Ananda in Sanskrit speaks for joy. On the night of Ananda' s birth, his
uncle, king Suddhodana (pure rice king), then resting on the veranda,
was first told of his son, prince Siddhartha, attaining enlightenment
and becoming Sakyamuni Buddha. Great joy arising in mind, king
Suddhodana was then informed of the birth of a son to his own brother,
who thereby requested a name to be bestowed upon the newborn.
Without thinking twice, the king named the baby Ananda.
Perhaps the most talked-about incident in the life of Ananda the
Honored One was his encounter with the Matanga girl, who in ancient
Indian tradition would follow her mother' s surname. As it happened,
the hopelessly infatuated Matanga girl became unrelenting in pursuit
of Ananda, who, on the other hand, adhered to the precepts and
discipline with purity and vigor and would try anything to turn her down.
On knowing, the Buddha sent Manjusri Bodhisattva to his rescue. When
Ananda finally fled back to the bodhi villa, she scurried after him. With
the two before him, the Buddha undertook to expound life as the result
of cause and condition through many lifetimes. Unraveled, the Matanga
girl asked to leave home to become a bhiksuni and learn to practice
under the bhiksuni Mahaprajapati.