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1. Ānanda.– One of the principal disciples of the Buddha. He was a first cousin of the Buddha and was deeply attached to him. He came to earth from Tusita and was born on the same day as the Bodhisatta, his father being Amitodana the Sakyan, brother of SuddhodanaMahānāma and Anuruddha were therefore his brothers (or probably step-brothers). Ānanda entered the Order in the second year of the Buddha’s ministry, together with other Sakyan princes, such as Bhaddiya, Anuruddha, Bhagu, Kimbila and Devadatta, and was ordained by the Buddha himself,² his preceptor (upajjhāya) being Belaṭṭhasīsa.³ Soon after, he heard a discourse by Puṇṇa Mantāniputta and became a Stream-winner.⁴


The Buddha’s Personal Attendant

During the first twenty years after the Enlightenment, the Buddha did not have the same personal attendants all the time. From time to time various monks looked after him, among them being Nāgasamāla, Nāgita, Upavāṇa, Sunakkhatta, the novice Cunda, Sāgata, Rādha, and Meghiya. We are told that the Buddha was not particularly pleased with any of them. At the end of twenty years, at an assembly of the monks, the Buddha declared that he was advanced in years and desired to have somebody as his permanent body-servant, one who would respect his wishes in every way.⁵

All the great disciples offered their services, but were rejected by the Buddha. Ānanda alone was left; he sat in silence. When asked why he did not offer himself, his reply was that the Buddha knew best whom to choose. When the Buddha signified that he desired to have Ānanda, the latter agreed to accept the post on certain conditions. The Buddha was never to give him any choice food or garment  ⁶ gotten by him, nor appoint for him a separate “fragrant cell” (residence), nor include him in the invitations accepted by the Buddha. For, he said, if the Buddha did any of these things, some would say that Ānanda’s services to the Buddha were done in order to get clothes, good food, and lodging, and be included in the invitations. Further he was to be allowed to accept invitations on behalf of the Buddha; to bring to the Buddha those who came to see him from afar; to place before the Buddha all his perplexities, and the Buddha was to repeat to him any doctrine taught in his absence. If these concessions were not granted, he said, some would ask where was the advantage of such service. Only if these privileges were allowed him would people trust him and realise that the Buddha had real regard for him. The Buddha agreed to the conditions.

Thenceforth, for twenty-five years,⁷ Ānanda waited upon the Buddha, following him like a shadow, bringing him water and toothpick, washing his feet, accompanying him everywhere, sweeping his cell and so forth. By day he was always at hand, forestalling the Master’s slightest wish; at night, stout staff and large torch in hand, he would go nine times round the Buddha’s Gandhakuṭi in order to keep awake, in case he were needed, and also to prevent the Buddha’s sleep from being disturbed.⁸

Many examples are given of Ānanda’s solicitude for the Buddha, particularly during the Buddha’s last days, as related in the Mahā Parinibbāna Sutta. Ānanda was the Buddha’s equal in age (having been born on the same day), and it is touching to read of this old and most devoted attendant ministering to his eminent cousin, fetching him water, bathing him, rubbing his body, preparing his bed, and receiving last instructions from him on various matters of importance. It is said that when the Buddha was ill, Ānanda became sympathetically sick.⁹ He was aware of every change that occurred in the Buddha’s body.¹⁰

Once, when acting on the instructions of Devadatta, the royal mahouts let loose Nālāgiri, maddened with drink, on the Buddha’s path, so that he might trample the Buddha to death, Ānanda, seeing the animal rushing towards them, immediately took his stand in front of the Buddha. Three times the Buddha forbade him to do so, but Ānanda, usually most obedient, refused to move, and it is said that the Buddha, by his iddhi-power, made the earth roll back in order to get Ānanda out of the elephant’s path.¹¹

Sometimes, the extreme zealousness of Ānanda drew on him the Buddha’s rebuke — e.g., when he prepared gruel with three kinds of pungent substances (tekaṭuka) for the Buddha when he was suffering from wind in the stomach. The gruel was prepared from food kept indoors and was cooked by Ānanda himself, indoors; this was against the rules, but Ānanda knew that the gruel would cure the Buddha.¹²

Ānanda was most efficient in the performance of the numerous duties attached to his post. Whenever the Buddha wished to summon the monks or to send a message to anyone, it was to Ānanda that he entrusted the task.¹³

He reported to the Buddha any news which he beard and thought interesting.¹⁴ Laymen and laywomen, wishing to give alms to the Buddha and the monks, would often consult him in their difficulties, and he would always advise them.¹⁵ When the monks came to him expressing their desire to hear the Buddha teach, he did his best to grant their wish.¹⁶ Sometimes when Ānanda felt that an interview with the Buddha would be of use to certain people, he would contrive that the Buddha should talk to them and solve their doubts; thus, for instance, he arranged an interview for the Nigaṇṭha Saccaka  ¹⁷ and the brahmins Saṅgārava and Rammaka.¹⁸ Similarly he took Samiddhi to the Buddha when he found that Samiddhi had wrongly represented the Buddha’s views.¹⁹ When he discovered that Kimbila and a large number of other monks would greatly benefit if the Buddha would teach them on ānāpānasati, he requested the Buddha that he should do so.²⁰

Again, when at Vesāli, as a result of the Buddha’s talks to the monks on asubha, a large number of them, feeling shame and loathing for their bodies, committed suicide, Ānanda suggested to the Buddha that he might teach the monks some method by which they might obtain insight (aññā).²¹

In order that people might still worship the Buddha when he was away on tour, Ānanda planted the Ānanda-Bodhi (q.v.)

Ānanda was, however, careful that people should not weary the Buddha unnecessarily. Even when he told the Buddha about the suicide of the monks (mentioned above), he was careful to wait until the Buddha had finished his fortnight’s solitude, because he had given orders that he should not be disturbed.

When Subhadda wanted to see the Buddha as he lay on his death-bed, Ānanda refused to let him in until expressly asked to do so by the Master.²² That same day when the Mallas of Kusinārā came with their families to pay their last respects to the Buddha, Ānanda arranged them in groups, and introduced each group so that the ceremony might be gone through without delay.²³

He often saved the Buddha from unpleasantness by preventing too pious admirers from trying to persuade the Buddha to do what was against his scruples.²⁴

Among Ānanda’s duties was the task of going round to put away anything which might have been forgotten by anyone in the congregation after hearing the Buddha teach.²⁵

Consulted by Many

Ānanda was often consulted by colleagues on their various difficulties. Thus we find Vaṅgīsa ²⁶ confiding to him his restlessness at the sight of women and asking for his advice. Among others who came to him with questions on various doctrinal matters were Kāmabhū,²⁷ Udāyi,²⁸ Channa,²⁹ and Bhadda.³⁰ Nor were these consultations confined to his fellow-monks, for we find the brahmins Ghosita ³¹ and Uṇṇābha,³² the Licchavis Abhaya and Paṇḍitakumāraka,³³ the wanderers Channa ³⁴ and Kokanuda,³⁵ the upāsikā Migasālā,³⁶ a householder of Kosambī ³⁷ and King Pasenadi of Kosala,³⁸ all coming to him for enlightenment and instruction. Sometimes the monks, having heard a brief discourse from the Buddha, would seek out Ānanda to obtain from him a more detailed exposition, for he had the reputation of being able to expound the Dhamma.³⁹

