Such personal qualities as gratitude, kindness, helpfulness, and patience won for the Venerable Sāriputta many deep friendships which endured throughout his life as a monk. With Moggallāna, the friend and companion of his youth, he maintained intimate ties until death separated them in the very last year of the Buddha’s life. But Sāriputta’s friendships were in no way exclusive.

According to the commentary to the Mahāgosiṅga Sutta there was also a bond of mutual affection between Sāriputta and the Elder Ānanda. On Sāriputta’s part it was because he thought: “He is attending on the Master—a duty which should have been performed by me”; and Ānanda’s affection was due to the fact that Sāriputta had been declared by the Buddha as his foremost disciple.

When Ānanda gave novice ordination to young pupils, he used to take them to Sāriputta to obtain higher ordination under him. Sāriputta did the same in regard to Ānanda, and in that way they had five hundred pupils in common.


Whenever Ānanda received choice robes or other requisites he would offer them to Sāriputta, and in the same way, Sāriputta passed on to Ānanda any special offerings that were made to him.

Once Ānanda received from a certain brahmin a very valuable robe, and with the Master’s permission he kept it for ten days, awaiting Sāriputta’s return. The subcommentary says that later teachers commented on this: “There may be those who say: ‘We can well understand that Ānanda, who had not yet attained to arahantship, felt such affection. But how is it in the case of Sāriputta, who was a canker- free arahant?’ To this we answer: ‘Sāriputta’s affection was not one of worldly attachment, but a love for Ānanda’s virtues (guṇa-bhatti).’”

The Buddha once asked Ānanda: Do you, too, approve of Sāriputta?

And Ānanda replied: Who, Lord, would not approve of Sāriputta, unless he were childish, corrupt, stupid, or of perverted mind! Sāriputta is wise, of great wisdom, of broad, bright, quick, keen, and penetrative wisdom. Sāriputta is of few wants and contented, inclined to seclusion, not fond of company, energetic, eloquent, willing to listen, an exhorter who censures what is evil


In the Theragāthā   we find Ānanda describing his emotion at the time of Sāriputta’s death.

 When the noble friend (Sāriputta) had gone, he declares, the world was plunged in darkness for me. But he adds that after the companion had left him behind, and the Master had also passed away, there was no other friend like mindfulness directed to the body. Ānanda’s sorrow on learning of Sāriputta’s death is also described very movingly in the Cunda Sutta.

Sāriputta was a true friend in the fullest sense of the word. He well understood how to bring out the best in others, and in doing so did not hesitate sometimes to speak straightforwardly and critically, like the ideal friend described by the Buddha, who points out his friend’s faults. It was through such honest criticism that he helped the Venerable Anuruddha in his final breakthrough to arahantship, as recorded in the Aṅguttara Nikāya:

   Once the Venerable Anuruddha went to see the Venerable Sāriputta. When they had exchanged courteous greetings, he sat down and said to the Venerable Sāriputta:

“Friend Sāriputta, with the divine eye that is purified, transcending human sight, I can see the thousandfold world-system. Firm is my energy, unremitting; my mindfulness is alert and unconfused; my body is tranquil and unperturbed; my mind is concentrated and one-pointed. An

is concentrated and one-pointed. And yet, my mind is not freed from the cankers, not freed from clinging.

“Friend Anuruddha,” said the Venerable Sāriputta,

That you think thus of your divine eye, this is conceit in you. That you think thus of your firm energy, your alert mindfulness, your unperturbed body, and your concentrated mind, this is restlessness in you. That you think of your mind not being freed from the cankers, this is worrying in you. It would be good, indeed, if you would abandon these three states of mind and, paying no attention to them, direct your mind to the deathless element.

The Venerable Anuruddha followed Sāriputta’s advice and in a short time he attained the destruction of the cankers.


Sāriputta must have been stimulating company, as he was sought after by many. What attracted people of quite different temperaments to him and his conversation can be well understood from the incident described in the Mahāgosiṅga Sutta.

One evening the Elders Mahāmoggallāna, Mahākassapa, Anuruddha, Revata, and Ānanda went to Sāriputta to listen to the Dhamma. Sāriputta welcomed them, saying:

“Delightful is this Gosiṅga sāla-tree forest, it is a clear moonlit night, the sāla trees are in full bloom, and it seems as if celestial scents are being wafted around. What kind of monk, do you think, Ānanda, will lend more lustre to this Gosiṅga sāla-tree forest?”

