Home page Up (parent) Next (right) Previous (left) Abbreviations

Page last updated on 8 October, 2020

Association for Insight Meditation Home Page


1. Abhaya Thera.– An Arahant. He was a Brahmin of Sāvatthi who, having heard the Buddha teach, entered the Order. One day, while going to the village for alms, he was disturbed in mind by an attractively dressed woman, but he recollected himself and developed insight (Thag.v.98; ThagA.i.201‑2).

In a former birth he had met Sumedha Buddha in the forest and had offered him a wreath of salala-flowers. Nineteen world-cycles ago he was born sixteen times as king, his name being Nimmita. He is probably to be identified with the Thera Vataṃsakiya of the Apadāna (i.174).

2. Abhaya.– Commonly called Abhayarājakumāra.

He was the son of King Bimbisāra and of Padumavatī, the belle of Ujjeni. When the boy was seven years old, his mother sent him to the king and he grew up with the boys of the court. He first came under the influence of the Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, who taught him a dilemma to set the “Samaṇa Gotama.” In the Buddha’s reply, the prince recognised the defeat of the Nigaṇṭha and the supreme Enlightenment of the Exalted One, whose disciple he then became. Later, when the king died, Abhaya was disturbed in mind, and entered the Order. On the occasion of the teaching of the Tālacchiggalūpama Sutta (probably the same as S.v.455 and M.iii.169), he became a Stream-enterer and afterwards attained Arahantship (Thag.26; ThagA.i.83‑4 also ThagA.39. In ThagA. his mother’s name does not appear). The Abhayarājakumāra Sutta (M.i.392 ff ) contains the dilemma episode. It also mentions that at the time the prince had a little son of whom he was evidently very fond.

In the Saṃyuttanikāya (S.v.126‑8) he is stated as having visited the Buddha at Gijjhakūṭa and discussed with him the views of Pūraṇa Kassapa. The Buddha teaches him about the seven factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga).

In the Vinaya (i.269), Abhaya is mentioned as having discovered Jīvaka Komārabhacca lying on a dung-heap (cast there by the orders of his mother, the courtesan Sālāvatī), and having brought him up.

The Aṅguttaranikāya Commentary (AA.i.216), on the other hand, says that Abhaya was Jīvaka’s natural father.

As a reward for quelling a disturbance on the frontier, Abhaya was given a skilled nautch girl by his father, Bimbisāra. For seven days he enjoyed her company to the exclusion of all else, but on the seventh day she died. Disconsolate, he sought comfort from the Buddha, who assuaged his grief (DhA.iii.166‑67; cf. the story of Santati).

The Apadāna (Ap.ii.502‑4) gives the story of his past. He had been a brahmin of Haṃsavatī, skilled in the Vedas; having heard Padumuttara Buddha teach, he was converted and joined the Order, where he spent his time singing the greatness of the Buddha.

The Theragāthā Commentary (i.83‑4) quotes, in his story, some verses in the Apadāna, which in the Apadāna itself are ascribed to a Thera Ketakapupphiya. They state that he offered a ketaka-flower to the Buddha Vipassī, Perhaps Ketakapupphiya was the title of another Thera, whose real name was Abhaya, and hence the stories were confused (ii.449‑50).

See also Abhaya (3).

3. Abhaya.– A Licchavi of Vesāli generally (e.g., GS.i.200, n.2; ii.211, n.2; KS.v.107, n.2.), but wrongly, identified with Abhayarājakumāra. On one occasion he comes with another Licchavi, Paṇḍita Kumāraka, to Ānanda in the Kūṭāgārasālā in Vesāli, and discusses with him certain views held by Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta. Ānanda teaches him the Buddha’s three Ways of purification (For details see A.i.220‑2). On another occasion he visits the Buddha, again at Vesāli, with the Licchavi Sāḷha; the latter asks the Buddha’s views on purity of morals and self-mortification. The Buddha tells him of the Noble Way and explains its implications by various similes (See A.ii.202‑4). We are not told that either of them became converts on this occasion.

4. Abhaya.– An elder. He and Tissadatta Thera are mentioned together, in several Commentaries (DA.iii.786; MA.i.234; AA.i.273; VibhA.275) as examples of persons worthy of being associated with, because of their possession of ready attention (upaṭṭhita-sati). This perhaps refers to Abhaya (1) or, more probably, to one of the three Abhayas mentioned with their titles in the Dīghanikāya Commentary on the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta (DA.ii.530: Mahāgatimba-Abhaya, Dīghabhāṇaka-Abhaya and Tipiṭaka Cūḷābhaya) in its exegesis on the word “upaṭṭhita-sati.”

5. Abhaya.– King of Sri Lanka (then known as Ojadīpa) in the time of Kakusandha Buddha. His capital was Abhayanagara. Sp.i.86; Mhv.xv.59.

6. Abhaya.– King of Sri Lanka (414‑394 B.C.). He was the eldest son of Paṇḍuvāsudeva and reigned in Upatissagāma. Later, when the usurper Paṇḍukābhaya came to the throne, he killed all his other nine uncles, sparing only Abhaya, because the latter had befriended both him and his mother, Ummāda-Cittā. (It was he who prevented Cittā from being killed at birth, Mhv.ix.3). Abhaya was made Guardian of the City (Nagaraguttika), administering the government by night; he was the first holder of that office. Mhv.ix.3, 9; x.52, 80, 105.

7. Abhaya.– The personal attendant of Atthadassī Buddha. Bu.xv.19.

8. Abhaya.– Eldest son of King Muṭasīva of Sri Lanka. He renounced the succession in favour of his younger brother, Tissa, who later became known as Devānampiyatissa (MT.302).

9. Abhaya.– Father of Khañjadeva. Mhv.xxiii.78.

10. Abhaya.– A monk, chief of the ascetics who dwelt in the Pañca-pariveṇamūla monastery. He was sent by King Kittisirimegha (q.v.) to fetch the king’s son (Cv.lxvii.61).

11. Abhaya.– Author of the Mahāṭīkā on Saddatthabhedacintā (Gv.63). He was a native of Pagan, and is also credited with the authorship of the Sambhandhacintā-ṭīkā. Bode, op.cit., 22, and n.8.

12. Abhaya.– A brigand, commonly called Corābhaya (q.v.)

13. Abhaya (Abhayupassaya).– A nunnery built by King Mahāsena. Mhv.xxxvii.43.

14. Abhaya.– Nephew of Khallātanāga. MT.444.

For others named Abhaya see under their titles, e.g. Mahāgatimba-Abhaya, Dīghabhāṇaka-Mahā-Abhaya, Meghavaṇṇābhaya, etc.

15. Abhaya.– Called Abhidhammika Abhaya. A monk of Vālikapitthi-vihāra (q.v.)

At the beginning of the Rains Retreat (vassa) he, with a large number of his colleagues, recited the Mahāsuññatā Sutta, and, as a result, they lived apart from each other during the Rains, attaining Arahantship, before the end of the season. MA.ii.907.