It is said that the Buddha would often deliberately shorten his discourse to the monks so that they might be tempted to have it further explained by Ānanda. They would then return to the Buddha and report to him Ānanda’s exposition, which would give him an opportunity of praising Ānanda’s erudition.⁴⁰ In the Sekha Sutta ⁴¹ we are told that after the Buddha had taught the Sākyā of Kapilavatthu until late at night, he asked Ānanda to continue the discourse while he himself rested. Ānanda did so, and when the Buddha awoke after his sleep, he commended Ānanda on his ability. On another occasion, the Buddha asks Ānanda to address the monks on the wonders attendant on a Buddha’s birth, and the Acchariyabbhuta-Dhamma Sutta is the result. The Buddha is mentioned as listening with approval.⁴²

Sometimes Ānanda would suggest to the Buddha a simile to be used in his discourse, e.g., the Dhammayāna simile;⁴³ or by a simile suggest a name to be given to a discourse,⁴⁴ e.g., the Madhupiṇḍika Sutta; or again, particularly wishing to remember a certain Sutta, he would ask the Buddha to give it a name, e.g. the Bahudhātuka Sutta.⁴⁵

Several instances occur of Ānanda teaching the monks of his own accord ⁴⁶ and also the laity.⁴⁷ The Sandaka Sutta records a visit paid by Ānanda with his followers to the wanderer Sandaka, and describes how he won Sandaka over by a discourse. Sometimes, as in the case of the Bhaddekaratta Sutta ⁴⁸ Ānanda would repeat to the assembly of monks a discourse which he had previously heard the Buddha teach. Ānanda took the fullest advantage of the permission granted to him by the Buddha of asking him any question he desired. He had a very inquiring mind; if the Buddha smiled he would ask the reason.⁴⁹

Or if he remained silent, Ānanda had to be told the reason.⁵⁰ He knew that the Buddha did nothing without definite cause; when Upavāṇa, who stood fanning the Buddha, was asked to move away, Ānanda wished to know the reason, and was told that Upavāṇa prevented various spirits from seeing the Buddha.⁵¹ The Buddha was always willing to answer Ānanda’s questions to his satisfaction. Sometimes, as in the case of his question regarding the dead citizens of Ñātikā,⁵² a long discourse would result.⁵³

His Consultations with the Buddha

Most often his consultations with the Buddha were on matters of doctrine or were connected with it — e.g., on cessation (nirodha);⁵⁴ the world (loka);⁵⁵ voidness (suñña);⁵⁶ feelings (vedanā);⁵⁷ psychic-powers (iddhi);⁵⁸ mindfulness of respiration (ānāpānasati);⁵⁹ becoming (bhava) etc.;⁶⁰ on the sixfold higher knowledge (chaḷabhijāti) of Pūraṇa Kassapa (q.v.); the aims and purposes of morality (sīla);⁶¹ the possibilities of concentration (samādhi);⁶² on schism (saṅghabheda);⁶³ the qualities requisite to be a counsellor of monks;⁶⁴ the power of carrying possessed by a Buddha’s voice;⁶⁵ the conditions necessary for a monk’s happiness;⁶⁶ the different ways of mastering the elements; ⁶⁷ the birthplace of “noble men”;⁶⁸ and the manner in which previous Buddhas kept the Fast-day.⁶⁹ To these should be added the conversations on numerous topics recorded in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta. Some of these questions — e.g., about earthquakes ⁷⁰ and the different kinds of spirits present at the death of the Buddha ⁷¹ — seem to have been put into Ānanda’s mouth in order that they might be used as pegs on which to hang beliefs connected with them which were current among later-day Buddhists.

Not all the Suttas addressed to Ānanda are, however, the result of his questions. Sometimes he would repeat to the Buddha conversations he had had with others and talks he had overheard, and the Buddha would expound in detail the topics occurring therein.

Thus, for instance, a conversation with Pasenadi Kosala on good friendship (kalyāṇamittatā) is repeated and the Buddha explains its importance;⁷² Ānanda tells the Buddha about his visit to the Paribbajakārāma in Kosambi and what he there heard about a bhikkhu being called praiseworthy (niddasa) after twelve years of celibacy. The Buddha thereupon expounds the seven grounds for being praiseworthy (niddasavatthu).⁷³ The account conveyed by Ānanda of Udāyī teaching a large crowd leads to an exposition of the difficulties of addressing large assemblies and the qualities needed to please them.⁷⁴ A conversation between Udāyī and the carpenter Pañcakaṅga on feelings is overheard by Ānanda and reported to the Buddha, who gives a detailed explanation of his views on the subject.⁷⁵ The same thing happens when Ānanda mentions to the Buddha talks he had heard between Sāriputta and the wanderers (pāribbājaka)⁷⁶ and between the same elder and Bhūmiya.⁷⁷ Sometimes — as in the case of the female lay disciple (upāsikā)⁷⁸ Migasālā — Ānanda would answer questions put to him as best he could, and seek the Buddha’s advice and corrections of his interpretation of the Doctrine.

When the monks asked Ānanda whether the Buddha’s predictions regarding the results of Devadatta’s crimes were based on actual knowledge, he furnished them with no answer at all until he had consulted the Buddha.⁷⁹ Similarly, when Tapassu questions him as to why household life is not attractive to laymen, Ānanda takes him straight away to the Buddha, who is spending his siesta in the Mahāvana in Uruvelakappa.⁸⁰ Once Ānanda fancies that he knows all about causation, and tells the Buddha how glad he is that he should understand this difficult subject. The Buddha points out to him that he really knows very little about it and teaches to him the Mahānidāna Sutta.⁸¹

When Ānanda realises that the Buddha will die in a short while, with childlike simplicity, he requests the Buddha to make a last pronouncement regarding the Order.⁸²

On several occasions it is news that Ānanda brings to the Buddha — e.g., about the death of the Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, and about Devadatta’s plots, already mentioned — which provoke the Buddha to teach him: Phagguna has died, and at his death his senses seemed very clear; so they would, says the Buddha, and proceeds to speak of the advantages of listening to the Dhamma in due season.⁸³ Or again, Girimānanda is ill and would the Buddha go and see him? The Buddha suggests that Ānanda should go and tell Girimānanda about the ten kinds of perception (saññā), the perception of impermanence (aniccasaññā) etc., and the patient will recover.⁸⁴ Ānanda desires to retire into solitude and develop zeal and energy; would the Buddha tell him on which topics to meditate? And the Buddha teaches to him the doctrine of impermanence.⁸⁵

Teachings Given to Ānanda

The Buddha, however, often taught Ānanda without any such provocation on various topics — e.g., on the nature of the mental formation (saṅkhāra);⁸⁶ on the impossibility of the monk without faith attaining eminence in the religion (sāsana);⁸⁷ on the power the Buddha has of knowing which doctrines would appeal to different people and of teaching accordingly;⁸⁸ on immorality and its consequences;⁸⁹ on the admonitions that should be addressed to new entrants to the Order;⁹⁰ on the advice which should be given to friends by those desiring their welfare.⁹¹

