Assaji: 2 definitions

Introduction

Assaji means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Assaji.-One of the leaders of the Assaji-Punabbasukā, the other being Punabbasu. He was one of the Chabbaggiyā, the others being Mettiya, Bhummajaka, Panduka and Lohitaka. J.ii.387; MA.ii.668.

2. Assaji Thera

The fifth of the Pancavaggiya monks. When the Buddha preached the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, he was the last in whom dawned the eye of Truth, and the Buddha had to discourse to him and to Mahanama while their three colleagues went for alms (Vin.i.13. He became a sotapanna on the fourth day of the quarter, AA.i.84). He became an arahant, together with the others, at the preaching of the Anattalakkhana Sutta (Vin.i.14; J.i.82).

He was responsible for the conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana. Sariputta, in the course of his wanderings in search of Eternal Truth, saw Assaji begging for alms in Rajagaha, and being pleased with his demeanour, followed him till he had finished his round. Finding a suitable opportunity, Sariputta asked Assaji about his teacher and the doctrines he followed. Assaji was at first reluctant to preach to him, because, as he said, he was but young in the Order. But Sariputta urged him to say what he knew, and the stanza which Assaji uttered then, has, ever since, been famous, as representing the keynote of the Buddhas teaching:

ye dhamma hetuppabhava tesam hetum Tathagato aha tesan ca yo nirodho, evamvadi Mahasamano.

Sariputta immediately understood and hurried to give the glad tidings to Moggallana that he had succeeded in his quest. Vin.i.39ff.; the incident is related in the DhA (i.75ff.) with slight variations as to detail.

Sariputta held Assaji in the highest veneration, and we are told that from the day of this first meeting, in whatever quarter he heard that Assaji was staying, in that direction he would extend his clasped hands in an attitude of reverent supplication, and in that direction he would turn his head when he lay down to sleep (DhA.iv.150-1).

One day when Assaji was going about in Vesali for alms, the Nigantha Saccaka, who was wandering about in search of disputants to conquer, saw him, and questioned him regarding the Buddhas teaching because he was a well known disciple (natannatara savaka). Assaji gave him a summary of the doctrine contained in the Anattalakkhana Sutta. Feeling sure that he could refute these views attributed to the Buddha, Saccaka went with a large concourse of Licchavis to the Buddha and questioned him. This was the occasion for the preaching of the Cula Saccaka Sutta (M.i.227ff). The Commentary (MA.i.452) tells us that Assaji decided on this method of exposition because he did not wish to leave Saccaka any loophole for contentious questioning.

The Samyutta Nikaya (S.iii.124ff) records a visit paid by the Buddha to Assaji as he lay grievously sick in Kassaparama near Rajagaha. He tells the Buddha that he cannot enter into jhana because of his difficulty in breathing and that he cannot win balance of mind. The Buddha encourages him and asks him to dwell on thoughts of impermanence and non self.

3. Assaji Sutta.-Records the incident, mentioned above, of the Buddha's visit to Assaji (1). S.iii.124-6.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Discover the meaning of assaji in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

Assaji was one of the first five arahants of Gautama Buddha. He is known for his conversion of Sariputta and Mahamoggallana, the Buddha's two chief disciples. He lived in what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in northern India, during the 6th century BCE.

Assaji was born into a brahmin family. His father was one of the eight brahmin scholars who were invited by Suddhodarna, the monarch of the Sakyan kingdom to Kapilavastu to read the fortune of his son Siddhartha. Assaji's father and six of the other brahmins had predicted that Siddhartha would either become a great religious leader or a great military monarch.

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