Home  |  Library Index  |  DPPN Index


  • Janapadakalyānī Nandā

One of the three Nandās who became Bhikkhunīs - the others being Nandā, sister of Nandatthera and Abhirūpa-Nandā. Because of her very great beauty she earned the sobriquet of Janapadakalyānī. The Udāna Commentary (170) gives details of her beauty, which justified her title; see also J. i.394.

Janapadakalyānī was engaged to be married to Nanda, but on the day fixed for the marriage the Buddha induced Nanda to join the Order, in spite of Nanda's wishes, and in due course he became an arahant. Later, when women were admitted to the Order, Janapadakalyānī, feeling she had nothing to look forward to, became a Bhikkhunī under Pajāpatī. For a long time she would not visit the Buddha, having heard that he spoke disparagingly of physical beauty, but one day, inspired by curiosity, she accompanied her colleagues to hear the Buddha preach. He, being aware of her thoughts, created the form of a most beautiful maiden who stood fanning him. As Janapadakalyānī sat gazing at her, enraptured by her beauty, she saw her gradually reach extreme old age, passing through all the stages, until at last she saw her die, leaving her body to decompose and become a mass of filth. At the critical moment, the Buddha uttered the appropriate words and Janapadakalyānī became a Sotāpanna. The Buddha then preached the Kāyavicchandanika Sutta and she became an arahant (Ud.iii.2; J. i.91; SnA.i.241f, 243f, 254, 273; DhA.i.97, 100).

She seems to have been known also as Rūpanandā. DhA.iii.113f; but see Rūpanandā; perhaps here we have a confusion of legends. In the northern books she is called Bhadrā. (Rockhill, p.55.)

In one of her previous lives, Janapadakalyānī was born as a she-mule; she sorely tempted Nanda, who was then a mule belonging to a merchant named Kappata (DhA.i.105).

Sundari Nandā also seems to have been called Janapadakalyānī.


 Home  To Index