The various topics on which the Buddha discoursed to Ānanda as recorded in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, have already been referred to. Some of them — e.g., on the eight assemblies, the eight positions of mastery, the eight stages of deliverance⁹² — seem to be stereotyped later additions. On the other hand, with regard to the accounts of the honours to be paid to a Buddha’s dead body, the places of pilgrimage for the pious, and various other similar subjects, it is impossible to say how far they are authentic. In a few instances the remarks addressed to Ānanda seem to be meant for others, to be heard by them or to be conveyed to them — e.g., in the dispute between Udāyī and Sāriputta, when they both seek the Buddha for him to settle the differences in opinion between them;⁹³ or, again, when the recalcitrant Udāyī fails to answer the Buddha’s question on subjects of reflection (anussatiṭṭhāna), and Ānanda gives an answer which the Buddha approves.⁹⁴ A question asked by Ānanda as to whether there are any scents which spread even against the wind, results in the well-known discourse about the fame of the holy man being wafted everywhere.⁹⁵ Once or twice Ānanda intervenes in a discussion between the Buddha and another, either to ask a question or to suggest a simile which he feels could help the Buddha in establishing his point — e.g., in the interviews of Uttiya Paribbājaka,⁹⁶ of the brahmin Saṅgārava,⁹⁷ and again of Viḍūḍabha, son of Pasenadi.⁹⁸

In the Mahā Māluṅkyā Sutta,⁹⁹ it is Ānanda’s intervention which evokes the discourse on the Five Fetters. Similarly he intervenes in a discussion between the Buddha and Pārāsariya’s pupil, Uttara, and persuades the Buddha to teach the Indriyabhāvanā Sutta on the cultivation of the Faculties.¹⁰⁰

Buddhaghosa gives a list of the discourses which bring out the eminence and skill of Ānanda; they are the Sekha Sutta, Bāhitika°, Āneñjasappāya°, Gopaka-Moggallāna°, Bahudhātuka°, Cūḷasuññata°, Mahāsuññata°, Acchariyabbhuta°, Ānanda Bhaddekaratta°, Mahānidāna°, Mahāparinibbāna°, Subha°, and Cūḷaniyalokadhātu Sutta. (For details of each, q.v.) The books give accounts of several conversations between Ānanda and his eminent colleagues, such as Sāriputta.¹⁰¹ He seems to have felt happy in their company and did not hesitate to take to them his difficulties; thus we find him asking Sāriputta why only certain beings in this world reach final cessation (parinibbāna);¹⁰² on another occasion he asks Sāriputta about the possibilities of concentration (samādhi).¹⁰³ On the other hand, at least twice,¹⁰⁴ when Ānanda asks his questions of Sāriputta, the latter suggests that Ānanda himself should find the answer, and having heard it, Sāriputta praises him highly and extols his abilities.

Special Friends of Ānanda

Ānanda’s special friends seem to have been Sāriputta, Moggallāna, Mahā-Kassapa, Anuruddha, and Kaṅkhā Revata.¹⁰⁵ He was the junior member of the Order (Saṅgha-navaka) among them all, yet they held him in high esteem.¹⁰⁶ Ānanda and Sāriputta were very special friends. It is said that Sāriputta loved Ānanda because the latter did for the Buddha what Sāriputta would wish to have done himself, and Ānanda respected Sāriputta because he was the Buddha’s chief disciple. Young men who were ordained by either of them would be sent to the other to learn under him. They shared between them any good thing given to them. Once Ānanda was presented by a brahmin with a costly robe; immediately he wished to give it to Sāriputta, but as the latter was away at the time, he obtained the Buddha’s permission to keep it for him until his return.¹⁰⁷

The Saṃyuttanikāya ¹⁰⁸ contains a eulogy on Sāriputta by Ānanda, where the latter speaks of his comprehensive and manifold wisdom, joyous and swift, of his rampant energy and readiness to accept advice. When he hears of Sāriputta’s death from Cunda Samaṇuddesa, he goes to the Buddha with Cunda (not wishing to break the news himself) and they take with them Sāriputta’s bowl and outer robe, Cunda carrying the ashes, and there Ānanda confesses to the Buddha that when he heard the news he felt as thought his body were drugged, his senses confused and his mind become a blank.¹⁰⁹ The Commentary adds ¹¹⁰ that Ānanda was trembling “like a cock escaping from the mouth of a cat.”

That Mahā-Kassapa was fond of Ānanda, we may gather from the fact that it was he who contrived to have him elected on the First Council, and when Mahā-Kassapa heard of Ānanda’s attainment of Arahantship, it was he who led the applause.¹¹¹ Ānanda held him in the highest veneration, and on one occasion refused to take part in an ordination (upasampadā) because he would have to pronounce Kassapa’s name and did not consider this respectful towards the elder.¹¹² In their conversations, Kassapa addresses Ānanda as “friend” (āvuso), Ānanda addresses Kassapa as “Venerable sir” (bhante).¹¹³ There is an interview recorded between them in which Kassapa roundly abuses Ānanda, calling him “a corn-trampler” and “despoiler of families,” and he ends by up saying, “This boy does not know his own measure.” Ānanda had been touring Dakkhiṇagiri with a large company of monks, mostly youths, and the latter had not brought much credit upon themselves. When Kassapa sees Ānanda on his return to Rājagaha, he puts on him the whole blame for the youths’ lack of training. Ānanda winces at being called “boy”; "My head is growing grey hairs, your reverence, yet I am not vexed that you should call me ’boy’ even at this time of day.” Thullanandā heard of this incident and showed great annoyance. “How dare Mahā-Kassapa,” she says, “who was once a heretical teacher, chide the sage Ānanda, calling him ’boy’?” Mahā-Kassapa complains to Ānanda of Thullanandā’s behaviour. Probably, though we are not told so, Ānanda apologised to him on her behalf.¹¹⁴

On another occasion, Ānanda, after a great deal of persuasion, took Kassapa to a settlement of the nuns. There Kassapa taught them, but the nun Thullatissā was not pleased and gave vent publicly to her displeasure. “How does Kassapa think it fit to teach the doctrine in the presence of the learned sage Ānanda? It is as if the needle-pedlar were to deem he could sell a needle to the needle-maker.” Kassapa is incensed at these words, but Ānanda appeases him by acknowledging that he (Kassapa) is in every way his superior and asks him to pardon Tissa. “Be indulgent, your reverence,” says he, “women are foolish.”¹¹⁵

In this passage Ānanda is spoken of as Vedehamuni. The Commentary ¹¹⁶ explains it by paṇḍitamuni, and says further, paṇḍito hi ñāṇasaṅkhātena vedena īhati sabbakiccāni karoti, tasmā vedeho ti vuccati; vedeho ca so muni cā ti vedehamuni.¹¹⁷

Championship of Women’s Causes

It was perhaps Ānanda’s championship of the women’s cause which made him popular with the nuns and earned for him a reputation rivaling, as was mentioned above, even that of Mahā-Kassapa. When Mahā Pajāpatī Gotamī, with a number of Sakyan women, undaunted by the Buddha’s refusal of their request at Kapilavatthu, followed him into Vesāli and there beseeched his consent for women to enter the Order, the Buddha would not change his mind.

Ānanda found the women dejected and weeping, with swollen feet, standing outside the Kūṭāgārasālā. Having learnt what had happened, he asked the Buddha to grant their request. Three times he asked and three times the Buddha refused. Then he changed his tactics. He inquired of the Buddha if women were at all capable of attaining the Fruits of the Path. The answer was in the affirmative, and Ānanda pushed home the advantage thus gained. In the end the Buddha allowed women to enter the Order subject to certain conditions. They expressed their great gratitude to Ānanda.¹¹⁸ In this connection, the Buddha is reported as having said ¹¹⁹ that had Ānanda not persuaded him to give his consent to the admission of women to the Order, the religion (sāsana) would have lasted a thousand years, but now it would last only five hundred.

