This manic Monday, I have an amazing story to share with you all.
Anuruddha, The Supermonk [Translated from Thai Dhammapada(Thai Version) by Dr. Sastri]
During the Padumuttara Buddha's era, a rich young man listened to the Buddha's praising an etadagga disciple for having magnificent celestial eyes. He was so impressed with the story and the Teachings that he invited the Buddha and his disciples to stay at his mansion for 7 days. On the last day of the Buddha's visit he told the Padummutara Buddha his wish to be an etadagga with great celestial eyes too in the era of a future Buddha. The Padummuttara Buddha granted him the wish.
Several years later, after the Padumuttara Buddha's Parinibbana, this man with utmost respect, decorated the Padumuttara Buddha's Shrine with thousands of brightly beautiful lanterns. As the result of his merits, after death he dwelled in a heaven realm for a very long time.
After the heaven realm, he was born again, now in a poor family in Benares; his parent named him 'Annabhara'. He grew up and was employed by a millionaire in the City whose name was Sumana. One day while working, he saw a Pacceka Buddha named Uparittha coming by. Not having much to give, he offered his own lunch to him with great respect. And he made a wish that he be born so rich that he would never hear the word "there isn't" again. The Pacceka Buddha, Uparittha granted him his wish! When Sumana the Millionaire heard about his food offering merit, he was so impressed that he offered Annabhara money to buy all the food merit from him. Annabhara did not accept the money, but instead he offer to share his food merit with his employer at no cost. Sumana was very pleased, and in return he generously awarded Annaphara with a house on his premise plus lots of money!
Annabhara's story was a talk of the town; he became famous overnight. Even King of Benares asked Annabhara to also share the food merit with him. With great respect, Annabhara joyfully agreed to share the merit with the King. Because of his broad-minded sharing of the merit, the King rewarded him with lots of money and appointed him as the Millionaire of Benares. Since that day, Sumana and Annabhara became best friends and always performed merits and other good deeds together all through their lives.
In the Gotama Buddha's era, Annabhara was born as a royal Sakyan Prince name Anuruddha. He was one of the Sakyan princes(Bhaddiya, Ananda, Bhagu, Kimbila, Devadatta and their barber Upali) who all became bhikkhu disciples of the Buddha. One day, while listening to the Buddha's preaching, Anuruddha Bhikkhu dozed off and a monk had to wake him up. Anuruddha was so embarrassed and regretful that he made a solemn vow not to sleep again. Unfortunately, because of lacking sleep for a long time, he turned blind. The Buddha himself, Sariputta Thera, Moggallana Thera and Ananda Thera had to support him, such as sewing him new robes. Through his diligent dhamma and meditation practice, Anuruddha Bhikkhu finally attained arahantship with super celestial eyes. It was so amazing that now not only he could get back his good sight but he also was able to see the heavens and touch the sun and the moon through the supernormal powers. His wish came true finally: the Buddha recognized and praised him as an Etadagga for having supreme power of celestial eyes and foremost in attentiveness.
After the arahantship attainment, one day Anuruddha Thera thought of his best friend in the past life, Sumana the Millionaire. With his 'Celestial Eyes', he saw his friend as a seven-years old boy named Cullasumana, who was one of the two sons of Mahamunda, a richman of Mundanikama-Town. Cullasumana's older brother's name was Mahasumana.
One day just before a Rain Retreat, Anuruddha Thera went for alms-food near Mahamunda's house. The rich man was so delighted to see Thera Anuruddha, so he told Mahasumana to invite the monk for having food at his house and offerred him foods and everything else that he might need over the next three months of the Rain Retreat. But the Thera declined and said that he was only looking for a samanera novice. Mahamunda then gladly offered his first son, but the Thera again declined. So Mahamunda offered Cullasumana to be the Thera's novice, and this time the Thera accepted the offer.
Cullasumana was only seven years old at the time he attained arahantship with the Four Patisambhida and Six Abhinna while his last lock of hair was being shaved off on the day of his ordain. When the Rain Retreat ended, both Auruddha Thera and Cullasumana-samanera travelled together to visit the Buddha. Few days later, the Buddha ordained Cullasumana as a bhikkhu.
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Note: 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.
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 (S.i.209; SA.i.237-8).
Love Buddha's dhamma,
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