A monk who was declared foremost in the gift of spontaneous poetic expression. AN.i.24
The Theragāthā contains numerous verses spoken by him on various occasions Thag.1208–1279 SN.i.183ff. Some of them Thag.1209–1218 were uttered about himself, his attempts to suppress desires excited by the sight of gaily dressed women SN.i.185 ; others Thag.1219–1222 were self admonitions against conceit because of his facility of speech; some were spoken in praise of sermons preached by the Buddha—e.g., the Subhāsita Sutta, Thag.1227–1230 a sutta on Nibbāna, Thag.1238–1245 and a sutta preached at the Pavāraṇā ceremony. Thag.1231–1237 Several verses were in praise of his colleagues—e.g. Sāriputta, Thag.1231–1233 Aññā Koṇḍañña, Thag.1246–1248 and Moggallāna. Thag.1249–1251 One of Vaṅgīsa’s long poems Thag.1263–1274 is addressed to the Buddha, questioning him as to the destiny of his teacher Nigrodhakappa. Another verse Thag.1252 describes the Buddha as he sat surrounded by his monks on the banks of the Gaggarā at Campā.
The Saṃyutta SN.i.185ff. devotes one whole section to Vaṅgīsa, dealing with the incidents connected with his life and giving poems made by him on these occasions.