Portal:Buddhism/Selected biography/5

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Kaundinya lived during 6th century BCE in what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, India

Kaundinya also known as Ajnata Kaundinya was a Buddhist bhikkhu in the sangha of Gautama Buddha and the first to become an arahant. He lived during 6th century BCE in what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, India. Kaundinya was a brahmin who first came to prominence as a youth due to his mastery of the vedas and was later appointed as a royal court scholar of King Suddhodana of the Sakyas in Kapilavastu. There Kaundinya was the only scholar who unequivocally predicted upon the birth of Prince Siddhartha that the prince would become an enlightened Buddha, and vowed to become his disciple. Kaundinya and four colleagues followed Siddhartha in six years of ascetic practice, but abandoned him in disgust after Siddhartha gave up the practice of self mortification. Upon enlightenment, Siddartha gave his first dharma talk to Kaundinya's group. Kaundinya was the first to comprehend the teaching and thus became the first bhikkhu and arahant. Kaundinya was regarded as the foremost of the five initial disciples of the Buddha and later travelled around India spreading the dharma. Among his notable converts was his nephew Punna, whom the Buddha acknowledged as the foremost preacher of the dharma. In his final years, he retreated to the Himalayas and predeceased the Buddha.