Kumara-kassapa, Kumāra-kassapa: 1 definition


Kumara-kassapa 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»] — Kumara-kassapa in Theravada glossary
Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Kumara Kassapa Thera - He was foremost among those who had the gift of varied and versatile discourse (cittakathikanam) (A.i.24). His mother was the daughter of a banker of Rajagaha, and she, having failed to obtain her parents consent to become a nun, married and, with her husbands consent, joined the Order, not knowing that she was with child. When her condition was discovered her colleagues consulted Devadatta, who declared that she was no true nun. The Buddha, on being consulted, entrusted the matter to Upali, who had it fully investigated by Visakha and other residents of Savatthi, and he gave his finding in the assembly, in the presence of the king, that the nun was innocent. (For details see J.i.148; Upalis handling of the case won the Buddhas special commendation, see, e.g., AA.i.172). When the boy was born the king reared him, and the boy was ordained at the age of seven. The boy came to be called Kumara, because he joined the Order so young and was of royal upbringing, and also because the Buddha, when sending him little delicacies such as fruit, referred to him as Kumara Kassapa. Once when Kumara Kassapa was meditating in Andhavana, an anagami Brahma, who had been his companion in the time of Kassapa Buddha, appeared before him, and asked him fifteen questions which only the Buddha could answer. This led to the preaching of the Vammika Sutta (M.i.143ff), and after dwelling on its teachings Kassapa became an arahant. (For Kumara Kassapas story see J.i.147ff; AA.i.158f; ThagA.i.322f; MA.i.335f). His mother, too, developed insight and attained to arahantship. It is said that she wept for twelve years because she could not be with Kassapa, and one day, seeing him in the street, as she ran towards him and fell, milk flowed from her breasts and wet her robe. Kassapa, realising that her great love was standing in the way of her attainments, spoke harshly to her that she might love him the less. The ruse succeeded and she became an arahant that very day (DhA.iii.147).

In the time of Padumuttara Buddha Kassapa was a learned brahmin, and having heard a monk ranked foremost in eloquence, he wished for a similar distinction and did many acts of piety towards that end. When the teachings of Kassapa Buddha were being forgotten, he, together with six others, entered the Order and lived a life of rigorous asceticism on the summit of a mountain. (Ap.ii.473f; the details of this story are given in DhA.ii.210-12; among Kassapas companions were also Pukkusati, Daruciriya, Dabba Mallaputta and Sabhiya; see also UdA.80f).

Two verses of deep significance ascribed to Kumara Kassapa are found in the Theragatha (vv.201.202). Although it is said that he was a very eloquent speaker, the examples given of his preaching are extremely scanty. The Anguttara Commentary (i.

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).

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