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Aṅgirasa

1. Aṅgirasa (Aṅgīrasa).– A name applied to the Buddha several times in the Tipiṭaka.¹ In the Commentaries three etymologies are given: Buddhaghosa says that “it means emitting rays of various hues from the body,” and that the word is therefore applicable to all Buddhas alike.² Dhammapāla adds that it signifies being possessed of attainments such as virtue, and also that according to some, Aṅgirasa was a personal name given by the Buddha’s father in addition to Siddhatha.³

It is, however, well-known that, according to Vedic tradition, the Gautamas belong to the Aṅgirasa clan;⁴ the word, as applied to the Buddha, therefore, is probably a patronymic, in which case we have another example of a Ksatriya clan laying claim to a brahmin gotra.⁵

¹ E.g., Vin.i.25; D.iii.196; S.i.196; A.iii.239; Thag.v.536; J.i.116).

² DA.iii.963.

³ ThagA.i.503. It is worth noting that in AA.i.381 Siddhattha is referred to as Aṅgīrasa Kumāra.

⁴ See Vedic Index: Gotama.

⁵ See Thomas: Life and Legend of the Buddha, p.22‑3.

2. Aṅgirasa.– Another name (Aṅgirasa gahapati) for Asayha. Pv.p.25, vv.23 and 27 ff; also PvA.124.

3. Aṅgirasa.– One of the ten ancient seers who conducted great sacrifices and were versed in Vedic lore. The others being Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, and Bhagu. The list occurs in several places, e.g. Vin.i.245; A.iii.224; M.ii.169, 200.

The same ten are also mentioned as being composers and reciters of the Vedas. D.i.238.

4. Aṅgirasa.– A celebrated physician (Mil.272). Rhys Davids suggests that the connection of the name Angirasa with the physician is due to the charms against disease to be found in the Atharva Veda. Mil. trans. ii.109, n. 3.

5. Aṅgirasa.– A king, mentioned among the descendants of Mahāsammata. Mhv.ii.4; and Dpv.iii.6.

6. Aṅgirasa.– An ascetic. The name occurs in a list of eleven ascetics who, because of their holy lives, passed the peta world and were born in Brahma’s heaven (J.vi.99; J.v.267). For the others see Akitti.

7. Aṅgirasa.– An ascetic, Aṅgīrasa Gotama, who was killed by the thousand-armed Ajjuna. The ascetic disturbed the animals when Ajjuna was waiting to hunt, and the king, in anger, shot at him with a poisoned arrow (J.v.135, 144 and 145; DA.i.266). This Aṅgīrasa is probably to be identified with one of the foregoing.

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