Chūdapanthaka ［周利槃特］ (; Pali Chūlapanthaka; Shurihandoku): The younger of two brothers who were followers of Shakyamuni Buddha. The Sanskrit word chūda means small, and panthaka, produced on the way. The elder brother, Mahāpanthaka (mahā meaning great), was clever, but Chūdapanthaka was slow by nature. According to one account, they were the sons of a Brahman living in Shrāvastī. When Mahāpanthaka was born, the Brahman, praying for his son’s health and longevity, had him placed by the side of a main road so that a passing religious practitioner blessed him. When Chūdapanthaka was born, he gave the same instructions to the maidservant, but she put the baby by the side of an alley. According to another account, the daughter of a wealthy man had relations with a servant and ran away with him. Later she became pregnant and wanted to return home. On her way home, she bore a son, Mahāpanthaka, on the roadside. Later she gave birth to her second son, Chūdapanthaka, again on the roadside.
Chūdapanthaka was instructed in the Buddha’s teachings by his brother who had renounced secular life and attained the state of arhat. Consequently, Chūdapanthaka also renounced secular life and became a monk. According to the Increasing by One Āgama Sutra, Shakyamuni attempted to have Chūdapanthaka memorize and recite the words “sweeping broom” in order for him to realize that the sweeping of dust signifies expiating defilements in life. Chūdapanthaka could not memorize these two words, however. Whenever he tried to say the phrase, he forgot either “sweeping” or “broom.” He finally understood the true intent of the Buddha’s instruction, however, awakening to the way to expiate defilements, and became an arhat.
The Stories of the Words of Truth Sutra states that Chūdapanthaka was so dull-witted that, though instructed by five hundred arhats for three years, he was unable to learn even a single verse of the Buddhist teachings. Taking pity on him, the Buddha gave him a verse to learn, which states that, by guarding one’s speech, governing one’s mind, and not committing any wrong deeds, one will surely attain liberation, and explained its meaning to Chūdapanthaka. Finally Chūdapanthaka attained an awakening and reached the state of arhat. According to still another account, Chūdapanthaka was taught a single verse of the teachings by his brother. Because he was unable to memorize it even in the span of four months, the brother considered Chūdapanthaka too inept to learn the Buddha’s teachings and decided to have him return to secular life, expelling him from the monastery. At that time, Shakyamuni offered instructions to Chūdapanthaka, who earnestly followed them until he attained the state of arhat.