Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

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Stiphan
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Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Stiphan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:06 pm

I am reading DN 16 now, and I saw Sāriputta mentioned therein (declaring his bull's statement that there has never been, will be nor is now anyone greater than the Buddha), and I was like "Wait a minute, didn't Sāriputta die long before the Buddha's last journey?". In DN 16, he is mentioned precisely at DN 16.1.16 / D II 81, at Nāḷandā, where the Buddha stayed at the Pāvārikaʹs mango-grove. I remember the Buddha saying after Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna's deaths "how empty the community of monks" seems without his two chief disciples, which must have been long before the Buddha's last journey from Mount Vulture's Peak near Rājagaha to Kusinārā where he passed away. So why is Sāriputta alive then, or did he die just shortly before the Buddha did?

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Stiphan
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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Stiphan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:24 pm

And by the way, I just came to this (at 1.33):
And then the Lord came to the River Ganges. And just then, the river was so full that a crow could drink out of it. And some people were looking for a boat, and some were looking for a raft, and some were binding together a raft of reeds to get to the other side. But the Lord, as swiftly as a strong man might stretch out his flexed arm or flex it again, vanished from this side of the Ganges and reappeared with his order of monks on the other shore.

And the Lord saw those people who were looking for a boat, looking for a raft, and binding together a raft of reeds to get to the other side. And seeing their intentions, he uttered this verse on the spot:

‘When they want to cross the sea, the lake or pond,

People make a bridge or raft — the wise have crossed already.’
Did the Buddha and the monks teleport themselves?

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Nicolas
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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Nicolas » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:29 pm

Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:24 pm
But the Lord, as swiftly as a strong man might stretch out his flexed arm or flex it again, vanished from this side of the Ganges and reappeared with his order of monks on the other shore.
Did the Buddha and the monks teleport themselves?
Yes.

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Stiphan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:45 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:29 pm
Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:24 pm
But the Lord, as swiftly as a strong man might stretch out his flexed arm or flex it again, vanished from this side of the Ganges and reappeared with his order of monks on the other shore.
Did the Buddha and the monks teleport themselves?
Yes.
Awesome!

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Sam Vara
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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:52 pm

Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:24 pm

And the Lord saw those people who were looking for a boat, looking for a raft, and binding together a raft of reeds to get to the other side. And seeing their intentions, he uttered this verse on the spot:

‘When they want to cross the sea, the lake or pond,

People make a bridge or raft — the wise have crossed already.’
Did the Buddha and the monks teleport themselves?
[/quote]

There are many references to this type of ability in the suttas:
Then the Blessed One, realizing with his awareness the line of thinking in Ven. Anuruddha's awareness — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — disappeared from among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt, and re-appeared among the Cetis in the Eastern Bamboo Park, right in front of Ven. Anuruddha.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

It is up to you, of course, as to whether the textual account means that it should be taken as literally true. The quote you give looks a lot like other references to crossing the flood

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

So I would personally tend to see this passage as a form of literalised commentary on a figure of speech.

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by perkele » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:59 pm

Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:06 pm
I am reading DN 16 now, and I saw Sāriputta mentioned therein (declaring his bull's statement that there has never been, will be nor is now anyone greater than the Buddha), and I was like "Wait a minute, didn't Sāriputta die long before the Buddha's last journey?". In DN 16, he is mentioned precisely at DN 16.1.16 / D II 81, at Nāḷandā, where the Buddha stayed at the Pāvārikaʹs mango-grove. I remember the Buddha saying after Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna's deaths "how empty the community of monks" seems without his two chief disciples, which must have been long before the Buddha's last journey from Mount Vulture's Peak near Rājagaha to Kusinārā where he passed away. So why is Sāriputta alive then, or did he die just shortly before the Buddha did?
The Maha-parinibbana sutta is very long, and I think it covers a relatively long period of time before the Buddha's parinibbana. And both Sariputta and Maha-Moggallana are said to have passed away not long before the Buddha.

I just found this here about Maha-Moggalana's death:
'Life and History of Maha Moggallana' by Bradford Griffith wrote:He passed away a fortnight after his friend Sariputta, namely on the new-moon day of the month Kattika (October/November), in the autumn. The Great Decease of the Buddha took place in the full-moon night of the month Vesakha (May), that is half a year after the death of his two chief disciples. The Buddha was in his 80th year when he passed away, while both Sariputta and Maha-Moggallana died at 84.
Not sure from what sutta sources all these exact date and time period estimates are derived, but I guess quite likely also from the very fact that Sariputta is still mentioned in the Maha-parinibbana sutta.

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Stiphan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:04 pm

Thanks heaps, perkele!

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Nicolas » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:20 pm

Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:06 pm
I am reading DN 16 now, and I saw Sāriputta mentioned therein (declaring his bull's statement that there has never been, will be nor is now anyone greater than the Buddha), and I was like "Wait a minute, didn't Sāriputta die long before the Buddha's last journey?". In DN 16, he is mentioned precisely at DN 16.1.16 / D II 81, at Nāḷandā, where the Buddha stayed at the Pāvārikaʹs mango-grove. I remember the Buddha saying after Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna's deaths "how empty the community of monks" seems without his two chief disciples, which must have been long before the Buddha's last journey from Mount Vulture's Peak near Rājagaha to Kusinārā where he passed away. So why is Sāriputta alive then, or did he die just shortly before the Buddha did?
It does seem like there might indeed be a discrepancy here, as Savatthi is not on the way from Rajagaha to Vesali and Kusinara.
Related suttas: SN 47.13 and SN 47.14.

