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1. Ugga.– A banker in the time of Koṇāgamana Buddha; he was one of the Buddha’s chief lay-supporters and built for him a residence, half a league in extent, on the site of the later Jetavana.¹

2. Ugga.– The chief minister of Pasenadi, king of Kosala (AA.ii.697). He once visited the Buddha and told him how he rivaled in power and wealth the millionaire Migāra, grandson of Rohaṇa. He was worth one hundred thousand in gold alone, to say nothing of silver. The Buddha tells him that all this wealth could easily be lost in various ways, not so the seven kinds of Noble wealth faith, morality, etc.²

3. Ugga.– One of those that formed the retinue of the rājā Eleyya. He was a follower of Uddaka-Rāmaputta, whom the king too held in veneration

4. Ugga-Gahapati v.l. Uggata.– A householder of Hatthigāma of the Vajjī country. Among householders he was declared by the Buddha to be the best of those who waited on the Order (saṅghupaṭṭhākānaṃ).⁴ On his father’s death he was appointed to the post of treasurer (seṭṭhi). Once, when the Buddha went to Hatthigāma during a tour and was staying in the Nāgavanuyyāna there, Ugga came to the pleasance, with dancers, at the conclusion of a drinking-feast of seven days’ duration. At the sight of the Buddha he was seized with great shame and his intoxication vanished. The Buddha taught him and he became a Non-returner (anāgāmī). Thereupon he dismissed his dancers and devoted himself to looking after members of the Saṅgha. Devas visited him at night and told him of the attainments of various monks, suggesting that he should choose only the eminent ones as the recipients of his gifts. However, what he gave, he gave to all with equal delight.⁵

The Buddha once stated that Ugga was possessed of eight special and wonderful qualities. One of the monks, hearing the Buddha’s statement, went to Ugga and asked him what these qualities were. Ugga replied that he was not aware of what the Buddha had in mind and proceeded to explain eight wonderful things that had happened to him:

  1. As soon as he saw the Buddha, his state of drunkenness vanished and he made obeisance to the Buddha, who talked to him on various topics, such as generosity (dāna), morality (sīla), etc.
  2. When the Buddha saw that Ugga’s mind was ready, he taught him the Four Truths, which he understood and realised.
  3. He had had four young and beautiful wives; when he took the vow of celibacy, he made ample provision for them; for one of them he obtained the husband of her choice, because she so desired, and this he did with no tinge of jealousy.
  4. All his immense wealth he shared with men of good and lovely conduct.
  5. On whatever monk he waited, he did it with whole-heartedness; to the monk’s teaching he listened earnestly; if the monk did not teach, Ugga himself taught him the doctrine.
  6. Devā told him of the different attainments of various monks, but he gave to all alike, without distinction.
  7. He felt no pride that he should hold converse with devas.
  8. He did not worry about death because the Buddha had assured him that he would never more return to this world.

The monk reports this conversation to the Buddha and the Buddha tells him that these were the very qualities he had in mind when praising Ugga.⁶

The Vajjī Sutta ⁷ of the Saṃyuttanikāya records a visit paid to the Buddha by Ugga, at Hatthigāma. He asked the Buddha why it was that some beings attained full freedom in this very life, while others did not. Because of grasping, says the Buddha.

Ugga had been a householder in the time of Padumuttara Buddha. He once heard the Buddha teach and declare, at the end of his discourse, one of his lay disciples to be the best of those who waited on the Order. He wished for himself a similar attainment and did many good deeds towards that end.⁸

5. Ugga.– A householder of Vesāli, declared by the Buddha to be the best of those who gave agreeable gifts (manāpadāyakānaṃ).

His original name is not known. He came to be called Ugga-seṭṭhi, because he was tall in body, lofty in morals and of striking personality. The very first time he saw the Buddha, he became a Stream-winner and later a Non-returner. When he was old, the thought came to him one day, while he was alone, “I will give to the Buddha whatever I consider most attractive to myself and I have heard from him that such a giver obtains his wishes. I wish the Buddha would come to my house now.” The Buddha, reading his thoughts, appeared before his door with a following of monks. He received them with great respect and, having given them a meal, announced to the Buddha his intention of providing him and the monks with whatever they found agreeable.¹⁰

While staying at the Kūṭāgārasālā in Vesāli, the Buddha once declared to the monks that Ugga was possessed of eight marvellous qualities. The rest of the story is very similar to that of Ugga of Hatthigāma, given above. This Ugga states as the first wonderful thing which happened to him, the faith he found in the Buddha at their very first meeting; three and four are the same; the fifth is that whatever monk he waits on, he does it whole-heartedly; the sixth, that if the monk teaches he would listen with attention, if the monk does not teach, Ugga would teach to him the doctrine; the seventh is the same; the eighth that he has got rid of all the five lower fetter (orambhāgiya-saṃyojana) mentioned by the Buddha. The conversation is reported to the Buddha who agrees that Ugga does possess the qualities mentioned.¹¹

The Saṃyuttanikāya¹² repeats under Ugga of Vesāli the same discussion with the Buddha as was given in connection with Ugga of Hatthigāma, regarding the reason why some beings do not attain complete freedom in this very life. This is perhaps due to uncertainty on the part of the compilers as to which Ugga took part in the original discussion.