This championing of the women’s cause was also one of the charges brought against Ānanda by his colleagues at the end of the First Council (see below).

Perhaps it was this solicitude for their privileges that prompted him to ask the Buddha one day why it was that women did not sit in public assemblies (e.g. courts of justice), or embark on business, or reap the full fruit of their actions.¹²⁰

That Ānanda was in the habit of teaching frequently to the nuns is evident from the incidents quoted above and also from other passages.¹²¹ He seems also to have been in charge of the arrangements for sending teachers regularly to the nuns. A passage in the Saṃyuttanikāya Commentary ¹²² seems to indicate that Ānanda was a popular teacher among laywomen as well. They would stand round him when he taught, fanning him and asking him questions on the Dhamma. When he went to Kosambī to impose the higher penalty on Channa, the women of King Udena’s harem, hearing of his presence in the park, came to him and listened to his teaching. So impressed were they that they gave him five hundred robes.¹²³ It was on this occasion that Ānanda convinced Udena of the conscientiousness with which the Sakyaputta monks used everything which was given to them, wasting nothing. The king, pleased with Ānanda, gave him another five hundred robes, all of which he distributed among the community. Ānanda had been a tailor in a past birth and had given a Pacceka Buddha a piece of cloth, the size of his hand, and a needle. Because of the gift of the needle he was wise, because of the cloth he got 500 robes.¹²⁴

A similar story is related of the women of Pasenadi’s palace and their gift to Ānanda. The king was at first angry, but afterwards gave Ānanda one thousand robes.¹²⁵

The Dhammapada Commentary ¹²⁶ says that once Pasenadi asked the Buddha to go regularly to the palace with five hundred monks and reach the Dhamma to his queens Mallikā and Vāsabhakhattiyā and to the other women in the palace. When the Buddha said that it was impossible for him to go regularly to one place he was asked to send a monk, and the duty was assigned to Ānanda. He therefore went to the palace at stated times and instructed the queens. Mallikā was found to be a good student, but not so Vāsabhakhattiyā.

The Jātaka Commentary ¹²⁷ says that the women of the palace were themselves asked which of the eighty chief disciples they would have as their teacher and they unanimously chose Ānanda. For an incident connected with Ānanda’s visits to the palace see the Mahāsāra Jātaka and also Pasenadi.

According to the Aṅguttaranikāya Commentary ¹²⁸ Ānanda was beautiful to look at.

Consoling the Sick

Ānanda’s services seem often to have been sought for consoling the sick. Thus we find Anāthapiṇḍika sending for him when he lay ill,¹²⁹ and also Sirivaḍḍha ¹³⁰ and Mānadinna.¹³¹ He is elsewhere mentioned as helping the Buddha to wait on a sick monk.¹³² We are told that when the Buddha had his afternoon siesta, Ānanda would spend his time in waiting upon the sick and talking to them.¹³³ Ānanda was never too busy to show gratitude to his friends. When a certain crow-keeper’s family, members of which had been of special service to him, had been destroyed by a pestilence, leaving only two very young boys, he obtained the Buddha’s special permission to ordain them and look after them, though they were under the requisite age.¹³⁴

When Ānanda discovered that his friend Roja the Malla had no real faith in the Buddha, he was greatly grieved and interceded on his special behalf with the Buddha that he should make Roja a believer. Later he obtained the Buddha’s permission for Roja to offer a meal of potherbs.¹³⁵ In another place we find Roja presenting Ānanda with a linen cloth.¹³⁶ According to the Jātaka Commentary ¹³⁷ Roja once tried to persuade Ānanda to go back to the lay-life.

His sympathy is also shown in the story of the woman who asked to have a share in the vihāra built by Visākhā. She brought a costly carpet, but could find no place in which to put it; it looked so poor beside the other furnishings. Ānanda helped her in her disappointment.¹³⁸

Once in Jetavana, in an assembly of monks, the Buddha spoke the praises of Ānanda, and ranked him the foremost bhikkhu in five respects: erudition, good behaviour (gatimantānaṃ, power of walking, according to Dhammapāla), retentive memory, resoluteness and personal attention.¹³⁹ Again, shortly before the Buddha’s death, he speaks affectionately of Ānanda;¹⁴⁰ Ānanda knew the right time to bring visitors to the Tathāgata; he had four exceptional qualities, in that whoever came to see him, monks or nuns, laymen or laywomen, they were all filled with joy on beholding him;¹⁴¹ when he taught them they listened with rapture and delight, which never tired.¹⁴²

Another proof of the Buddha’s esteem for Ānanda is the incident of his asking Ānanda to design a robe for the monks to be in pattern like a field in Magadha.¹⁴³

His Attainment of Arahantship

In spite of Ānanda having been the constant companion of the Buddha — probably because of that very fact — it was not until after the Buddha’s parinibbāna that Ānanda was able to realise Arahantship.¹⁴⁴ Though he was not an Arahant he had the Analytical Knowledge (paṭisambhidā), being among the few who possessed this qualification while yet learners (sekhā).¹⁴⁵ When it was decided by Mahā-Kassapa and others that a Convocation should be held to systematise the Buddha’s teachings, five hundred monks were chosen as delegates, among them, Ānanda. He was, however, the only non-Arahant (sekha) among them, and he had been enjoined by his colleagues to put forth great effort and repair this disqualification. At length, when the convocation assembled, a vacant seat had to be left for him. It had not been until late the previous night that, after a final supreme effort, he had attained the goal.¹⁴⁶

It is said that he won sixfold abhiññā when he was just lying down to sleep, his head hardly on the pillow, his feet hardly off the ground. He is therefore described as having become an Arahant in none of the four postures. When he appeared in the convocation, Mahā-Kassapa welcomed him warmly and shouted three times for joy.¹⁴⁷ In the convocation, Ānanda was appointed to answer Mahā-Kassapa’s questions, and to co-operate with him in rehearsing the Dhamma (as opposed to the Vinaya).

His Photographic Memory

Ānanda came to be known as Dhammabhaṇḍāgārika, owing to his skill in remembering the word of the Buddha; it is said that he could remember everything spoken by the Buddha, from one to sixty thousand words in the right order; and without missing one single syllable.¹⁴⁸

In the first four Nikāyas of the Sutta Piṭaka, every sutta begins with the words “Thus have I heard,” the “I” referring to Ānanda. It is not stated that Ānanda was present at the teaching by the Buddha of every sutta, though he was present at most; others, the Buddha repeated to him afterwards, in accordance with the conditions under which he had become the Buddha’s attendant.

