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Uttarā

1. Uttarā.– A therī. She was born in Kapilavatthu in a Sākyan family. She became a lady of the Bodhisatta’s court and later renounced the world with Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī. When she was developing insight, the Buddha appeared before her to encourage her and she became an Arahant. Thig.v.15; ThigA.21 f.

2. Uttarā.– She was the daughter of a clansman’s family in Sāvatthi. Having heard Paṭācārā teach, she entered the Order and became an Arahant.

The Therīgāthā contains seven verses uttered by her after becoming an Arahant, the result of her determination not to leave the sitting posture until she had won emancipation. Later she repeated these verses to Paṭācārā. Thig.vv.175‑81; ThigA.161‑2.

3. Uttarā.– In the Theragāthā two verses (Thag.vv.1020‑1) are attributed to Ānanda, as having been spoken by him in admonition to a female lay disciple named Uttarā, who was filled with the idea of her own beauty. Some say, however, that these verses were spoken in admonition to those who lost their heads at the sight of Ambapāli. ThagA.ii.129.

4. Uttarā Nandamātā.– Chief of the lay-women disciples who waited on the Buddha (Bu.xxvi.20). In the Aṅguttaranikāya (A.i.26), she is described as the foremost of women disciples skilled in meditation (jhāyīnaṃ), but this may refer to another Uttarā. She is again mentioned (A.iv.347; AA.ii.791) in a list of eminent lay-women disciples, who observed the fast (uposatha) of the eight precepts.

According to the Aṅguttaranikāya Commentary (i.240 ff), she was the daughter of Puṇṇasīha (Puṇṇa) (q.v.), a servitor of Sumana-seṭṭhi of Rājagaha. Later, when Puṇṇasīha was made dhana-seṭṭhi because of the immense wealth he gained by virtue of a meal given to Sāriputta, he held an almsgiving for the Buddha and his monks for seven days. On the seventh day, at the end of the Buddha’s discourse of thanksgiving, Puṇṇasīha, his wife and daughter, all became Stream-winners.

When Sumana-seṭṭhi asked for Uttarā’s hand for his son, his request was refused because Sumana’s family did not belong to the Buddha’s faith. Puṇṇa sent word to Sumana that Uttarā was the Buddha’s disciple and daily offered flowers to the Buddha, costing a kahāpaṇa. Later, however, when Sumana promised that Uttarā should be given flowers worth two kahāpaṇas, Puṇṇa agreed and Uttarā was married. After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain her husband’s permission to keep the fast, as she had done in her parents’ house, she got from her father fifteen thousand kahāpaṇas and with these she purchased the services of a prostitute named Sirimā, to look after her husband for a fortnight, and with his consent she entered on a fortnight’s uposatha. On the last day of the fast, while Uttarā was busy preparing alms for the Buddha, her husband, walking along with Sirimā, saw her working hard and smiled, thinking what a fool she was not to enjoy her wealth. Uttarā, seeing him, smiled at the thought of his folly in not making proper use of his wealth. Sirimā, thinking that husband and wife were smiling at each other, regardless of her presence, flew into a fury and, seizing a pot of boiling oil, threw it at Uttarā’s head. However, Uttarā was at that time full of compassion for Sirimā, and the oil, therefore, did not hurt her at all. Sirimā, realising her grievous folly, begged forgiveness of Uttarā, who took her to the Buddha and related the whole story, asking that he should forgive her. The Buddha taught Sirimā and she became a Stream-winner.

The Vimānavatthu Commentary (pp.631 ff; Vv.11 f) and the Dhammapada Commentary (iii.302 ff; see also iii.104) give the above story with several variations in detail. According to these versions, at the end of the Buddha’s discourse to Sirimā, Uttarā became a Once-returner and her husband and father-in-law stream-winners.

After death Uttarā was born in Tāvatiṃsa in a mansion. Moggallāna saw her in one of his visits to Tāvatiṃsa and, having learnt her story, repeated it to the Buddha.

It is curious that Nanda is not mentioned in either account. It has been suggested (e.g., Brethren 41, n.1) that Uttarā Nandamātā may be identical with Veḷukaṇḍakī-Nandamātā, but I do not think that the identification is justified. Uttarā’s story is given in the Visuddhimagga (p.313) to prove that fire cannot burn the body of a person who lives in love, and again (p.380‑1; also Ps.ii.212; PsA.497), as an instance of psychic power being diffused by concentration.

5. Uttarā.– Wife of Puṇṇasīha (Puṇṇaka) and mother of Uttarā (4). (VvA.63; DhA.iii.302). For her story see Puṇṇasīha.

6. Uttarā.– Daughter of Nandaka, general of Piṅgala, king of Surattha (PvA.241 f). For her story see Nandaka.

7. Uttarā.– A little yakkhiṇī, sister of Punabbasu. For her story see Uttaramātā (2).

8. Uttarā.– Mother of Maṅgala Buddha. Bu.iv.18; J.i.34.

9. Uttarā.– A brahmin lady, mother of Koṇāgamana Buddha, and also his leading female disciple (aggasāvikā). J.i.43; D.ii.7; Bu.xxiv.17, 23.

10. Uttarā.– Leading female dsciple (aggasāvikā) of Nārada Buddha. J.i.37; Bu.x.24.

11. Uttarā.– Wife of Paduma Buddha in his last lay life. Bu.ix.18.

12. Uttarā.– One of the chief women supporters of Vipassī Buddha. Bu.xx.30.

13. Uttarā.– Daughter of the banker Uttara. She gave a meal of milk-rice to Maṅgala Buddha just before his Enlightenment (BuA.116).

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