2243 Tue 30 May 2017 LESSON
Published on Dec 16, 2015
With each video taoshobuddha shares the essence of his being - the
light - the awakening - the fire of the being. Flow with this essence of
the being. Life will attain a new impetus along inward journey.…
One of the principal disciples of the Buddha. He was a first cousin of the Buddha and was deeply attached to him.
He came to earth from Tusita and was born on the same day as the
Bodhisatta, his father being Amitodana the Sākiyan, brother of
Suddhodana. Mahānāma and Anuruddha were therefore his brothers (or
probably step-brothers). According to the Mtu.iii.176, Ānanda was the
son of Suklodana and the brother of Devadatta and Upadhāna. His mother
Ānanda entered the Order in the second year of the Buddha’s ministry,
together with other Sākiyan princes, such as Bhaddiya, Anuruddha, Bhagu,
Kimbila and Devadatta, and was ordained by the Buddha himself
(Vin.ii.182), his upajjhāya being Belatthasīsa (ThagA.i.68; also
DA.ii.418ff.; Vin.i.202; iv. 86). Soon after, he heard a discourse by
Punna Mantāniputta and became a Sotāpanna. In S.iii.105 Ānanda
acknowledges his indebtedness to Punna and gives an account of Punna’s
sermon to him.
During the first twenty years after the Enlightenment, the Buddha did
not have the same personal attendants all the time. From time to time
various monks looked after him, among them being Nāgasamāla, Nāgita,
Upavāna, Sunakkhatta, the novice Cunda, Sāgata, Rādha and Meghiya. We
are told that the Buddha was not particularly pleased with any of them.
At the end of twenty years, at an assembly of the monks, the Buddha
declared that he was advanced in years and desired to have somebody as
his permanent body-servant, one who would respect his wishes in every
way. The Buddha says that sometimes his attendants would not obey him,
and on certain occasions had dropped his bowl and robe and gone away,
All the great disciples offered their services, but were rejected by the
Buddha. Ānanda alone was left; he sat in silence. When asked why he
did not offer himself, his reply was that the Buddha knew best whom to
choose. When the Buddha signified that he desired to have Ānanda, the
latter agreed to accept the post on certain conditions. The Buddha was
never to give him any choice food or garment (*) gotten by him, nor
appoint for him a separate “fragrant cell” (residence), nor include him
in the invitations accepted by the Buddha. For, he said, if the Buddha
did any of these things, some would say that Ānanda’s services to the
Buddha were done in order to get clothes, good fare and lodging and be
included in the invitations. Further he was to be allowed to accept
invitations on behalf of the Buddha; to bring to the Buddha those who
came to see him from afar; to place before the Buddha all his
perplexities, and the Buddha was to repeat to him any doctrine taught in
his absence. If these concessions were not granted, he said, some
would ask where was the advantage of such service. Only if these
privileges were allowed him would people trust him and realise that the
Buddha had real regard for him. The Buddha agreed to the conditions.
(*) Ānanda did, however, accept one of the two robes given by
Pukkusa the Mallan to the Buddha (D.ii.133); Buddhaghosa explains this
by saying that Ānanda’s period of service had now come to an end, and
also he wished to be free from the accusation that even after having
served the Buddha for twenty-five years, the Buddha had never made him
any gift. It is further stated that Ānanda offered the robe to the
Buddha later (DA.ii.570).
Thenceforth, for twenty-five years (Thag.v.1039), Ānanda waited upon the
Buddha, following him like a shadow, bringing him water and toothpick,
washing his feet, accompanying him everywhere, sweeping his cell and so
forth. By day he was always at hand, forestalling the Master’s
slightest wish; at night, stout staff and large torch in hand, he would
go nine times round the Buddha’s Gandha-kuti in order to keep awake, in
case he were needed, and also to prevent the Buddha’s sleep from being
The account here given is summarised from AA.i.159ff. and from
ThagA.ii.121ff. On the boons see J.iv.96, where Ānanda had asked for
boons in the past too. The Tibetan sources give a different and
interesting version of Ānanda’s entry into the Order. See Rockhill:
Life of the Buddha, 57-8.
Many examples are given of- Ānanda’s solicitude for the Buddha,
particularly during the Buddha’s last days, as related in the Mahā
Parinibbāna Sutta. Ānanda was the Buddha’s equal in age (having been
born on the same day), and it is touching to read of this old and most
devoted attendant ministering to his eminent cousin, fetching him water,
bathing him, rubbing his body, preparing his bed, and receiving last
instructions from him on various matters of importance. It is said that
when the Buddha was ill, Ānanda became sympathetically sick (D.ii.99).
He was aware of every change that occurred in the Buddha’s body. E.g.,
the brightening of his features after Janavasabha’s visit (D.ii.204);
and the fading of his complexion just before death, which was apparent
when the Buddha put on the robe given by Pukkusa (ibid., 133).
Once, when acting on the instructions of Devadatta, the royal mahouts
let loose Nālāgiri, maddened with drink, on the Buddha’s path, so that
he might trample the Buddha to death, Ānanda, seeing the animal rushing
towards them, immediately took his stand in front of the Buddha. Three
times the Buddha forbade him to do so, but Ānanda, usually most
obedient, refused to move, and it is said that the Buddha, by his
iddhi-power, made the earth roll back in order to get Ānanda out of the
elephant’s path. .
Sometimes, the extreme zealousness of Ānanda drew on him the Buddha’s
rebuke - e.g., when he prepared tekatuka gruel (gruel with three kinds
of pungent substances) for the Buddha when he was suffering from wind in
the stomach. The gruel was prepared from food kept indoors and was
cooked by Ānanda himself, indoors; this was against the rules
(Vin.i.210-11), but Ānanda knew that the gruel would cure the Buddha.
Ānanda was most efficient in the performance of the numerous duties
attached to his post. Whenever the Buddha wished to summon the monks or
to send a message to anyone, it was to Ānanda that he entrusted the
task. See, e.g., D.ii.199; 147; Vin.i.80; M.i.456.
He reported to the Buddha any news which he beard and thought
interesting. E.g., the death of Nigantha Nātaputta, of which he learnt
from Cunda Samanuddesa (D.iii.118; M.ii.244); also Devadatta’s
conspiracy to harm the Buddha (Vin.ii.198).
Laymen and laywomen, wishing to give alms to the Buddha and the monks,
would often consult him in their difficulties, and he would always
advise them. E.g., the Andhakavinda Brāhmana (Vin.i.220-1); Roja the
Malla (ibid., 248); see also ibid., 238f.
When the monks came to him expressing their desire to hear the Buddha
preach, he did his best to grant their wish. E.g. when the Buddha
retired into the Pārileyya forest (S.iii.95; DhA.i.50f.).
Sometimes when Ānanda felt that an interview with the Buddha would be of
use to certain people, he would contrive that the Buddha should talk to
them and solve their doubts; thus, for instance, he arranged an
interview for the Nigantha Saccaka (M.i.237) and the brahmins Sangārava
and Rammaka (S.i.163; M.i.161). Similarly he took Samiddhi to the
Buddha when he found that Samiddhi had wrongly represented the Buddha’s
views (M.iii.208). When he discovered that Kimbila and a large number
of other monks would greatly benefit if the Buddha would preach to them
on ānāpānasati, he requested the Buddha that he should do so.
(S.v.323). Ānanda’s requests were, however, not always granted. Once,
for instance, though he asked the Buddha three times to recite the
Pātimokkha, the Buddha refused to do so until an offending monk had been
Again, when at Vesāli, as a result of the Buddha’s talks to the monks on
asubha, a large number of them, feeling shame and loathing for their
bodies, committed suicide, Ānanda suggested to the Buddha that he might
teach the monks some method by which they might obtain insight (aññā)
In order that people might still worship the Buddha when he was away on tour, Ānanda planted the Ānanda-Bodhi (q.v.).
Ānanda was, however, careful that people should not weary the Buddha
unnecessarily. Even when he told the Buddha about the suicide of the
monks (mentioned above), he was careful to wait till the Buddha had
finished his fortnight’s solitude, because he had given orders that he
should not be disturbed.
When Subhadda wanted to see the Buddha as he lay on his death-bed,
Ānanda refused to let him in until expressly asked to do so by the
Master (D.ii.149). That same day when the Mallas of Kusinārā came with
their families to pay their last respects to the Buddha, Ānanda arranged
them in groups, and introduced each group so that the ceremony might be
gone through without delay (D.ii.148).
He often saved the Buddha from unpleasantness by preventing too pious
admirers from trying to persuade the Buddha to do what was against his
scruples. E.g., Bodhirājakumāra, when he asked the Buddha to walk over
the carpets in his mansion, Kokanada (Vin.ii.128; M.ii.94).
Among Ānanda’s duties was the task of going round to put away anything
which might have been forgotten by anyone in the congregation after
hearing the Buddha preach (DhA.i.410).
Ānanda was often consulted by colleagues on their various difficulties.
Thus we find Vangīsa (S.i.188; Thag.vers.1223-6) confiding to him his
restlessness at the sight of women and asking for his advice. Among
others who came to him with questions on various doctrinal matters were
Kāmabhū (S.iv.165-6), Udāyi (S.v.166-8; A.iv.449), Channa (S.iii.133-4),
and Bhadda (S.v.171-3; ThagA.i.474; he could not, however, be of use to
his fellow celibate Bhandu). Nor were these consultations confined to
his fellow-monks, for we find the brahmins Ghosita (S.iv.113) and
Unnābha (S.v.272), the Licchavis Abhaya and Panditakumāraka (A.i.220),
the paribbājakas Channa (A.i.215) and Kokanuda (A.v.196), the upāsikā
Migasālā (A.iii.347, and again A.v.137), a householder of Kosambī
(A.i.217) and Pasenadi Kosala (M.ii.112), all coming to him for
enlightenment and instruction. It was on this occasion that Pasenadi
presented Ānanda with a valuable piece of foreign material which had
been sent to him by Ajātasattu.
Sometimes the monks, having heard a brief sermon from the Buddha, would
seek out Ānanda to obtain from him a more detailed exposition, for he
had the reputation of being able to expound the Dhamma (A.v.225;
It is said that the Buddha would often deliberately shorten his
discourse to the monks so that they might be tempted to have it further
explained by Ānanda. They would then return to the Buddha and report to
him Ānanda’s exposition, which would give him an opportunity of
praising Ānanda’s erudition. MA.i.81; for such praise see, e.g.,
A.v.229. It is said that once when a certain landowner asked the Buddha
how he could show honour to the Dhamma, the Buddha told him to show
honour to Ānanda if he wished to honour the Dhamma (J.iv.369).
In the Sekha Sutta (M.i.353ff ) we are told that after the Buddha had
preached to the Sākiyans of Kapilavatthu till late at night, he asked
Ānanda to continue the discourse while he himself rested. Ānanda did
so, and when the Buddha awoke after his sleep, he commended Ānanda on
his ability. On another occasion, the Buddha asks Ānanda to address the
monks on the wonders attendant on a Buddha’s birth, and the
Acchari-yabbhuta-Dhamma Sutta is the result. The Buddha is mentioned as
listening with approval (M.iii.119ff).
Sometimes Ānanda would suggest to the Buddha a simile to be used in his
discourse, e.g. the Dhammayāna simile (S.v.5); or by a simile suggest a
name to be given to a discourse, e.g. the Madhupindika Sutta (M.i.114;
cp. Upavāna suggesting the name for the Pāsādika Sutta D.iii.141); or
again, particularly wishing to remember a certain Sutta, he would ask
the Buddha to give it a name, e.g. the Bahudhātuka Sutta (M.iii.67).
Several instances occur of Ānanda preaching to the monks of his own
accord (E.g., A.ii.156f.; v.6) and also to the laity (E.g., A.ii.194).
The Sandaka Sutta records a visit paid by Ānanda with his followers to
the paribbajaka Sandaka, and describes how he won Sandaka over by a
discourse. Sometimes, as in the case of the Bhaddekaratta Sutta
(M.iii.189f ) Ānanda would repeat to the assembly of monks a sermon
which he had previously heard the Buddha preach. Ānanda took the
fullest advantage of the permission granted to him by the Buddha of
asking him any question he desired. He had a very inquiring mind; if
the Buddha smiled he would ask the reason (M.ii.45, 50, 74; A.iii.214f.;
Or if he remained silent, Ānanda had to be told the reason (S.iv.400).
He knew that the Buddha did nothing without definite cause; when
Upavāna, who stood fanning the Buddha, was asked to move away, Ānanda
wished to know the reason, and was told that Upavāna prevented various
spirits from seeing the Buddha (D.ii.139). The Buddha was always
willing to answer Ānanda’s questions to his satisfaction. Sometimes, as
in the case of his question regarding the dead citizens of Ñātikā
(D.ii.91ff.),* a long discourse would result.**
* In this case the discourse concluded with a description of the
Dhammādāsa (Mirror of Truth) to be used for all time; see also
** The Pabbajjā Sutta (Sn.72ff.), was preached because of Ānanda’s
request that the Buddha should give an account of his renunciation
(SnA.ii.381); see also Pubbayogāvacara Sutta (SnA.i.47).
Most often his consultations with the Buddha were on matters of doctrine
or were connected with it - e.g., on nirodha (S.iii.24); loka
(S.iv.53); suñña (S.iv.54; M.iii.104-24); vedanā (S.iv.219-21) ; iddhi
(S.v.282-4; 286); ānāpānasati (S.v.328-34); bhava, etc. (A.i.223f.); on
the chalabhijāti of Pūrana Kassapa (q.v.); the aims and purposes of
sīla (A.v.1f., repeated in v.311f.); the possibilities of samādhi
(A.v.7f., repeated in v.318 and in A.i.132f.); on sanghabheda
(A.v.75ff.); the qualities requisite to be a counsellor of monks
(A.iv.279ff.); the power of carrying possessed by a Buddha’s voice
(A.i.226f.); the conditions necessary for a monk’s happiness
(A.iii.132f.); the different ways of mastering the elements
(M.iii.62f.); the birthplace of “noble men” (DhA.iii.248); and the
manner in which previous Buddhas kept the Fast-day (DhA.iii.246). To
these should be added the conversations on numerous topics recorded in
the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta. Some of these questions - e.g., about
earthquakes (D.ii.107ff.; A.iv.312ff.) and the different kinds of
spirits present at the death of the Buddha (D.ii.139f.) - seem to have
been put into Ānanda’s mouth in order that they might be used as pegs on
which to hang beliefs connected with them which were current among
Not all the Suttas addressed to Ānanda are, however, the result of his
questions. Sometimes he would repeat to the Buddha conversations he had
had with others and talks he had overheard, and the Buddha would
expound in detail the topics occurring therein.
Thus, for instance, a conversation with Pasenadi Kosala on
Kalyānamittatā is repeated and the Buddha explains its importance
(S.i.87-9; v.2-3) ; Ānanda tells the Buddha about his visit to the
Paribbajakārāma in Kosambi and what he there heard about a bhikkhu being
called niddasa after twelve years of celibacy. The Buddha thereupon
expounds the seven niddasavatthu (A.iv.37ff.). The account conveyed by
Ānanda of Udāyī preaching to a large crowd leads to an exposition of the
difficulties of addressing large assemblies and the qualities needed to
please them (A.iii.184). A conversation between Udāyī and the
carpenter Pañcakanga on feelings is overheard by Ānanda and reported to
the Buddha, who gives a detailed explanation of his views on the subject
(S.iv.222f.; M.i.397f.). The same thing happens when Ānanda mentions
to the Buddha talks he had heard between Sāriputta and the Pāribbājakas
(S.ii.35-7) and between the same Elder and Bhūmiya (S.ii.39-41).
Sometimes - as in the case of the upāsikā Migasālā (A.iii.347; v.137) -
Ānanda would answer questions put to him as best he could, and seek the
Buddha’s advice and corrections of his interpretation of the Doctrine.
When the monks asked Ānanda whether the Buddha’s predictions regarding
the results of Devadatta’s crimes were based on actual knowledge, he
furnished them with no answer at all until he had consulted the Buddha
(A.iii.402). Similarly, when Tapussa questions him as to why household
life is not attractive to laymen, Ānanda takes him straight away to the
Buddha, who is spending his siesta in the Mahāvana in Uruvelakappa
(A.iv.438f.). Once Ānanda fancies that he knows all about causation,
and tells the Buddha how glad he is that he should understand this
difficult subject. The Buddha points out to him that he really knows
very little about it and preaches to him the Mahānidāna Sutta
When Ānanda realises that the Buddha will die in a short while, with
childlike simplicity, he requests the Buddha to make a last
pronouncement regarding the Order (D.ii.98 ff.; S.v.152-4).
On several occasions it is news that Ānanda brings to the Buddha - e.g.,
about the death of the Nigantha Nātaputta, and about Devadatta’s plots,
already mentioned - which provoke the Buddha to preach to him: Phagguna
has died, and at his death his senses seemed very clear; so they would,
says the Buddha, and proceeds to speak of the advantages of listening
to the Dhamma in due season (A.iii.381f.). Or again, Girimānanda is ill
and would the Buddha go and see him? The Buddha suggests that Ānanda
should go and tell Girimānanda about the ten kinds of saññā (aniccasññā,
etc.), and the patient will recover (A.v.108f.). Ānanda desires to
retire into solitude and develop zeal and energy; would the Buddha tell
him on which topics to meditate? And the Buddha preaches to him the
doctrine of impermanence (S.iii.187; iv.54-5).
The Buddha, however, often preached to Ānanda without any such
provocation on various topics - e.g., on the nature of the sahkhāra
(S.iii.3740); on the impossibility of the monk without faith attaining
eminence in the sāsana (A.v.152ff.); on the power the Buddha has of
knowing which doctrines would appeal to different people and of
preaching accordingly (A.v.36f.); on immorality and its consequences
(A.i.50f.); on the admonitions that should be addressed to new entrants
to the Order (A.iii.138f.); on the advice which should be given to
friends by those desiring their welfare (A.i.222).
