Mahanama was one of the first five monks or Panchavaggiyyas who were with the Buddha right from childhood and accompanied him on his quest for Truth. After Buddha attained enlightenment he sought them out and gave his sermons which led them to attain sainthood. He was the brother of Ananda and cousin of Buddha.


Mahanama too like the others gave up a life of luxury to search for the true goal and meaning of life. He had been with the Buddha in a number of earlier lives and through meditation, charity and other penances had reached a very high state of spiritual development. After attaining sainthood he along with the other monks formed the first Sangha. He preached the Buddhist doctrines and was one of the seniormost disciples of the Buddha. He was not only virtuous and wise but had also acquired a number of supernatural powers. The Agama Sutra describes him as noble and wise in character. Pleased with his preachings of the Dhamma a benevolent lay disciple gifted him with a pleasant garden in Amabatakavan as a gift to the Sangha and even built a monastery there.


Mahanama was a wise, compassionate and noble monk who having attained sainthood helped and preached the Buddha’s teachings to all the other disciples. He was ever immersed in the higher state and was one of the seniormost monks of the Sangha.