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Lakuntaka Bhaddiya Thero 1

Homage to the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Highest Self—Enlightened One!



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He was born in a wealthy family of Savatthi and was given the title of Lakuntaka owing to his very small stature. He was, nevertheless, beautiful in body, says the ApA.; but see below.

Having heard the Buddha preach, he entered the Order and became learned and eloquent, teaching others in a sweet voice. Later, after being admonished by Sariputta, he developed mindfulness regarding the body and became an arahant. The Udana (vii.1, 2) makes reference to the admonitions of Sariputta and to the Buddha's joy when these had the desired effect. The Commentary (UdA.360f.) gives details.

In the time of Padumuttara Buddha he was a very rich householder of Hamsavati, and, having heard the Buddha describe one of his monks as the sweetest voiced among them all, he wished for a similar distinction for himself under a future Buddha. In the time of Phussa Buddha he was a cittapattakokila, named Nanda, (the Ap.loc.infra says he was the king’s general) who, seeing the Buddha in the royal park, placed in his bowl a ripe mango.

In Kassapa Buddhas day he was the chief architect entrusted with the building of the thupa over the Buddha's relics, and, when a dispute arose as to how big the thupa should be, he decided in favour of a small one; hence his small stature in his last life. ThagA.i.469ff.; Ap.ii.489f; the account in AA.i.110f. is slightly different; the Kelisila Jataka (q.v.) gives a different reason for his shortness.

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In the assembly of monks the Buddha ranked him as foremost among sweet voiced monks (A.i.25) (manjussaranam). Several stories connected with Bhaddiya are recorded in the books. Because of his shortness and his youthful appearance he was sometimes mistaken for a novice (DhA.iii.387).

It was in reference to Bhaddiya that the Buddha preached two famous riddle stanzas in the Dhammapada (294, 295; for the explanation of the riddle see DhA.iii.454), where he describes the arahant as one who has killed father and mother and two kings and destroyed a kingdom, but who yet goes scathe less - the words having a metaphorical meaning.

Several stanzas uttered by Bhaddiya in the Ambatakavana, as he sat there enjoying the bliss of arahantship, are included in the Theragatha (Thag.vss.466 72).

In the Avadanasataka he is called Lakuncika. See Avs.ii.152 60.

May all be happy and well!

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