the capital of the kingdom of Magadha, was one of the first
places visited by the Buddha soon after his enlightenment. As
a wandering ascetic in the early days of his renunciation, he
had promised King Seniya Bimbisâra that he would visit
Râjagaha when he achieved the object of his search. King
Bimbisâra was overjoyed at the sight of the Buddha, and
having listened to his teaching, became a lay follower. His
devotion to the Buddha became so ardent that within a few days
he offered him his pleasure park, Veluvana, for residence.
during that time was a centre of great learning where many schools
of philosophy flourished. One such school of thought had as
its head Sañjaya; and among his retinue of two hundred
and fifty followers were Upatissa and Kolita, who were later
to become Sariputta and Mahâ Moggallâna, the two
chief disciples of the Buddha.
day when Upatissa was walking through the streets of Râjagaha,
he was greatly struck by the serene countenance and the quiet,
dignified deportment of one of the first disciples of the Buddha,
the arahat Assaji, who was on his alms round.
the strenuous endeavours to achieve perfection that Upatissa
had made through many a birth were now on the verge of being
rewarded. Without going back to his teacher, he followed the
arahat Assaji to his resting place, eager to know whom he followed
and what teaching he had accepted.
said Upatissa, "serene is your countenance, clear and radiant
is your glance. Who persuaded you to renounce the world? Who
is your teacher? What Dhamma (teaching) do you follow?"
The Venerable Assaji, rather reluctant to speak much, humbly
said: "I cannot expound the Doctrine and Discipline at
length, but I can tell you the meaning briefly." Upatissa’s
reply is interesting: "Well, friend, tell little or much;
what I want is just the meaning. Why speak many words?"
Then the arahat Assaji uttered a single verse which embraces
the Buddha’s entire doctrine of causality:
Tesam hetum tathâgato âha
Tesam ca yo nirodho
Evam vâdi mahâ samano."
from a cause proceeds, thereof
The Tathâgata has explained the cause,
Its cessation too he has explained.
This is the teaching of the Supreme Sage."
instantly grasped the meaning and attained the first stage of
realization, comprehending "whatever is of the nature of
arising, all that is of the nature of ceasing" (yam
kiñci samudayadhammam sabbam tam nirodhadhammam).
a heart full of joy, he quickly went back to his friend Kolita
and told him of his meeting with the arahat and of the teaching
he had received. Kolita, too, like Upatissa, instantly gained
the first stage of realization, having heard the Dhamma from
his friend. Thereon both of them approached Sañjaya and
asked him to follow the Buddha. But afraid of losing his reputation
as a religious teacher, he refused to do so. Upatissa and Kolita
then left Sañjaya,much against his protestations,for
the Veluvana monastery and expressed their wish to become followers
of the Buddha. The Buddha gladly welcomed them saying, "Come,
monks, well proclaimed is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for
the complete ending of suffering." He admitted them into
the Order. They attained deliverance and became the two chief
great one who joined the Order during the Buddha’s stay at Veluvana
was the brahmin sage Mahâ Kassapa, who had renounced great
wealth to find the way to deliverance. It was the Venerable
Mahâ Kassapa, three months after the Buddha’s passing
away (parinibbâna), who called up the convocation
of arahats (the First Council), at the Sattapanni Cave near
Râjagaha under the patronage of King Ajâtasattu,
to collect and codify the Dhamma and Vinaya.