Author Topic: Shariputra and Mahamaudgalyayana  (Read 2378 times)

Offline Optimus Prime

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Shariputra and Mahamaudgalyayana
« on: December 27, 2009, 03:04:51 am »
This post was inspired by the spiritual friendship discussion.  This shows how beneficial spiritual friendship can be as the Buddha's 2 main disciples had helped each other open their enlightenment.

Shariputra was Shakyamuni/Gotama Buddha's chief disciple and was known to be foremost in wisdom.  Mahamaudgalyayana (Moggallana or Mahamoggallan, i.e., Great Moggallana) was another great disciple of the Buddha and he was foremost in spiritual powers.

Before they met the Buddha, they were really good friends and grew up together.  They had enjoyed themselves in their youth but started to were deeply contemplating whether there was a way out of death.  So, they had made a promise to each other that whoever finds the path to the deathless first would inform the other.  Shariputra became a stream enterer first whilst listening to Venerable Assaji who was going for his alms.  So true to his word, he went back to teach Mahamaudgalyayana and the two became the Buddha's 2 chief disciples.

Here's a funny story (but not for the Yaksha involved) from the Junha Sutta (Udanda 4.4)

On a moonlit night, Shariputra, whose head was freshly shaven, meditated out in the open and had entered into a certain level of stillness.  Flying overhead were 2 Yakshas (also called Yakkhas - these are a type of ghost).  One of Yaksha's saw Shariputra's head and thought, "I feel like giving that guy a blow to the head".  His fellow Yaksha said, "No, don't lay a hand on that monk - he's an outstanding monk and has great power".  He tried 3 times to dissuade him but to no avail.

So the first Yaksha, ignoring his companion, came down and gave Shariputra a HUGE blow to the head, "Boom!"  But right then and there, this Yaksha started screaming, "I'm burning" and fell into the a Great hell then and there.

Now Mahamaudgalyayana saw this happen with his Heavenly Eye (Divine Eye) and so, immediately went to see if Shariputra was alright, asking him, "Are you okay?  Are you comfortable?  I hope you're alright..."

Shariputra replied, "Friend, I am okay... but come to think of it, I do have a bit of a headache".

At that, Mahamaudgalyayana said, "How amazing!  How marvellous!  How great is your power, Shariputra!  Just then, a Yaksha had come down and gave you an enormous blow to the head that could've felled an elephant or split open a mountain peak... yet all you say is 'I am well friend... but I do have a slight bit of a headache'!"

In reply, Shariputra said, "How amazing is your power Mahamaudgalyayana!  How marvellous is your power that you can see such things!  I haven't seen so much as a mudsprite!"

So here, these 2 great Arhats were admiring how amazing each others powers were.

Now the Buddha was aware of this conversation through the use of the Heavenly ear (the Divine ear) and realizing the significance of this, uttered a verse:

Whose mind stands unmoving as a rock
Unattached to things that provoke attachment
Unangered by things that provoke anger
How can suffering come to one
Whose mind has cultivated thus?
- From p37 Great Disciples of the Buddha - their lives, their works, their legacy.  By Nyanaponika Thera & Hellmuth Hecker.  Edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 03:07:43 am by Optimus Prime »

Offline Arya-Shraman

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Re: Shariputra and Mahamaudgalyayana
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2009, 11:54:46 pm »
I think sariputta should just have forgiven the naughty Yaksha than burning him to Hell. :)

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Shariputra and Mahamaudgalyayana
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 06:53:27 am »
I don't think that Shariputra did anything whatsoever to the Yaksha - Arhats aren't like that. 

Shariputra didn't even know that the Yaksha had hit him on the head except for the fact that Mahamaudgalyayana told him - remember Shariputra was in samadhi. 

It was that the bad karma of the Yaksha was so heavy for trying to kill an Arhat that he received an instant vipaka/result from it.

Offline Arya-Shraman

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Re: Shariputra and Mahamaudgalyayana
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 07:09:08 am »
oh I see.

 


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