We are told that Ānanda had learnt eighty-two thousand dhamma (topics) from the Buddha himself and two thousand from his colleagues.¹⁴⁹ He had also a reputation for fast talking; where an ordinary man could speak one word Ānanda could speak eight; the Buddha could speak sixteen words for each one word of Ānanda.¹⁵⁰ Ānanda could remember anything he had once heard up to fifteen thousand stanzas of sixty thousand lines.¹⁵¹

The Buddha’s Parinibbāna

Ānanda lived to be very old;¹⁵² a hymn of praise sung at his death is included at the end of the stanzas attributed to him in the Theragāthā.¹⁵³ That the Buddha’s death was a great blow to him is shown by the stanzas he uttered immediately after the event.¹⁵⁴ Three months earlier he had heard for the first time that death of the Buddha was near at hand and had besought him to live longer. The reply attributed to the Buddha is a curious one, namely, that on several previous occasions, at Rājagaha and at Vesālī,¹⁵⁵ he had mentioned to Ānanda that he could, if he so desired, live for a whole world-cycle (kappa), and had hinted that Ānanda should, if he felt so inclined, request him to prolong his life. Ānanda, however, having failed to take the hint on these occasions, the opportunity was now past, and the Buddha must die; the fault was entirely Ānanda’s.¹⁵⁶ It was when Ānanda was temporarily absent from the Buddha’s side that the Buddha had assured Māra that he would die in three months.¹⁵⁷

As the end approached, the Buddha noticed that Ānanda was not by his side; on enquiry he learnt that Ānanda was outside, weeping and filled with despair at the thought that the Master would soon be no more, and that he (Ānanda) would have to work out his perfection unaided. The Buddha sent for him and consoled him by pointing out that whatever is born must, by its very nature, be dissolved. Three times he said, “For a long time, Ānanda, you have been very near to me by acts of love, kind and good, never varying, beyond all measure,” and he exhorted him to be earnest in effort, for he would soon realise emancipation.¹⁵⁸ It was on this occasion that the Palāsa Jātaka was taught.¹⁵⁹

Once, earlier, when Udāyi had teased Ānanda for not having benefited from his close association with the personality of the Master, the Buddha had defended Ānanda, saying, “Say not so, Udāyi; should he die without attaining perfect freedom from passion, by virtue of his piety, he would seven times win rule over the devas and seven times be King of Jambudīpa. Howbeit, in this very life shall Ānanda attain to nibbāna.¹⁶⁰

Ānanda did his best to persuade the Buddha to die in one of the great cities, such as Rājagaha or Sāvatthi, and not in Kusinārā, the little wattle-and-daub town (as he called it) in the middle of the jungle. He was not satisfied until the Buddha had revealed to him the past history of Kusinārā, how it had once been Kusāvatī, the royal capital of the mighty Mahā Sudassana.¹⁶¹

Just before the Buddha died, Ānanda was commissioned to inform the Mallas of the impending event, and after the Buddha’s death, Anuruddha entrusted him, with the help of the Mallas of Kusināāa, with all the arrangements for the funeral.¹⁶² Ānanda had earlier ¹⁶³ learnt from the Buddha how the remains of a Tathāgata should be treated, and now he was to benefit by the instruction.

At the end of the First Council, the duty of handing down unimpaired the Dīghanikāya through his disciples was entrusted to Ānanda.¹⁶⁴ He was also charged with the duty of conveying to Channa the news that the higher penalty (brahmadaṇḍa) had been inflicted on him by the Saṅgha. Ānanda had been deputed by the Buddha himself to carry out this, his last administrative act,¹⁶⁵ but Ānanda, not wishing to undertake the responsibility alone (knowing that Channa had a reputation for roughness), was granted a number of companions, with whom he visited Channa. The latter expressed repentance and was pardoned.¹⁶⁶ Perhaps it was because both the Buddha and Ānanda’s colleagues knew of his power to settle disputes that he was chosen for this delicate task.¹⁶⁷

Criticism of Ānanda by the Saṅgha

Ānanda’s popularity, however, did not save him from the recriminations of his fellows for some of his actions, which, in their eyes, constituted offences. Thus he was charged ¹⁶⁸ with:

  1. having failed to find out from the Buddha which were the lesser and minor precepts which the Saṅgha were allowed to revoke if they thought fit;¹⁶⁹
  2. with having stepped on the Buddha’s rainy-season garment when sewing it;
  3. with having allowed the Buddha’s body to be first saluted by women;¹⁷⁰
  4. with having omitted to ask the Buddha to live on for the space of a world-cycle;¹⁷¹ and
  5. with having exerted himself to procure the admission of women into the Order.¹⁷²

Ānanda’s reply was that he himself saw no fault in any of these acts, but that he would confess them as faults out of faith in his colleagues.

On another occasion he was found fault with: for having gone into the village to beg for alms, clothed in his waist-cloth and nether garment;¹⁷³ and for having worn light garments which were blown about by the wind.¹⁷⁴

The Death of Ānanda

The last years of his life, Ānanda seems to have spent in teaching and teaching and in encouraging his younger colleagues. Among those who held discussions with him after the Buddha’s passing away are mentioned Dasama of the Aṭṭhakanagara,¹⁷⁵ Gopaka Moggallāna ¹⁷⁶ and Subha Todeyyaputta.¹⁷⁷

The Pāḷi Canon makes no mention of Ānanda’s death. Fa Hsien,¹⁷⁸ however, relates what was probably an old tradition. When Ānanda was on his way from Magadha to Vesāli, there to die, Ajātasattu heard that he was coming, and, with his retinue, followed him up to the Rohiṇi River. The chiefs of Vesāli also heard the news and went out to meet him, and both parties reached the river banks. Ānanda, not wishing to incur the displeasure of either party, entered into the state of tejokasiṇa in the middle of the river and his body went up in flames. His remains were divided into two portions, one for each party, and they built cetiyas for their enshrinement.¹⁷⁹

Previous Lives of Ānanda

In the time of Padumuttara Buddha, Ānanda had been the son of Ānanda, King of Haṃsavatī, and was therefore a step-brother of Padumuttara. His name was Sumana. King Ānanda allowed no one but himself to wait on the Buddha. Prince Sumana having quelled an insurrection of the frontier provinces, the king offered him a boon as reward, and he asked to be allowed to entertain the Buddha and his monks for three months. With great reluctance the king agreed, provided the Buddha’s consent was obtained. When Sumana went to the vihāra to obtain this, he was greatly impressed by the loyalty and devotion of the Buddha’s personal attendant, the monk Sumana, and by his psychic-powers. Having learnt from the Buddha that these were the result of good deeds, he himself determined to lead a pious life. For the Buddha’s residence Prince Sumana bought a pleasance named Sobhana from a householder of that same name and built therein a monastery costing one hundred thousand. On the way from the capital to Sobhana Park he built vihāras, at distances of a league from each other. When all preparations were completed, the Buddha went to Sobhana with one hundred thousand monks, stopping at each vihāra on the way. At the festival of dedication of the Sobhana-vihāra, Sumana expressed a wish to become a personal attendant of a future Buddha, just as Sumana was of Padumuttara. Towards this end he did many good deeds. In the time of Kassapa Buddha he gave his upper garment to a monk for him to carry his begging-bowl in it. Later he was born in heaven and again as King of Bārāṇasī. He built for eight Pacceka Buddhas eight monasteries in his royal park¹⁸⁰ and for ten thousand years he looked after them. The Apadāna mentions¹⁸¹ that he became ruler of heaven thirty-four times and king of men fifty-eight times.

Ānanda’s name occurs in innumerable Jātaka stories; he is identified with:–

Several times he was born as an animal.

He was many times king:

In the Mahā Nāradakassapa Jātaka ¹⁸² Ānanda was born as Rujā, daughter of King Aṅgati. The Dhammapada Commentary ¹⁸³ states that once when Ānanda was a blacksmith he sinned with the wife of another man. As a result, he suffered in hell for a long time and was born for fourteen existences as someone’s wife, and it was seven existences more before the results of his evil deed were exhausted.