The same question was put to the others as well, and each replied according to his personal temperament. Finally, Sāriputta gave his own answer, which was as follows:

There is 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 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.


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 Moggallāna, can lend lustre to this Gosiṅga sāla-tree forest.

They then went to the Buddha and reported the course of their discussion. The Master approved of all their answers and added his own.

We see from this episode that, despite his powerful intellect and his status in the Sangha, Sāriputta was far from being a domineering type who tried to impose his views on others. He understood well how to stimulate self-expression in his companions in a natural way, conveying to them the pensive mood evoked by the enchanting scenery. His own sensitive nature responded to natural beauty and drew a similar response from his friends.

There are many such conversations recorded between Sāriputta and other monks, not only with Moggallāna, Ānanda, and Anuruddha, but also with Mahākotthita, Upavāṇa, Samiddhi, Savittha, Bhūmija, and many more. Sāriputta was also keen to meet noble monks, particularly those whom the Master had commended.


One such was the Elder Puṇṇa Mantāniputta, whom he had not met before the Buddha praised him before the Sangha. When Sāriputta learned that Puṇṇa had come on a visit he went to meet him and, without revealing his own identity, engaged him in a profound discussion on the successive stages of purification and their relation to Nibbāna.


It seems that the Buddha himself liked to talk to Sāriputta, for he often did so, and many of his discourses were addressed to his ‘Marshal of the Dhamma.’ Once Sāriputta approached the Buddha and repeated some words the Master had spoken to Ānanda on another occasion:

“This is the whole of the holy life (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.

As we have already seen, Sāriputta was born into a brahmin family of Upatissa village (or Nālaka), near Rājagaha. His father’s name was Vanganta and his mother’s Rūpasārī. No mention is made of his relationship with his father, and we may thus presume that his father died in Sāriputta’s youth. He had three brothers: Cunda, Upasena, and Revata, and three sisters named Cālā, Upacālā, and Sisūpacālā. All six took ordination into the Buddhist Order and attained arahantship.


Cunda was known by the name Samaṇuddesa, meaning “the novice” in the Sangha, even after becoming a bhikkhu; this was to distinguish him from the Elder Mahācunda. At the time of Sāriputta’s death, Cunda was his attendant, and it was he who informed the Buddha of his passing away, bringing with him the chief disciple’s relics. The story is told in the Cunda Sutta, recounted below.

Upasena, who came to be known as Vagantaputta, or “Son of Vaganta,” as Sāriputta is “Son of Sārī,” was said by the Buddha to be foremost among those of all-pleasing deportment. Revata was the youngest of the brothers. Their mother, wishing to prevent him from seeking ordination, had him married when he was a very young boy. But on the wedding day he saw the grandmother of his future wife, an old woman of 120, stricken with all the signs of decrepitude. At once he became disgusted with worldly life. Escaping from the wedding procession by a ruse, he fled to a monastery and was ordained. In later years he was on his way to see the Buddha when he stopped at a forest of acacia trees (khadīravana), and while spending the rainy season there he attained arahantship. After that he became known as Revata Khadīravaniya—“Revata of the Acacia Forest.” The Buddha distinguished him as being the foremost among forest dwellers.


The three sisters, Cālā, Upacālā, and Sisūpacālā, wishing to follow their brothers’ example, became nuns after their marriages. In marriage, each of them had a son who was named after his mother. These three sons were also ordained, being received as novices by Revata Khadīravaniya, and their good conduct was praised by Sāriputta. When Cālā, Upacālā, and Sisūpacālā became nuns they were approached by Māra, who tried to taunt and tempt them. Their excellent replies are recorded in the Therīgāthā and the Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta.

In contrast to all these, Sāriputta’s mother was a staunch brahmin who, throughout the years, remained hostile to the Buddha’s Teaching and his followers. In the commentary to the Dhammapada it is related that once, when the Venerable Sāriputta was in his own village of Nālaka with a large retinue of monks, he came to his mother’s house in the course of his alms round.

