More of Sariputta:
Sariputta: Mashall Of The Law
[translated from the Pali texts by Nyanaponika Thera]
Sariputta must have been stimulating company, and sought after by many. What attracted men of quite different temperament to him and his conversation can be well understood from the incident described in the Maha-Gosinga Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya No. 32). One evening the Elders Maha Moggallana, Maha Kassapa, Anuruddha, Revata and Ananda went to Sariputta to listen to the Dhamma. The Venerable Sariputta welcomed them, saying: "Delightful is this Gosinga Forest of Sala trees; there is moonlight tonight, all the Sala trees are in full bloom, and it seems that heavenly perfume drifts around. What kind of monk, do you think, Ananda, will lend more luster to this Gosinga Sala Forest?"
The same question was put to the others as well, and each answered according to his individual nature. Finally, Sariputta gave his own answer, which was as follows:
"There is a monk who has control over his mind, who is under the control of his mind. In whatever (mental) abiding or attainment he wishes to dwell in the forenoon, he can dwell in it at that time. In whatever (mental) abiding or attainment he wishes to dwell at noon, he can dwell in it at that time. In whatever (mental) abiding or attainment he wishes to dwell in the evening, he can dwell in it at that time. It is as though a king's or royal minister's cloth chest were full of many-colored garments; so that whatever pair of garments he wishes to wear in the morning, or at noon, or in the evening, he can wear it at will at those times. Similarly it is with a monk who has control over his mind, who is not under the control of his mind; in whatever (mental) abiding or attainment he wishes to dwell in the morning, or at noon, or in the evening, he can do so at will at those times. Such a monk, friend Moggallana, may lend luster to this Gosinga Sala Forest."
They then went to the Buddha, who approved of all their answers and added his own.
We see from this episode that Sariputta, with all his powerful intellect and his status in the Sangha, was far from being a domineering type who tried to impose his views on others. How well did he understand how to stimulate self-expression in his companions in a natural and charming way, conveying to them the pensive mood evoked by the enchanting scenery! His own sensitive nature responded to it, and drew a similar response from his friends.
There are many such conversations recorded between Sariputta and other monks, not only the Venerables Maha Moggallana, Ananda and Anuruddha, but also Maha Kotthita, Upavana, Samiddhi, Savittha, Bhumija and many more. It seems that the Buddha himself liked to talk to Sariputta, for he often did so, and many of his discourses were addressed to his "Marshall of the Law," to use the title he gave him.
Once, Sariputta repeated some words the Master had spoken to Ananda on another occasion. "This is the whole of the Life of Purity (brahmacariya); namely, noble friendship, noble companionship, noble association."
There could be no better exemplification of that teaching than the life of the Chief Disciple himself.
Love Buddha's dhamma,
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