The Buddha’s goal was to develop a community of disciples made up of monks and lay persons who were taught and practiced the Dhamma. Citta was one of the close lay disciples of the Buddha. He was a model Buddhist layman whose learning and behaviour the Buddha urged others to emulate.
Citta was a rich merchant and landowner in the town of Macchikasanda not far from Savatthi. He owned a whole hamlet named Migapathaka and the nearby woods Ambatakavana. He presented this to the Sangha building a spacious monastery there where the monks often dwelt. It is said that he learned the Dhamma for the first time from the monk Mahanama and the Buddha considered him to be the most lucid and learned of all the lay Dhamma teachers. After accepting the Dhamma he explained it to other citizens of the town. On one occasion hearing his expositions five hundred of them accepted the Dhamma and Citta took all of them to Savatthi to see the Buddha. His profound grasp of the most subtle aspects of the Dhamma and the discourses in the Tipitaka preached by Citta led to his own awakening later on.
When the monks had a difficulty on whether it was the sense objects or the sense organs that caused bondage, Citta explained very clearly that it was the desires that arose from the meeting of the two that caused bondage. The monks were delighted with his lucid explanation. Citta could deduce the deep spiritual interpretations behind sentences and with great originality and insight could explore their hidden depth and explain it to the monks in a way they could easily comprehend. He could explain the differences between the Dhamma and other religions so that the monks could appreciate the teachings even better.
Citta became ill and while his family gathered around him knowing he was on his death bed he exhorted them to recognize the impermanence and illusory nature of life and to take refuge in the Three Jewels. He then passed away peacefully.
Citta was one of the lay disciples of Buddha who was responsible for the spread of Buddhist teachings. His love and devotion to the Buddha was exemplary and he was fortunate to assist the Buddha in the spread of Dhamma and used his wealth in helping the Sangha. Thus his wealth and knowledge was used to foster the values preached in the Buddhist doctrines and purify and alleviate his mind to greater spiritual heights.