1. Raṭṭhapāla Thera.– Pre-
When the Buddha visited Thullakoṭṭhita, Raṭṭhapāla went to hear him teach and decided to leave the world. His parents would not, however, give their consent until he threatened to starve himself to death. Realising then that he was in earnest, they agreed to let him go on condition that he would visit them after his ordination. Raṭṭhapāla accompanied the Buddha to Sāvatthi, and there, dwelling alone, he attained Arahantship within a short time (However, MA.ii.725 says he took twelve years, during which time he never slept on a bed, DA.iii.236). Then, with the Buddha’s permission, he returned to Thullakoṭṭhita and dwelt in the deer park of the Kuru king. The day after his arrival, while begging for alms, he came to his father’s house. His father was in the entrance hall having his hair combed, but, failing to recognise his son, he started to abuse him, taking him for an ordinary monk, one of those who had robbed him of his son. Just at that moment the slave girl of the house was about to throw away some stale rice, which Raṭṭhapāla begged of her. The girl recognised his voice, gave him the rice and told his parents who he was. When his father came to look for his son, he found him eating stale rice as though it were ambrosia. (This eating of stale rice made of him an “agga-
The Kuru king, who was feasting there, and had often heard of Raṭṭhapāla’s fame, visited him. Their conversation is recorded in the Raṭṭhapāla Sutta. Raṭṭhapāla then returned to the Buddha. Raṭṭhapāla’s story is given in M.ii.54 ﬀ; MA.ii.722; ThagA.ii.30 ﬀ; AA.i.144 ﬀ., cp. Avadas. ii.118 ﬀ; Mtu.iii.41, n.1.
In a previous birth, before the appearance of Padumuttara Buddha, Raṭṭhapāla was one of two rich householders of Haṃsavatī, both of whom spent their wealth in good deeds. They once waited on two companies of ascetics from Himavā; the ascetics left, but their leaders remained, and the two householders looked after them until they died. After death, one of them (Raṭṭhapāla) was reborn as Sakka, while the other was born as the Nāga king Pālita (v.l. Pathavindhara), who, in this Buddha age, became Rāhula. At Sakka’s request, Pālita gave alms to Padumuttara and wished to be like the Buddha’s son, Uparevata. Sakka himself entertained the Buddha and his monks for seven days and wished to resemble the monk Raṭṭhapāla, whom Padumuttara Buddha had declared to be foremost among those who had joined the Order through faith. Padumuttara declared that the wish of both would be fulfilled in the time of Gotama Buddha.
MA.ii.722; ThagA.ii.30 differs in many details; it makes no mention of Pālita, and says that in Padumuttara’s time, too, the householder’s name was Raṭṭhapāla. The name of the monk, disciple of Padumuttara, whose example incited the householder to wish for similar honour, is not given. This account adds (see also AA.i.143 f ) that in the time of Phussa Buddha (q.v.) he was one of those in charge of the almsgiving held in the Buddha’s honour by his three step-
Raṭṭhapāla is mentioned (e.g., SNA.i.232; at AA.ii.596 Yasa’s name is added) with Soṇa-
¹ Buddhaghosa says that according to the Commentators of India — the elders living on other side of the ocean (para-
4. Raṭṭhapāla Thera.– A monk of Sri Lanka, author of the Madhura-