His mother gave him a seat and served him with food, but while she did so she uttered abusive words: “Oh, you eater of others’ leavings!” she said. “When you fail to get leavings of sour rice gruel, you go from house to house among strangers, licking the leavings off the backs of ladles! And so it was for this that you gave up eighty crores of wealth and became a monk! You have ruined me! Now go on and eat!”


Likewise, when she was serving food to the monks, she said: “So! You are the men who have made my son your page boy! Go on, eat now!”

Thus, she continued reviling them, but Sāriputta spoke not a word. He took his food, ate it, and in silence returned to the monastery. The Buddha learned of the incident from his son Rāhula, who had been among the monks at the time. All the bhikkhus who heard of it wondered at the elder’s great forbearance, and in the midst of the assembly the Buddha praised him, uttering the stanza:


He that is free from anger, who performs his duties faithfully, He that guards the precepts and is free from lust;

He that has subdued himself, he that wears his last body—

 He it is I call a brahmin.



It was not until the very close of Sāriputta’s life that he was able to convert his mother; that story will be told below. But the incident just related reminds us again of the great elder’s most pleasing characteristics—his humility, patience, and forbearance.


From the account of Sāriputta’s quest it seems that his inclinations took him along a different route, not to the feet of those who had mastered the domain of superconscious states but to those who excelled in philosophical discourse and intellectual analysis. His initiation into the Dhamma, too, as we have seen, came about not through the path of the meditative absorptions but through a direct, spontaneous insight into the conditionality of all phenomena and into the unconditioned element beyond the network of causes and effects. Nevertheless, once Sāriputta became a disciple of the Buddha, he quickly attained mastery over all the stages of meditative absorption and harnessed his meditative experience as a tool for the final breakthrough to full enlightenment.

The process by which Sāriputta advanced from the stage of stream- enterer to that of arahantship is related by the Buddha in the Anupada Sutta. In this revealing discourse the Blessed One declares that during the two-week period of his striving for the final goal, Sāriputta had practiced insight into states one by one as they occurred. He mastered in succession the nine meditative attainments: the four fine-material jhānas, the four immaterial states, and the cessation of perception and feeling.


On mastering each attainment except the last two (which are too subtle for introspective investigation), he would analyse it into its constituent factors, define each of these factors in turn, and then consider how they arose, how they persisted, and how they disappeared. Abiding ‘unattracted, unrepelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers,’ he would then cultivate the next higher attainment until he reached the cessation of perception and feeling.

His actual breakthrough to arahantship, as mentioned previously, took place while he was standing behind the Buddha, fanning him as the Master gave a discourse to the wanderer Dīghanakha, Sāriputta’s nephew. The theme of the Buddha’s talk was the comprehension of feelings. The Buddha began by explaining the nature of the body, instructing Dīghanakha to contemplate the body in such a way that desire, affection, and concern for the body would be abandoned. Then he explained the contemplation of feeling: all feeling should be seen as impermanent, conditioned, and dependently arisen, as subject to break up, vanish, disappear, and cease. As Sāriputta listened to the Buddha’s words, he reflected: The Blessed One speaks about the abandonment of these things through direct knowledge; he speaks about the relinquishment of these things through direct knowledge.


As he reflected thus, suddenly final knowledge arose and his mind was liberated from the cankers by non-clinging.

In his stanzas in the Theragāthā, Sāriputta recalls the way he attained arahantship:

The Blessed One, the Buddha, the One with Vision,

Was teaching the Dhamma to another.

While the Dhamma was being taught

I lent an ear, keen on the goal.

That listening of mine was not in vain, For I am released, free from cankers.

Although Sāriputta ranked first among the Buddha’s disciples in overall comprehension of the Dhamma, unlike many other monks he did not strive after the supernormal modes of knowledge and psychic powers that were often accessories of an arahant. Thus, in the next verses of the Theragāthā he states that he felt no inclination (paṇidhi) for the five supernormal powers (abhiññā), qualities in which his friend Mahā-moggallāna excelled. Nevertheless, the commentary to these verses tells us that while Sāriputta made no deliberate effort to obtain the supernormal powers, they came into his hands spontaneously along with his attainment of arahantship, being inherent qualifications of a chief disciple.


