An arahant. He was the son of a
landowner, Mahā Suvanna of Sāvatthi, and was called Mahā-Pāla (major Pāla), his
brother being Culla-Pāla. The boys were called Pāla on account of being born
through the favour of a tree deity.
Mahā-Pāla heard the Buddha preach at
Jetavana and entered the Order. After five years of novitiate he went with sixty
others to a woodland spot to meditate. There he fell a victim to ophthalmia and
was prescribed for by a doctor; but he neglected his eyes, devoting his whole
time to the duties of recluse ship. He became an arahant but lost the sight of
his eyes, hence his name. Later, Cakkhupāla's colleagues returned to Sāvatthi
and, at his own request, Cakkhupāla's brother sent his nephew
as a monk, to fetch him. On the way through the forest, Pālita was attracted by
the song of a woodcutter's wife and, bidding his uncle wait, went and sinned
with her. When Cakkhupāla, by questioning the novice, learnt of this, he refused
to be accompanied by him, even though he should die on the way.
was heated, and he led the Elder safely to Sāvatthi, where he was looked after
by his brother to the end of his days (Thag.95; ThagA.i.195f).
It is said that
in a previous birth he had been a physician, and because a woman, whose disease
of the eye he had cured, tried to cheat him out of his promised reward, he gave
her a drug which completely ruined her eyes.
DhA.i.15ff, where several details
are given regarding Cakkhupāla which are not mentioned here.