1. Isidatta. A Thera. He was the son of a caravan guide at Vaddhagāma
(v.l. Velugāma) in
Avanti. By correspondence he became the unseen
friend of Citta-gahapati of
Macchikāsanda. The latter once sent him a
letter regarding the excellences of the Buddha,
and Isidatta, being pleased with the account given of the Buddha's religion,
entered the Order under Mahā-Kaccāna and
in due course became an arahant. Later, with Mahā-Kaccāna's leave, he visited
the Buddha in the Majjhimadesa and was
warmly received by him (ThagA.ii.238). A verse uttered by Isidatta, in response
to the Buddha's enquiry regarding his welfare, is recorded in the Therāgāthā
Isidatta had been a householder in the time of
Vipassī Buddha and once, having seen the Buddha walking along the street and
being pleased with his demeanour, he gave him an Āmoda-fruit (ThagA.i loc. cit.).
He is, probably, identical with Amodapaliya
of the Apadāna (ii.447).
According to the Samyutta Nikāya (iv.283-8, also AA.i.210), Isidatta was once
staying with a number of senior monks at Macchikāsanda in the
Ambātaka grove. Citta-gahapati invited the
monks to a meal. On this occasion Citta asked a question regarding the Buddha's
teaching on the diversity of the elements. The chief Elder, being unable to
answer, remained silent. Isidatta, though the most junior of the whole company,
obtained the chief Elder's permission, and answered the question to the
satisfaction of Citta. Citta likewise asked questions regarding various views,
such as the infinity of the world, etc. At the end of the discourse, Citta
discovered, by accident, that the Elder who had preached to him was none other
than his unseen friend, Isidatta. Delighted with the discovery, he invited
Isidatta to spend his time at a Macchikāsanda, promising to provide him with all
requisites. But that same day Isidatta left Macchikāsanda and never returned.
Because, says Buddhaghosa (AA.i.210), he did
not wish to stay after having been recognised.
2. Isidatta.An equerry or chamberlain (thapati) of
Pasenadi, King of Kosala. Isidatta is always
mentioned with Purāna. Their duty was to look
after the ladies of the king's harem when these went riding the elephant into
the park. This often brought them into close contact with the ladies, and they
confessed to the Buddha that it was difficult not to have evil thoughts
Isidatta and Purāna were once at Sādhuka'
on some business (their own property, according to Buddhaghosa, SA.i.215). They
heard that the Buddha was having a robe made before starting on his rounds and
they waited for an opportunity to talk to him. When the opportunity came they
followed the Buddha and told him how glad they always were when he was near them
and how sad when he was away on tour. The Buddha preaches to them the glory of
the homeless life and urges them to put forth energy. He speaks very
appreciatively of their loyalty to him and to his religion and congratulates
them on the possession of virtuous qualities, such as sharing all their goods
with holy men, a rare quality (S.v.348-52; Netti. 134f).
According to the Samyutta Commentary (i.215), Isidatta was a Sakadāgāmī and
Purāna a Sotāpanna.
In the Dhammacetiya Sutta (M.ii.123f),
Pasenadi tells the Buddha how impressed he is by the reverence Isidatta and
Purāna show for the Buddha and his teachings. "They are my carriage-builders,"
says the king, "and they depend on me for their livelihood and all their
honours, yet these men do not serve me as whole-heartedly as they do the Lord."
Once the king spent the night in a cramped little house. Isidatta and Purāna,
who were with him, having spent the best part of the night in discussing the
Doctrine, lay down to rest with their heads in the direction in which they
thought the Buddha to be, and their feet towards the king!
Isidatta was the uncle of the woman-disciple
Migasālā, whose father was Purāna.
Purāna is described as a brahmacāri, but not Isidatta, yet, after death, they
were both born in Tusita. Migasālā asks
Ananda how it was that people of different
characters could have the same rebirth. A.iii.348f.; v.138f., 143f. From
MA.ii.756, it would appear as if Isidatta was the brahmacāri. The word cannot
here mean "celibate," for Purāna must have had a wife because Migasālā calls him
her father (pitā).
Isidatta is mentioned by the Buddha among those who had the six qualities
that brought realisation of immortality - unwavering loyalty to the Buddha, the
Dhamma and the Sangha, Ariyan virtue, wisdom and liberation (A.iii.451).
The Anāgata Vamsa (v.58) says that when the future Buddha Metteyya leaves the
household life, eighty-four thousand others, led by Isidatta and Purāna, will
3. Isidatta.King of Soreyya. Anomadassī Buddha preached to him and to
eighty thousand of his followers. They all became arahants. BuA.143-4.
4. Isidatta.One of the three leaders of the monks in Ceylon during
the time that Brāhmanatissa-cora laid waste the land. The other two were
Cūlasīva and Mahāsona. For the story connected with them see s.v. Mahāsona.