The various topics on which the Buddha discoursed to Ānanda as recorded
in the Mahā Parinibbāna Sutta, have already been referred to. Some of
them - e.g., on the eight assemblies, the eight positions of mastery,
the eight stages of deliverance (D.ii.112) - seem to be stereotyped
later additions. On the other hand, with regard to the accounts of the
honours to be paid to a Buddha’s dead body, the places of pilgrimage for
the pious, and various other similar subjects, it is impossible to say
how far they are authentic. In a few instances the remarks addressed to
Ānanda seem to be meant for others, to be heard by them or to be
conveyed to them - e.g., in the dispute between Udāyī and Sāriputta,
when they both seek the Buddha for him to settle the differences in
opinion between them (A.iii.192ff.); or, again, when the recalcitrant
Udāyī fails to answer the Buddha’s question on subjects of reflection
(anussatitthāna), and Ānanda gives an answer which the Buddha approves
(A.iii.322ff.). A question asked by Ānanda as to whether there are any
scents which spread even against the wind, results in the well-known
sermon about the fame of the holy man being wafted everywhere
(A.i.222f.; DhA.i.420ff.). Once or twice Ānanda intervenes in a
discussion between the Buddha and another, either to ask a question or
to suggest a simile which he feels could help the Buddha in establishing
his point - e.g., in the interviews of Uttiya Paribbājaka (A.v.194), of
the brahmin Sangārava (A.i.169), and again of Vidūdabha, son of
In the Mahā Mālunkyā Sutta (M.i.433), it is Ānanda’s intervention which
evokes the discourse on the Five Fetters. Similarly he intervenes in a
discussion between the Buddha and Pārāsariya’s pupil, Uttara, and
persuades the Buddha to preach the Indriyabhāvanā Sutta on the
cultivation of the Faculties (M.iii.298ff.).
Buddhaghosa gives a list of the discourses which bring out the eminence
and skill of Ānanda; they are the Sekha, Bāhitiya, Ānañjasappāya,
Gopaka-Moggallāna, Bahudhātuka, Cūlasuññata, Mahāsuññata,
Acchariyabbhuta, Bhaddekaratta, Mahānidā-na, Mahāparinibbāna, Subha and
Cūlaniyalokadhātu. (For particulars of these see under the respective
names.) The books give accounts of several conversations between Ānanda
and his eminent colleagues, such as Sāriputta. See also his
conversation with Musīla, and Savittha and Nārada at Kosambī in the
Ghositārāma (S.ii.113f.). He seems to have felt happy in their company
and did not hesitate to take to them his difficulties; thus we find him
asking Sāriputta why only certain beings in this world reach parinibbāna
(A.ii.167); on another occasion he asks Sāriputta about the
possibilities of samādhi (A.v.8). On the other hand, at least twice
(A.iii.201f.; 361f.), when Ānanda asks his questions of Sāriputta, the
latter suggests that Ānanda himself should find the answer, and having
heard it, Sāriputta praises him highly and extols his abilities.
Ānanda’s special friends seem to have been Sāriputta, Moggallāna, Mahā
Kassapa, Anuruddha and Kankhā Revata (E.g., M.i.212f). He was the
Sangha-navaka among them all, yet they held him in high esteem
(MA.i.436). Ānanda and Sāriputta were very special friends. It is said
that Sāriputta loved Ānanda because the latter did for the Buddha what
Sāriputta would wish to have done himself, and Ānanda respected
Sāriputta because he was the Buddha’s chief disciple. Young men who
were ordained by either of them would be sent to the other to learn
under him. They shared between them any good thing given to them. Once
Ānanda was presented by a brahmin with a costly robe; immediately he
wished to give it to Sāriputta, but as the latter was away at the time,
he obtained the Buddha’s permission to keep it for him till his return
(Vin.i.289; Sp.iii.636-7; MA.i.436).
The Samyutta Nikāya (i.63-4) contains an eulogy on Sāriputta by Ānanda,
where the latter speaks of his comprehensive and manifold wisdom, joyous
and swift, of his rampant energy and readiness to accept advice. When
he hears of Sāriputta’s death from Cunda the Samanuddesa, he goes to the
Buddha with Cunda (not wishing to break the news himself) and they take
with them Sāriputta’s bowl and outer robe, Cunda carrying the ashes,
and there Ānanda confesses to the Buddha that when he heard the news he
felt as thought his body were drugged, his senses confused and his mind
become a blank (S.v.161; Thag.vers.1034-5). The Commentary adds
(SA.i.180) that Ānanda was trembling “like a cock escaping from the
mouth of a cat.”
That Mahā Kassapa was fond of Ānanda, we may gather from the fact that
it was he who contrived to have him elected on the First Council, and
when Mahā Kassapa heard of Ānanda’s attainment of arahantship, it was he
who led the applause (DA.i.11). Ānanda held him in the highest
veneration, and on one occasion refused to take part in an upasampadā
ordination because he would have to pronounce Kassapa’s name and did not
consider this respectful towards the Elder (Vin.i.92). In their
conversations, Kassapa addresses Ānanda as “āvuso”, Ānanda addresses
Kassapa as “bhante.” There is an interview recorded between them in
which Kassapa roundly abuses Ānanda, calling him- corn-trampler” and
“despoiler of families,” and he ends by up saying , this boy does not
know his own measure.” Ānanda had been touring Dahkhinagiri with a large
company of monks, mostly youths, and the latter had not brought much
credit upon them selves. When Kassapa sees Ānanda on his return to
Rājagaha, he puts on him the whole blame for the youths’ want of
training. Ānanda winces at being called “boy”; , my head is growing
grey hairs, your reverence, yet I am not vexed that you should call me
‘boy’ even at this time of day.” Thullanandā heard of this incident and
showed great annoyance. “How dare Mahā Kassapa,” she says, “who was
once a heretical teacher, chide the sage Ānanda, calling him ‘boy’?”
Mahā Kassapa complains to Ānanda of Thullanandā’s behaviour; probably,
though we are not told so, Ānanda apologised to him on her behalf
On another occasion, Ānanda, after a great deal of persuasion, took
Kassapa to a settlement of the nuns. There Kassapa preached to them,
but the nun Thullatissā was not pleased and gave vent publicly to her
displeasure. “How does Kassapa think it fit to preach the doctrine in
the presence of the learned sage Ānanda? It is as if the needle-pedlar
were to deem he could sell a needle to the needle-maker.” Kassapa is
incensed at these words, but Ānanda appeases him by acknowledging that
he (Kassapa) is in every way his superior and asks him to pardon Tissa.
“Be indulgent, your reverence,” says he, “women are foolish.”
S.ii.215ff.; the Tibetans say that when Kassapa died, Ajātasattu was
very grieved because he had not been able to see the monk’s body.
Ānanda took the king to the mountain where it had been buried and showed
it to him (Rockhill, op. cit., p.162 and n.2).
In this passage Ānanda is spoken of as Vedehamuni. The Commentary
(SA.ii.132) explains it by panditamuni, and says further, pandito hi
ñānasankhātena vedena īhati sabbakiccāni karoti, tasmā vedeho ti vuccati
; vedeho ca so muni cā ti vedehamuni. Compare with this the derivation
of Vedehiputta in connection with Ajātasattu. See also Vedehikā. The
Mtu. (iii.176-7) says that when the Buddha went away from home Ānanda
wished to join him, but his mother was unwilling, because his brother,
Devadatta, had already gone away. Ānanda therefore went to the Videha
country and became a muni. Is this another explanation of the term
It was perhaps Ānanda’s championship of the women’s cause which made him
popular with the nuns and earned for him a reputation rivalling, as was
mentioned above, even that of Mahā Kassapa. When Pajāpatī Gotamī, with
a number of Sākyan women, undaunted by the Buddha’s refusal of their
request at Kapilavatthu, followed him into Vesāli and there beseeched
his consent for women to enter the Order, the Buddha would not change
Ānanda found the women dejected and weeping, with swollen feet, standing
outside the Kūtāgārasālā. Having learnt what had happened, he asked
the Buddha to grant their request. Three times he asked and three times
the Buddha refused. Then he changed his tactics. He inquired of the
Buddha if women were at all capable of attaining the Fruits of the Path.
The answer was in the affirmative, and Ānanda pushed home the
advantage thus gained. In the end the Buddha allowed women to enter the
Order subject to certain conditions. They expressed their great
gratitude to Ānanda (Vin.ii.253ff. Ānanda is again found as
intermediary for Pajāpatī Gotamī in M.iii.253f). In this connection,
the Buddha is reported as having said (Vin.ii.256) that had Ānanda not
persuaded him to give his consent to the admission of women to the
Order, the Sāsana would have lasted a thousand years, but now it would
last only five hundred.
This championing of the women’s cause was also one of the charges
brought against Ānanda by his colleagues at the end of the First
Council. (See below.)
Perhaps it was this solicitude for their privileges that prompted him to
ask the Buddha one day why it was that women did not sit in public
assemblies (e.g. courts of justice), or embark on business, or reap the
full fruit of their actions (A.ii.82. See also GS.ii.92, n.2, on the
interpretation of the last word).
That Ānanda was in the habit of preaching frequently to the nuns is
evident from the incidents quoted above and also from other passages
(E.g., S.v.154ff.; Thag.v.1020; ThagA.ii.129). He seems also to have
been in charge of the arrangements for sending preachers regularly to
the nuns. A passage in the Samyutta Commentary (i.210) seems to
indicate that Ānanda was a popular preacher among laywomen as well.
They would stand round him when he preached, fanning him and asking him
questions on the Dhamma. When he went to Kosambī to impose the higher
penalty on Channa, the women of King Udena’s harem, hearing of his
presence in the park, came to him and listened to his preaching. So
impressed were they that they gave him five hundred robes (Vin.ii.290).
It was on this occasion that Ānanda convinced Udena of the
conscientiousness with which the Sākyaputta monks used everything which
was given to them, wasting nothing. The king, pleased with Ānanda, gave
him another five hundred robes, all of which he distributed among the
Ananda had been a tailor in a past birth and had given a Pacceka Buddha a
piece of cloth, the size of his hand, and a needle. Because of the
gift of the needle he was wise, because of the cloth he got 500 robes
A similar story is related of the women of Pasenadi’s palace and their
gift to Ānanda. The king was at first angry, but afterwards gave Ānanda
one thousand robes (J.ii.24ff).
The Dhammapada Commentary (i.382ff ) says that once Pasenadi asked the
Buddha to go regularly to the palace with five hundred monks and preach
the Law to his queens Mallikā and Vāsabhakhattiyā and to the other women
in the palace. When the Buddha said that it was impossible for him to
go regularly to one place he was asked to send a monk, and the duty was
assigned to Ānanda. He therefore went to the palace at stated times and
instructed the queens. Mallikā was found to be a good student, but not
The Jātaka Commentary (i.382) says that the women of the palace were
themselves asked which of the eighty chief disciples they would have as
their preacher and they unanimously chose Ānanda. For an incident
connected with Ānanda’s visits to the palace see the Mahāsāra Jātaka and
According to the Anguttara Commentary (ii.533) Ānanda was beautiful to look at.
Ānanda’s services seem often to have been sought for consoling the sick.
Thus we find Anāthapindika sending for him when he lay ill
(M.iii.258), and also Sirivaddha (S.v.176f) and Mānadinna (S.v.177f).
He is elsewhere mentioned as helping the Buddha to wait on a sick monk
(Vin.i.302). We are told that when the Buddha had his afternoon siesta,
Ānanda would spend his time in waiting upon the sick and talking to
them (Sp.iii.651). Ānanda was never too busy to show gratitude to his
friends. When a certain crow-keeper’s family, members of which had been
of special service to him, had been destroyed by a pestilence, leaving
only two very young boys, he obtained the Buddha’s special permission to
ordain them and look after them, though they were under the requisite
age. (Vin.i.79; to a young monk who used to wait on him and do various
services for him, Ānanda gave five hundred robes presented to him by
Pasenadi; the monk distributed them to his colleagues).
When Ānanda discovered that his friend Roja and Malla had no real faith
in the Buddha, he was greatly grieved and interceded on his special
behalf with the Buddha that he should make Roja a believer. Later he
obtained the Buddha’s permission for Roja to offer a meal of potherbs
(Vin.i.247-9). In another place we find Roja presenting Ānanda with a
linen cloth (Vin.i.296). According to the Jātakatthakathā (ii.231) Roja
once tried to persuade Ānanda to go back to the lay-life.
His sympathy is also shown in the story of the woman who asked to have a
share in the Vihāra built by Visākhā. She brought a costly carpet, but
could find no place in which to put it; it looked so poor beside the
other furnishings. Ānanda helped her in her disappointment
Once in Jetavana, in an assembly of monks, the Buddha spoke the praises
of Ānanda, and ranked him the foremost bhikkhu in five respects:
erudition, good behaviour (gatimantānam, power of walking, according to
Dhammapāla), retentive memory, resoluteness and personal attention
(A.i.24f). Again, shortly before the Buddha’s death, he speaks
affectionately of Ānanda (D.ii.144-5; A.ii.132; A.v.229; SA.ii.94f );
Ānanda knew the right time to bring visitors to the Tathāgata; he had
four exceptional qualities, in that whoever came to see him, monks or
nuns, laymen or laywomen, they were all filled with joy on beholding
him; when he preached to them they listened with rapture and delight,
which never tired. He was called Ānanda because he brought joy to his
But see the story of Atula (DhA.iii.327), who is not satisfied with Ānanda’s preaching.
Another proof of the Buddha’s esteem for Ānanda is the incident of his
asking Ānanda to design a robe for the monks to be in pattern like a
field in Magadha (Vin.i.287).
In spite of Ānanda having been the constant companion of the Buddha -
probably because of that very fact - it was not until after the Buddha’s
parinibbāna that Ānanda was able to realise Arahantship. Buddhaghosa
gives a long account of Ānanda’s struggle for final emancipation
(DA.i.9ff.); see also Vin.ii.286. Though he was not an arahant he had
the patisambhidā, being among the few who possessed this qualification
while yet learners (Sekhā) ( VibhA.388). When it was decided by Mahā
Kassapa and others that a Convocation should be held to systematise the
Buddha’s teachings, five hundred monks were chosen as delegates, among
them, Ānanda. He was, however, the only non-arahant (sekha) among them,
and he had been enjoined by his colleagues to put forth great effort
and repair this disqualification. At length, when the convocation
assembled, a vacant seat had to be left for him. It had not been until
late the previous night that, after a final supreme effort, he had
attained the goal. He had been occupied in consoling the laity after
the Buddha’s death and had had no time for practising meditation. In
the end it was a devatā in the woodland grove in Kosala, where he was
staying, who pointed out the urgency of the matter (S.i.199-200); but
see ThagA.i.237, where the credit for this is given to a Vajjiputta
It is said that he won sixfold abhiññā when he was just lying down to
sleep, his head hardly on the pillow, his feet hardly off the ground.
He is therefore described as having become an arahant in none of the
four postures. When he appeared in the convocation, Mahā Kassapa
welcomed him warmly and shouted three times for joy. According to the
Majjhimabhānakā, says Buddhaghosa, Ānanda appeared on his seat while the
others looked on, having come through the earth; according to others he
came through the air. According to ThagA.ii.130, it was a Brahmā of
the Suddhāvāsa who announced Ānanda’s attainment of arahantship to his
colleagues at the Convocation.
In the convocation, Ānanda was appointed to answer Mahā Kassapa’s
questions, and to co-operate with him in rehearsing the Dhamma (as
opposed to the Vinaya).
Ānanda came to be known as Dhammabhandāgārika, owing to his skill in
remembering the word of the Buddha; it is said that he could remember
everything spoken by the Buddha, from one to sixty thousand words in the
right order; and without missing one single syllable (ThagA.ii.134).
In the first four Nikāyas of the Sutta Pitaka, every sutta begins with
the words “Thus have I heard,” the “I” referring to Ānanda. It is not
stated that Ānanda was present at the preaching by the Buddha of every
sutta, though he was present at most; others, the Buddha repeated to him
afterwards, in accordance with the conditions under which he had become
the Buddha’s attendant.
We are told that Ānanda had learnt eighty-two thousand dhamma (topics)
from the Buddha himself and two thousand from his colleagues
(Thag.v.1024). He had also a reputation for fast talking; where an
ordinary man could speak one word Ānanda could speak eight; the Buddha
could speak sixteen words for each one word of Ānanda (MA.i.283).
Ānanda could remember anything he had once heard up to fifteen thousand
stanzas of sixty thousand lines (MA.i.501).
Ānanda lived to be very old (one hundred and twenty years, says
DhA.ii.99; he is bracketed with Bakkula, as having lived to a great age,
AA.ii.596); a hymn of praise sung at his death is included at the end
of the stanzas attributed to him in the Theragāthā (Vers.1047-9). That
the Buddha’s death was a great blow to him is shown by the stanzas he
uttered immediately after the event (D.ii.157). Three months earlier he
had heard for the first time that death of the Buddha was near at hand
and had besought him to live longer. The reply attributed to the Buddha
is a curious one, namely, that on several previous occasions, at
Rājagaha and at Vesālī (See, e.g., D.102f), he had mentioned to Ānanda
that he could, if he so desired, live for a whole kappa, and had hinted
that Ānanda should, if he felt so inclined, request him to prolong his
life. Ānanda, however, having failed to take the hint on these
occasions, the opportunity was now past, and the Buddha must die; the
fault was entirely Ānanda’s (Ibid., 114-18). It was when Ānanda was
temporarily absent from the Buddha’s side that the Buddha had assured
Māra that he would die in three months (Ibid., 105-6).
As the end approached, the Buddha noticed that Ānanda was not by his
side; on enquiry he learnt that Ānanda was outside, weeping and filled
with despair at the thought that the Master would soon be no more, and
that he (Ānanda) would have to work out his perfection unaided. The
Buddha sent for him and consoled him by pointing out that whatever is
born must, by its very nature, be dissolved. Three times he said, “For a
long time, Ānanda, you have been very near to me by acts of love, kind
and good, never varying, beyond all measure,” and he exhorted him to be
earnest in effort, for he would soon realise emancipation. (Ibid.,
144). It was on this occasion that the Palāsa Jātaka was preached
Once, earlier, when Udāyi had teased Ānanda for not having benefited
from his close association with the personality of the Master, the
Buddha had defended Ānanda, saying, “Say not so, Udāyi; should he die
without attaining perfect freedom from passion, by virtue of his piety,
he would seven times win rule over the devas and seven times be King of
Jambudīpa. Howbeit, in this very life shall Ānanda attain to Nibbāna.
Ānanda did his best to persuade the Buddha to die in one of the great
cities, such as Rājagaha or Sāvatthi, and not in Kusinārā, the little
wattle-and-daub town (as he called it) in the middle of the jungle. He
was not satisfied until the Buddha had revealed to him the past history
of Kusinārā, how it had once been Kusāvatī, the royal capital of the
mighty Mahā Sudassana (D.ii.146).
Just before the Buddha died, Ānanda was commissioned to inform the
Mallas of the impending event, and after the Buddha’s death, Anuruddha
entrusted him, with the help of the Mallas of Kusināāa, with all the
arrangements for the funeral (D.ii.158ff). Ānanda had earlier
(D.ii.141f) learnt from the Buddha how the remains of a Tathāgata should
be treated, and now he was to benefit by the instruction.
