The First Arahant Bhikkhu

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The First Arahant Bhikkhu

Postby yawares » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:43 am

Dear Members,

Ajnata Kaundinya (Sanskrit: अज्ञात कौण्डिन्य, Ājñātakauṇḍinya, Pali: Añña Kondañña) was a Buddhist bhikkhu in the sangha of Gautama Buddha and the first to become an arahant. He lived during the 6th century BCE in what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, India.
Kaundinya: The First Arahant Bhikkhu
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

Kaundinya was a brahmin who first came to prominence as a youth due to his mastery of the vedas and was later appointed as a royal court scholar of King Suddhodana of the Sakyas in Kapilavastu. There Kaundinya was the only scholar who unequivocally predicted upon the birth of Prince Siddhartha that the prince would become an enlightened Buddha, and vowed to become his disciple.

When Siddhartha was aged 29, he renounced the world to become an ascetic. Kaundinya, along with Bhaddiya,Wappa, Mahanama and Assaji, followed him into the ascetic life, with the approval of Suddhodarna who was worried about Siddhartha's safety. They were known as the Pancavaggiya (The group of Five) . After Siddhartha had mastered all the teachings of Alara Kalama then Uddaka Ramaputta, he left and began practicing self mortification along with Kaundinya and his four colleagues at Uruvela. Kaundinya and his colleagues attended to Siddhartha in the hope that he would become enlightened through self mortification. These involved self-deprivation of food and water, and exposing themselves to the elements to near-death for six years, at which point Siddhartha rejected self-mortification. Kaundinya and his colleagues became disillusioned, believing Siddhartha to have become a glutton and moved away to Isipatana, near Varanasi to continue their practices.

After Siddhartha became the enlightened Gautama Buddha, he sought to find his former teachers Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta in order to teach them. Realising that they had died, the Buddha decided to find Kaundinya and his colleagues to share his teachings. Kaundinya and his companions were skeptical of Gautama Buddha after his abandonment of asceticism, and initially refused to acknowledge his presence, except to offer a seat on the ground. However, the ascetics were soon won over when they sensed that the Buddha had changed since they left him. Gautama Buddha preached the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which deals with the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the core pillars of Buddhist teaching regarding the intrinsic suffering of existence and how to deal with it. Kaundinya reached the Sotapatti stage of arahanthood upon hearing this, becoming the first human to comprehend the teachings. Five days later, hearing the subsequent Anattalakkhana Sutta regarding no-self or soul-lessness(Anatta), Kaundinya gained full arahantship. Kaundinya thus became first arahant. Having realised arahanthood, he requested the Buddha for permission to be a bhikkhu, which was granted with the words "ehi bhikkhu". Kaundinya thus became the first bhikkhu (monk) in the Buddha's dispensation, known as the sangha. Later, the Buddha declared him to be the foremost among the first bhikkhus and the disciples of long standing.

After enlightenment

Following the emergence of the sangha, Kaundinya and the other monks travelled with the Buddha by foot through the Gangetic plains area of what is now Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to spread the dharma. Kaundinya helped to convert many followers to the Buddha's teaching, the foremost being his nephew Punna, born to his sister Mantani. This occurred while the Buddha was at Rajagaha, where he had immediately gone after first communicating his Realisation in order to honour his promise to show his teachings to King Bimbisara. In the meantime, Kaundinya returned to his home town of Kapilavastu and ordained Punna. Punna attained arahantship and 500 of his clansmen become monks. Punna was later acknowledged by the Buddha as the foremost of the disciples in preaching skills.

After a period within the sangha, Kaundinya retired to the Himalayas for the last twelve years of his life. This is attributed to two reasons in Buddhist literature. The first reason was that Kaundinya considered his presence to be a source of inconvenience for Sariputra and Moggallana, the two chief disciples of The Buddha. As the seniormost member of the sangha, Kaundinya lead the monks on the alms-round, but during dharma talks, the two chief disciples sat on either side of the Buddha and Kaundinya behind them. The two chief disciples were uncomfortable sitting in front of Kaundinya, so he decided to solve the problem by absenting himself. The other reason to which Kaundinya's leave is attributed was to spend more quiet time in religious practice, which was rendered difficult due to the attention that the sangha gained from the public.

