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Majjhantika Thera

An Arahant. He recited the formal act (kammavācā) at the ordination of Mahinda, on whom he later conferred the higher ordination (upasampadā) (Mhv.v.207; Sp.i.51; Dpv.vii.24). Later, at the conclusion of the Third Council, Majjhantika went as teacher to Kasmīra Gandhāra. There, by his great psychic powers, he overcame the Nāga king Aravāḷa and converted him to the Faith, while Paṇḍaka and his wife Hāritā and their five hundred sons became Stream-winners. Majjhantika taught the Āsīvisopama Sutta to the assembled concourse and later ordained one hundred thousand persons (Mhv.xii.3, 9 ff; Sp.i.64 ff; Dpv.viii.4; Mbv.113; for the Tibetan version see Rockhill, op.cit., 167 ff.). The discourse taught by Majjhantika is referred to in the Scholiast to the Sarabhaṅga Jātaka (J.v.142).

This same elder is referred to elsewhere as an example of one who practised fewness of wishes regarding learning ¹ (pariyatti appicchatā) (SNA.ii.494; DA.iii.1061, but at AA.i.263 he is called Majjhantika Tissa). He was the leader of the assembly of monks (Saṅghathera). On the day of the dedication of Asoka’s vihāra, the Thera was a Arahant and was present, but his begging bowl and robe were hardly worth a farthing. People, seeing him there, asked him to make way; but he sank into the earth, rising to receive the alms given to the leader of the monks, knowing that he alone was fit to accept it. The story is given at AA.i.43; MA.i.350.

¹ This probably means that though he was learned, he was careful not to exhibit it (ed.)

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