At the end of the First Council, the duty of handing down unimpaired the
Digha Nikāya through his disciples was entrusted to Ānanda (DA.i.15).
He was also charged with the duty of conveying to Channa the news that
the higher penalty (brahmadanda) had been inflicted on him by the
Sangha. Ānanda had been deputed by the Buddha himself to carry out
this, his last administrative act (D.ii.154), but Ānanda, not wishing to
undertake the responsibility alone (knowing that Channa had a
reputation for roughness), was granted a number of companions, with whom
he visited Channa. The latter expressed repentance and was pardoned
(Vin.ii.290-2). Perhaps it was because both the Buddha and Ānanda’s
colleagues knew of his power to settle disputes that he was chosen for
this delicate task. See S.ii.235f., where the Buddha classes him with
Sāriputta and Moggallāna for his ability to settle disputes among the
Ānanda’s popularity, however, did not save him from the recriminations
of his fellows for some of his actions, which, in their eyes,
constituted offences. Thus he was charged (Vin.ii.288-9) with: (1)
having failed to find out from the Buddha which were the lesser and
minor precepts which the Sangha were allowed to revoke if they thought
fit (See D.ii.154); (2) with having stepped on the Buddha’s rainy-season
garment when sewing it; (3) with having allowed the Buddha’s body to be
first saluted by women (not mentioned elsewhere, but see Rockhill, op.
cit., p.154); (4) with having omitted to ask the Buddha to live on for
the space of a kappa (D.ii.115); and (5) with having exerted himself to
procure the admission of women into the Order (Vin.ii.253).
Ānanda’s reply was that he himself saw no fault in any of these acts,
but that he would confess them as faults out of faith in his colleagues.
On another occasion he was found fault with (1) for having gone into the
village to beg for alms, clothed in his waist-cloth and nether garment
(Vin.i.298); (2) for having worn light garments which were blown about
by the wind (Vin.ii.136).
The last years of his life, Ānanda seems to have spent in teaching and
preaching and in encouraging his younger colleagues. Among those who
held discussions with him after the Buddha’s passing away are mentioned
Dasama of the Atthakanagara (M.i.349f), Gopaka Moggallāna (M.iii.7;
Thag.ver.1024) and Subha Todeyyaputta (D.i.204ff).
The Pāli Canon makes no mention of Ānanda’s death. Fa Hsien (Giles
trans. 44. The story also occurs in DhA.ii.99ff., with several
variations in detail), however, relates what was probably an old
tradition. When Ānanda was on his way from Magadha to Vesāli, there to
die, Ajātasattu heard that he was coming, and, with his retinue,
followed him up to the Rohini River. The chiefs of Vesali also heard
the news and went out to meet him, and both parties reached the river
banks. Ānanda, not wishing to incur the displeasure of either party,
entered into the state of tejokasina in the middle of the river and his
body went up in flames. His remains were divided into two portions, one
for each party, and they built cetiyas for their enshrinement (See also
Rockhill, op. cit., 165f).
In the time of Padumuttara Buddha Ānanda had been the son of Ānanda,
King of Hamsavatī, and was therefore a step-brother of Padumuttara. His
name was Sumana. King Ānanda allowed no one but himself to wait on the
Buddha. Prince Sumana having quelled an insurrection of the frontier
provinces, the king offered him a boon as reward, and he asked to be
allowed to entertain the Buddha and his monks for three months. With
great reluctance the king agreed, provided the Buddha’s consent was
obtained. When Sumana went to the vihāra to obtain this, he was greatly
impressed by the loyalty and devotion of the Buddha’s personal
attendant, the monk Sumana, and by his iddhi-powers. Having learnt from
the Buddha that these were the result of good deeds, he himself
determined to lead a pious life. For the Buddha’s residence Prince
Sumana bought a pleasaunce named Sobhana from a householder of that same
name and built therein a monastery costing one hundred thousand. On
the way from the capital to Sobhana Park he built vihāras, at distances
of a league from each other. When all preparations were completed, the
Buddha went to Sobhana with one hundred thousand monks, stopping at each
vihāra on the way. At the festival of dedication of the Sobhana
Vihāra, Sumana expressed a wish to become a personal attendant of a
future Buddha, just as Sumana was of Padumuttara. Towards this end he
did many good deeds. In the time of Kassapa Buddha he gave his upper
garment to a monk for him to carry his begging-bowl in it. Later he was
born in heaven and again as King of Benares. He built for eight
Pacceka Buddhas eight monasteries in his royal park (ThagA.ii.121ff) and
for ten thousand years he looked after them. The Apadāna mentions
(i.52f) that he became ruler of heaven thirty-four times and king of men
A banker (setthi) of Sāvatthi who became famous because
of his unparalleled generosity to the Buddha. His first meeting with
the Buddha was during the first year after the Enlightenment, in
Rājagaha (the story is given in Vin.ii.154ff; SA.i.240ff, etc.), whither
Anāthapindika had come on business.
His wife was the sister of the setthi of Rājagaha, and when he arrived
he found the setthi preparing a meal for the Buddha and his monks on so
splendid a scale that he thought that a wedding was in progress or that
the king had been invited. On learning the truth he became eager to
visit the Buddha, and did so very early the next morning (Vin.ii.155-6).
He was so excited by the thought of the visit that he got up three
times during the night. When, at last, he started for Sītavana, the
road was quite dark, but a friendly Yakkha, Sīvaka, sped him on with
words of encouragement. By force of his piety the darkness vanished.
The Buddha was staying in the Sītavana, and when Anāthapindika reached
there spirits opened the door for him. He found the Buddha walking up
and down, meditating in the cool air of the early dawn. The Buddha
greeted him and talked to him on various aspects of his teaching.
Anāthapindika was immediately converted and became a Sotāpanna. He
invited the Buddha to a meal the next day, providing everything himself,
although the setthi, the Mayor of Rājagaha and King Bimbisāra asked to
be allowed to help. After the meal, which he served to the Buddha with
his own hand, he invited the Buddha to spend the rainy season at
Sāvatthi, and the Buddha accepted, saying “the Tathāgatas, o
householder, take pleasure in solitude.” “I understand, o Blessed One, I
understand,” was the reply.
When Anāthapindika had finished his business at Rājagaha he set out
towards Sāvatthi, giving orders along the way to his friends and
acquaintances to prepare dwellings, parks, rest-houses and gifts all
along the road to Sāvatthi in preparation for the Buddha’s visit. He
had many friends and acquaintances and he was ādeyyavaco (his word was
held to be of weight), loc. cit., p.158. But see J.i.92, where it is
said that Anāthapindika bore all the expenses of these preparations.
Vihāras were built costing l,000 pieces each, a yojana apart from each
Understanding the request implied in the Buddha’s words when he accepted
the invitation, Anāthapindika looked out for a quiet spot near Sāvatthi
where the Buddha and the monks might dwell, and his eye fell on the
park of Jetakumāra. He bought the park at great expense and erected
therein the famous Jetavanārāma. As a result of this and of his
numerous other benefactions in the cause of the Sāsana, Anāthapindika
came to be recognised as the chief of alms-givers (A.i.25).
Anāthapindika’s personal name was Sudatta, but he was always called
Anāthapindika (AA.i.208; MA.i.50) (feeder of the destitute) because of
his munificence; he was, however, very pleased when the Buddha addressed
him by his own name (Vin.ii.156). He spent eighteen crores on the
purchase of Jetavana and a like sum on the construction of the vihāra;
another eighteen crores were spent in the festival of dedication. He
fed one hundred monks in his house daily in addition to meals provided
for guests, people of the village, invalids, etc. Five hundred seats
were always ready in his house for any guests who might come
(AA.i.208-9. He fed 1,000 monks daily says DhA.i.128; but see J.iii.119,
where a monk, who had come from far away and had missed the meal hour,
had to starve.).
Anāthapindika’s father was the setthi Sumana (AA. loc. cit). The name of Anāthapindika’s brother was Subhūti.
Anāthapindika married a lady called Puññalakkhanā (J.ii.410; J.iii.435,
she was the sister of the setthi of Rājagaha. SA.i.240); he had a son
Kāla and three daughters, Mahā-Subhaddā, Cūla-Subhaddā and Sumanā.
(Besides Kāla, Anāthapindika had another son, who joined the Order under
Subhūti Thera; AA.ii.865). Mention is also made of a daughter-in law,
Sujātā by name, daughter of Dhanañjaya and the youngest sister of
Visākhā. She was very haughty and ill-treated the servants (J.ii.347).
The son, in spite of his father’s efforts, showed no piety until he was
finally bribed to go to the vihāra and listen to the Buddha’s preaching
(see Kāla). The daughters, on the other hand, were most dutiful and
helped their father in ministering to the monks. The two elder ones
attained to the First Fruit of the Path, married, and went to live with
the families of their husbands. Sumanā obtained the Second Fruit of the
Path, but remained unmarried. Overwhelmed with disappointment because
of her failure in finding a husband, she refused to eat and died; she
was reborn in Tusita (DhA.i.128f).
The Bhadraghata Jātaka (J.ii.431) tells us of a nephew of Anāthapindika
who squandered his inheritance of forty crores. His uncle gave him
first one thousand and then another five hundred with which to trade.
This also he squandered. Anāthapindika then gave him two garments. On
applying for further help the man was taken by the neck and pushed out
of doors. A little later he was found dead by a side wall.
The books also mention a girl, Punnā, who was a slave in Anāthapindika’s
household. On one occasion when the Buddha was starting on one of his
periodical tours from Jetavana, the king, Anāthapindika, and other
eminent patrons failed to stop him; Punnā, however, succeeded, and in
recognition of this service Anāthapindika adopted her as his daughter
(MA.i.347-8). On uposatha days his whole household kept the fast; on
all occasions they kept the pañcasīla inviolate (J.iii.257).
A story is told of one of his labourers who had forgotten the day and
gone to work; but remembering later, he insisted on keeping the fast and
died of starvation. He was reborn as a deva (MA.i.540-1).
Anāthapindika had a business village in Kāsi and the superintendent of
the village had orders to feed any monks who came there (Vin.iv.162f).
One of his servants bore the inauspicious name of Kālakanni (curse); he
and the banker had been playmates as children, and Kālakanni, having
fallen on evil days, entered the banker’s service. The latter’s friends
protested against his having a man with so unfortunate a name in his
household, but he refused to listen to them. One day when Anāthapindika
was away from home on business, burglars came to rob his house, but
Kālakanni with great presence of mind drove them away (J.i.364f).
A similar story is related of another friend of his who was also in his service (J.i.441).
All his servants, however, were not so intelligent. A slave woman of
his, seeing that a fly had settled on her mother, hit her with a pestle
in order to drive it away, and killed her (J.i.248f).
A slave girl of his borrowed an ornament from his wife and went with her
companions to the pleasure garden. There she became friendly with a
man who evidently desired to rob her of her ornaments. On discovering
his intentions, she pushed him into a well and killed him with a stone
The story of Anāthapindika’s cowherd, Nanda, is given elsewhere.
All the banker’s friends were not virtuous; one of them kept a tavern
(J.i.251). As a result of Anāthapindika’s selfless generosity he was
gradually reduced to poverty. But he continued his gifts even when he
had only bird-seed and sour gruel. The devata who dwelt over his gate
appeared before him one night and warned him of his approaching penury;
it is said that every time the Buddha or his monks came to the house she
had to leave her abode over the gate and that this was inconvenient to
her and caused her to be jealous. Anāthapindika paid no attention to
her warnings and asked her to leave the house. She left with her
children, but could find no other lodging and sought counsel from
various gods, including Sakka. Sakka advised her to recover for
Anāthapindika the eighteen crores that debtors owed him, another
eighteen that lay in the bottom of the sea, and yet eighteen more lying
unclaimed. She did so and was readmitted (DhA.iii.10ff; J.i.227ff).
Anāthapindika went regularly to see the Buddha twice a day, sometimes
with many friends (J.i.95ff.; he went three times says J.i.226), and
always taking with him alms for the young novices. But we are told that
he never asked a question of the Buddha lest he should weary him. He
did not wish the Buddha to feel obliged to preach to him in return for
his munificence (DhA.i.3). But the Buddha of his own accord preached to
him on various occasions; several such sermons are mentioned in the
on the importance of having a well-guarded mind like a well-protected gable in a house (A.i.261f);
on the benefits the recipient of food obtains (life, beauty, happiness, strength);
on the four obligations that make up the pious householder’s path of
duty (gihisāmikiccāni - waiting on the Order with robes, food,
lodgings, medical requirements. Referred to also in S.v.387, where
Anāthapindika expresses his satisfaction that he had never failed in
on the four conditions of success that are hard to win (wealth
gotten by lawful means, good report, longevity, happy rebirth);
on the four kinds of happiness which a householder should seek
(ownership, wealth, debtless ness, blamelessness) (these various tetrads
are given in A.ii.64ff).
on the five kinds of enjoyment which result from wealth rightfully
obtained (enjoyment - experienced by oneself and by one’s friends and
relations, security in times of need, ability to pay taxes and to spend
on one’s religion, the giving of alms to bring about a happy rebirth,
the five things which are very desirable but difficult to obtain
(long life, beauty, happiness, glory, good condition of rebirths,
the five sinful acts that justify a man’s being called wicked (hurting of life, etc. A.iii.204);
the inadvisability of being satisfied with providing requisites for
monks without asking oneself if one also experiences the joy that is
born of ease of mind (evidently a gentle warning to Anāthapindika,
The Buddha preached the Velāma Sutta to encourage Anāthapindika when he
had been reduced to poverty and felt disappointed that he could no
longer provide luxuries for the monks (A.iv.392ff). On another occasion
the Buddha tells Anāthapindika that the Sotāpanna is a happy man
because he is free from various fears: fear of being born in hell, among
beasts, in the realm of Peta or in some other unhappy state; he is
assured of reaching Enlightenment (A.iv.405f, also S.v.387f).
Elsewhere the Buddha tells Anāthapindika that it is not every rich man
who knows how to indulge in the pleasures of sense legitimately and
There is, however, at least one sutta preached as a result of a question
put by Anāthapindika himself regarding gifts and those who are worthy
to receive them (A.i.62-3); and we also find him consulting the Buddha
regarding the marriage of his daughter, Cola Subhaddā (DhA.iii.466).
Anāthapindika died before the Buddha. As he lay grievously ill he sent a
special message to Sāriputta asking him to come (again, probably,
because he did not want to trouble the Buddha). Sāriputta went with
Ananda and preached to him the Anāthapindikovāda Sutta (M.iii.258f.; see
also S.v.380-7, which contain accounts of incidents connected with this
visit). His pains left him as he concentrated his mind on the virtuous
life he had led and the many acts of piety he had done. Later he fed
the Elders with food from his own cooking-pot, but quite soon afterwards
he died and was born in the Tusita heaven. That same night he visited
the Buddha at Jetavana and uttered a song of praise of Jetavana and of
Sāriputta who lived there, admonishing others to follow the Buddha’s
teaching. In heaven he will live as long as Visākhā and Sakka
Various incidents connected with Anāthapindika are to be found in the
Jātakas. On one occasion his services were requisitioned to hold an
inquiry on a bhikkhuni who had become pregnant (J.i.148).
Once when the Buddha went on tour from Jetavana, Anāthapindika was
perturbed because there was no one left for him to worship; at the
Buddha’s suggestion, an offshoot from the Bodhi tree at Gaya was planted
at the entrance to Jetavana (J.iv.229).
Once a brahmin, hearing of Anāthapindika’s luck, comes to him in order
to find out where this luck lay so that he may obtain it. The brahmin
discovers that it lay in the comb of a white cock belonging to
Anāthapindika; he asks for the cock and it is given to him, but the luck
flies away elsewhere, settling first in a pillow, then in a jewel, a
club, and, finally, in the head of Anāthapindika’s wife. The brahmin’s
desire is thus frustrated (J.ii.410f).
On two occasions he was waylaid by rogues. Once they tried to make him
drink drugged toddy. He was at first shocked by their impertinence,
but, later, wishing to reform them, frightened them away (J.i.268).
On the other occasion, the robbers lay in wait for him as he returned
from one of his villages; by hurrying back he escaped them (J.ii.413).
Whenever Anāthapindika visited the Buddha, he was in the habit of
relating to the Buddha various things which had come under his notice,
and the Buddha would relate to him stories from the past containing
similar incidents. Among the Jātakas so preached are: Apannaka,
Khadirahgāra, Rohinī, Vārunī, Punnapāti, Kālakanni, Akataññū, Verī,
Kusanāli, Siri, Bhadraghata, Visayha, Hiri, Sirikālakannī and Sulasā.
Anāthapindika was not only a shrewd business man but also a keen
debater. The Anguttara Nikāya (A.v.185-9) records a visit he paid to
the Paribbājakas when he could think of nothing better to do. A lively
debate ensues regarding their views and the views of the Buddha as
expounded by Anāthapindika. The latter silences his opponents. When
the incident is reported to the Buddha, he speaks in high praise of
Anāthapindika and expresses his admiration of the way in which he
handled the discussion.
During the time of Padumattara Buddha Anāthapindika had been a
householder of Hamsavatī. One day he heard the Buddha speak of a
lay-disciple of his as being the chief of alms-givers. The householder
resolved to be so designated himself in some future life and did many
good deeds to that end. His wish was fulfilled in this present life.
Anāthapindika is sometimes referred to as Mahā Anāthapindika to
distinguish him from Cūla Anāthapindika.
He was the son of a very wealthy brahmin family of
Donavatthu near Kapilavatthu and was born before the Buddha. He came to
be called by his family name Kondañña. He was learned in the three
Vedas, excelling in the science of physiognomy.
When the Buddha was born he was among the eight brahmins (the others
being Rāma, Dhaja, Lakkhana, Mantī, Bhoja, Suyāma and Sudatta. In the
Milinda (236), where the eight names are given, Kondañña appears as
Yañña) sent for to prognosticate, and though he was yet quite a novice
he declared definitely that the babe would be a Buddha. Thereafter he
lived awaiting the Bodhisatta’s renunciation. After this happened he
left the world with four others, and the five later became known as the
Pañcavaggiyā (J.i.65f.; AA.i.78-84; ThagA.ii.1ff). When, after the
Enlightenment, the Buddha visited them at Isipatana and preached the
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, Kondañña and eighteen crores of brahmas won
the Fruit of the First Path. As he was the first among humans to
realise the Dhamma the Buddha praised him saying “aññāsi vata bho
Kondañño” twice; hence he came to be known as Aññata Kondañña.
(Vin.i.12; UdA.324, 371; Mtu.iii.333).
