He belonged to a brahmin family of Magadha and, after entering the Order, lived in the forest and developed the six fold abhiññā. Thereupon he instructed monks and preached to large numbers of lay people. One family in particular he converted to the Faith, and in that family he was waited on respectfully by a beautiful girl. Māra, wishing to disgrace him, once went to the house disguised as the Elder, and grasped the girl's hand. But she, feeling that the touch was not human, took her hand away. The others, however, saw this and lost faith in the Thera. He, all unconscious, was aware next day of their changed manner. Discerning the work of Māra, he made them tell him what had happened. The father begged his forgiveness, and said that henceforth he himself would wait on the Elder (ThagA.i.368 f.; verses ascribed to him are found in Thag.246 8).

The Thera is evidently identical with Sumanatālavantiya of the Apadāna (Ap.ii.408). Ninety four kappas ago he met Siddhattha Buddha and offered him a palmyra fan (tālavanta) covered with sumana flowers.

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