There seems to be some confusion as to when Ānanda entered the Order. In the Canonical account ¹⁸⁴ he became a monk in the second year of the Buddha’s ministry. In the verses attributed to him in the Theragātha,¹⁸⁵ however, he says that he has been for twenty-five years a learner (sekha). It is concluded from this that Ānanda must have joined the Order only in the twentieth year after the Enlightenment and the whole story of his having been ordained at the same time as Devadatta is discredited.¹⁸⁶ The verses occur in a lament by Ānanda that his master is dead and that he is yet a learner. The twenty-five years that Ānanda mentions probably refer to the period during which he had been the Buddha’s personal attendant and not to his whole career as a monk. During that period, “though he was but a learner, no thoughts of evil arose in him,” the implication being that his close connection with the Buddha and his devotion to him gave no room for such. He, nevertheless, laments that he could not become an adept (asekha) while the Buddha was yet alive. If this interpretation be accepted — and I see no reason why it should not be — there is no discrepancy in the accounts of Ānanda’s ordination.


¹ According to the Mtu.iii.176, Ānanda was the son of Śuklodana and the brother of Devadatta and Upadhāna. His mother was Mṛgī.

² Vin.ii.182. ³ ThagA.i.68; also DA.ii.418 ff; Vin.i.202; iv. 86.

In S.iii.105 Ānanda acknowledges his indebtedness to Puṇṇa and gives an account of Puṇṇa’s discourse to him.

The Buddha says that sometimes his attendants would not obey him, and on certain occasions had dropped his bowl and robe and gone away, leaving him.

Ānanda did, however, accept one of the two robes given by Pukkusa the Malla to the Buddha (D.ii.133). Buddhaghosa explains this by saying that Ānanda’s period of service had now come to an end, and also he wished to be free from the accusation that even after having served the Buddha for twenty-five years, the Buddha had never made him any gift. It is further stated that Ānanda offered the robe to the Buddha later (DA.ii.570).


The account here given is summarised from AA.i.159 ff. and from ThagA.ii.121 ff. On the boons see J.iv.96, where Ānanda had asked for boons in the past too. The Tibetan sources give a different and interesting version of Ānanda’s entry into the Order. See Rockhill: Life of the Buddha, 57‑8.


¹⁰ E.g., the brightening of his features after Janavasabha’s visit (D.ii.204); and the fading of his complexion just before death, which was apparent when the Buddha put on the robe given by Pukkusa (D.ii.133).

¹¹ J.v.335‑6; it was in this connection that the Cūḷahaṃsa Jātaka was taught show that Ānanda had, in previous births also, renounced his life to save that of the Buddha; see also DhA.i.119. The Cūḷavagga account of the Nālāgiri incident makes no mention of Ānanda’s past (Vin.ii.195)].

¹² Vin.i.210‑11. ¹³ See, D.ii.199; 147; Vin.i.80; M.i.456.

¹⁴ E.g., the death of Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, of which he learnt from Cunda Samaṇuddesa (D.iii.118; M.ii.244); also Devadatta’s conspiracy to harm the Buddha (Vin.ii.198).

¹⁵ E.g., the Andhakavinda Brāhmaṇa (Vin.i.220‑1); Roja the Malla (Vin.i.248); see also Vin.i.238 f.

¹⁶ E.g., when the Buddha retired into the Pārileyya forest (S.iii.95; DhA.i.50 f).

¹⁷ M.i.237. ¹⁸ S.i.163; M.i.161. ¹⁹ M.iii.208.

²⁰ S.v.323. Ānanda’s requests were, however, not always granted. Once, for instance, though he asked the Buddha three times to recite the Pāṭimokkha, the Buddha refused to do so until an offending monk had been removed (Vin.ii.236 f ).

²¹ S.v.320 f. ²² D.ii.149. ²³ D.ii.148.

²⁴ E.g., Bodhirājakumāra, when he asked the Buddha to walk over the carpets in his mansion, Kokanada (Vin.ii.128; M.ii.94).

²⁵ DhA.i.410. ²⁶ S.i.188; Thag.vers.1223‑6. ²⁷ S.iv.165‑6.

²⁸ S.v.166‑8; A.iv.449. ²⁹ S.iii.133‑4.

³⁰ S.v.171‑3; ThagA.i.474; he could not, however, be of use to his fellow celibate Bhaṇḍu (q.v.)

³¹ S.iv.113. ³² S.v.272. ³³ A.i.220. ³⁴ A.i.215. ³⁵ A.v.196.

³⁶ A.iii.347 and again A.v.137. ³⁷ A.i.217.

³⁸ M.ii.112. It was on this occasion that Pasenadi presented Ānanda with a valuable piece of foreign material which had been sent to him by Ajātasattu.

³⁹ A.v.225; S.iv.93.

⁴⁰ MA.i.81; for such praise see, e.g., A.v.229. It is said that once when a certain landowner asked the Buddha how he could show honour to the Dhamma, the Buddha told him to show honour to Ānanda if he wished to honour the Dhamma (J.iv.369).

⁴¹ M.i.353 ff. ⁴² M.iii.119 ff. ⁴³ S.v.5.

⁴⁴ M.i.114; cp. Upavāna suggesting the name for the Pāsādika Sutta D.iii.141.

⁴⁵ M.iii.67. ⁴⁶ E.g., A.ii.156 f; v.6. ⁴⁷ E.g., A.ii.194. ⁴⁸ M.iii.189 f.

⁴⁹ M.ii.45, 50, 74; A.iii.214 f; J.iii.405; J.iv.7.

⁵⁰ S.iv.400. ⁵¹ D.ii.139.

⁵² D.ii.91 ff. In this case the discourse concluded with a description of the Dhammādāsa (Mirror of Truth) to be used for all time; see also S.v.356‑60.

⁵³ The Pabbajjā Sutta (Sn.72 ff), was taught because of Ānanda’s request that the Buddha should give an account of his renunciation (SnA.ii.381); see also Pubbayogāvacara Sutta (SnA.i.47).

⁵⁴ S.iii.24. ⁵⁵ S.iv.53. ⁵⁶ S.iv.54; M.iii.104‑24. ⁵⁷ S.iv.219‑21.

⁵⁸ S.v.282‑4; 286. ⁵⁹ S.v.328‑34. ⁶⁰ A.i.223 f. ⁶¹ A.v.1 f., repeated in v.311 f.

⁶² A.v.7 f., repeated in v.318 and in A.i.132 f. ⁶³ A.v.75 ff. ⁶⁴ A.iv.279 ff.

⁶⁵ A.i.226 f. ⁶⁶ A.iii.132 f. ⁶⁷ M.iii.62 f. ⁶⁸ DhA.iii.248. ⁶⁹ DhA.iii.246.

⁷⁰ D.ii.107 ff; A.iv.312 ff. ⁷¹ D.ii.139 f. ⁷² S.i.87‑9; v.2‑3. ⁷³ A.iv.37 ff.

⁷⁴ A.iii.184. ⁷⁵ S.iv.222 f; M.i.397 f. ⁷⁶ S.ii.35‑7. ⁷⁷ S.ii.39‑41.

⁷⁸ A.iii.347; v.137. ⁷⁹ A.iii.402. ⁸⁰ A.iv.438 f. ⁸¹ D.ii.55 ff; S.ii.92‑3.

