Title- The Two Chief Disciples (Part-1 of 2)


___ Bhikkhu  Ariyas Venerable Sariputta & Venerable Moggalana Part One of Two ___



The Venerable Sariputta was born in a village called Upatissa. His childhood name was Upatissa. His mother was Rupasari, wife of a Brahmin who was a chief there.




The Second Greatest Disciple of the Buddha, Venerable Moggalana was the son of a Brahmin, head of Kolita village. His mother was Moggalani. So he was named Venerable Moggalana. His childhood name was Kolita. The two young friends were intimate with each other and loved each other very much. They attended the same village school. As their parents professed Brahmanism (Hinduism) they liked to search for and practice the Supreme Truth of Life. Moreover, in their previous lives they had already cultivated and fulfilled “Savaka Parami”, and had in their present lives full-blown intellect. Thus the two noble friends possessed great wisdom that can lead to full liberation.




Their innate wisdom can be seen from an episode which still interests scholars:




One day the two friends went to see a Mountain-top show (the annual traditional Brahmin Festival) where dances and songs, music and shows were presented by famous artistes of the whole country, a kind of religious ceremony for devotees and worshippers. Though the shows were full of attractions (as beautiful girls danced and sand in lovely style), the intelligent “Two” did not enjoy the carnival. Though people crowded these interesting pageants, the “Two” simply looked at them in a thoughtful way. The two friends thought philosophically about the nature of existence.




They had deep thoughts and reflections: Ah! This Mountain Festival lacks attractiveness. We do not see anything interesting about these things because, in the next hundred years, all these beautiful songsters, dancers, musicians, drummers as well as all these people surrounding them must leave this human world. Death is certain. Life is uncertain. No one could say for sure whether one would go on living even for the next few years, let alone a hundred years. Instead of enjoying sensual things, why not seek “Immortality” (Amata, a state where there is no more birth, illness, decay and death, i.e. Nibbana Freedom). We all should, as mortals, seek immortality immediately as death is near at hand. Liberation is possible here and now if the Right and Good Method is practised. Samsaric dukkha (repeated births and future lives due to wholesome or unwholesome deeds, past and present) is the real suffering. Why not we seek the way out of this dukkha???




“Now is the time and chance to enter the Order of monks as we now get a noble sense of fear of life (Samvega Insight) right now”.




They talked and discussed these profound truths of life and the urgent need to win true, complete, final liberation from Death. They agreed to seek good, right teachers who can tell the right way to the bliss of Deathlessness.




At that time a great rishi teacher named Sancaya who was a leader of Sancaya sect, was a popular seer, attracting hundreds of disciples and followers because of his concentration power and moral conduct. The two friends were ordained monks under this great teacher. Within two or three days, due to their high intellect and past kamma in good deeds, they learnt all the philosophies of Sancaya, the great meditation jhanic teacher. Being wise and sensible, they instantly knew well that Sancaya’s Method of Liberation was incomplete, though not totally false. They fully understood that this type of mystical concentration (Rupa Arupa Jhanas) did not help them to realize Nibbana.




Dissatisfied, they left in search of other noble and right method of salvation in all parts of India (Majjhimadesa or Jambudipa). They felt that somewhere there must be the only Omniscient and Noblest Leader of mankind. Yet they could not find a person who was truly omniscient and of perfect moral purity. Sadly, after much disappointment in trying to find a Right Teacher they returned to their own native place. Then and there the two good, truth-seeking friends promised each other to report when a true dhamma teacher was found, if ever. They made solemn promises to tell each other if there was a Right Teacher who could teach True and Noble Dhamma (Nibbanic Supreme Peace and Highest Purity). In fact the two friends had met several Brahmin sages and metaphysicians who failed to teach them the Way to Immortality. For Brahmanism was, and still is, based on God and soul beliefs. So, the two truth-seekers paired in search of the Truth of Liberation (mukti or vimsuddhi).




Incidentally, on his way to a town Upatissa met an Arahat (the perfect human being who had dispelled all ten fetters), Venerable Assaji, who taught him thus, “Ye Dhamma Hetuppabhava, All things have cause…….”  This first teaching made the Venerable Sariputta (Upatissa) win the first stage of Ariyahood (Sotapanna Ariya, the state of being the First Noble Person). He reached this Ariya State immediately after listening to the first part of the noblest teaching as taught by the Omniscient (All-knowing) and Compassionate Buddha. The former wandering ascetic (paribbajaka) became, by peaceful and noble means, a true disciple of the Buddha having taken refuge in all seriousness in the Three Gems and having undertaken to observe the Five Moral Precepts as a Sotapanna Ariya.




When the returned to his village he repeated this Teaching of the Buddha  to his earnest friend: the same “Ye Dhamma …..” After hearing this noblest gatha, Kolita, the wandering heretic, won the first stage of ariyaship and became a true follower of Buddha’s profound teaching. Having known in the highest truth of liberation the two Ariyas decided to enter the Buddha’s Order of bhikkhus, the Samgha. After paying homage to the Supremely Enlightened One, they became Arahats along with their own followers. Knowing their past noble deeds the Buddha just said, “Ehi Bhikkhu! : Come! Bhikkhus” : so they instantly got the eight requisites of a true monk in this Sasana. No formal ordination was necessary for these “Ehi Bhikkhu” monks. (Note: My dear friends, please note that not everyone can be called “Ehi Bhikkhu” by the Buddha , only for those who used to donate Bhikkhu’s robes in their previous lives can be called “Ehi Bhikkhu” by the Buddha). It is to be noted that the Venerable Moggalana attained Arahatship within seven days while the Venerable Sariputta achieved Arahatship after 15-days Vipassana Meditation. (Note: My dear friends, please note that though Venerable Sariputta surpassed in wisdom than Venerable Moggalana, it took more time for him to attain Arahatship than Venerable Moggalana. It was because of his great wisdom that deeply thinking of the causes and the effects of all Dhammas in doing Vipassana Meditation whilst Venerable Moggalana didn’t think of such much and instantly try to realize Paramattha Dhammas in doing Vipassana Meditation).




The Buddha, the Compassionate One, gave a rare title “Dhammasenapati” (the Greatest Person in noble Wisdom and Insight) to Venerable Sariputta at the Jetavana Monastery before a huge crowd of disciples.To the Venerable Moggalana, the All-knowing Buddha awarded the title “The Greatest in Jhanic and Spiritual Affairs”.




These two greatest disciples served the interest and welfare of mankind, sentient beings, for 44 years by showing the good and correct way of daily life. All person who came them to hear the Dhamma gained immense benefit in both mundane and supra-mudane affairs.





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