Maha Arittha, Mahā-arittha: 1 definition


Maha Arittha 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»] — Maha Arittha in Theravada glossary
Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

Nephew of Devanampiyatissa. He was the kings chief minister, and led the embassy which was sent to Asoka soon after Devanampiyatissa ascended the throne (Mhv.xi.20). Asoka conferred on him the title of Senapati (Mhv.xi.25). It is said that he had fifty five elder and younger brothers who all joined the Order at Cetiyagiri at the end of a sermon by Mahinda on the Vassupanayikakhandha (Mhv.xvi.10). This was before the commencement of the rainy season, but elsewhere (Mhv.xviii.3; perhaps here we have to deal with two different traditions) it is said that Arittha was sent in the month of Assayuja - after the pavarana, when the rains were over - to Pataliputta to fetch Sanghamitta and the Bodhi tree from the court of Asoka, and that, he agreed to go only on condition that he should join the Order on his return. The king consented, and, his mission successfully concluded, he entered the Order with five hundred others and attained arahantship (Mhv.xix.5, 12, 66). He died in the reign of Uttiya (Mhv.xx.54).

The Samantapasadika (Sp.i.102ff) gives an account of a recital (sangiti) held in Ceylon by Maha Arittha. The scene was the parivena of the minister Meghavannabhaya in the Thuparama, where sixty eight thousand monks were assembled. A seat, facing south, was provided for Mahinda, Aritthas seat, the dhammasana, facing north. Arittha occupied this seat at Mahindas request, and sixty eight Maha theras, led by Mahinda, sat around him. Devanampiyatissas younger brother, Mattabhaya Thera, with five hundred others, were present in order to learn the Vinaya, the king also being present. When Arittha began his recital of the Vinaya, many miracles occurred. This was on the first day of the pavarana ceremony in the month of Kattika.

Maha Aritthas chief disciples were Tissadatta, Kalasumana and Dighasumana (q.v.).

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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