It is interesting to note that in the Burmese MSS. the name appears as
Aññāsi-Kondañña. The Cy. explains Aññāta-Kondañña by “pativedha
Kondañña.” In the ThagA. he is called Añña-Kondañña. Mrs. Rhys Davids
suggests that Aññā was his personal name (Gotama the Man, p.102).
Five days later when the Anattalakhana Sutta was preached he became
arahant (Vin.i.13-14). He was the first to be ordained with the formula
“ehi, bhikkhu” and the first to receive higher ordination. Later, at
Jetavana, amidst a large concourse of monks, the Buddha declared him to
be the best of those who first comprehended the Dhamma (AA.i.84). He
was also declared to be pre-eminent among disciples of long-standing
In the assembly of monks he sat behind the two chief disciples. Finding
that his presence near the Buddha was becoming inconvenient to himself
and others (For his reasons see AA.i.84; SA.i.216), he obtained the
Buddha’s permission to go and live on the banks of the Mandākini in the
Chaddanta-vana, where he stayed for twelve years, only returning at the
end of that period to obtain the Buddha’s leave for his parinibbāna.
The elephants in the forest took it in turns to bring him his food and
to look after him. Having bidden farewell to the Buddha, he returned to
Chaddanta-vana, where he passed away (SA.i.218; AA.i.84). We are told
(SA.i.219) that all Himavā wept at his death. The obsequies were
elaborately performed by eight thousand elephants with the deva
Nāgadatta at their head. All the devas from the lowest to the highest
brahma world took part in the ceremony, each deva contributing a piece
of sandalwood. Five hundred monks, led by Anuruddha, were present. The
relics were taken to Veluvana and handed over to the Buddha, who with
his own hand deposited them in a silver cetiya which appeared from the
earth. Buddhaghosa states that the cetiya existed even in his time
Several verses attributed to Kondañña are given in the Theragāthā,
admonishing fellow celibates to lead the higher life, because everything
is impermanent, bound to ill and void of soul (Thag.674-88).
On one occasion he preached to Sakka at the latter’s own request; Sakka
expressed himself as greatly pleased because the sermon was worthy even
of the Buddha.”
Vangisa once extolled his virtues in the presence of the Buddha (Thag.v.673; ThagA.ii.3).
In Padumuttara’s time Kondañña had been a rich householder, and, seeing
one of the monks given preference in seniority, he wished for a similar
rank for himself in the future. Towards this end he did many acts of
piety, one of them being to build a golden chamber over the Buddha’s
relics. In Vipassī’s time was a householder, Mahākāla, and gave to the
Buddha the first-fruits of his field in nine stages of their produce
According to the Apadāna (i.48f.; The Divy 430 mentions another previous
birth of Kondañña), he offered the first meal to Padumuttara after his
Punna Mantānīputta was his nephew and was ordained by him. ThagA.i.37.
Mantānī was Aññāta-Kondañña’s sister.
Numba Kandulak - Sampath Anuruddha
First cousin of the Buddha and one of his most eminent
disciples. He was the son of the Sākyan Amitodana and brother of
Mahānāma. When members of other Sākyan families had joined the Order of
their distinguished kinsman, Mahānāma was grieved that none had gone
forth from his own. He therefore suggested to his brother that one of
them should leave household life. Anuruddha was at first reluctant to
agree, for he had been reared most delicately and luxuriously, dwelling
in a different house for each season, surrounded by dancers and mimes.
But on hearing from Mahānāma of the endless round of household cares he
agreed to go. He could not, however, get his mother’s consent until he
persuaded his cousin Bhaddiya to go with him. Together they went with
Ananda, Bhagu, Kimbila, Devadatta and their barber Upāli, to the Blessed
One at the Anupiya Mango Grove and were ordained. Before the rainy
season was over Anuruddha acquired the dibbacakkhu (Vin.ii.180-3;
Mtu.iii.177f), and he was later ranked foremost among those who had
obtained this attainment (A.i.23).
He then received from Sāriputta, as topic of meditation, the eight
thoughts of a great man. The list is given in A.iv.228ff. Another
conversation he had with Sāriputta before becoming an arahant is
reported in A.i.281-2. He went into the Pācīnavamsadāya in the Ceti
country to practise these. He mastered seven, but could not learn the
eighth. The Buddha, being aware of this, visited him and taught it to
him. Thereupon Anuruddha developed insight and realised arahantship in
the highest grade (A.iv. loc. cit.; AA.108-9; Thag.901).
Anuruddha appears in the Suttas as an affectionate and loyal
comrade-bhikkhu, full of affection to his kinsman, the Buddha, who
returned his love. In the assembly he stood near the Buddha (Bu.v.60).
When the Buddha, disgusted with the quarrels of the Kosambī monks, went
away to seek more congenial surroundings, it was to Pācīnavamsadāya
that he repaired, where were Anuruddha, Nandiya and Kimbila. The
Upakkilesa Sutta (M.iii.153f.), on the sweets of concord and freedom
from blemish, seems to have been preached specially to Anuruddha on that
occasion, for we are told at the end that he was pleased to have heard
it, no mention being made of the other two. And again in the Nalakapāna
Sutta (M.i.462ff.), though a large number of distinguished monks are
present, it is to Anuruddha that the Buddha directly addresses his
questions, and it is Anuruddha who answers on behalf of them all. See
also the Cūla- and the Mahā-Gosinga Suttas.
Anuruddha was present when the Buddha died at Kusinārā, and knew the
exact moment of his death; the verse he uttered on that occasion is
thoughtful and shows philosophic calm, in contrast, for example, with
that of Ananda. D.ii.156-7. On this see Oldenberg, Nachrichten der
Wissenschaften zu Goettingen, 1902, pp.168f.; and Przyluski JA.
mai-juin, 1918, pp.486ff.
Anuruddha was foremost in consoling the monks and admonishing them as to
their future course of action. It was Anuruddha again that the Mallas
of Kusinārā consulted regarding the Buddha’s last obsequies (D.ii.160f).
Later, at the First Council, he played a prominent part and was
entrusted with the custody of the Anguttara Nikāya (DA.i.15).
In one of the verses ascribed to Anuruddha in the Theragāthā (904;
ThagA.ii.72) it is said that for twenty-five years he did not sleep at
all, and that for the last thirty years of his life he slept only during
the last watch of the night. The same source (Thag.908; also S.i.200)
mentions an occasion where a goddess, Jālinī (ThagA.ii.73; this story is
given in detail in SA.i.225-6), who had been his wife in a previous
birth, seeing him grown old and grey with meditation, seeks to tempt him
with the joys of heaven, but he tells her he has no need of such
things, having attained to freedom from rebirth.
His death took place in Veluvagāma in the Vajji country, in the shade of
a bamboo thicket. Thag.919. See also Psalms of the Brethren, p.331,
n.1. I cannot trace the reference to Hatthigāma. He was one hundred and
fifteen years old at the time of his death (DA.ii.413).
In Padumuttara Buddha’s time he had been a rich householder. Hearing
one of the monks declared best among possessors of the celestial eye, he
wished for a similar honour for himself in the future. He did acts of
great merit towards that end, including the holding of a great feast of
light in front of the Buddha’s tomb. In Kassapa Buddha’s age he was
born in Benares; one day he placed bowls filled with clarified butter
all round the Buddha’s tomb and lighted them, himself walking round the
tomb all night, bearing on his head a lighted bowl.
Later he was reborn in a poor family in Benares and was named Annabhāra
(lit. “food-bearer”). One day, while working for his master, the
banker Sumana, he gave his meal to a Pacceka Buddha, Uparittha. The
banker, having heard from the deity of his parasol of Annabhāra’s pious
deed, rewarded him and set him up in trade. The king, being pleased
with him, gave him a site for a house, the ground of which, when dug,
yielded much buried treasure. On account of this great accretion of
wealth he was given the rank of Dhanasetthi (ThagA.ii.65ff.; Thag.910;
According to the Dhammapada Commentary (i.113), as a result of his gift
to the Pacceka Buddha, Anuruddha never lacked anything he desired - such
had been the wish he expressed. A charming story is related in this
connection. Once when playing at ball with his friends he was beaten
and had to pay with sweets. His mother sent him the sweets, but he lost
over and over again until no more sweets were to be had. His mother
sent word to that effect, but he did not know the meaning of the words
“there isn’t.” When his mother, to make him understand, sent him an
empty bowl, the guardian deity of the city filled it with celestial
cakes, so that he should not be disappointed. Thereafter, whenever
Anuruddha sent for cakes, his mother would send him an empty vessel,
which became filled on the way. See also DhA.iv.124ff.
The Apadāna (i.35) mentions another incident of his past. Once, in
Sumedha Buddha’s time, Anuruddha, having seen the Buddha meditating
alone at the foot of a tree, set up lights round him and kept them
burning for seven days. As a result he reigned for thirty kappas as
king of the gods, and was king of men twenty-eight times. He could see a
distance of a league both by day and night.
On various occasions Anuruddha had discussions with the Buddha, and he
was consulted by disciples, both monks and laymen, on points of doctrine
and practice. In the Anuruddha Sutta (M.iii.144f) he goes with Abhiya
Kaccāna and two others to a meal at the house of Pañcakanga, the king’s
carpenter. At the end of the meal the carpenter asks him the difference
between that deliverance of the heart (cetovimutti) that is boundless
(appamāna) and that which is vast (mahaggata). The discussion leads on
to an account of the four states of rebirth among the brilliant gods
(Ābhā), and in reply to the questions of Abhiya Kaccāna, Anuruddha
proceeds to explain their nature. At the end of the discourse we find
Anuruddha acknowledging that he himself had lived among these gods.
In the Samyutta Nikāya (S.iv.240-5) he is mentioned as questioning the
Buddha about women, how they come to be born in happy states and how in
woeful purgatory. A similar inquiry is mentioned in the Anguttara
Nikāya. Anuruddha had been visited by some Manāpakāyikā devas, who had
played and sung to him and shown their power of changing their
complexions at will. He comes to the Buddha and asks how women could be
born among these devas (A.iv.262ff).
We find him (S.v.174-6, also 299f) being asked by Samyutta and
Moggallāna about the sekha and asekha and about super-knowledge
(abhiññā). In dealing with this passage the Commentary (SA.iii.183)
states that Anuruddha used to rise early, and that after ablutions he
sat in his cell, calling up a thousand kappas of the past and the
future. With his clairvoyant eye he knew the thousand fold universe and
all its workings.
The Anuruddha Samyutta (S.v.294) gives an account of a series of
questions asked by Moggallāna on the satipatthānā, their extent, etc.
Anuruddha evidently laid great emphasis on the cultivation of the
satipatthānā, for we find mention of them occurring over and over again
in his discourses. He attributes all his powers to their development,
and admonishes his hearers to practise them. S.v.299-306. He himself
considered the dibbacakkhu as the highest attainment. Thus in the
Mahāgosinga Sutta (M.i.213) he declares it to be more worthy than
knowledge of the doctrine, meditation, forest-life, discourse on the
abhidhamma or self-mastery.
Once he lay grievously ill in the Andhavana in Sāvatthi, but the pain
made no impression on his mind, because, he says, his mind was well
grounded in the satipatthānā (S.v.302, but see DhA.iv.129, where he
suffered from wind in the stomach). Apart from his teaching of the
satipatthānā, he does not seem to have found fame as a teacher. He was
of a retiring disposition and never interfered in any of the monks’
Mention is often made of Anuruddha’s iddhi-powers. Thus, he was one of
those who went to the Brahma-world to curb the pride of the Brahma who
had thought that no ascetic could reach his world (S.i.145. The others
being Moggallāna, Mahākassapa and Mahākappina). The mother of the
Yakkha Piyankara, while wandering in search of food, heard him at night
reciting some verses from the Dhammapada and stood spellbound listening
His iddhi, however, does not seem to have enabled him to prevent his
fellow-dweller Abhiñjika from talking too much (S.ii.203-4), nor his
other fellow-dweller Bāhiya from attempting to create dissension in the
Order (A.ii.239). Among the Vajjians he seems to have been held
particularly in esteem, together with Nandiya and Kimbila. A yakkha
named Dīgha tells the Buddha how the Vajjians are envied by the
inhabitants of the deva and brahma worlds on account of the presence of
these distinguished monks in their country (in the Cūlagosinga Sutta,
Darshan Of Sarnath Kashi - Varanasi - Temple Tours Of India
Darshan Of Sarnath Kashi - Varanasi - Temple Tours Of India
Prince Siddharth who later took the name of Gautam Buddha was the
founder of Buddhism. One of the most recognisable sites of Buddhism in
India is the Stupa at Sarnath. Lord Buddha is believed to have spread
his message from here. The Stupa here is an ancient structure and hence
very simple in design. This place is thronged by followers of Buddhism from all over the world.
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The capital of Kāsi-janapada. It was one of the four
places of pilgrimage for the Buddhists -the others being Kapilavatthu,
Buddhagayā and Kusināra- because it was at, the Migadāya in Isipatana
near Bārānasī that the Buddha preached his first sermon to the
Pañcavaggiyā (D.ii.141). This was the spot at which all Buddhas set in
motion the Wheel of the Law (Dhamma-cakka). It is the custom of Buddhas
to travel by air from the Bodhi-tree to the scene of their first
sermon, a distance of eighteen leagues (MA.i.388; Bu.A.242, etc.), but
the present Buddha did all the journey on foot in order to be able to
meet on the way the Ajīvaka Upaka.
Benares was an important centre of trade and industry. There was direct
trade between there and Sāvatthi (DhA.iii.429), the road passing
through Bhaddiya (Vin.i.189), and between there and Takkasilā
(DhA.i.123). It was the custom for enthusiastic young men of Benares to
go to the university at Takkasilā (E.g., J.ii.4; DhA.i.250), but there
seem to have been educational institutions at Benares also, some of
which were older than even those of Takkasilā (KhA.198; see also
DhA.iii.445, where Susīma, Sankha’s son, goes from Takkasilā to Benares
for purposes of study).
From Verañjā to Benares there seem to have been two routes: one rather
circuitous, passing through Soreyya, and the other direct, crossing the
Ganges at Payāgatittha. From Benares the road continued to Vesāli
(Sp.i.201). On the road from Benares to Rājagaha was Andhakavinda
(Vin.i.220). There seems to have been friendly intercourse between the
chieftains of Benares and the kings of Magadha, as shown by the fact
that Bimbisāra sent his own physician, Jīvaka, to attend to the son of
the Treasurer of Benares (Vin.i.275). The distance from Kosambī to
Benares was thirty leagues by river (MA.ii.929).
The extent of the city of Benares, including its suburbs, at the time
when it was the capital of an independent kingdom, is often stated
(E.g., J.iv.377; vi.160; MA.ii.608) to have been twelve leagues. The
names of several kings are mentioned in the Jātakas, among them being
those of Anga, Uggasena, Udaya, Kikī, Dhanañjaya, Mahāsīlava, Vissasena,
and Samyama. (The SNA. on the Khaggavisāna Sutta contains the names
of several kings of Benares who renounced the world and became Pacceka
The name which occurs most frequently, however, is that of Brahmadatta,
which seems to have been the dynastic name of the Benares kings. In the
Mahāgovinda Sutta, the foundation of Bārānasī is attributed to
Mahāgovinda, its first king being Dhatarattha, contemporary of Renu
(D.ii.235). The Ceylon Chronicles (MT. 127,129,130) mention the names
of others who reigned in Benares- e.g., Duppasaha and sixty of his
descendants; Asoka, son of Samankara, and eighty four thousand of his
descendants; also sixteen kings, ancestors of Okkāka. The city itself
had been known by different names at different periods; thus, in the
time of the Udaya Jātaka it was called Surundhana; in that of the
Sutasoma, Sudassana; in that of the Sonananda, Brahmavaddhana; in that
of the Khandahāla, Pupphavatī; in that of the Yuvañjaya, Rammanagara
(J.iv.119f); and in that of the Sankha, Molinī (J.iv.15). It was also
called Kāsinagara and Kāsipura (E.g., J.v.54; vi.165; DhA.i.87), being
the capital of Kāsi. The Bhojājāniya Jātaka (J.i.178) says that “all
the kings around coveted the kingdom of Benares.” In the Brahāchatta
Jātaka (J.iii.116), the king of Benares is mentioned as having captured
the whole of Kosala. At the time of the Buddha, however, Benares had
lost its great political importance. Kosala was already the paramount
power in India, and several successful invasions of Kāsi by the Kosalans
under their kings Vanka, Dabbasena and Kamsa, are referred to. The
final conquest would seem to be ascribed to Kamsa because the epithet
Bārānasīggha (conqueror of Benares) is an established addition to his
Later, when Ajātasattu succeeded in establishing his sway over Kosala,
with the help of the Licchavis, Kāsī, too, was included in his kingdom.
Even in the Buddha’s time the city of Benares was wealthy and
prosperous and was included in the list of great cities suggested by
Ananda as suitable places for the Parinibbāna of the Buddha (D.ii.146).
Mention is also made of a Bānārasīsetthi (E.g., DhA.i.412; iii. 87,
365) and a Santhāgārasālā (Mote Hall), which was then, however, no
longer being used so much for the transaction of public business as for
public discussions on religious and philosophical questions. E.g.,
J.iv.74; ascetics who came to the city found lodging for the night in
the Potters’ Hall (e.g., DhA.i.39).
Near Benares was a grove of seven sirīsaka trees where the Buddha
preached to the Nāga king Erakapatta (DhA.iii.230), and also the
Kemiyambavana where Udena met Ghotamukha (M.ii.158); on the other side
of the river was Vāsabhagāma, and beyond that another village called
The Buddha is several times spoken of as staying in Benares, where he
preached several sermons (E.g., A.i.110f., 279f.; iii.392ff., 399ff.;
S.i.105; v.406; Vin.i.189, 216f., 289) and converted many people
including Yasa, whose home was in Benares (Vin.i.15), and his friends
Vimala, Subāhu, Punnaji and Gavampati, all members of eminent families
(Vin.i.19). Isipatana (q.v.) became a monastic centre in the Buddha’s
time and continued so for long after. From there came twelve thousand
monks under the leadership of Dhammasena to be present at the ceremony
of the foundation of the Mahā Thūpa (Mhv.xxix.31).
In the past, Bārānasī was the birthplace of Kassapa Buddha (Bu.xxv.33).
In the time of Metteyya Buddha, Bārānasī will be known as Ketumatī at
the head of eighty four thousand towns. Sankha will be Cakkavatti
there, but he will renounce the world and will become an arahant under
Metteyya (D.iii.75f). Bārānasī evidently derives its name from the fact
that it lies between the two rivers Barnā and Asi (CAGI.499f).
INDIA/Rajgir - Vulture’s Peak - Saptaparni cave - 1/5 -
The Vulture’s peak.
