Dictionary of Pāli Proper Names • G.P. Malalasekera
Page last updated on 8 May, 2017
A stage-manager (naṭagāmaṇi) of Rājagaha. With a company of five hundred men, he gave dramatic performances of great splendour in towns and villages and in royal courts, and won much fame and favour. One day he visited the Buddha and asked if it was true that players who delight large audiences are reborn among the gods of laughter (pahāsa-devā). Three times the Buddha refused to answer, but in the end allowed himself to be persuaded, and told Tālapuṭa that those who induce sensual states in others will be reborn in the hell of laughter (pahāsa-niraya). Tālapuṭa wept to think that older actors should so have deceived him in telling him of their theories, and, having heard the Buddha teach, entered the Order and soon became an Arahant (S.iv.306 ﬀ; Thag.1091‑1145; ThagA.ii.155 ﬀ).
The Saṃyutta Commentary (SA.iii.100) says he obtained his name from his bright and cheerful colour, like that of a ripe palm-fruit.