Ten Great Disciples of Lord Buddha
There are two chief disciples of Buddha. They are Sariputta and Mahamoggallana. Besides them there were many great disciples and numerous lay followers. The list of Buddhist disciples is long but some of them were the first to show the way to serve Buddhism. They are mentioned below;
Sariputta: Hailed as one of the chief disciples of Buddha, Sariputta attained arahantship in merely two weeks. Buddha called him the ‘General of Dhamma’ because of his belief in the faith and the zeal with which he propagated it. He is also believed to be the exponent of Abhidhamma.
Mahamoggallana: The other chief disciple of Buddha is Mahamoggallana. He is believed to possess supernatural powers and knew tantras. Although Buddha discouraged the practice of tantra, he never discouraged Mahamoggallana. He used his tantric powers to preach Dhamma. In the Mahayana tradition, the Ulambana festival is devoted to him.
Mahakasyapa: Born as a Brahmin, Mahakasyapa became a devout Buddhist and went on to become one of the greatest disciples of Buddha. He presided over the First Buddhist Council and is considered a peer of Ananda. He is often seen standing beside Buddha along with Ananda. He is also the one who would hand over the robe of Buddha and his bowl to the Maitreya.
Subhuti: Subhuti was one of the ten Great Disciples of Gautama Buddha. Subhuti was known as foremost in understanding the doctrine of emptiness. He is mentioned in an important teaching of Prajnaparamita of Mahayana Buddhism.
Ananda: He is the Chief Attendant of Buddha. However he was more popularly seen as the greatest of all disciples. He was also the cousin of Buddha. He had a fantastic memory and as a result he could recite fluently most of the suttas. Ananda was often hailed as the Guardian of Dhamma.
Aniruddha: Anuruddha or Aniruddha was also a cousin of Buddha. He is considered as a loyal and affectionate Bhikku who served Gautama Buddha with complete devotion. It is said that he gained enlightenment and divine vision. He is one of the five chief disciples of Buddha. In the Jatakas tales, Anuruddha is the person who describes the previous incarnations of Buddha.
Purna: He became one of the chief disciples of Buddha because of his dedication. He was one of the greatest orators in Buddhist history. As a result he could easily deliver Buddhist sermons among the common people. He was thus one of the greatest arahants and he attained nirvana too.
Upali: He was the royal barber who successfully passed all the stages of Jhana and was ordained by Buddha even before the princes. Upali’s joining the Buddha Marga is of great importance as he belonged to a lower caste. However, after ordination he became an arahant and preached the Buddhist principles.
Rahula: Rahula was the only son of Sakyamuni Buddha. He is also one of the ten Great Disciples of Lord Buddha. He became a monk when he was a child and achieved Enlightenment at the young age of 18 years.