Buddha's brilliant disciple
This is the story of Sariputta, one of the ten major disciples of the
Buddhist Order. He was considered the most brilliant of Buddha's
Rajagaha in ancient India was an epic centre of learning, during the
Buddha era. Many schools of philosophy flourished there. One such school
of thought was Sanjaya Bellattiputta.
The Buddha's two chief disciples - Moggallana (Mugalan) and Sariputta
(Sariyuth) were both born on the same day in adjacent villages just
north of Rajagaha. The first was named Moggallana- Kolitha, while the
second was called Upatissa. He was called Sariputta, Sari's son, as his
mother was named Sari. The two of them grew up together.
Once, the two youth attended a gala sports festival known as
Giraggasamajja. There were about one - hundred thousand spectators to
witness this festival. After the festival was over the venue was empty.
The two youth Upatissa and Kolitha after the festival realised how
impermanent their life was. They became wandering ascetics under
Sanjaya. They were not satisfied with their teacher Sanjaya and left in
search of truth.
One day, when Sariputta was walking through Rajagaha, he saw a serene
bhikku with full of grace and poise. His name was Assaji, one of the
Buddha's disciples. Through Assaji, Sariputta met the Buddha. It was the
turning point in his life. After listening to Ven. Assaji, “what the
essence of the Buddha's doctrine,” Sariputta became a stream-winner. He
straight away met his beloved friend Moggallana. He too noticed that his
friend's mind, the faculties, were pure as crystal clear. When he
questioned Sariputta, he stated that he has gained the first stages of
Immortality by listening to Ven. Assaji.
Both of them met their first teacher Sanjaya Bellattiputta and
informed him that they have decided to become disciples of the Buddha.
Sanjaya was far from happy. With all of Sanjaya's pupils, nearly two -
hundred - and - fifty disciples, they joined the Order of the Buddha
Like geese (a water-bird larger than a duck), that migrate south for
winter or north for summer, the leader Sariputta at a point of “V”
formation navigated Sanjaya's disciples. The rest fanned behind
Sariputta to meet the Enlightened One.
As soon as the Buddha saw the two young ascetics - Moggallana and
Sariputta, the Blessed One knew that they would become his most
efficient and trusted disciples and his chief disciples. Within a week,
Moggallana was enlightened - the highest state of Samadhi, in which the
mind is awakened and illuminated. Sariputta became illuminated after two
Sariputta was the foremost, the best to understand and explain the
Dhamma. In this way, he was only second to the Buddha. He possessed a
charming and pleasant personality and was a fountain of compassion and
Once the Buddha paid Sariputta the highest compliment thus:
“You are my General of Dhamma (Dhammasenapati) son of a universal
monarch rules rightly as his father did, turn the wheel of Dhamma
(Dhammachakka) for the betterment of all human beings. He possessed
wisdom. He was blessed with very sharp and analytical mind, and quick to
Ven. Sariputta was a very successful preacher and an effective
orator. On one occasion, when Yasodhara was seriously ill her son Rahula
consulted Ven. Sariputta for assistance to get medicine to his beloved
mother. Ven. Sariputta was renowned for nursing the sick.
Another important aspect of Sariputta's life was that he was very
much concerned about the poor.
He was a prominent social service worker too. Next to Sariputta was
his best friend Moggallana, the wisest bhikkhu in the Buddhasasana. Of
course, Moggalana's forte was - psychic powers (Iddhi).
The story woven round Kundalakesi and Sariputta is interesting.
Kundalakesi (curly hair), also called Bhadda, was a daughter of a
rich merchant of Rajagaha. She was charming, pretty and beautiful.
One day, he saw a robber, taken to the city by guards, on the orders
of the King for execution. The robber, was extremely handsome,
impressive with a majestic personality.
Seeing the handsome youth Kundalakesi (Bhaddha) fell in love with
him. She insisted that she must marry him or otherwise she would commit
suicide. Her parents were very upset. To save their daughter, they
bribed the guards and were able to release the robber. Instead of the
robber, an innocent man became a poor victim.
There is a saying “You cannot hide the birth and heredity and
environment.” The robber, to obtain her valuable jewels decided to kill
his wife who saved his life.
One fine morning the robber took her to the notorious - robber's
cliff in the guise of honouring a vow to throw her down the precipice.
Intelligent Kundalakesi, reaching the mountain top realising her plight,
embraced him and instantly pushed him, flung the vicious robber down the
She realised her folly - “love at first sight” and sexual passion
“nearly cost her life,” entered the order of Mahavira while
Nigantanatha's Order - Jainism. She was a brilliant debator a nun who
carried a rose apple tree in her hand.
Once she came to Savatthi. She set up the apple tree at the gate of
the city and went in search of alms. At that time the Buddha was
dwelling at the Jetavanarama Monastry.Ven. Sariputta saw the rose plant
in front of Jeta Giri inquired from the children in the neighbourhood,
who and why it was planted there. Sariputta requested the children that
this was not the proper place, to plant a tree, requested them to remove
it and trample it.
When Kundalakesi or the Buddha noticed that the rose apple plant was
removed she questioned Ven. Sariputta, why he got the children to
“Let us have a debate” Kundalakesi challenged Sariputta. Kundalakesi
put all her questions. Sariputta Thera answered them very
satisfactorily. Then, Sariputta asked whether to ask a question from
her. She agreed.
“Sister what is one?”
She could not give an answer.
Then, Ven. Sariputta taught her the Dhamma. She understood. She fell
at Ven. Sariputta's feet, took refuge in Buddha Dhamma.
Kundalakeshi entered the Bhikkhuni Sasana.She concentrated,
meditated, calm (Samatha) insight (Vipassana) and ultimately gained the
bliss of Arahatship. Gender was no barrier.The bhikkhus were puzzled as
to how Kundalakesi, who was responsible in throwing the robber husband
down the precipice and having listened to a little bit of Dhamma gained
Arahatship, so soon.
The Buddha said, “Don't measure Dhamma, as little. One sentence of
mine is more important than thousands of meaningless words. The man or
woman who vanquishes the defilements are victors.
The Blessed One, passed away at the age of eighty. His chief disiples
Sariputta and Moggalana's demise was recorded three months earlier than
that of the Buddha.
Sariputta's last words were - “Sampadetha Appamadenaesa Me Anusasana”
(strive on with mindfulness. Arahat Sariputta was the foremost disciple
of the Buddha.