One of the five hills encircling Rājagaha. It was evidently a favourite
resort of those who followed the religious life. (It was so even in
times gone by, see, e.g., J.ii.55).
The Buddha seems to have been attracted by its solitude, and is
mentioned as having visited it on several occasions, sometimes even in
the dark, in drizzling rain, while Māra made unsuccessful attempts to
frighten him (S.i.109).
It was on the slopes of Gijjhakūta, where the Buddha was wandering
about, that Devadatta hurled at him a mighty stone to kill him, but only
a splinter injured his foot (Vin.ii.193, etc.).
It was there also that Jīvaka Komāra-bhacca administered a purgative to the Buddha (AA.i.216).
Several well-known suttas were preached on Gijjhakūta - e.g., the Māgha,
Dhammika and Chalabhijāti Suttas, the discourse on the seven
Aparihānīyadhammā (A.iv.21f.), the Mahāsāropama and Ātānātiya Suttas.
(See also S.ii.155, 185, 190, 241; iii.121; A.ii.73; iii.21; iv.160).
It is said (AA.i.412) that in due course a vihāra was erected on
Gijjhakūta for the Buddha and his monks; here cells were erected for the
use of monks who came from afar, but these cells were so difficult of
access that monks arriving late at Rājagaha would ask
Dabbamallaputta-Tissa to find accommodation for them in Gijjhakūta, in
order to test his capabilities (Vin.ii.76; DhA.iii.321f).
Channa fell ill there, and ultimately committed suicide. (Another monk
is mentioned as having thrown himself down from Gijjhakūta because he
was discontented with his life, Vin.iii.82. According to one account,
AA.i.146f, Vakkali, too, committed suicide by throwing himself from
Gijjhakūta; but see Vakkali).
Moggallāna and Lakkhana are reported to have stayed there, and to have
seen many inhabitants of Rājagaha reborn in Gijjhakūta as petas
(S.ii.254; Vin.iii.104; for Moggallāna see also A.iv.75).
The Mettiya-bhummajakas (Vin.iii.167) and the Chabbaggiyas (ibid., 82) were also in the habit of visiting the hill.
The Gijjhakūta was so called, either because its peak was like a
vulture’s beak, or because it was the resort of many vultures
(SNA.ii.417; AA.i.412; MA.i.291, etc).
Cunningham (CAGI.534), on the authority of both Fa Hien and Hiouen
Thsang, identifies Gijjhakūta with the modern Sailagiri, about two and a
half miles to the north-east of the old town. It is also called
Giriyek Hill. Gijjhakūta is sometimes referred to as Gijjhapabbata
(J.ii.50; iii.255, 484) and as Gijjha. J.vi.204, 212.
Gautam Buddha was the founder of the religion called Buddhism which is
the fourth largest practiced religion in the world today.
Gautam Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha around 566 BC to the King
and Queen of Kapilavastu, Shuddhodana and Mayadevi. Soon after his birth
and astrologer predicted that Prince Siddhartha was destined to lead
the life of a sage and that he would give up his right to the throne and
all worldly pleasures.
Shuddhodana and Mayadevi were shattered
upom hearing the news and decided to prevent him from being exposed to
the outside world, keeping a close watch on him.
Siddhartha never left the palace and saw nothing more than the luxuries
of it. His parents hoped that he would get used to the luxurious
lifestyle and never give it up.
Watch this video to learn about
the man who was born in the Indian Sub-continent as Prince Siddhartha
but gave up all his luxuries to find nirvana.
For read more about Gautam Buddha, visit: http://mocomi.com/gautam-buddha/
For more fun learning videos and interactive articles related to history, go to: http://mocomi.com/learn/history/
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200-Year-Old Mummified Buddhist Monk is ‘Not Dead’ Just Meditating
Published on Feb 26, 2015
A Mongolian Buddhist monk, about 200-years-old, was found in Songino
Khairkhan province on January 27th. He is believed to be in ‘deep
meditation’ and ‘not dead’. According to The Siberian Times, the monk
was covered with cattle skin and was found in the cross-legged lotus
The last of the twenty-five Buddhas.
No comprehensive account of Gotama Buddha is as yet possible. The
details given in this article are those generally accepted by orthodox
Theravādins and contained in their books, chiefly the Pāli Commentaries,
more especially the Nidānakathā of the Jātaka and the Buddhavamsa
Biographical details are also found in the Mahā Vagga and the Culla
Vagga of the Vinaya Pitaka, the Buddhavamsa and in various scattered
passages of the Nikayas of the Sutta Pitaka. References to these are
given where considered useful. Controversy exists with regard to many
of the matters mentioned; for discussion of the varying views regarding
these, reference should be made to the works of Oldenberg, Rhys Davids
(both Professor and Mrs. Rhys Davids), Kern, E. J. Thomas and other
scholars. Further particulars of persons and places mentioned can be
obtained by reference to the articles under the respective names.
He was a Sākiyan (the Sākiyans were evidently subjects of the Kosala
king; the Buddha calls himself a Kosalan, M.ii.124), son of Suddhodana
(all Pāli Commentaries and Sanskrit works represent the Buddha as the
son of a king, descendant of a long line of famous ancestors), chief
ruler of Kapilavatthu, and of Mahā Māyā, Suddhodana’s chief consort, and
he belonged to the Gotama-gotta. Before his conception he was in the
Tusita heaven, waiting for the due time for his birth in his last
existence. Then, having made the “five investigations”
(pañcavilolcanāni) (see Buddha), he took leave of his companions and
descended to earth. (According to the Lalitavistara he appointed the
Bodhisatta Maitreya as king of Tusita in his place). Many wondrous and
marvellous events attended his conception and birth. (Given in the
Acchariyabbhutadhamma Sutta, M.iii.118f; also D.ii.12f. A more detailed
account is found in J.i.47ff; both the Lai. and the Mtu.ii.14ff differ
as to the details given here of the conception and the birth).
The conception takes place on the full-moon day of Āsālha, with the moon
in Uttarāsālha, and Maya has no relations with her husband. She has a
marvellous dream in which the Bodhisatta, as a white elephant, enters
her womb through her side. When the dream is mentioned to the brahmins,
they foretell the birth of a son who will be either a universal monarch
or a Buddha. An earthquake takes place and thirty-two signs appear,
presaging the birth of a great being. The first of these signs is a
boundless, great light, flooding every corner of the ten thousand
worlds; everyone beholds its glory, even the fires in all hells being
extinguished. Ten months after the conception, in the month of Visākha,
Māyā wishes to visit her parents in Devadaha. On the way thither from
Kapilavatthu she passes the beautiful Lumbini grove, in which she
desires to wander; she goes to a great sāla-tree and seizes a branch in
her hand; labour pains start immediately, and, when the courtiers
retire, having drawn a curtain round her, even while standing, she is
delivered of the child. It is the day of the full moon of Visākha; four
Mahābrahmas receive the babe in a golden net, and streams of water
descend from the sky to wash him. The boy stands on the earth, takes
seven steps north-wards and utters his lion-roar, “I am the chief in the
world.” On the same day seven other beings were born: the Bodhi-tree,
Rāhula’s mother (Rāhulamātā, his future wife), the four Treasure-Troves
(described at DA.i.284), his elephant, his horse Kanthaka, his
charioteer Channa, and Kāludāyī. The babe is escorted back to
Kapilavatthu on the day of his birth and his mother dies seven days
The isi Asita (or Kāladevala), meditating in the Himālaya, learns from
the Tāvatimsa gods of the birth of the Buddha, visits Suddhodana the
same day and sees the boy, whom they both worship. Asita weeps for
sorrow that he will not live to see the boy’s Buddhahood, but he
instructs his nephew Nālaka (v.l. Naradatta) to prepare himself for
that great day. On the fifth day after the birth is the ceremony of
name-giving. One hundred and eight brahmins are invited to the festival
at the palace; eight of them - Rāma, Dhaja, Lakkhana, Manti, Kondañña,
Bhoja, Suyāma and Sudatta - are interpreters of bodily marks, and all
except Kondañña prophesy two possibilities for the boy; but Kondañña,
the youngest, says, quite decisively, that he will be a Buddha. The
name given to the boy at this ceremony is not actually mentioned, but
from other passages it is inferred that it was Siddhattha (q.v.).
Among other incidents recounted of the Buddha’s boyhood is that of his
attaining the first jhāna under a jambu-tree. One day he is taken to
the state ploughing of the king where Suddhodana himself, with his
golden plough, ploughs with the farmers. The nurses, attracted by the
festivities, leave the child under a jambu-tree. They return to find
him seated, cross-legged, in a trance, the shadow of the tree remaining
still, in order to protect him. The king is informed and, for the
second time, does reverence to his son. J.i.57f; MA.i.466f; the
incident is alluded to in the Mahā Saccaka Sutta (M.i.246); the
corresponding incident recounted in Mtu. (ii.45f.) takes place in a
park, and the, details differ completely. The Lai. has two versions,
one in prose and one in verse and both resemble the Mtu.; but in these
the Buddha is represented as being much older. The Divy (391) and the
Tibetan versions (e.g., Rockhill, p.22) put the incident very much later
in the Buddha’s life. Other incidents are given in Lai. and Mtu.
The Bodhisatta is reported to have lived in the household for
twenty-nine years a life of great luxury and excessive ease, surrounded
by all imaginable comforts. He owns three palaces - Ramma, Suramma and
Subha - for the three seasons. Mention is made of his luxurious life in
A.i.145; also in M.i.504; further details are given in AA.i.378f.;
J.i.58. See also Mtu.ii.115; cf. Vin.i.15; D.ii.21.
When the Bodhisatta is sixteen years old, Suddhodana sends messengers to
the Sākyans asking that his son be allowed to seek a wife from among
their daughters; but the Sākyans are reluctant to send them, for, they
say, though the young man is hand-some, he knows no art; how, then, can
he support a wife? When this is reported to the prince, he summons an
assembly of the Sākyans and performs various feats, chief of these being
twelve feats with a bow which needs the strength of one thousand men.
(The feats with the bow are described in the Sarabhanga Jātaka, J.v.129f
). The Sākyans are so impressed that each sends him a daughter, the
total number so sent being forty thousand. The Bodhisatta appoints as
his chief wife the daughter of Suppabuddha, who, later, comes to be
called Rāhulamātā. She is known under various names: Bhaddakaccā (or
Kaccānā), Yasodharā. Bimbā, Bimbasundarī and Gopā. For a discussion
According to the generally accepted account, Gotama is twenty-nine when
the incidents occur which lead to final renunciation. Following the
prophecy of the eight brahmins, his father had taken every precaution
that his son should see no sign of old age, sickness or death. But the
gods decide that the time is come for the Enlightenment, and instil into
Gotama’s heart a desire to go into the park. On the way, the gods put
before him a man showing signs of extreme age, and the Bodhisatta
returns, filled with desire for renunciation. The king, learning this,
surrounds him with even greater attractions, but on two other days
Gotama goes to the park and the gods put before him a sick man and a
corpse. (According to some accounts, e.g. that of the Dīghabhānakas,
the four omens were all seen on the same day, J.i.59)
On the full-moon day of Āsālha, the day appointed for the Great
Renunciation, Gotama sees a monk and hears from his charioteer praise of
the ascetic life. Feeling very happy, he goes to the park to enjoy
himself. Sakka sends Vissakamma himself to bathe and adorn him, and as
Gotama returns to the city in all his majesty, he receives news of the
birth of his son. Foreseeing in this news a bond, he decides to call
the babe Rāhula (q.v.). Kisā Gotamī (q.v.) sees Gotama on the way to
the palace and, filled with longing for him, sings to him a song
containing the word nibbuta. The significance of the word
(=extinguished, at peace) thrills him, and he sends to Kisā his
priceless gold necklace which she, however, accepts as a token of love.
Gotama enters the palace and sleeps. He wakes in the middle of the
night to find his female musicians sleeping in attitudes which fill him
with disgust and with loathing for the worldly life, and he decides to
leave it. (In some versions the Renunciation takes place seven days
after the birth of Rāhula, J.i.62). He orders Channa to saddle
Kanthaka, and enters his wife’s room for a last look at her and their
He leaves the city on his horse Kanthaka, with Channa clinging to its
tail. The devas muffle the sound of the horse’s hoofs and of his
neighing and open the city gates for Gotama to pass. Māra appears
before Gotama and seeks to stay him with a promise that he shall be
universal monarch within seven days. On his offer being refused, Māra
threatens to shadow him always. Outside the city, at the spot where
later was erected the Kanthakanivattana-cetiya, Gotama turns his horse
round to take a last look at Kapilavatthu. It is said that the earth
actually turned, to make it easy for him to do so. Then, accompanied by
the gods, he rides thirty leagues through three kingdoms - those of the
Sākyans, the Koliyans and the Mallas - and his horse crosses the river
Anomā in one leap. On the other side, he gives all his ornaments to
Channa, and with his sword cuts off hair and beard, throwing them up
into the air, where Sakka takes them and enshrines them in the
Cūlāmani-cetiya in Tāvatimsa. The Brahmā Ghatikāra offers Gotama the
eight requisites of a monk, which he accepts and adopts. He then sends
Channa and Kanthaka back to his father, but Kanthaka, broken-hearted,
dies on the spot and is reborn as Kanthaka-devaputta.
The account given here is taken mainly from the Nidānakathā (J.i.59ff)
and evidently embodies later tradition; cp. D.ii.21ff. From passages
found in the Pitakas (e.g., A.i.145; M.i.163, 240; M.ii.212f.) it would
appear that the events leading up to the Renunciation were not so
dramatic as given here, the process being more gradual. I do not,
however, agree with Thomas (op. cit., 58) that, according to these
accounts, the Bodhisatta left the world when “quite a boy.” I think the
word dahara is used merely to indicate “the prime of youth,” and not
necessarily “boyhood.” The description of the Renunciation in the Lal.
is very much more elaborate and adds numerous incidents, no account of
which is found in the Pāli.
From Anomā the Bodhisatta goes to the mango-grove of Anupiya, and after
spending seven days there walks to Rājagaha (a distance of thirty
leagues) in one day, and there starts his alms rounds. Bimbisāra’s men,
noticing him, report the matter to the king, who sends messengers to
enquire who this ascetic is. The men follow Gotama to the foot of the
Pandavapabbata, where he eats his meal, and they then go and report to
the king. Bimbisāra visits Gotama, and, pleased with his hearing,
offers him the sovereignty. On learning the nature of Gotama’s quest,
he wins from him a promise to visit Rājagaha first after the
This incident is also mentioned in the Pabbajjā Sutta (SN.vv.405-24),
but there it is the king who first sees Gotama. It is significant that,
when asked his identity, Gotama does not say he is a king’s son. The
Pali version of tile sutta contains nothing of Gotama’s promise to visit
Rājagaha, but the Mtu. version (ii.198-200), which places the visit
later, has two verses, one of which contains the request and the other
the acceptance; and the SNA. (ii.385f.), too, mentions the promise and
tells that Bimbisāra was informed of the prophecy concerning Gotama.
There is another version of the Mtu. (ii.117-20) which says that Gotama
went straight to Vaisāli after leaving home, joining Ālāra, and later
visited Uddaka at Rājagaha. Here no mention is made of Bimbisāra. We
are told in the Mhv. (ii.25ff) that Bimbisāra and Gotama (Siddhattha)
had been playmates, Bimbisāra being the younger by five years.
Bimbisāra’s father (Bhātī) and Suddhodana were friends.
Journeying from Rājagaha, Gotama in due course becomes a disciple of
Ālāra-Kālāma. Having learnt and practised all that Ālāra has to teach,
he finds it unsatisfying and joins Uddaka-Rāmaputta; but Uddaka’s
doctrine leaves him still unconvinced and he abandons it. He then goes
to Senānīgāma in Uruvelā and there, during six years, practises all
manner of severe austerities, such as no man had previously undertaken.
Once he falls fainting and a deva informs Suddhodana that Gotama is
dead. But Suddhodana, relying on the prophecy of Kāladevala, refuses to
believe the news. Gotama’s mother, now born as a devaputta in
Tāvatimsa, comes to him to encourage him. At Uruvelā, the Pañcavaggiya
monks are his companions, but now, having realised the folly of extreme
asceticism, he decides to abandon it, and starts again to take normal
food; thereupon the Pañcavaggiyas, disappointed, leave him and go to
Gotama’s desire for normal food is satisfied by an offering brought by
Sujātā to the Ajapāla banyan tree under which he is seated. She had
made a vow to the tree, and her wish having been granted, she takes her
slave-girl, Punnā, and goes to the tree prepared to fulfil her promise.
They take Gotama to be the Tree-god, come in person to accept her
offering of milk-rice; the offering is made in a golden bowl and he
takes it joyfully. Five dreams he had the night before convince Gotama
that he will that day become the Buddha. (The dreams are, recounted in
A.iii.240 and in Mtu.ii.136f). It is the full-moon day of Visākha; he
bathes at Suppatittha in the Nerañjarā, eats the food and launches the
bowl up stream, where it sinks to the abode of the Nāga king, Kāla
Gotama spends the rest of the day in a sāla-grove and, in the evening,
goes to the foot of the Bodhi-tree, accompanied by various divinities;
there the grass-cutter Sotthiya gives him eight handfuls of grass;
these, after investigation, Gotama spreads on the eastern side of the
tree, where it becomes a seat fourteen hands long, on which he sits
cross-legged, determined not to rise before attaining Enlightenment.
J.i.69. The Pitakas know nothing of Sujātā’s offering or of Sotthiya’s
gift. Lal. (334-7 <267-70>) mentions ten girls in all who
provide him with food during his austerities. Divy (392) mentions two,
Nandā and Nandabalā.
Māra, lord of the world of passion, is determined to prevent this
fulfilment, and attacks Gotama with all the strength at his command.
His army extends twelve leagues to the front, right, and left of him, to
the end of the Cakkavāla behind him, and nine leagues into the sky
above him. Māra himself carries numerous weapons and rides the elephant
Girimekhala, one hundred and fifty leagues in height. At the sight of
him all the divinities gathered at the Bodhi-tree to do honour to Gotama
- the great Brahmā, Sakka, the Nāga-king Mahākāla - disappear in a
flash, and Gotama is left alone with the ten pāramī, long practised by
him, as his sole protection. All Māra’s attempts to frighten him by
means of storms and terrifying apparitions fail, and, in the end, Māra
hurls at him the Cakkāvudha. It remains as a canopy poised over Gotama.
The very earth bears witness to Gotama’s fitness to be the Enlightened
One, and Girimekhala kneels before him. Māra is vanquished and flees
headlong with his vast army. The various divinities who had fled at the
approach of Māra now return to Gotama and exult in his triumph.
