Assalayana, Assalāyana: 1 definition


Assalayana 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.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Assalayana in Theravada glossary
Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

A young brahmin, sixteen years old, of Savatthi, very learned in the Vedas and allied subjects. Five hundred brahmins staying in the city asked him to hold a discussion with the Buddha and refute his views. He agreed only after repeated requests, because, he said, Gotama was a thinker with views of his own and, therefore, difficult to defeat in controversy.

He visits the Buddha and asks what he has to say concerning the claims of the brahmins to be the only superior class, the legitimate sons of Brahma.

The Buddha points out to him that such pretensions are baseless, and that virtue, which alone leads to purity, can be cultivated by any of the four classes.

Assalayana sits silent and upset at the end of the discourse, but when the Buddha relates to him a story of the past where Asita Devala had defeated brahmins who held these same views, Assalayana feels relieved and expresses his admiration of the Buddhas exposition. He declares himself a follower of the Buddha (M.ii.147ff). Buddhaghosa (MA.ii.785) tells us further that Assalayana became a devoted follower of the faith and built a cetiya in his own residence for worship, and that all his descendants, down to Buddhaghosas day, built similar cetiyas in their houses.

Assalayana is probably to be identified with the father of Mahakotthita, his wife being Candavati. There is, however, one difficulty connected with this theory: Mahakotthita says that he was won over to the faith after hearing the same sermon of the Buddha as converted his father (yada me pitaram Buddho vinayi sabbasuddhiya) (ThagA.i.31; Ap.ii.480). It is unlikely, if the identification be correct, that this refers to the Assalayana Sutta, because at the time of that Sutta, Assalayana was only sixteen years old; but there exists no record of any other sutta preached to Assalayana, dealing with sabbasuddhi.

Assalayanas name occurs in a list of eminent brahmins found in the Sutta Nipata Commentary (i.372).

Assalayana Sutta - Records the conversation between the Buddha and Assalayana when the latter went to visit him. M.ii.147ff.

context information

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).

Discover the meaning of assalayana in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

See also (Relevant definitions)

Relevant text

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: