A grove to the south of Sāvatthi, one gāvuta away from the city. It was well guarded and monks and nuns used to resort
there in search of solitude. During the time of Kassapa Buddha, thieves waylaid
an anāgāmī upāsaka in this forest; his name was Sorata (Yasodhara, according to
the Samyutta Cy), and he had been touring Jambudīpa collecting money for the
Buddha's cetiya. They gouged out his eyes and killed him. Thereupon the robbers
all lost their sight and wandered about the forest blind; hence the name of the
forest ("Blind," usually, but wrongly, translated "Dark"). It had retained its
name during two Buddha-periods. The story is given in MA.i.336ff. and SA.i.148.
There was a Meditation Hall (padhāna-ghara)
built there for the use of contemplative monks and nuns (MA.i.338). Stories are
told of those, particularly the nuns, who were tempted by
Māra in the Andhavana.
E.g., Ālavikā, Soma,
Selā, Vajirā; J. i.128ff. and ThigA.64, 66, 163.
Once when Anuruddha was staying there he
became seriously sick (S.v.302). It was here that the Buddha preached to
the discourse (Cūla-Rāhulovāda) which made him an arahant (S.iv.105-7;
Among others who lived here from time to
time are mentioned the Elders Khema,
Soma (A.iii.358), and Sāriputta (A.v.9),
the last-mentioned experiencing a special kind of samādhi (where he realised
that bhavanirodha was nibbāna).
The Theragātha Commentary (i.39) records
a discussion here between Sāriputta and Punna regarding purification (visuddhikamma).
The Vammikā Sutta (M.i.143ff ) was the result of questions put by an anāgami
Brahma, his erstwhile colleague, to Kumāra-kassapa, while he was in Andhavana.
Once bandits laid an ambush for Pasenadi
as he went through the forest to pay his respects to the Buddha, attended by a
small escort, as was sometimes his wont. He was warned in time and had the wood
surrounded, capturing and impaling or crucifying the bandits on either side of
the road through the wood. We are told that though the Buddha knew of this, he
did not chide the king because he had certain reasons for not doing so. (See
SA.i.131-2. Mrs. Rhys Davids doubts the authenticity of this story; KS.i.127n.)
The Therī Uppalavannā was raped in a hut
in the forest by a young brahmin named Ananda, and it is said that from that
time nuns did not live in Andhavana (DhA.ii.49, 52).
The Pārājikā (Vin.iii.28ff ) contains
stories of monks who committed offences in the forest with shepherdesses and
others, and also of some monks who ate the flesh of a cow which had been left
behind, partly eaten, by cattle thieves (Vin.iii.64). It was here that
Uppalavannā obtained the piece of cow's flesh which she asked Udāyi to offer to
the Buddha, giving Udāyi her inner robe as "wages" for the job (the story is
told in Vin.iii.208-9).
The Pārichattakavimāna (VvA.172ff ) was
the abode which fell to the lot of a woman who having plucked an asoka-flower,
while getting firewood in Andhavana, offered it to the Buddha.
The rule forbidding monks to enter a
village clad only in their waist cloth and nether garment was made with
reference to a monk whose robe had been stolen by thieves in Andhavana