I am finally free! The second semester of sophomore year is now officially over, and I am finally free of most of the stress I was under (though not completely). Anyways, this was supposed to be February’s post, but now I have the chance to post it. I have so many things that I plan to do soon, so hopefully it will all pan out well. For now, lets just take a look at the ten disciples of Buddha. Between you and me, this was a little more difficult then the apostles. Mostly because one man could have so many titles and names, and the number of Buddha’s disciples is not one hundred percent uniform. When Buddha first attempted to enlightenment, he went about it in the same manner as most Hindus (his original religion, much like how Jesus was Jewish). Once Buddha changed his path to the ‘Buddhist’ way of obtaining Nirvana, many of the ascetics he was with denounced him, but later they became his first disciples
Sariputra (General of Dharma or Truth) – The top master of wisdom, he was born to a Brahmin scholar and a became a great scholar as well. He left his teacher, thinking that no person was capable or qualified to teaching him. After being brought to meet the Buddha, he made a Bodhisattva’s Vow and said he was willing to give all his property away including his body. One day a Deva (god like being) pretended to be a little boy, and begged Sariputra for a monk’s eye to save his ill mother. Sariputra gave the boy his left eye, but the boy requested his right instead. Sariputra gave to him his right eye, and the Deva granted him divine vision for keeping his vow. Sariputra later brought the disciple Mogallana to meet the Buddha.
- Mogallana (Arahant) – The top master of supernatural powers. He and Sariputra left their previous teacher together. He gained super human abilities through his enlightenment and used it to give advice to others. In his past life, he was said to have killed many people including his own family. For that reason, he refused to use his supernatural abilities from heretics, and he was killed in an extremely brutal fashion.
- Kasapa (First to preach Buddha’s Teachings) – The top master of ascetic training . He married a woman named Subhara and both wanted to lead religious lives. So he went out to find a teacher so that he and his wife could renounce the world together, and together (as she joined the order of the nuns for Buddha), they reached enlightenment. One day he met an old sick woman who was so poor, she drank dirty water thrown out by the rich. Kassapa visited her in hopes to help her, but she had nothing that she could give to him (since to collect good karma one must give items to monks who own nothing). He told her that she did not need to give him material goods, but that she could give alms and follow the Buddha. She felt over joyed with happiness and dies, being reborn as a beautiful Deva and sprinkled flower petals over him.
- Upali (Sudra) – The top master of precepts and creator of his own school of thought known as Vinya. He was a court barber of the lowest caste (in the Varna system). As he was cutting the Buddha’s hair, Upali’s mother asked the Buddha how were her son’s skills. The Buddha pointed out Upali’s crooked stance and shallow breathing. By learning to control his intake of breath, Upali was able to control his mind. He later became an Arahant, and though he was a Sudra, Upali was ranked above the seven princes who joined later.
- Rahula (the hindrance and son of Gautama) – Rahula was the only son of the Buddha (conceived when he was still a prince and married). He was named hindrance because he symbolized the difficulty to leave behind his family. He was the first Samanera (novice monk) to be ordained as a minor. This occurred because he asked his father for his inheritance, and the Buddha wished to give his knowledge . Rahula became a teacher of Dharma and enlightened at the age of 18 (ten years after asking for his inheritance). He was a very shrewd and strict follower. He made sure to stay in the background so as to avoid being accused of taking advantage of his position as son of Buddha.
- Ananda (Most beloved) – Ananda was a cousin of the Buddha and his name means great delight. He was the Buddha’s personal attendant, and he did not need to develop the qualities to meditate and study for enlightenment. He was selfless, having unchanging kindness to all people and worked to teach the Buddha’s knowledge to all including the future generations. He strived to help all people, even though he was busy constantly serving Buddha (who he served so as to free him to teach more). He was the first to request nuns to be ordained. He sympathized with the women and taught them indiscriminately. He lived to be 120 years old.
- Anuruddha (Seer of divine eye) – He was the half brother to Ananda and cousin to Buddha. At first he refused to give up his life of luxury, but after he learned the responsibilities of a king, he gave up his luxury in a heart beat. With his divine eye, he could see 1000 world systems (galaxy), each with only 31 planets that inhabited life. He struggled most to reach the level of Arahant because of three obstructions. One: he felt he should have been enlightened now that he had the divine eye. Two: he was too aware at how well he meditated and felt agitated. Three: Felt he should be an Arahant by this point. Later the Buddha helped him to move beyond these obstructions to become enlightened.
- Katyayana (Brahmin) – A chaplain to a king. he invited the Buddha because his violently tempered king desired to meet the Buddha. He became a monk to the Buddha and when he went back to the king, he inspired the king and the town’s folk to follow the teachings of Buddha. he was the foremost able to take a short verse from Buddha, decipher a great meaning and explain in simple terms. He was very analytical person and organized as well and used this to help the lay understand Buddha’s teachings.
- Bakkula (Two castes) – When he was born, his very rich parents lost him, and instead he was found and raised by rach merchants who found him within a beautiful fish. After some time, his parents found him once more and the two families raised him together. He had the knowledge of a physician and never became sick, living to become over 160 years old.
- Sivali (Fore most requisites) – His mother was a queen who struggled to give birth. So the Buddha blessed her birth, and she was able to have Sivali leave her stomach. Their struggle was caused by their past lives, where Sivali was a great King and his mother was his consort. Together they waged many wars and destroyed many lives. He had many past lives where he then did only good deeds.
So there we go, those are the ten disciples of Buddha. If you wish to know more, tihs website is fantastic: www.budsas.org/ebud/rdbud/rdbud-01.htm