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  • Cunda

1. Cunda. A worker in metals (kammāraputta) living in Pāvā. When the Buddha reached Pāvā on his way to Kusinārā, he stayed in Cunda's Mango grove. There Cunda visited him and invited him and the monks to a meal the next day. The meal consisted of sweet rice and cakes and sūkaramaddava. At the meal the Buddha ordered that he alone should be served with sūkaramaddava, and that what was left over should be buried in a hole. This was the Buddha's last meal, as very soon after it he developed dysentery (D.ii.126; Ud.viii.5). The Buddha, a little while before his death, gave special instructions to Ananda that he should visit Cunda and reassure him by telling him that no blame at all attached to him and that he should feel no remorse, but should, on the contrary, rejoice, in that he had been able to give to the Buddha a meal which, in merit, far exceeded any other (D.ii.135f).

The Suttanipāta Commentary (SnA..i.159) mentions that, at this meal, Cunda provided golden vessels for the monks' use; some made use of them, others did not. One monk stole a vessel and put it in his bag. Cunda noticed this but said nothing. Later, in the afternoon, he visited the Buddha and questioned him as to the different kinds of samanas there were in the world. The Buddha preached to him the Cunda Sutta.

The Commentary adds (p.166; also UdA.399) that Cunda reached no attainment, but merely had his doubts dispelled. The Digha Commentary, however, says (DA.ii.568) that he became a Sotāpanna at the first sight of the Buddha and built for him a vihāra at the Ambavana. This latter incident, probably, took place at an earlier visit of the Buddha, for we are told (D.iii.207) that while the Buddha was staying in Cunda's Mango grove, he was invited by the Mallas to consecrate their new Mote-hall, Ubbhataka. He accepted the invitation, preached in the hall till late at night, and then requested Sāriputta to continue, which he did by preaching the Sangīti Sutta. This was soon after the death of Nigantha Nātaputta (D.iii.210).

The Anguttara Nikāya (v.263ff) mentions another conversation between the Buddha and Cunda. Cunda tells the Buddha that he approves of the methods of purification (soceyyāni) laid down by the brahmins of the west (Pacchābhūmakā). The Buddha tells him of the teaching of the Ariyans regarding the threefold defilement and purification of the body, the fourfold defilement and purification of the speech, and the threefold defilement and purification of the mind. Cunda accepts the Buddha's explanations and declares himself his follower.

2. Cunda. The books appear to refer to two theras by the name of Cunda, the better known being Mahā-Cunda and the other Cūla-Cunda. But the legends connected with them are so confused that it is not possible to differentiate clearly one from the other.

Mention is also made of a Cunda-Samanuddesa whom, however, the Commentaries (E.g.. DA.iii.907) identify with Mahā-Cunda. Mahā-Cunda is, for instance, described in the Theragāthā Commentary (ThagA.ii.261; see also DhA.ii.188 and AA.ii.674) as the younger brother of Sāriputta, under whom he joined the Order, winning arahantship after arduous and strenuous effort.

In the time of Vipassī Buddha he had been a potter and had given to the Buddha a bowl made of clay. The Apadāna verses quoted in the Theragāthā Commentary are, in the Apadāna itself (Ap.ii.444), ascribed to a monk named Ekapattadāyaka. They make no mention whatever of his relationship to Sāriputta. On the other hand, there are to be found elsewhere in the Apadāna (Ap.i.101f) certain verses ascribed to a Cunda Thera, which definitely state that he was the son of the brahmin Vanganta, and that his mother was Sārī. But in these verses he is called Cūla-Cunda, and mention is made of his previous birth in the time of Siddhattha Buddha, to whom he gave a bouquet of jasmine flowers. As a result he became king of the devas seventy-seven times and was once king of men, by name Dujjaya. It is further stated that he became arahant while yet a sāmanera and that he waited upon the Buddha and his own brother and other virtuous monks. This account goes on to say that after his brother's death, Cunda brought his relics in a bowl and presented them to the Buddha, who uttered praises of Sāriputta. This would identify Cūla-Cunda with Cunda Samanuddesa who, according to the Samyutta Nikāya (S.v.161f), attended Sāriputta in his last illness and, after his death, brought to the Buddha at Jetavana Sāriputta's bowl and outer robe and his relics wrapt in his water-strainer. Therefore if Buddhaghosa is correct in identifying Cunda Samanuddesa with Mahā-Cunda, then all three are one and the same. (Buddhaghosa says that the monks called him Samanuddesa in his youth before his upasampadā, and he never lost the name, DA.iii.907).

Cunda Samanuddesa was, for some time, the personal attendant of the Buddha (ThagA.iii.124; J. iv.95, etc.), and when the Buddha prepared to perform the Twin Miracle, offered to perform a miracle himself and so save the Buddha trouble and exertion (DhA.iii.211). Cunda's teacher was Ananda, and it was to Ananda that he first brought the news of Sāriputta's death. (SA.iii.178; see also the Pāsādika Sutta and the Sāmagāma Sutta, where Cunda brings to Ananda and then to the Buddha the news of Nigantha Nātaputta's death; see also the Sallekha Sutta).

Mahā-Cunda was evidently a disciple of great eminence, and is mentioned by the Buddha (A.iii.299; see also M.iii.78; Ud.i.5) in company with the Two Chief Disciples, Mahā Kassapa, Mahā Kotthita, Mahā Kaccāna and other very eminent Elders.

The Pitakas contain several discourses (A.iii.355; v.41, 157) given to the monks by Mahā-Cunda while residing at Sahajātī among the Cetis, probably after the Buddha's death. Cunda (or Cundaka as he is called in this context) was with the Buddha in his last journey to Kusinārā, and spread a bed for him in the Mango grove by the Kakutthā River (D.ii.134f; Ud.viii.5).

Cunda is mentioned (S.iv.50f.; M.iii.263f ) as having accompanied Sāriputta when he went to see Channa at the Kalandakanivāpa in Rājagaha, just before Channa's suicide. Once, when the Buddha lay ill in the Kalandakanivāpa, Cunda visited him and they talked of the bojjhangas. There and then the Buddha's sickness vanished. S. v.81.

3. Cunda. See Cunda-Sūkarika.

4. Cunda. A rājakumāra, brother of Cundī and, therefore, son of Bimbisāra. (A.iii.35)


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