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Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas



[From DPPN:] A primeval king, descended from Mahāsammata, Roja, Vararoja, Kalyāṇa, Varakalyāṇa and Uposatha, the last named being his father. He was thus an ancestor of the Sākyans.[1] He had the [445] seven Jewels of a Cakkavatti and his four Supernatural Powers.[2] When he clenched his left hand and touched it with his right, a shower of the seven kinds of jewels fell knee-deep from the sky. For eighty-four thousand years he was a prince, for eighty-four thousand a viceroy, and for eighty-four thousand more a king. His life-span was an asaṅkheyya. But he grew discontented, and, at the suggestion of his ministers, visited the deva-world. First he went to the Catummaharajika-world, where he ruled; but still unsatisfied, he went to Tavatimsa. There Sakka welcomed him and gave him half his kingdom. Mandhātā ruled there during the lifetime of thirty-six Sakkas, each Sakka's life lasting for thirty-six million years and sixty times one hundred thousand. As time went on, Mandhata's craving increased; he wished to kill Sakka and gain the whole kingdom. Because of his greed his power waned, and he fell from heaven into his park. The gardener announced his arrival to the royal family, and they provided a resting-place for him and there he lay dying. When asked for a message for his people, he wished them to know how even he, in spite of his great pomp and power, had to die.[2]

Mandhātā is identified with the Bodhisatta.[3] His son was Vara-mandhātā, whose son was Cara and grandson Upacara (or Apacara).[4] Mandhātā ruled at Rājagaha,[5] and is named[6] as one of the four persons who attained, while yet in their earthly bodies, to the glory of the gods. He is considered as chief of those given up to the pleasures of the senses[7] and as an example of one whose desires could never be satisfied.[8]

When Mandhātā went to the deva-world he was accompanied by inhabitants of all the four continents. After his return to earth, however, the Cakkaratana stuck fast in the ground, and the others could not return to their homes. They thereupon begged for the intervention of the minister (Parimyaka), who was carrying on the government with Mandhata's shoes on the throne. He gave them lands in Jambu-dīpa. There those who came from Pubba-Videha called their land Videharaṭṭha; those from Apara-goyāna called it Aparantajanapada, and those from Uttarakuru dwelt in what afterwards came to be known as Kururaṭṭha.[9]


[1] J. ii. 311; iii. 454; Mtu. ii. 2; Dpv. iii. 5; but see SNA. i. 352, where the genealogy is slightly different.

[2] J. ii. 311 ff.; DA. ii. 481 f.; MA. i. 182 f.; cp. Dvy. 210 ff.

[3] J. ii. 314.

[4] J. iii. 454; Dpv. iii. 6.

[5] SNA. ii. 413; DA. i. 132.

[6] Mil. 115, 291; MA. ii. 737 f.; the others being Guttila, Sādhīna and Nimi.

[7] A. ii. 17; AA. ii. 474; e.g., VibhA. 506.

[8] Thig. 486.

[9] DA. ii. 482; MA. i. 183 f.




Mandhātu Jātaka (No. 258).