Born into a family of royal chaplains, he found no meaning in this life. Seeing the gifts and favours that were bestowed on the Buddha's disciples he had decided to become a monk. At first he was very greedy, and went about with a large alms bowl, however, following the Buddha's personal advice he conquered his greed and lived strictly on whatever he received and soon became an arhat. He constantly showed his gratitude to the Buddha by obeying his words and working only for the benefit of others.
Pindola Bharadvaja lives in a mountain cave on the eastern continent (Purvavideha) with 1,000 arhats. He carries a scripture in his right hand and an alms bowl in his left which he uses to aid those in the lower realms, conferring wisdom and granting wishes, protecting from misfortune.
- Crystal Mirror, volume VI, Dharma Publishing 1984.
Pindola Bharadvaja means “unmoving sharp roots.” To the present day he has not entered Nirvana because he broke a rule. Although the Arhats around the Buddha had spiritual powers, they were not allowed to display them casually. Once an elder called JyotiËka carved a bowl out of sandalwood, put it on top of a high pole, and said, “Whoever can use his spiritual powers to get the bowl down can have it.” Pindola Bharadvaja couldn’t resist the temptation, and used his powers to get the bowl down. “Since you’re so greedy for sandalwood bowls that you display your spiritual powers,” said the Buddha, “you will not be allowed to enter Nirvana. Instead, you must stay here and be a field of blessedness for living beings.” Pindola Bharadvaja is still in the world, but no one knows where. Whenever people make offerings to the Triple Jewel, however, he comes to receive them, acting as a field of blessedness for beings in the Dharma-ending age.