Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas
(DPPN: A Sakyan raja, son of Amitodana; he was elder brother of Anuruddha and cousin of the Buddha. When the Sakyan families of Kapilavatthu sent their representatives to join the Order of their distinguished kinsman, Mahanama allowed Anuruddha to leave the household, he knowing nothing of household affairs. Mahanama showed great generosity to the Saŋgha, and was proclaimed best of those who gave choice alms to the monks. Once, with the Buddha's permission, he supplied the Order with medicaments for three periods of four months each. The Chabbaggiya [Group of Six Beggars], always intent on mischief, tried in vain to discourage him. Mahanama was a devoted follower of the Buddha and wished to understand the Doctrine. The books record several conversations between him and the Buddha, and Ananda, Godha, and Lomasavangisa.
From: PTS; Woodward, trans.; The Book of the Kindred Sayings, V: Kindred Sayings on Stream-Winning, Ch. III
Thus have I heard: On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying among the Sakyans near Kapilavatthu, in the Banyan Park.
Now Mahanama the Sakyan came to see the Exalted One, and on coming o him saluted him and sat down at one side. As he thus sat Mahanama the Sakyan said this to the Exalted One:
'Lord, this town of Kapilavatthu is rich, prosperous, populous, crowded with men, a dense mass of folk. Now, lord, when I enter Kapilavatthu at eventide after waiting upon the Exalted One or the worshipful monks, I meet with elephants, horses, chariots, carts and men, all swaying and rolling along. At such times, lord, my thoughts, which are fixed on the Exalted One, on the Norm and the Order, are simply bewildered. Then it occurs to me: If I were at this very moment to make an end, what would be my lot, what would be my destiny in the life to come?'
'Have no fears, Mahanama! Have no fears, Mahanama! Blameless will be your death. You will make a blameless end. For he whose mind, Mahanama, has for a long time been practiced in faith, in virtue, in learning, in giving up and insight [PANNA], — though this material body of his, of the four elements compounded, from parents sprung, of a nature to be worn away, pounded away, broken and scattered, though this body be devoured by crows and vultures, devoured by kites and dogs, — yet his mind, if longtime practiced in faith, virtue, learning, giving up and insight, the mind soars aloft, the mind wins the summit.
Suppose, Mahanama, a man plunges a jar of butter or a jar of oil into a deep, deep pool of water, and breaks it, and it becomes shards or fragments, and sinks down to the bottom; but the butter or oil that is in it floats up and reaches the surface, — just so, Mahanama, if the mind has long been practiced in faith ... though all this material body of his ... be devoured by all manner of creatures, yet the mind soars up aloft, the mind wins the summit.
Now your mind, Mahanama, has long been practiced in faith, virtue, learning, giving up and insight. Have no fear, Mahanama! Have no fear, Mahanama! Blameless will be your death. You will make an end that is blameless.'
[As before] ... For the Ariyan disciple, Mahanama, who is blessed with four things, bends to Nibbana, slopes to Nibbana, tends to Nibbana. What are the four things?
Herein, Mahanama, the Ariyan disciple is blessed with unwavering loyalty to the Buddha ... to the Norm ... to the Order. He is blessed with the virtues dear to the Ariyans ... virtues unbroken, which conduce to concentration of mind.
For instance, Mahanama, if a tree bends to the east, slopes to the east, tends to the east, which way will it fall when its root is cut?'
'It will fall whither it bends, slopes and tends, lord.'
'Just so, Mahanama, the Ariyan disciple who is blessed with four things bends to Nibbana, slopes to Nibbana, tends to Nibbana.'