Home page Up (parent) Next (right) Previous (left) Abbreviations

Page last updated on 8 May, 2017

Association for Insight Meditation Home Page

Gotama (Thera)

1. Gotama Thera.– He belonged to a brahmin family of Rājagaha and was initiated at the age of seven. When he was seventeen, he fell into bad company, gave all he had to a courtesan and broke his vow of celibacy. He was then filled with remorse at the thought of what he had done, but the Buddha appeared before him and he entered the Order, becoming an Arahant in the tonsure-hall.

He had been a householder in the time of Vipassī Buddha and had given to the Buddha an amoda-fruit (Thag.137 f; ThagA.i.256 f).

He is evidently identical with Amodaphaliya Thera of the Apadāna. Ap.ii.447.

2. Gotama Thera.– He belonged to the Sākyan clan and came to be known only by his clan-name. He entered the Order when the Buddha visited his kinsfolk and, in due course, became an Arahant. In the time of Sikhī Buddha he had offered eight campaka-flowers at the Buddha’s thūpa (Thag.258‑60; ThagA.i.374 f). He is evidently identical with Citakapūjaka of the Apadāna. Ap.ii.407.

3. Gotama Thera.– Also called Aparagotama. He was older than the Buddha and belonged to an Udicca-brahmin family of Sāvatthi. He was learned in the Vedas and was an unrivalled orator. When the Buddha came to Sāvatthi for the dedication of Jetavana, he heard the Buddha teach and entered the Order, attaining Arahantship in the tonsure-hall. When he returned to Sāvatthi, after a long residence in the Kosala country, many of his relations, eminent brahmins, came to him and counselled him as to the various gospels (suddhivādā) current among the people; he told them of the Buddha’s teaching. Thag.587‑96; ThagA.i.529 f.

4. Gotama Thera.– An Arahant, living in Piyaṅgudīpa. He was the teacher of Duṭṭhagāmaṇī (Mhv.xx.69). When the latter, during his flight from his brother, wished to give alms to a monk before eating, Gotama knew his desire and sent a monk named Tissa to accept the alms. When the food was brought to Piyaṅgudīpa, Gotama offered morsels of it to five hundred monks (twelve thousand, according to Mhv.xxxii.65) and, refilling the bowl with scraps of food, sent it back by air to the prince (Mhv.xxiv.24, 30; MT.465).

5. Gotama.– The name of the clan to which the Buddha and the Sākyā belonged. The members of the clan, though warriors (khattiya), claimed descent from a brahmin sage (isi), Gotama (For an explanation of this see Thomas, op.cit., 22 f). Gotama and Aṅgiras are both enumerated in the Pravara ceremony as the ancestors of the Gotama clan (Asvalāyana, Srauta-sūtra, 12, 11, 1).

Late Buddhists appear to have forgotten the Vedic rsi, for, according to an ancient legend, Okkāka, the immediate ancestor of the Sākyā, was born of an egg formed of the coagulated blood and semen of an ascetic Gotama, as he lay impaled for the alleged murder of a courtesan. The egg was hatched by the sun (Mtu.i.338 ff; Rockhill, Buddha, 9 f).

Gotama is the name by which the Buddha is addressed by brahmins and others who are not his followers. In one place, at least, the Buddha is represented as addressing the Sākyā as “Gotamā.” (S.iv.183). The Gotama-gotta is classed among the higher clans, together with such clans as Moggallāna, Kaccāyana and Vāseṭṭha (Vin.iv.6; DA.i.246 f, uccākula-paridīpanaṃ). According to the Theragāthā Commentary (ii.204; also AA.i.395; Gotama-buddhassa sāvako pi Gotamo), the Buddha’s disciples (e.g., in the case of Vaṅgīsa) were also called Gotama, even when they did not naturally belong to that clan. See also Sākyā.

6. Gotama.– A brahmin sage, his full name being Aṅgirasa Gotama. See Aṅgirasa (7).

7. Gotama.– The name of the brahmin chaplain in the Bhikkhāparampara Jātaka. The scholiast adds that it was his clan name (gotta) (J.iv.371, 372).

8. Gotama.– A mountain near Himavā (Ap.i.162).

9. Gotama.– A thera in Sri Lanka who wrote a Sinhalese paraphrase to the Sambandhacintā. He belonged to the Araññavāsī sect and was a pupil of Vanaratana Ānanda (P.L.C.199, 220).

10. Gotama.– See Āḷavi-Gotama.

11. Gotama.– The last of the twenty-five Buddhas. See Gotama Buddha.