Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 17 June 2012





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Peerless Ananda Thera:

Great disciple of the Buddha

Ven Ananda was one of the ten great disciples of the Buddha. He accompanied the Buddha, as an attendant, for more than two decades. He was the Buddha's favourite disciple. He attained Enlightenment, the highest state of Samadhi in which the mind is awakened and illuminated after the demise of the Buddha. Ven. Ananda attained Arahatship immediately before the first Buddhist Council held at Rajagaha, India. Thousands of scriptures were recited by Arahat Ananda Thera.

He was leading with the doctrine (Sutras) and Upali with the rules of the order (Precepts). Ven. Ananda was known as the Dharmabandagarika - treasurer of the doctrine.

For the first 20 years of His ministry, the Buddha had several attendants. Some of them were Nagasamala, Upavana, Nagita, Lunda and Radha. None of them proved to be suitable for the post. Therefore, the Buddha addressed the bhikkhus who would like to be his attendant.


All the bhikkhus enthusiastically offered their services, except Ven. Ananda who sat at the back silently.

The other bhikkhus inquired from Ven. Ananda about it. He replied that the Buddha knows who He should pick.

When Ananda was offered the prestigious position he agreed to accept it on four conditions. One condition was that the Buddha should never give him any of the food He received, nor any robes.

He should not be given any special accommodation and then he would not have to accompany the Enlightened One.

The main reason for the four conditions was that Ananda Thera did not want any criticism against him for the people to think that he was attending to the Buddha to gain any personal gains.

Ven. Ananda acted as the mediator between Prajapathi Gothami, (the foster - mother of Prince Siddhartha) and the Blessed One in establishing the Bhikkhuni Sasanaya (Order of the bhikkhunis). Ananda Thera on behalf of Prajapathi Gothami appealed thrice and ultimately the Buddha gave the green light for womenfolk to enter the order.


Born in Kapilavastu, Ananda Thera was the son of Amitodana, brother of Prince Siddhartha's father King Suddhodana. In his first visit to Kapilavastu, after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Ven. Ananda, with his brother Anuruddha and cousin Devadatta entered the order. Through sheer commitment within a year Ananda Thera became a stream - winner - the first of the four stages towards the realisation of liberation, leading to Arahatship.

He was kind to his fellow disciples, both monastic and lay.

He played a key role for the preservation and transmission of Dhamma.

He was also a key player in the first council held after the passing away of the Buddha.

Ven. Ananda washed and mended the robes, cleaned the Buddha's living quarters (Gandhakutiya), washed His feet and accompanied the Buddha when He visited the monastries. Probably he maintained a diary. All the appointments to meet the Blessed One were mostly channelled through Ven. Ananda. His main job was to take care of the Buddha's needs.

Ven. Ananda possessed a charming and pleasant personality and he was also a skilful teacher. At times, he represented the Buddha. He visited the sick and cheered them and at times provided medicines.

Ven. Ananda was popularly known the “Keeper of Dhamma – (Dharmabandagarika”. After the extinction of sufferings, elimination of egoism, eradication of lust, hatred and ignorance Ven. Ananda became an Arahat.


He recited thousands of discourses, he had heard from the Blessed One.

The Enlightened One passed away at Kusinara, in Malla kingdom at the age of 80. Before the Buddha passed away Ven. Ananda wept. The Buddha consoled him and advised him to strive hard to attain Arahatship. In his final exhortation, the Buddha uttered “Vayadhamma Sankara - Appamadena Sampadetha” (Transient are all compounded things. With mindfulness work out your deliverance).

The cousin of the Buddha, Ven. Ananda was also born on the Full Moon Day of Vesak. His kinsfolk believed that he was born bringing joy and happiness to the world. Therefore, he was named ‘Ananda'. Ven. Ananda Thera possessed a majestic personality.

After listening to the elder Punna Thera, he attained the first stage of sanctity - Sotapatti - first of the four stages towards the realisation of liberation. He looked after the Buddha with genuine love and unfaltering dedication. He was the Buddha's attendant, close associate for twenty five years. Ven. Ananda followed the Great Teacher, the Blessed One, like His shadow.

The members of the fair sex mostly admired Ven. Ananda. He possessed peerless beauty, charm, sweet dulcet voice and he was full of compassion. The Great Upasika Maha Prajapati Gotami, a relation of Ven. Ananda, treated him like her own son.

The great lay Upasika Visakha too was very fond of him and always looked after Ven. Ananda like one of her own children. Both laymen, the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis loved Ven. Ananda Thera.

He passed away at the age of 120 years. Buddhists still appreciate and venerate the services rendered by him.In later years, in memory of Ven. Ananda, some Buddhist parents named their sons “Ananda.” Even the “crest jewel of Buddhist education of Sri Lanka” - Ananda College was named in memory of Dharmabandagarika of Buddhism - Arahat Ananda Maha Thera.



Casons Rent-A-Car
Millennium City
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)
Donate Now |

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | Montage | Impact | World | Obituaries | Junior | Magazine |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2012 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor