Abhaya 1

A monk whose verse concerning the bewildering effects of beautiful sights is in the Theragāthā. Thag.98


The son of King Bimbisāra and of Padumavatī, the belle of Ujjeni. When the boy was seven years old, his mother sent him to the king and he grew up with the boys of the court. He first came under the influence of the Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, who taught him a dilemma to set the “Samaṇa Gotama.” In the Buddha’s reply, the prince recognised the defeat of the Nigaṇṭha and the supreme Enlightenment of the Exalted One, whose disciple he then became. Later, when the king died, Abhaya was disturbed in mind, and entered the Order. On the occasion of the preaching of the Tālacchiggalūpama Sutta, SN.v.455 MN.iii.169 he became a Stream-enterer and afterwards attained arahantship. Thag.26 The Abhayarājakumāra Sutta MN.i.392ff. contains the dilemma episode. It also mentions that at the time the prince had a little son of whom he was evidently very fond.

In the Saṃyutta Nikāya SN.v.126–128 he is stated as having visited the Buddha at Gijjhakūṭa and discussed with him the views of Pūraṇa Kassapa. The Buddha teaches him about the seven bojjhangas.

In the Vinaya, Vin.i.269 Abhaya is mentioned as having discovered Jīvaka Komārabhacca lying on a dung-heap (cast there by the orders of his mother, the courtesan Sālavatī), and having brought him up.


A Licchavi of Vesāli. On one occasion he comes with another Licchavi, Paṇḍita Kumāraka, to Ānanda in the Kūṭāgārasālā in Vesāli, and discusses with him certain views held by Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta. Ānanda teaches him the Buddha’s three Ways of purification. AN.i.220–222 On another occasion he visits the Buddha, again at Vesāli, with the Licchavi Sāḷha; the latter asks the Buddha’s views on purity of morals and self-mortification. The Buddha tells him of the Ariyan Way and explains its implications by various similes. AN.ii.202–204 We are not told that either of them became converts on this occasion.