Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

One of the Buddha's chief disciples and his first cousin, his father being a brother of Śuddhodana, the Buddha's father. It appears that he entered the Order (Saṃgha) in the second year of the Buddha's ministry and was ordained by the Buddha himself. According to the Pāli accounts, after twenty years in which he did not have the same personal attendant all the time, the Buddha made known his wish for a permanent one. All the great disciples offered their services, but Ānanda, not initially seeking the position, was eventually selected by the Buddha. He agreed to serve the teacher, provided a series of conditions were fulfilled. On one hand Ānanda requested not to receive any extra benefits as a result of his position, such as choice clothes or food, separate lodgings, or the inclusion in the invitations accepted by the Buddha. On the other hand, he asked to be allowed to accept invitations on behalf of the Buddha, to bring to the Buddha those who came to see him from afar, to place before the Buddha all his perplexities, while the Buddha was to repeat to him any doctrine taught in his absence.

Ānanda was highly regarded by his colleagues who often consulted him and it is said that sometimes the monks, having heard a sermon from the Buddha, would ask Ānanda to give them a more detailed exposition since he had a reputation of being able to explain the doctrine clearly. Ānanda's championship of the cause of women is also well known. In particular, he is especially recognized for his role in the establishment of an order of nuns. Ānanda was also revered for his powerful memory. For this reason, when the First Council was called in Rājagṛha (see Council of Rājagṛha), following the Buddha's death.he was chosen by Mahākāśyapa, president of the Council, to recite all of the sermons preached by the Buddha, thus establishing the canonical record known as the Sūtra Piṭaka, or ‘Basket of Discourses’. Ānanda lived to be very old, spending his last years teaching and preaching. The details of his death are not reported in the Pāli Canon.

Subjects: Buddhism.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.