⁸² D.ii.98 ff; S.v.152‑4. ⁸³ A.iii.381 f. ⁸⁴ A.v.108 f. ⁸⁵ S.iii.187; S.iv.54‑5.

⁸⁶ S.iii.3740. ⁸⁷ A.v.152 ff. ⁸⁸ A.v.36 f. ⁸⁹ A.i.50 f. ⁹⁰ A.iii.138 f. ⁹¹ A.i.222.

⁹² D.ii.112. ⁹³ A.iii.192 ff. ⁹⁴ A.iii.322 ff. ⁹⁵ A.i.222 f; DhA.i.420 ff. ⁹⁶ A.v.194.

⁹⁷ A.i.169. ⁹⁸ M.ii.130. ⁹⁹ M.i.433. ¹⁰⁰ M.iii.298 ff.

¹⁰¹ See also his conversation with Musīla, and Paviṭṭha, and Nārada at Kosambī in the Ghositārāma. S.ii.113 f.

¹⁰² A.ii.167. ¹⁰³ A.v.8. ¹⁰⁴ A.iii.201 f; 361 f. ¹⁰⁵ E.g., M.i.212 f. ¹⁰⁶ MA.i.436.

¹⁰⁷ Vin.i.289; Sp.iii.636‑7; MA.i.436. ¹⁰⁸ S.i.63‑4.

¹⁰⁹ S.v.161; Thag.vs.1034‑5. ¹¹⁰ SA.i.180. ¹¹¹ DA.i.11. ¹¹² Vin.i.92.

¹¹³ This was the method prescribed by the Buddha in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta for juniors and seniors to address one another. Mahā-Kassapa was the sixth in seniority after the group of five ascetics.

¹¹⁴ S.ii.217 ff.

¹¹⁵ S.ii.215 ff; the Tibetans say that when Kassapa died, Ajātasattu was very grieved because he had not been able to see the monk’s body. Ānanda took the king to the mountain where it had been buried and showed it to him (Rockhill, op.cit., p.162 and n.2).

¹¹⁶ SA.ii.132.

¹¹⁷ Compare with this the derivation of Vedehiputta in connection with Ajātasattu. See also Vedehikā. The Mtu. (iii.176‑7) says that when the Buddha went away from home Ānanda wished to join him, but his mother was unwilling, because his brother, Devadatta, had already gone away. Ānanda therefore went to the Videha country and became a muṇi. Is this another explanation of the term Vedehamuni?

¹¹⁸ Vin.ii.253 ff. Ānanda is again found as intermediary for Mahā Pajāpatī Gotamī in M.iii.253 f.

¹¹⁹ Vin.ii.256.

¹²⁰ A.ii.82. See also GS.ii.92, n.2, on the interpretation of the last word.

¹²¹ E.g., S.v.154 ff; Thag.v.1020; ThagA.ii.129. ¹²² S.i.210. ¹²³ Vin.ii.290.

¹²⁴ AA.i.239. ¹²⁵ J.ii.24 ff. ¹²⁶ DhA.i.382 ff. ¹²⁷ J.i.382. ¹²⁸ A.ii.533.

¹²⁹ M.iii.258. ¹³⁰ S.v.176 f. ¹³¹ S.v.177 f. ¹³² Vin.i.302. ¹³³ Sp.iii.651.

¹³⁴ Vin.i.79; to a young monk who used to wait on him and do various services for him, Ānanda gave five hundred robes presented to him by Pasenadi; the monk distributed them to his colleagues.

¹³⁵ Vin.i.247‑9. ¹³⁶ Vin.i.296. ¹³⁷ J.ii.231. ¹³⁸ DhA.i.415 f. ¹³⁹ A.i.24 f.

¹⁴⁰ D.ii.144‑5; A.ii.132; A.v.229; SA.ii.94 f.

¹⁴¹ He was called Ānanda because he brought joy to his kinsmen. ThagA.ii.123.

¹⁴² However, see the story of Atula (DhA.iii.327), who is not satisfied with Ānanda’s teaching.

¹⁴³ Vin.i.287. ¹⁴⁴ Buddhaghosa gives a long account of Ānanda’s struggle for final emancipation (DA.i.9 ff.); see also Vin.ii.286.

¹⁴⁵ VibhA.388.

¹⁴⁶ He had been occupied in consoling the laity after the Buddha’s death and had had no time for practising meditation. In the end it was a devatā in the woodland grove in Kosala, where he was staying, who pointed out the urgency of the matter (S.i.199‑200); but see ThagA.i.237, where the credit for this is given to a Vajjiputta thera.

¹⁴⁷ According to the Majjhimabhāṇakā, says Buddhaghosa, Ānanda appeared on his seat while the others looked on, having come through the earth; according to others he came through the air. According to ThagA.ii.130, it was a Brahmā of the Suddhāvāsa who announced Ānanda’s attainment of Arahantship to his colleagues at the Convocation.

¹⁴⁸ ThagA.ii.134. ¹⁴⁹ Thag.v.1024. ¹⁵⁰ MA.i.283. ¹⁵¹ MA.i.501.

¹⁵² One hundred and twenty years, says DhA.ii.99; he is bracketed with Bakkula, as having lived to a great age, AA.ii.596.

¹⁵³ vs.1047‑9. ¹⁵⁴ D.ii.157. ¹⁵⁵ See, e.g., D.102 f. ¹⁵⁶ Ibid., 114‑18.

¹⁵⁷ Ibid., 105‑6. ¹⁵⁸ Ibid., 144. ¹⁵⁹ J.iii.23 ff. ¹⁶⁰ A.i.228. ¹⁶¹ D.ii.146.

¹⁶² D.ii.158 ff. ¹⁶³ D.ii.141 f. ¹⁶⁴ DA.i.15. ¹⁶⁵ D.ii.154. ¹⁶⁶ Vin.ii.290‑2.

¹⁶⁷ See S.ii.235 f., where the Buddha classes him with Sāriputta and Moggallāna for his ability to settle disputes among the monks.

¹⁶⁸ Vin.ii.288‑9. ¹⁶⁹ See D.ii.154.

¹⁷⁰ Not mentioned elsewhere, but see Rockhill, op.cit., p.154.

¹⁷¹ D.ii.115. ¹⁷² Vin.ii.253. ¹⁷³ Vin.i.298. ¹⁷⁴ Vin.ii.136. ¹⁷⁵ M.i.349 f.

¹⁷⁶ M.iii.7; Thag.vs.1024. ¹⁷⁷ D.i.204 ff.

¹⁷⁸ Giles trans. 44. The story also occurs in DhA.ii.99 ff., with several variations in detail.

¹⁷⁹ See also Rockhill, op.cit., 165 f. ¹⁸⁰ ThagA.ii.121 ff. ¹⁸¹ Ap.i.52 f.

¹⁸² J.vi.255. ¹⁸³ DhA.i.327. ¹⁸⁴ E.g., Vin.ii.182. ¹⁸⁵ vs.1039 ff.

¹⁸⁶ See, e.g., Thomas: op.cit., 123. See also Rhys Davids’ article on Devadatta in ERE.

Others with the name Ānanda

2. Ānanda.– A Khattiya king of Haṃsavati, father of Padumuttara Buddha (J.i.37; Bu.xii.19). He had, by another wife, a daughter Nandā, who became the therī Pakulā in the present age (ThigA.91). Once, with twenty of his ministers and twenty thousand of his subjects, he appeared before Padumuttara Buddha at Mithilā and, having received the “ehi-bhikkhu-pabbajjā,” they became Arahants (MA.ii.722; DA.ii.488). The Buddha went back with them to Haṃsavatī where he taught the Buddhavaṃsa (BuA.160).

