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...

Commentary on the Biography of the thera Upasena, the son of Vaṅganta

Stanzas, starting with Padumuttaram Bhagavantam constitute the biography of the thera Upasena, son of Vaṅganta. This One also, having done devoted deeds of service towards former Buddhas, accumulating meritorious deeds, conducive towards escape from rounds of repeated rebirths (vaṭṭa), was reborn into the house of a family in the city of Hamsavatī at the time of the Glorious One Padumuttara, and on coming of age, went to the presence of the Master, listened to the preaching of the dhamma, when he noticed the Master placing a bhikkhu at the topmost position among those all pleasing bhikkhus; performed acts of service towards the master, wished for that ranking position did good deeds as long as he lived, wandered about his rounds of rebirths amongst divine and human-beings, and was reborn in the womb of the brahmin lady Rūpasārī, in Nālaka village, at the time of the appearance of this Buddha. His name was Upasena Tissa. On coming of age, he acquired the knowledge of the three vedas, listened to the dhamma in the presence of the Master, properly gained pious faith, renounced the world, got ordained as a monk and a year later, saying to himself: "I am going to make the realm of nobles (ariya) expand", made a son of a family a monk in his presence by ordination (upasampadā) and went together with him to the presence of the master. Having heard that his co-resident bhikkhu was he who had not yet lived a lent was reproached by the Master thus:- "O stupid fellow! You have, indeed, fallen back to abundance, exceedingly lightly". He said to himself thus: "Now, if I am blamed because of retinue by the Master, I shall make myself pleasing to the Master due to my very retinue even, however"; performed acts for development of spiritual insight (vipassanā) and attained arahatship but not long afterwards. having, however, become an arahat, he himself also, took upon himself by way of doing duty, all the austere practices (dhutaṅgadhamma); he made others also do the same for that purpose. because of that, the Glorious One placed him at the topmost position among all pleasing bhikkhus (samantapāsādika). On a subsequent occasion, when a quarrel arose at kosambī, when the clergy of bhikkhus also became broken into two sections, as and when he was asked by a bhikkhu, who was desirous of completely avoiding that quarrel thus: "At present, indeed, a quarrel has arisen; the clergy of bhikkhus also has become split in twain; how, indeed, am I to conduct myself properly?", he preached to that bhikkhu the proper performance beginning from residence in solitude. Thus the thera, in order to bring to light the state of his own proper performance likewise following the direction of giving advice to that bhikkhu, made manifest his having attained arahatship.

86. Having attained the topmost ranking position in this way, he uttered a stanza beginning with Padumuttaram Bhagavantam, making manifest his former deeds by way of becoming delighted. Pabhāramhinisīdantam (sitting on the slope) loaded, bent, inclined in front, thus, is pabbhāra (slope); seated on the natural mountain slope in the middle of the forest facilitating seclusion; naruttaman (the most excellent man) the Glorious One, Upagacchim (I approached) I went near; thus, is the meaning.

87. Kaṇikārapupphamdisvā (seeing the yellow kaṇikāra flower approaching in that manner), having seen the well-blooming yellow Kaṇikāra flower at that place; Vante chetvāna' ham tadā (having cut then at their stalk) at that time of my seeing the Tathāgata, I cut off that flower at the stalk;alaṅkaritvā chattamhi (decorated it at the umbrella) covered the umbrella with that flower; Buddhassa abhiropayi (had it ride over Buddha) made it held above the head of Buddha, who was seated on the hill-slope; thus, is the meaning.

88. Piṇḍapātañca pādāsim (I offered alms-food also) I offered and fed alms-food in a way to the Glorious One who was seated at the self-same place even; paramannam subhojanam (absolutely exalted meal and good soft food) most excellent nourishment, absolutely good food reckoned as good soft food; Buddhena navame tattha (there the ninth together with Buddha) in that secluded spot, together with Buddha the ninth, samaṇe (monks) I fed eight bhikkhus who were canker-free and had made evil deeds cease; thus, is the meaning.

Yam vadanti sumedho (whatever wise people say) bhūripaññam (abundant wisdom) Sumedham (One of good knowledge) wise people say about this omniscient Buddha Gotama as of vast knowledge similar to earth, possessed of such knowledge as omniscience and so on and as having excellent wisdom and also that this Gotama will become well self-enlightened Buddha a hundred thousand aeons (kappa) from this aeon (kapa); thus is the connection. The rest is but easily comprehensible.

The Commentary on the Biography of the thera Upasena, son of Vaṅganta has ended.

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