1. Gavampati Thera.An arahant. He was a
son of a setthi in Benares, and one of the four lay companions of the Thera
who, when they heard of Yasa's renunciation, imitated him and won arahant-ship.
Later, Gavampati lived in the Añjanavana at Sāketa. One day, when the
Buddha visited the Añjanavana, some of the monks accompanying him slept on the
sandbanks of the Sarabhū. The river rose in the night and there was great
dismay. The Buddha sent Gavampati to stem the flood, which he did by his
iddhi-power. The water stopped afar off, looking like a mountain peak.
In the time of Sikhī Buddha he was a
huntsman and seeing the Buddha offered him flowers. Later he built a parasol and
a railing for the thūpa of Konāgamana. In the time of
Kassapa Buddha he was a
rich house holder possessed of many cattle. One day he saw an arahant eating his
meal in the sun for lack of shade, and built for him a shelter and planted in
front of it a sirīsa-tree. As a result he was born in the
and his palace was known as Serissaka. (Vin.i.18f.; Thag.v.38; ThagA.i.103f;
VvA.331f; DA.iii.814 gives a slightly different version of the origin of the
Gavampati was the teacher of Mahānāga,
son of Madhu-Vāsettha (ThagA.ii.443). It is said that the Serissaka-vimāna,
occupied by Gavampati, remained in the Cātummahārajika world even after he had
left it. (D.ii.356f; DA.iii.814 says he went there because he found the
"climate" (utu) more agreeable. SnA.i.347 says it was because he, like
Pindola-bhāradvāja, loved his old haunts).
There Gavampati often spent his siesta
and held conversations with Pāyāsi, who sent through him a message to the
inhabitants of the earth, that they should profit by the example of him (Pāyāsi)
and discriminate in the bestowal of their gifts.
The Dulvā mentions (Rockhill, p.149f)
that after the Buddha's death, when Mahā Kassapa wished to hold a Convocation of
the chief monks, Punna was sent as a special messenger to summon Gavampati, who
was then in the Serissaka-vimāna. But Gavampati did not attend, his death being
imminent. Instead he sent his bowl and three robes as a gift to the Sangha.
Immediately afterwards he died, and
Punna carried out his funeral rites.
Gavampati is evidently identical with
Girinelapūjaka of the Apadāna (ii.457).
See also Gavampati Sutta below.
2. Gavampati.The Sāsanavamsa (p.36f)
speaks of a Thera by this name, at whose request the Buddha went to Sudhammapura
in the Rāmañña country to establish his religion. In a previous life Gavampati
was born of an egg laid by a Nāga maiden who had relations with a vijjā-dhara.
The egg was hatched and a child was born, but it died at the age of ten and was
reborn at Mithilā as Gavampati. He joined the Order at the age of seven and
became an arahant. Later he visited Sudhamma-pura to preach to his mother, and
there King Sīha asked him to invite the Buddha to his country.
Gavampati Sutta.Preached by Gavampati
at Sahajāti in the Ceti country. A number of the senior monks were talking of
dukkha, and Gavampati tells them that he knows from the Buddha's own self that
whosoever understands dukkha knows all its aspects - its nature, its arising,
its cessation and the path thereto. S. v.436.