I love to read about the true friendship of Sariputta and Moggallana Thera.
[translated from the Pali texts by Nyanaponika Thera]
Two stanzas in the Theragatha (995, 996) relate, in words ascribed to the Venerable Sariputta himself, the way in which he attained Arahatship. There he tells us:
"It was to another that the Blessed One was teaching the Dhamma; to the Dhamma-preaching I listened intently for my own good. And not in vain, for freed from all defilements, I gained release."
In the next two verses (996-7) the Elder declares that he felt no inclination to develop the five supernormal powers (abhiñña). However, the Iddhividha-Katha of the Patisambhida Magga credits him with possessing the intensive degree of meditative concentration called "the power of intervention by concentration" (samadhi-vipphara-iddhi), which is capable of intervening in certain normal physiological processes or other natural events. This is illustrated by the anecdote in the Visuddhimagga, Ch. XII, which records that once when the Venerable Sariputta was living with the Elder Maha Moggallana at Kapotakandara, he was sitting meditating in the open with his hair freshly shaved when he was given a malicious blow on the head by a mischievous spirit. The blow was a very severe one, but at the time it was given "the Elder was absorbed in meditative attainment; consequently he suffered no harm." The source of this story is the Udana (IV.4) which continues the account as follows:
The Venerable Maha Moggallana saw the incident and approached the Venerable Sariputta to ask how he fared. He asked him: "Brother, are you comfortable? Are you doing well? Does nothing trouble you?"
"I am comfortable, brother Moggallana," said the Venerable Sariputta. "I am doing well, brother Moggallana. Only my head troubles me a little."
Whereupon the Venerable Maha Moggallana said: "O wonderful is it, brother Sariputta! O marvelous is it, brother Sariputta! How great is the psychic power, and how great is the might of the Venerable Sariputta! For just now, brother Sariputta, a certain demon gave you a blow on the head. And a mighty blow it was! With such a blow one might fell an elephant seven or seven and a half cubits high, or one might split a mountain peak. But the Venerable Sariputta says only this, 'I am comfortable, brother Moggallana. I am doing well, brother Moggallana. Only my head troubles me a little.'"
Then the Venerable Sariputta replied: "O wonderful is it, brother Moggallana! O marvelous is it, brother Moggallana! How great is the psychic power and how great is the might of the Venerable Moggallana, that he should see any demon at all! As for me, I have not seen so much as a mud-sprite!"
Love Buddha's dhamma,
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