Birth and Early Life

Bakkula was one of the close disciples of the Buddha. He was born in the city of Kosabhe to a wealthy high caste merchant and his wife. One day when the nurse took the baby to the banks of the river Yamuna the baby was washed away and landed in the stomach of a huge fish. A fisherman in a fishing village down the river caught the fish and sold it to a rich merchant. The merchant’s wife who was childless was overcome with joy to find a baby inside the fish and decided to bring up the child as her own. When the story spread throughout the village it reached the grieving parents who suspecting it to be their child visited the newly found parents. Recognizing the baby as her own the birth mother asked for custody of her child but the new mother was too attached to it and refused to part with it. The two families then decided to request the King to settle their dispute. The King hearing their story decided to give both families joint custody. The chlld was named Bakkula meaning two castes. Bakkula was thus brought up amidst great wealth and love by both families. He had the best available education and took turns living with both sets of parents. Some years later he was married to a beautiful girl.

Bakkula’s longing and Arahantship.

As Bakkula grew older he was inspired by the teachings of the Buddha and joined the Sangha. His yearning of millions of lifetimes came to fruition and only eight days later he attained enlightenment.

Past Lives

Bakkula had a remarkable memory and could recall his past births over infinite lifetimes. He also had exceptionally good health and great knowledge of medicine and this was a great phenomenon to all the other monks as he never caught any illness even while closely tending the sick monks. It was the good karma of many earlier lives that he could attain these gifts which attributed to his good health and longevity. Bakkula had been closely associated with the Buddha in a number of past lives and had secured a number of boons which culminated in his rare gifts in the present lifetime.

First World Council

After the passing away of the Buddha, Bakkula with his remarkable memory and experience was invaluable in preserving the spiritual heritage of the Buddha and helped in recording his teachings at the First World Council.


Bakkula entered the order only at the late age of eighty years and lived for a long period as a monk after which he passed away peacefully. He is said to have practiced ascetism but did not involve himself much in preaching. Buddha considered him to be foremost among monks in good health and due to his powers of healing, he tended and cared for the sick and helped everyone in distress.