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This beautiful Saturday morning, I would like to dedicate this Sariputra's series to David N.Snyder, Bhikkhu Pesala, Bhikkhu Gavesako, Cittasanto and all Dhamma Wheel members who love the great Thera Sariputra .
************Encounter with Assaji
One day, while walking on the street, Sariputra chanced to see Venerable Assaji, one of Buddha's first five disciples. Venerable Assaji had attained Arahatship after several years of practices. His impressive and dignified manner attracted the attention of Sariputra, who then approached him and inquired his name, who his teacher was and what his teacher taught.
Venerable Assaji replied, "My name is Assaji and my teacher is Sakyamuni Buddha. He always teaches us that 'all things arise and fall according to causes and conditions', and he also says that 'all things are impermanent and will finally extinguish'."
Having heard the words of Venerable Assaji, Sariputra suddenly saw the light and all his doubts about the universe were dismissed. He decided to pay a visit to the Buddha.
The happy Sariputra returned home and told Mogallana about his encounter that day. Mogallana was moved to tears, for at last they had found a true teacher. The next day, together with their two hundred students, they went to Venuvana (Bamboo-grove) and became the Buddha's disciples.
----------------------Debate With The Heretics
Buddha trusted Sariputra very much after the latter became His disciple. Once, Buddha assigned Sariputra to propagate Dharma in the northern part of the country and at the same time, to supervise the construction of Jetavana Vihara. Jetavana was actually a park belonged to Prince Jeta. Anathapindika, a wealthy elder, brought it from the prince and gave it to the Buddha for the use by the Sangha.
Buddhism then was not popular in the north and heretical groups could be found everywhere. The heretics were jealous of the development of the Buddha Dharma when the construction of Jetavana began. They asked Anathapindika not to build the monastery for the Buddha and even talked him to betray Buddha. Being a devoted follower of the Buddha Dharma, Anathapindika simply ignored the heretics. With the hope to defeating the Buddha Dharma, the heretics decided to hold an open polemic with Sariputra. Sariputra gladly accepted their challenge as he considered it a very good opportunity to propagate the Buddha's Teachings.
During the polemic, Sariputra alone debated with a panel of heretics. In the end, the well-read Sariputra, who was also an expert in heretical books and records, defeated the heretics. As a result, many people, including some of the heretics, were converted to Buddhism.
************Love Buddha's dhamma,
David N. Snyder
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