One of Ānanda’s sons was the prince Sumana, step-brother to Padumuttara, who became Ānanda, the personal attendant of Gotama Buddha. ThagA.ii.122.

3. Ānanda.– Step-brother of Maṅgala Buddha. He came to Maṅgala Buddha with nine hundred million followers; having heard the Buddha’s teaching, they all became Arahants. J.i.30.

4. Ānanda.– Son of Tissa Buddha, his mother being Subhaddā. Bu.xviii.18.

5. Ānanda.– Son of Phussa Buddha, his mother being Kisāgotami (Bu.xix.16). The Buddhavaṃsa Commentary (p.192), however, gives his name as Anupama.

6. Ānanda.– A Pacceka Buddha of ninety-one world-cycles ago. The thera Citakapūjaka, in a previous birth, came down from the deva-loka and cremated the Pacceka Buddha’s body with due honour (Ap.i.227). According to the Majjhimanikāya and its Commentary (M.iii.70; MA.ii.890), there were four Pacceka Buddhas of this name.

7. Ānanda.– A king of vultures. He dwelt with ten thousand vultures in Gijjhakūṭa and came to hear Kuṇāla teach. At the end of Kuṇāla’s discourse Ānanda, too, discoursed in the same strain, dwelling on the evil qualities of women “keeping to facts within his knowledge” (J.v.424, 447‑50). He lived in the Kuṇāladaha with Nārada, Devala, Puṇṇamukha, the cuckoo, and Kuṇāla (SnA.i.359). In the present age the vulture-king was Ānanda Thera, the Buddha’s attendant (J.v.456).

8. Ānanda.– A king of fishes, appointed by the fishes themselves to rule over them (J.i.207; ii.352). He was one of the six monsters of the deep. He lived on one side of the ocean and all the fishes came to him morning and evening to pay their respects. He lived on rock-slime (sevāla) until one day he swallowed, by mistake, a fish. Liking the taste very much, be found out what it was, and from that day he ate fish, unknown to his subjects. Seeing their numbers diminish, they began to grow inquisitive, and one day one of their wise ones hid in the lobe of Ānanda’s ear and discovered him eating the fish which straggled behind. When this was reported to the other fish, they fled in terror and hid themselves. Ānanda, desirous of eating them, searched everywhere; believing that they lay inside a mountain, he encircled it with his body. Seeing his own tail on the other side of the mountain and believing it to be a fish trying to escape, he crunched it in a rage. The tail was fifty leagues long and he suffered excruciating pain. Attracted by the smell of blood, the fish collected round and ate him bit by bit. His skeleton was as big as a mountain, and holy ascetics, flying through the air and seeing it below them, told men about it and the story became famous throughout Jambudīpa. Kāḷahatthi is reported as relating this story to the king in the Mahā Sutasoma Jātaka (J.v.462‑4). Ānanda is referred to as an example of great deceitfulness. MA.i.138.

9. Ānanda.– A yakkha to whom a shrine, called the Ānanda Cetiya, was dedicated. The cetiya was in Bhoganagara and was later converted into a Buddhist vihāra (AA.ii.550). There the Buddha stayed during his last sojourn, and mention is made of a discourse he taught there to the monks on the Four Great Authorities (cattāro mahāpadesā) (D.ii.123‑6; A.ii.167). From there he went to Pāvā.

10. Ānanda.– A banker of Sāvatthi. He had eight hundred million of money, but was a great miser. He had a son, Mūlasiri, and once a fortnight he would gather his kinsfolk together and, in their presence, admonish his son as to the desirability of amassing wealth, always increasing it, giving none away. When the banker died he was born in an outcaste (caṇḍāla) family outside the city gates. The king appointed Mūlasiri banker in his place.

From the time of Ānanda’s conception among the outcastes, misfortune dogged their footsteps. Knowing that a Jonah had come among them, they caused a search to be made and, as a result of their investigations, they sent the pregnant mother away. When the child was born he was a monstrosity with his organs all out of place. When old enough, he was given a potsherd and told to beg his living. One day he came to the house in which he had lived in his former life, and though he managed to enter it, he was discovered and thrown out by the servants. The Buddha happened to be passing by, and sending for Mūlasiri, he told him that the beggar had been his father. Being convinced by certain proofs, Mūlasiri believed and took refuge in the Buddha (DhA.ii.25‑8; the story is referred to in the Milindapañha p.350). It is said that eighty-four thousand beings attained deathlessness on the occasion of the Buddha teaching Mūlasiri about his father Ānanda. AA.i.57.

11. Ānanda.– Author of the Mūlaṭikā on Buddhaghosa’s Commentaries on the Abhidhamma (Gv.60, 69; Sas.69). He was originally a native of India, but came over to Sri Lanka and became head of the Vanavāsi fraternity in the Island. He probably lived about the eighth or ninth century A.D. and wrote the Mūlaṭikā at the request of a monk named Buddhamitta. He is probably identical with Ānanda, teacher of Culla Dhammapāla (see below) (P.L.C.202 f; 216 f). He was also known as Vanaratana Tissa from his connection with the Vanavāsi school.

12. Ānanda.– Teacher of Culla Dhammapāla, author of the Saccasaṅkhepa. The Saddhamma Saṅghala (ix) says that Ānanda was the author of the Saccasaṅkhepa. See also above Ānanda (11).

13. Ānanda.– Teacher of Buddhappiya, author of the Rūpasiddhi. He was a native of Sri Lanka, for Buddhappiya refers to him as “Tambapaṇṇiddhaja.” He too belonged to the Vanavāsi sect and wrote a Sinhalese interverbal translation to Piyadassi’s Pada-Sādhana and another to the Khudda-Sikkhā. He was a disciple of Udumbaragiri Medhaṅkara, pupil of Sāriputta, and he probably lived in the time of Vijayabāhu III. (P.L.C. 211).

He was the teacher of Vedeha, author of the Samantakūṭa-vaṇṇanā (P.L.C. 220). See also Buddhavaṃsa Vanaratana Ānanda.

14. Ānanda.– Author of the Saddhammopāyana, also called Abhayagiri-Kavicakravarti Ānanda and probably belonging to the same period as Ānanda (13). His friend and companion, for whom his book was written, was Buddhasoma. An Ānanda, probably a later writer, is also the author of a Sinhalese Commentary on the Saddhammopāyana. P.L.C.212.

15. Ānanda.– Companion of Chapaṭa (s.v. Saddhammajotipāla) and co-founder of the Sīhala-Saṅgha of Burma (Sās.65). He was later cut off from the community for trying to send to his kinsfolk an elephant presented to him by King Narapati. His companions suggested that the animal should be let loose in the forest, in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching regarding kindness to animals. Ānanda’s reply was that the Buddha had also taught kindness to kinsfolk (Bode: op.cit., 24). He died in 1246 (Forehammer: Jardine Prize Essay, p.35).

16. Ānanda.– Of Haṃsavatī. Author of the Madhusāratthadīpanī, a Subcommentary (ṭīkā) on the Abhidhamma. Sās.48; but see Bode: op.cit., 47‑8.

17. Ānandamāṇava.– See Nandamaṇava.