The Bodhisatta born as the chaplain of Bārāṇasī. He was son of the preceding chaplain, and went with the crown prince to Takkasilā to study. There, in due course, he became a famous teacher, with eighty-
Velāma was exceedingly wealthy and wished to give alms. Therefore, turning his water jar upside down, he wished that if there were holy men in the world, the water should flow downwards. The water, however, remained in the jar. He then discovered by the same means that his gifts would be free from blame. He thereupon held great almsgivings, distributing during seven years the seven precious things and gifts of great value, pouring forth his riches as though “making into one stream the five great rivers.” A list of his gifts is found at A.iv.393 f.
Velāma’s almsgiving became famous in literature as the Velāmamahāyañña. e.g., MA.ii.616.