1. Anuruddha Thera
First cousin of the Buddha and one of
his most eminent disciples. He was the son of the Sākyan Amitodana and brother
of Mahānāma. When members of other Sākyan families had joined the Order of their
distinguished kinsman, Mahānāma was grieved that none had gone forth from his
own. He therefore suggested to his brother that one of them should leave
household life. Anuruddha was at first reluctant to agree, for he had been
reared most delicately and luxuriously, dwelling in a different house for each
season, surrounded by dancers and mimes. But on hearing from Mahānāma of the
endless round of household cares he agreed to go. He could not, however, get his
mother's consent until he persuaded his cousin Bhaddiya to go with him. Together
they went with Ananda, Bhagu, Kimbila, Devadatta and their barber Upāli, to the
Blessed One at the Anupiya Mango Grove and were ordained. Before the rainy
season was over Anuruddha acquired the dibbacakkhu (Vin.ii.180-3; Mtu.iii.177f),
and he was later ranked foremost among those who had obtained this attainment
He then received from Sāriputta, as
topic of meditation, the eight thoughts of a great man. The list is given in
A.iv.228ff. Another conversation he had with Sāriputta before becoming an
arahant is reported in A.i.281-2. He went into the Pācīnavamsadāya in the Ceti
country to practise these. He mastered seven, but could not learn the eighth.
The Buddha, being aware of this, visited him and taught it to him. Thereupon
Anuruddha developed insight and realised arahantship in the highest grade (A.iv.
loc. cit.; AA.108-9; Thag.901).
Anuruddha appears in the Suttas as an
affectionate and loyal comrade-bhikkhu, full of affection to his kinsman, the
Buddha, who returned his love. In the assembly he stood near the Buddha
(Bu.v.60). When the Buddha, disgusted with the quarrels of the Kosambī monks,
went away to seek more congenial surroundings, it was to Pācīnavamsadāya that he
repaired, where were Anuruddha, Nandiya and Kimbila. The Upakkilesa Sutta
(M.iii.153f.), on the sweets of concord and freedom from blemish, seems to have
been preached specially to Anuruddha on that occasion, for we are told at the
end that he was pleased to have heard it, no mention being made of the other
two. And again in the Nalakapāna Sutta (M.i.462ff.), though a large number of
distinguished monks are present, it is to Anuruddha that the Buddha directly
addresses his questions, and it is Anuruddha who answers on behalf of them all.
See also the Cūla- and the Mahā-Gosinga Suttas.
Anuruddha was present when the Buddha
died at Kusinārā, and knew the exact moment of his death; the verse he uttered
on that occasion is thoughtful and shows philosophic calm, in contrast, for
example, with that of Ananda. D.ii.156-7. On this see
Oldenberg, Nachrichten der Wissenschaften zu Goettingen, 1902, pp.168f.; and
Przyluski JA. mai-juin, 1918, pp.486ff.
Anuruddha was foremost in consoling the
monks and admonishing them as to their future course of action. It was Anuruddha
again that the Mallas of Kusinārā consulted regarding the Buddha's last
obsequies (D.ii.160f). Later, at the First Council, he played a prominent part
and was entrusted with the custody of the Anguttara Nikāya (DA.i.15).
In one of the verses ascribed to
Anuruddha in the Theragāthā (904; ThagA.ii.72) it is said that for twenty-five
years he did not sleep at all, and that for the last thirty years of his life he
slept only during the last watch of the night. The same source (Thag.908; also
S.i.200) mentions an occasion where a goddess, Jālinī (ThagA.iii.73; this story
is given in detail in SA.i.225-6), who had been his wife in a previous birth,
seeing him grown old and grey with meditation, seeks to tempt him with the joys
of heaven, but he tells her he has no need of such things, having attained to
freedom from rebirth.
His death took place in Veluvagāma in
the Vajji country, in the shade of a bamboo thicket. Thag.919. See also Psalms
of the Brethren, p.331, n.1. I cannot trace the reference to Hatthigāma. He was
one hundred and fifteen years old at the time of his death (DA.ii.413).
In Padumuttara Buddha's time he had been
a rich householder. Hearing one of the monks declared best among possessors of
the celestial eye, he wished for a similar honour for himself in the future. He
did acts of great merit towards that end, including the holding of a great feast
of light in front of the Buddha's tomb. In Kassapa Buddha's age he was born in
Benares; one day he placed bowls filled with clarified butter all round the
Buddha's tomb and lighted them, himself walking round the tomb all night,
bearing on his head a lighted bowl.
Later he was reborn in a poor family in
Benares and was named Annabhāra (lit. "food-bearer"). One day, while working for
his master, the banker Sumana, he gave his meal to a Pacceka Buddha, Uparittha.
