An arahant. He was born in the family of a householder of Bāhiya (Ap.ii.476 says he was born in Bhārukaccha) - hence his name - and engaged himself in trade, voyaging in a ship. Seven times he sailed down the Indus and across the sea and returned safely home. On the eighth occasion, while on his way to Suvannabhūmi, his ship was wrecked, and he floated ashore on a plank, reaching land near Suppāraka. Having lost all his clothes, he made himself a bark garment, and went about, bowl in hand, for alms in Suppāraka. Men, seeing his garment and struck with his demeanour, paid him great honour. Though they offered him costly robes and many other luxuries, he refused them all and his fame increased. Because of his bark garment he was known as Dārucīriya. In due course he came himself to believe that he had attained arahantship, but a devatā (a Suddhāvāsa-brahmā, who had been his fellow celibate in the time of Kassapa Buddha, says the Commentary, see below and also MA.i.340), reading his thoughts and wishing him well, pointed out to him his error and advised him to seek the Buddha at Sāvatthi. By the power of the devatā, Bāhiya reached Sāvatthi in one night, a distance of one hundred and twenty leagues, and was told that the Buddha was in the city begging alms. Bāhiya followed him thither and begged to be taught something for his salvation. Twice he asked and twice the Buddha refused, saying that it was not the hour for teaching. But Bāhiya insisted, saying that life was uncertain and that the Buddha or he might die.
The Commentaries say that Bāhiya was excited by his meeting with the Buddha and that the Buddha wished to give him time to regain his calm, hence his refusal. The Buddha knew of his impending death and of his upanissaya for arahantship. He was a pacchimabhavika.
The Buddha then taught him the proper method of regarding all sense experiences - namely, as experiences and no more. Even as he listened, Bāhiya became an arahant and the Buddha left him. Shortly after, Bāhiya was gored to death by a cow with calf (cp. the story of Pukkusāti). The Buddha, seeing his body lying on the dung heap, asked the monks to remove it and to have it burnt, erecting a thūpa over the remains. In the assembly he declared Bāhiya to be foremost among those who instantly comprehended the Truth (khippābhiññānam) (A.i.24; Ud.i.10).
Bāhiya's resolve to attain to this eminence was made in the time of Padumuttara Buddha when he heard the Buddha declare a monk foremost in instantaneous comprehension. In the time of Kassapa Buddha, when the Buddha's teachings were fading from the minds of men, Bāhiya was one of seven monks who climbed a rock, determined not to leave it until they had attained their goal. Their leader became an arahant and the second an anāgāmī - passing into the Suddhāvāsa world; the rest were reborn in this age as Pukkusāti, Kumāra Kassapa, Dabba-Mallaputta, Sabhiya and Bāhiya. Although Bāhiya had kept the precepts in previous births, he had never given a bowl or a robe to a monk. For this reason the Buddha did not, at the end of his sermon, ordain him by the "ehi bhikkhu pabbajā." The Buddha knew that Bāhiya had not sufficient merit to obtain divine robes. Some say that he was once a brigand and had shot a Pacceka Buddha with an arrow and had taken possession of the Pacceka Buddha's begging bowl and robe.
Bāhiya met his death while searching for a robe in which to be ordained (UdA.77ff.; AA.i.156ff.; DhA.ii.209ff.; Ap.ii.475ff). The cow, which killed Bāhiya was identical with the one which killed Pukkusāti, Tambadāthika and Suppabuddha (for her story see DhA.ii.35f).
2. Bāhiya. A Damila usurper who reigned in Anurādhapura for two years (between 43 and 29 B.C.). He was commander in chief of Pulahattha whom he slew, being himself, in turn, slain by his own commander in chief, Panayamāra. Mhv.xxxiii.56ff.; Dpv.xx.15.
3. Bāhiya. A monk. He is said to have, come to the Buddha asking for a teaching in brief and the Buddha told him to dwell on the impermanence of the senses and of sense objects. Profiting by the lesson, Bāhiya dwelt apart and, putting forth effort, soon became an arahant (S.iv.63f).
It is perhaps the same monk - called Bāhiya or Bāhika - who is mentioned elsewhere (S.v.165f) as asking for the Buddha for a lesson and being told to meditate on the four satipatthānas. This contemplation led to arahantship.
4. Bāhiya. A monk, fellow dweller of Anuruddha at the Ghositārāma. He seems to have taken a prominent part in the disputes of the Kosambī monks, helping them, but Anuruddha let him take his own way, not protesting at all. A.ii.239; cf. KhA.115.
5. Bāhiya, Bāhika. The name of a country, residence of Bharata, the hunter mentioned in the Atthasadda Jātaka (J.iii.432). See also Bāhiya Jātaka.