Slave girl of Sujātā. J.i.69; AA.i.218.
2. Punnā Therī
An arahant. She was born in a householder's family of Sāvatthi, and, at the age of twenty, having heard Pajāpati Gotamī preach, she left the world. One day, while meditating, the Buddha appeared before her in a ray of glory and she became an arahant.
In the past she was a kinnarī on the banks of the Candabhāgā, and, having seen a Pacceka Buddha, worshipped him with a wreath of reeds. Thig. vs. 3; ThigA. 9f.
She is perhaps identical with Tīninalamālikā of the Apadāna. Ap.ii.515.
3. Punnā Therī.-(v.l. Punnīkā)
An arahant. She was born in Anāthapindika's household, as the daughter of a domestic slave. She was called Punna because, with her birth, the number of children in the household reached one hundred.
On the day, on which she heard the Sīhanāda Sutta she became a sotāpanna. She converted the brahmin Sotthiya, who believed in purification through water (the conversation is recorded in Thig. vs. 236 51), and thereby won the esteem of Anāthapindika, so that he freed her. Thereupon she entered the Order and in due course became an arahant.
In the time of Vipassī Buddha she was born in a clansman's family and entered the Order. She learned the three Pitakas and became a distinguished preacher. She did the same under five other Buddhas - Sikhī, Vessabhū, Kakusandha, Konāgamana and Kassapa but, owing to her tendency to pride, she was unable to root out the defilements. ThigA. 199 ff.; Ap.ii.611.
Buddhaghosa, however, say of this Therī (MA.i.347f.; the story, with very different details, is given in AA.ii.716f) that she was a slave girl of Anāthapindika. On one occasion, when the Buddha was about to set out on a tour, Anāthapindika and the other chief patrons of the Buddha, loth to lose him for several months, begged him to remain with them. But the Buddha declined this request, and Punnā, seeing Anāthapindika very dejected and learning the reason, offered to persuade the Buddha to stay. So she approached him and said that she would take the Three Refuges with the Five Precepts if he would postpone his tour. The Buddha at once agreed, and Punnā was freed and adopted as Anāthapindika's daughter. She later joined the Order, and became an arahant after listening to an admonition (Therigāthā, vs.3, about Punnā 2) of the Buddha, who appeared before her in a ray of glory. Here we undoubtedly have a confusion of legends. See Punnā (2).
It may be this same Punnā who is mentioned in the Milindapañha (p.115) as one of the seven people whose acts of devotion brought them recompense in this very life.
The slave girl of the brahmin soothsayer of the Nānacchanda Jātaka. When asked what boon she desired, she answered, “A pestle and mortar and a winnowing basket." J.ii.428, 429.
A slave woman of Rājagaha. Late one night, when standing outside the house, cooling herself after having pounded a large quantity of rice, she saw Dabba Mallaputta taking some monks to their lodgings. She thought to herself that she had to work and therefore could not sleep early, but why should monks, who are free from care, be sleepless? She concluded that one of them was sick or had been bitten by a snake. At dawn the next day she went down to the bathing-ghat, taking a cake made of rice dust and baked over charcoal, meaning to eat it after the bath. On the way she met the Buddha and offered him the cake, though she did not expect he would eat it. But the Buddha, who was with Ananda, accepted the gift and sat down to eat it, while Punnā stood watching. When the meal was over, the Buddha asked her what she had thought of the monks, and she told him. The Buddha pointed out to her that monks could not sleep till late for they had to be watchful and assiduous. At the end of the discourse Punnā became a sotāpanna.
It was in reference to this Punnā that the Kundakasindhavapotaka Jātaka was preached. DhA.iii.321 ff.
A slave woman. The Commentaries mention (E.g., MA.ii.696) that the Buddha once made a rag robe (pamsukūla) out of a garment cast off by her in a cemetery overgrown with weeds (atimuttakasusāna). When the Buddha donned the robe the earth trembled in wonder. It was this robe that the Buddha exchanged with Mahā Kassapa; when the Buddha picked it up from the cemetery where Punnā had cast it off it was covered with insects (SA.ii.149).