Katyayana (Buddhist)

For the Sanskrit grammarian, see Kātyāyana.
Most Venerable Mahā Katyāyana Maha Thera

Illustration of Ven. Mahā Kātyāyana
Religion Buddhism
Dharma names Mahā Kachchāyana
Born Udeni (Ujjain) city, Avanti
Parents Tirīțavachcha Brahmin (father), Chandima Brahmin lady (mother)
Senior posting
Title Sankhittēna bhāsitassa vitthārēna attha vibhajantānan (Of those presenting the detailed meaning of what is spoken in brief)
Religious career
Teacher Gautama Buddha
Students Most ven. Sōṇa Kutikaṇṇa Maha Thera

Kātyāyana was a disciple of Gautama Buddha. In Sanskrit his name is Kātyāyana or Mahākātyāyana; in Pāli Kaccāna (means 'gold'), Kaccāyana, or Mahākaccāna; in Japanese 迦旃延 Kasennen, and in Thai he is called Phra Maha Katchaina (Thai: พระมหากัจจายนะ; Sinhala: මහා කච්චායන මහ රහතන් වහන්සේ).


Kātyāyana was born in a Brahmin family at Ujjayini (Ujjain) and received a classical Brahminical education studying the Vedas. Katyayana studied assiduously under Asita, who had predicted that Prince Siddharta would become either a chakravartin, a great worldly ruler, or a Buddha. With a group of seven friends he invited the Buddha to visit, and gained enlightenment (bodhi) while listening to him preach. He was ordained, and made numerous converts in the state of Avanti.[1] He is known as Phra Sangkajai in Thai Buddhism and portrayed as extremely portly.

Kātyāyana is listed as one of the ten principal disciples of Gautama Buddha: Mahākassapa, Ānanda, Sāriputta, Subhuti, Punna, Moggallāna, Mahākaccāna, Anuruddha, Upali and Rāhula. He was foremost in explaining Dharma.

Attributed texts

Statue of Mahākātyāyana in Thai tradition

Tradition attributes to Katyāyana the authorship of two late Pāli canonical texts Nettipakarana, a commentary on Buddhist doctrine; and peṭakopadesa, a treatise on exegetical methodology. However it may be more accurate to think of these texts being composed by a school descended from him.

In the Lotus Sutra

In Lotus Sutra Chapter 6, "Bestowal of Prophecy", the Buddha bestows prophecies of enlightenment on the disciples Mahākāśyapa, Subhuti, Mahākātyāyana, and Maudgalyayana.

Kaccānagotta Sutta

Nāgārjuna cites the a text which he calls kātyāyanavavāda "Advice to Kātyāyana", in his Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (15.7). The text he cites appears to have been a Sanskrit version of the Pāli Kaccānagotta Sutta (Saṃyutta Nikāya ii.16-17).

See also


  1. Malalasekera, G. P. (1973). Dictionary of Pali Names. Pali Text Society.


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