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Dhammadinna

1. Dhammadinna Thera.– Also called Mahādhammadinna. An Arahant. He resided at Talaṅga (Talaṅgatissa-pabbata) (q.v.) He was one of the monks who partook of the meal of sour gruel given by Duṭṭhagāmaṇī when in dire distress for want of food. Dhammadinna distributed his share among ten thousand monks in Piyaṅgudīpa (Mhv.xxxii.52). He is also mentioned (MT.606) as having accepted a meal given by Sāliya and his wife when they were blacksmiths in a previous birth. Dhammadinna had a nephew who became an Arahant in the tonsure-hall. Dhammadinna read to him the Tipiṭaka, and he learnt them all on that occasion (VibhA.389). Dhammadinna’s teacher was Mahānāga of Uccatalaṅka (v.l. Uccavālika). Dhammadinna visited him in his old age, knowing that, though he himself thought he had attained Arahantship, this was not the case. By a display of psychic-power, Dhammadinna convinced Mahānāga of his error and gave him a subject of meditation. Almost immediately after, the elder became an Arahant (VibhA.489; Vism.634 f). Once, while teaching the Apaṇṇaka Sutta, at Tissamahārāma, Dhammadinna pointed his fan downwards, whereupon the earth opened to the depth of Avīci, revealing all that was there. Similarly, he showed all things to the height of the Brahma-world. During his discourse he frightened the audience with the fear of hell and lured them with the bliss of heaven (Vism.392).

The Majjhimanikāya Commentary records that soon after the ordination of Dhammadinna many monks, on his advice, became Arahants. (MA.i.149 ff. A variation of what is evidently the same story is found in AA.i.25). Hearing of this, the monks of Tissamahārāma sent a number of their colleagues to fetch him. He taught them, and they attained Arahantship and remained with him. Three times this happened. On the fourth occasion an aged monk was sent. He gave the message of the monks and Dhammadinna started at once to go to them. On the way, at Haṅkana (v.l. Taṅgana) and at Cittalapabbata, he persuaded two monks, who thought they were Arahants, to display their psychic-power, and, thereby convinced them of their error; thereupon he gave them topics of meditation. On his arrival at Tissamahārāma, the monks failed to pay him their respects. He thereupon made the earth tremble and returned to his own vihāra. The Saddhammasaṅgaha (p.88 f) relates the story of a blind rat-snake who heard Dhammadinna recite the four foundations of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna) and was later born as Tissāmacca, minister of Duṭṭhagāmaṇī.

2. Dhammadinna.– An eminent lay-follower of the Buddha. He once came with five hundred disciples to the Buddha at Isipatana and asked him to give them a lesson which might profit them, for, said he, it is difficult for a householder encumbered with a family and the luxuries of household life to comprehend the Buddha’s teachings in their fullness. The Buddha answers that they should practise the four limbs of Stream-winning (sotāpatti): loyalty to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha, and the cultivation of the virtues of the Noble Ones. Dhammadinna answers that they already possess these limbs. The Buddha then expresses his great satisfaction (S.v.406 ff).

The Commentary (SA.iii.223) says that Dhammadinna was one of seven laymen with followings of five hundred — the others being Visākha, Ugga, Citta, Hatthaka Āḷavaka, and Cūḷa° and Mahā-Anāthapiṇḍika.

3. Dhammadinna.– A monk of Tissa-Mahā-vihāra near Talaṅgarapabbata. Once, while on pilgrimage to Nāgadīpa with 500 others, he stopped at Sāgiri-vihāra, and they were looked after by Bahulamassutissa Thera. The next day they went for alms to Puṇṇālakoṭṭhaka, where a resident entertained them to a meal with hare’s flesh. Dhammadinna later asked why Tissa Thera did not admonish his follower on the evils of killing, seeing that there was a heap of bones outside the house. Tissa asked Dhammadinna to do so the next day. This was done; the devotee confessed that he had never killed a hare, but in his house there was never any want of hare’s flesh, and he did not know why. Dhammadinna, with his divine-eye, revealed to him that in the time of Padumuttara Buddha he had given alms with hare’s flesh. Ras.ii.128 f.

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