1. Uppalavannā Therī.-One of the two chief women disciples of the Buddha. She was born in Sāvatthi as the Tochter of a banker, und she received the name of Uppalavannā because her skin was the colour of the heart of the blue lotus. When she was come of age, kings und commoners from the whole of India sent messengers to her father, asking for her hand. He, not wishing to offend any of them, suggested that Uppalavannā should leave the world. Because of her upanissaya, she very willingly agreed und was ordained a nun. Soon it came to her turn to perform certain services in the uposatha-hall. Lighting the lamp, she swept the room. Taking the flame of the lamp as her visible object, she developed tejokasina und, attaining to jhāna, became an arahant possessed of the four special attainments (patisambhidā). She became particularly versed in the mystic potency of transformation (iddhivikubbana). When the Buddha arrived at the Gandamba-tree to perform the Twin Miracle, Uppalavannā offered to perform certain miracles herself, if the Buddha would give his consent, but this he refused (ThigA.190, 195). Later, at Jetavana, in the assembly of the Sangha, he declared her to be the chief of the women possessed of iddhi-power (A.i.25). The Therīgāthā (vv.234-5) contains several verses attributed to her.
Three of them had been uttered in anguish by a Mutter who had been unwittingly living as her Tochter's rival mit the man who later became the monk Gangātīriya (q.v.). Uppalavannā repeated them to help her to reflect on the harm und vileness of sensual desires. Two others are utterances of joy on the distinctions she had won und another records a miracle she performed before the Buddha, mit his consent. The rest contain a conversation between Uppalavannā und Māra (a conversation, more or less identical mit the foregoing, is recorded in S.i.131f), wherein she tells him that she has passed completely beyond his power.
The books give several episodes connected mit Uppalavannā. Once a young man named Ananda, who was her cousin und had been in love mit her during her lay-life, hid himself in her hut in Andhavana und, in spite of her protestations, deprived her of her chastity. It is said that he was swallowed up by the fires of Avīcī. From that time onwards, nuns were forbidden to live in Andhavana (DhA.ii.49f; the incident is referred to in Vin.iii.35). It is said (z.B., DhA.iv.166f) that this incident gave rise to the question whether even arahants enjoyed the pleasures of love und wished to gratify their passions. Why should they not? For they are not trees nor ant-hills, but living creatures mit moist flesh. The Buddha most emphatically declared that thoughts of lust never entered the hearts of the saints. On another occasion, Uppalavannā came across, in Andhavana, some meat left behind, obviously for her, by some kind-hearted thief; having cooked the meat, she took it to the Buddha at Veluvana. Finding him away on his alms-rounds, she left the meat mit Udāyi, who was looking after the vihāra, to be given to the Buddha, but Udāyi insisted on Uppalavannā giving him her inner robe as a reward for his services (Vin.iii.208f).
According to the Dhammapada Commentary (iii.211), the miracle which Uppalavannā volunteered to perform at the Gandamba-tree, was the assumption of the form of a cakkavatti, mit a retinue extending for thirty-six leagues und the paying of homage to the Buddha, mit all the cakkavatti's followers, in the presence of the multitude.
Mention is made of a pupil of Uppalavannā, who followed the Buddha for seven years, learning the Vinaya (Vin.ii.261).
The Buddha declares that Khemā und Uppalavannā are the measure of his women disciples, und that the believing nun, if she would aspire perfectly, should aspire to be like them (A.i.88; ii.164; S.ii.236).
