American people love all super-heroes: Superman/Batman/Spiderman/Ironman etc.
This Uposatha Day I proudly present Sagata the Supermonk !
Sagata: The Supermonk
[ Wisdom Library]
Sagata Thera. He was the personal attendant of the Buddha at he time when Sona Kolvisa visited Bimbisara, with overseers of the eighty thousand townships of Bimbisaras kingdom. Sagata was endowed with supernatural power, and the overseers, who went to visit the Buddha at Gijjhakuta, were very impressed by his iddhi, so much so that even while the Buddha was preaching they could not take their eyes off him. The king thereupon asked Sagata to show them a greater marvel, and Sagata, having shown in the open sky wonders of various kinds, fell at the Buddhas feet and declared the Buddha his teacher.
Later, when the Buddha went to stay in Bhaddavatika, having heard men warn the Buddha of the proximity of a Naga of great power in the Jatila hermitage at Ambatittha, Sagata went there and lived in the Nagas abode. The Naga showed great resentment, but Sagata overpowered him with his iddhi and then returned to Bhaddavatika. From there he went with the Buddha to Kosambi, where the lay disciples, hearing of his wondrous feat, paid him great honour. When they asked what they could do for his comfort, he remained silent, but the Chabbaggiya suggested that they should provide him with white spirits (kapotika).
The next day, when Sagata went for alms, he was invited to various houses, where the inmates plied him with intoxicating drinks. So deep were his potations that on his way out of the town he fell prostrate at the gateway. The monks carried him, and at the monastery they laid him down with his head at the Buddhas feet, but he turned round so that his feet lay towards the Buddha. The Buddha pointed out his condition to the monks, using it as an example of the evil effects of liquor; and he made this the occasion for the passing of a rule against the use of alcohol. Vin.iv.108f.; the story: is also given as the introduction to the Surapana Jataka which, too, was preached on this occasion.
It is said that on the next day, when Sagata came to himself and realized the enormity of his offence, he sought the Buddha and, having begged his forgiveness, developed insight, attaining arahantship. The Buddha later declared him foremost among those skilled in the contemplation of the heat element (tejodhatukusalanam).
It is curious that no verses are ascribed to Sagata in the Theragatha. The Apadana contains a set of verses said to have been spoken by him. In the time of Padumuttara Buddha he was Sobhita, a brahmin. The Buddha came to his hermitage with his disciples, and Sagata spoke verses in praise of the Buddha, who declared his future destiny. The Commentary adds that he was called Sagata because he was greatly welcome (sagata) to his parents.
2. Sagata. The personal attendant of Dipankara Buddha.
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