered by his own son. Vin.ii.190f.