The whole story of the contest with Māra is, obviously, a mythological
development. It is significant that in the Majjhima passages referred
to earlier there is no mention of Māra, of a temptation, or even of a
Bodhi-tree; but see D.ii.4 and Thomas (op. cit., n.1). According to
the Kālingabodhi Jātaka, which, very probably, embodies an old
tradition, the bodhi-tree was worshipped even in the Buddha’s life-time.
The Māra legend is, however, to be found in the Canonical Padhāna
Sutta of the Sutta Nipāta. This perhaps contains the first suggestion
of the legend. For a discussion see Māra.
Gotama spends that night in deep meditation. In the first watch he
gains remembrance of his former existences; in the middle watch he
attains the divine eye (dibbacakkhu); in the last watch he revolves in
his mind the Chain of Causation (paticcasamuppāda). As he masters this,
the earth trembles and, with the dawn, comes Enlightenment. He is now
the supreme Buddha, and he breaks forth into a paean of joy (udāna).
There is great doubt as to which were these Udāna verses. The
Nidānakathā and the Commentaries generally quote two verses (153, 154)
included in the Dhammapada collection (anekajāti samsāram, etc.). The
Vinaya (i.2) quotes three different verses (as does also DhsA.17), and
says that one verse was repeated at the end of each watch, all the
watches being occupied with meditation on the paticcasamuppāda. Mtu.
(ii.286) gives a completely different Udāna, and in another place
(ii.416) mentions a different verse as the first Udāna. The Tibetan
Vinaya is, again, quite different (Rockhill, p.33). For a discussion
see Thomas, op. cit., 75ff.
For the first week the Buddha remains under the Bodhi-tree, meditating
on the Paticcasamuppāda; the second week he spends at the
Ajapālanigrodha, where the “Huhuhka” Brahmin accosts him (Mara now comes
again and asks the Buddha to die at once; D.ii.112) and where Mara’s
daughters, Tanhā, Aratī and Rāgā, appear before the Buddha and make a
last attempt to shake his resolution (J.i.78; S.i.124; Lal.490 (378));
the third week he spends under the hood of the nāga-king Mucalinda
(Vin.i.3); the fourth week is spent in meditation under the Rājāyatana
tree*; at the end of this period takes place the conversion of Tapussa
and Bhallika. They take refuge in the Buddha and the Dhamma, though the
Buddha does not give them any instruction.
*This is the Vinaya account (Vin.i.1ff); but the Jātaka (i.77ff,
extends this period to seven weeks, the additional weeks being inserted
between the first and second. The Buddha spends one week each at the
Animisa-cetiya, the Ratanacankama and the Ratanaghara, and this last is
where he thinks out the Abhidhamma Pitaka.
Doubts now assail the Buddha as to whether he shall proclaim to the
world his doctrine, so recondite, so hard to understand. The Brahma
Sahampati (according to J.i.81, with the gods of the thousand worlds,
including Sakka, Suyāma, Santusita, Sunimmita, Vasavatti, etc.) appears
before him and assures him there are many prepared to listen to him and
to profit by his teaching, and so entreats him to teach the Dhamma. The
Buddha accedes to his request and, after consideration, decides to
teach the Dhamma first to the Pañcavaggiyas at Isipatana. On the way to
Benares he meets the Ājīvaka Upaka and tells him that he (the Buddha)
is Jina. On his arrival at Isipatana the Pañcavaggiyas are, at first,
reluctant to acknowledge his claim to be the Tathāgata, but they let
themselves be won over and, on the full-moon day of Āsālha, the Buddha
preaches to them the sermon which came to be known as the
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. (Vin.i.4ff; M.i.118ff; cp. D.ii.36ff.
Regarding the claim of this sutta to be the Buddha’s first sermon, see
Thomas, op. cit., p.86; see also Pañcavaggiyā). At the end of the
sermon Kondañña becomes a sotāpanna and they all become monks.
This sermon is followed five days later by the Anattalakkhana Sutta, at
the conclusion of which all five become arahants. The following day the
Buddha meets Yasa, whom he converts. Yasa’s father, who comes seeking
him, is the first to take the threefold formula of Refuge.
Yasa becomes an arahant and is ordained. The Buddha accepts a meal at
his house, and Yasa’s mother and one of his former wives are the first
two lay-women to become the Buddha’s disciples. Then four friends of
Yasa and, afterwards, fifty more, enter the Order and become arahants.
There are now sixty arahants besides the Buddha, and they are sent in
different directions to preach the Dhamma. They return with many
candidates for admission to the Order, and the Buddha, who up till now
had ordained men with the “ehi bhikkhu” formula, now allows the monks
themselves to perform the ceremony of ordination (Vin.i.15ff; J.i.81f).
After spending the rainy season at Benares (about this time Māra twice
tries to tempt the Buddha, once after he had sent the disciples out to
preach and once after the Retreat, S.i.105, 111; Vin.i.21, 22), the
Buddha returns to Senānigāma in Uruvela, on the way converting and
ordaining the thirty Bhaddavaggiyā. At Uruvela, after a long and
protracted exercise of magical powers, consisting in all of three
thousand five hundred miracles, the Buddha wins over the three Kassapa
brothers, the Tebhātika Jatilā, with their thousand followers, and
ordains them. They become arahants after listening to the
Ādittapariyāya Sutta preached at Gayāsīsa; with these followers he
visits Rājagaha, where King Seniya Bimbisāra comes to see him at the
Latthivanuyyāna. The following day the Buddha and the monks visit the
palace, preceded by Sakka disguised as a youth and singing the praises
of the Buddha. After the meal, the king gifts Veluvana to the Buddha
and the Order. The Buddha stays for two months at Rājagaha (BuA.4), and
it is during this time that Sāriputta and Moggallāna join the Order,
through the instrumentality of Assaji (Vin.i.23ff). It was probably
during this year, at the beginning of the rainy season, that the Buddha
visited Vesāli at the request of the Licchavis, conveyed through Mahāli.
The city was suffering from pestilence and famine. The Buddha went,
preached the Ratana Sutta and dispelled all dangers (DhA.iii.436ff).
The number of converts now rapidly increases and the people of Magadha,
alarmed by the prospect of childlessness, widow-hood, etc., blame the
Buddha and his monks. The Buddha, however, refutes their charges
The account of the first twenty years of the Buddha’s ministry is
summarised from various sources, chiefly from Thomas’s admirable account
in his Life and Legend of the Buddha (pp.97ff). The necessary
references are to be found under the names mentioned.
On the full-moon day of Phagguna (February-March) the Buddha,
accompanied by twenty thousand monks, sets out for Kapilavatthu at the
express request of his father, conveyed through Kāludāyī. (This visit
is not mentioned in the Canon; but see Thag.527-36; AA.i.107, 167;
J.i.87; DhA.i.96f; ThagA.i.997ff).
By slow stages he arrives at the city, where he stays at the
Nigrodhārāma, and, in order to convince his proud kinsmen of his power,
performs the Yamakapātihārjya and then relates the Vessantara Jātaka.
The next day, receiving no invitation to a meal, the Buddha begs in the
streets of the city; this deeply grieves Suddhodana, but later, learning
that it is the custom of all Buddhas, he becomes a sotāpanna and
conducts the Buddha and his monks to meal at the palace. There all the
women of the palace, excepting only Rāhulamātā, come and do reverence to
the Buddha. Mahā Pajāpatī becomes a sotāpanna and Suddhodana a
sakadāgāmi. The Buddha visits Rāhulamātā in her own apartments and
utters her praises in the Candakinnara Jātaka. The following day the
Buddha persuades his half-brother, Nanda, to come to the monastery,
where he ordains him and, on the seventh day, he does the same with
Rāhula. This is too great a blow for Suddhodana, and at his request the
Buddha rules that no person shall be ordained without the consent of
his parents. The next day the Buddha preaches to Suddhodana, who
becomes an anāgāmī. During the Buddha’s visit to Kapilavatthu, eighty
thousand Sākyans join the Order, one from each family. With these he
returns to Rājagaha, stopping on the way at Anupiya, where Anuruddha,
Bhaddiya, Ananda, Bhagu, Kimbila and Devadatta, together with their
barber, Upāli, visit him and seek ordination.
On his return to Rājagaha the Buddha resides in the Sītavana. (J.i.92,
the story is also told in the Vinaya ii.154, but no date is indicated).
There Sudatta, later known as Anāthapindika, visits him, is converted,
and invites him to Sāvatthi. The Buddha accepts the invitation and
journeys through Vesāli to Sāvatthi, there to pass the rainy season.
(Vin.ii.158; but see BuA.3, where the Buddha is mentioned as having
spent the vassa in Rājagaha). Anāthapindika gifts Jetavana, provided
with every necessity, for the residence of the Buddha and his monks.
Probably to this period belongs the conversion of Migāra, father-in-law
of Visākhā, and the construction, by Visākhā, of the Pubbārāma at
Sāvatthi. The vassa of the fourth year the Buddha spends at Veluvana,
where he converts Uggasena. (DhA.iv.59f). In the fifth year Suddhodana
dies, having realised arahant-ship, and the Buddha flies through the
air, from the Kūtāgārasālā in Vesāli where he was staying, to preach to
his father on his death-bed. According to one account it is at this
time that the quarrel breaks out between the Sākyans and the Koliyans
regarding the irrigation of the river Rohinī. (AA.i.186; SNA.i.357;
ThigA.141; details of the quarrel are given in J.v.412ff). The Buddha
persuades them to make peace, and takes up his abode in the
Nigrodhārāma. Mahā Pajāpatī Gotamī, with other Sākiyan women, visits
him there and asks that women may be allowed to join the Order. Three
times the request is made, three times refused, the Buddha then
returning to Vesāli. The women cut off their hair, don yellow robes and
follow him thither. Ananda intercedes on their behalf and their
request is granted. (Vin.ii.253ff; A.iv.274f.; for details see Mahā
In the sixth year the Buddha again performs the Yamakapātihāriya, this
time at the foot of the Gandamba tree in Sāvatthi. Prior to this, the
Buddha had forbidden any display of magic powers, but makes an exception
in his own case (DhA.iii.199f.; J.iv.265, etc.).
He spends the vassa at Mankulapabbata. After the performance of the
miracle he follows the custom of all Buddhas and ascends to Tāvatimsa in
three strides to preach the Abhidhamma to his mother who is born there
as a deva, and there he keeps the seventh vassa. The multitude,
gathered at Sāvatthi at the Yamakapātihāriya, refuse to go away until
they have seen him. For three months, therefore, Moggallāna expounds to
them the Dhamma, while Culla Anāthapindika provides them with food.
During the preaching of the Abhidhamma, Sāriputta visits the Buddha
daily and learns from him all that has been recited the previous day.
At the end of the vassa, the Buddha descends a jewelled staircase and
comes to earth at Sankassa, thirty leagues from Sāvatthi. (For details
see Devorohana). It was about this time, when the Buddha’s fame was at
its height, that the notorious Ciñcā-mānavikā was persuaded by members
of some hostile sect to bring a vile accusation against the Buddha. A
similar story, told in connection with a paribbājikā named Sundarī,
probably refers to a later date.
The eighth year the Buddha spends in the country of the Bhaggas and
there, while residing in Bhesakalāvana near Sumsumāragiri, he meets
Nakulapitā and his wife, who had been his parents in five hundred former
The same is told of another old couple in Sāketa. See the Sāketa
Jātaka. The Buddha evidently stayed again at Sumsumāragiri many years
later. It was during his second visit that Bodhirājakumāra (q.v.)
invited him to a meal at his new palace in order that the Buddha might
consecrate the building by his presence.
In the ninth year the Buddha is at Kosambī. While on a visit to the
Kuru country he is offered in marriage Māgandiyā, the beautiful daughter
of the brahmin Māgandiyā. The refusal of the offer, accompanied by
insulting remarks about physical beauty, arouses the enmity of Māgandiyā
who, thenceforward, cherishes hatred against the Buddha.
SN., pp.163ff; SNA.ii.542ff; DhA.i.199ff Thomas (op. cit., 109) assigns
the Māgandiyā incident to the ninth year. I am not sure if this is
correct, for the Commentaries say the Buddha was then living at
In the tenth year there arises among the monks at Kosambī a schism which
threatens the very existence of the Order. The Buddha, failing in his
attempts to reconcile the disputants, retires in disgust to the
Pārileyyaka forest, passing on his way through Bālakalonakāragāma and
Pācīnavamsadāya. In the forest he is protected and waited upon by a
friendly elephant who has left the herd. The Buddha spends the rainy
season there and returns to Sāvatthi. By this time the Kosambī monks
have recovered their senses and ask the Buddha’s pardon. This is
granted and the dispute settled. (Vin.i.337ff; J.iii.486f; DhA.i.44ff;
but see Ud.iv.5; s.v. Pārileyyaka).
In the eleventh year the Buddha resides at the brahmin village of
Ekanālā and converts Kasi-Bhāradvāja (SN., p.12f.; S.i.172f). The
twelfth year he spends at Verañjā, keeping the vassa there at the
request of the brahmin Verañja. But Verañja forgets his obligations;
there is a famine, and five hundred horse-merchants supply the monks
with food. Moggallāna’s offer to obtain food by means of magic power is
discouraged (Vin.iii.1ff; J.iii.494f; DhA.ii.153). The thirteenth
Retreat is kept at Cālikapabbata, where Meghiya is the Buddha’s personal
attendant (A.iv.354; Ud.iv.1). The fourteenth year is spent at
Sāvatthi, and there Rāhula receives the upasampadā ordination.
In the fifteenth year the Buddha revisits Kapilavatthu, and there his
father-in-law, Suppabuddha, in a drunken fit, refuses to let the Buddha
pass through the streets. Seven days later he is swallowed up by the
earth at the foot of his palace (DhA.iii.44).
The chief event of the sixteenth year, which the Buddha spent at Ālavī,
is the conversion of the yakkha Ālavaka. In the seventeenth year the
Buddha is back at Sāvatthi, but he visits Ālavī again out of compassion
for a poor farmer who becomes a sotāpanna after hearing him preach
(DhA.iii.262ff). He spends the rainy season at Rājagaha. In the next
year he again comes to Ālavī from Jetavana for the sake of a poor
weaver’s daughter. She had heard him preach, three years earlier, on
the desirability of meditating upon death. She alone gave heed to his
admonition and, when the Buddha knows of her imminent death, he journeys
thirty leagues to preach to her and establish her in the sotāpattiphala
The Retreat of this year and also that of the nineteenth are spent at
Cālikapabbata. In the twentieth year takes place the miraculous
conversion of the robber Angulimāla. He becomes an arahant and dies
shortly after. It is in the same year that Ananda is appointed
permanent attendant on the Buddha, a position which he holds to the end
of the Buddha’s life, twenty-five years later (For details see Ananda).
The twentieth Retreat is spent at Rājagaha.
With our present knowledge it is impossible to evolve any kind of
chronology for the remaining twenty-five years of the Buddha’s life.
The Commentaries state that they were spent at Sāvatthi in the
monasteries of Jetavana and Pubbārāma. (E.g., BuA.3; SNA. p.336f, says
that when the Buddha was at Sāvatthi, he spent the day at the
Migāramātupāsāda in the Pubbārāma, and the night at Jetavana or vice
There is a more or less continuous account of the last year of the
Buddha’s life. This is contained in three suttas: the Mahā Parinibbāna,
the Mahā Sudassana and the Janavasabha. These are not separate
discourses but are intimately connected with each other. The only event
prior to the incidents recounted in these suttas, which can be fixed
with any certainty, is the death of the Buddha’s pious patron and
supporter, Bimbisāra, which took place eight years before the Buddha’s
Parinibbāna (Mhv.ii.32). It was at this time that Devadatta tried to
obtain for himself a post of supremacy in the Order, and, failing in
this effort, became the open enemy of the Buddha. Devadatta’s desire to
deprive the Buddha of the leadership of the Sangha seems to have been
conceived by him, according to the Vinaya account (Vin.ii.184), almost
immediately after he joined the Order, and the Buddha was warned of this
by the devaputta Kakudha. This account lends point to the statement
contained especially in the Northern books, that even in their lay life
Devadatta had always been Gotama’s rival.
Enlisting the support of Ajātasattu, he tried in many ways to kill the
Buddha. Royal archers were bribed to shoot the Buddha, but they were
won over by his personality and confessed their intentions. Then
Devadatta hurled a great rock down Gijjhakūta on to the Buddha as he was
walking in the shade of the hill; the hurtling rock was stopped by two
peaks, but splinters struck the Buddha’s foot and caused blood to flow;
he suffered great pain and had to be taken to the Maddakucchi garden,
where his injuries were dressed by the physician Jīvaka (S.i.27). The
monks wished to provide a guard, but the Buddha reminded them that no
man had the power to deprive a Tathāgata of his life.
Devadatta next bribed the royal elephant keepers to let loose a fierce
elephant, Nālāgiri, intoxicated with toddy, on the road along which the
Buddha would go, begging for alms. The Buddha was warned of this but
disregarded the warning, and when the elephant appeared, Ananda, against
the strict orders of the Buddha, threw himself in its path, and only by
an exercise of iddhi-power, including the folding up of the earth,
could the Buddha come ahead of him. As the elephant approached, the
Buddha addressed it, pervading it with his boundless love, until it
became quite gentle. (This incident, with great wealth of detail, is
related in several places - e.g., in J.v.333ff).
These attempts to encompass the Buddha’s death having failed, Devadatta,
with three others, decides to create a schism in the Order and asks the
Buddha that five rules should be laid down, whereby the monks would be
compelled to lead a far more austere life than hitherto. When this
request is refused, Devadatta persuades five hundred recently ordained
monks to leave Vesāli with him and take up their residence at Gayāsīsa,
where he would set up an organisation similar to that of the Buddha.
But, at the Buddha’s request, Sāriputta and Moggallāna visit the
renegade monks; Sāriputta preaches to them and they are persuaded to
return. When Devadatta discovers this, he vomits hot blood and lies ill
for nine months. When his end approaches, he wishes to see the Buddha,
but he dies on the way to Jetavana - whither he is being conveyed in a
litter - and is born in Avīci.
From Gijjhakūta, near Rājagaha, the Buddha starts on his last journey.
