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Moggallana and Sariputta were known as the two most well-known followers of the Buddha. They are called as the ''Dhamma-Senapatis''. Sariputta is also called the “chief disciple of the Buddha.” His real name was Upatissa, yet he was known to everyone with the name of Sariputta and was also called as the same in the Buddhist tradition because he was the son of Rupasari, a Brahmin woman of the Nalaka village. He is particularly known for the resolution of his promise; and strong willpower. He was also entrusted with the ordination of Rahula, the son of Gotama.

He was the first  living creature on the earth who have received the teachings of Abhidhamma – the root or the basics of the Buddhist policy on this earth; and the only one among the human beings to have learnt the same directly from the Buddha. He was, therefore, the first acharya to have carried forward the lamp of Abhidhamma on the planet; and thus to begin the acharya-disciple tradition, which in turn was complete in the like manner through Bhaddaji, Sobhita, Piyajali, Piyapala, Piyadassi, Kosiyaputta, Siggava, Sandeha, Moggalliputta, Sudatta, Dhammiya, Dasaka, Sonaka and Revata; and afterwards through Mahinda, Ittiya, Sambala, Pandita, and Bhaddanama it reached to Sri Lanka. Amusingly, this tradition is still alive in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand; though ended away in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

When the Buddha taught the Abhidhamma to his mother itself in Tavatimsa Loka by sitting on the Sakka’s throne under the Paricchataka tree; he would then move down to the lake Anottapa every day to teach the same to Sariputta for three months by creating his own form there. So, Sariputta became the first among the priests to have learnt Abhidhamma - “the policy of all that is within and without”. Sariputta, in his turn, then taught it to his five hundred followers every day. Thus, when the Buddha completed his talk in Tavatimsa the seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, too, were written by the following day.

An interesting and amusing story is related to Sariputta and a Yakkha. Once at the night-time when Sariputta was deeply immersed in meditation with his shaven head a Yakkha, flying in the sky saw the shining head of Sariputta in the moonlit night. Attracted at the sight, he give out a powerful blow on the priest’s head. The blow was powerful enough to crush a mountain. Yet, that did not impose any damaging effect on the monk except to that he felt a mild headache after the end of his meditation.

According to the Pali Jatakas Sariputta was born as Krishna in one of his births. Moreover, his characters in the Jatakas are numerous. He died a fortnight before Moggallana’s death.

Note: It is remarkable that in the Pali tradition Sariputta was born as Krishna in one of his births. The Bodhisatta was, however, born as a great sage Kanha Dipayana during those days, and it was due to his curse that the family of the Vasudeva was eventually destroyed. (See Ghata Jataka No.454.) As a second Kanha he was born as a great ascetic with the name Kanha Tapassa (Kanha Jataka No.440).

Moreover, it is amusing to note that the Pali tradition, too, acknowledges that the Buddha was once born as a great emperor with the name Rama Pandita in one of his births and had lived for twenty-thousands of years. 




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