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Hatthaka Āḷavaka

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Hatthaka Āḷavaka, also known as Hatthaka of Ālavī - in the Pali tradition, one of the chief lay male disciples of the Buddha, along with Citta. Hastaka is considered the lay disciple of the Buddha who was foremost in gathering a following using the "four bases of sympathy" and was known for his ability to bring others to Buddhism.[1][2]


The name Hastaka comes from the Sanskrit word hasta meaning "hand." This refers to the disciple being handed over to the Buddha by the yakṣa Āṭavaka and then by the Buddha to the king's messengers.


According to the Pali Commentary (SA.iii.223), Hastaka was one of seven laymen who was always accompanied by five hundred lay disciples. He is mentioned in the Buddhavamsa xxvi.19 along with Citta as a chief layman and considered the foremost in gathering a following using the "four bases of sympathy" which are described as being:

1) giving gifts
2) speaking with kindly words
3) doing kindly deeds
4) treating people with equality

The Buddha praised him for possessing an additional eight qualities:

1) faith
2) virtue
3) conscientiousness
4) fear of blame
5) ability to listen well
6) charity
7) wisdom
8) modesty

Death and attainments

Hastaka finally achieved the state of an non-returner (anāgāmi) and was reborn in the Avṛha heaven in the Pure Abodes. As a deity, he once tried to visit the Buddha, but collapsed and was unable to stand upright. The Buddha recommended that he assume a more gross physical form, after which he was able to regain his composure.

Hastaka informed the Buddha that in this world, he was constantly surrounded by devas who wished to learn the Dharma from him. He also stated that he had passed away with three regrets:

1) not having seen enough of the Buddha
2) not having heard enough of the Dharma
3) not having served enough to the Sangha[3]


  1. Malalasekera, Gunapala Piyasena (2007). Dictionary of Pāli Proper Names: A-Dh. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 9788120830219. 
  2. Dhammika, Shravasti (2005-12-01). The Buddha and His Disciples. Buddhist Publication Society. p. 85. ISBN 978-955-24-0280-7. 
  3. "Hatthaka, called Alavaka". Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names. Retrieved 2019-07-15. 

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