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Sūra-Ambattha

An eminent lay disciple, declared by the Buddha foremost among his followers in unwavering loyalty (aggaṃ aveccappasannānaṃ) (A.i.26; cf. A.iii.451). He resolved to acquire this eminence during his birth in the time of Padumuttara Buddha. He was born, in this Buddha age, in a banker’s family in Sāvatthi and became a follower of the heretics. One day the Buddha, seeing Sūra’s fitness for conversion, went to his door for alms. Out of respect for the Buddha, Sūra invited him in, and, giving him a comfortable seat, entertained him to a meal. At the end of the meal, when the Buddha returned thanks, Sūra became a Stream-winner. Some time after the Buddha had left, Māra, disguised as the Buddha, visited Sūra and, in reply to Sūra’s questioning, said that he had returned to contradict a wrong statement that he had made earlier. He had said that all formations were impermanent, etc., but, on further reflection, he had come to the conclusion that only some were of that nature. Sūra recognised Māra and drove him away. AA.i.215; cf. DA.iii.864.

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