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...

Nidana Samyutta

24: Sariputta rejects the alternatives that suffering is produced either by oneself or by another, and explains the conditioned arising of suffering through the (sixfold sense-) contact (phassa).

25: The same is stated with regard to both happiness and suffering (sukha-dukkha).

31: On the conditioned arising of existence from nutriment.

32: Kalara Sutta. Questioned by the Buddha, Sariputta says that the knowledge inducing him to declare his attainment of Arahantship was that he knew: the cause of birth being extinct, the result (i.e., future birth) becomes extinct. Hence he was able to say, in the words of the stock formula declaring Arahatship: "Extinct is birth..." (khina jati). He then replies to further questions of the Buddha about the cause and origin of birth, becoming and the other terms of dependent origination, leading up to feeling, the contemplation of which had served the Venerable Sariputta as the starting-point for his attainment of Arahatship. He says that, as he sees impermanence and suffering in all three kinds of feeling, there is in him no arising of any hedonic gratification (nandi).

Khandha Samyutta

1: Sariputta explains in detail the Buddha's saying: "Even if the body is ill, the mind should not be ill."

2: Monks going to distant border districts are instructed by Sariputta on how to answer questions posed to them by non-Buddhists. He tells them that the removal of desire for the five aggregates is the core of the Teaching.

122-123: On the importance of reflecting on the five aggregates. If one who possesses virtue (or, in Text 123, learning) contemplates the five aggregates as impermanent, bound up with suffering and void of self, he may be able to attain to Stream-entry. if a Stream-winner, Once-returner or Non-returner thus contemplates, he may be able to win to the next higher stage. An arahat should also contemplate the five aggregates thus, as it will conduce to his happiness here and now, as well as to mindfulness and clear comprehension.

126: On ignorance and knowledge.

Sariputta Samyutta

1-9: In these nine texts Sariputta speaks of his having developed all nine meditative attainments, i.e., from the first jhana up to the cessation of perception and feeling; and states that in doing so he was always free of any self-affirmation. See p. 37.

10: Once, at Rajagaha, after the almsround the Venerable Sariputta was taking food his food near a wall. A female ascetic called Sucimukhi (Bright-face) approached him and asked whether when eating he turned to one or other of the directions, as done by some non-Buddhists ascetics. Sariputta denied it for every one of the directions, explaining them in his own way as being several means of livelihood that are wrong for ascetics, such as geomancy, astrology, going on errands, etc. He said that he did not turn to any of those wrong directions, but sought his almsfood in the right manner; and what he had thus obtained righteously, that he would eat. Sucimukhi was deeply impressed, and thereafter went from street to street and place to place loudly proclaiming: "The Sakya ascetics take their food righteously! They take their food blamelessly! Please give almsfood to the Sakya ascetics!"[1]

Salayatana Samyutta

232: Not the senses and their objects, but the desire for them is the fetter that binds to existence.

Jambukhadaka Samyutta

Sariputta replies to questions put by his nephew, Jambukhadaka, who was a Paribbajaka, i.e., a non-Buddhist ascetic.

1-2: He defines Nibbana and Arahatship as the elimination of greed, hatred and delusion.

3-16: He replies to questions about those who proclaim truth: about the purpose of the Holy Life; about those who have found true solace. He explains feeling, ignorance, the taints, personality, etc. and speaks on what is difficult in the Buddha's Doctrine and Discipline.

Indriya Samyutta

44: Questioned by the Buddha, Sariputta says that not out of faith in him, but from his own experience, he knows that the five spiritual faculties (confidence, etc.) lead to the Deathless.

48-50: On the five spiritual faculties. (These texts are translated in Wheel No. 65/66, The Way of Wisdom, pp. 47f, 49f)

Sotapatti Samyutta

55: On the four conditioning factors of Stream-entry (sotapattiyanga).

Footnotes and references:


Sariputta's method of teaching in this discourse invites comparison with the Buddha's in the Sigalovada Sutta (Digha Nikaya, 31).

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