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Visākha

1. Visākha.– Husband of Dhammadinnā. He was a rich merchant of Rājagaha and accompanied Bimbisāra on his visit to the Buddha, who was then at Rājagaha for the first time after his Enlightenment. Visākha, on that occasion, became a Stream-winner, after hearing the Buddha teach; he later became a Once-returner, and then a Non-returner. After he became a Non-returner his behaviour to his wife completely changed, and when he explained the reason to her, offering her all his wealth and freedom to do as she wished, she asked his leave to join the Order. Visākha informed Bimbisāra of her wish, and, at his request, the king ordered that the city be decked in her honour on the day of her renunciation and that she be taken to the nunnery in a golden palanquin.

After Dhammadinnā had joined the Order, she left the city and retired into the country, returning to Rājagaha after she had attained Arahantship. Visākha, hearing of her return, visited her at the nunnery and asked her various questions regarding the Buddha’s teachings, all of which she answered (MA.i.514 f; ThigA.15, 19). Their conversation is recorded in the Cūḷavedalla Sutta (M.i.299 f; cf. DhA.iv.229 f; AA.i.197). Visākha then visited the Buddha and reported their conversation to him, winning the Buddha’s praises for Dhammadinnā.

In the time of Phussa Buddha, Visākha and Dhammadinnā had been husband and wife. (For details see PvA.20 ff; of. KhpA.202 f; DhA.i.86 f. AA.i.144 f ) Visākha had been the treasurer, appointed by the three sons of Jayasena, in charge of the provisions given by them for the almsgiving held in honour of Phussa Buddha and his monks.

Visākha is mentioned (SA.iii.223) as one of the seven lay disciples in the time of the Buddha who had each five hundred followers.

2. Visākha Pañcāliputta.– He was the son of a provincial governor (maṇḍalikarājā) of Magadha, and was called Pañcāliputta because his mother was the daughter of the Pañcāla king. (AA.ii.511 calls him the son of Pañcālibrāhmaṇī). He succeeded his father, and, hearing one day that the Buddha had arrived near his village, he visited him, heard him teach and joined the Order. He then accompanied the Buddha to Sāvatthi, where he became an Arahant. Later, out of compassion, he visited his relations.

One day he was asked how many qualities were necessary to a man in order that he should be considered a skilful teacher of the Dhamma. Visākha’s answer is included in the Theragāthā (Thag. vs. 209‑10; ThagA.i.331 f).

Fourteen world-cycles ago he was a poor householder, and one day, while searching in the forest for fruit, he saw a Pacceka Buddha and offered him a vallī fruit. He is evidently to be identified with Valliphaladāyaka of the Apadāna (Ap.i.296).

Visākha was evidently a clever and arresting teacher, and the books mention that the Buddha heard him teach and praised him. S.ii.280; A.ii.51.

3. Visākha Thera.– He was a wealthy householder of Pāṭaliputta who, hearing that there were many shrines in Sri Lanka, made over his property to his family and left home with one single coin wrapt in the hem of his garment. He had to spend one month at the port waiting for a ship, and, during that time, made one thousand by his skill in trade. Arrived at the Mahāvihāra, he asked to be ordained, and when, at the time of his ordination, the money was discovered, he distributed it among those who were present. After five years he set out travelling, and, with the help of a devatā, found his way to Cittalapabbata-vihāra, where he stayed for four months. As he was about to leave, the devatā of the jambu tree, which stood at the head of his walking path (caṅkamana), appeared before him weeping, and explained that while the Thera was there the non-humans lived in peace, but that when he had gone they would start quarrelling and talking loudly. Several times he tried to leave, but was thus prevented, until, at last, he became an Arahant and died there. Vism.i.312 f; the story is referred to at AA.ii.865.

4. Visākha.– One of the chief lay supporters of Maṅgala Buddha. Bu.v.25.

5. Visākha.– One of the chief lay supporters of Phussa Buddha. Bu.xix.21.

6. Visākha.– A minister of Duṭṭhagāmaṇī. He and Sirideva were in charge of the arrangements for the Foundation Ceremony of the Mahā Thūpa. MT. 517.

7. Visākha.– See also Vesākha.

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