A mahāsāla brahmin, ranking with eminent brahmins such as
Todeyya (Sn. p.115). He is mentioned as staying in
Icchānangala (M.ii.196), where he
evidently took part in the periodical gatherings of brahmin leaders - and also
at Manasākata (D.i.235). He was a follower
of the Buddha, of whom he was a great admirer. He appears to have been in the
habit of talking to well known teachers of other schools and hearing their
opinion of the Buddha, either for the purpose of comparing his own faith in him
or of discovering their views. Two such conversations are recorded - one with
Subha Todeyyaputta (M.ii.209), the other with
His discussion with Pilotika he reported to the Buddha, who expanded it to
form the Culahatthipadopama Sutta.
The Buddha also preached to Jānussoni the
Bhayabherava Sutta (M.i.16ff). Jānussoni's permanent residence was
Sāvatthi (DA.ii.399), and he often visited the
Buddha at Jetavana, consulting him on many topics,
- results of actions (A.i.56),
- sanditthaka-nibbāna (A.i.157),
- tevijja-brahmins (A.i.166),
- fearlessness of death (A.ii.173),
- the ideals of various classes of persons (A.iii.362),
- true celibacy (A.iv.54),
- the Paccārohani ceremony (A.v.233ff., 249ff.),
- the efficacy of gifts (A.v.269ff.), and
- eternalism and annihilation (S.ii.76).
He had a white chariot with silver fittings and white trappings drawn by four
pure white mares. He would drive about in this, wearing white garments,
turban-cloths and sandals and fanned by a white fan. The reins, the goads and
the canopy were also of white. His chariot was considered the finest in all
Sāvatthi (S.v.4f; cp. M.i.175 and ii.208).
Buddhaghosa says that Jānussoni was not his personal name but the name of the
rank he held as chaplain to the Kosala king. MA.i.90; according to AA. (i.308)
it was the name of any noble family, members of which held this rank. Cp.
Govindiye abhisiñci (at D.ii.231).