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Ghaṭīkāra

One of the great Brahmā. In the time of Kassapa Buddha he was a potter of Vegaḷiṅga, looking after his blind parents. He was a very pious and devoted follower of the Buddha, ministering to him better than anyone else, and the Buddha accepted his invitation in preference to that of the king of Bārāṇasī. It is said that when the Buddha was in need of anything he would go to Ghaṭīkāra’s house and take it, whether he were at home or not, so great was his confidence in Ghaṭīkāra’s piety. Once, when Ghaṭīkāra was absent, at the Buddha’s suggestion, the people took away the thatch from his house to roof the hut of Tathāgata. For three months Ghaṭīkāra's house remained open to the sky, but no rain fell on it, so great was his faith (Mil.223 f). According to the Naḷapāna Jātaka (J.i.172), no rain will ever fall on the site of Ghaṭīkāra’s house as long as this world-cycle lasts.

The Bodhisatta, who at the time of Ghaṭīkāra was a young brahmin named Jotipāla, was the friend of Ghaṭīkāra but had no faith in the Buddha, and Ghaṭīkāra, having failed to persuade him to visit the Buddha, in the end took him by force. Jotipāla was converted and joined the Order, but Ghaṭīkāra, as the only support of his parents, could not renounce the world. Kikī, king of Bārāṇasī, having heard of his virtues from Kassapa Buddha, sent him five hundred cartloads of the choicest rice, etc., but Ghaṭīkāra returned the gifts, saying that he had plenty for himself (M.ii.46 ff; S.i.35 f; Bu.xxv.41; SnA.i.152).

After death, Ghaṭīkāra was born as a Mahābrahmā in the Avihā Brahma-world, and a Non-returner (anāgāmī). He was evidently already a Once-returner (sakadāgāmī) before his death (see DhA.i.380), but he did not wish his attainments to be known (AA.i.44).

He provided the Buddha with the eight requisites of a monk when the Buddha, having left the world, decided to lead the life of a bhikkhu (J.i.65; SnA.ii.382; BuA.236; VvA.314). The begging bowl, then provided by him, vanished when the Buddha was given a bowl of milk-rice by Sujātā (J.i.69).

According to the Saṃyuttanikāya (S.i.35 f; 60), Ghaṭīkāra visited the Buddha some time after the Enlightenment and the Buddha reminded him of their former friendship. Ghaṭīkāra, on that occasion, speaks of several others (besides Jotipāla) who had been his friends in Vehaliṅga — Upaka, Palagaṇḍa, Pukkusāti, Bhaddiya, Khandadeva, Bāhuraggi and Piṅgiya. They had listened to the Buddha’s teaching and, after death, were born in Avihā, where he himself was. In this context the Buddha addresses him as Bhaggava (q.v.)

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