The son of a setthi in Bhaddiya. He was worth eighty crores, and was brought up in luxury like that of the Bodhisatta in his last birth. When Bhaddaji was grown up, the Buddha came to Bhaddiya to seek him out, and stayed at the Jātiyāvana with a large number of monks. Thither Bhaddaji went to hear him preach. He became an arahant, and, with his father's consent, was ordained by the Buddha. Seven weeks later he accompanied the Buddha to Kotigāma, and, while the Buddha was returning thanks to a pious donor on the way, Bhaddaji retired to the bank of the Ganges outside the village, where he stood wrapt in jhāna, emerging only when the Buddha came by, not having heeded the preceding chief theras. He was blamed for this; but, in order to demonstrate the attainments of Bhaddaji, the Buddha invited him to his own ferry boat and bade him work a wonder. Bhaddaji thereupon raised from the river bed, fifteen leagues into the air, a golden palace twenty leagues high, in which he had lived as Mahāpanāda. On this occasion the Mahāpanāda or Suruci Jātaka was preached.
The Mahāvamsa account (xxxi.37ff) says that, before raising Mahāpanada's palace, Bhaddaji rose into the air to the height of seven palmyra trees, holding the Dussa Thūpa from the Brahma world in his hand. He then dived into the Ganges and returned with the palace. The brahmin Nanduttara, whose hospitality the Buddha and his monks had accepted, saw this miracle of Bhaddaji, and himself wished for similar power by which he might procure relics in the possession of others. He was reborn as the novice Sonuttara, who obtained the relics for the thūpas of Ceylon.
In the time of Padumuttara Buddha, Bhaddaji was a brahmin ascetic who, seeing the Buddha travelling through the air, offered him honey, lotus stalks, etc. Soon after he was struck by lightning and reborn in Tusita. In the time of Vipassī Buddha he was a very rich setthi and fed sixty eight thousand monks, to each of whom he gave three robes. Later, he ministered to five hundred Pacceka Buddhas. In a subsequent birth his son was a Pacceka Buddha, and he looked after him and built a cetiya over his remains after his death. Thag.vs.163f.; ThagA.i.285ff.; also J.ii.331ff., where the details vary slightly; J.iv.325; also MT.560f
Bhaddaji is identified with Sumana of the Mahānārada Kassapa Jātaka (J.vi.255).
He is probably identical with Bhisadāyaka of the Apadāna (Ap.ii.420f). Bhaddaji is mentioned among those who handed down the Abhidhamma to the Third Council (DhSA.32).
See also Bhaddaji Sutta.