1. Nandaka (v.l. Nanda) Thera. A householder of Savatthi. (The Apadāna (ii.499) says he belonged to a rich clan of merchants and that he entered the Order at the ceremony of dedication of Jetavana.)
Having entered the Order after hearing a sermon of the Buddha, he developed insight and soon attained arahantship. Once, at the Buddha's request, he preached a sermon to the nuns; on the first day they became sotāpannas, and, on the second, five hundred of them attained arahantship. From that time the Buddha declared him foremost among exhorters of the nuns. [A.i.25. The sermon he preached is known as the Nandakovada Sutta. The Anguttara Commentary (i.173) says that the nuns were Sakyan maidens who had entered the Order with Pajāpatī. At first Nandaka was reluctant to preach to them, they having been his wives in a previous birth when he was king, and he feared the calumny of his colleagues who might suggest that he wished to see his former companions. He, therefore, sent another monk in his place; but the Buddha, knowing that only Nanda's preaching would effect the nuns' release, insisted on his going.]
The Theragāthā (vs.279 82) contains several verses uttered by him to a woman to whom he was once married. She met him begging alms in Savatthi and smiled to him with sinful heart.
His aspiration after eminence was formed in the time of Padumuttara Buddha, when he heard a disciple of that Buddha declared foremost among exhorters of nuns. He offered the Buddha a very costly robe and illuminated his bodhi tree. In the time of Kakusandha Buddha he was a karavīka bird and delighted the Buddha with his song. Later, he was a peacock, and sang three times daily at the door of a Pacceka Buddha's cell. (ThagA. i.384f. The Apadana verses given in this context differ from those given in the Apadana itself (ii 499 f.).
The Anguttara Nikaya attributes two discourses to Nandaka. The first (A.i.193f. See sv., Sālha) was preached at the Migāramātupasāda and takes the form of a discussion with Sālha, Migāra's grandson, and Rohana, Pekkhuniya's grandson - on greed, covetousness, malice and delusion, and the benefits following their destruction. The second discourse is a sermon addressed to the monks at the waiting hall at Jetavana. It is said that the Buddha was attracted to the spot by the sound of Nandaka's preaching, and, finding the door locked, stood for a long time outside, listening (A.iv.358ff.; throughout the three watches of the night says the Commentary, AA.ii.794; also MA.i.348). When his back began to ache he knocked at the door, and, having entered, told Nandaka that he had been waiting until the end of his discourse to speak to him. Nandaka expressed his regret that he should have kept the Buddha waiting and pleaded ignorance of his presence. The Buddha, conscious of Nandaka's remorse, went on to praise his sermon, and said that the preaching of such sermons was the duty of all pious monks. When the Buddha left, Nandaka resumed his sermon, and told his audience of the five results of listening to the Dhamma in due season.
The Majjhima Commentary (ii.1019) states that Nandaka was once the leader of a guild of five hundred slaves of Benares and that Pajapati Gotami was his wife. One day, while fetching water, his wife noticed five hundred Pacceka Buddhas enter the city, and, on her return, she witnessed their departure. On enquiry, she learnt that they had applied to a merchant for lodgings for the rainy season, but that he had been unable to help. She undertook the care of them and, having enlisted the support of all her companions and their husbands, she and her husband ministered to the Pacceka Buddhas. As a result, they were born together as man and wife for many births, as were their helpers. In one birth Nandaka was king, and all the women became his wives. In this birth, the women were born as Pajapati's companions, and they left the world in her company. To them was the Nandakovada Sutta preached.
2. Nandaka Thera. A householder of Campā and younger brother of Bharata Thera. When these two heard that Sona Kolivisa had left the world - and he so delicate - they too renounced household life. Bharata soon acquired sixfold abhiññā, and, wishing to help Nandaka, came to him and discoursed on insight. A caravan passed by, and an ox, unable to pull his cart through a boggy place, fell down. The caravan leader had him released and fed with grass and water. He was then able to pull the cart out. Bharata drew Nandaka's attention to the incident, and the latter, making that his object of meditation, soon attained arahantship. (Thag.173f.; ThagA.i.299f.)
In the time of Sikhī Buddha, Nandaka was a woodsman, and one day, while wandering about, he saw the Buddha's cloistered walk. Pleased with its appearance, he scattered sand over it. (Ap.ii.418)
3. Nandaka. A yakkha. One day, while travelling through the air with his friend, he saw Sāriputta sitting in samadhi, his head newly shaved. Ignoring his friend's warning, Nandaka knocked Sariputta on the head; the former immediately fell down, his body aflame, and swallowed up in hell. (MA.ii.814; Mil.100; the incident is related at Ud.iv.4, UdA.244ff., and referred to in ThagA.ii.116, but the yakkha's name is not given. The blow was hard enough to kill an elephant seven or eight cubits high or shatter a rock. Sariputta was outside Kapota-Kandarā, Moggallana being near by).
4. Nandaka. A minister of the Licchavis. See Nandaka Sutta (2).
5. Nandaka. General of Pingala, king of Surattha, who reigned some two hundred years after the Buddha's death. Nandaka was a Nihilist, and, after death, was born as a vemāmikapeta in the Vindhyā forest. His daughter, Uttarā, was a pious woman, and gave alms in his name to an arahant monk. Thereupon Nandaka attained celestial happiness. Wishing to liberate Pingala from his Nihilist views, Nandaka waited for him on his return from a conference with Dhammāsoka, and, having led the king to his abode, ministered to him. Then, revealing his identity, Nandaka advised the king to follow the Buddha's teaching. Pv.iv.3; PvA.244ff.
1. Nandaka Sutta. Records the incident of the Buddha listening to the preaching of Nandaka and the continuation of Nandaka's sermon. See Nandaka (1). A.iv.358ff.
2. Nandaka (or Licchavi) Sutta. Nandaka, minister of the Licchavis, visits the Buddha at the Kūtāgārasālā in Vesāli. The Buddha tells him that the Ariyan disciple, possessed of unwavering loyalty to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha., and having Ariyan virtues, is assured of enlightenment and happiness. During the conversation, a man comes to tell Nandaka that his bath is ready. Nandaka sends him away, saying that the inner washing loyalty to the Buddha is far more important. S.v.389.