Annakondanna Thera was an interpreter of Prince Siddhattha’s bodily marks, saying that this prince would certainly become the Buddha.
Annakondanna Thera became the first Buddhist monk: he was chief among Bhikkhus who are long standing: and he passed away before the Buddha.
The venerable Kondanna was born to a wealthy Brahmin family in the Brahmin village of Donavatthu, not far from Kapilavatthu. When he grew up, he completed his studies of the Three Vedas.
Five days after the birth of Prince Siddhattha, his father, King Suddhodana, invited one hundred and eight Brahmins to the traditional feast in his palace. Eight learned Brahmins were selected to foretell the future of the Prince by interpreting his bodily marks.
Annakondanna Thera was one of the eight Brahmins who were selected to foretell the future of Prince Siddhattha.The other seven Brahmins said that if the Prince chose to live as a layman, he would be a universal King, but if he preferred the life of a recluse, he would be the Buddha.
But Kondanna, the youngest of these Brahmins, was sure of his knowledge. As soon as he had read the bodily marks of the Great Man, he held up only one finger, affirming that this Prince would certainly be the Buddha.
After the Prince has renounced the would and become a recluse, Kondanna asked four younger Brahmins to follow him in order to wait on him.Then Kondanna, with the four other Brahmins ( Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahanama and Assaji) left the world and became the Five ascetics.
While the Bodhisatta was practicing self-mortification, the Five Ascetics attended upon him because they thought that when he was Enlightened he would teach them what he knew in his Enlightenment.
But when t6he Bodhisatta stopped practicing self-mortification and began to eat good once again, they were very sad because they thought that the Bodhisatta has given up his efforts. So they went away and left him alone.
At first, they refused to believe that the had attained to the Deathless because they reasoned that even when we practiced self-mortification he has failed. It was then not possible for him to succeed when he had given up his efforts.
Three times the Buddha said that he had not given up his efforts and that he had attained to the Deathless and three times they pretested.The Buddha then asked whether they had ever spoken like this before.
When they heard this, they believed in him and were willing to listen to his teaching. After all, they believed that he had never told a lie before and that he would not, either.At the Deer Park, the Buddha then preached the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. When he finished his sermon, Kondanna obtained the Eye of Dhamma and was a Stream-enterer.
The Buddha said, “ Kondanna has understood,” and from that time on he was called “ Annakondanna.” Meaning “ Kondanna who has understood.When the Buddha preached the second sermon, the Anattalakkhana Sutta. Annakondanna and the four other Bhikkus became Arahats.
Annakondanna was ranked foremost of all other Bhikkus in his seniority.
Since he was old, he bade farewell to the Buddha and went to live in a jungle seclusion near Chadanta Pool. He stayed there for rest of his life and passed away before the Buddha.