Apalala, aka: Apalāla; 2 Definition(s)
Apalala means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)
A naga king, converted by the Buddha.. He is mentioned together with Aravala, Dhanapala and Parileyyaka. The name appears in passages where the Buddhas powers are discussed (E.g., BuA.29). Was not the Buddha honoured even by beasts such as Aravala, etc.?
The story of the conversion of Apalala does not, as far as I can discover, occur in the canonical books. In the Samantapasadika (iv.742) the story of the conversion of Apalala (Apalaladamana) is given among the stories not included in the Three Councils (sangiti), but that it was known quite early in Ceylon is evidenced by the fact that, among the scenes from the Buddhas life represented in the relic chamber of the Maha Thupa, the conversion of Apalala is mentioned (Mhv.xxx.84). The Divyavadana (pp.348, 385) makes reference to the story, and states that the naga was converted shortly before the Buddhas death. Hiouen Thsang gives the story in detail (Beal: Records of the Western World i.122; also Legge: Fa Hiens Travels, p.29n.). During Kassapa Buddhas time, Apalala had been a powerful man called Gangi. By means of his charms he subdued the dragons that attacked the country, and the people, in gratitude, agreed to give him tribute. Later some of them forgot their promise and he, in wrath, became a dragon after his death.
The Buddha Gotama visited him and preached to him. He was converted, but, for his sustenance, he was allowed to have one gathering of the crops every twelve years. It is for this reason that the White River (Subhavastu) overflows every twelfth year. The story is found in the Sutralankara and other Mahayana books. See Nariman: Sanskrit Buddhism, pp.194, 274.
According to the Vinaya of the Mulla Sarvastivadins, the Buddha converted Apalala during a visit to Kashmir in the company of the Yaksa Vajrapani (JA.1914, vol. iv.510).(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
Apalāla (अपलाल) is mentioned as the king of Nāgas according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter V.—“A po lo lo (Apalāla), king of the Nāgas, was converted because of a good thought (kuśalacitta) and became a disciple of the Buddha. To prevent famines (durbhikṣa), he caused an unceasing beneficial rain to fall”.
Note: Evidently this (Apalāla) is the serpent Alāla, protector of Magadha. According to a commentary on the Ekottarāgama: The brahmin Fan che, who had taken birth in the form of the dragon Apalāla and ravaged the crops in Magadha, was transported to the north-west of India: the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra tells us that the Buddha went to north-western India to the land of Yue tche and there subjugated the king of the dragons, Apalāla.
According to appendix 3 of the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XV.—In the kingdom of the Yue tche, in Uḍḍiyāna, near the sources of the Swat, the Buddha subdued the Nāga Apalāla. We have already studied the legends relating to this nāga and we have seen that except for the P’ou sa pen hing king, which locates him in the pool of Yeou lien, near Rajāgṛha, the other sources locate him in the north-west. The Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya gives a detailed account of the struggle between the Buddha and the nāga.
The taming of Apalāla is represented on the Gandhāran bas-reliefs and the Chinese pilgrims Fa hien, Song yun and Hiuan tsang add further details: they note the place where the Buddha dried his kāṣāya wetted by the nāga, the rock where he left his foot-print, the spring where he chewed a willow twig which he planted and which immediately became a big tree.
Note: To tame him, the Buddha called upon the yakṣa Vajrapāṇi. For details, see my [Lamotte’s] article Varapāṇi en Inde, in Mélanges de Sinoligie offerts à Paul Demiéville, I, 1966, p. 130–132.
Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.
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Search found 5 books and stories containing Apalala or Apalāla. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön)
Appendix 8 - Apalāla (king of the nāgas) and Alāla (protector of Magadha) < [Chapter V - Rājagṛha]
Appendix 3 - The journey of the Buddha to the north-west of India < [Chapter XV - The Arrival of the Bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions]
Part 9 - Why is the Buddha called Puruṣadamyasārathi (puruṣa-damya-sārathi) < [Chapter IV - Explanation of the Word Bhagavat]
Buddhist records of the Western world (Xuanzang) (by Samuel Beal)
Buddhacarita (by Charles Willemen)
Chapter XXI - Subduing the Maddened Elephant Dhanapālaka < [Fascicle Four]
The Mahavamsa (by Wilhelm Geiger)
A Dictionary Of Chinese Buddhist Terms (by William Edward Soothill)