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Katyayana (Skt. Kātyāyana; P. Kaccāyana) was one of the main disciples of Gautama Buddha. He was commonly known as "Katyayana the Great" (Skt. Mahākātyāyana; P. Mahākaccāna). He was foremost among the disciples in explaining the brief discoures of the Buddha.[1]

He is identified asas one of the ten principal disciples of Gautama Buddha.

Traditional biography

According to Pali texts, 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.[2] 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.

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 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. Princeton Dict icon 166px.png Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. Mahākātyāyana
  2. Malalasekera, G. P. (1973). Dictionary of Pali Names. Pali Text Society. 


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