An eminent lay disciple of the Buddha declared foremost among those who gather a following by means of the four bases of sympathy (catūhi vatthūhi parisaṃ saṅganhantānaṃ) (A.i.26). He was the son of the king of Āḷavī (hence his name Āḷavaka), and the Buddha saved him from being eaten by the yakkha Āḷavaka. He was given the name of Hatthaka because he was handed to the Buddha by the yakkha, after the latter’s conversion, and by the Buddha to the king’s messengers. He was thus “handed” from one to another (hatthato hatthaṃ gatattā) (AA.i.212; SNA.i.240).
When he grew up Hatthaka heard the Buddha teach, and, in due course, became a Non-
And when Hatthaka had gone, the Buddha praised him for his eminence, in that he possessed eight marvellous qualities:
Together with Citta-
After death, Hatthaka was born in Avihā, there to pass away entirely. From there he once visited the Buddha and tried to stand in his presence, but collapsed and could not remain upright. The Buddha then asked him to create a gross body form, and when he did this he was able to stand. He told the Buddha that he was constantly surrounded by devas wishing to learn the Dhamma from him, and confessed that he had died regretting three things —
In the Buddhavaṃsa (Bu.xxvi.19), Citta and Hatthaka Āḷavaka are mentioned as the chief lay patrons (aggupatthākā) of Gotama Buddha.