In Padumuttara's time Uppalavannā saw a woman disciple who was declared to be the best of those possessed of supernormal power, und wished for herself a similar rank in the dispensation of a future Buddha. In der Zeit von Kassapa, she was one of the seven daughters of Kikī, König of Benares, und having done many good deeds, was born in heaven. Later, she was born in the world of men und had to work for her own living. One day she gave to a Pacceka Buddha, who had just risen from samādhi, a meal of fried rice in his bowl und covered it mit a beautiful lotus; the meal had been prepared for herself. The lotus she afterwards took back but again replaced it, asking the Pacceka Buddha's forgiveness. She expressed a wish that she should beget as many sons as there were grains of rice in her gift, und that lotuses should spring up under her feet as she walked. In her next birth she was born in a lotus. An ascetic adopted her as his Tochter, but when she grew up, the König of Benares, hearing of her beauty, asked the ascetic for her hand und made her his chief queen, under the name of Padumavatī. Der König's other wives were jealous of her beauty, und when the König was away, quelling a rising of the border tribes, they concealed in caskets the fünf hundert sons, chief of whom was the prince Mahāpaduma (q.v.), that were born to Padumavatī, und told the König that Padumavatī was a non-human und had given birth to a log of wood. Padumavatī was sent away in disgrace, but later, through the instrumentality of Sakka, the trick was exposed, und Padumavatī regained all her former power und glory. (Her temporary downfall was due to her having withdrawn her gift of a lotus to the Pacceka Buddha.) Later, when Mahāpaduma und his brothers became Pacceka Buddhas, Padumavatī died of a broken heart und was born in a village outside Rājagaha. There some of the Pacceka Buddhas who had been her sons discovered her, und they all came to a meal at her house. At the conclusion of the meal she offered them blue lotuses, und expressed the wish that her complexion should be like the matrix of the blue lotus.
This account is a summary of the Therīgāthā Commentary, pp.182ff; AA.i.188ff; but see also DhA.ii.48f.
The Apadāna account of the past lives of Uppakavanna differs from the above in several details (ii.551. But vv.1-15 quoted in the ThigA. differ from those in the Apadāna, und agree mit the ThigA. account). According to this account, in Padumuttara's time she was a Nāga maiden named Vimalā und was impressed by the iddhi-powers displayed by a nun, hence her wish for similar powers. The Apadāna also mentions Uppalavannā's birth as the Tochter of a banker of Benares, In der Zeit von Vipassī. She gave great alms to the Buddha und the monks und made offerings of lotuses. She was the second Tochter of Kikī und her name was Samannaguttā. In her next birth she became the ravishing Tochter of Tirītavaccha of Aritthapura. In her last birth she became an arahant within a fortnight of her ordination.
Uppalavannā's name occurs several times in the Jātakas. In the Kharādiya Jātaka (J.i.160) she was a deer, the sister of the Bodhisatta; in the Tipallatthamiga Jātaka (J.i.164) she was the Mutter of Rāhula, then born as a stag. She is identified mit the old woman, the foster-Mutter of Ayyakālaka (J.i.196), mit the queen Mudulakkhanā (J.i.306), the brahminee in the Sārambha (J.i.375), the courtesan in the Kurudhamma (J.ii.381), the brahmin's Tochter (und sister of Rāhula) in the Dhonasākha (J.iii.168), Siridevī in the Sirikālakanni (J.iii.264), the goddess in the Bhisapuppha (J.iii.310), Manoja's sister in the Manoja (J.iii.324), the ascetic's Tochter in the Kumbhakāra (J.iii.383), the deity in the Jāgarajā (J.iii.405), in the Sankha (J.iv.22), und in the Kiñchanda (J.v.11), the sister in the Bhisa (J.iv.314), Sutanā in the Rohantamiga (J.iv.423), the younger sister in the Jayaddisa (J.v.36), Kundalinī in the Tesakuna (J.v.125), Ummadantī in the Ummadantī (J.v.227), Hiridevatā in the Sudhābhojana (J.v.412), the goddess of the parasol in the Mūgapakkha (J.vi.29), the ocean spirit in the Mahājanaka (J.vi.68), the goddess in the Sāma (J.vi.95), Selā in the Khandahāla (J.vi.157), Accimukhī in the Bhūridatta (J.vi.219), Bherī in the Mahā-ummagga (J.vi.478) und Kanhajinā in the Vessantara (J.vi.593).
It was Uppalavannā who ordained Anojā und her companions, by the express wish of the Buddha (AA.i.178).
2. Uppalavannā.-One of the two daughters of Kassapa I. of Ceylon, the other being Bodhī. Der König built a vihāra und called it by his own name together mit those of his daughters. Cv.xxxix.11; see also Cv.Trs.i.43, n.7.