Apadana commentary (Atthakatha)

by U Lu Pe Win | 216,848 words

This is the English translation of the commentary on the Apadana (Atthakatha), also known as the Visuddhajana-Vilasini. The Buddhist stories known as apadanas refer to biographies of Buddhas, Buddhist monks and nuns. They are found in the Pali Canon (Khuddaka Nikaya), which is the primary canon of Theravada Buddhism. Alternative titles: Visuddhaja...

3.32. when he had thus installed His father in the three fruitions, the Glorious One went on the next day to Rājagaha and took up His residence in the cool grove (Jītavana). On that occasion, a wealthy householder, Anātha-pindika, carried along with him, merchandise in five hundred carts, went to Rājagaha, arrived at the house of a banker, who was his own beloved associate. There he heard about the news that Buddha had arisen, went, very early in the morning, by the city gate opened by the power of the divinities, to the presence of the Master, listened to the dhamma, got established in the fruition of the first stage of sanctification (Sotāpatti),made a great gift of charity to the clergy headed by Buddha on the second day; took the Master's consent for His coming to Sāvatthi, made on his way back, a gift of a hundred thousand at a place forty-five yojanas distant, had monasteries built at every yojana, bought Jetagrove at a price of eighteen crores of gold coins by spreading the crores on the grove-ground in full like a large sheet of gold coins and had on it established nine categories of construction of newly-built character. At the centre of the grove, he had a sweet-scented sanctuary built for Dasabala. It was made to be surrounded by single residential monasteries separately for His eighty major disciples. The rest of the monasteries were in the form of a single cottage, double cottage, circular swan (Hamsā) structure, long and short halls, pandals, etc., together with lotus pond, cloister-walk, night resorts and day resorts. having thus had a delightful monastery built on a pleasant piece of land at a sacrifice of eighteen crores of gold coins, Anāthapin̄ dika sent a messenger in order that the dasabala might come over. On hearing his message, the Master, surrounded by a large concourse of bhikkhus came away from Rājagaha and eventually arrived at the city of Sāvatthi.

3.33. The great banker made the mighty monastery ready and on the day the Tathāgata entered the Jetavana monastery, sent his son, who was made well-dressed and decorated with all kinds of adornments together with five hundred young men who were equally well-dressed and decorated. The banker's son and his retinue took along with them five hundred flags of five coloured resplendent cloth and stationed themselves in front of Dasabala. Behind them, two daughters of the banker, mahāsubaddhā and Cūḷasubaddhā, together with five hundred young maidens carried in their hands full water-jars and went out to meet the Master. Behind the two daughters and their retinue, the banker's wife, well dressed and adorned with all kinds of adornment went out together with five hundred women carrying in their hands full bowls of food. Behind all of them, the great banker, who had put on his new clothes, together with five hundred fellow bankers who were equally dressed in new clothes went out to meet the Glorious One. Putting this assembly of devotees in front of Him, the Glorious One, surrounded by a large concourse of bhikkhus of the clergy, entered the Jetavana monastery with the immeasurable Buddha's splendour and endless Buddha's grace making the inside of the grove a it was being anointed and sprinkled with essence of gold, by means of His own bodily rays.

3.34. then Anāthapiṇḍika humbly asked Him: "Venerable Sir! What procedure should I follow in this monastery? "O wealthy householder! Well let this monastery stand for the clergy of bhikkhus of the four different directions who had either come or not yet come" was the Buddha's reply. Saying: "Very well, Venerable Sir!" the great banker brought with him the ceremonial water vessel of gold, poured water into the hands of Dasabala and made offering thus:- "I make this offering of this Jetavana monastery to the organisation of bhikkhus headed by Buddha, from four different directions, whoever have already come or who have not."

The Master took over the monastery and spoke about the benefits of (giving) a monastery (in charity) by way of making His thanks thus:

"The monastery wards against cold and heat; moreover it shields against wild beasts also; creeping crawling creatures and mosquitoes, dew drops as well as rain shower it wards off. moreover, it obstructs the uprising violent storm and heat. It is congenial for shelter, and comfort, to enter upon jhāna and to do vipassanā meditation. The gift of a monastery in charity to the clergy is eulogised as the best by Buddha, therefore, indeed, a wise man, seeing his own benefit should build delightful monas- teries and let the vastly-learned bhikkhus live in them. Food and drinks, clothings and residences should be provided to them who are straightforward with a purely faithful heart. They would preach him dhamma, which would dis- pel all distress. The donor of a monastery knowing here such a dhamma, will become free from cankers (āsava) and enter nibbāna"

Beginning from the second day, Anāthapiṇḍika began (to look after) the great monastery. The great monastery of Visakhā became completed in four months. The great monastery of Anāthapiṇḍika, however, came to completion in nine months. The self-same amount of eighteen crores went towards the cost of building the great monastery (also) as charity. Thus, on a single monastery only, Anāthapiṇḍika spent in charity his wealth to the tune of fifty four crores.

3.35. Long ago, however, at the time of the Glorious One vipassi, a banker named Punabbasumitta bought land by spreading gold bricks all over the entire site, and built at the self. same place a monastery of the clergy (Saṅghārāma). whose dimensions was a yojana. At the time of the Glorious One Sikhi, however, a banker named sirivāḍḍha bought a site by covering it all over with gold plough-shares and at that very place built a monastery for the clergy, three gāvutas in extent. At the time of the glorious One Vessabhu, a banker, named Sotthiya bought a site by covering it all over with gold elephant feet and at that very place built a monastery for the clergy half a yojana in extent. At the time of the Glorious One Kakusandha, a banker named Accuta bought a site by spreading gold bricks over the entire area and at that very place built a monastery for the clergy on gāvuta in extent. At the time of the Glorious One Konāgamana, a banker named Ugga bought a site by spreading all over the same with gold tortoises and at that self-same site built a monastery for the clergy sixteen acres (karīsa), in extent. At the time of our Glorious One, however, the banker, named Anāthapiṇḍika bought the site is but the unrelinquished place of all Buddhas.

3.36. thus, the Glorious One took up His residence in such a such a place form the time He obtained omniscience at the terrace of the Great Bodhi Tree up to the time He took to bed to proceed to the excellently complete immortal peace (parinibbāna). This is to be comprehended as the episode know as the proximate preface, (Santike midāna).

Here ends the discourse on prefaces.

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