Ādiccabandhu

Renderings

ādiccabandhu: the (enlightened) kinsman of the Sun clan

Introduction

Ādiccabandhu: the kinsman of the Sun clan

Ādiccā is a synonym for suriyo, sun (D.3.196). It was also the name of the Buddha’s clan, the Sun Clan (ādiccā nāma gottena, Sn.v.423; see discussion in Buddhist Dictionary of Pāli Proper Names). Therefore when the Buddha was called Ādiccabandhu, it meant he was ‘the kinsman of the Sun clan.’

Misrendering: ‘kinsman of the sun’

But Ādiccabandhu is often rendered as ‘the kinsman of the sun’ (reading ‘sun’ instead of ‘Sun clan’) as if to praise the Buddha for being related to the sun. But glorifying the sun in this way, and suggesting that the Buddha is related to it, is ridiculously suggestive of sun veneration, or even veneration of ancestors. In any case the Buddha rated himself as higher than the sun, and would certainly reject the idea that his worthiness was due to his forefathers. He said there are four sources of light in the world: the sun, the moon, fire, and the Buddha, and added that:

• The Buddha is the best of those that shine, the light unsurpassed
sambuddho tapataṃ seṭṭho esā ābhā anuttarā ti (S.1.15).

Linked: buddha and ādiccabandhu

The word ādiccabandhu occurs 29 times in the scriptures, always in verse. On 19 occasions it is linked to buddhaṃ, in the following ways:

• buddhaṃ ādiccabandhunaṃ: 8 occurrences (Āṭānāṭiya Sutta, D.3.197).

• buddhamādiccabandhunaṃ 1 occurrence (Sakkapañha Sutta, D.2.287).

• buddhassādiccabandhuno: 3 occurrences, genitive

• buddhenādiccabandhunā 6 occurrences, instrumental

The cases always match. The –unaṃ suffix is unusual, but functions as an accusative singular. It occurs in the following contexts:

• I pay homage to the great Hero, to the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan.
ahaṃ vande mahāvīraṃ buddhamādiccabandhunaṃ (D.2.287).

• Even from afar venerate the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan.
☸ buddhaṃ ādiccabandhunaṃ dūrato’va namassanti (D.3.197).

Restoring the buddha prefix

Where ādiccabandhu occurs without a buddha prefix, it is likely an abbreviation for metrical reasons, and in translation the buddha prefix should always be restored, and ādiccabandhu should always be rendered as ‘the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan.’ This would be a satisfactory conclusion. Praising the Buddha for simply being a kinsman of the Sun clan would be praise equally due to his cousin, Devadatta. In which case, Sn.v.54 should be translated as follows:

• Having heard the word of the (enlightened) kinsman of the Sun clan, one should live the religious life as solitarily as a rhinoceros horn.’
Ādiccabandhussa vaco nisamma
Eko care khaggavisāṇakappo
(Sn.v.54).

The Buddha, the Buddha

That buddhaṃ is meant as an adjective not a noun explains the awkward doubling of buddhaṃ in the Āṭānāṭiya Sutta (D.3.197), which interpreted as 1) a noun or 2) an adjective, would have the following results:

1) They, seeing the Buddha, the Buddha, the kinsman of the Sun clan, even from afar venerate him.’
☸ Te cā pi buddhaṃ disvāna buddhaṃ ādiccabandhunaṃ
Dūrato’va namassanti.

2) They, seeing the Buddha, the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan, even from afar venerate him.
Te cā pi buddhaṃ disvāna buddhaṃ ādiccabandhunaṃ
Dūrato’va namassanti.

Illustrations

Illustration: the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan

They, well-satisfied by the Seer, the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan, lived the religious life under the one of excellent wisdom.
Te tositā cakkhumatā buddhenādiccabandhunā
Brahmacariyamacariṃsu varapaññassa santike
(Sn.v.1128).

Illustration: the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan

With (the assistance of) the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan, who is proficient in methods of teaching, having applied myself properly (to the eightfold path) I removed my mind from states of individual existence
Upāyakusalenāhaṃ buddhenādiccabandhunā
Yoniso paṭipajjitvā bhave cittaṃ udabbahinti
(Th.v.157).