A monk, belonging to the Sākyan clan, who was known for his greed in procuring requisites. Several incidents connected with him are mentioned in the Vinaya. Once he promised to spend the rainy season with Pasenadi Kosala, but on his way there he saw two lodgings where robes were plentiful and so kept Vassa in those lodgings instead. Pasenadi was greatly annoyed and when, in due course, the matter reached the ears of the Buddha, Upananda was rebuked and a set of rules was passed regarding promises made about the rainy season. Vin.i.153 On another occasion Upananda spent the rainy season at Sāvatthī, but when the time came for the monks to gather together and divide the robes that had been given to them, he went from village to village, taking his share of the robes from everywhere. The Buddha sent for him and rebuked him in the presence of the Order, but the rebuke had evidently no effect, for we find him again spending the Vassa alone in two residences, with the idea of obtaining many robes. The Buddha, however, ordered that only one portion should be given to him. Vin.i.300 His greediness was not confined to robes. Once he was invited to a meal by an official, a follower of the Ājīvakas. He went late, and finding no room left for him, made a junior monk get up and give him his seat. There was a great uproar, but Upananda had his way. Vin.ii.165 Elsewhere he is accused of having appropriated two lodgings for himself at the same time, one at Sāvatthī and the other somewhere in the country. He was evidently unpopular among the monks, because on this occasion we find him spoken of as “a maker of strife, quarrelsome, a maker of disputes, given to idle talk, a raiser of legal questions.”. Vin.ii.168 Upananda was fond of money, for we find in the Vinaya Vin.ii.297 a statement to the effect that “on the occasion of the matter of Upananda the Sākyan, the Buddha distinctly laid down a precept by which gold and silver were forbidden.” Upananda had been given his meals regularly by a certain
family. Once a dish of meat was prepared for him, but a little boy in the house started to cry for the meat, and it was given to him. Upananda insisted that a kahāpaṇa should be paid to him in lieu of the meat. Vin.iii.236f. Upananda was once asked to preach to those that came to Jetavana. Among the visitors was a banker, and when the banker expressed the desire to give something to Upananda to show his appreciation of the sermon, Upananda wished to have the robe that the man wore. The banker was embarrassed, and promised to go home at once and fetch him another robe, even better than the one he had on. But Upananda was adamant, till, in despair, the man gave him his robe and went away. Again, when Upananda heard that a certain man wished to offer him a robe, he went to the man and told him what kind of robe he wanted, and said he would accept no other. Vin.iii.215 A story is also told of a Paribbājaka exchanging his own garment for one belonging to Upananda, which was of rich colour. Two other Paribbājakas told him that he had lost in the bargain, so he wished to cry off the deal, but Upananda positively refused. Vin.iii.240f. He did not, however, always come off best in a bargain. Once he gave a robe to a colleague, on condition that the latter should join him in his tours. The condition was agreed to, but later, when the recipient monk heard that the Buddha was going on tour, he preferred to join the Buddha’s company. The robe was not returned to Upananda, who had to be reported to the Buddha for the violent language he used to the defaulter. Vin.iii.254f. Upananda is mentioned as quarrelling with the Chabbaggiyā monks Vin.iv.30 and, at another time, as going his alms-rounds with a colleague with whom he quarrelled when the rounds were over, refusing to give him any of the food obtained. The unfortunate monk had to starve because it was then too late to go out begging again. Vin.iv.92f. We are not told whether Upananda deliberately set out to have a quarrel in order that he might keep all the food himself!
Nor were all Upananda’s misdemeanours confined to greed for possessions. We are told that once a complaint was made to the Buddha that Upananda had gone to the house of an acquaintance and had sat down in the bedroom of the woman of the house, talking to her. The husband ordered food to be brought to Upananda, and when that was done, asked him to leave. But the woman wished him to stay and he refused to go away. Vin.iv.94
On two other occasions he is mentioned as visiting the houses of his acquaintances and being found by the husbands, seated alone with their wives. Vin.iv.95–97
With most laymen, however, be was evidently popular. Mention is made of a meal where the donor kept all the other monks waiting for quite a long while, till Upananda should arrive, after his visits to various households. Vin.iv.98 And, again, of food being sent to the monastery with express instructions that the other monks should eat only after Upananda had done so. Vin.iv.99
Upananda had under him two novices, Kaṇḍaka and Mahaka, who seem to have resembled their teacher in being undesirables. They were found guilty of having sex together, and the Buddha laid down a rule forbidding a monk from having two novices as students. Vin.i.79 This rule seems to have been rescinded later. Vin.i.83
Four Pacceka Buddhas, mentioned in the Isigili Sutta. MN.iii.70
Commander-in-chief of the Māgadha kingdom. He was present at the conversation, recorded in the Gopaka-Moggallāna Sutta, between Ānanda and Vassakāra. MN.iii.13