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Cunda

1. Cunda.– A worker in metals (kammāraputta) living in Pāvā. When the Buddha reached Pāvā on his way to Kusinārā, he stayed in Cunda’s Mango grove. There Cunda visited him and invited him and the monks to a meal the next day. The meal consisted of sweet rice and cakes and tender pork¹ (sūkaramaddava). At the meal the Buddha ordered that he alone should be served with sūkaramaddava, and that what was left over should be buried in a hole. This was the Buddha’s last meal, as very soon after it he developed dysentery (D.ii.126; Ud.viii.5). The Buddha, a little while before his death, gave special instructions to Ānanda that he should visit Cunda and reassure him by telling him that no blame at all attached to him and that he should feel no remorse, but should, on the contrary, rejoice, in that he had been able to give to the Buddha a meal which, in merit, far exceeded any other (D.ii.135 f).

The Suttanipāta Commentary (SNA.i.159) mentions that, at this meal, Cunda provided golden vessels for the monks’ use; some made use of them, others did not. One monk stole a vessel and put it in his bag. Cunda noticed this but said nothing. Later, in the afternoon, he visited the Buddha and questioned him as to the different kinds of recluses (samaṇa) there were in the world. The Buddha taught him the Cunda Sutta.

The Commentary adds (p.166; also UdA.399) that Cunda reached no attainment, but merely had his doubts dispelled. The Dīghanikāya Commentary, however, says (DA.ii.568) that he became a Stream-winner at the first sight of the Buddha and built for him a vihāra at the Ambavana. This latter incident, probably, took place at an earlier visit of the Buddha, for we are told (D.iii.207) that while the Buddha was staying in Cunda’s Mango grove, he was invited by the Mallas to consecrate their new Mote-hall, Ubbhataka. He accepted the invitation, taught in the hall until late at night, and then requested Sāriputta to continue, which he did by teaching the Saṅgīti Sutta. This was soon after the death of Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta (D.iii.210).

The Aṅguttaranikāya (v.263 ff) mentions another conversation between the Buddha and Cunda. Cunda tells the Buddha that he approves of the methods of purification (soceyyāni) laid down by the brahmins of the west (Pacchābhūmakā). The Buddha tells him of the teaching of the Noble Ones regarding the threefold defilement and purification of the body, the fourfold defilement and purification of the speech, and the threefold defilement and purification of the mind. Cunda accepts the Buddha’s explanations and declares himself his follower.

¹ There are various opinions on the translation of the term sūkaramaddava, which is perhaps why Malalasekera didn’t translate it. (ed.)

2. Cunda.– The books appear to refer to two elders by the name of Cunda, the better known being Mahā-Cunda and the other Cūḷa-Cunda. However, the legends connected with them are so confused that it is not possible to differentiate clearly one from the other.

Mention is also made of a Cunda-Samaṇuddesa whom, however, the Commentaries (e.g. DA.iii.907) identify with Mahā-Cunda. Mahā-Cunda is, for instance, described in the Theragāthā Commentary (ThagA.i.261; see also DhA.ii.188 and AA.ii.674) as the younger brother of Sāriputta, under whom he joined the Order, winning Arahantship after arduous and strenuous effort.

In the time of Vipassī Buddha he had been a potter and had given to the Buddha a bowl made of clay. The Apadāna verses quoted in the Theragāthā Commentary are, in the Apadāna itself (Ap.ii.444), ascribed to a monk named Ekapattadāyaka. They make no mention whatever of his relationship to Sāriputta. On the other hand, there are to be found elsewhere in the Apadāna (Ap.i.101 f) certain verses ascribed to a Cunda Thera, which definitely state that he was the son of the brahmin Vaṅganta, and that his mother was Sārī. However, in these verses he is called Cūḷa-Cunda, and mention is made of his previous birth in the time of Siddhattha Buddha, to whom he gave a bouquet of jasmine flowers. As a result he became king of the devas seventy-seven times and was once king of men, by name Dujjaya. It is further stated that he became Arahant while yet a a novice (sāmaṇera) and that he waited upon the Buddha and his own brother and other virtuous monks. This account goes on to say that after his brother’s death, Cunda brought his relics in a bowl and presented them to the Buddha, who uttered praises of Sāriputta. This would identify Cūḷa-Cunda with Cunda Samaṇuddesa who, according to the Saṃyuttanikāya (S.v.161 f), attended Sāriputta in his last illness and, after his death, brought to the Buddha at Jetavana Sāriputta’s bowl and outer robe and his relics wrapt in his water-strainer. Therefore if Buddhaghosa is correct in identifying Cunda Samaṇuddesa with Mahā-Cunda, then all three are one and the same.

(Buddhaghosa says that the monks called him Samanuddesa in his youth before his higher ordination (upasampadā), and he never lost the name, DA.iii.907).

Cunda Samaṇuddesa was, for some time, the personal attendant of the Buddha (ThagA.ii.124; J.iv.95, etc.), and when the Buddha prepared to perform the Twin Miracle, offered to perform a miracle himself and so save the Buddha trouble and exertion (DhA.iii.211). Cunda’s teacher was Ānanda, and it was to Ānanda that he first brought the news of Sāriputta’s death. (SA.iii.178; see also the Pāsādika Sutta and the Sāmagāma Sutta, where Cunda brings to Ānanda and then to the Buddha the news of Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta’s death; see also the Sallekha Sutta).

Mahā-Cunda was evidently a disciple of great eminence, and is mentioned by the Buddha (A.iii.299; see also M.iii.78; Ud.i.5) in company with the Two Chief Disciples, Mahā-Kassapa, Mahā Kotthita, Mahā-Kaccāna and other very eminent Elders.

The Piṭakas contain several discourses (A.iii.355; v.41, 157) given to the monks by Mahā-Cunda while residing at Sahajātī among the Cetis, probably after the Buddha’s death. Cunda (or Cundaka as he is called in this context) was with the Buddha in his last journey to Kusinārā, and spread a bed for him in the Mango grove by the Kakutthā River (D.ii.134 f; Ud.viii.5).

Cunda is mentioned (S.iv.50 f; M.iii.263 f ) as having accompanied Sāriputta when he went to see Channa at the Kalandakanivāpa in Rājagaha, just before Channa’s suicide. Once, when the Buddha lay ill in the Kalaṇḍakanivāpa, Cunda visited him and recited the bhojjaṅga paritta. There and then the Buddha’s sickness vanished. S.v.81.

3. Cunda-sukārika.– A pork butcher near Veḷuvana. For forty-five years he plied his trade, killing pigs in such a way as to retain the flavour of the flesh unimpaired. When death approached he saw before him the fires of Avīci and roared with pain. For seven days he grunted like a pig, crawling on all fours, and no one could prevent him. The monks told the Buddha of the noises they had heard when passing the butcher’s house, and the Buddha explained how retribution had fallen on Cunda commensurate with his wickedness. DhA.i.105 ff

4. Cunda.– A rājakumāra, brother of Cundī and, therefore, son of Bimbisāra. (A.iii.35)

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