QUERY> Sanskrit name of Anathapindika's friend

Joshua Capitanio Discussion

Dear colleagues,

A Chinese text that I am currently working on quotes a long passage from the Ekottara Āgama that recounts how Anāthapiṇḍika married his daughter Sumāgadha to the son of his friend and business partner, a wealthy non-Buddhist merchant from the kingdom of Puṇḍravardhana (this story is also featured in the Xumotinǚ jing 須摩提女經 translated by Zhi Qian). The Chinese translations give his friend's name as Mancai 滿財, "Replete with Riches." I have checked various reference works (Hirakawa, Oda, Mochizuki, etc.) for a Sanskrit equivalent to this name but have found nothing. Would anyone here happen to have any information on this individual's Sanskrit name (or, instead, be willing to offer suggestions as to a reasonable reconstruction)?

Note: It is possible that the name Mancai is a transliteration rather than a translation. Most of the other proper names in this passage are transliterated: Anāthapiṇḍika 阿那邠邸, Sumāgadha (Sumati?) 須摩提, Śubha 修跋, Cunda 均頭, etc. In the last two cases, the transliteration is not entirely obvious, so that these names *could* be read semantically rather than phonetically. However, one other proper noun that is translated is the name of the kingdom Puṇḍravardhana 滿富城, which contains the same character man 滿 as the friend's name (which is also quite spot-on for the name of a wealthy merchant), so it seems more likely to me that this person's name is also a translation.

Josh Capitanio
Stanford Libraries

4 Replies

Post Reply

Dear Josh Capitanio,

May I offer a tentative suggestion (my Sanskrit is extremely poor, so I would be happy if it is verified by an expert).

I followed the overall logic in the beginning of the Chinese version of 須摩提女經, which successively introduces two persons:

- a wealthy merchant Anāthapiṇḍika in Sravasti  一時,佛在舍衛國王舍城中。有一長者,名阿那邠池

- a householder in Puṇḍravardhana 滿富城中有滿財長者.


The structures are roughly parallel, and I found similar parallel structures in the Sanskrit version of Sumāgadhāvadāna:

For Anāthapiṇḍika

tena khalu punaḥ samayena śrāvastyām anāthapiṇḍado nāma gṛhapatiḥ prativasaty āḍhyo mahādhano mahābhogo vistīrṇaviśālaparigraho vaiśravaṇadhanasamudito vaiśravaṇadhanapratispardhī. (SumAv_2)

For 滿財 (?)

puṇḍravardhane 'pi ca nagare mūṣilo nāma gṛhapatiḥ prativasaty āḍhyo mahādhano mahābhogo vistīrṇaviśālaparigraho vaiśravaṇadhanasamudito vaiśravaṇadhanapratispardhī. (SumAv_5)


The word in front of “nāma” should be the name, so the name of 滿財 should be “mūṣilo”

Besides that, I found on the internet that there is a dissertation dedicated to Sumāgadhāvadāna (please see information here and here):

Tsuru-Matsu Tokiwai Studies in Sumāgadhāvadāna, Dissertation for the University of Strassburg, 1889


I hope it is helpful.

Kind regards,

Mariia Lepneva


Dear Joshua,
It is likely a translation (not transcription) for Pūrṇabhadra. Taishō/CBETA attests to that in the Suvarṇaprabhāsa sūtra, tr. by Yijing in 703 CE:
《金光明最勝王經》卷8〈15 大辯才天女品〉:
「地水火風神,  依妙高山住;
 七海山神眾,  所有諸眷屬。
 [16]滿財及[17]五頂,  日月諸星辰;
 如是諸天眾,  令世間安隱。」(CBETA, T16, no. 665, p. 438, b27-c2)
[16]滿財 Pūrṇa-bhadra.。[17]五頂 Pañcaśikhi.。

While those are celestial, etc. deities, and Pūrṇabhadra is also known in some literature as a yakṣa, it was also used for the name of humans  — For instance, there was a Jain monk named Pūrṇabhadra who compiled a Pañcatantra; see McComas Taylor’s The Fall of the Indigo Jackal: The Discourse of Division and Pūrṇabhadra's Pañcatantra.

Pūrṇa means “full, filled… rich, abundant…” (Monier-Williams) and bhadra means “blessed, auspicious, fortunate, prosperous…” (ibid).

best wishes,
Dan Lusthaus

Dear Joshua,

I am glad to see the discussion of these transliterations, because it happens that I am currently working on a book chapter which discusses some narrative elements in the Sumāgadhāvadāna. My tentative conclusions are as follows:

Three early Chinese translations of the Sumāgadhāvadāna exist. The Sanmojie jing 三摩竭經 (T.129) was probably translated in the third century; the Xumotinü jing 須摩提女經 (T.128a), falsely attributed to Zhi Qian, was translated before the EĀ was completed in 384; the version incorporated into the Ekottara Āgama (no. 30.3) seems to be the latest of the three.

Among the Chinese translations, the Sanskrit version of the Sumāgadhāvadāna edited and translated by Iwamoto Yutaka 1979 is closest to Shihui’s 施護 Chinese translation (T.130) finished after 980 (see Iwamoto 1979, 130–132).

In T.129, Anāthapiṇḍada’s in-laws are the royal family of a city-state called Adversity (Nan 難; Skt. Ugra), with the father being a king called Fenpotan 分陂檀 (Skt. Puṇḍravardhana). In the Cūḷasubhaddāvattu, Anāthapiṇḍada’s daughter is married to Ugraśreṣṭhi’s son in Ugra. It seems to me that the translator of T.129 somehow mistakes Puṇḍravardhana as a personal name.

In T.128a and EĀ no. 30.3, since Puṇḍravardhana (Manfu滿富) is treated as the name of a city, Mancai zhangzhe 滿財長者 is probably a translation of Ugraśreṣṭhi, who lives in Puṇḍravardhana.

Allan Ding
DePaul University

Dear colleagues,

With apologies for the late response, I wanted to express my thanks to Mariia Lepneva, Dan Lusthaus, and Allan Ding for their replies to my query.

Mariia, thank you very much for pointing me to this Sanskrit text, which I had not found. Allan Ding has referenced research that shows that T. no. 130 is closest to this Sanskrit MS, and I see that in T. no. 130, the friend's name is given as Moshiluo 謨尸羅, which certainly looks like a transliteration of Mūṣilo. My Sanskrit is also quite poor, but this name seems to be related to mūṣ, "mouse," "rat," "thief," etc. I suspect that this is not the name translated as Mancai in T. no. 128a and the Ekottara Āgama.

Allan's explanation is very sensible, although again I am not sure if Mancai works as a translation of Ugraśreṣṭhi. I have also consulted a Tibetan version of the Sumāgadhāvadāna (Toh. 346), which interestingly does not give the friend's name (he is referred to only as "another merchant," tshong dpon gzhan zhig), but instead names the son (khyu mchog sbyin, which others have rendered as Vṛṣabhadatta).

These various textual issues aside, I think that for my current purposes, Dan Lusthaus' suggestion of Pūrṇabhadra as a Sanskrit equivalent of Mancai makes the most sense.