Ten Principal Disciples

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Buddha and his disciples. The world's tallest walking statue of the Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Walking statue of the Buddha.JPG
Buddha and his disciples. The world’s tallest walking statue of the Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

The ten principal disciples were the main disciples of Gautama Buddha. Depending on the scripture, the disciples included in this group vary. The Vimalakirti Sutra includes:

Gautama Buddha Founder of Buddhism

Siddhārtha Gautama or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, also called the Gautama Buddha, the Shakyamuni Buddha, or simply the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk (śramaṇa), mendicant, sage, philosopher, teacher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.

<i>Vimalakirti Sutra</i> sutra

The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa, is a Mahayana Buddhist sutra. It was extremely influential in East Asia, but most likely of considerably less importance in the Indian and Tibetan sub-traditions of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The word nirdeśa in the title means "instruction, advice", and Vimalakīrti is the name of the main protagonist of the text, and means "Taintless Fame".

  1. Shariputra
    Śāripūtra (Sanskrit), or Sāriputta (Pāli), is a top master of Wisdom. In Heart Sutra, the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara preaches to him.
  2. Maudgalyayana
    Maudgalyāyana (Sk.) or Moggallāna(Pl.), also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or Mahāmoggallāna. He is a top master of supernatural powers. Maudgalyayana and Śāriputra were once disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the skeptic, but they became disciples of the Buddha. In Chinese Buddhism, the Mass that Maudgalyayana held to save his mother who had gone to the Hungry Ghost realm (one of the Six realms) is the foundation of ullambana (Ghost Festival).
  3. Mahākāśyapa
    Mahākāśyapa (Sk.) or Mahākassapa (Pl.). He was a top master of ascetic training. After the death of Shakyamuni Buddha, he assumes the leadership of the sangha, compiled the Buddha's sayings (suttas) with 500 other disciples (First Buddhist councils), and became the first man who preached the Buddha's teachings directly.
  4. Subhuti
    Subhūti (Sk. & Pl.) understood the potency of emptiness. He appears in several Sutras of Mahāyāna Buddhism which teach Śūnyatā (Emptiness or Voidness). He is the subject of the Subhūti Sutta.
  5. Purna Maitrayani-putra
    Pūrṇa Maitrāyaniputra (Sk.) or Puṇṇa Mantānīputta (Pl.). He was also called Purna for short. He was the greatest teacher of the Law out of all the disciples. He was the top master of preaching.
  6. Katyayana
    Kātyāyana or Mahākātyāyana (Sk.) or Mahākaccāna (Pl.). He understood Shakyamuni Buddha's lecture the best. Although he had only five master in the rural areas, he was permitted to learn Vinaya by the Buddha.
  7. Anuruddha
    Anuruddha (Pl.) or Aniruddha (Sk.) was a top master of clairvoyance and the practice of the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana). Aniruddha was a cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha. He and Ananda became monks at the same time.
  8. Upali
    Upāli (Sk. & Pl.) was a top master of Vinaya. He was born in the Shudra class and worked as a barber, ayurveda vaidya. Buddha had denied the class system, he ranked his disciples according to the order in which they joined. So Upali was ranked ahead of the ex-princes. In the First Buddhist council, the Vinaya was compiled based on his memory.
  9. Rāhula
    Rāhula (Sk. & Pl.) was the only son of the Buddha (when he was still Prince Siddhartha) and his wife Princess Pṛthī. He was a scrupulous, strict and shrewd person. When the Buddha went to his hometown, he became the first Sāmanera (novice monk).
  10. Ananda
    Ānanda (Sk. & Pl.) listened to the Buddha's teachings the most among the disciples. He was a cousin of the Buddha. Ananda means great delight. After he became a monk, he took care of the Buddha for 25 years, until the Buddha died. In the First Buddhist council, the suttas/sutras were compiled based on his memory. He lived to 120 years old.

