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Maṭṭhakuṇḍali (Maṭṭakuṇḍali)

The only son of the brahmin Adinnapubbaka. His father loved him dearly, but was a great miser, and made for him, with his own hands, a pair of burnished ear rings in order to save the goldsmith’s fee; the boy thus came to be called Maṭṭhakuṇḍali (burnished ear rings). When he was sixteen he had an attack of jaundice. His father refused to call in a physician, and prescribed for him himself until the boy was beyond all cure. Then he carried him out and laid him on the terrace, lest those who came to prepare for the funeral should see his wealth.

The Buddha saw Maṭṭhakuṇḍali as he lay dying, and, out of compassion, came to the door of his father’s house. Too weak to do anything else, the boy conjured up devout faith in the Buddha; he died soon after, and was born among the gods in a golden mansion thirty leagues in extent. When he surveyed his past birth, he saw his father in the charnel ground, weeping and lamenting and preparing to cremate his body. Assuming the form of Maṭṭhakuṇḍali, he went himself to the charnel ground and, standing near, started to weep. When questioned by Adinnapubbaka, he said he wanted the moon, and in the course of conversation he revealed his identity and censured his father. Adinnapubbaka invited the Buddha to a meal the next day, and, when it was over, asked if it were possible to attain to heaven by a mere act of faith. In order to convince him, the Buddha made Maṭṭhakuṇḍali appear before him and confirm his statement that this was so. At the conclusion of the Buddha’s discourse, both Adinnapubbaka and Maṭṭhakuṇḍali became Stream-winners, and eighty thousand persons realised the Truth (Mil.350).

DhA.i.20 ff; Vv.vii.9; VvA.322 ff; Pv.ii.5; PvA.92; the stanzas found in Maṭṭhakuṇḍali’s story occur also in the Maṭṭhakuṇḍali Jātaka (q.v.), but the introductory story is quite different.

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