(Last Updated on : 31/01/2009)
Purna, the disciple of Gautama Buddha
, was famous for his teaching abilities. Purna was also known as "Purnamaitrayaniputra" which literally means preaching endlessly and bestowed with abundant compassion. He was one of those disciples of Buddha who came from a well to do family. In spite of being loved and pampered by his parents Purna felt that the temporal possessions are ephemeral and renounced sansara. He took refuge with Buddha and spread the knowledge about the Truth and the ways to achieve it. Purna was instrumental in spreading the Buddha marga.
The dedication showed by Purna was unprecedented. He overcame all kinds of hindrances to spread the Dhamma. After being constantly turned down by people numerous Bhikshus lost the initiative to spread Buddhism. Purna encouraged these followers to set out again to complete their task. He was of the view that though the path to achieve the end was difficult it was not impossible. Once people go through pain and suffering they would willfully accept Buddhism to be released from sansara. He viewed the poor as beggars who needed the help from Buddhist missionaries to bask in the glory of Buddhist Dhamma and hence enjoy the subsequent happiness that comes with it.
Buddha had always stressed the need to preach in a way to which the layman can associate. Purna adapted himself according to the need of various people. His ways of teaching a doctor differed from that of a farmer. Such policies helped Purna in successfully spreading the Buddhist principles. One of the major events in the life of Purna is his journey to Sudan to spread Buddhism
. Although Buddha was a little worried about this but Purna's keenness compelled him to give him permission.
As Purna arrived at Sudan he learnt the local language to communicate with the natives. But what he realized was that it was more necessary for the local poor people to have a better standard of living. Hence he attended to the sick and taught others the ways of farming. He also spread the principles of Buddhism in Sudan. Buddha himself hailed Purna as one of his finest disciples.