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Ānanda Attendant of the Buddha and main figure in First Buddhist Council

Ānanda was the primary attendant of the Buddha and one of his ten principal disciples. Among the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda stood out for having the best memory. Most of the texts of the early Buddhist Sutta-Piṭaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that reason, he is known as the Treasurer of the Dhamma, with Dhamma referring to the Buddha's teaching. In Early Buddhist Texts, Ānanda was the first cousin of the Buddha. Although the early texts do not agree on many parts of Ānanda's early life, they do agree that Ānanda was ordained as a monk and that Puṇṇa Mantāniputta became his teacher. Twenty years in the Buddha's ministry, Ānanda became the attendant of the Buddha, when the Buddha selected him for this task. Ānanda performed his duties with great devotion and care, and acted as an intermediary between the Buddha and the laypeople, as well as the saṅgha. He accompanied the Buddha for the rest of his life, acting not only as an assistant, but also a secretary and a mouthpiece.

Vinaya regulatory framework for the sangha based on the Vinaya Pitaka

The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the sangha or monastic community of Buddhism based on the canonical texts called the Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Gautama Buddha can be divided into two broad categories: Dharma "doctrine" and Vinaya "discipline".

Subhūti

Subhūti was one of the Ten Great Śrāvakas of Gautama Buddha, and foremost in giving gifts. In Prakrit and Pāli, his name literally means "Good Existence". He is also sometimes referred to as "Elder Subhūti". He was a contemporary of such famous arahants as Śāriputra, Mahākāśyapa, Maudgalyayana, Mahākātyāyana and Ānanda.

Rāhula Only son of the Buddha

Rāhula was the only son of Siddhārtha Gautama, and his wife and princess Yaśodharā. He is mentioned in numerous Buddhist texts, from the early period onward. Accounts about Rāhula indicate a mutual impact between Prince Siddhārtha's life and the lives of his family members. According to the Pāli tradition, Rāhula is born on the day of Prince Siddhārta's renunciation, and is therefore named Rāhula, meaning a fetter on the path to enlightenment. According to the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition, and numerous other later sources, however, Rāhula is only conceived on the day of Prince Siddhartha's renunciation, and is born six years later, when Prince Siddhārtha becomes enlightened as the Buddha. This long gestation period is explained by bad karma from previous lives of both Yaśodharā and of Rāhula himself, although more naturalistic reasons are also given. As a result of the late birth, Yaśodharā needs to prove that Rāhula is really Prince Siddhārtha's son, which she eventually does successfully by an act of truth. Historian Wolfgang Schumann has argued that Prince Siddhārtha conceived Rāhula and waited for his birth, to be able to leave the palace with the king and queen's permission, but Orientalist Noël Péri considered it more likely that Rāhula was born after Prince Siddhārtha left his palace.

Buddhist councils

Since the death of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhist monastic communities have periodically convened to settle doctrinal and disciplinary disputes and to revise and correct the contents of the sutras. These gatherings, referred to by historians as 'Buddhist councils', are recorded in the Buddhist sutras as having begun immediately following the death of the Buddha and have continued into the modern era.

Mahākāśyapa Disciple of Gautama Buddha

Maha Kasyapa or Mahākāśyapa or Kāśyapa was one of the principal disciples of Gautama Buddha. He came from the kingdom of Magadha. He became an arhat and was the disciple of the Buddha who was foremost in ascetic practice.

Śrāvaka (Sanskrit) or Sāvaka (Pali) means "hearer" or, more generally, "disciple". This term is used in Buddhism and Jainism. In Jainism, a śrāvaka is any lay Jain so the term śrāvaka has been used for the Jain community itself. Śrāvakācāras are the lay conduct outlined within the treaties by Śvetāmbara or Digambara mendicants. "In parallel to the prescriptive texts, Jain religious teachers have written a number of stories to illustrate vows in practice and produced a rich répertoire of characters.".

Vinaya Piṭaka Primary religious text in Buddhism, first part of the Tripitaka - Pali Canon

The Vinaya Piṭaka is a Buddhist scripture, one of the three parts that make up the Tripiṭaka. The other two parts of the Tripiṭaka are the Sutra Piṭaka and the Abhidharma Piṭaka.

Sariputta Disciple of Gautama Buddha

Sāriputta (Pali) or Śāriputra (Sanskrit) was one of two chief male disciples of Gautama Buddha along with Moggallāna, counterparts to the bhikkhunis Khema and Uppalavanna, his two chief female disciples. He became an arhat renowned for his teaching and is depicted in the Theravada tradition as one of the most important disciples of the Buddha. Sariputta is regarded as the disciple of the Buddha who was foremost in wisdom.