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Stiphan
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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Stiphan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:02 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:20 pm
Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:06 pm
I am reading DN 16 now, and I saw Sāriputta mentioned therein (declaring his bull's statement that there has never been, will be nor is now anyone greater than the Buddha), and I was like "Wait a minute, didn't Sāriputta die long before the Buddha's last journey?". In DN 16, he is mentioned precisely at DN 16.1.16 / D II 81, at Nāḷandā, where the Buddha stayed at the Pāvārikaʹs mango-grove. I remember the Buddha saying after Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna's deaths "how empty the community of monks" seems without his two chief disciples, which must have been long before the Buddha's last journey from Mount Vulture's Peak near Rājagaha to Kusinārā where he passed away. So why is Sāriputta alive then, or did he die just shortly before the Buddha did?
It does seem like there might indeed be a discrepancy here, as Savatthi is not on the way from Rajagaha to Vesali and Kusinara.
Related suttas: SN 47.13 and SN 47.14.
But at no point in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta is it said that the Buddha passed through or stayed at Sāvatthī. Sāriputta met the Buddha at Nāḷandā, which is on the way.

The whole journey is mapped out in this Google Map - https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/an ... india/2687
When you open it in Google Maps, scroll down near the bottom and check "Mahaparinibbana journey".

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Nicolas » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:35 pm

Maybe the passage with Sariputta (which is identical to SN 47.12) was just fit into DN 16 erroneously?

Bhikkhu Bodhi has a note on the topic:
WP. Connected Discourses, V.13: Cunda, Bodhi, trans. note #157: "The event related in this sutta poses a problem for the traditional chronology of the Buddha's life. In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Sariputta's lion's roar (just above) takes place during what appears to be the Buddha's final journey along the route from Rajagaha to Vesali. From Vesali the Buddha heads towards Kusinara without ever returning to Savatthi, some 200 km to the west. Yet the present sutta shows the Buddha residing at Savatthi when he receives the news of Sariputta's death. To preserve the traditional chronology, the commentaries (Spk here, and Sv II 550) have the Buddha make an additional side trip to Savatthi following his rains retreat at Beluvagamaka (see DN II 98-99), an excursion not mentioned in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. Sariputta accompanies him on this trip to Savatthi, later takes his leave, and returns to his native village Nalakagama, where he falls ill and dies. For the commentarial story of Sariputta's death see Nyanaponika, "Sariputta: The Marshal of the Dhamma." in Nyanaponika and Hecker, Great Disciples of the Buddha, pp. 47.-59.

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Stiphan » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:42 am

Phew. I finished the sutta. More than 7 hours did it take me. Last two times I read it (back in 2007 and ca. 2012), it took me about 5 hours, but today I also had breaks and a few other extraneous things to attend to. I was also more attentive while reading it and enjoyed it more than before. It is a marvellous sutta. I wish the Buddha had stayed for the century or eon, and Ānanda should have listened more carefully to the Buddha's hints.

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:11 am

Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:45 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:29 pm
Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:24 pm


Did the Buddha and the monks teleport themselves?
Yes.
Awesome!
glad to see this sort of reaction rather than a typical 'no way, not possible; has to be a metaphor'
list of abilities in DN 2 seems clearly literal
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

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https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by perkele » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:55 am

Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:02 pm
But at no point in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta is it said that the Buddha passed through or stayed at Sāvatthī. Sāriputta met the Buddha at Nāḷandā, which is on the way.
Indeed, and that would fit well with the beginning of the Maha-parinibbana route.
But when Ven. Cunda (Sariputta's attendent at his deathbed in Nalanada) comes to inform the Buddha about it, the narration about this is set in Savatthi: SN 47.13: Cunda Sutta
Nicolas wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:35 pm
Maybe the passage with Sariputta (which is identical to SN 47.12) was just fit into DN 16 erroneously?
It seems more likely to me that only the location of SN 47.13 (Cunda Sutta) is wrong.

SN 47.14, likely directly after that, which describes the Buddha's own reaction to Sariputta's and Maha-Moggallana's passing ("This assembly, O bhikkhus, appears indeed empty to me, now that Sariputta and Maha Moggallana have passed away.") is set in the most southern area of the Vajjian country, in Ukkacela, which seems to fit well with the Maha-parinibbana route again (some ~100 kilometers covered so far, not yet very far from the journey's outset in Rajagaha, or the place of Sariputta's passing in Nalanda - and far far away from Savatthi).

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by JiWe2 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:52 am

Stiphan wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:42 am
Phew. I finished the sutta. More than 7 hours did it take me. Last two times I read it (back in 2007 and ca. 2012), it took me about 5 hours, but today I also had breaks and a few other extraneous things to attend to. I was also more attentive while reading it and enjoyed it more than before. It is a marvellous sutta. I wish the Buddha had stayed for the century or eon, and Ānanda should have listened more carefully to the Buddha's hints.
There's an audio recording of the whole Mahāparinibbānasutta done by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu, 4 hrs 5 mins, available here:

https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/ ... -index.htm (one zip-file)
or
https://archive.org/details/Great-Emancipation (in six chapters)
or
https://archive.org/details/Great-Emanc ... arinibbana (in 44 parts)

I enjoyed listening through it while slowly walking back and forth in my room.

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Re: Sāriputta in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:22 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:11 am
Stiphan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:45 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:29 pm


Yes.
Awesome!
glad to see this sort of reaction rather than a typical 'no way, not possible; has to be a metaphor'
list of abilities in DN 2 seems clearly literal
:woohoo: :goodpost:
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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