(1) One of the five Ascetics who heard Shakyamuni Buddha's first sermon and became his first converts. The Increasing by One Agama Sutra describes him as excelling in supernatural powers. The Medium-Length Agama Sutra describes him as one of the virtuous and Venerable senior Monks of the Buddhist Order. While Shakyamuni was still a prince, Mahanama served him and his father, King Shuddhodana. When Shakyamuni renounced the secular World and embarked on his religious quest for Truth, King Shuddhodana ordered Mahanama and four others to accompany him. All five engaged in Ascetic practice together with Shakyamuni. When Shakyamuni realized that such austere practices would not lead to Enlightenment and gave them up, the five continued without him. Later, after attaining Enlightenment, Shakyamuni delivered his first sermon to Mahanama and the other four Ascetics at Deer Park, and all five became The Buddha's disciples.
(2) A member of the Shakya tribe in Kapilavastu, India. He gave his maidservant's daughter away in marriage to Prasenajit, the king of Ko-sala, claiming her to be his own daughter. Virudhaka, the son of Prase-najit and this woman, motivated by a grudge he bore against the Shakyas because of this deception, later killed the majorty of the Shakyas. According to the Increasing by One Agama Sutra, when King Virudhaka attacked the Shakyas, Mahanama asked the king to grant him one wish. That was that the king allow the Shakyas to escape for as long as he, Mahanama, could remain under water. Virudhaka granted his wish, and Mahanama remained under water for so long the king wondered what had happened. The king sent some attendants into the water to find him, and they discovered Mahanama tied his Hair to the root of a tree and drowned. Mahanama had sacrificed his Life to save the Shakyas. It is also said that Mahanama frequently offered medicine to the Buddhist Monks. According to The Fivefold Rules of Discipline, Mahanama was Shakyamuni's cousin and Aniruddha's brother.