|The Life of Sakyamuni Buddha|
Jataka Tales of the Buddha
The Jataka Tales
Ten Great Disciples of the Buddha
SARIPUTTA Foremost in Wisdom （舍利弗尊者）
来源：净心之旅 更新日期: 2016-8-2 浏览次数: 742 字号选择：大 中 小
Both, politically and philosophically India was in turmoil at the time that Prince Siddhattba of the Shakyas, later to be known as the Buddha Shakyamuni, abandoned secular life in search of enlightenment. New political states were constantly coming into being; at one time as many as sixteen were engaged in struggle.
Many people were coming to feel that the established Brahman teachings could not lead to spiritual liberation. Consequently, advocates of various new doctrines emerged, and increasing numbers of people awaited the appearance of a teacher who would guide them to true spiritual deliverance. Many strove to become such teachers themselves.
Philosophers and men of religion with these aims tended to gravitate toward Rajagaha, the capital of Magadha, one of the largest Indian kingdoms at that time. Most representatives of them were the free thinkers referred to in Buddhist texts as the six non-Buddhist teachers.
One of the six was the skeptic philosopher Sanjaya, who held that, for the sake of personal liberation, it was necessary to abandon ideas of another world or of cause and effect, since it is impossible to say whether such things do or do not exist. One of the foremost thinkers of the time, he had two hundred and fifty disciples.
But suddenly something totally unexpected happened. His two leading disciples, Sariputta and Moggallana, who were entrusted with supervising all the others, left their master, taking all the other followers with them, and went to another teacher.
That action was the result of the following course of events. Early one morning, while Sariputta was walking through the streets of Rajagaha, he came upon a mendicant monk who was begging for food. The monk held his alms bowl, walked quietly with downcast eyes, and deported himself with such propriety that Sariputta was strongly impressed.
He thought, "This monk must either have attained enlightenment himself or have taken as his teacher a perfectly enlightened person." Curious though he was, Sariputta suppressed his desire to speak to the monk and simply followed him.
When the monk had finished begging and had eaten his meal, Sariputta made a courteous bow and said, "Friend, your appearance is truly impressive. Who are you, and who is your teacher?"
The monk replied, "I have abandoned secular life to follow the great enlightened teacher who came from the land of the Shakyas. I am called Assaji."
Sariputta then asked, "What is the doctrine of this enlightened teacher of the Shakyas?"
"I cannot tell you in detail, since it has not been long since I became a monk and began serving him."
"The main points will be enough. What does your honored teacher proclaim?"
Assaji replied, "All things are produced by causation. The Buddha has explained the causes and the way to eliminate them. This is his teaching."
From that brief statement Sariputta, who was later to be known as foremost in wisdom among all Shakyamuni’s followers, perceived the Way to supreme enlightenment and immortality. He realized clearly that this was the teaching he had long sought and that the teacher he had hoped for had at last appeared.
Born into a Brahmin family in the village of Nalaka, not far from Rajagaha, Sariputta demonstrated exceptional intelligence from earliest childhood. He first studied with his father, who was widely versed in Brahmanic knowledge, and learned to recite the Vedas. At the age of eight he be-an formal study with a teacher, and by the time he was sixteen his fame had spread through the vicinity.
Not far from Nalaka was the village of Kolita, where Moggallana was born. He and Sariputta were to become the "two great jewels" of the Sangha. By coincidence they were born in neighboring villages and were friends from childhood.
Moggallana too was a boy of exceptional abilities. After he and Sariputta became close friends, they respected each other and sought the Way to enlightenment together. When the time came for them to leave the secular world for a life of religious pursuit, they also did so together.
One Year, Sariputta and Mogallana joined the brilliantly arrayed crowd of people gathered to enjoy themselves and watch voluptuous dancing girls at Rajagaha's annual mountaintop Festival. Gazing at the festivities, Sariputta was seized by an indescribable sense of futility and emptiness.
"Sooner or later," he said to his companion, "all these merry makers must end their lives in this world. Not only the pleasure seekers but I too will meet the same fate. When death pursues, can it be right to squander time this way?" At that moment he determined to leave the secular world and devote himself to finding a way to liberation from a fate that makes death the end of everything. His friend Moggallana made the same decision.
Having gained their parents' permission, Sariputta and Moggallana abandoned secular life and visited the various teachers who expounded new doctrines in the city of Rajagaha. Sanjaya was the one they elected to follow.
Because of their outstanding abilities and learning, Sariputta and Moggallana were soon recognized as preeminent among his disciples. But even after mastering everything Sanjaya had to teach, they did not attain true enlightenment and continued to long for a teacher who could lead them to their goal. Probably it was their ardent wish for truth that created the opportunity for Sariputta to meet Assaji.
