Velama, aka: Velāma; 2 Definition(s)
Velama 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.
Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)
The Bodhisatta born as the chaplain of Benares. He was son of the preceding chaplain, and went with the crown prince to Takkasila to study. There, in due course, he became a famous teacher, with eighty four thousand princes among his pupils. Later, he became chaplain to the Benares king. Every year the eighty four thousand princes came to Benares to pay their respects to the king, causing great suffering to the people. These complained to the king, and he asked Velama to find a way out of the difficulty. Velama marked out eighty four thousand provinces for the princes, and, thereafter, they obtained their supplies from their respective dominions.
Velama was exceedingly wealthy and wished to give alms. Therefore, turning his water jar upside down, he wished that if there were holy men in the world, the water should flow downwards. The water, however, remained in the jar. He then discovered by the same means that his gifts would be free from blame. He thereupon held great almsgivings, distributing during seven years the seven precious things and gifts of great value, pouring forth his riches as though making into one stream the five great rivers. A list of his gifts is found at A.iv.393f.
Velamas story is given in AA.ii.802ff.; it is referred to in the Velama Sutta and in the introductory story to the Khadirangara Jataka (q.v.).
Velamas almsgiving became famous in literature as the Velamamahayanna. E.g., MA.ii.616.Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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).
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
Velāma (वेलाम) is the name of a Brahmin-Bodhisattva according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIX).—“The A p’o t’o na king (Avadānasūtra) tells the following: Once in Jambudvīpa, there was a king named P’o sa p’o (Vāsava); at the same time, there was a Brahmin-bodhisattva named Wei lo ma (Velāma): he was the king’s teacher (śāstṛ) and he taught him to follow the rule of the noble cakravartin kings”.
Note: The sumptuous alms of Velāma to which the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra will return later are described in the Velāmasutta of the Aṅguttara (IV), of which there are five Chinese versions. We must interpret the story of Velāma, such as it is told by the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra, differently. The Bodhisattva Velāma, who was one day to become the Buddha Śākyamuni, in order to accomplish generosity truly worthy of a Bodhisattva, would have to fulfill two conditions: i) he would have to give for the benefit of beings and from compassion for them; ii) he would have to give in view of attaining Buddhahood one day.
According to chapter L, in the Velāma-jātaka: “thus the Bodhisattva Wei-lo-mo (Velāma), having made gifts for twelve years, still offered richly adorned dairy cows, vases made of the seven jewels, courtesans – the three groups each containing 84,000 items – and also other things made of wood and food (annapāna) in incalculable amounts”.Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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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Search found 6 books and stories containing Velama or Velāma. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön)
The Velāma-jātaka < [I. Puṇyakriyāvastu consisting of generosity]
Part 6 - Avadāna of the sumptuous alms of Velāma < [Chapter XIX - The Characteristics of Generosity]
Part 5 - Other kinds of generosity < [Chapter XIX - The Characteristics of Generosity]
The history of Andhra country (1000 AD - 1500 AD) (by Yashoda Devi)
The Jataka tales [English], Volume 1-6 (by Robert Chalmers)
The Buddha and His Disciples (by Venerable S. Dhammika)
Buddhist Outlook on Daily Life (by Nina van Gorkom)
The Great Chronicle of Buddhas (by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw)