Nanda ［難陀］ (; Nanda): (1) Shakyamuni’s disciple and younger half brother, the son of Shuddhodana and Shakyamuni’s maternal aunt Mahāprajāpatī. He is said to have been particularly handsome and was known as Sundarananda (Beautiful Nanda). After Shakyamuni renounced the secular world, Nanda took his place as heir to King Shuddhodana. When Shakyamuni returned to Kapilavastu for the first time following his awakening, Nanda was persuaded to join the Buddhist Order. He was for some time tormented because he loved his wife Sundarī wholeheartedly. Under Shakyamuni’s guidance, however, he renounced secular life and dedicated himself to Buddhist practice, attaining the state of arhat.
(2) A disciple of Shakyamuni, known also as the cowherd Nanda because that was his vocation before entering the Buddhist Order. It is said that King Bimbisāra, while playing host to Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples for three months, called upon Nanda the cowherd to furnish them daily with milk and other dairy products. Nanda complied, and to reward his industry Bimbisāra introduced him to Shakyamuni. When Nanda heard Shakyamuni, a former prince, speak knowledgeably about cowherding, he was convinced of the Buddha’s all-encompassing wisdom and became his disciple.
(3) A poor woman in Shrāvastī who was a follower of Shakyamuni Buddha. According to the Sutra on the Wise and the Foolish, she wished to make an offering to the Buddha. Only able to afford to buy oil for a single lamp, she offered this with the vow to eliminate the darkness of the sufferings of all people. Other lamps offered to the Buddha eventually went out, but hers continued to burn throughout the night. Maudgalyāyana, known as foremost in transcendental powers, attempted to blow it out but could not. Shakyamuni Buddha then prophesied that the poor woman would attain enlightenment, and thereafter she was revered by the people of the country.
(4) One of the ten great scholars of the Consciousness-Only school in India who wrote commentaries on Vasubandhu’s Thirty-Stanza Treatise on the Consciousness-Only Doctrine. He is thought to have lived in the sixth century.