Prasenajit ［波斯匿王］ (; Pali Pasenadi; Hashinoku-ō): The king of Kosala of ancient India in Shakyamuni’s time. He is also known as the father of Shrīmālā, the Indian queen noted for her devotion to Buddhism. According to the Medium-Length Āgama Sutra, King Prasenajit was the same age as Shakyamuni. He ruled the middle Ganges Valley from Shrāvastī, the capital of Kosala. Under his reign, Kosala rose to prominence as one of the two most powerful kingdoms in India, the other being Magadha. Prasenajit had a sister named Vaidehī whom he gave in marriage to Bimbisāra, king of Magadha. Because of this relationship, Kosala and Magadha were on friendly terms. According to one account, however, after Bimbisāra’s death, Prasenajit battled with Bimbisāra’s son Ajātashatru over possession of a tract of land in Kāshī that Prasenajit had given to Bimbisāra as his sister’s dowry. This turned into a protracted conflict.
At the urging of his wife, Mallikā, Prasenajit became a follower of Shakyamuni Buddha and endeavored to protect and support the Buddhist Order. He often visited the Buddha while the latter was staying at the capital of Shrāvastī. According to the Increasing by One Āgama Sutra, shortly after Shakyamuni attained enlightenment, Prasenajit ascended the throne and wished to take a wife from the Shākyas, the tribe from which Shakyamuni had come and whose people were believed to be of noble birth. A man named Mahānāma, a member of the Shākyas, gave the king his maidservant’s beautiful daughter in marriage, falsely claiming that she was his own daughter. She bore him a prince, who was named Virudhaka. When Virūdhaka was eight years old, he went to Kapilavastu, the domain of the Shākyas, where he was informed of the truth behind his birth and thereby put to shame. Later, when he ascended the throne, this led him to destroy the great majority of the Shākyas.
There are different accounts from Buddhist sources concerning Prasenajit’s later years. According to one, his throne was usurped by Virudhaka and he fled from his own country to Rājagriha, the capital of Magadha, but died on the outskirts of that city. Another account says that Virūdhaka succeeded him in due course upon his death.