From Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yaśas (P. Yasa; T. grags pa གྲགས་པ་; C. yeshe) was an early disciple of Gautama Buddha. He was the sixth bhikkhu in the Buddha’s sangha and the sixth to achieve arahanthood.

According to traditional accounts, Yaśas was raised in Varanasi in a life of luxury. His father was a wealthy merchant. The family home was full of servants, musicians and dancers who catered for the family’s needs and entertainment.

One day, when he had become a young man, Yasa awoke early and saw his female servants and entertainers asleep in a indecorous manner. Disturbed by the spectacle, Yaśas realised the vanity of worldly life, and left the family home muttering “Distressed am I, oppressed am I” and journeyed in the direction of the Deer Park at Sarnath where the Buddha was temporarily residing after his first five bhikkhus had attained arahantship. This was five days after all of the first five bhikkhus had attained arahantship.

The Buddha was pacing up and down in an open space near where Yasa was muttering “Distressed am I, oppressed am I”, and called Yaśas over to him, inviting him to sit down. Yaśas took off his golden sandals, saluted and sat down. The Buddha gave a dharma discourse, and Yasa achieved the first stage of arahanthood, sotapanna.

At first, the Buddha spoke about generosity (Dana), morality (sila), celestial states (sagga), the evils of sensual pleasure (kamadinava), blessing of renunciation (nekkhammanisamsa), before teaching the Four Noble Truths. Yaśas' mother had noticed her son’s absence, and notified her husband, who sent horsemen in four directions to search for his son. Yaśas' father headed in the direction of Deer Park, following the trail left by the golden slippers. When the wealthy merchant saw the Buddha and asked him if he had seen Yaśas, the Buddha asked him to sit down, and then delivered a dharma talk. After this Yaśas' father became the first to take refuge in the Three Jewels, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Yaśas, who was in the vicinity and had heard the talk given to his father, became an arahant. After father and son were reunited, the father invited the Buddha and the Sangha to his home for alms on the following day. The Buddha then ordained Yaśas.

The Buddha and his six arahants visited the home of Yaśas the following day. Yaśas' mother and his former wife thus became the first two female lay disciples. Upon hearing of Yaśas' ordination, four of his closest friends, Vimala, Subahu, Punnaji and Gavampati followed him into the sangha and they too became arahants. Within two months, a further fifty of Yaśas' friends had joined the Sangha and attained arahantship, bringing the total number of arahants to sixty.


  • Narada (1973). The Buddha and his teachings. Singapore Buddhist Meditation Centre. 
This article includes content from Yaśas on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo