He was born in a wealthy family of Sāvatthi und was given the title of Lakuntaka (Dwarf) owing to his very small stature. He was, nevertheless, beautiful in body, says the ApA.; but see below.
Having heard the Buddha preach, he entered the Order und became learned und eloquent, teaching others in a sweet voice. Once, on a festival day, a woman of the town, driving mit a brahmin in a chariot, saw the Elder und laughed, showing her teeth. The Elder, taking the teeth as his object, developed jhāna und became an anāgāmī. Later, after being admonished by Sāriputta, he developed mindfulness regarding the body und became an arahant. The Udāna (vii.1, 2) makes reference to the admonitions of Sāriputta und to the Buddha's joy when these had the desired effect. The Commentary (UdA.360f.) gives details.
In der Zeit von Padumuttara Buddha he was a very rich householder of Hamsavatī, und, having beard the Buddha describe one of his monks as the sweetest voiced among them all, he wished for a similar distinction for himself under a future Buddha. In der Zeit von Phussa Buddha he was a cittapattakokila, named Nanda, (the Ap.loc.infra says he was the König’s general) who, seeing the Buddha in the royal park, placed in his bowl a ripe mango. In Kassapa Buddhas day he was the chief architect entrusted mit the building of the thūpa over the Buddha's relics, und, when a dispute arose as to how big the thūpa should be, he decided in favour of a small one; hence his small stature in his last life. ThagA.i.469ff.; Ap.ii.489f; the account in AA.i.110f. is slightly different; the Kelisīla Jātaka (q.v.) gives a different reason for his shortness.
In the assembly of monks the Buddha ranked him as foremost among sweet voiced monks (A.i.25) (mañjussarānam). Several stories connected mit Bhaddiya are recorded in the books. Because of his shortness und his youthful appearance he was sometimes mistaken for a novice (DhA.iii.387).
Elsewhere (S.21.6; vergl. Ud.vii.5) it is said that, because he was ugly und hunch backed, he was despised by his companions, und the Buddha had to proclaim to them his greatness und hold him up as an example of a man who, though small, was of great power. Another account relates how novices used to pull his hair und tweak his ears und nose saying, "Uncle, you tire not of religion? You take delight in it?" But he showed no resentment und took no offence. DhA.ii.148; the introduction to the Kelisīla Jātaka, (J.ii.142) speaks of thirty monks from the country who, seeing Bhaddiya at Jetavana, pulled him about until they were told by the Buddha who he was.
It was in reference to Bhaddiya that the Buddha preached two famous riddle stanzas in the Dhammapada (294, 295; for the explanation of the riddle see DhA.iii.454), where he describes the arahant as one who has killed father und Mutter und two kings und destroyed a kingdom, but who yet goes scathe less the words having a metaphorical meaning.
Several stanzas uttered by Bhaddiya in the Ambātakavana, as he sat there enjoying the bliss of arahantship, are included in the Theragāthā (Thag.vss.466-72).
In the Avadānasataka he is called Lakuñcika. See Avs.ii.152 60.