One of the most eminent disciples of the Buddha, considered foremost among those who taught the monks. AN.i.25 The Vinaya Vin.i.105 records that when Kappina was in the Deer Park at Maddakucchi he wondered whether he need attend the uposatha ceremonies, since he himself was pure. The Buddha appeared before him, telling him to go. He sent for him and asked him to teach the Doctrine to his associates. This Kappina did, and at the end of a single sermon one thousand listening recluses became arahants, hence the title conferred on him.
The Theragāthā contains verses in which he celebrates wisdom and equanimity in theface of death. Thag.547–556
Kappina is described by the Buddha as pale, thin, and having a prominent nose. It was owing to his psychic powers that he was able to follow the Buddha to the Brahma world. SN.i.145 SN.v.315
Mahā Kappina was quite often in the company of Sāriputta, and it is said Thag.1086 that once, seeing the profound homage the gods payed to his colleague, he smiled by way of congratulation.