Purna [富楼那 - Phú Lâu Na] Was one of Shakyamuni Buddha's ten major disciples. Noted as foremost in preaching the Law, he is said to have converted five hundred people of his tribe. His full name is Purna Maitrayaniputra, but he is commonly referred to simply as Purna. According to the Sutra of the Collected Stories of the Buddha's Deeds in Past Lives and other sutras, he was born to a rich Brahman fam-ily near Kapilavastu, the kingdom of the Shakyas, but renounced secular life to seek enlightenment and entered the Snow Mountains where he practiced austerities. As a result, he achieved a degree of awakening. When he heard that Shakyamuni had attained Buddhahood, he became the Buddha's disciple and attained the state of arhat. According to another explanation, Purna was originally a merchant in the seaport town of Sunaparanta in western India and first heard of Shakyamuni's teachings when he joined a commercial voyage with some Shravastimerchants who were lay Buddhists. The divergence between these two accounts has led some scholars to conclude that there were actually two individuals named Purna. It has been established that there was a monk in Sunaparanta named Purna, but whether he was the Purna who was one of Shakyamuni's major disciples is unclear. In the Lotus Sutra, Purna belongs to the last of the three groups of voice-hearers who, in the "Parable of the Phantom City" (seventh) chapter of the sutra, understand the Buddha's teaching by hearing about their relationship with Shakyamuni countless kalpas in the past. The "Five Hundred Disciples" (eighth) chapter pre-dicts that Purna will attain enlightenment as the Buddha Law Bright.
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 September 2009 22:28