One of three brothers, the
Tebhātika-Jatilas, living at Uruvelā. He lived on the banks of the
with five hundred disciples. Further down the river lived his brothers Nadī-Kassapa
with three hundred disciples and Gayā-Kassapa with two hundred.
visited Uruvela-Kassapa and took lodging for the night where the sacred fire was
kept, in spite of Kassapa's warning that the spot was inhabited by a fierce
Nāga. The Buddha, by his magical powers, overcame, first this Nāga and then
another, both of whom vomited fire and smoke. Kassapa being pleased with this
exhibition of iddhi-power, undertook to provide the Buddha with his daily food.
Meanwhile the Buddha stayed in a grove near by, waiting for the time when
Kassapa should be ready for conversion. Here he was visited by the
Gods, Sakka, Brahma and others. The Buddha spent the whole rainy season there,
performing, in all, three thousand five hundred miracles of various kinds,
reading the thoughts of Kassapa, splitting firewood for the ascetics'
sacrifices, heating stoves for them to use after bathing in the cold weather,
etc. Still Kassapa persisted in the thought, "The great ascetic is of great
magic power, but he is not an arahant like me." Finally the Buddha decided to
startle him by declaring that he was not an arahant, neither did the way he
followed lead to arahantship. Thereupon Kassapa owned defeat and reverently
asked for ordination. The Buddha asked him to consult with his pupils, and they
cut off their hair and threw it with their sacrificial utensils into the river
and were all ordained. Nadī-Kassapa and Gayā-Kassapa came to inquire what had
happened, and they, too, were ordained with their pupils. At
Gayāsīsa the Buddha
preached to them the Fire Sermon (Āditta-pariyāya), and they all attained
From Gayāsīsa the Buddha went to
Rājagaha with the Kassapas and their pupils, and in the presence of
and the assembled populace Uruvela-Kassapa declared his allegiance to the
Buddha. This story of the conversion of the Kassapas is given in Vin.i.24ff and
in AA.i.165f; also in ThagA.i.434ff.
Later, in the assembly of monks,
Uruvela-Kassapa was declared to be the chief of those who had large followings (aggam
mahāparisānam) (A.i.25). Six verses attributed to him are found in the
Theragāthā (vv.375-80), wherein he reviews his achievement and relates how he
was won over by the Buddha.
In the time of Padumuttara Buddha he was
a householder, and having seen the Buddha declare a monk (Sīhaghosa was his
name, Ap.ii.481) to be the best of them with large followings, wished for
himself to be so honoured in a future life, and did many works of merit towards
Later, he was born in the family of
Phussa Buddha as his younger step-brother, his father being Mahinda. (According
toBu.xix.14, Phussa's father was Jayasena). He had two other brothers. The
three quelled a frontier disturbance and, as a reward, obtained the right to
entertain the Buddha for three months. They appointed three of their ministers
to make all the arrangements and they themselves observed the ten precepts. The
three ministers so appointed were, in this age, Bimbisāra, Visākha and
Having sojourned among gods and men, the
three brothers, in their last birth, were born in a brahmin family, the name of
which was Kassapa. They learnt the three Vedas and left the household life
(AA.i.165f; DhA.i.83ff; Ap.ii.481ff).
According to the Mahā-Nārada-Kassapa
Jātaka (J.vi.220ff; Ap.ii.483), Uruvela-Kassapa was once born as Angati, king of
Mithilā in the Videha country. He listened to the teachings of a false teacher
called Guna and gave himself up to pleasure, till he was saved by his wise
daughter Rujā, with the help of the Brahma Nārada, who was the Bodhisatta.
Uruvela-Kassapa was so called partly to
distinguish him from other Kassapas and partly because he was ordained at
Uruvela. At first he had one thousand followers, and after he was ordained by
the Buddha all his followers stayed with him and each of them ordained a great
number of others, so that their company became very numerous (AA.i.166).
The scene of the conversion of
Uruvela-Kassapa is sculptured in Sanchi. According to Tibetan sources, Kassapa
was one hundred and twenty years old at the time of his conversion (Rockhill,
op. cit., 40).
Hiouen Thsang found a stūpa erected on the spot where the Buddha
converted Kassapa (Beal., Bud. Records, ii.130).
Belatthasīsa was a disciple of
Uruvela-Kassapa and joined his teacher when the latter was converted
(ThagA.ii.67). Senaka Thera was Kassapa's sister's son (ThagA.ii.388).
was among those who joined the Order, after having seen Kassapa pay homage to
the Buddha at Rājagaha (ThagA.ii.159).