The “Treatise on Psychic Power” also credits Sāriputta with “the power of intervention by concentration”, which is capable of intervening in certain normal physiological processes or other natural events. The canonical basis for this ascription is a story in the Udāna. Once, when Sāriputta was living with Moggallāna at Kapotakandarā, he was sitting in meditation out in the open air on a full-moon night, his head freshly shaved. A malicious demon (yakkha) passing overhead, in a spiteful mood, descended and gave the elder a severe blow on the head, but he was so deeply absorbed in meditation that he suffered no harm. The story continues:

The Venerable Mahāmoggallāna saw the incident, approached the Venerable Sāriputta, and asked him:

Friend, are you comfortable? Are you doing well? Does nothing trouble you?

“I am comfortable, friend Moggallāna,

said the Venerable Sāriputta. I am doing well, but I have a slight headache.

Thereupon the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna said: “It is wonderful, friend Sāriputta! It is marvellous, friend Sāriputta! How great is the psychic power and might of the Venerable Sāriputta! For just now, friend Sāriputta, a certain demon gave you a blow on the head…


And such a mighty blow it was that it might have felled an elephant or split a mountain peak. But the Venerable Sāriputta says only this,

I am comfortable, friend Moggallāna. I am doing well, friend Moggallāna, but I have a slight headache.’”

Then the Venerable Sāriputta replied:

“It is wonderful, friend Moggallāna! It is marvellous, friend Moggallāna! How great is the psychic power and might of the Venerable Moggallāna, that he should see any demon at all! As for me, I have not seen so much as a mud-sprite.”

Meanwhile the Blessed One had been listening in, with his divine ear, to this discussion between the two elders, and he then spoke the following ‘inspired utterance’ in praise of Sāriputta:

Whose mind stands unmoving as a rock,

Unattached to things that arouse attachment,

Unangered by things that provoke anger.

How can suffering come to one

Whose mind has been cultivated thus?


After he had become securely established in the highest goal, meditation became for Sāriputta a natural expression of his realization rather than a means toward some higher attainment. In the Sāriputta Saṃyutta, the Venerable Ānanda questioned Sāriputta on several occasions about how he had passed his day, and Sāriputta replied that he had spent the day dwelling in the various stages of meditative absorption. But in the case of each stage, he added, he was utterly free of self-reference:

I had no such thoughts as I am entering the jhāna; I have entered it; I am rising from it’”


Among the Buddha’s bhikkhu disciples Sāriputta was the foremost of those with great wisdom (etadaggaṃ mahāpaññānaṃ), and in the exercise of wisdom he stood second only to the Enlightened One himself. The chief expression of Sāriputta’s wisdom was his facility in the four analytical knowledges (paṭisambhida-ñāṇa), which he acquired during the two- week period following his ordination:

“It was half a month after my ordination, friends, that I realized, in all their parts and details, the analytical knowledge of meaning (Attha), the analytical knowledge of the doctrine (Dhamma), the analytical knowledge of language (Nirutti), the analytical knowledge of perspicacity (Paṭibhāna).”


“These I expound in many ways, teach them and make them known, establish and reveal them, explain and clarify them. If anyone has any doubt or uncertainty, he may ask me and I shall explain (the matter). Present is the Master who is well acquainted with our attainments.”


(1) The first analytical knowledge confers special insight into the meaning of the doctrines, their implications and ramifications, as well as into the effects that might arise from specified causes. (2) The second gives special insight into the doctrines themselves, their interconnections within the total framework of the Dhamma, as well as into the causes from which certain effects might spring. (3) The third is skill in the understanding of language, grammar, and etymology.

(4) The fourth is the ability to marshal the former three types of knowledge when expounding the Dhamma in order to awaken understanding in others.

Through his endowment with the four analytical knowledges Sāriputta excelled not only in personal understanding but also in the tasks of teaching and explaining the Dhamma. Because he was so versatile in all these respects, at the conclusion of the Anupada Sutta, the Buddha could declare him to be his true spiritual son and his chief assistant in the work of “turning the Wheel of the Dhamma”:

‘If one could ever say rightly of one that he has come to mastery and perfection in noble virtue, in noble concentration, in noble wisdom, and noble liberation, it is of Sāriputta that one could thus rightly declare.

If one could ever say rightly of one that he is the Blessed One’s true son, born of his speech, born of the Dhamma, formed of the Dhamma, heir to the Dhamma, not heir to worldly benefit, it is of Sāriputta that one could thus rightly declare.