Just before his departure he is visited by Vassākāra, and the talk is of
the Vajjians; the Buddha preaches to Vassākāra and the monks on the
conditions that lead to prosperity. The Buddha proceeds with a large
concourse of monks to Ambalatthikā and thence to Nālandā, where
Sāriputta utters his lion-roar (sīhanāda) regarding his faith in the
Buddha. The Buddha then goes to Pātaligāma, where he talks to the
villagers on the evil consequences of immorality and the advantages of
morality. He utters a prophecy regarding the future greatness of
Pātaliputta and then, leaving by the Gotamadvāra, he crosses the river
Ganges at Gotamatittha. He proceeds to Kotigāma and thence to Ñātika,
where he gives to Ananda the formula of the Dhammādāsa, whereby the
rebirth of disciples could be ascertained. From Ñātika he goes to
Vesāli, staying in the park of the courtesan Ambapāli. The following
day he accepts a meal from Ambapāli, refusing a similar offer from the
Licchavis; Ambapāli makes a gift of her park to the Buddha and his
monks. The Buddha journeys on to Beluva, where he spends the rainy
season, his monks remaining in Vesāli. At Beluva he falls dangerously
ill but, with great determination, fights against his sickness. He
tells Ananda that his mission is finished, that when he is dead the
Order must maintain itself, taking the Dhamma alone as its refuge, and
he concludes by propounding the four subjects of mindfulness (D.ii.100).
The next day he begs in Vesāli and, with Ananda, visits the
Cāpāla-cetiya. There he gives to Ananda the opportunity of asking him
to live until the end of the kappa, but Ananda fails to take the hint.
Soon afterwards Māra visits the Buddha and obtains the assurance that
the Buddha’s nibbāna will take place in three months. There is an
earthquake, and, in answer to Ananda’s questions, the Buddha explains to
him the eight causes of earthquakes. This is followed by lists of the
eight assemblies, the eight stages of mastery and the eight stages of
release. The Buddha then repeats to Ananda his conversation with Māra,
and Ananda now makes his request to the Buddha to prolong his life, but
is told that it is now too late; several opportunities he has had, of
which he has failed to avail himself. The monks are assembled in
Vesāli, in the Service Hall, and the Buddha exhorts them to practise the
doctrines he has taught, in order that the religious life may last
long. He then announces his impending death.
According to the Commentaries (e.g., DA.ii.549), after the rainy season
spent at Beluva, the Buddha goes back to Jetavana, where he is visited
by Sāriputta, who is preparing for his own Parinibbāna at Nālakagāma.
From Jetavana the Buddha went to Rājagaha, where Mahā-Moggallāna died.
Thence he proceeded to Ukkācelā, where he spoke in praise of the two
chief disciples. From Ukkācelā he proceeded to Vesāli and thence to
Bhandagāma. Rāhula, too, predeceased the Buddha (DA.ii.549).
The next day, returning from Vesāli, he looks round at the city for the
last time and goes on to Bhandagāma; there he preaches on the four
things the comprehension of which destroys rebirth-noble conduct,
earnestness in meditation, wisdom and freedom.
He then passes through the villages of Hatthigāma, Ambagāma and
Jambugama, and stays at Bhoganagara at the Ananda-cetiya. There he
addresses the monks on the Four Great Authorities (Mahāpadesā), by
reference to which the true doctrine may be determined (Cf.
A.ii.167ff). From Bhoganagara the Buddha goes to Pāvā and stays in the
mango-grove of Cunda, the smith. Cunda serves him with a meal which
includes sūkaramaddava. (There is much dispute concerning this word.
See Thomas, op. cit., 149, n.3). The Buddha alone partakes of the
sūkaramaddava, the remains being buried. This is the Buddha’s last
meal; sharp sickness arises in him, with flow of blood and violent,
deadly pains, but the Buddha controls them and sets out for Kusinārā.
On the way he has to sit down at the foot of a tree. Ananda fetches him
water to drink from the stream Kakutthā, over which five hundred carts
had just passed; but, through the power of the Buddha, the water is
quite clear. Here the Buddha is visited by Pukkusa, the Mallan, who is
converted and presents the Buddha with a pair of gold-coloured robes.
The Buddha puts them on and Ananda notices the marvellous brightness and
clearness of the Buddha’s body. The Buddha tells him that the body of a
Buddha takes on this hue on the night before his Enlightenment and on
the night of his passing away, and that he will die that night at
Kusinārā. He goes to the Kākutthā, bathes and drinks there and rests in
a mango-grove. There he instructs Ananda that steps must be taken to
dispel any remorse that Cunda may feel regarding the meal he gave to the
From Kakutthā the Buddha crosses the Hiraññavatī to the Upavattana
sāla-grove in Kusinārā. There Ananda prepares for him a bed with the
head to the north. All the trees break forth into blossom and flowers
cover the body of the Buddha. Divine mandārava-flowers and sandalwood
powder fall from the sky, and divine music and singing sound through the
air. But the Buddha says that the greater honour to him would be to
follow his teachings.
The gods of the ten thousand world systems assemble to pay their last
homage to the Buddha, and Upavāna, who stands fanning him, is asked to
move away as he obstructs their view.
Ananda asks for instruction on several points, including how the funeral
rites should be performed; he then goes out and abandons himself to a
fit of weeping; the Buddha sends for him, consoles him and speaks his
praises. Ananda tries to persuade the Buddha not to die in a
mud-and-wattle village, such as is Kusinārā, but the Buddha tells him
how it was once the mighty Kusāvatī, capital of Mahāsudassana.
The Mallas of Kusināra are informed that the Buddha will pass away in
the third watch of the night, and they come with their families to pay
their respects. The ascetic Subhadda comes to see the Buddha and is
refused admission by Ananda, but the Buddha, overhearing, calls him in
and converts him. Several minor rules of discipline are delivered,
including the order for the excommunication of Channa. The Buddha
finally asks the assembled monks to speak out any doubts they may have.
All are silent and Ananda expresses his astonishment, but the Buddha
tells him it is natural that the monks should have no doubts. Then,
addressing the monks for the last time, he admonishes them in these
words: “Decay is inherent in all component things; work out your
salvation with diligence.” These were the Buddha’s last words. Passing
backwards and forwards through various stages of trance, he attains
Parinibbāna. There is a great earthquake and terrifying thunder, and
the Brahmā Sahampati, Sakka king of the gods, Anuruddha and Ananda utter
stanzas, each proclaiming the feeling uppermost in his mind. It is the
full-moon day of the month of Visākha and the Buddha is in his
The next day Ananda informs the Mallas of Kusinārā of the Buddha’s
death, and for seven days they hold a great celebration. On the seventh
day, following Ananda’s instructions, they prepare the body for
cremation, taking it in procession by the eastern gate to the
Makutabandhana shrine, thus altering their proposed route, in order to
satisfy the wishes of the gods, as communicated to them by Anuruddha.
The whole town is covered knee-deep with mandārava-flowers, which fall
from the sky. When, however, four of the chief Mallas try to light the
pyre, their attempt is unsuccessful and they must wait until Mahā
Kassapa, coming with a company of five hundred monks, has saluted it.
The Commentaries (e.g., DA.ii.603) add that Mahā Kassapa greatly desired
that the Buddha’s feet should rest on his head when he worshipped the
pyre. The wish was granted: the feet appeared through the pyre, and
when Kassapa had worshipped them, the pyre closed together. The pyre
burns completely away, leaving no cinders nor soot. Streams of water
fall from the sky to extinguish it and the Mallas pour on it scented
water. They then place a fence of spears around it and continue their
celebrations for seven days. At the end of that period there appear
several claimants for the Buddha’s relics: Ajātasattu, the Licchavis of
Vesāli, the Sākiyans of Kapilavatthu, the Bulis of Allakappa, the
Koliyas of Rāmagāma, a brahmin of Vethadīpa and the Mallas of Pāvā. But
the Mallas of Kusinārā refusing to share the relics with the others,
there is danger of war. Then the brahmin Dona counsels concord and
divides the relics into eight equal parts for the eight claimants. Dona
takes for himself the measuring vessel and the Moriyas of Pipphalivana,
who arrive late, carry off the ashes. Thūpas were built over these
remains and feasts held in honour of the Buddha.
The concluding passage of the Mahā-Parinibbāna Sutta (D.ii.167) states
that the Buddha’s relics were eight measures, seven of which were
honoured in Jambudīpa and the remaining one in the Nāga realm in
Rāmagāma. One tooth was in heaven, one in Gandhāra, a third in Kālinga
(later taken to Ceylon), and a fourth in the Nāga world. Ajātasattu’s
share was deposited in a thūpa and forgotten. It was later discovered
by Asoka (with the help of Sakka) and distributed among his eighty-four
thousand monasteries. Asoka also recorded the finding of all the other
relics except those deposited in Rāmagāma. These were later deposited
in the Mahācetiya at Anurādhapura (Mhv.xxxi.17ff). Other relics are
also mentioned, such as the Buddha’s collar-bone, his alms bowl, etc.
(Mhv.xvii.9ff; Mhv.i.37, etc.).
It is said (E.g., DA.iii.899) that just before the Buddha’s Sāsana
disappears completely from the world, all the relics will gather
together at the Mahācetiya, and travelling from there to Nāgadīpa and
the Ratanacetiya, assemble at the Mahābodhi, together with the relics
from other parts. There they will reform the Buddha’s golden hued body,
emitting the six-coloured aura. The body will then catch fire and
completely disappear, amid the lamentations of the ten thousand
The Ceylon Chronicles (Mhv.i.12ff; Dpv.i.45ff; ii.1ff etc.) record that
the Buddha visited the Island on three separate occasions.
(The Burmese claim that the Buddha visited their land and went to
the Lohitacandana Vihāra, presented by the brothers Mahāpunna and
Cūlapunna of Vānijagāma (Ind. Antiq.xxii., and Sās.36f.).
The first was while he was dwelling at Uruvelā, awaiting the moment for
the conversion of the Tebhātika Jatilas, in the ninth month after the
Enlightenment, on the full-moon day of Phussa (Dec.-Jan.). He came to
the Mahānāga garden, and stood in the air over an assembly of yakkhas
then being held. He struck terror into their hearts and, at his
suggestion, they left Ceylon and went in a body to Giridīpa, hard by.
The Buddha gave a handful of his hair to the deva Mahāsumana of the
Sumanakūta mountain, who built a thūpa which was later enlarged into the
Mahiyangana Thūpa. The Buddha again visited Ceylon in the fifth year,
on the new-moon day of Citta (March-April), to check an imminent battle
between two Nāga chiefs in Nāgadīpa; the combatants were Mahodara and
Cūlodara, uncle and nephew, and the object of the quarrel was a gem-set
throne. The Buddha appeared before them, accompanied by the deva
Samiddhi-Sumana, carrying a Rājayatana tree from Jetavana, settled their
quarrel and received, as a gift, the throne, the cause of the trouble.
He left behind him both the throne and the Rājayatana tree for the
worship of the Nāgās and accepted an invitation from the Nāga king,
Maniakkhika of Kalyāni, to pay another visit to Ceylon. Three years
later Maniakkhika repeated the invitation and the Buddha came to Kalyāni
with five hundred monks, on the second day of Vesākha. Having preached
to the Nāgas, he went to Sumanakūta, on the summit of which mountain he
left the imprint of his foot (Legend has it that other footprints were
left by the Buddha, on the bank of the river Nammadā, on the Saccabaddha
mountain and in Yonakapura). He then stayed at Dīghavāpī and from
there visited Mahāmeghavana, where he consecrated various spots by
virtue of his presence, and proceeded to the site of the later
Silācetiya. From there he returned to Jetavana.
Very little information as to the personality of the Buddha is
available. We are told that he was golden-hued (E.g., Sp.iii.689), that
his voice had the eight qualities of the Brahmassāra (E.g., D.ii.211;
M.ii.166f. It is said that while an ordinary person spoke one word,
Ananda could speak eight; but the Buddha could speak sixteen to the
eight of Ananda, MA.i.283) - fluency, intelligibility, sweetness,
audibility, continuity, distinctness, depth and resonance - that he had a
fascinating personality - he was described by his opponents as
seductive (E.g., M.i.269, 275) - that he was handsome, perfect alike in
complexion and stature and noble of presence (E.g., M.ii.167). He had a
unique reputation as a teacher and trainer of the human heart. He was
endowed with the thirty-two marks of the Mahāpurisa. (For details of
these, see Buddha). There is a legend that Mahā Kassapa, though
slightly shorter, resembled the Buddha in appearance.
Attempts made, however, to measure the Buddha always failed; two such
attempts are generally mentioned - one by a brahmin of Rājagaha and the
other by Rāhu, chief of the Asuras (DA.i.284f). The Buddha had the
physical strength of many millions of elephants (e.g., VibhA.397), but
his strength quickly ebbed away after his last meal and he had to stop
at twenty-five places while travelling three gāvutas from Pāvā to
Mention is often made of the Buddha’s love of quiet and peace, and even
the heretics respected his wishes in this matter, silencing their
discussions at his approach (E.g., D.i.178f; iii.39; even his disciples
had a similar reputation, e.g., D.iii.37). Examples are given of the
Buddha refusing to allow noisy monks to live near him. (E.g., M.i.456;
see also M.ii.122, where a monk was jogged by his neighbour because he
coughed when the Buddha was speaking). He loved solitude and often
spent long periods away from the haunts of men, allowing only one monk
to bring him his meals. E.g., S.v.12, 320; but this very love of
solitude was sometimes brought against him. By intercourse with whom
does he attain to lucidity in wisdom? they asked. His insight, they
said, was ruined by his habit of seclusion (D.iii.38).
According to one account (A.i.181), it was his practice to spend part of
the day in seclusion, but he was always ready to see anyone who
urgently desired his spiritual counsel (E.g., A.iv.438).
In the Mahā Govinda Sutta (D.ii.222f ) Sakka is represented as having
uttered “eight true praises” of the Buddha. Perhaps the most
predominant characteristics of the Buddha were his boundless love and
his eagerness to help all who sought him. His fondness for children is
seen in such stories as those of the two Sopākas, of Kumāra-Kassapa, of
Cūla Panthaka and Dabba-Mallaputta and also of the novices Pandita and
Sukha. His kindness to animals appears, for instance, in the
introductory story of the Maccha Jātaka and his interference on behalf
of Udena’s aged elephant, Bhaddavatikā (q.v.). The Buddha was extremely
devoted to his disciples and encouraged them in every way in their
difficult life. The Theragāthā and the Therīgāthā are full of stories
indicating that he watched, with great care, the spiritual growth and
development of his disciples, understood their problems and was ready
with timely interference to help them to win their aims. Such incidents
as those mentioned in the Bhaddāli Sutta (M.i.445), the introduction to
the Tittha Jātaka and the Kañcakkhandha Jātaka, seem to indicate that
he took a personal and abiding interest in all who came under him. It
was his unvarying custom to greet with a smile all those who visited
him, inquiring after their welfare and thus putting them at their ease
(Vin.i.313). When anyone sought permission to question him, he made no
conditions as to the topic of discussion. This is called
sabbaññupavārana. E.g., M.i.230. When the Buddha himself asked a
question of any of his interrogators, they could not remain silent, but
were bound to answer; a yakkha called Vajirapāni was always present to
frighten those who did not wish to do so (e.g., M.i.231).
The Buddha was not over-anxious to get converts, and when his visitors
declared themselves his followers he would urge them to take time to
consider the matter - e.g., in the case of Acela Kassapa and
When he was staying in a monastery, he paid daily visits to the sick
ward to talk to the inmates and to comfort them (See, e.g.,
Kutāgārasālā). The charming story of Pūtigata-Tissa shows that he
sometimes attended on the sick himself, thus setting an example to his
followers. In return for his devotion, his disciples adored him, but
even among those who immediately surrounded him there were a few who
refused to obey him implicitly - e.g., Lāludāyī, the companions of
Assaji and Punabbasuka, the Chabbaggiyas, the Sattarasavaggiyas and
others, not to mention Devadatta and his associates.
The Buddha seems to have shown a special regard for Sāriputta, Ananda
and Mahā Kassapa among the monks, and for Anāthapindika, Mallikā,
Visakhā, Bimbisāra and Pasenadi among the laity. He seems to have been
secretly amused by the very human qualities of Pasenadi and by his
failure to appreciate the real superiority of Mallikā, his wife.
The Buddha always declared that he was among the happy ones of this
earth, that he was far happier, for instance, than Bimbisāra (E.g.,
M.i.94), and he remained unmoved by opposition or abuse. E.g., in the
case of the organised conspiracy of Māgandiyā (DhA.iv.1f.).
The Milindapañha (p.134) mentions several illnesses of the Buddha: the
injury to his foot has already been referred to; once when the humours
of his body were disturbed Jīvaka administered a purge (Vin.i.279); on
another occasion he suffered from some stomach trouble which was cured
by hot water, or, according to some, by hot gruel (Vin.i.210f.;
Thag.185). The Dhammapada Commentary (DhA.iv.232; ThagA.i.311f)
mentions another disorder of the humours cured by hot water obtained
from the brahmin Devahita, through Upavāna. The Commentaries mention
that he suffered, in his old age, from constant backache, owing to the
severe austerities practised by him during the six years preceding his
Enlightenment, and the unsuitable meals taken during that period were
responsible for a dyspepsia which persisted throughout the rest of his
life (SA.i.200), culminating in his last serious illness of dysentery.
MA.i.465; DA.iii.974; see also D.iii.209, when he was preaching to the
Mallas of Pāvā.
The Apadāna (Ap.i.299f) contains a set of verses called
Pubbakammapiloti; these verses mention certain acts done by the Buddha
in the past, which resulted in his having to suffer in various ways in
his last birth. He was once a drunkard named Munāli and he abused the
Pacceka Buddha Surabhi. On another occasion he was a learned brahmin,
teacher of five hundred pupils. One day, seeing the Pacceka Buddha
Isigana, he spoke ill of him to his pupils, calling him “sensualist.”
The result of this act was the calumny against him by Sundarikā in this
In another life he reviled a disciple of a Buddha, named Nanda; for this
he suffered in hell for twelve thousand years and, in his last life,
was disgraced by Ciñcā. Once, greedy for wealth, he killed his
step-brothers, hurling them down a precipice; as a result, Devadatta
attempted to kill him by hurling down a rock. Once, as a boy, while
playing on the highway, he saw a Pacceka Buddha and threw a stone at
him, and as a result, was shot at by Devadatta’s hired archers. In
another life he was a mahout, and seeing a Pacceka Buddha on the road,
drove his elephant against him; hence the attack by Nālāgiri. Once, as a
king, he sentenced seventy persons to death, the reward for which he
reaped when a splinter pierced his foot. Because once, as a fisherman’s
son, he took delight in watching fish being caught, he suffered from a
grievous headache when Vidūdabha slaughtered the Sākiyans. In the time
of Phussa Buddha he asked the monks to eat barley instead of rice and,
as a result, had to eat barley for three months at Verañja. (According
to the Dhammapada Commentary , the Buddha actually had to starve one day
at Pañcasālā, because none of the inhabitants were willing to give him
alms.) Because he once killed a wrestler, he suffered from cramp in the
back. Once, when a physician, he caused discomfort to a merchant by
purging him, hence his last illness of dysentery. As Jotipāla, he spoke
disparagingly of the Enlightenment of Kassapa Buddha, and in
consequence had to spend six years following various paths before
the Buddha. He was one of the most short-lived Buddhas, but
because of those six years his Sāsana will last longer (Sp.i.190f).