Maudgalyayana One of the Buddhas closest disciples

Maudgalyāyana, also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana, was one of the Buddha's closest disciples. Described as a contemporary of disciples such as Subhuti, Śāriputra, and Mahākasyapa, he is considered the second of the Buddha's two foremost male disciples, together with Śāriputra. Traditional accounts relate that Maudgalyāyana and Śāriputra become spiritual wanderers in their youth. After having searched for spiritual truth for a while, they come into contact with the Buddhist teaching through verses that have become widely known in the Buddhist world. Eventually they meet the Buddha himself and ordain as monks under him. Maudgalyāyana attains enlightenment shortly after that.

Upāli was a monk, one of the ten chief disciples of the Buddha.

Pali literature is concerned mainly with Theravada Buddhism, of which Pali is the traditional language. The earliest and most important Pali literature constitutes the Pāli Canon, the scriptures of Theravada school.

Katyayana (Buddhist) A figure mentioned in Early Buddhist texts, and a leading disciple of Gautama Buddha

Kātyāyana or Mahākātyāyana was a disciple of Gautama Buddha.

First Buddhist council Gathering of senior monks of the Buddhist order convened just after the Buddhas death

The First Buddhist council was a gathering of senior monks of the Buddhist order convened just after Gautama Buddha's death in ca. 400 BCE. The story of the gathering is recorded in the Vinaya Pitaka of the Theravadins and Sanskrit Buddhist schools. It is regarded as canonical by all schools of Buddhism, but in the absence of evidence from outside the Buddhist sutras some scholars have expressed doubts as to the event's historicity.

Anuruddha Disciple of Gautama Buddha

Anuruddha was one of the ten principal disciples and a cousin of Gautama Buddha.

Family of Gautama Buddha Family of the founder of Buddhism

The Buddha was born into a noble family of the kshatriya varna(Hinduism) in Kapilvastu district of Lumbini zone, Nepal in 563 BCE.. He was called Siddhartha Gautama in his childhood. His father was king Suddhodana, leader of the Shakya clan in what was the growing state of Kosala, and his mother was queen Maya Devi. According to Buddhist legend, the baby exhibited the marks of a great man. A prophecy indicated that if the child stayed at home he was destined to become a world ruler. If the child left home, however, he would become a universal spiritual leader. To make sure the boy would be a great king and world ruler, his father isolated him in his palace and he was raised by his mother's younger sister, Maha Pajapati, after his mother died just seven days after childbirth.

Saptaparni Cave human settlement in India

Saptparni Cave, also referred to as Sapta parni guha(Skr.) or Sattapanni guha(Pali), literally Seven(cognate with sapta, sept)-leaves-cave, is a Buddhist cave site about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) southwest from Rajgir, Bihar, India. It is embedded in a hill. The Saptaparni Cave is important in the Buddhist tradition, because many believe it to be the site in which Buddha spent some time before his death, and where the first Buddhist council was held after Buddha died (paranirvana). It is here that a council of few hundred monks decided to appoint Ananda and Upali, believed to have a good memory and who had accompanied the Buddha when he gave sermons in north India, to compose Buddha's teachings for the future generations. The Buddha never wrote down his teachings. After the Saptaparni Caves meeting, Ananda created an oral tradition of Buddha's teaching from his memory, prefacing it with "Thus have I heard on one occasion". Upali is credited with reciting the Vinaya (discipline), or "rules for the Bhikshus". This tradition is found in Vinaya Pitaka II.284 through II.287 and Digha Nikaya II.154.

Bhāṇakas were Buddhist monks who specialized in the memorization and recitation of a specific collection of texts within the Buddhist canon. Lineages of bhāṇakas were responsible for preserving and transmitting the teachings of the Buddha until the canon was committed to writing in the 1st Century BC, and declined as the oral transmission of early Buddhism was replaced by writing.

References

  1. "World's Tallest Walking Buddha". Buddhist Door International. Retrieved 3 April 2015.Cite web requires |website= (help)