Mahakapphinena ca, 1 "and Mahakapphina,"
(cont. from issue #53) by, Bhiksuni Heng Hsien
The Buddha's disciple Mahakapphina2 was king of Southern Kosala before he became a Bhiksu. Kapphina was his monastic name.3 Originally his parents named him for a naksatra "asterism,"4 one associated with Scorpio,5to whom they had prayed for his birth. Mahakappina eventually became the foremost of the Buddha's disciples in understanding of astrology.
After Mahakapphina had left the home life and
while he was still on the road going to find the Buddha in order to be ordained,
the Buddha sent a transformation body to speak the Dharma for him. Mahakapphina
heard the Dharma and attained one of the fruits of Arhatship
"overnight."6 He then especially enjoyed the
bliss of dhyana,7
constantly uttering aho sukham aho sukham, "ah
2 ta1 chieh2 pin1 na4.
3 0ne explanation of his name meaning huang2 t'o2 "yellow head" relates it to the Sanskrit word kapila "tawny." Tibetan transliterates as ka-pi-na.
4 See Vajra Bodhi Sea #47
5 fang2 hsiu4, "house star."
6 Perhaps in a "night's
lodging," another meaning of the character ,
7 The word dhyana pronounced Middle-Indic fashion jhana comes into Chinese as the word ch'an and from Chinese into Japanese as zen.
8 Sukhavati contains the word sukha(m) "bliss." See Vajra Bodhi Sea #24