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Mahāpaduma

1. Mahāpaduma.– A Pacceka Buddha, chief of five hundred Pacceka Buddhas, all sons of Padumavatī. He alone was born of his mother’s womb, the others being moisture-born (saṃsedajā). After Padumavatī’s rivals (for the earlier part of their story see Uppalavaṇṇā) had placed the children in caskets, which they launched down stream, they announced to the king that Padumavatī was a non-human and had given birth to a log of wood. He expelled her from the palace, and as she wandered about in the streets, deprived of all her glory, an old woman had pity on her, took her home, and looked after her. The king was bathing in the river when the caskets containing the children got entangled in his nets, and, having taken them out and unlocked them, he found the babies inside, together with a letter from Sakka saying that they were the children of Padumavatī.

The king hastened back to his palace and issued a proclamation that anyone finding Padumavatī would receive one thousand as reward. On Padumavatī’s suggestion, the old woman, her protector, offered to find her, and Padumavatī then revealed herself. She was conducted back to the palace in all glory, and her five hundred rivals were given to her as slaves. She had them freed, and appointed them as nurses to look after her children, except Paduma (called Mahāpaduma), whom she nursed herself. When Mahāpaduma and his brothers reached the age of sixteen, they went one day to the park, where they were impressed by the appearance of an old and faded lotus among the fresh ones growing in the pond, and developing this topic of thought, they became Pacceka Buddhas and went to the Nandamūla cave.

Padumavatī died of grief at the loss of all her sons and was reborn in a labourer’s family. She married, and, one day, while taking gruel to her husband, she saw eight Pacceka Buddhas (her sons in a previous birth) travelling through the air and descending near to where she stood. She gave them the food intended for her husband and invited them for the next day. The next day all the five hundred came to do honour to their mother and to accept her entertainment. She fed them all and offered flowers to them (ThigA.185 ff). Afterwards Mahāpaduma and his brothers were entertained by Nanda, king of Bārāṇasī, and his queen (who in their last birth were Mahā-Kassapa and Bhaddā Kāpilānī).

They stayed in the royal park during the rains, and, one day, when the king was away, the queen visited them and found them dead. ThagA.ii.140 f; SA.ii.142; AA.i.98,190 ff; MA.ii.889.

2. Mahāpaduma.– A prince of Kumuda-nagara. Soṇa Thera — who harboured enmity against Piyadassī Buddha, just as Devadatta did against Gotama — persuaded Paduma to kill his father, and devised various schemes for killing the Buddha, all of which failed. In the end he sent his elephant Doṇamukha, drunk with toddy, to attack the Buddha, who, however, subdued the animal. BuA.174; cp. Ajātasattu.

3. Mahāpaduma.– A Pacceka Buddha. In the time of Kassapa Buddha he was a monk, but was later reborn as a Treasurer of Bārāṇasī, in which life he committed adultery and was reborn in hell. Later, he became the daughter of a treasurer and was given in marriage. However, owing to her former misdeeds, her husband did not care for her and went with another woman to the fair. One day, however, she begged her husband to take her, and he told her to make preparations. This she did, and on the day of the feast, hearing that her husband had already gone to the park, she followed him with her servants, taking the food and drink she had prepared. On the way she met a Pacceka Buddha, descended from her carriage, filled his bowl with food, placing a lotus on the top, and then offered him a handful of lotus. When her gift was accepted, she made a vow that she should be born in a lotus and be of a lotus colour, should become a man and attain the deliverance of nibbāna. Her body instantly became beautiful, and her husband, who suddenly remembered her, sent for her, and from then on loved her exceedingly. After death she was born in a lotus in the deva world and was called Mahāpaduma.

In his next birth, at the suggestion of Sakka, he was born in a lotus in the park of the king of Bārāṇasī, whose queen was childless. She saw the lotus in the pond, and conceiving a great affection for it, picked it and found the child within as if in a casket. She adopted the child and brought him up in great luxury.

One day, while playing outside the palace gates, he saw a Pacceka Buddha and warned him not to enter the palace as they pressed all who entered to eat and drink. The Pacceka Buddha turned away, and the boy was filled with remorse at the idea that the Pacceka Buddha should be offended, and went to his lodging, riding on an elephant, to ask his forgiveness. On the way he descended from the elephant and went on foot. Arrived near the dwelling of the Pacceka Buddha, he dismissed his attendants and went on alone. He found the Pacceka Buddha’s cell empty, and, sitting down, developed insight and became a Pacceka Buddha. When his attendants came for him, he declared his attainment.

His verse is included in the Khaggavisāṇa Sutta. SN.vs.39; SNA.i.76 ff.

4. Mahāpaduma.– An elephant belonging to Devānampiyatissa, which, with Kuñjara drew the plough that marked the boundaries of the Mahāvihāra. Mbv.134.

5. Mahāpaduma Thera.– A teacher of Jātaka stories (Jātaka-bhāṇaka). When Iḷanāga was in Rohaṇa, after fleeing from the capital, he heard the Kapi Jātaka from Mahāpaduma, who lived in Tulādhāra-vihāra, and was greatly pleased. Mhv.xxxv.30.

6. Mahāpaduma.– One of the chief elders present at the Foundation Ceremony of the Mahā Thūpa. MT. 524. See also Paduma (12).

7. Mahāpaduma Thera.– Of Sri Lanka. Famous for his knowledge of the Vinaya. He was a pupil of Upatissa and colleague of Mahāsumma (Sp.i.263).

Mahāpaduma’s opinions are often quoted in the Samantapāsādikā. Sp.i. 184, 283; ii.368, 471; iii.536, 538, 588, 596, 609, 644, 651, 683, 715; iv.819, 827, etc.

Once, when Vasabha’s queen was ill, a woman of the court was sent to Mahāpaduma for a remedy, he being evidently skilled in medicine. The Thera would not prescribe anything, but explained to his fellow monks what should be done in the case of such an illness. The remedy was applied in the case of the queen and she recovered. Later, she visited the Thera, and offered him three robes and a medicine chest containing three hundred kahāpaṇas; this she placed at his feet, requesting that he should offer flowers in her name. The elder accepted the gift and spent the money on offerings of flowers. Sp.ii.471.

8. Mahāpaduma.– The Bodhisatta. See the Mahāpaduma Jātaka.

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