Sunday, November 26, 2017

Was Ananda the Buddha's son?

Dhr. Seven, Ananda Mides, Amber Larson, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly Wikipedia entry edit; Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names; Hellmuth Hecker;

Family: Ven. Rahula, the Buddha, Ven. Ananda
Ānanda was a relative -- maybe the son, maybe just a cousin -- of the historical Scythian Gautama Buddha (Shakyamuni) and one of the ten principal disciples (Ananda — The Man Whom Everybody Liked).

Among the Buddha's many disciples, Ananda stood out for having the best memory. Most of the sutras of the Sutra Collection are attributed to his being able to recall and recite the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that reason, he came to be known as the "Guardian of the Dharma." 
  • The Buddha (Prince Siddhartha Gautama of the Shakya/Scythian Clan) was raised to be a royal with karma sufficient to be a "world monarch." (See legend of the chakravartin/cakkavatti rulers). Only two other people at that time were born with such karma, Ananda and Rahula.
  • Rahula was his only son, according to the Pali canon, and Ananda his first cousin. This is strange because of Rahula's lackluster story (named "foremost in doing quiet good") compared to Ananda's many contributions. Both were Sakyian/Scythian princes and both ordained as Buddhist monastics, as did the Buddha's wife (Princess Bimba known to the world by her descriptive name Yasodharā, the famous nun Ven. Bhaddakaccānā who was also called Bhaddakaccā, Bimbādevī, Bimbāsundarī, Bhaddakaccānā, and Subhaddakā) and mother, Maha Pajapati, the world's first Buddhist nun.
  • The Buddha was always accompanied by an attendant, whose job it was to run messages, make arrangements, and to attend to the Buddha's personal needs. For the first 20 years [possibly when Ananda was coming of age sufficient to become a fully ordained Buddhist monk, which is 20-years-old] of his dispensation, the Buddha had several monastic attendants: Nagasamala, Upavana, Nagita, Cunda, Radha, and others, but none of them proved to be suitable. One day the Buddha was read to pick a permanent attendant, so he called all the monks together and addressed them: "I am now getting old and wish to have someone as a permanent attendant who will follow my wishes in every way. Which of you would like to be my attendant?" All of the monks enthusiastically offered their services, except for Ananda, who modestly sat at the back in silence. The Buddha chose Ananda, who only accepted with conditions the Buddha gladly granted as they promoted the Dharma. More
Role in the Pali language canon
The royal Sakiyans (Scythians) of Scythia/Central Asia married their cousins.
Shakyamuni the Scythian prince
According to Buddhist tradition every samma-sam-buddha (supremely enlightened rediscoverer and teacher of the Dharma, which is the Path to Enlightenment/Awakening) in the past and any to come will have two chief male disciples, two chief female disciples, and at least one great attendant during his dispensation.

In the case of the Buddha (born the Scythian Prince Siddhartha Gautama), those pairs of disciples were the monks Sariputra and Maha Moggallana, the nuns Khemā and Uppalavannā, and the attendants were Nagasamala, Upavana, Nagita, Cunda, Radha, and so on then Ānanda.
The Sanskrit/Pali word ananda means "bliss" as well as other Indian languages. It is a popular name in India and Southeast Asia, particularly formerly Buddhist Indonesia.
In the Kannakatthala Sutra (MN 90), Ananda is identified with the meaning of his name:
Then King Pasenadi of Kosala said to the Blessed One, "Venerable sir, what is the name of this monk?"
"His name is 'Ananda,' great king."
"What a joy he is! What a true joy!..."
Ānanda was devoted to the Buddha, his teacher, relative, and childhood companion (as well as frequent companion in many previous rebirths). Tradition says that he was the first cousin of the Buddha by their fathers.

The Mahavastu states that Ananda's mother's name was Mrigi ("little deer"), who is named in the Tibetan Kanjur and Sanghabedavastu as one of Prince Siddhartha's harem wives (prior to his renunciation to become a wandering ascetic), pointing to the possibility that Ananda was in fact the Buddha's son (Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha's Life, by Wendy Garling, Shambhala Publications, 2016, pp. 94-106.).

In the 20th year of the Buddha's dispensation, Ananda became the Buddha's personal attendant, accompanying him on most of his wanderings and taking the part of interlocutor in many of the recorded ["Socratic" before the time of Socrates] dialogues.

He is the subject of a special panegyric delivered by the Buddha just before the Buddha's final  nirvana (the Maha-pari-nibbana Sutta, DN 16); it is a panegyric for a man who is kindly, unselfish, popular, and thoughtful toward others ("Ānanda" in Encyclopædia Britannica, Rhys Davids, Thomas William, 1911, edited by Hugh Chisholm, 11th ed., Cambridge University Press, p. 913).
In the long list of the disciples given in the Numerical Discourses (i. xiv.), where each of them is declared to be prime in some quality, Ānanda is mentioned five times (more often than any other). He was named prime in:
  1. conduct
  2. service to others
  3. power of memory (Ibid.)
The Buddha sometimes asked Ānanda to substitute for him as teacher and then later stated that he himself would have presented the teachings (Dharma) in the same way.

The Buddhist canon attributes the inclusion of women in the early Sangha (monastic order) to Ānanda. The Buddha conceded and permitted his step-mother who raised him, Ven. Maha Pajapati, to be ordained as a Buddhist nun, it is said, only after Ananda prevailed upon the Buddha to publicly recognize females as equal to males in possessing the potential for enlightenment in this life. 

Following the passing into final nirvana of the Buddha, Ananda was allegedly criticized by members of the Sangha at the First Buddhist Council for having enabled females to join the monastic order (The Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism, by Uma Chakravarti, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi). More

Ananda as cousin and Sakiyan prince
To be very learned is long as one practices. Practice is more important.
Ānanda was one of the principal disciples of the Buddha. He was a first cousin of the Buddha and was deeply attached to him.
Like Prince Siddhartha, Ananda came to earth from Tusita (a world in space) and was reborn on the same day as the Bodhisatta, his father being Amitodana the Sākiyan, brother of King Suddhodana, the Buddha's father.

Mahānāma and Anuruddha were therefore his brothers (or probably step-brothers). According to the Mtu.iii.176, Ānanda was the son of Suklodana [Sukkodana* a name awfully similar to Suddhodana, the Buddha's father] and the brother of Devadatta [the brother of Bimba/Yasodhara, the Buddha's wife and cousin] and Upadhāna. His mother was Mrgī.
Ānanda entered the Buddhist Monastic Order (Sangha) in the second year of the Buddha's ministry, together with other Sākiyan princes, such as Bhaddiya, Anuruddha, Bhagu, Kimbila, and Devadatta, and was ordained by the Buddha himself (Vin.ii.182)... More

Ananda: The Guardian of the Dharma
Hellmuth Hecker

82,000 teachings from the Buddha I received,
2,000 more from his disciples;
Now 84,000 are familiar to me [Note 1].
Who nothing has heard [2] and nothing understood,
He ages only oxen-like:
His stomach grows and grows,
But his insight deepens not.
Who has much heard and learned,
Yet despises one who is poor in learning,
Is like one blind who yet holds aloft a lamp.
So must I think of such a one.
Thou follow him who has heard much!
Then what is heard shall not decline.
This is the tap-root of the high life;
Hence a Dharma-guardian [3] thou should'st be!
Knowing what comes first and last,
Knowing well the meaning, too,
Skillful in many things [4],
The well-grasped meaning one examines.
Keen in patient application,
One strives to weigh the meaning well.
At the right time one makes effort,
And inwardly collects mind/heart.
— Venerable Ananda (Thag 17.3,vv. 1024-29)

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