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Veḷukaṇṭakī

v.l. Veḷukaṇḍakī.– A lady of Veḷukaṇṭa. She is mentioned as an exemplary lay woman (A.i.88; ii.164). She made an offering for the Order headed by Sāriputta and Mahā-Moggallāna, which the Buddha praised because it was endowed with the six requisite qualities. See the Chaḷaṅgadāna Sutta (A.iii.335).

Once she rose before dawn and sang the Pārāyana. Vessavaṇa happened to be passing over her house on his way from north to south (to see the Buddha, says SNA.i.369), and hearing the song, stopped at her window to praise it and to reveal his identity. She greeted him cordially, and in return for her greeting he announced to her that Sāriputta and Mahā-Moggallāna were on their way to Veḷukaṇḍa. Delighted with the news, she made all preparations and sent word to the monastery, inviting the monks to the house. After the meal, she informed the elders that Vessavaṇa had told her of their arrival. When they expressed their amazement, she told them of several other virtues possessed by her. Her only son Nanda was seized by the king’s men and killed before her eyes, but she experienced no disquiet, nor did she when her husband, after his death, having been born as a yakkha (an earth-bound devatā says the Commentary), revealed himself to her. She was guilty of no transgression of the precepts, could enter into the four jhānas at will, and had cast off the five lower fetters. The monks expressed their great admiration and Sāriputta taught her (A.iv.63 ff).

Buddhaghosa says (AA.ii.718; cf. SNA.i.370) that she was a Non-returner, and that, when she promised to share with Vessavaṇa the merits she would gain by entertaining the monks, headed by the two Chief Disciples, Vessavaṇa, to show his gratitude, filled her stores with rice, and these stores remained always full throughout her life. They thus became proverbial.

The Suttanipāta Commentary (SNA.i.370) states that she kept a daily fast and knew the Piṭakas by heart. It also says that, at the end of her recital of the Parāyana, Vessavaṇa offered her a boon, and she asked that, as her servants were weary of carrying the harvest home from the fields, Vessavaṇa should allow his yakkhas to do the work for them. To this he agreed, and his followers filled for her one thousand two hundred and fifty store houses. Vessavaṇa then went to the Buddha and told him of what had happened.

The Dhammapada Commentary (DhA.i.340) mentions Veḷukaṇḍakī Nandamātā and Khujjuttarā as the chief lay women disciples of the Buddha. However, in the Aṅguttaranikāya’s list of eminent female lay disciples, while Khujjuttarā is mentioned, Veḷukaṇḍakī Nandamātā’s name does not occur. However, mention is made of a disciple named Uttara-Nandamātā, “Etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, mama sāvikānaṃ upāsikānaṃ jhāyīnaṃ yadidaṃ Uttarānandamātā.” (A.i.26)

Cf. S.ii.236, where the same two are mentioned; Mrs. Rhys Davids thinks that Veḷukaṇḍakī Nandamātā is probably identical with Uttarā Nandamātā (Brethren 4, n.1). This identification does not seem to be correct. See Uttarā-Nandamātā; see also Nanda-Kumāputta.

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