1. Tapassu, Tapussa. A merchant of Ukkala. He and his friend,
Bhalluka (Bhalliya), while on their way to
saw the Buddha at the foot of the Rājāyatana tree, in the eighth week after the
Enlightenment. Urged by a deity, who had been their relation, they offered the
Buddha rice-cakes and honey in a bowl provided by the Four Regent Gods. They
became the first lay disciples of the Buddha, and their formula of Refuge
contained no reference to the Sangha (Vin.i.3f; A.i.26; UdA.54; J. i.80).
According to the Theragāthā Commentary
(i.48f), Tapassu and Bhalluka were brothers, sons of a caravan leader of
Pokkharavatī. Some time later they visited the Buddha at Rājagaha, where he
preached to them; Tapassu, thereupon, became a Sotāpanna, while Bhalluka entered
the Order and became an arahant.
In the time of Sikhī Buddha they were
brahmins of Arunavatī. Hearing that two caravan leaders, Ujita and Ojita, had
given the first meal to the Buddha, they gave alms to the Buddha and his monks,
and wished for a similar privilege for themselves under a future Buddha. In the
time of Kassapa Buddha, they were sons of Gopāla-setthi, and for many years
provided the monks with milk rice.
The Anguttara Commentary (AA.i.207f)
says that the deity, who caused Tapassu and Bhalluka to give alms to the Buddha,
was their mother in their previous birth. The Buddha gave them, for worship,
eight handfuls of his hair, which he obtained by stroking his head. They took
the hair with them to their city - which, according to this account, was
Asitañjana - and there built a cetiya, from which rays of blue light issued on
fast-days. Tapassu is called a dvevācikaupāsaka (AA.ii.696), and is included in
a list of eminent upāsakas. A.iii.450. The Sanskrit books call him Trapusa
See also Tapassu Sutta below.
2. Tapassu.Chief of the lay disciples
of Dīpankara Buddha. Bu.ii.215.