An arahant. With the Buddha’s sanction, and wishing to be of service to the Order, he took upon himself the task of appointing night’s-lodgings to travelling monks and of directing them to meals. He performed his duties most diligently and with great intelligence, and his fame spread far and wide. Monks coming from afar, wishing to witness his skill, would deliberately arrive late and ask for lodgings in some place remote from Rājagaha; Dabba would “burst into flame” and walk ahead of them, with his finger burning to light them on the way.
It once happened that meals were allotted by Dabba to the Mettiya-Bhummajakā at the house of a rich man, who, discovering their identity, gave orders that they were to be fed anyhow. The Mettiya-Bhummajakā were greatly offended, and believing that Dabba had intended to slight them, induced one of their partisans, Mettiyā, to accuse Dabba of having seduced her. The charge was investigated, Mettiyā was expelled, and Dabba’s fame increased.Thag.5 Vin.ii.74ff. Vin.iii.158f. Vin.iii.166f. Vin.iv.37f. The Mettiya-Bhummajakā persuaded the Licchavi, Vaḍḍha, to make a similar charge against Dabba regarding his wife. Vin.ii.124f.
Dabba was given the rank of chief of those who appointed lodgings. AN.i.24
Dabba evidently died young. The Udāna Ud.viii.9 contains an account of his death. One day, returning from his alms rounds in Rājagaha, he saw that he had but a short while yet to live. He went, therefore, to the Buddha and, with his leave, showed various iddhi-powers and passed away.