A Thera, declared chief of those possessing clear utterance. AN.i.24 He lived in Avantī, where he met Mahākaccāna and was later ordained by him, after much difficulty assembling the required 10 monks.
Soṇa then visited the Buddha in Sāvathhī, and the Buddha invited him to share his hut. The Buddha asked him to speak on Dhamma, and he recited the whole of the Aṭṭhakavagga. At the end of the recital the Buddha congratulated him. Soṇa asked for the relaxation of sive points of Vinaya for those living in border regions, principal among which was to allow ordination with a few as five monks in the quorum. Vin.i.194ff. Ud.v.6 Thag.365–369
A monk, foremost in those who strive energetically. AN.i.24 His hands and feet were soft like flowers, and a fine down grew on them. He lived in great luxury in three palaces, each for its own season. King Bimbisāra, hearing of him, sent for him and Soṇa went with eighty thousand fellow townsmen.
In Rājagaha he heard the Buddha preach, and, winning faith, entered the Order with his parents’ consent. The Buddha gave him a subject for meditation, and he went to Sītavana, but many people visited him and he was unable to concentrate. He strove hard, and, through pacing up and down in meditation, painful sores developed on his feet. But he won no attainment and was filled with despair. The Buddha saw this and taught him that when he was a vīṇā player his vīṇā sounded neither tuneful nor playable when the strings were either over-strung or over-lax. Even so, energy, when over-strung, ends in flurry, when over-lax, in idleness. Soṇa profits by the lesson and becomes an arahant. He then visits the Buddha and declares to him his new found vision. AN.iii.374f. Thag.632
The Vinaya Vin.i.179ff. gives details of Soṇa’s visit to Bimbisāra. The king, being curious to see Soṇa’s feet, sent for him. He and his eighty-thousand companions went to see the Buddha, and there they were greatly impressed by the iddhi-power of Sāgata. Soṇa then sought the Buddha alone and joined the Order. After ordination he walked about meditating, his feet bled, and his cankamana was covered with blood “like a slaughter house for oxen.” After Soṇa attained arahantship, the Buddha gave him permission to wear shoes with one lining. Soṇa said he had abandoned eighty cartloads of gold and a retinue of seven elephants. He did not wish, as a monk, to have any luxuries which his colleagues did not share. The Buddha then gave permission to all monks to wear shoes with one lining.
A monk whose Theragāthā verse says that the night is for striving, not sleeping. Thag.193–194
A layman of Rājagaha. He is mentioned as having had two conversations with the. Buddha at Veḷuvana: one on the impermanence of the body, feelings, etc., their origin and their cessation; SN.iii.48f. and, on another occasion, as to why some beings achieve complete cessation in this life and others do not. SN.iv.113