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Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas


Lakkhaṇa Thera


Dictionary of Pāḷi Proper Names: Mentioned as having stayed with Mahā Moggalāna on Gijjhakūṭa. Once, when they were going down to Rājagaha for alms, Lakkhaṇa noticed that at a certain spot Moggallāna smiled; on asking him why, he was told to wait till they saw the Buddha. When the question was repeated in the Buddha's presence, Moggallāna said that he had smiled on seeing various Petas with gruesome forms flying through the air. From the text it would appear that these visions were seen again on several occasions.

The Commentary explains that Lakkhaṇa was one of the thousand Jaṭilas ordained by the Buddha (when he converted the Tebhātika Jaṭilas). [for the conversion of the three famous Kassapas see Vin. Texts i, 132-5] He attained arahantship at the conclusion of the preaching of the Ādittapariyāyadesanā. [SN 4.35.28] He was called Lakkhaṇa because of his marvellous personality, "like unto Brahmā's" It adds further that Lakkhaṇa's failure to see the Petas was not because he lacked the divine eye but because he was not giving attention as a clairvoyant must. It is said that when Moggallāna related his vision, some of the monks blamed him for claiming superhuman powers, but the Buddha declared him free from blame.



SN 2.19
SN 4.35.28
Dictionary of Pāḷi Proper Names, by G. P. Malalasekera, D.Litt., Ph.D., M.A. (Lond.), O.B.E., Pāḷi Text Society, 1974