A young monk whom the Buddha met at the house of Bhaggava, the potter, in Rájagaha. Pukkusáti was already occupying the guest room of the house, and the Buddha asked to be allowed to share it, to which Pukkusáti readily agreed. They sat together for sometime in silence, and then the Buddha preached the Dhátuvibhanga Sutta. Pukkusáti recognised the Buddha at the end of the sermon and begged his forgiveness for not having paid him due honour; he then begged to have the upasampadá conferred on him. The Buddha consented and sent him to procure a begging bowl and a robe. On the way Pukkusáti was gored to death by a mad cow. When this was reported to the Buddha, he said that Pukkusáti was an Anágámin and had been born in the realms above, never more to return. M.iii.237 47. In this context Pukkusáti is spoken of as a kulaputta (iii.238); see also J.iv.180 and DhA.ii.35.
In his comments on the Dhátuvibhanga Sutta, Buddhaghosa gives a long account of Pukkusáti. MA.ii.979 ff. Cp. the story of Tissa, king of Roruva (ThagA.i.199f.)
He had been the king of Takkasilá, contemporary of Bimbisára and of about the same age. A friendly alliance was established between the two kings through the medium of merchants who travelled between the two countries for purposes of trade. In the course of time, although the two kings had never seen each other, there grew up between them a deep bond of affection. Pukkusáti once sent to Bimbisára, as a gift, eight priceless garments in lacquered caskets. This gift was accepted at a special meeting of the whole court, and Bimbisára having nothing of a material nature, which he considered precious enough to send to Pukkusáti, conceived the idea of acquainting Pukkusáti with the appearance in the world of the Three Jewels (ratanáni) the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. He had inscribed on a golden plate, four cubits long and a span in breadth, descriptions of these Three Jewels and of various tenets of the Buddha's teachings, such as the satipattháná, the Noble Eightfold Path, and the Thirty seven factors of Enlightenment. This plate was placed in the innermost of several caskets of various precious substances, and was taken in procession on the back of the state elephant up to the frontier of Bimbisira's kingdom. Similar honours were paid to it by the chiefs of other territories, through which lay the route to Takkasilá.
When Pukkusáti, in the solitude of his chamber, read the inscription on the plate, he was filled with boundless joy and decided to renounce the world. He cut off his hair, donned the yellow robes of a monk, and left the palace alone amid the lamentations of his subjects. He travelled the one hundred and ninety two leagues to Sávatthi, passing the gates of Jetavana; but having understood from Bimbisára's letter that the Buddha was at Rájagaha, he omitted to enquire for him at Jetavana, and travelled on forty five leagues more to Rájagaha, only to find that the Buddha was all the time in Sávatthi. As it was then evening, he took lodging in Bhaggava's house. The Buddha, with his divine eye, saw what was in store for Pukkusáti, and travelling on foot from Sávatthi, reached Bhaggava's house at sundown, and, waiting his opportunity, engaged Pukkusáti in talk and preached to him the Dhátuvibhanga Sutta, as related above. After his untimely death* Pukkusáti was born in the Avihá world, where, together with six others, he became an arahant at the moment of his birth (see S.i.35, 60, for the names of the others.).
*The cow that killed Pukkusáti is said to have been a Yakkhiní who was a cow in one hundred births. In her last birth as a cow, she killed, in addition to Pukkusáti, Báhiya Dáruciriya, Tambadáthika, and Suppabuddha the leper (DhA.ii.35).
Pukkhusáti was one of seven monks who, in the time of Kassapa Buddha, decided to abstain from eating until they should attain arahantship. They lived on the top of a mountain. The senior monk attained arahantship, the second became an anágámí, but the remaining five died of starvation and were reborn in Tusita. In this age they became, respectively, Pukkusáti, Kumára Kassapa, Dárucíriya, Dabba Mallaputta and Sabhiya. Ap.ii.473; DhA.ii.212; UdA.81; but see MA.i.335, where only three are mentioned (Pukkusáti, Dárucíriya, and Kassapa).