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 Biography of the thera Mahākaccāna

Stanzas beginning with Padumuttara nāthassa constitute the biography of the venerable thera Kaccāna. This one also, having done devoted service towards former Buddhas, accumulating good (or meritorious) deeds conducive towards escape from rounds of repeated rebirths (vaṭṭa), was reborn in the house of a family of a very wealthy house-holder at the time of the Glorious one Padumuttara; having attained the age of development (or seniority), he, one day, listened to the truth (dhamma), in the presence of the Master, when he noticed the Master placing a bhikkhu at the top-most position among analysts who could explain extensively whatever was preached briefly, this one also, aspired for that ranking position, did such meritorious deeds as charitable offering and so on, wandered about his rounds of rebirths among divine and human-beings, became a repository of super-science (vijjādhara), at the time of the Glorious One Sumedha, met the Master seated in a dense forest, as he went through the sky, became pleasingly pious-minded and made offering of honour with Kaṇikāra flowers.

On account of that act of merit, he all-round turned out to be but in good courses of rounds of rebirth oft and on, and was reborn in the house of a family in Benares, at the time of Dasabala Kassapa; when the Glorious One entered parinibbāna, he offered in His honour, gold pieces of brick worth ten thousand at the site of setting up a gold shrine and made his aspiration thus:- "O Glorious One! Wherever I;am reborn, may I have gold complexion". Thereafter he did good deeds as long as he lived, wandered about his rounds of rebirths among divine and human beings for an interim period between two Buddhas and was reborn in the house of the private chaplain (purohita), of king Caṇḍapajjota, in Ujjenī, when this Buddha arose. On his naming day, his parents, saying to themselves: "Our son of gold complexion has come bringing along with him his own name"; made him known as Kañcanamāṇva (Gold lad), even. When he grew old he acquired the knowledge of the three vedas and with the lapse of his father, gained the position of private chaplain (purohita). He became widely known as Kaccāna by way of his clan.

King Caṇḍapajjota heard about the appearance of Buddha and sent him saying: "Teacher! You please go there and bring the Master here". He was with himself the eighth and approached the presence of the master. The Master preached the truth (dhamma) to him. At the end of the preaching, he, together with seven of his people attained arahatship, along with analytical knowledge. Then the Master stretched out His hand with the words: "Come! bhikkhus"! Then and there they became as if they were theras of sixty years standing, bearing bowl and robe made by magical powers, wearing two-finger breadth of hair and beard. Having thus accomplished his own benefit the thera informed the master thus:- "Venerable Sir! King Pajjota is desirous of paying his homage to your feet and listen to the truth (dhamma), also". The Master replied thus: "O bhikkhu! You yourself, go there; when you go there also the king will be pleased". The thera, with himself as the eighth went there, pleased the king, had the dispensation properly established among the peoples of Avanti and again went to the very presence of the Master.

31. Having thus attained the fruition of arahat-ship and also achieved the topmost position thus: "O monks! Amongst my disciples, who could analyse the meaning extensively is the chief, namely Mahā Kaccāna", he remembered his own former deed and uttered this stanza, beginning with Padumuttaranāthassa in order to make manifest the deed done before (or formerly) either because of being covered over with lotuses or made in the manner of lotus flowers: the shrine by being worthy of offering reverentially like the monastic fragrant chamber of the Glorious One's residence; Gotamaka, the shrine of Āḷavaka," the residential place of those ogres are said to be shrines because of their being places of reverential offering; in the same way, this residential place of the Glorious One is said to be a shrine; it should not be understood as the shrine where relics are treasured; indeed, he did not build (or make) a relic shrine because of the absence of corporeal relics of the Glorious One who had not entered parinibbāna: silāsanam kārayitvā (having had a stone-seat made) having had a stone-seat made of crystal below, for the purpose of flower-bearing for that fragrant chamber named Paduma; suvaṇṇana'bhilepayi (had it smeared with gold) had that stone-seat smeared and covered over much distinctively with gold of Jambonada (Jambu river); thus, is the meaning.

32. Ratanamayam (made of gems) the umbrella, made of seven kinds of gems; paggayha (having held up) I properly set up for Buddha lifting (or holding up) and bearing on my head a yak-tail fan as well as the excellent white tail of camara; Lokabandhussa tādino (to such a relative of the world) I held towards Buddha endowed with such quality (tādi), resembling the relative of the whole world; thus, is the meaning. The rest is but easy of meaning.

The commentary on the biography of the thera Mahā Kaccāna has ended.

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