1. Mahākāla Thera
He belonged to a merchant family of Setavyā, and, while on a journey to
Sāvatthi with five hundred carts, he heard the Buddha preach at Jetavana and
entered the Order. He lived in the charnel field meditating, and, one day, the
crematrix Kālā, noticing him, arranged the limbs of a recently cremated body
near the Thera that he might gaze at them. With these as a topic of meditation,
he soon became an arahant.
Thag.vss.151f.; his story is given in much greater detail at DhA.i.66ff.;
there he is said to have been the eldest of three brothers, of whom the others
were Majjhimakāla and Cūlakāla. He went with the latter to Sāvatthi, where both
of them joined the Order. After becoming an arahant, Mahākāla went with the
Buddha to Setavyā and dwelt in the Simsapā grove, Cūlakāla accompanying him.
Cūlakāla's wives invited the Buddha and the other monks to a meal, and he
himself went on earlier to make arrangements. His wives disrobed him. At the end
of the meal, Mahākāla was left behind by the Buddha to make the thanksgiving.
His eight wives surrounded him and stripped him of his robes, but, knowing their
intention, he disappeared through the air.
Ninety one kappas ago, while wandering near the mountain Urugana, he saw the
rag robe of an ascetic and offered three kinkinika flowers in its honour
(ThagA.ii.271f). He is probably identical with Pamsukūlapūjaka Thera of the
Apadāna. Ap.ii.434; but see ThagA.i.79, where the same Apadāna verses are
An upāsaka of Savatthi who was a sotāpanna. One day he took the uposatha vows
and, having listened throughout the night to the preaching, was washing his face
in the pool near Jetavana early the next morning, when thieves who had broken
into a house and were being pursued put their stolen goods near him and ran
away. He, being taken for a thief, was beaten to death. When this was reported
to the Buddha, he related a story of the past in which Mahākāla had been a
forest guard of the king of Benares. One day he saw a man entering the forest
road with his beautiful wife and, falling in love with the wife, invited them to
his house. He then had a gem placed in the man's cart, and the latter was beaten
to death as a thief. DhA.iii.149ff.
A Naga king who dwelt in the Mañjerika
Nāgabhavana. When the Buddha, after eating the
meal given by Sujātā, launched the bowl up
stream, it travelled a short way and then stopped, having reached the Nāga's
abode under the Nerañjarā, and then came into
contact with the bowls similarly launched by the three previous Buddhas of this
kappa. To the Nāga because of his long life it seemed that the previous Buddha
had died only the preceding day, and he rejoiced to think that another had been
born. He went therefore to the scene of the Buddha's Enlightenment with his Nāga
maidens and they sang the Buddha's praises. J. i.70, 72; this incident is among
those sculpturally represented in the Relic Chamber of the
Mahā Thūpa (Mhv.Xxxi.83); see also Dvy.392;
Mtu.ii.265, 302, 304.
Kāla's life span was one kappa; therefore he saw all the four Buddhas of this
kappa, and when Asoka wished to see the form of
the Buddha, he sent for Mahākāla, who created for him a beautiful figure of the
Buddha, complete in every detail (Mhv.v.87f.; Sp.i.43, etc.).
When the Buddha's relics, deposited at Rāmagāma,
were washed away, Mahākāla took the basket containing them into his abode and
there did them honour till they were removed, against his will, by
4. Mahākāla. A householder of Bandhumati in the time of Vipassī
Buddha. He was a previous birth of Aññā-Kondañña. He and his brother Cūlakāla
gave the first fruits of their harvest, in nine stages of its growth, to the
Buddha. AA.i.79ff.; ThagA.ii.1f.
5. Mahākāla. One of the seven mountains surrounding Gandhamādana.
SnA.i.66; J. v.38.