A monk whose enigmatic Theragāthā verse speaks of what has come and not departed. Thag.9 Certain devas who had been born in the deva world as a result of Pilinda’s guidance in a former birth, out of gratitude, waited on him morning and evening. He thus became famous as being dear to the devas, and was declared by the Buddha to be chief among such monks. AN.i.24
Pilinda had a habit of addressing everyone as outcaste. When this was reported to the Buddha he explained that this was because Pilinda had, for one hundred lives, been born among Vasalavādī-Brahmins. Ud.iii.6
The Vinaya Pītaka mentions that on several different occasions Pilinda suffered from various ailments and the Buddha had to give permission for the provision of suitable remedies. Vin.i.204f.
Once Bimbisāra found Pilinda, clearing a cave in order to provide a cell for himself. The king promised to build a monastery for him if he could obtain the Buddha’s sanction. The permission was obtained and was reported to the king, but he forgot the matter until one hundred days later. On remembering, he made ample amends, gave Pilinda five hundred attendants to look after the monastery, and granted for their maintenance a village, which came to be called Arāmikagāma or Pilindagāma. One day, while in the village for alms, Pilinda went into a house where a girl was weeping because the day was a feast day and she had no ornament to wear, her parents being too poor to afford any. Pilinda gave her a roll of grass to put round her head and it turned instantly into solid gold. The king’s officers, hearing of this wreath, suspected the family of theft and cast them into prison. The next day Pilinda, discovering what had happened, visited the king and convinced him of his iddhi powers by turning the whole palace into gold. The family was released, and the king and his courtiers gave to Pilinda large quantities of the five medicaments, all of which Pilinda distributed among those who wished for them. Vin.i.206ff. Vin.iii.248ff. This was the occasion for the forming of the rule that all medicaments required by a monk should be used within seven days.
Another story is related of Pilinda’s iddhi powers. Vin.iii.67 Once a family of Benares, which was wont to minister to Pilinda, was attacked by robbers and two girls were kidnapped. Pilinda, by his iddhi power caused them to be brought back, and the monks complained of this to the Buddha, but the Buddha held that no wrong had been done.