He was the son of a brahmin of the Vaccha family. Having heard the Buddha preach, he entered the Order and dwelt in a village settlement in Kosala. He learnt the doctrine from the various monks who came there from time to time, but it was not until he learnt from Sāriputta that he was able to distinguish between Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma. He thus became versed in the Three Pitakas even before the First Council (On this see Brethren, p.66. n.1). He practised meditation and soon attained arahantship (Thag.v.65; ThagA.i.147f). Later he became a teacher of the doctrine. According to Dhammapāla (ThagA.i.149), the soubriquet Ukkhepakata was given to him because he was able to teach and recite passages from the three Pitakas "casting them in their proper setting, according as they belonged to each Pitaka." The title was meant to emphasise his eminent repertory of orally-learnt doctrine.
He had been a householder in the time of the Buddha Siddhattha and had helped a guild who built a hall for the Buddha by giving them a pillar for the building.
Fifty-five kappas ago he was a king named Yasodhara and twenty-one kappas ago another king named Udena. His seven-storied palaces were all built on one pillar. He is probably to be identified with Ekatthambhika Thera of the Apadāna (i.56-7).