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Chaddanta

1. Chaddanta.– A forest in Himavā. In the forest was the Mandākinī Lake, on the banks of which Aññāta-Koṇḍañña Thera lived in retirement for twelve years, waited upon by eight thousand elephants who had once ministered to Pacceka Buddhas. SA.i.217; ThagA.ii.3, 7; AA.i.84.

2. Chaddanta.– A lake, one of the seven great lakes of the Himavā (A.iv.101; AA.ii.759). It was fifty leagues long and fifty broad. In the middle of the lake, for a space of twelve leagues, the water was like a jewel and no weeds grew there. Around this space were seven girdles of lilies, each girdle of a different hue and each a league in extent. Round the lake were seven ranges of mountains — Cullakāla, Mahākāla, Udaka, Candapassa, Suriyapassa, Manipassa and Suvaṇṇapassa, the last range being seven leagues in height and of a golden hue on the side overlooking the lake. On the west side of the lake was the Kañcanaguhā, twelve leagues in extent, where the elephant-king lived. J.v.37.

3. Chaddanta.– A clan of elephants, of which clan the Bodhisatta was once born as king (see No.4). The Chaddantas and the Uposathas are the two highest classes of elephant (DhA.iii.248). The Chaddantakula sometimes provides the Elephant Treasure (hatthiratana) for a Cakkavatti, in which case it is the youngest of the clan who so functions (KhpA.172). Of the ten tribes of elephants enumerated in the books (e.g., UdA.403; VibhA.397) the Chaddanta is classed as the highest, and the Buddha possesses the strength of ten Chaddanta-elephants, each elephant having the strength of ten thousand million men (BuA.37). These elephants have the power of travelling through the air and are white in hue (J.v.37; Vism.650).

4. Chaddanta.– The Bodhisatta, born as king of the elephants of the Chaddanta clan, eight thousand in number. His body was pure white, with red face and feet, and seven parts of his body touched the ground. He lived in the Kañcanaguhā on the banks of the Chaddanta Lake, his chief queens being Cūḷasubhaddā and Mahāsubhaddā. Owing to the preference shown to Mahāsubhaddā by Chaddanta, Cūḷasubhaddā conceived a grudge against him, and one day, when Chaddanta was entertaining five hundred Pacceka Buddhas, she offered them wild fruits and made a certain wish. As a result she was reborn in the Madda king’s family and was named Subhaddā. Later she became chief consort of the king of Bārāṇasī. Remembering her ancient grudge, she schemed to have Chaddanta’s tusks cut off. All the hunters were summoned by the king, and Soṇuttara was chosen for the task. It took him seven years, seven months and seven days to reach Chaddanta’s dwelling-place. He dug a pit and covered it, and as the elephant passed over it shot at him a poisoned arrow. When Chaddanta realised what had happened, he charged Soṇuttara, but, seeing that he was clad in a yellow robe, he restrained himself. Having learnt Soṇuttara’s story, he showed him how his tusks could be cut off, but Soṇuttara’s strength was not sufficient to saw them through. Chaddanta thereupon took the saw with his own trunk and, wounded as he was and suffering excruciating pain from the incisions already made in his jaws, he sawed through the tusks, handed them over to the hunter and died. In seven days, through the magic power of the elephant’s tusks, Soṇuttara returned to Bārāṇasī; but when Subhaddā heard that her conspiracy had resulted in the death of her former lover and husband, she died of a broken heart (J.v.36 ff).

Chaddanta is mentioned as one of the births in which the Bodhisatta practised the perfection of virtue (sīla-pāramī) (J.i.45). Chaddanta could find delight only in the lakes and forests of the Himavā, not in the crowded city (Vism.650).

See also Chaddanta Jātaka.

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