Ananda, 5 Definition(s)
Ananda was one of many principal disciples and a devout attendant of the Buddha. Amongst the Buddhas many disciples, Ananda had the most retentive memory and most of the suttas in the Sutta Pitaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddhas teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that, he was known as the Guardian of the Dharma.
According to the Buddha every Buddha in the past and to come will have two chief disciples and one attendant during his ministry. In the case of Gautama Buddha the pair of disciples were Sariputta and Mahamoggallana and the attendant Ananda.
The word Ananda means bliss in Pali, Sanskrit as well as other Indian languages. It is a popular Buddhist and Hindu name.
In the Kannakatthala Sutta (MN 90), Ananda is identified with the meaning of his name:
Then King Pasenadi Kosala said to the Blessed One, "Lord, what is the name of this monk?"
"His name is Ananda, great king."
"What a joy he is! What a true joy!..."
Ananda was the first cousin of the Buddha by their fathers, and was devoted to him. In the twentieth year of the Buddhas ministry, he became the Buddhas personal attendant, accompanying him on most of his wanderings and taking the part of interlocutor in many of the recorded dialogues. He is the subject of a special panegyric delivered by the Buddha just before the Buddhas Parinibbana (the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (DN 16)); it is a panegyric for a man who is kindly, unselfish, popular, and thoughtful toward others.
Ananda was one of the principle disciples of the Buddha and was with Him during last 25 years of His life. He is known for establishing the order of nuns. He was also picked up at the First Councli, by President Kasyapa, to recite all the sermons preached by the Buddha.
1. Ananda - 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 Sakiyan, brother of Suddhodana. Mahanama and Anuruddha were therefore his brothers (or probably step brothers). According to the Mtu.iii.176, Ananda was the son of Suklodana and the brother of Devadatta and Upadhana. His mother was Mrgi.
Ananda entered the Order in the second year of the Buddhas ministry, together with other Sakiyan princes, such as Bhaddiya, Anuruddha, Bhagu, Kimbila and Devadatta, and was ordained by the Buddha himself (Vin.ii.182), his upajjhaya being Belatthasisa (ThagA.i.68; also DA.ii.418ff.; Vin.i.202; iv. 86). Soon after, he heard a discourse by Punna Mantaniputta and became a Sotapanna. In S.iii.105 Ananda acknowledges his indebtedness to Punna and gives an account of Punnas sermon to him.
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 Nagasamala, Nagita, Upavana, Sunakkhatta, the novice Cunda, Sagata, Radha 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. 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.
All the great disciples offered their services, but were rejected by the Buddha. Ananda 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 Ananda, the latter agreed to accept the post on certain conditions. The Buddha was never to give him any choice food or garment (*) 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 Anandas services to the Buddha were done in order to get clothes, good fare 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.
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One of the five daughters of the chief queen of the king of the third Okkaka dynasty (DA.i.
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