Ratthapala, Ratthapāla, Raṭṭhapāla: 1 definition


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

1. Ratthapala Thera

Chief of those who had left the world through faith (saddhapabbajitanam) (A.i.24). He was born at Thullakotthita in the Kuru country as the son of a very wealthy councillor and was called by his family name of Ratthapala. Given to the family because it retrieved the fortunes of a disrupted kingdom, says the Commentary. He lived in great luxury, and, in due course, married a suitable wife. When the Buddha visited Thullakotthita, Ratthapala went to hear him preach and decided to leave the world. His parents would not, however, give their consent till he threatened to starve himself to death. Realizing then that he was in earnest, they agreed to let him go on condition that he would visit them after his ordination. Ratthapala accompanied the Buddha to Savatthi, and there, dwelling alone, he attained arahantship within a short time (But MA.ii.725 says he took twelve years, during which time he never slept on a bed, DA.iii.236). Then, with the Buddhas permission, he returned to Thullakotthita and dwelt in the deer park of the Kuru king. The day after his arrival, while begging for alms, he came to his fathers house. His father was in the entrance hall having his hair combed, but, failing to recognize his son, he started to abuse him, taking him for an ordinary monk, one of those who had robbed him of his son. Just at that moment the slave girl of the house was about to throw away some stale rice, which Ratthapala begged of her. The girl recognized his voice, gave him the rice and told his parents who he was. When his father came to look for his son, he found him eating stale rice as though it were ambrosia. (This eating of stale rice made of him an aggaariyavamsika, Sp.i.208; MA.ii.726). Having already finished eating, when invited to enter the house, he would not do so, but on the next day he went again, and his father tried to tempt him by making a display of the immense wealth which would be his should he return to the lay life, while his former wives, beautifully clothed, asked him about the nymphs, for whose sake he led the homeless life. For the sake of no nymphs, Sisters, he said, and they fell fainting under the shock of being addressed as Sisters. Growing impatient at the conduct of his family, he asked for his meal, ate it, preached to them (Buddhaghosa says that according to the Commentators of India, parasamuddavasitheranam, he preached standing; the stanzas so preached are given in M.i.64f. and again in Thag.769-75) on the impermanence of all things, the futility of wealth, the snare of beauty, etc., and returned to Migacira. Through the air, says the Commentary (ThagA.ii.34; MA.ii.730), because his father put bolts on the house and tried to keep him there. He also sent men to remove his yellow robes and clothe him in white.

There the Kuru king, who was feasting there,

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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