When Moggallana saw Sariputta trembling with emotion at having finally found the supreme teacher, he realized that Sariputta had discovered the way to true liberation. A long time earlier, the two men had agreed that should one discover the teaching that led to enlightenment, he would share it with the other.
Honoring this promise, Sariputta immediately told Moggallana what he had heard. The two then resolved to put their faith in Shakyamuni. They told the rest of Sanjaya’s two hundred and fifty disciples of their decision, and all expressed the desire to follow Shakyamuni.
It is said that when Sariputta, Moggallana and the others went to see Shakyamuni at the Bamboo Grove Monastery, outside Rajagaha, Shakyamuni said "These two friends will become the two great jewels the supreme among my disciples." This occurred the year after Shakyamuni's enlightenment, when Sariputta was twenty-seven or twenty-eight years of age.
Owing to his keen intelligence, after putting his faith in Shakyamuni, Sariputta is said to have mastered the teachings of causal origination, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path and to have attained perfect enlightenment. In addition, he was able to expound the essence of Shakyamuni's teachings to others.
Once, while Sariputta was visiting Nalaka, a philosopher asked him to define nirvana.
Sariputta replied, "Friend, nirvana is the extinction of desire, anger and ignorance."
The philosopher then asked how to attain nirvana. Sariputta said, "Friend, the Eightfold Path set forth by our great teacher - right view, right thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness and right meditation - is the way to attain nirvana."
Observing Sariputta teach the Dharma in this way, Shakyamuni said to his followers, "If you would leave the secular world and study the Way, you must be as Sariputta and Moggallana are. Take great pains to become close to them and entreat them to teach you."
Though Sariputta was recognized as one of the first of all the disciples and as a model of the self-disciplined monk, and though he was called on to teach the other monks in place of Shakyamuni himself, he never became self-important.
On the contrary, after the others had gone out begging, he would go around their quarters putting everything in order. He is also said to have striven quietly to ensure that the Sangha did not invite criticism from other religious groups. Though a man of great intellect, he always showed compassionate consideration for others.
While begging in Rajagaha one day, he stopped at the gate of the home of a wealthy man. Just then the wealthy rnan's son came out and, seeing Sariputta, asked who he was and what teaching he followed.
Sariputta replied, "I am a disciple of Shakyamuni, the greatest teacher in the world."
The son asked again, "You have come with a mendicant's bowl. What do you seek?"
Sariputta replied, "I seek neither wealth, nor food, nor ornaments. I have come for your sake. You are fated to meet Shakyamuni. It is difficult to encounter a buddha who has come into the world to teach the Dharma. Come with me and pay reverence to him and hear his teachings." It is said that at Sariputta's urging this young man abandoned secular life to follow Shakyamuni.
No one in Savatthi, the capital of the kingdom of Kosala had put faith in Shakyamunl’s teachings until a wealthy merchant named Sudatta became a believer and donated a garden on the southern outskirts of the city to the Sangha. There Sariputta, entrusted with the important and difficult task of building a monastery in a land of other faiths, constructed the Jetavana Monastery to accommodate the Buddha and his followers when they visited the city.
After hearing Shakyamuni teach the Dharma at the new Jetavana Monastery, Sariputta happened upon a monk he had known before. The man asked Sariputta where he was coming from, and he replied, "I have just heard the teachings of Shakyamuni."
Smiling coldly, the monk retorted, "Are you still depending on teachers? I have long ago broken with them and am seeking the Way on my own."
Sariputta said, “A calf will abandon the frenzied mother cow after drinking only a little of her milk. Similarly, it is because your teacher has not attained correct enlightenment that you have left his side. just as it is impossible to grow weary of the milk of a good, sound cow, so, because my great teacher has attained true enlightenment, his teachings are inexhaustible."
A model to all the other members of the Sangha, Sariputta put absolute faith in Shakyamuni and, ac-cording to tradition, entered the state of nirvana at his own request before his master did so. At the time of Sariputta's request to be permitted to enter nirvana, Shakyamuni was already eighty years of age and so gravely ill that he knew his own death and entrance into nirvana was near.
At first Shakyamuni made no answer; but after Sariputta had made the same request a second and then a third time, Shakvamuni said, "Why are you in such a hurry to enter nirvana ?"
“You have already said that your own nirvana is near," answered Sariputta. "I cannot bear to see it. It is said that all the leading disciples of all the buddhas have entered nirvana before their masters. Please permit me to do as they have done." Shakyamuni nodded slightly.
Sariputta returned to his village, entered his family home, and went to his room, where he said to the one follower he had brought with him, "I have been with all of you for more than forty years. If I have offended anyone, forgive me."
These were his last words. The scriptures say that toward evening that day he lay down on his bed and quietly entered nirvana.
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