Chief Disciple of Buddha - Sariputra
Sariputra was one of the chief Disciple of Buddha. He was foremost in Wisdom among all the disciple of Lord Buddha. He was regarded as the son of Blessed One's (Buddha). Sariputra was the chief assistant who helped Lord Buddha in turning the Wheel of Dharma
Sariputra was one of the chief disciples of Lord Buddha and is considered as one of the 10 foremost disciples of Gautama Buddha in Theravada tradition. Another chief disciple of Lord Buddha was Moggallana and both disciples were foremost in their own aspects. Sariputra was foremost in Wisdom and it was said that Sariputra was only second to Lord Buddha when it comes to ability to teach.Sariputra was also called Sariputta in Pali or Shariputra . Both chief disciples were believed to be the counterpart of female nuns Khema and Uppalavanna. Sariputra was a young disciple when he realized about Enlightenment and became an arahant. The third Basket of Tripitaka was believed to be passed on by Sariputra since Lord Buddha used to teach him about Abhidharma (third basket) in Heaven realms. Later Sariputra mastered it and copied Buddha’s Abhidharma teachings and passed on to the disciples and followers of Buddhism.
Sariputra in Early Life
SariputraÂ was born in a Brahmin family. His father name wasÂ VangantaÂ and his mother name wasÂ Rupasari.Â SariputraÂ original name wasÂ UpatissaÂ and he was calledÂ SariputraÂ due to his mother.Â SariÂ was his mother name andÂ PutraÂ means son.Â SariputraÂ was born on the same day as his youth friend and anotherÂ chief disciple of Lord Buddha,Â Moggallana. It was the time of the festival that used to be organized inÂ RajagahaÂ andÂ SariputraÂ with his best friendÂ MoggallanaÂ went to attend it. They happened to attend one theatrical play and that play triggered them to search for more knowledge to find the truth of life.
Both of them becameÂ asceticÂ and choose to look for the truth of life. Both of them became disciple of the religious leader of that time,Â Sanjaya BelatthiputtaÂ . Both stayed withÂ SanjayaÂ for some time, but they were not satisfied with the teachings ofÂ SanjayaÂ and decided to leave him. It was then when they came acrossÂ Buddhist monkÂ Assaji.Â AssajiÂ was one of the firstÂ five disciples of Lord Buddha. BothÂ SariputraÂ andÂ MoggallanaÂ askedÂ AssajiÂ for his teachings. Then Assaji replied
âOf all those things that from a cause arise,
Tathagata the cause thereof has told;
And how they cease to be, that too he tells,
This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse.â
When both of them heard such words, they began their journey to hear theÂ teachings of Lord Buddha.
Disciple of Lord Buddha
According toÂ Pali textsÂ and history, after hearing from theÂ disciple of Lord Buddha,SariputraÂ was greatly moved and had a sight intoÂ Enlightenment. They becomeÂ Buddhist monkÂ shortly and became one of the most respectedÂ disciples of Lord Buddha. After two weeks of becomingÂ Buddhist monk,Â SariputraÂ was asked for the task of fanningÂ Lord Buddha whileÂ preaching the sermon sinceÂ Lord BuddhaÂ saw the potentiality and fate ofÂ SariputraÂ through âdivine eyeâ.
After accepting the task of fanningÂ Lord BuddhaÂ and listening toÂ BuddhaÂ preaching so closely, he attainedÂ EnlightenmentÂ and became anÂ arahant. Shortly afterÂ SariputraÂ started preaching with the approval ofÂ Lord BuddhaÂ and was called âGeneral of Dharmaâ.Â BuddhaÂ usually taught him aboutÂ Abhidharma, one of theÂ three baskets of Tripitaka, and later he mastered and regarded as the founder ofÂ AbhidharmaÂ tradition.Â BuddhaÂ often praised highly of him and even declared him theÂ spiritual son of the Blessed One.Â BuddhaÂ even regarded him one of the chief assistants in turning theÂ Wheel of Dharma.Â SariputraÂ was a selfless monk who always tried to help other to realizeÂ enlightenment. He even visited the sick and looked after the sick people, young as well as older monks in theÂ Sangha.
Departure and The Last Task
When Sariputra realized that his departure from this world is getting near, he requested to leave Lord Buddha and returned to his birthplace to his mother. At first, Rupasari didn’t believe in Dharma despite her son being the chief assistant in turning the Wheel of Dharma. When heavenly beings came to give their respect to Sariputra before his last departure, Rapasari was moved. Then Sariputra helped her to see the sight on the path of Enlightenment. Shortly after Sariputra died in the room he was born before Lord Buddha attained Parinirvana. His best friend Moggallana also died before Lord Buddha while traveling. When Ananda heard of his death, Ananda was deeply distressed, and passed the news to Lord Buddha , Buddha consoled him stating that this was the natural process and Ananda should not be distressed since Sariputra was aware of such phenomena.
In respect to Sariputra, the Stupa of Sariputra was constructed in Nalanda where he was born as well as died. The Stupa was made on the relics of Sariputra cremated body. The relics were handed over to King Ajatashatru by Lord Buddha. The stupa was constructed by King Dharmasoka in 261 BC.
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