The greatest of Commentators on the Tipitaka. He was a Brahmin. The Sás. (p. 29) says his father was a purohita, named Kesa, his mother being Kesí. Gv.66 says his father was the purohita of King Sangáma. He was born in a village near Buddhagayá and became proficient in the Vedas and allied branches of knowledge. One day he met a monk, named Revata, and on being defeated by him in controversy, entered the Order to learn the Buddha's teachings. Because his speech was profound, like that of the Buddha, and because his words spread throughout the world (like those of the Buddha), he came to be called Buddhaghosa. While dwelling with Revata, he wrote the Ńánodaya and the Atthasáliní, and also began to write a Parittatthakathá (a concise commentary) on the Tipitakas. In order to complete his task, he came over to Ceylon at the suggestion of Revata (Sás.p.29, says he was sent to Ceylon as punishment for thinking himself wiser than his teachers) and studied the Singhalese Commentaries at the Mahávihára, under Sanghapála. When his studies were ended he wrote the Visuddhimagga, and having thereby won the approval of the Elders of the Mahávihára, he rendered the Singhalese Commentaries into Páli. During this period he lived in the Ganthákaravihára, and on the accomplishment of his task he returned to Jambudípa. (Burmese tradition says he obtained his copy of the Tipitaka and the Commentaries from the Áloka vihára. But see P.L.C.83, n.1.4).
Besides the above mentioned works of Buddhaghosa, we have also the Samantapásádiká and the Kankhávitaraní on the Vinaya Pitaka; the Sumangalavilásiní, the Papańcasúdaní, the Sáratthappakásiní and the Manorathapúraní on the Sutta Pitaka. He is also said to have compiled Commentaries on the Khuddakapátha and the Sutta Nipáta (called the Paramatthajotiká) and on the Dhammapada. He also wrote a series of Commentaries on the Abhidhamma Pitaka (the Atthasáliní, the Sammohavinodaní and the Pańcappakaranatthakathá). Some ascribe to him the Játakatthakathá. For further particulars relating to Buddhaghosa, see Law's "Life and work of Buddhaghosa" and P.L.C.79 ff. The account of his life given here is taken from Cv.xxxvii.215ff . For a list of works ascribed to Buddhaghosa see Gv., pp.59 and 68.
2. Buddhaghosa. Called Culla Buddhaghosa to distinguish him from the greater. He was a native of Ceylon (Gv.67), and two works are ascribed to him (Gv.63) - the Játattagínidána and the Sotattagínidána. The former probably refers to the Játakatthakathá (P.L.C.126). It was at his request that Buddhaghosa (1) wrote his Commentaries to the Abhidhamma. Gv.68.