A cousin of the Buddha, the brother of Devadatta. One of the
ten great disciples of the Buddha. Ananda accompanied the
Buddha for more than twenty years and was the Master's favourite
disciple. He attained enlightenment after the demise of the
Buddha under the guidance of Mahakasyapa. He was famed for
his excellent memory and recited the Suta-Pitaka (the
discourses contained in the Tipitaka) at the First
Kassapa (Skt: Kasyapa)
A Brahmin of Magadha who became a close disciple of the Buddha,
and was at the time of his death the most senior member of the
Order. He therefore presided over the first Buddhist Council,
held immediately after the passing. The Zen School regards him
as their First Patriarch from the story of the 'transmission'
of the 'Mind-seal' when the Buddha held up the golden flower
and Maha Kassapa smiled.
The perfect or model Buddhist nun (bhikkhuni) according to the
Buddha. She was the Queen of Bimbisara, of great beauty; but
through the Buddha's teaching, she realized the transience of
the body and achieved the condition of the Arhat. She became
a wise teacher herself, giving answers to questions posed by
King Pasenadi which turned out to be identical to the Buddha's
own answers when he was asked the same questions.
She was the sister of Mahamaya, the mother of Shakyamuni Buddha.
They both married King Suddhodana. Mahamaya died seven days
after the birth of Shakyamuni. Mahapajapati then became the
step/foster mother of Shakyamuni, and treated Shakyamuni as
her own son, Nanda. Nanda was one of the Ten Great Disciples
of Shakyamuni. After the death of King Suddhodana, Mahapajapati
was ordained as the first woman admitted to Buddhist Order.
The Greco-Bactrian King Menander or Menandros who reigned over
Afghanistan and Northern India in the latter half of the second
century B.C. King Milinda had a series of discussions with a
Buddhist monk, Nagasena, concerning Buddhist doctrines, which
were compiled into a work entitled the Milindapanha.
Their dialogue is famous as one of the first encounters between
Buddhism and Hellenistic culture. Milinda is said to have eventually
become a Buddhist.
India's foremost royal patron of Buddhism and the first monarch
to rule over a united India. Emperor of India, founder of the
Maurya Dynasty. A great Buddhist ruler who was converted to
Buddhism after a long period of wars of conquest. He abolished
wars in his Empire, restricted hunting or killing for food,
built hospital for man and beast, and engraved on rocks and
pillars throughout the Empire his famous Edicts, setting forth
the moral precepts of Buddhism. He sent his son Mahinda and
daughter Sanghamitta to Sri Lanka where they converted the ruler
and people to Buddhism. The Third Buddhist Council was held
at his capitial Pajaliputra, India, in the seventeenth year
of his reign.
Son of the Indian King Asoka and leader of a Buddhist missionary
enterprise to Sri Lanka. Sometime around 250 B.C., Asoka sent
his son and daughter, Sanghamitta, to Sri Lanka to establish
the Dharma on the island. Mahinda converted the king, Devanampiya
Tissa, and established a monastery that eventually developed
into the Mahavihara or 'Great Monastery.' A branch of the Bodhi
tree was brought from Bodhgaya. In a short time, a valid lineage
was established, and the religion began to grow on the island,
remaining today as a stronghold of Theravada Buddhism.
(5th Century C.E.)
A great Buddhist scholar born in India early fifth century,
who translated Sinhalese commentaries into Pali and wrote the
Visuddhi Magga (Path of Purification) and other works,
including commentaries on Theravada Buddhism and much of the
Pitakas (the Pali Tipitaka).