Great Disciples of the Buddha: Mahamoggallana (Master of Psychic Powers)


By: Hellmuth Hecker, Nyanaponika Thera, Bikkhu Bodhi
Narrated by: William Hope, Nicolette McKenzie, Ratnadhya
Length: 1 hrs and 47 mins
Release date: 10-11-16
Language: English

The second of the Chief Disciples of the Buddha. He was born in Kolitagama near Rajagaha, on the same day as Sariputta (they were both older than the Buddha), and was called Kolita after his village. His mother was a brahminee called Moggali (Moggallani), and his father was the chief, householder of the village. Moggallanas and Sariputtas families had maintained an unbroken friendship for seven generations, and so the children were friends from their childhood. Sariputta had five hundred golden palanquins and Moggallana five hundred carriages drawn by thoroughbreds. One day the two friends went together to see a mime play (giraggasamajja), and there, realizing the impermanence of things, decided to renounce the world. They first lived as disciples of Sanjaya, and then wandered all over Jambudipa, discussing with all learned men, but finding no satisfaction. Then they separated, after agreeing that whoever first succeeded in finding what they sought should inform the other.

After some time, Sariputta, wandering about in Rajagaha, met Assaji, was converted by him to the faith of the Buddha, and became a sotapanna. He found Moggallana and repeated the stanza he had heard from Assaji (ye dhamma hetuppabhava, etc.), and Moggallana also became a sotapanna. The two then resolved to visit the Buddha at Veluvana, after an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Sanjaya to accompany them. Sanjayas disciples, however, five hundred in number, agreed to go, and they all arrived at Veluvana. The Buddha preached to them, and ordained them by the ehi bhikkhu pabbajja. All became arahants except Sariputta and Moggallana. Moggallana went to the hamlet of Kallavala (for details see Pacala Sutta, A.iv.85f, where the village is called Kallavalamutta) in Magadha, and there, on the seventh day after his ordination, drowsiness overcame him as he sat meditating. The Buddha knew this, and appearing before him, exhorted him to be zealous. That very day he attained arahantship.

On the day that Sariputta and Moggallana were ordained, the Buddha announced in the assembly of monks that he had assigned to them the place of Chief Disciples and then recited the Patimokkha. The monks were offended that newcomers should be shown such great honour. But the Buddha told them how these two had for a whole asankheyya and one hundred thousand years strenuously exerted themselves to win this great eminence under him. They had made the first resolve in the time of Anomadassi Buddha. Moggallana had been a householder, named Sirivaddha, and Sariputta a householder, called Sarada. Sarada gave away his immense wealth and became an ascetic. The Buddha visited him in his hermitage, where Sarada and his seventy four thousand pupils showed him great honour. Anomadassis chief disciple, Nisabha, gave thanks,

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