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Subhadda

1. Subhadda.– One of the chief lay patrons of Dhammadassī Buddha. Bu.xvi.20.

2. Subhadda.– A youth who joined the Order under Koṇḍañña Buddha with ten thousand others, and became an Arahant. He was the Buddha’s leading disciple (aggasāvaka). Bu.iii.30; J.i.30; BuA.111.

3. Subhadda.– A grain-watcher (yavapālaka) who gave grass for his seat to Kakusandha Buddha. BuA.210.

4. Subhadda.– Son of Upaka, the Ājīvaka, and Cāpā. ThigA.221; SNA.i.260.

5. Subhadda.– A barber of Ātumā. He entered the Order and resented having to observe various rules, great and small. When the Buddha died and the monks stood weeping, Subhadda asked them to rejoice instead, saying: “We are well rid of the Great Recluse; we shall now do just as we like.” Mahā-Kassapa heard this while he was on his way from Pāvā to Kusinārā, and it was this remark that made him decide to hold the First Council after the Buddha’s death (Vin.ii.284 f; D.ii.162; Mhv.iii.6).

Subhadda had been a novice (sāmaṇera) at the time of the Buddha’s visit to Ātumā, and had two sons before he joined the Order. When he heard that the Buddha was coming, he sent for his two sons and gave orders for various foods to be collected to feed the Buddha and the twelve hundred and fifty monks. The Buddha arrived in the evening and took up his residence in Ātumā. All night long Subhadda went about giving instructions regarding the preparation of the food. In the morning of the next day the Buddha went out for alms, and Subhadda approached him and invited him to partake of the food which he had prepared. However, the Buddha questioned him, and, discovering what he had done, refused to accept the meal, forbidding the monks to do so too. This angered Subhadda, and he awaited an opportunity of expressing his disapproval of the Buddha. This opportunity came when he heard of the Buddha’s death. DA.ii.599; cf. Vin.i.249 f.

6. Subhadda Thera.– He was a brahmin of high rank (of the udicca-brāhmaṇa-mahā-sālakula), and, having become a wanderer (paribbājaka), was living in Kusinārā when the Buddha went there on his last journey. Having heard that the Buddha would die in the third watch of the night, Subhadda went to the sāla grove, where the Buddha lay on his death bed, and asked Ānanda for permission to see him. However, three times Ānanda refused the request, saying that the Buddha was weary. The Buddha overheard the conversation and asked Subhadda to come in. Subhadda asked the Buddha if there were any truth in the teachings of other religious instructors. The Buddha said he had no time to discuss that, but that any system devoid of the Noble Eightfold Path was useless for salvation, and he taught Subhadda the Doctrine. Subhadda asked to be allowed to join the Order, and the Buddha gave Ānanda special permission to admit him at once without waiting for the usual probationary period. Subhadda dwelt in solitude and in meditation and soon became an Arahant. He was the last disciple to be converted by the Buddha (D.ii.148 ff; cf. DhA.iii.376 f).

Buddhaghosa says (DA.ii.590) that when the Buddha gave him permission to ordain Subhadda, Ānanda took him outside, poured water over his head, made him repeat the formula of the impermanence of the body, shaved off his hair and beard, clad him in yellow robes, made him repeat the Three Refuges, and then led him back to the Buddha. The Buddha himself admitted Subhadda to the higher ordination and gave him a subject for meditation. Subhadda took this and, walking up and down in a quiet part of the grove, attained Arahantship and came and sat down beside the Buddha.

In the past, Subhadda and Aññāta-Koṇḍañña had been brothers. They had a cornfield, and the elder (Aññāta-Koṇḍañña) gave the first fruits of the corn to the monks in nine stages. The younger (Subhadda) found fault with him for damaging the corn. They then divided the field, thus settling the dispute (DA.ii.588). Subhadda rubbed the dead body of Padumuttara Buddha with sandalwood and other fragrant essences and placed a banner on his thūpa. In the time of Kassapa Buddha, the Buddha’s leading disciple (aggasāvaka), Tissa, was, Subhadda’s son. Subhadda spoke disparagingly of him, hence his tardiness in meeting the Buddha in his last life. Subhadda died on the day of his ordination and Arahantship (Ap.i.100 f).

The conversation between the Buddha and Subhadda forms the topic of a dilemma in the Milindapañha (p.130). Subhadda’s ordination was the Buddha’s last “official” act. KhA.,p.89.

7. Subhadda.– A lay disciple of Nātika. He was a Non-returner and was born in the Suddhāvāsā, never to be reborn. D.ii.92; S.v.348 f.

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