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Āyuvaḍḍhana Kumāra

Two Brahmins of Dīghalaṅgika became ascetics and practised austerities for forty-eight years. Then one of them returned to the world and having procured cattle and money, married and begot a son whom he called Dīghāyu. Later, when his former companion came to the city, the householder visited him with his wife and child. When they made obeisance to him, the ascetic said, “Long life to you” to the man and his wife, but not to the child. When questioned, the ascetic told them that their son had but seven days to live, and suggested that they should visit the Buddha and ask him if there were any means of averting the child’s fate.

They did so and the Buddha, who was then staying at the Āraññakuṭikā in Dīghalambika, told them to erect a pavilion outside the door of their house. This they did, and in the pavilion the monks recited the Paritta continuously for seven days with the child seated before them on a bench. On the seventh day the Buddha himself came and hosts of devas gathered round him. The yakkha Avaruddhaka, who had been granted the boon of eating Dīghāyu, appeared to claim him at the time appointed for his death, but on account of the presence of the devas, he could not come near the boy. The Buddha recited the Paritta all night long, and when the seventh day had passed Avaruddhaka could no longer claim the child. The Buddha declared that the boy would live for one hundred and twenty years and he was renamed Āyuvaḍḍhana. When he grew up he became the leader of five hundred lay disciples. DhA.ii.235 ff.

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