A sutta in the Aṅguttaranikāya¹³ gives a list of things of which Ugga himself was fond. We are told that he offered these things to the Buddha. The list includes rice-cakes made in the shape of Sāla-blossoms, the flesh of sucking pig and Kāsi robes. These and other things were given not only to the Buddha, but, according to the Commentary,¹⁴ also to five hundred monks. The Sutta goes on to say that Ugga died soon after and was born among the Manomaya-devā. He visited the Buddha from the deva-world and stated that he had achieved his goal (of reaching Arahantship).

He is included in a list of householders who possessed six special qualities: unwavering loyalty to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha, Noble conduct, insight, and liberation.¹⁵

His desire to become chief of those who give agreeable things was first conceived in the time of Padumuttara Buddha, when he was a householder in Haṃsavatī; he heard the Buddha describe one of his disciples as being a giver of such gifts.¹⁶

6. Ugga.– An elder. He was the son of a banker in Ugga, in the Kosala country. When the Buddha was staying in the Bhaddārāma there, Ugga heard him teach and entered the Order. Soon afterwards he became an Arahant.¹⁷

He had been a householder in the time of Sikhī Buddha and offered him a ketaka-flower. As a result, he was born twelve times as king. He is probably to be identified with Sudassana Thera of the Apadāna.¹⁸

7. Ugga.– A banker of the city of Ugga; he was a friend of Anāthapiṇḍika and, according to some accounts, his son married Anāthapiṇḍika’s daughter, Cūḷasubhaddā. He and his family had been followers of the Nigaṇṭhā, but they later became followers of the Buddha through the intervention of Subhaddā. For the story see Cūḷasubhaddā. See also Kāḷaka.

8. Ugga.– A township (nigama) in Kosala. The Buddha stayed there at the Bhaddārāma.¹⁹ The town was the residence of the banker Ugga, and was once a stronghold of the Nigaṇṭhā; after the conversion of Ugga’s family, through Cūḷa Subhaddā’s intervention, the people became faithful followers of the Buddha and for some time Anuruddha lived there, at the Buddha’s special bidding, to teach the new converts.²⁰ Probably the Uggārāma, mentioned in the story of Aṅganika-Bhāradvāja,²¹ was also in Ugga, in which case it was near the village of Kuṇḍiya of the Kuru country.


¹ J.i.94; Bu.xxiv.24. ² A.iv.6‑7. ³ A.ii.180.

A.i.26. AA.i.214‑5. A.iv.212‑6.

S.iv.109 f. This is identical to the Vesāli Sutta given to Ugga (5).


A.i.26; in SA.iii.26 he is wrongly described as the best of those who gave superior gifts (aggo paṇītadāyakānaṃ) — the title of Mahānāma.

¹⁰ AA.i.213‑4. ¹¹ A.iv.208‑12. ¹² S.iv.109 f. ¹³ A.iii.49‑51. ¹⁴ AA.ii.602.

¹⁵ A.iv.451. ¹⁶ AA.i.213.

¹⁷ Thag.v.80; ThagA.i.174‑5. ¹⁸ Ap.i.164‑5.

¹⁹ ThagA.i.74. ²⁰ DhA.iii.465‑471; according to ThagA.i.65 Mahāsubhaddā also lived in Ugga, in a family of unbelievers.

²¹ ThagA.i.339; Brethren, 157, n.4.

Finding Footnote References

Dhammapada Commentary, Pakiṇṇaka Vagga, v 304, DA.iii.471

References in the notes are to the Pāḷi texts of the PTS. In the translations, these are usually printed in the headers near the spine, or in square brackets in the body of the text, thus it would be iii 471 (or 3 471) in the spine or [471] in the text. References to the Commentaries are usually suffixed with A for Aṭṭhakathā (DA, MA, SNA, etc.) but references to the Jātaka Commentary are given as J, not JA, which would normally be used, as that is reserved for the Journal Asiatic.