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Moggallana – Closest Disciples of Lord Buddha

By Gaurav Manandhar at
Moggalana
Moggallana is another chief disciples of Lord Buddha along with Sariputra and was considered most capable after Sariputra.

Moggallana was one of the closest disciples of Buddha according to Theravada tradition and was known as Mahamaudgalyayana or Maudgalyayana . Among Shakyamuni Buddha ’s disciple such as Sariputra , Subhuti , Mahakasyapa , Moggallana was considered as the second of the Buddha’s most capable and trusted disciples. The other most capable and trusted disciple was Sariputra . Both Sariputra and Moggallana were considered as the chief assistant of Lord Buddha and Ananda was considered as the personal attendant of Lord Buddha . They were the most excellent pairs of disciples of Lord Buddha . Moggallana was foremost in supernatural powers like mind reading, magic powers. Various accounts showed that Moggallana used his mind reading powers in order to provide fitting advice to his students, so that those students of Moggallana could achieve results quickly and they could understand the Wheel of Dharma more specifically.

Moggallana in his Early Life

Moggallana was born in a Brahmanic family in the kingdom of Magadha , and his family claimed to be the descendant of Mudgala . Moggallana's father was from the prominent family in the town and his father was almost like a petty king, so Moggallana grew up in an environment of rich and honour and with no sorrows. Moggallana was a good friend of Sariputra when they were small and they were inseparable. In Rajagaha , an annual festival known as “ the hill festival ” was celebrated with popular shows and amusements. Both of them enjoyed watching various dramas and plays for three days. But they both had unstable feeling about the truth of life like getting old, dying and various other things. Since then they chose to take the life of ascetics and wandered the roads of India. After some time, they became disciples of the religious leader of that time, Sanjaya Belatthiputta and chose to learn from Sanjaya.

  • Buddha with Sariputra and Moggalana

Moggallana as Disciple of Lord Buddha

After some time of becoming the disciples of Sanjaya , they become unsatisfied since they couldn’t find the answer to the question of life they were looking. And they leave Sanjaya and became wanderers again to find the road to Deathless . They met many ascetics and brahmans who claimed to be wise and they become disappointed from them too. Then they decided to go separate way and if found the path to deathless then who found the path to deathless will inform the other. After some time, Sariputra returned to Moggallana and Moggallana could see the brightness in Sariputra and asked him the reason. Sariputra then replied to Moggallana that he found the Deathless who knew the truth of life and path to deathless.

Then they began their journey in search of Lord Buddha so that they could hear the teachings of Lord Buddha. Before going to Lord Buddha , they returned to Sanjaya and informed him about the teachings of Lord Buddha. But Sanjaya had seen Buddha as his rival and offered them to make them his co-teachers. But they declined Sanjaya offer and along with Sanjaya’s 250 disciples, they went to Lord Buddha . When they arrived near Buddha , Buddha became sure that these two ascetics will become most capable disciples of Lord Buddha and said that they are the blessed pairs and will become the chief disciples in the future. After ordination, Lord Buddha taught two disciples and two hundred fifty about the wheel of Dharma and Wheel of life . After hearing, both Sariputra and Moggallana decided to go a different path and would find the truth by following the path shown by Lord Buddha. According to some legend, Sariputra went to “ Bear’s Den ” to meditate and Moggallana went to the forest of near the village of Kallavalaputta . Moggallana became an arahant after a week of ordination and Sariputra after two weeks of ordination.

Moggallana as Chief Disciples of Buddha

Moggallana was considered to be Buddha wisest and most highly developed disciple after Sariputra . Moggallana was popular for his psychic powers and he used his psychic powers to teach and guide his students through the process of mind reading. When Devadatta with his evil plan turned 500 Buddhist monks against Lord Buddha and made them his disciples . Lord Buddha sent two chief disciples to help the misguided monks. It was due to Moggallana and Sariputra , 500 misguided monks were able to come back to Buddha after Sariputra and Moggallana taught them the true meaning of Dharma using their powers. And they failed evil plan laid by Devadatta .

Death of Moggallana

Moggallana experienced one of the worst demise among the disciples of Lord Buddha. Moggallana demise occurred six months before Lord Buddha. It was believed that he was bitten to death by the bandits in the forest where Moggallana was believed to be meditating. According to Buddhist tradition, it was said the violent death experienced by Moggallana was attributed to negative Karma of his past life. It was said that Moggallana clubbed his bling parents to death in the middle of the forest and left their body in the forest.