Mahanama, Mahānāma: 3 definitions


Mahanama means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. 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)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Mahanama Thera - He was born in a brahmin family of Savatthi, and, after hearing the Buddha preach, entered the Order. Taking a formula of meditation, he dwelt on the hill called Nesadaka. Unable to prevent the rising of evil thoughts, he was disgusted with himself, and climbing a steep crag, made as if to throw himself down, and evoking insight became an arahant. In the time of Sumedha Buddha he was a brahmin teacher skilled in the Vedas, and the Buddha visited him in his hermitage on the banks of the Sindhu and was given honey by him (ThagA.vs.115; ThagA.i.227ff). Mahanama is probably identical with Madhudayaka Thera of the Apadana. Ap.ii.325f.

2. Mahanama Thera - One of the Pancavaggiya (J.i.82). He became a sotapanna on the third day after the preaching of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. He became an arahant on the day of the preaching of the Anattalakkhana Sutta, together with the other Pancavaggiya (AA.i.84; MA.i.390). Mahanama once visited Macchikasanda, and there Cittagahapati, seeing him beg for alms and pleased with his bearing, invited him to his house, gave him a meal, and listened to a sermon by him. Citta was greatly pleased, and offered his pleasure garden of Ambatakavana to Mahanama as a gift to the Order and built there a great monastery. DhA.ii.74.

3. Mahanama - A Sakiyan raja, son of Amitodana; he was elder brother of Anuruddha and cousin of the Buddha. When the Sakiyan families of Kapilavatthu sent their representatives to join the Order of their distinguished kinsman, Mahanama allowed Anuruddha to leave the household, he knowing nothing of household affairs. Vin.ii.180f.; DhA.i.133; iv.124, etc.; but according to Northern sources (Rockhill, p. 13) he was son of Dronodana; according to ThagA. (ii.123) Ananda was a brother (or, at least, a step brother) of Mahanama, for there Ananda"s father is given as Amitodana. But see MA.i.289, where Mahanama"s father is called Sukkodana and Ananda"s Amitodana.

Mahanama showed great generosity to the Sangha, and was proclaimed best of those who gave choice alms to the monks (A.i.26). Once, with the Buddha"s permission, he supplied the Order with medicaments for three periods of four months each. The Chabbaggiya, always intent on mischief, tried in vain to discourage him. Vin.iv.101; AA. (i.213) adds that this was during the period of want experienced by the Buddha and his monks at Veranja. At the end of the year, Mahanama wished to continue the supply of good food to the Buddha and his monks, but the Buddha refused his permission.

Mahanama was a devoted follower of the Buddha and wished to understand the Doctrine. The books record several conversations between him and the Buddha, and Ananda, Godha, and Lomasavangisa (see Mahanama Sutta and Lomasavangisa). Once when the Buddha arrived at Kapilavatthu he asked Mahanama to find him lodging for the night. Mahanama tried everywhere without success,

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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India history and geography

Source: The Chronological History of Ancient Sri Lanka

Mahanama was the author of Mahavamsa but Sri Lankan sources do not provide any clue about his date. A Bodhgaya inscription refers to a Sri Lankan named Mahanama who built a shrine in the north of the Mahabodhi temple. This inscription is dated in the year 267 and written in Brahmi characters of the Gupta era. The Basavakkulma Rock inscription of King Mahanama (824-802 BCE) is written in old Brahmi characters. Therefore, the Mahanama mentioned in the Bodhgaya inscription cannot be identified with the Sri Lankan King Mahanama. Seemingly, Mahanama wrote Mahavamsa in the first half of the 1 st century BCE.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Mahānāma (महानाम).—(n) (1) regularly °ma, in Mahāvastu the name of Yaśodharā's father, a Śākyan noble: Mahāvastu ii.48.7; 73.4 ff. (refuses the first request to give his daughter to the Bo- dhisattva); identified with characters in stories of the past, ii.114.17; 496.11; iii.26.12; 152.16; (2) (= Pali Ma- hānāma 3 in Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names), son of Amitodana and brother of Anuruddha), name of a disciple of the Buddha, seemingly not to be identified with (3): son of Amṛtodana, brother of Anuruddha and Bhaṭṭika, Mahāvastu iii.177.2 ff. (stem °ma); mentioned with Bhadrika (3) and Aniruddha Lalitavistara 229.12 (stem °man); Mahāvyutpatti 3607 (nom. °maḥ): (3) (= Pali °ma 2 in Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)), name of one of the five bhadravargīya monks; [Page423-b+ 71] seems not the same as (2), tho in soem lists of disciples, e.g. Divyāvadāna below, his name occurs at the end of a list (partial or complete) of these five, but also just before Aniruddha (like 2): stem °ma, Mahāvastu iii.329.1; 337.6; 339.1; Mahāvyutpatti 1044 (°maḥ; probably belongs here; the names of the five monks are not grouped together in this list); stem °man, Saddharmapuṇḍarīka 1.10; Lalitavistara 1.7; Sukhāvatīvyūha 2.3; stem °ma- in composition, Divyāvadāna 182.21; 268.6; Avadāna-śataka ii.134.12. In Śikṣāsamuccaya 69.4, cited from Pravrajyāntarāyasūtra, voc. Mahānāman, probably addressed to (2) or (3) but unidentifiable; (4) name of a Licchavi of Vaiśālī (compare Pali Mahānāma 4 in Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)): Mūla-Sarvāstivāda-Vinaya ii.15.17 ff.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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