The Buddha was generally addressed by his own disciples as Bhagavā. He
spoke of himself as Tathāgata, while non-Buddhists referred to him as
Gotama or Mahāsamana. Other names used are Mahāmuni, Sākyamuni, Jina,
Sakka (e.g., Sn.vs.345) and Brahma (Sn.vs.91; SnA.ii.418), also Yakkha
The Anguttara Nikāya (A.i.23ff) gives a list of the Buddha’s most
eminent disciples, both among members of the Order and among the laity.
Each one in the list is mentioned as having possessed pre-eminence in
some particular respect.
Buddha’s first sermon ‘Chakka Pavattana Sutta’ (The Wheel of Law)
Buddha’s first sermon ‘Chakka Pavattana Sutta’ (The Wheel of Law)
Statue of Buddha teaching after enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Sarnath, India.
Chakka Pavattana Sutta (The Wheel of Law) is the first sermon the Buddha delivered at the Isipatana Deer Park in Sarnath.
Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the
Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of
Kondanna. Sarnath is located 13 kilometres north-east of Varanasi near
the confluence of the Ganges and the Gomati rivers, in Uttar Pradesh,
India. Singhpur, a village approximately one km away from the site, was
the birthplace of Shreyansanath, the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism,
and a temple dedicated to him, is an important pilgrimage site.
Isipatana is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of
pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit, if they wanted to
visit a place for that reason. It was also the site of the Buddha’s
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which was his first teaching after
attaining enlightenment, in which he taught the four noble truths and
the teachings associated with it.
Source : Wikipedia
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|Buddha - The Great Master
This statue dates back to
the 1st Century B.C.E.
It was sculpted during the reign of
of the Kushana Emperor Kanishka.
This place is also known as
Isipatana or “Deer Park”
Situated 5 Kms north of Varanasi,
here the Buddha is said to have preached
his first sermon.
|The Lion-Capital at Sarnath.
- Emperor Ashoka erected such Lion Capitals
and other similar looking columns
all across his empire in India (and Pakistan)
He spread the message of Buddhism
in Central Asia and the Far East.
Darshan Of Sarnath Kashi - Varanasi - Temple Tours Of India
Darshan Of Sarnath Kashi - Varanasi - Temple Tours Of India
Prince Siddharth who later took the name of Gautam Buddha was the
founder of Buddhism. One of the most recognisable sites of Buddhism in
India is the Stupa at Sarnath. Lord Buddha is believed to have spread
his message from here. The Stupa here is an ancient structure and hence
very simple in design. This place is thronged by followers of Buddhism from all over the world.
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An open space near Benares, the site of the famous
Migadāya or Deer Park. It was eighteen leagues from Uruvelā, and when
Gotama gave up his austere penances his friends, the Pañcavaggiya monks,
left him and went to Isipatana (J.i.68). After his Enlightenment the
Buddha, leaving Uruvela, joined them in Isipatana, and it was there that
he preached his first sermon, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, on the
full-moon day of Āsālha. Vin.i.10f.; on this occasion 80 kotis of
Brahmas and innumerable gods attained the comprehension of the Truth
(Mil.30); (130 kotis says Mil.350). The Lal. (528) gives details of
the stages of this journey. The Buddha, having no money with which to
pay the ferryman, crossed the Ganges through the air. When Bimbisāra
heard of this, he abolished the toll for ascetics.
There, also, the Buddha spent his first rainy season (BuA., p.3).
All the Buddhas preach their first sermon at the Migadāya in Isipatana;
it is one of the four avijahitatthānāni (unchanging spots), the others
being the bodhi-pallanka, the spot at the gate of Sankassa, where the
Buddha first touches the earth on his return from Tāvatimsa, and the
site of the bed in the Gandhakuti in Jetavana (BuA.247; DA.ii.424).
Isipatana is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit (D.ii.141).
Isipatana was so-called because sages, on their way through the air
(from the Himalayas), alight here or start from here on their aerial
flight (isayo ettha nipatanti uppatanti cāti-Isipatanam).
The Migadāya was so-called because deer were allowed to roam about there unmolested.
Pacceka Buddhas, having spent seven days in contemplation in the
Gandhamādana, bathe in the Anotatta Lake and come to the habitations of
men through the air, in search of alms. They descend to earth at
Isipatana (MA.i.387; AA.i.347 adds that sages also held the uposatha at
Sometimes the Pacceka Buddhas come to Isipatana from Nandamūlaka-pabbhāra (MA.ii.1019; PsA.437-8).
Several other incidents connected with the Buddha, besides the preaching
of the first sermon, are mentioned as having taken place in Isipatana.
Here it was that one day at dawn Yasa came to the Buddha and became an
arahant (Vin.i.15f). It was at Isipatana, too, that the rule was passed
prohibiting the use of sandals made of talipot leaves (Vin.i.189). On
another occasion when the Buddha was staying at Isipatana, having gone
there from Rājagaha, he instituted rules forbidding the use of certain
kinds of flesh, including human flesh (Vin.i.216ff.; the rule regarding
human flesh was necessary because Suppiyā made broth out of her own
flesh for a sick monk). Twice, while the Buddha was at Isipatana, Māra
visited him but had to go away discomfited (S.i.105f).
Besides the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta mentioned above, several other
suttas were preached by the Buddha while staying at Isipatana, among
- the Pañca Sutta (S.iii.66f),
- the Rathakāra or Pacetana Sutta (A.i.110f),
- the two Pāsa Suttas (S.i.105f),
- the Samaya Sutta (A.iii.320ff),
- the Katuviya Sutta (A.i.279f.),
- a discourse on the Metteyyapañha of the Parāyana (A.iii.399f), and
- the Dhammadinna Sutta (S.v.406f), preached to the distinguished layman Dhammadinna, who came to see the Buddha.
Some of the most eminent members of the Sangha seem to have resided at
Isipatana from time to time; among recorded conversations at Isipatana
are several between Sāriputta and Mahākotthita
(S.ii.112f;iii.167f;iv.162f; 384ff), and one between Mahākotthita and
Mention is made, too, of a discourse in which several monks staying at
Isipatana tried to help Channa in his difficulties (S.iii.132f).
According to the Mahāvamsa, there was a large community of monks at
Isipatana in the second century B.C. For, we are told that at the
foundation ceremony of the Mahā Thūpa in Anurādhapura, twelve thousand
monks were present from Isipatana led by the Elder Dhammasena
Hiouen Thsang (Beal: Records of the Western World, ii.45ff ) found, at
Isipatana, fifteen hundred monks studying the Hīnayāna. In the
enclosure of the Sanghārāma was a vihāra about two hundred feet high,
strongly built, its roof surmounted by a golden figure of the mango. In
the centre of the vihāra was a life-size statue of the Buddha turning
the wheel of the Law. To the south-west were the remains of a stone
stupa built by Asoka. The Divy. (389-94) mentions Asoka as intimating
to Upagupta his desire to visit the places connected with the Buddha’s
activities, and to erect thupas there. Thus he visited Lumbinī,
Bodhimūla, Isipatana, Migadāya and Kusinagara; this is confirmed by
Asoka’s lithic records, e.g. Rock Edict, viii.
In front of it was a stone pillar to mark the spot where the Buddha
preached his first sermon. Near by was another stupa on the site where
the Pañcavaggiyas spent their time in meditation before the Buddha’s
arrival, and another where five hundred Pacceka Buddhas entered Nibbāna.
Close to it was another building where the future Buddha Metteyya
received assurance of his becoming a Buddha.
Hiouen Thsang quotes the Nigrodhamiga Jātaka (J.i.145ff) to account for
the origin of the Migadāya. According to him the Deer Park was the
forest gifted by the king of Benares of the Jātaka, where the deer might
According to the Udapāna Jātaka (J.ii.354ff ) there was a very ancient
well near Isipatana which, in the Buddha’s time, was used by the monks
In past ages Isipatana sometimes retained its own name, E.g., in the
time of Phussa Buddha (Bu.xix.18), Dhammadassī (BuA.182) and Kassapa
(BuA.218). Kassapa was born there (ibid., 217).
But more often Isipatana was known by different names (for these names
see under those of the different Buddhas). Thus in Vipassī’s time it
was known as Khema-uyyāna. It is the custom for all Buddhas to go
through the air to Isipatana to preach their first sermon. Gotama,
however, walked all the way, eighteen leagues, because he knew that by
so doing he would meet Upaka, the Ajivaka, to whom he could be of
Isipatana is identified with the modern Saranath, six miles from
Benares. Cunningham (Arch. Reports, i. p. 107) found the Migadāya
represented by a fine wood, covering an area of about half a mile,
extending from the great tomb of Dhammek on the north to the Chaukundi
mound on the south.
A prince. Owner of Jetavana, which he sold to
Anāthapindika for eighteen crores. He then spent all that money on the
erection of a gateway at the entrance, which he decorated with much
grandeur (See Jetavana). Jeta is generally referred to as Jeta-Kumāra.
According to the northern records he was the son of Pasenadi by the
Ksatriya princess Varsikā (Rockhill: 48, n.1). He was killed by his
half-brother Vidudabha for refusing to help him in his slaughter of the
Sākyans (Ibid., 121). Several explanations (MA.i.50; UdA.56; KhpA.111,
etc.) are given of his name: he was so-called either (1) because he
conquered his enemies, or (2) because he was born at a time when the
king had overcome his enemies, or (3) because such a name was considered
auspicious for him (mangalakāmyatāya).
Lord Buddha Relic in new Jetavana Monastery India
Lord Buddha spent 19 out of 45 rainy-seasons at Jetavana Monastery.
A park in Sāvatthi, in which was built the
Anāthapindikārāma. When the Buddha accepted Anāthapindika’s invitation
to visit Sāvatthi the latter, seeking a suitable place for the Buddha’s
residence, discovered this park belonging to Jetakumāra (MA.i.471 says
it was in the south of Sāvatthi). When he asked to be allowed to buy
it, Jeta’s reply was: “Not even if you could cover the whole place with
money.” Anāthapindika said that he would buy it at that price, and when
Jeta answered that he had had no intention of making a bargain, the
matter was taken before the Lords of Justice, who decided that if the
price mentioned were paid, Anāthapindika had the right of purchase.
Anāthapindika had gold brought down in carts and covered Jetavana with
pieces laid side by side. (This incident is illustrated in a bas-relief
at the Bharhut Tope; see Cunningham - the Stūpa of Bharhut, Pl.lvii.,
pp.84-6). The money brought in the first journey was found insufficient
to cover one small spot near the gateway. So Anāthapindika sent his
servants back for more, but Jeta, inspired by Anāthapindika’s
earnestness, asked to be allowed to give this spot. Anāthapindika
agreed and Jeta erected there a gateway, with a room over it.
Anāthapindika built in the grounds dwelling rooms, retiring rooms, store
rooms and service halls, halls with fireplaces, closets, cloisters,
halls for exercise, wells, bathrooms, ponds, open and roofed sheds, etc.
It is said (MA.i.50; UdA.56f) that Anāthapindika paid eighteen crores
for the purchase of the site, all of which Jeta spent in the
construction of the gateway gifted by him. (The gateway was evidently
an imposing structure; see J.ii.216).
Jeta gave, besides, many valuable trees for timber. Anāthapindika
himself spent fifty-four crores in connection with the purchase of the
park and the buildings erected in it.
The ceremony of dedication was one of great splendour. Not only
Anāthapindika himself, but his whole family took part: his son with five
hundred other youths, his wife with five hundred other noble women, and
his daughters Mahā Subhaddā and Cūla Subhaddā with five hundred other
maidens. Anāthapindika was attended by five hundred bankers. The
festivities in connection with the dedication lasted for nine months
Some of the chief buildings attached to the Jetavana are mentioned in
the books by special names, viz., Mahāgandhakuti, Kaverimandalamāla,
Kosambakuti and Candanamāla. SNA.ii.403. Other buildings are also
mentioned - e.g., the Ambalakotthaka-āsanasālā (J.ii.246). According to
Tibetan sources the vihāra was built according to a plan sent by the
devas of Tusita and contained sixty large halls and sixty small. The
Dulva also gives details of the decorative scheme of the vihāra
(Rockhill: op. cit.48 and n.2).
All these were built by Anāthapindika; there was another large building
erected by Pasenadi and called the Salalaghara (DA.ii.407). Over the
gateway lived a guardian deity to prevent all evildoers from entering
(SA.i.239). Just outside the monastery was a rājayatana-tree, the
residence of the god Samiddhisumana (Mhv.i.52f; MT 105; but see
DhA.i.41, where the guardian of the gateway is called Sumana).
In the grounds there seems to have been a large pond which came to be
called the Jetavanapokkharanī. (AA.i.264; here the Buddha often bathed
(J.i.329ff.). Is this the Pubbakotthaka referred to at A.iii.345? But
see S.v.220; it was near this pond that Devadatta was swallowed up in
The grounds themselves were thickly covered with trees, giving the
appearance of a wooded grove (arañña) (Sp.iii.532). On the outskirts of
the monastery was a mango-grove (J.iii.137). In front of the gateway
was the Bodhi-tree planted by Anāthapindika, which came later to be
called the Anandabodhi (q.v.) (J.iv.228f). Not far from the gateway was
a cave which became famous as the Kapallapūvapabbhāra on account of an
incident connected with Macchariya-Kosiya (J.i.348).
Near Jetavana was evidently a monastery of the heretics where
Ciñcāmānavikā spent her nights while hatching her conspiracy against the
Buddha. (DhA.iii.179; behind Jetavana was a spot where the Ajivakas
practised their austerities (J.i.493). Once the heretics bribed
Pasenadi to let them make a rival settlement behind Jetavana, but the
Buddha frustrated their plans (J.ii.170)).
There seems to have been a playground just outside Jetavana used by the
children of the neighbourhood, who, when thirsty, would go into Jetavana
to drink (DhA.iii.492). The high road to Sāvatthi passed by the edge
of Jetavana, and travellers would enter the park to rest and refresh
themselves (J.ii.203, 341; see also vi.70, where two roads are
According to the Divyāvadāna (Dvy.395f), the thūpas of Sāriputta and
Moggallāna were in the grounds of Jetavana and existed until the time of
Asoka. Both Fa Hien (Giles: p.33ff) and Houien Thsang (Beal.ii.7ff)
give descriptions of other incidents connected with the Buddha, which
took place in the neighbourhood of Jetavana - e.g., the murder of
Sundarikā, the calumny of Ciñcā, Devadatta’s attempt to poison the
The space covered by the four bedposts of the Buddha’s Gandhakuti in
Jetavana is one of the four avijahitatthānāni; all Buddhas possess the
same, though the size of the actual vihāra differs in the case of the
various Buddhas. For Vipassī Buddha, the setthi Punabbasumitta built a
monastery extending for a whole league, while for Sikhī, the setthi
Sirivaddha made one covering three gavutas. The Sanghārāma built by
Sotthiya for Vessabhū was half a league in extent, while that erected by
Accuta for Kakusandha covered only one gāvuta. Konagamana’s monastery,
built by the setthi Ugga, extended for half a gāvuta, while Kassapa’s
built by Sumangala covered sixteen karīsas. Anāthapindika’s monastery
covered a space of eighteen karīsas (BuA.2, 47; J.i.94; DA.ii.424).
The Buddha spent nineteen rainy seasons in Jetavana (DhA.i.3; BuA.3;
AA.i.314). It is said that after the Migāramātupāsāda came into being,
the Buddha would dwell alternately in Jetavana and Migāramātupāsāda,
often spending the day in one and the night in the other (SNA.i.336).
According to a description given by Fa Hien (Giles, pp.31, 33), the
vihāra was originally in seven sections (storeys?) and was filled with
all kinds of offerings, embroidered banners, canopies, etc., and the
lamps burnt from dusk to dawn.
One day a rat, holding in its mouth a lamp wick, set fire to the banners
and canopies, and all the seven sections were entirely destroyed. The
vihāra was later rebuilt in two sections. There were two main
entrances, one on the east, one on the west, and Fa Hsien found thūpas
erected at all the places connected with the Buddha, each with its name
The vihāra is almost always referred to as Jetavane Anāthapindikassa
Ārāma. The Commentaries (MA.ii.50; UdA.56f, etc.) say that this was
deliberate (at the Buddha’s own suggestion pp.81-131; Beal: op. cit.,
ii.5 and Rockhill: p.49), in order that the names of both earlier and
later owners might be recorded and that people might be reminded of two
men, both very generous in the cause of the Religion, so that others
might follow their example. The vihāra is sometimes referred to as
Jetārāma (E.g., Ap.i.400).
In the district of Saheth-Mabeth, with which the region of Sāvatthi is
identified, Saheth is considered to be Jetavana (Arch. Survey of India,
A township which formed the eastern boundary of the
Majjhimadesa. Beyond it was Mahāsālā (Vin.i.197; DA.i.173; MA.i.316,
etc.; AA.i.55, etc.; J.i.49; Mbv.12). In the Buddha’s time it was a
prosperous place where provisions could easily be obtained
(dabbasambhārasulabhā) (J.iv.310). Once when the Buddha was staying in
the Veluvana at Kajangala, the lay followers there heard a sermon from
the Buddha and went to the nun Kajangalā to have it explained in detail
(A.v.54f). On another occasion the Buddha stayed in the Mukheluvana and
was visited there by Uttara, the disciple of Pārāsariya. Their
conversation is recorded in the Indriyabhāvānā Sutta (M.iii.298ff). In
the Milindapañha (p.10), Kajangala is described as a brahmin village and
is given as the place of Nāgasena’s birth. In the Kapota Jātaka
mention is made of Kajangala, and the scholiast (J.iii.226-7) explains
that it may be the same as Benares. According to the scholiast of the
Bhisa Jātaka (J.iv.311), the tree-spirit mentioned in that story was the
chief resident monk in an old monastery in Kajangala, which monastery
he repaired with difficulty during the time of Kassapa Buddha.
Kajangala is identified with the Kie-chu-hoh-khi-lo of Hiouen Thsang,
which he describes as a district about two thousand li in circumference.
(Beal, Bud. Records, ii.193, and n.; see also Cunningham, A.G.I.723).
It may also be identical with the town Pundavardhana mentioned in the
Divyāvadāna (p.21f). The Avadānasataka (ii.41) calls it Kacangalā.