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Chief Disciples (상수제자)

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Writer Jogye Date13 Aug 2015 Read5,715 Comment0


Chief Disciples


As I have Sariputra and Maudgalyayana, all buddhas of the past had two chief disciples and all buddhas of the future will too.
-Samyukta Nikaya (SN 47:14) 


In the monastic system of the Sangha, chief disciples basically perform three functions. First, they help the Buddha to make the Buddha-dharma take firm root, thereby bringing about spiritual transformation for humans and heavenly beings. Second, they give guidance to the practice of other monks and become model practitioners themselves. Third, they help run the operation of the Sangha. Especially, when the Buddha went on a solo retreat or made a trip to a distant place, they needed to take care of the Sangha.

On the day Sariputra and Maudgalyayana were ordained, the Buddha declared them to be his two chief disciples. Both soon became "arhats." The Buddha declared Sariputra to be a perfect disciple and second only to himself in wisdom. Sariputra frequently taught with the Buddha's approval. Second in wisdom only to Sariputra, Maudgalyayana was pre-eminent in miraculous powers.


- excerpt from Buddhist English (Elementary 1) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism​ 



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