The Life of Sariputta

by Nyanaponika Thera | 1994 | 26,620 words

Compiled and translated from the Pali texts by Nyanaponika Thera The Wheel Publication No. 90/92 ISBN 955-24-0015-5 Copyright © 1987 Buddhist Publication Society For free distribution only. You may print copies of this work for your personal use. You may re-format and redistribute this work for use on computers and computer networks, provided th...

Roman figures denote the number of the book (nipata) and Arabic figures the number of the sutta. The division of the suttas in the Anguttara Nikaya is only numerical.

II, 37 (Samacitta-Sutta): On the Stream-winner, the Once-returner and the non-returner, and on what determines the places of the rebirths they have still before them. See p. 43.

III, 21: On another classification of Noble Persons (ariya puggala): the Body-witness (kayasakkhi), the one attained to Right Understanding (ditthippatto) and the one Liberated through Faith (saddha-vimutto).

IV, 79: Sariputta asks the Buddha why the enterprises of some people fail, those of others succeed, and those of others even surpass their expectations. The Buddha replies that one of the reasons is generosity, or lack of it, shown to ascetics, priests and monks.

V, 156: On four qualities indicative of loss or maintenance of wholesome states of mind.

Here it is said that if one finds in oneself four qualities one can know for certain that one has lost wholesome qualities, and that this is what has been called deterioration by the Blessed One. These four are: excessive greed, excessive hate, excessive delusion, and lack of knowledge and wisdom concerning the diverse profound subjects (relating to wisdom).

If on the other hand, one finds in oneself four other qualities, one can know for certain that one has not lost one's wholesome qualities, and that this is what has been called progress by the Blessed One. These four other qualities are: attenuated greed, attenuated hate, attenuated delusion, and the possession of knowledge and wisdom concerning the diverse profound subjects (relating to wisdom).

IV, 167f: The four types of progress on the Path. See p. 23.

IV, 171: Sariputta elaborates a brief statement made by the Buddha on the four forms of personalized existence (attabhava) and puts an additional question. The Buddha's reply to it was later elaborated by Sariputta in the Samacitta Sutta (see above).

IV, 172: Sariputta states that he attained to the fourfold analytical knowledge (patisambhida-ñana) two weeks after his ordination (i.e., at his attainment of Arahatship). He appeals to the Buddha for confirmation. See p. 38.

IV, 173: Discussion with Maha Kotthita on the limits of the explainable. The Venerable Sariputta says: "As far, brother, as the six bases of sense-impression (phassayatana) reach, so far reaches the (explainable) world of diffuseness (papañca); and as far as the world of diffuseness reaches, so far reach the six bases of sense-impression. Through the entire fading away and cessation of the six bases of sense impression, the world of diffuseness ceases and is stilled."

IV, 175: On the need of both knowledge and right conduct (vijjacarana) for the ending of suffering.

IV, 179: On the reasons for obtaining, and not obtaining, Nibbana in the present life.

V, 1 5: Five reasons why people ask questions: through stupidity and foolishness; with evil intentions and through covetousness; with a desire to know; out of contempt; with the thought: "If he answers my question correctly, it is good; if not, then I shall give the correct answer.

V, 167: On how to censure fellow-monks.

VI, 14-15: Causes of a monk's good or bad dying.

VI, 41: Sariputta explains that a monk with supernormal powers may, if he so wishes, regard a tree trunk merely as being solid, or as a liquid, fiery (calorific) or airy (vibratory), or as being either pure or impure (beautiful or ugly), because all these elements are to be found in the tree.

VII, 66: On respect and reverence, Sariputta says that these are helpful in overcoming what is unwholesome and developing what is wholesome: that is respect and reverence towards the Master, the Teaching, the Community of Monks, the training, meditation, heedfulness (appamada) and towards the spirit of kindliness and courtesy (patisanthara). Each of these factors is said to be a condition of the one following it.

IX, 6: On the two things needful to know about people, robes, almsfood, lodging, villages, towns and countries: that is, whether one should associate with them, use them, or live in them, or whether one should not.

IX, 11: A second "Lion's Roar" of Sariputta, uttered in the Master's presence on the occasion of a monk's false accusation; with nine similes proclaiming his freedom from anger, detachment from the body, and his inability to hurt others. See p. 63.

IX, 13: A discussion with the Venerable Maha Kotthita about the purpose of living the Holy Life.

IX, 14: The Venerable Sariputta questions the Venerable Samiddhi about the essentials of the Dhamma and approves of his answers.

IX, 26: This text illustrates the Venerable Sariputta's scrupulous fairness even towards antagonists. He corrects a statement attributed to Devaddata which was probably wrongly formulated by one of Devadatta's followers who reported it to Sariputta. Later, Sariputta speaks to that monk on the fully developed and steadfast mind, which is not shaken by even the most attractive sense impressions.

IX, 34: On Nibbana, which is described as happiness beyond feelings.

X, 7: Sariputta describes his meditation, during which he had only the single perception that "Nibbana is the ceasing of existence." See p. 37.

X, 65: To be reborn is misery; not to be reborn is happiness.

X, 66: To have delight in the Buddha's Teaching and Discipline is happiness; not to have delight in them is misery.

X, 67-68: Causes of progress and decline in the cultivation of what is salutary.

X, 90: On the ten powers of a canker-free Arahant that entitle him to proclaim his attainment.

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