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Vajjiputta Thera

1. Vajjiputta Thera.– He belonged to the family of a minister of Vesāli, and, seeing the majesty of the Buddha who visited the city, he joined the Order and lived in a wood nearby. A festival took place in Vesāli, with much singing and dancing and gaiety. This distracted Vajjiputta, and he expressed his disgust in a verse spoken in scorn of the forest life. A woodland sprite heard him and upbraided him, saying, “Though you spurn life in the forest, the wise, desiring solitude, think much of it,” and she then uttered a verse praising it. This verse, which the monk afterwards repeated, is included in Thag.vs.62.

Urged on by the sprite’s words, Vajjiputta developed insight and became an Arahant.

Ninety-one world-cycles ago he had been a householder and had paid homage to Vipassī Buddha, with pollen from nāga flowers. Forty-five world-cycles ago he was a king, named Reṇu. ThagA.i.142 f. Vajjiputta’s story is given very briefly in S.i.201 f.

Vajjiputta’s story is also given in the Dhammapada Commentary. There he is called a rājā, and is said to have renounced his kingdom when his turn came to rule. On the day of the festival, on the full-moon day of Kattika, he was filled with discontent. After his conversation with the woodland sprite, he sought the Buddha, who taught him. He attained Arahantship at the end of the Buddha’s discourse. DhA.iii.460 f; see also SA.i.228, where also he is called rājā. There may be some confusion between Vajjiputta (1) and (2).

He is evidently to be identified with Reṇupūjaka of the Apadāna. Ap.i.146.

2. Vajjiputta Thera.– He belonged to a Licchavi rājā’s family, and while still young, and learning various arts, such as training elephants, he was filled with the desire for renunciation. One day he went to a vihāra where the Buddha was teaching, entered the Order, and not long after became an Arahant.

After the Buddha’s death, when the chief Elders were living in various places prior to their agreed meeting for the recital of the Dhamma, he saw Ānanda, still a learner (sekha), teaching the Doctrine to a large assembly. Wishing to urge him to higher attainment, Vajjiputta uttered a verse, and this verse was among those that led to Ānanda’s attainment of Arahantship. The verse is found in Thag.vs.119. In S.i.199 the verse is attributed to a forest deva who wished to agitate Ānanda. In Rockhill (op.cit., 155 f ), Vajjiputta was Ānanda’s attendant at the time and taught the people while Ānanda meditated.

Ninety-four world-cycles ago, Vajjiputta had seen a Pacceka Buddha begging for alms and had given him plantain fruits. ThagA.i.236 f.