I. THE MEANING OF HIS NAME:
1. He was born on the date the Shakyamuni attained enlightenment, the happiest day for all human beings.
2. He was the son of King Hộc Phạn, the younger brother of king Suddhodana (Tịnh Phạn). Hộc Phạn is a very compassionate king. Therefore, everybody in the country celebrated when Prince A-Nan-Da was born. A-Nan-Da always attended the Buddha’s teaching sessions. He is a cousin of Buddha. He was personal attendant to the Buddha.
II. HIS PAST LIFE:
In Lang Nghiem written: In past life, Ananda and Gautama Buddha were close friends. They practiced the good conduct. Ananda liked literature and did not spend much time in practicing while the Gautama was always practicing diligently. Ananda benefited from the past life by being born into the Thich family and became a cousin of the Gautama Buddha. He left home and was accepted into the Order at the age of 25.
III. HIS SUCCESS AND THE ADMIRATION OF BUDDHISTS
1. Because he had tried very hard to enrich his wisdom in his past life, he was very intelligent in his present life. He was honored as the most intellectual person of all Buddha’s disciples.
2. He was accredited with convincing Buddha to admit ladies into the Order as Bhikkhunis or female devotees. Therefore, in the Nirvana, Buddha said that on the 8th of December (Ananda’s birthday) the female Buddhists must always pay tribute to him.
3. He was the 2nd master after Kashtapa (Ca Diếp). He stood on the right side of Buddha.
4. In the 1st convention and council of the Shanga after Buddha’s death, the Buddhist scriptures were recorded due to his excellent memory of the Buddha’s sermons.
5. In the beginning of every sutra, we always see the sentence “Như thị ngã văn (I heard like this)” in the beginning of a sentence, this means that the sutra was recorded from the memory of Ananda.
He is most remembered for his recitation of Buddha’s teachings. The Bhikkhunis always remember whatever he did. His statue is on the right side of Buddha.