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Sīha

1. Sīha.– A Licchavi general of Vesāli. He was a follower of the Nigaṇṭhā. When the Buddha visited Vesāli, Sīha, having heard reports of his greatness, wished to see him, but Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta dissuaded him, saying that Gotama denied the result of actions and was not worth a visit. However, in the end Sīha, accompanied by five hundred chariots, went to the Buddha. Having discovered in conversation with the Buddha that he was falsely accused of teaching wrong doctrines, Sīha declared himself the Buddha’s follower. The Buddha accepted his adherence on condition that he would continue to give alms to any Nigaṇṭhā who sought them at his house. This generosity made Sīha honour the Buddha even more highly, and he invited him and the monks to a meal on the next day. Meat formed one of the dishes, and the Nigaṇṭhā went about Vesāli crying that Sīha had killed a large ox to provide meat for the Buddha and his monks and that the food had been accepted. This was the occasion for the formulation of the rule that no monk should eat flesh where he has reason to believe that the animal had been specially killed for him (Vin.i.233 f; A.iv.179 f; see also the Bālovāda Jātaka).

Sīha was, at one time, one of the most famous patrons of the Nigaṇṭhā, the others being Upāli-gahapati of Nāḷandā, and Vappa, the Sākyan of Kapilavatthu (AA.ii.751).

The Aṅguttaranikāya (A.iii.38 f; iv.79 f ) contains two discussions, in more or less identical terms, in which Sīha asks the Buddha if it is possible to show the visible results of giving. The Buddha, by means of a counter question, elicits from Sīha that the giver has his reward in this world itself, and in the end Sīha acknowledges that he has experienced the benefits which the Buddha set forth.

Sīha had a niece, Sīhā (q.v.)

2. Sīha Thera.– He was born in the family of a rājā in the Malla country and visited the Buddha. The Buddha taught him a discourse suitable to his temperament, and he entered the Order. He lived in the forest in meditation, but his thoughts were distracted. The Buddha, seeing this, went through the air and spoke to him alone, asking him to persevere. Thus incited, he strove hard and attained Arahantship.

He was once a kinnara on the banks of the Candabhāgā, and seeing Atthadassī Buddha journeying through the air, he stood still, gazing at him with clasped hands. The Buddha alighted and sat under a tree, where the kinnara offered him flowers and sandalwood. Sīha was three times king, under the name of Rohiṇī (ThagA.i.179). He is probably identical with Candanapūjaka of the Apadāna. Ap.i.165.

3. Sīha.– A novice who entered the Order at the age of seven and was a great favourite among the monks for his charm. He was much liked by the Buddha. He was a student under Nāgita, and was with him when the Buddha once stayed in Vesāli. Seeing a great number of people coming to visit the Buddha, he informed Nāgita of this, and, with his permission, went to tell the Buddha. This led to the teaching of the Mahāli Sutta (D.i.151).

Buddhaghosa adds (DA.i.310) that Nāgita was fat and lazy and that most of his work was done by Sīha, who was his sister’s son.

4. Sīha.– Son of Sobhita Buddha, in his last lay life. v.l. Makhilā. Bu.vii.18.

5. Sīha.– The personal attendant (upaṭṭhāka) of Metteyya Buddha. Anāgat. p.50, vs.97.

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