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Malaya Mahādeva Thera

v.l. Maliya Mahādeva, Maliyadeva.– An Arahant. During the Akkhakkhāyika famine, Duṭṭhagāmaṇī provided him and four others with a dish of sour millet gruel, which was purchased with the proceeds of the sale of the king’s earrings (Mhv.xxxii.30). Mahādeva took his portion to Samantakūṭa and shared it with nine hundred others (Mhv.xxxii.49). He was also among the eight Arahants who accepted a meal of pork from Sāliya in his previous birth as a blacksmith (MT.606). He was probably so called because he lived at Koṭapabbata in the Malaya country. MT.606 he is called Koṭapabbatavāsika.

It is said that for three years after his ordination Mahādeva lived in the Maṇḍalārāmaka-vihāra (Mahādeva called Malayadeva in the context (AA.i.22), but further on in the same passage (p.23) he is addressed as Mahādeva). One day, while going for alms in Kallagāma, nearby, he was invited by a female lay disciple (upāsikā) to her dwelling, where she gave him a meal, and, regarding him as a son, invited him to take all his meals at her home. The invitation was accepted, and each day, after the meal, he would return thanks with the words “May you be happy and free from sorrow” (sukhaṃ hotu, dukkhā mucca). At the end of the rainy season he became an Arahant, and the chief incumbent of the vihāra entrusted him with the task of teaching the assembled people on the invitation day (pavāraṇa). The young novices informed the upāsikā that her “son” would teach that day, but she, thinking they were making fun of her, said that not everyone could teach. However, they persuaded her to go to the vihāra, and, when the turn of Malayadeva came, he taught all through the night. At dawn he stopped, and the upāsikā became a Stream-winner.

Malayadeva once taught the Chachakka Sutta in the Lohapāsāda, and sixty monks, who listened to him, became Arahants. He also taught the same sutta in the Mahāmaṇḍapa, in the Mahāvihāra, at Cetīyapabbata, at Sākyavaṃsa-vihāra, at Kutāli-vihāra, at Antara-sobbha, Mutiṅgana, Vātakapabbata, Pācīnagharaka, Dīghavāpī, Lokandara, and Gamendavāla, and, at each place, sixty monks attained Arahantship. At Cittalapabbata he saw a monk of over sixty preparing to bathe at Kuruvakatittha, and asked permission to bathe him. The elder, discovering from his conversation that he was Malayadeva, agreed to let him do so, though, he said, no one had ever touched his body during sixty years. Later in the day, the elder begged Malayadeva to teach him, and this he did. Sixty monks, all over sixty, were among the audience, and at the conclusion of the Chachakka Sutta they all became Arahants. The same thing happened at Tissa-Mahāvihāra, Kalyāṇi-vihāra, Nāgamahāvihara, Kalacchagāma, and at other places, sixty in all (MA.ii.1024 f).

Malaya Mahādeva was among those various large groups who renounced the world in the company of the Bodhisatta: the Kuddālasamāgama, Mūgapakkha samāgama, Cūlasutasoma samāgama, Ayogharapandita samāgama and Hatthipāla samāgama (J.iv.490; also vi.30, where Malaya Mahādeva is called Kālavelavāsī). It is said (Vism.241) that two monks once asked Malaya Mahādeva for a subject of meditation, and that he gave them the formula of the thirty-two parts of the body. Though versed in the three nikāyas, the monks could not become Stream-winners until they had recited the formula for a period of four months.

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