Maudgalyayana (目連・目i連 Mục Kiền Liên) Also known as Mahamaudgalyayana or Kolita was one of Shakyamuni Buddha's ten major disciples, known as foremost in tran-scendental powers. Born to a Brahman family in the suburbs of Rajagriha in the kingdom of Magadha, India, he was a close friend of Shariputra from childhood. Maudgalyayana and Shariputra were previ-ously disciples of Sanjaya Belatthiputta, a skeptic and one of the so-called six non-Buddhist teachers. Later they became followers of Shakyamuni and entered the Buddhist Order, bringing all of Sanjaya's 250 disciples with them. Maudgalyayana and Shariputra came to be revered as the Buddha's two leading disciples.When Devadatta fomented a schism in the Buddhist Order and lured away five hundred monks, these two persuaded the monks to leave Devadatta and return to Shakyamuni Buddha. Maudgalyayana and Shariputra died before Shakyamuni, the former killed by a hostile Brahman while begging for alms in Rajagriha and the latter dying of an illness. In the Lotus Sutra, Maudgalyayana belongs to the second of the three groups of voice-hearers to understand the Buddha's true intention as related in the parable in the "Simile and Parable" (third) chapter of the sutra. The "Bestowal of Prophecy" (sixth) chapter predicts that he will attain enlightenment in the future as a Buddha named Tamalapattra Sandalwood Fra-grance. The Service for the Deceased Sutra details the story of how Maudgalyayana saved his deceased mother from the world of hungry spir-its. This story spread widely in China, where the service for deceased ancestors (Chin yy-lan-p'en; Jpn urabon ) became a Buddhist observance based upon it. This tradition was adopted in Japan and Korea as well.
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 September 2009 22:08