Jetavana Temple paintings, Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh, India. Unknown artist of ancient origin.
Jetavana was the place where the Buddha gave the majority of his teachings and discourses, having stayed at Jetavana more than in any other monastery. This monastery was donated by the Buddha's lay patron Suddata. A merchant of Shravasti, he is said to have been one of the wealthiest men in the kingdom of Kosala. Since he often made donations to the poor and friendless, he was also called Anāthapindada (Supplier of the Needy).
Ānanda was the primary attendant of the Buddha seen here assisting the Buddha with utmost devotion. Among the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda stood out for having the best memory. Most of the texts of the early Buddhist Sūtra-Piṭaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that reason, he is known as the Treasurer of the Dharma, with Dharma referring to the Buddha's teaching. Ānanda was the first cousin of the Buddha, ordained as a monk and that Pūrṇa Maitrāyaṇīputra became his teacher. Twenty years in the Buddha's ministry, Ānanda became the attendant of the Buddha, when the Buddha selected him for this task. Ānanda performed his duties with great devotion and care, and acted as an intermediary between the Buddha and the laypeople, as well as the saṅgha. He accompanied the Buddha for the rest of his life, acting not only as an assistant, but also a secretary and a mouthpiece.
Ānanda is one of the most loved figures in Buddhism. He was known for his memory, erudition and compassion, and was often praised by the Buddha for these matters. In the Sanskrit textual traditions, Ānanda is considered the patriarch of the Dharma who stood in a spiritual lineage, receiving the teaching from Mahākashaypa and passing them on to his own pupils. Ānanda has been honored by bhikkhunīs since early medieval times for his merits in establishing the nun's order.
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