1. Upananda. A thera. He belonged to the
Sākiyan clan. Several incidents connected with him are mentioned in the
Vinaya. Once he promised to spend the rainy season with
Pasenadi Kosala, but on his way there he saw
two lodgings where robes were plentiful and so kept Vassa in those lodgings
instead. Pasenadi was greatly annoyed and when, in due course, the matter
reached the ears of the Buddha, Upananda was rebuked and a set of rules was
passed regarding promises made about the rainy season (Vin.i.153).
On another occasion Upananda spent the rainy season at
Sāvatthi, but when the time came for the monks
to gather together and divide the robes that had been given to them, he went
from village to village, taking his share of the robes from everywhere. The
Buddha sent for him and rebuked him in the presence of the Order, but the rebuke
had evidently no effect, for we find him again spending the Vassa alone in two
residences, with the idea of obtaining many robes. The Buddha, however, ordered
that only one portion should be given to him (Vin.i.300).
His greediness was not confined to robes. Once he was invited to a meal by an
official, a follower of the Ājīvakas. He went
late, and finding no room left for him, made a junior monk get up and give him
his seat. There was a great uproar, but Upananda had his way (Vin.ii.165).
Elsewhere he is accused of having appropriated two lodgings for himself at the
same time, one at Sāvatthi and the other somewhere in the country. He was
evidently unpopular among the monks, because on this occasion we find him spoken
of as "a maker of strife, quarrelsome, a maker of disputes, given to idle talk,
a raiser of legal questions." (Vin.ii.168).
Upananda was fond of money, for we find in the Vinaya (Vin.ii.297) a
statement to the effect that "on the occasion of the matter of Upananda the
Sākiyan, the Buddha distinctly laid down a precept by which gold and silver were
Upananda had been given his meals regularly by a certain family. Once a dish
of meat was prepared for him, but a little boy in the house started to cry for
the meat, and it was given to him. Upananda insisted that a kahāpana should be
paid to him in lieu of the meat (Vin.iii.236f).
Upananda was once asked to preach to those that came to Jetavana. Among the
visitors was a banker, and when the banker expressed the desire to give
something to Upananda to show his appreciation of the sermon, Upananda wished to
have the robe that the man wore. The banker was embarrassed, and promised to go
home at once and fetch him another robe, even better than the one he had on. But
Upananda was adamant, till, in despair, the man gave him his robe and went away.
Again, when Upananda heard that a certain man wished to offer him a robe, he
went to the man and told him what kind of robe he wanted, and said he would
accept no other (Vin.iii.215).
A story is also told of a Paribbājaka exchanging his own garment for one
belonging to Upananda, which was of rich colour. Two other Paribbājakas told him
that he had lost in the bargain, so he wished to cry off the deal, but Upananda
positively refused (Vin.iii.240f). He did not, however, always come off best in
a bargain. Once he gave a robe to a colleague, on condition that the latter
should join him in his tours. The condition was agreed to, but later, when the
recipient monk heard that the Buddha was going on tour, he preferred to join the
Buddha's company. The robe was not returned to Upananda, who had to be reported
to the Buddha for the violent language he used to the defaulter (Vin.iii.254f).
Upananda is mentioned as quarrelling with the
Chabbaggiya monks (Vin.iv.30) and, at another time, as going his alms-rounds
with a colleague with whom he quarrelled when the rounds were over, refusing to
give him any of the food obtained. The unfortunate monk had to starve because it
was then too late to go out begging again (Vin.iv.92f). We are not told whether
Upananda deliberately set out to have a quarrel in order that he might keep all
the food himself!
Nor were all Upananda's misdemeanours confined to greed for possessions. We
are told that once a complaint was made to the Buddha that Upananda had gone to
the house of an acquaintance and had sat down in the bedroom of the woman of the
house, talking to her. The husband ordered food to be brought to Upananda, and
when that was done, asked him to leave. But the woman wished him to stay and he
refused to go away (Vin.iv.94).
On two other occasions he is mentioned as visiting the houses of his
acquaintances and being found by the husbands, seated alone with their wives
(Vin.iv.95-7; see also 121, 127 and 168, for other offences committed by him).
With most laymen, however, he was evidently popular. Mention is made of a
meal where the donor kept all the other monks waiting for quite a long while,
till Upananda should arrive, after his visits to various households (Vin.iv.98).
And, again, of food being sent to the monastery with express instructions that
the other monks should eat only after Upananda had done so (Vin.iv.99).
Episodes regarding Upananda's misdeeds are not confined to the Vinaya. In the
Dabbhapuppha Jātaka (J.iii.332ff; see
also DhA.iii.139ff) we are told that he was in the habit of preaching
contentment to others. When they, touched by his preaching, cast away their good
robes, etc., Upananda collected them for himself. Once he cheated two brethren
of a costly blanket. When the matter was brought to the Buddha's notice, this
Jātaka was related to show how in previous births, too, he had plundered other
people's goods. He had been a jackal called Māyāvī, and had cheated two other
jackals of a rohita-fish they had caught. Again, in the
Samudda Jātaka (J.ii.441f), he is
described as a great eater and drinker; he would not be satisfied even with
cart-loads of provisions. The Jātaka tells of how he once was born as a
water-crow and tried to prevent the fish from drinking the sea-water lest he
should not have enough for himself.
Buddhaghosa calls him a lolajātika, held in contempt by his eighty thousand
fellow Sākiyans who joined the Order (Sp.iii.665). Elsewhere he is referred to
as a well-known example of one who never practised what he preached and,
therefore, did not benefit by his cleverness. E.g., AA.i.92; MA.i.348; Vsm.i.81.
Upananda had under him two novices, Kandaka
and Mahaka, who seem to have resembled their teacher in being undesirables. They
were found guilty of an unnatural offence, and the Buddha ordered that no one
should ordain them (Vin.i.79). This order seems to have been rescinded later
2. Upananda. A king of fifty-seven kappas ago; a previous birth of
Tindukadāyaka Thera. Ap.i.201.
3. Upananda.Four Pacceka Buddhas, mentioned in the
Isigili Sutta. M.iii.70.
4. Upananda.Commander-in-chief of the Magadha
kingdom. He was present at the conversation, recorded in the
Gopaka-Moggallāna Sutta, between Ananda and
5. Upananda. See Nandopananda.