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Kāṇā

Daughter of Kāṇamātā. After she married she visited her mother, and one day, while she was there, her husband sent for her. Her mother, not wishing her to return empty-handed, asked her to wait until she had made some cakes. When the cakes were ready, a monk came to the door and Kāṇā gave him some. Four other monks came, and the cakes were finished. Four times Kāṇā’s husband sent for her and four times the same thing happened. So, in anger, the husband took another wife. Kāṇā, learning this, was so greatly annoyed that she reviled and abused every monk she saw until no monk dared go into her street. The Buddha, hearing of this, visited Kāṇā’s mother, and having finished his meal there, sent for Kāṇā, argued with her, and convinced her that the monks were not to blame inasmuch as they had only taken what was given them. At the end of the Buddha’s discourse Kāṇā became a Stream-winner (sotāpanna).

The king saw the Buddha returning from Kāṇā’s home and, on learning what had happened, sent for her, adopted her as his daughter, and arranged for her marriage with a rich nobleman. Thenceforward Kāṇā’s generosity to the monks became proverbial. Vin.iv.78 f; DhA.ii.149 ff; the Samantapāsādikā (iv.819) gives a somewhat different account; there, when Kāṇā’s husband heard that the Buddha had been to see her, he sent for her and she returned.

It was on Kāṇā’s account that the Babbu Jātaka (q.v.) (J.i.477 f) was taught. Kāṇā is identified with the mouse of the story.

She was called Kāṇā because she was so beautiful that those who saw her became blind with passion for her (ye ye taṃ passanti, te te rāgena kāṇā honti) (Sp. loc cit. VA.iv.819)

Both Kāṇā and her mother are mentioned among those who kept the eightfold fast. A.iv.349; AA.ii.791.

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