The banker, having heard from the deity of his parasol of Annabhāra's pious
deed, rewarded him and set him up in trade. The king, being pleased with him,
gave him a site for a house, the ground of which, when dug, yielded much buried
treasure. On account of this great accretion of wealth he was given the rank of
Dhanasetthi (ThagA.iii.65ff.; Thag.910; DhA.iv.120ff).
According to the Dhammapada Commentary
(i.113), as a result of his gift to the Pacceka Buddha, Anuruddha never lacked
anything he desired - such had been the wish he expressed. A charming story is
related in this connection. Once when playing at ball with his friends he was
beaten and had to pay with sweets. His mother sent him the sweets, but he lost
over and over again until no more sweets were to be had. His mother sent word to
that effect, but he did not know the meaning of the words "there isn't." When
his mother, to make him understand, sent him an empty bowl, the guardian deity
of the city filled it with celestial cakes, so that he should not be
disappointed. Thereafter, whenever Anuruddha sent for cakes, his mother would
send him an empty vessel, which became filled on the way. See also DhA.iv.124ff.
The Apadāna (i.35) mentions another
incident of his past. Once, in Sumedha Buddha's time, Anuruddha, having seen the
Buddha meditating alone at the foot of a tree, set up lights round him and kept
them burning for seven days. As a result he reigned for thirty kappas as king of
the gods, and was king of men twenty-eight times. He could see a distance of a
league both by day and night.
On various occasions Anuruddha had
discussions with the Buddha, and he was consulted by disciples, both monks and
laymen, on points of doctrine and practice. In the Anuruddha Sutta (M.iii.144f)
he goes with Abhiya Kaccāna and two others to a meal at the house of Pañcakanga,
the king's carpenter. At the end of the meal the carpenter asks him the
difference between that deliverance of the heart (cetovimutti) that is boundless
(appamāna) and that which is vast (mahaggata). The discussion leads on to an
account of the four states of rebirth among the brilliant gods (ābhā), and in
reply to the questions of Abhiya Kaccāna, Anuruddha proceeds to explain their
nature. At the end of the discourse we find Anuruddha acknowledging that he
himself had lived among these gods.
In the Samyutta Nikāya (S.iv.240-5) he
is mentioned as questioning the Buddha about women, how they come to be born in
happy states and how in woeful purgatory. A similar inquiry is mentioned in the
Anguttara Nikāya. Anuruddha had been visited by some Manāpakāyikā devas, who had
played and sung to him and shown their power of changing their complexions at
will. He comes to the Buddha and asks how women could be born among these devas
We find him (S.v.174-6, also 299f) being
asked by Samyutta and Moggallāna about the sekha and asekha and about
super-knowledge (abhiññā). In dealing with this passage the Commentary
(SA.iii.183) states that Anuruddha used to rise early, and that after ablutions
he sat in his cell, calling up a thousand kappas of the past and the future.
With his clairvoyant eye he knew the thousand fold universe and all its workings.
The Anuruddha Samyutta (S.v.294) gives
an account of a series of questions asked by Moggallāna on the satipatthānā,
their extent, etc. Anuruddha evidently laid great emphasis on the cultivation of
the satipatthānā, for we find mention of them occurring over and over again in
his discourses. He attributes all his powers to their development, and
admonishes his hearers to practise them. S. v.299-306. He himself considered the
dibbacakkhu as the highest attainment. Thus in the Mahāgosinga Sutta (M.i.213)
he declares it to be more worthy than knowledge of the doctrine, meditation,
forest-life, discourse on the abhidhamma or self-mastery.
Once he lay grievously ill in the
Andhavana in Sāvatthi, but the pain made no contact on his mind, because, he
says, his mind was well grounded in the satipatthānā (S.v.302, but see
DhA.iv.129, where he suffered from wind in the stomach). Apart from his teaching
of the satipatthānā, he does not seem to have found fame as a teacher. He was of
a retiring disposition and never interfered in any of the monks' quarrels.
Mention is often made of Anuruddha's
iddhi-powers. Thus, he was one of those who went to the Brahma-world to curb the
pride of the Brahma who had thought that no ascetic could reach his world
(S.i.145. The others being Moggallāna, Mahākassapa and Mahākappina). The mother
of the Yakkha Piyankara, while wandering in search of food, heard him at night
reciting some verses from the Dhammapada and stood spellbound listening
His iddhi, however, does not seem to
have enabled him to prevent his fellow-dweller Abhiñjika from talking too much
(S.ii.203-4), nor his other fellow-dweller Bāhiya from attempting to create
dissension in the Order (A.ii.239). Among the Vajjians he seems to have been
held particularly in esteem, together with Nandiya and Kimbila. A yakkha named
Dīgha tells the Buddha how the Vajjians are envied by the inhabitants of the
deva and brahma worlds on account of the presence of these distinguished monks
in their country (in the Cūlagosinga Sutta, M.i.210).
In numerous Jātakas Anuruddha is
identified with personalities occurring in the Atītavatthu. In several cases he
is mentioned as having been Sakka, the deus ex machina of the story in question.