According to the Samyutta Nikaya, Kaundinya retired to the banks of the Mandakini Lake in the Chaddanta forest, said to be the abode of the paccekabuddhas. Kaundinya only left once, to farewell Gautama Buddha. Kaundinya kissed the Buddha's feet and stroked them with his hands. He advised his disciples not to mourn him before returning to the forest to pass away the following morning. He was cremated on a large sandalwood pyre which was constructed with the help of the elephants, and the ceremony was presided over by Anuruddha, one of the ten chief disciples and five hundred other monks. The ashes were later taken to Veluvana, where they were enshrined in a silver stupa.

Previous births

This is a common theme among the leading disciples, all of whom had many encounters with the future Gautama Buddha in previous lives, and is consistent with the Buddhist concepts of cause and effect and karma. In Pali language Theravada literature, Kaundinya is said to have begun striving for enlightenment in the time of Padumuttara Buddha, the 13th Buddha. The son of a wealthy householder at Hamsavati, Kaundinya saw the monk who was the first disciple of Padmuttara Buddha. Kaundinya's previous rebirth bestowed on the Buddha and the sangha and wished that he was to be the first disciple of a future Buddha. Padumuttara is said to have prophesied the fulfilment of this in the era of Gautama Buddha, 1000 aeons into the future. After the passing of Padmuttara Buddha, Kaundinya constructed a jewelled chamber inside the cetiya in which the relics were stored and also made an offering of jewel festoons.

During the time of Vipassi Buddha, Kaundinya was a householder named Mahakala who offered the Buddha the first fruits of his field in their nine stages of production.

The Mahavastu asserts that he was a potter at Rajagaha in a previous existence. A Paccekabuddha who was suffering from biliousness sought shelter in the potter's hut and was cured. In time, several more Paccekabuddhas came to visit the hut to inquire about their colleagues health status. The potter asked which of them had realised the dharma first, to which the patient answered in the affirmative. Thereupon the potter made his vow:

"By the merit I have acquired by doing this service of attending on you, may I be the first of all to realise the dharma when proclaimed by an Exalted One. May I not crave for gain and honour. May I wish only for a solitary bed and begging bowl. May I lay aside my body among the cascades and forest glades, dying all alone."

The Mahavastu cites a previous birth in which Kaundinya was a seafaring merchant who had lost all his wealth after a mid-ocean shipwreck. Kaundinya then went in search of the king of Kosala, who had a widely known reputation for philanthropy. However the Kosalan monarch had left his kingdom and surrendered his kingdom to the neighbouring Kasi king. The king of Kosala had done so to avert bloodshed, since the Kasi king had threatened to invade. Nevertheless, the Kasi king wanted to capture the Kosalan king and decreed a large reward for it. The Kosalan king (Gautama Buddha is a previous rebirth) tied himself and asked the merchant to deliver him to Kasi so that the merchant would no longer be in poverty. However, when the Kasi king heard this, he withdrew his army and restored the Kosalan monarchy. The Kosalan king subsequently bestowed wealth on the merchant. Gautama Buddha cited this occurrence to illustrate how the ties between living beings extended into their previous existences.

In another rebirth described in the Mahavastu, Kaundinya and his four colleagues who were to become the first bhikkhus were seafaring merchants under the command of the future Gautama Buddha. The future Buddha sacrificed himself to save them from an ocean death.

Love Buddha's dhamma,
yawares/sirikanya :heart:

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Re: The First Arahant Bhikkhu

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:40 am

he was also the first stream entrer :)

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: The First Arahant Bhikkhu

Postby yawares » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:30 pm

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