After me, O monks, Sāriputta rightly turns the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma, even as I have turned it.’


The discourses of the Venerable Sāriputta and the books attributed to him form a comprehensive body of teaching that for scope and variety of exposition can stand beside that of the Master himself. Sāriputta understood in a unique way how to organize and present the rich material of the Dhamma lucidly, in a manner that was intellectually stimulating and also an inspiration to practical effort. In the Theravāda tradition he is regarded not only as the progenitor of many suttas of prime importance but also as the original inspiration behind three substantial exegetical treatises and the individual responsible for the final codification of the Abhidhamma.



We now come to the year of the Master’s Parinibbāna, his complete passing away. The Blessed One had spent the rainy season at Beluvagāma, a village near Vesālī, and when the retreat was over, he left that place and returned by stages to Sāvatthī, arriving back at the Jetavana monastery.

There the Elder Sāriputta, the Marshal of the Dhamma, paid homage to the Blessed One and went to his day quarters. When his own disciples had saluted him and left, he swept the place and spread his leather mat. Then, having rinsed his feet, he sat down cross-legged and entered into the fruition attainment of arahantship (arahattaphala- samāpatti).

At the time predetermined by him, he arose from the meditation, and this thought occurred to him:

“Do the Enlightened Ones pass away into final Nibbāna first, or do the chief disciples do so?

And he saw that it is the chief disciples who pass away first. Thereupon he considered his own life force and saw that its residue would sustain him for only one more week.

He then considered: “Where shall I attain final Nibbāna?


And he thought: ‘Rāhula attained final Nibbāna among the deities of the Thirty- three, and the Elder Aññā Koṇḍañña at the Chaddanta Lake in the Himalayas. Where, then, shall I pass away?’

While thinking this over repeatedly he remembered his mother, and the thought came to him: ‘Although she is the mother of seven arahants, she has no faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. Has she the supportive conditions in her to acquire that faith or has she not?’

Investigating the matter, he discerned that she had the supportive conditions for the path of stream-entry. Then he asked himself: ‘Through whose instruction can she win to the penetration of truth?’ He saw that it could not come about through anyone else’s instruction in the Dhamma but his own. And following upon that there came the thought: ‘If I now remain indifferent, people will say: ‘Sāriputta has been a helper to so many others; on the day, for instance, when he preached the Discourse to the Deities of Tranquil Mind a large number of devas attained arahantship, and still more of them penetrated to the first three paths; and on other occasions there were many who attained to stream-entry, and there were thousands of families who were reborn in heavenly worlds after the elder had inspired them with joyous confidence in the Triple Gem.


Yet despite this he cannot remove the wrong views of his own mother!’ Thus, people may speak of me. Therefore, I shall free my mother from her wrong views, and shall attain final Nibbāna in the very chamber where I was born.”

Having made that decision, he thought: ‘This very day I shall ask the Master’s permission and then leave for Nālaka.’

And calling the Elder Cunda, who was his attendant, he said: Friend Cunda, please ask our group of five hundred bhikkhus to take their bowls and robes, for I wish to go to Nālaka.


And the Elder Cunda did as he was bidden. The bhikkhus put their lodgings in order, took their bowls and robes, and presented themselves before the Elder Sāriputta. He, for his own part, had tidied up his living quarters and swept the place where he used to spend the day. Then, standing at the gate, he looked back at the place, thinking: ‘This is my last sight of it. There will be no more coming back.’

Then, together with the five hundred bhikkhus, he went to the Blessed One, saluted him, and spoke:

 “O Lord, may the Blessed One permit, may the Exalted One consent: the time has come for me to attain final Nibbāna. I have relinquished the life force.


Lord of the world, O greatest sage!

I soon shall be released from life.

Going and coming shall be no more;

This is the last time I worship you.

Short is the life that now remains to me;

But seven days from now, and I shall lay

This body down, throwing the burden off.

Grant it, O Master! Give permission, Lord!

At last, the time has come for my Nibbāna;

Now I have relinquished the will to live.

Now, says the text, if the Enlightened One were to have replied, “You may attain final Nibbāna,

hostile sectarians would say that he was speaking in praise of death; and if he had replied,

 Do not attain final Nibbāna, they would say that he extolled the continuation of the round of existence. Therefore, the Blessed One did not speak in either way, but asked:

Where will you attain final Nibbāna?

