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Verañjā

A town in which the Buddha once spent the rainy season at the invitation of the brahmin Verañja.¹ Verañja visits the Buddha at the foot of the Naḷerupucimanda, where he is staying, and asks him a series of questions, the first of which is: whether it is true that the Buddha pays no respect to aged brahmins. The Buddha replies that he has not seen a brahmin in the whole world to whom such respect is due from him. If the Tathāgata were so to honour anyone, that person’s head would split in pieces. Other questions follow on the Buddha’s doctrine and practices. The Buddha concludes by giving an account of his attainment of the threefold knowledge. The interview ends with the conversion of Verañja and his invitation to the Buddha to spend his rainy season there

At that time there was a famine, and five hundred householders of Uttarāpaṭha, staying at Verañjā, supplied the monks with food. Mahā-Moggallāna proposed to get food by the exercise of his magic power or by going with the monks to Uttarakuru, but he was dissuaded by the Buddha. During this stay Sāriputta received from the Buddha an explanation as to why the religious systems of the three previous Buddhas lasted so long, while those of the three preceding them — Vipassī, Sikhī, and Vessabhū — did not.

At the conclusion of the Rains Retreat (vassa), the Buddha wished to take leave of Verañja before setting out, as was the custom of Buddhas when they received hospitality. Verañja admitted that, though he had invited the Buddha, he had not kept his promise, and this was due to his having too many duties in the house

He invited the Buddha and the monks to a meal the next day, and, at the end of the meal, presented a set of three robes to the Buddha and a pair to each of the monks.

After leaving Verañjā the Buddha went to Bārāṇasī, passing through Soreyya, Saṅkassa, and Kaṇṇakujja, before crossing the Gaṅgā at Payāgapatiṭṭhāna. From Bārāṇasī he proceeded to Vesāli.

It is said ⁵ that the devas put flavour (ojā) into every mouthful of food taken by the Buddha at Verañjā. According to the Apadāna the Bodhisatta was born of a noble house in the time of Phussa Buddha, and, once, seeing the monks eating good food, he had reviled them and asked them to eat oats (yava).⁷ It was for this reason the Buddha was condemned to eat oats during three months at Verañjā.

A road led from Verañjā to Madhurā, and the Aṅguttaranikāya contains a discourse taught by the Buddha to a large number of people while he rested by the roadside. There was evidently frequent intercourse between Sāvatthi and Verañjā, and the Verañjaka Sutta (q.v.) (M.i.290) was taught some brahmins who visited the Buddha at Sāvatthi, to where they had gone on business. The books also record ⁹ a visit paid by the Asura Pahārāda to the Buddha at Verañjā. The Vālodaka Jātaka (q.v.) and the Cūḷasuva Jātaka (q.v.) were taught soon after the Buddha’s return from Verañjā.

¹ In the twelfth year, according to Buddhaghosa — e.g., AA.ii.758; cf. BuA.3.

²  Here he spoke of the Vijjāttaya, says UdA.(p.183), because all the monks with the Buddha were possessors of the sixfold higher knowledge (chaḷabhiññā), and therefore no special mention was needed of higher knowledge.

³ The Commentators add that Verañja forgot his invitation because Māra, being in a spiteful mood, had taken possession of him and of all the inhabitants of Verañja (Sp.i.178 f; DhA.ii.153; cf. J.iii.494).

This account, of the Buddha’s visit to Verañja, forms the introduction to the Vinaya and is found at Vin.iii.1‑11. The interview with Verañja is given at A.iv.172 ff. The road taken by the Buddha from Verañjā to Bārāṇasī was, according to Buddhaghosa (Sp.i.201), the shortest, and the Buddha knew the monks were tired after their experiences in Verañjā. Soon after, he appears to have visited Kapilavatthu. There he was visited by Mahānāma, the Sākyan, who asked permission to entertain him and the monks for four months that they might recover their strength. At the end of the four months he renewed his request, and thus looked after the monks for a whole year. It was this act that won for him the title of foremost in superior offerings (aggo paṇītadāyakānaṃ) (A.A.i.213).

SNA.i.154; Mil. 232. Ap.i.301; ApA.i.103 f; cf. UdA.265.

Possibly barley or some other coarse grain. Horse food, which was provided by horse-traders (ed.)

A.ii.57 f. A.iv.198 f.

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