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

Page last updated on 8 October, 2020

Association for Insight Meditation Home Page


1. Upavāṇa.– A thera. He belonged to a very rich brahmin family of Sāvatthi, and having seen the Buddha’s majesty at the dedication of Jetavana, he entered the Order and became an Arahant with sixfold higher knowledge (abhiññā). For some time, before Ānanda was appointed as the Buddha’s personal attendant (upaṭṭhāka), Upavāṇa waited on the Buddha. Once when the Buddha was attacked by cramp, Upavāṇa, with the help of his lay-friend Devahita, obtained hot water and suitable medicines, with which the ailment was healed; the Buddha, thereupon, expressed his gratitude. ThagA.i.308 ff; this ailment does not seem to be mentioned in the Milindapañha 134 f. where several others are given. This incident is given at greater length in S.i.174 f; see also DhA.iv.232 f.

When the Buddha lay on his death-bed at Kusinārā, Upavāṇa was by his side fanning him; the Buddha, seeing that he obstructed the vision of the devas who had come to pay their last homage to the Teacher, asked Upavāṇa to move away (D.ii.138 f).

Two occasions are mentioned on which Upavāṇa consulted the Buddha on matters of doctrine, once regarding the arising of suffering (S.ii.41‑2) and once on the immediate and practical use of the Dhamma (sandiṭṭhikadhamma) (S.iv.41). There is also recorded a visit of Upavāṇa to Sāriputta when they were both staying in the Ghositārāma at Kosambī. Sāriputta asks him about the factors of enlightenment as being conducive to a happy life and Upavāṇa explains (S.v.76). On another occasion Upavāṇa is the enquirer, and he asks Sāriputta about the “end-maker” (antakara); Sāriputta explains that the “end-maker” is the one who knows and sees things as they really are (A.ii.163).

When an unpleasant interview took place between Sāriputta and Lāḷudāyī (q.v.) and no one was found to support Sāriputta, the matter is reported to the Buddha, who declares that Ānanda should have taken Sāriputta’s side. Soon afterwards Ānanda seeks Upavāṇa and tells him that he was too timid to interfere, and if the Buddha referred to the matter again, would Upavāṇa undertake to answer? In the evening the Buddha engages Upavāṇa in conversation and asks him to explain the five qualities that make a monk esteemed and loved by his colleagues. At the end of the discourse the Buddha applauds Upavāṇa (A.iii.195 f).

In Padumuttara Buddha’s time Upavāṇa had been a poor man. Seeing people making great offerings at the Buddha’s thūpa, he was much touched, and having washed his upper garment, he hung it as a flag over the thūpa. A yakkha named Abhisammataka, who was the guardian of the cetiya, took the flag three times round the cetiya, he himself remaining invisible.

A monk whom the man consulted after this miracle foretold that for thirty thousand world-cycles he would be in the deva-worlds and that he would be deva-king eighty times. One thousand times he was Cakkavatti. In his last life his wealth was eight hundred million. When he was Cakkavatti, his banner was held aloft, three leagues in height. Ap.i.70 ff.

2. Upavāṇa.– Son of Anomadassī Buddha. Bu.viii.19.