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A modern retelling of the Buddha's work and life.

Chapter 22 - Sariputta And Moggallana

AT that time Sariputta and Moggallana, two Brahmans and chiefs of the followers of Sanjaya, led a religious life. They had promised each other:

"He who first attains Nirvana shall tell the other one."

Sariputta seeing the venerable Assaji begging for alms, modestly keeping his eyes to the ground and dignified in deportment, exclaimed:

"Truly this samana has entered the right path; I will ask him in whose name he has retired from the world and what doctrine he professes."

Being addressed by Sariputta, Assaji replied:

"I am a follower of the Buddha, the Blessed One, but being a novice I can tell you the substance only of the doctrine."

Said Sariputta:

"Tell me, venerable monk; it is the substance I want."

And Assaji recited the stanza:

"Nothing we seek to touch or see Can represent Eternity. They spoil and die: then let us find Eternal Truth within the mind."

Having heard this stanza, Sariputta obtained the pure and spotless eye of truth and said:

"Now I see clearly, whatsoever is subject to origination is also subject to cessation. If this be the doctrine I have reached the state to enter Nirvana which heretofore has remained hidden from me."

Sariputta went to Moggallana and told him, and both said:

"We will go to the Blessed One, that he, the Blessed One, may be our teacher."

When the Buddha saw Sariputta and Moggallana coming from afar, he said to his disciples, These two monks are highly auspicious."

When the two friends had taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, the Holy One said to his other disciples:

"Sariputta, like the first born O son of a world ruling monarch, is well able to assist the king as his chief follower to set the wheel of the law rolling."

Now the people were annoyed. Seeing that many distinguished young men of the kingdom of Magadha led a religious life under the direction of the Blessed One, they became angry and murmured:

"Gotama Sakyamuni induces fathers to leave their wives and causes families to become extinct."

When they saw the bhikkhus, they reviled them, saying:

"The great Sakyamuni has come to Rajagaha subduing the minds of men. Who will be the next to be led astray by him?"

The bhikkhus told it to the Blessed One, and the Blessed One said:

"This murmuring, O bhikkhus, will not last long. it will last seven days. If they revile you, answer them with these words: It is by preaching the truth that Tathagatas lead men. Who will murmur at the wise? Who will blame the virtuous? Who will condemn self control, righteousness, and kindness?"

And the Blessed One proclaimed:

"Commit no wrong, do only good, And let your heart be pure. This is the doctrine Buddhas teach, And this doctrine will endure."

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