Upasena, aka: Upasenā; 2 Definition(s)


Upasena means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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)

1. Upasena Thera - Maternal uncle of Vijitasena Thera and brother of Sena. He was an elephant trainer, and having heard the Buddha preach, he entered the Order and, in due course, became an arahant. He ordained Vijitasena (ThagA.i.424). According to the Mahavastu (iii.60ff), Sariputta was converted to Buddhism not by Assaji, as recorded in the Pitakas, but by an Elder named Upasena, who is, perhaps, to be identified with the Upasena. The Mahavastu (iii.431f) also mentions an Upasena who was nephew to the Tebhatika Jatilas. When the Tebhatikas accepted the Buddha as their teacher, they cast the garments, etc., which they had used as ascetics, into the Neranjara, on the banks of which was Upasenas hermitage. When Upasena saw the robes, etc., he knew that something must have happened to his uncles. He went at once to see them and, having heard the good tidings of their new found bliss became a monk himself. It is not stated whether this Upasena is identical with the Elder of the same name mentioned above as the teacher of Sariputta.

2. Upasena Vangantaputta - He was born in. Nalaka as the son of Rupasari, the brahminee, his father being Vanganta. He was the younger brother of Sariputta (UdA.266; DhA.ii.188). When he came of age, he learnt the three Vedas, and, having heard the Buddha preach, entered the Order. When his ordination was but one year old, he ordained another bhikkhu, to increase the number of holy ones, and went with him to wait upon the Buddha. The Buddha roundly rebuked him for this hasty procedure (Vin.i.59; Sp.i.194; J.ii.449), and Upasena, wishing to earn the Masters praise on account of the very cause of this rebuke, practised insight and became an arahant. Thereafter he adopted various dhutangas and persuaded others to do likewise. In a short time he had a large retinue, each member of which was charming in his way, and the Buddha declared Upasena to be the best of those who were altogether charming (samantapasadikanam) (A.i.24). Buddhaghosa says that Upasena was famed as a very clever preacher (pathavighutthadhammakathika), and many joined him because of his eloquence. AA.i.152; also Mil.360, where more details are given of how Upasena admitted monks into the Order and of the conditions imposed on them; for a slightly different version see Vin.iii.230ff; it is said there that after Upasenas visit, the Buddha allowed monks who practised dhutangas, to visit him even during his periods of retreat. See also Sp.iii.685f.

He visited the Buddha when the Buddha had enjoined on himself a period of solitude for a fortnight; the monks had agreed that anyone who went to see the Buddha would be guilty of a pacittiya offence, but the Buddha, desiring to talk to him, asked one of Upasenas followers if he liked rag robes. No, Sir, but I wear them out of regard for my teacher, was the reply.Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

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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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Upasena (उपसेन) is the name of a Buddha under whom Śākyamuni (or Gautama, ‘the historical Buddha’) acquired merit along the first through nine bhūmis, according to the Mahāvastu. There are in total ten bhūmis representing the ten stages of the Bodhisattva’s path towards enlightenment.

Upasena is but one among the 500 Buddhas enumerated in the Mahāvastu during a conversation between Mahākātyāyana and Mahākāśyapa, both principle disciples of Gautama Buddha. The Mahāvastu is an important text of the Lokottaravāda school of buddhism, dating from the 2nd century BCE.

Source: Wisdom Library: Lokottaravāda
Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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