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  • Uttarā

1. Uttarā. A therī. She was born in Kapilavatthu in a Sākiyan family. She became a lady of the Bodhisatta's court and later renounced the world with Pajāpatī Gotamī. When she was developing insight, the Buddha appeared before her to encourage her and she became an arahant. Thig.v.15; ThigA.21f.

2. Uttarā.She was the daughter of a clansman's family in Sāvatthi. Having heard Patācarā preach, she entered the Order and became an arahant.

The Therīgāthā contains seven verses uttered by her after becoming an arahant, the result of her determination not to leave the sitting posture till she had won emancipation. Later she repeated these verses to Patācārā. Thig.vv.175-81; ThigA.161-2.

3. Uttarā.In the Theragāthā two verses (Thag.vv.1020-1) are attributed to Ananda, as having been spoken by him in admonition to an upāsikā named Uttarā, who was filled with the idea of her own beauty. Some say, however, that these verses were spoken in admonition to those who lost their heads at the sight of Ambapāli. ThagA.ii.129.

4. Uttarā Nandamātā.Chief of the lay-women disciples who waited on the Buddha (Bu.xxvi.20). In the Anguttara Nikāya (i.26), she is described as the best of women disciples in meditative power (jhāyīnam), but this may refer to another Uttarā. She is again mentioned (A.iv.347; AA.ii.791) in a list of eminent lay-women disciples, who observed the fast (uposatha) of the eight precepts.

According to the Anguttara Commentary (i.240ff), she was the daughter of Punnasīha (Punnaka), a servitor of Sumana-setthi of Rājagaha. Later, when Punnasīha was made dhana-setthi because of the immense wealth he gained by virtue of a meal given to Sāriputta, he held an almsgiving for the Buddha and his monks for seven days. On the seventh day, at the end of the Buddha's sermon of thanksgiving, Punnasīha, his wife and daughter, all became Sotāpanna.

When Sumana-setthi asked for Uttarā's hand for his son, his request was refused because Sumana's family did not belong to the Buddha's faith. Punna sent word to Sumana that Uttarā was the Buddha's disciple and daily offered flowers to the Buddha, costing a kahāpana. Later, however, when Sumana promised that Uttarā should be given flowers worth two kahāpanas, Punna agreed and Uttarā was married. After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain her husband's permission to keep the fast, as she had done in her parents' house, she got from her father fifteen thousand kahāpanas and with these she purchased the services of a prostitute named Sirimā, to look after her husband for a fortnight, and with his consent she entered on a fortnight's uposatha. On the last day of the fast, while Uttarā was busy preparing alms for the Buddha, her husband, walking along with Sirimā, saw her working hard and smiled, thinking what a fool she was not to enjoy her wealth. Uttarā, seeing him, smiled at the thought of his folly in not making proper use of his wealth. Sirimā, thinking that husband and wife were smiling at each other, regardless of her presence, flew into a fury and, seizing a pot of boiling oil, threw it at Uttarā's head. But Uttarā was at that time full of compassion for Sirimā, and the oil, therefore, did not hurt her at all. Sirimā, realizing her grievous folly, begged forgiveness of Uttarā, who took her to the Buddha and related the whole story, asking that he should forgive her. The Buddha preached to Sirimā and she became a Sotāpanna.

The Vimānavatthu Commentary (pp.631ff; Vv.11f) and the Dhammapada Commentary (iii.302ff; see also iii.104) give the above story with several variations in detail. According to these versions, at the end of the Buddha's sermon to Sirimā, Uttarā became a Sakadāgāmī and her husband and father-in-law Sotāpannas.

After death Uttarā was born in Tāvatimsa in a Vimāna. Moggallāna saw her in one of his visits to Tāvatimsa and, having learnt her story, repeated it to the Buddha.

It is curious that Nanda is not mentioned in either account. It has been suggested (E.g., Brethren 41, n.1) that Uttarā Nandamātā may be identical with Velukantakī-Nanda-mātā, but I do not think that the identification is justified. Uttarā's story is given in the Visuddhi-Magga (p.313) to prove that fire cannot burn the body of a person who lives in love, and again (p.380-1; also Ps.ii.212; PsA.497), as an instance of psychic power being diffused by concentration.

5. Uttarā. Wife of Punnasīha (Punnaka) and mother of Uttarā (4). (VvA.63; DhA.iii.302).

For her story see Punnasīha.

6. Uttarā.Daughter of Nandaka, general of Pingala, king of Surattha (PvA.241f). For her story see Nandaka.

7. Uttarā. A little yakkhinī, sister of Punabbasu. For her story see Uttaramātā (2).

8. Uttarā.Mother of Mangala Buddha. Bu.iv.18; J. i.34.

9. Uttarā. A brahmin lady, mother of Konāgamana Buddha, and also his Aggasāvikā. J. i.43; D.ii.7; Bu.xxiv.17, 23.

10. Uttarā. Aggasāvikā of Nārada Buddha. J. i.37; Bu.x.24.

11. Uttarā.Wife of Paduma Buddha in his last lay life. Bu.ix.18.

12. Uttarā.One of the chief women supporters of Vipassī Buddha. Bu.xx.30.

13. Uttarā.Daughter of the banker Uttara. She gave a meal of milk-rice to Mangala Buddha just before his Enlightenment (BuA.116).


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