Sāriputta replied:

In the Magadha country, in the village called Nālaka, in the chamber where I was born.


Then the Blessed One said:

“Do, Sāriputta, what you think timely. But now your elder and younger brethren in the Sangha will no longer have the chance to see a bhikkhu like you. Give them one last discourse on the Dhamma.

The great elder then gave a discourse in which he displayed all his wondrous powers. Rising to the loftiest heights of truth, descending to mundane truth, rising again, and again descending, he expounded the Dhamma directly and with similes. And when he had ended his discourse, he paid homage at the feet of the Master. Embracing his legs, he said:

“So that I might worship these feet I have fulfilled the ten perfections throughout an incalculable period and a hundred thousand aeons.  My heart’s wish has found fulfilment. From now on there will be no more contact or meeting; that intimate connection is now severed. I shall soon enter the City of Nibbāna, the unageing, undying, peaceful, blissful, heat-assuaging and secure, which has been entered by many hundreds of thousands of Buddhas. If any deed or word of mine did not please you, O Lord, may the Blessed One forgive me! It is now time for me to go.


Now, once before, the Buddha had answered this, when he said: “There is nothing, be it in deeds or words, for which I should have to reproach you, Sāriputta. For you are learned, Sāriputta, of great wisdom, of broad and bright wisdom, of quick, keen, and penetrative wisdom

So now he answered in the same way: “I forgive you, Sāriputta, he said. But there was not a single word or deed of yours that was displeasing to me. Do now, Sāriputta, what you think timely.

From this we see that on those few occasions when the Master seemed to reproach his chief disciple, it was not that he was displeased with him in any way, but rather that he was pointing out another approach to a situation, another way of viewing a problem.

Immediately after the Master had given his permission and Sāriputta had risen from paying homage at his feet, the great earth cried out, and with a single huge tremor shook to its watery boundaries. It was as though the great earth wished to say: “Though I bear these girdling mountain ranges with Mount Meru, the encircling mountain walls and the Himalayas, I cannot sustain on this day so vast an accumulation of virtue!” And mighty thunder split the heavens, a vast cloud appeared, and heavy rain poured down.


Then the Blessed One thought:

“I shall now permit the Marshal of the Dhamma to depart.” And he rose from the seat of the Dhamma, went to his Perfumed Cell, and there stood on the Jewel Slab.

Three times Sāriputta circumambulated the cell, keeping it to his right, and paid reverence at four places. And this thought was in his mind: It was an incalculable period and a hundred thousand aeons ago that I prostrated at the feet of the Buddha Anomadassī and made the aspiration to see you. This aspiration has been realized, and I have seen you. At the first meeting it was my first sight of you; now it is my last, and there will be none in the future.”

And with raised hands joined in salutation he departed, going backwards until the Blessed One was out of sight. And yet again the great earth, unable to bear it, trembled to its watery boundaries.

The Blessed One then addressed the bhikkhus who surrounded him. “Go, bhikkhus,” he said. “Accompany your elder brother.” At these words, all the four assemblies of devotees at once went out of Jetavana, leaving the Blessed One there alone. The citizens of Sāvatthī also, having heard the news, went out of the city in an unending stream carrying incense and flowers in their hands; and with their hair wet (the sign of mourning),

they followed the elder, lamenting and weeping.

Sāriputta then admonished the crowd, saying:

This is a road that none can avoid, and asked them to return. And to the monks who had accompanied him, he said:

You may turn back now. Do not neglect the Master.

Thus he made them go back, and with only his own group of disciples, he continued on his way. Yet still some of the people followed him, lamenting,

“Formerly our noble monk went on journeys and returned. But this is a journey without return!”

To them the elder said: “Be heedful, friends! Of such nature, indeed, are all things that are formed and conditioned.” And he made them turn back.

During his journey Sāriputta spent one night wherever he stopped, and thus for one week he favoured many people with a last sight of him. Reaching Nālaka village in the evening, he stopped near a banyan tree at the village gate. It happened that at the time a nephew of the elder, Uparevata by name, had gone outside the village and there he saw Sāriputta. He approached the elder, saluted him, and remained standing.

The elder asked him: “Is your grand-aunt at home?”

“Yes, venerable sir,” he replied.



To be Continued………