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Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas


[254] At the top, Beggars, of those of my Upasakas who serves the Order (sanghupatthakanam) is Uggato gahapati.

Ugga of Hatthigama

(DPPN: A householder of Hatthigama of the Vajji country. Among householders he was declared by the Buddha to be the best of those who waited on the Order (sanghupatthakanam). On his father's death he was appointed to the post of setthi. Once when the Buddha went to Hatthigama during a tour and was staying in the Nagavanuyyana there, Ugga came to the pleasance, with dancers, at the conclusion of a drinking-feast of seven day's duration. At the sight of the Buddha he was seized with great shame and his intoxication vanished. The Buddha preached to him and he became an anagami. Thereupon he dismissed his dancers and devoted himself to looking after members of the Saṅgha. Devas visited him at night and told him of the attainments of various monks, suggesting that he should choose only the eminent ones as the recipients of his gifts. But what he gave, he gave to all with equal delight.

Once the Exalted One was dwelling at Hatthigama among the Vajjians. There he addressed the monks ... and said:

'Hold it true, monks, that Ugga, the householder of Hatthigama, is possessed of eight marvelous and wonderful qualities.'

And when the Well-farer had thus spoken, rising from his seat, he entered his dwelling.

Now a certain monk, robing himself early in the morning, taking bowl and cloak, went to the house of Ugga, the householder, and there sat down on a seat made ready for him, And Ugga of Hatthigama approached that monk, saluted him and sat down at one side.

Then said that monk to Ugga: 'It has been declared by the Exalted One that you, O householder, are possessed of eight marvelous and wonderful qualities. What are those eight marvelous and wonderful qualities, householder, of which you are declared by the Exalted One to be possessed?'

Said Ugga, the householder of Hatthigama:

[1]'When, sir, I was sporting in Naga glade, I saw the Exalted One a good way off, and at the sight of him, my mind become tranquil and my drunkenness vanished ...

[2]And when the Exalted One knew that my heart was clear, malleable, free from hindrance, uplifted, lucid, then he revealed to me that Dhamma-teaching to which Buddhas alone have won, to wit: Ill, its coming-to-be, its ending and the Way. Just as a clean cloth, free of all stain, will take dye perfectly; even so, as I sat there, there arose within me the spotless, stainless Dhamma-sight: that whatsoever is conditioned by coming-to-be, all that is subject to ending. I, sir, saw Dhamma, possessed Dhamma, found Dhamma, penetrated Dhamma, overcame doubt, surpassed uncertainty, possessed without another's aid perfect confidence in the word of the Teacher, and there and then took refuge in the Buddha, in Dhamma and in the Order, and embraced the five rules of training in the godly life ...

[3]Now, sir, I had four wives, young girls, and I went and spoke to them thus: "Sisters, I have embraced the five rules of training in the godly life. Who wishes, may enjoy the wealth of this place, or may do deeds of merit, or may go to her own relations and family; or is there some man you desire to whom I may give you?" And when I stopped speaking, the eldest wife said to me: "Sir, give me to such and such a man!" Then I had that man sent for; and, taking my wife by the left hand and holding the water pot in my right, I cleansed that man (by an act of dedication). Yet I was not a whit discomfited at parting with my wife ...

[4]Moreover, sir, there is wealth in my family, but among the good and lovely in character it is shared impartially ...

[5]And when I wait upon a monk, sir, I serve him respectfully and not without deference.

[6]It is, sir, nothing wonderful for devas to come and tell me, when I have invited the Order, that such an one is freed-both-ways; that he is wisdom-freed; that he is a seer-in-body; that he is a view-winner; that he is faith-freed; that he is a Dhamma-follower; that he is a faith-follower; that he is virtuous and lovely in character; or that such an one is wicked and evil in character. But, sir, while I wait on the Order, I wot of no such thoughts, suggesting: "To him I will give little." "To him I will give much." Rather, sir, I give impartially ...

[7]Furthermore, sir, it is not uncommon for devas to come and declare to me: "Perfectly, O householder, is Dhamma proclaimed by the Exalted One!" When they speak thus, I reply: "Ho! You devas, whether you declare so or not, Dhamma is perfectly proclaimed by the Exalted One!" Yet, sir, I feel no elation because of such thoughts as : "It is to me these devas come. I am the man who talks to devas."

[8] Moreover, sir, if I should die before the Exalted One, that would not be very wonderful. But that the Exalted One should declare of me: "There is no fetter, fettered by which, Ugga, the householder of Hatthigama, shall come again to this world" (that is wonderful).

These, sir, are the eight marvelous and wonderful qualities found in me; but I do not know of what eight ... I am declared by the Exalted One to be possessed."

Then that monk, after taking alms at Ugga's house, rose from his seat and departed. And when he had eaten his meal, after his alms-round, he went to the Exalted One and saluting him, stood at one side. So standing, he told the Exalted One of all his conversation with Ugga of Hatthigama.

And the Exalted One said:

'Well done, well done, monk! As Ugga, the householder of Hatthigama, in explaining the matter rightly should explain; even so, monk, he is declared by me to be possessed of those eight marvelous and wonderful qualities. Moreover, monk, hold it true that Ugga, the householder of Hatthigama, is so possessed!"