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Śāriputra (Sanskrit: शारिपुत्र) or Sāriputta (Pāli) came from a Brahmin[1] family and had already embarked on life as a spiritual ascetic when he encountered the teachings of the Buddha. Śāriputra had a close friend Mahāmaudgalyāyana (Pāli:Mahāmoggallāna), another wandering ascetic. They both renounced the world on the same day and became disciples of the sceptic Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta before converting to Buddhism.

After hearing of the Buddha's teachings from a monk named Assaji (Sanskrit: Asvajit), Śāriputra sought out the Buddha and became an adherent to his teachings. These two are often depicted together with the Buddha, and several sutras regard interactions between Śāriputra and Mahāmaudgalyāyana (who became renowned among the early Buddhists for his mastery of supernatural powers).

In one somewhat comical scene involving the two friends, a mischievous yakṣha (Pāli: yakkha) decides that it will attempt to irritate Śāriputra by striking him on the head. Mahāmaudgalyāyana sees this occurring with his "divine eye" (aclairvoyant-like faculty often attributed to powerful Buddhist monks, as well as other South Asian ascetics), and unsuccessfully attempts to warn Śāriputra. However, due to his great spiritual mastery, Śāriputra perceives the terrible blow that the yakkha delivers as only a light breeze. Mahāmaudgalyāyana approaches and expresses his amazement that Sariputra barely noticed the terrible blow; Śāriputra replies in amazement that Mahāmaudgalyāyana was able to perceive the invisible creature that dealt the blow.


Śāriputra often preached with the Buddha's approval and was awarded the title of 'General of the Dharma' (Pāli: Dhammasenāpati) for his propagation of the teachings and is regarded as the founder of theAbhidharma tradition. However, the Buddha also lightly reprimanded Sariputta on occasion when he did not fully explain the Dhamma to a prince,[2] or when he allowed a group of novice monks to become too loud.[3]

Nevertheless, Śāriputra was one of the most highly praised disciples and on at least one occasion the Buddha declared him to be a true spiritual son and his chief assistant in "turning the Wheel of the Dhamma":[4]


"If a person, rightly saying it of anyone, were to say, 'He is the Blessed One's son, his offspring — born of his mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, his heir in the Dhamma, not his heir in material things,' he would be rightly saying it of Śāriputra if he were to say: 'He is the Blessed One's son, his offspring — born of his mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, his heir in the Dhamma, not his heir in material things.' Sariputta, monks, takes the unexcelled wheel of Dhamma set rolling by the Tathagata, and keeps it rolling rightly."

(Wikipedia)

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       The stupa of Sāriputta at Nalanda 
           where he was born and died.
     

 

 

 

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