Thus in the Manicora (J.ii.125); Guttila (ii.257); Ayakūta (iii.147); Mahāsūka
(iii.494); Cullasūka (iii.496); Kanha (iv.14); Akitti (iv.242); Sādhīna
(iv.360); Siri (iv.412); Mahāsutasoma (v.511); Sāma (vi.95); Nimi (vi.129);
Mahāsumagga (vi.329); Vessantara (vi.593).
Elsewhere he is identified with
- he was Pabbata in the Indriya (iii.469) and in the
- the king in the Candakinnara (iv.288);
- one of the seven
brothers in the Bhisa (iv.314);
- the dove in the Pañcūposatha (iv.332);
in the Hatthipāla (iv.491);
- Sucirata in the Sambhava (v.67);
- Pañcasikha in the
Sudhdābojana (v.412) and
- the charioteer in the Kurudhamma (ii.381).
Anuruddha's name occurs in several of
the legends of the Dhammapada Commentary apart from those already mentioned. In
the story of Cūlasubhaddā it is stated that after the Buddha had visited
Ugganagara at Cūlasubhadda's request and enjoyed her hospitality, Anuruddha was
asked to stay behind at Ugganagara for her benefit and that of the new converts
(DhA.iii.471). When the Buddha spent a rainy season in Tāvatimsa preaching the
Abhidhamma, it was Anuruddha who kept the people on earth informed of his
doings. DhA.iii.218f.; SnA. (ii.570), states that the Buddha went to Tāvatimsa
at Anuruddha's request.
In the Sumanasāmanera Vatthu
(DhA.iv.120ff ) we are told how Anuruddha, having himself attained salvation,
sought for his friend and benefactor of a past birth, Sumana-setthi.
Sumana-setthi had been born near the Vindhyā forest as Cūllasumana, son of
Anuruddha's acquaintance Mahāmunda, and Anuruddha ordained him at the age of
seven. The lad became arahant in the tonsure-hall.
According to the Peta Vatthu (Pv., p.27,
vv. 58-60), it was by virtue of a spoonful of food given by him to Anuruddha
that Indaka entered Tāvatimsa, and the same gift enabled him to surpass in glory
Ankura, who had spent all his wealth in practising generosity.
Anuruddha had a sister, Rohinī, who
suffered from a skin disease and, therefore, remained indoors; she would not see
the Elder when he visited her relations. But he insisted on seeing her and
persuaded her to sell her ornaments and build a resting hall for the Buddha and
his monks. She later became a Stream-enterer and was reborn as Sakka's consort
In Mahāyāna books Anuruddha's name
appears as Aniruddha. In the Lalitavistara he is mentioned as wearing the
Bodhisatta's ornaments when the latter renounced the world. He is sometimes
spoken of as a son of Dronodana. Thus, e.g., Mtu i.75; iii.117. See Beal.,
Records of Western World, ii.38 n. for meaning of Anuruddha. According to the
Dulva, it was Anuruddha who, finding Ananda still asekha, got him turned out of
the First Council until he became an arahant (Rockhill, p.151).
2. Anuruddha. A Pacceka Buddha, to whom
Nanda Thera in a previous birth offered a canopy of lotus flowers. Ap.ii.350.
3. Anuruddha (or Anuruddhaka).One of
the parricide kings of Magadha. He killed his father Udayabhaddaka and was
himself slain by his son Munda. Mhv.iv.2-3; Mbv., p.96; but see DA.i.153, where
Anuruddha is given as Mahāmunda's son and Nāgadāsa's father. In the Divyāvadāna
(p.359) Anuruddha's name does not appear at all in the list of Bimbisāra's
4. Anuruddha.Personal attendant of Piyadassi Buddha. It was in reply to his question that the Buddha revealed the
future attainments of Nigrodha Thera (ThagA.ii.75; Ap.i.431) and of Tissa Thera
5. Anuruddha.Personal attendant of
Kondañña Buddha. Bu.iii.30; J. i.30.
6. Anuruddha.Author of the Abhidhammattha-sangaha, Paramattha-vinicchaya, Nāmarūpapariccheda and, perhaps,
of the Anuruddha Sataka (Gv.61, 67; SdS. 64; Sas.69). He was an incumbent of the
Mūlasoma Vihāra and probably lived in the eleventh or twelfth century. For
details see P.L.C.,s.v.
7. Anuruddha. Teacher of Mahāsumma
Thera. He once offered to the Sangha a bowl filled with ghee. The incident is
mentioned in a discussion as to whether a bowl that had been bought for a
particular monk, could be used by the community of monks (Sp.iii.698-9). This
bowl had been bought for the Elder, but it was used by the community and was,
8. Anuruddha.King of Ramañña. He helped
Vijayabāhu I. of Ceylon to re-establish the Order in Ceylon. Cv.lx.5-7; see,
however, Geiger, Cv. trans. i.214, n.4.
He is also called Anorata.