The Buddha’s father, King Suddhodana, had a brother, the prince Amitodana, who had five children. Among them was Ananda, who was later to be the Buddha’s faithful attendant, and Mahanama, heir to the Sakyan throne. A third brother was Anuruddha.
Among those who were pre-eminent in a particular skill was the venerable Anuruddha, who was praised by the Buddha as being foremost in developing the divine eye. The divine eye (dibba-cakkhu) is the ability to see beyond the range of the physical eye, extending in Anuruddha’s case to a thousandfold world system, which may perhaps be identified with a galaxy in modern astronomy. This faculty can be obtained by one who has reached the fourth meditative absorption jhāna and takes this meditation as the basis for further development as described in The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga).2 The divine eye is of a mundane (lokiya) character. It can be obtained by an unliberated worldling (puthujjana) as well as by those on the four stages of emancipation. Anuruddha attained it before he became an Arahant.