Ten Great Disciples of Buddha

Walking Statue of Buddha, Kandy, Sri Lanka/Image Credit:AntanO
During his lifetime, many people became the disciples of Buddha, but there are ten principal disciples who carried his teachings and spread the Buddhism to a far wider territory. These ten principal disciples as per Vimalakirti Sutra were Sariputra, Moggallana, Mahakasyapa, Subhuti, Purna, Katyayana, Anuradha, Upali, Rahula and Ananda. However, in some other buddhist text, there are different sets of the ten principal disciples.

Mahakasyapa is one of the most important principal disciples. He assumed the leadership of Sangha and compiled Buddha's sayings with other 500 disciples in First Buddhist Council at Rajgriha. He became the first person to preach the Buddha's doctrine directly.

Upali was a barber before he became the disciple of Buddha. He was first hesistant to join Buddha as he was a Shudra, however Buddha denied the caste system and ranked him higher than his several high-caste disciples. In the 1st Buddhist Council, Vinay Pittaka was compiled on the basis of his memory.

Rahula was the only son of the Buddha (when he was still Prince Siddhartha) and his wife Princess Yashodhara. He was described as a scrupulous, strict and shrewd person, but when the Buddha went to his hometown, he became first Sāmanera (novice monk) and later achieved Nirvana at the very young of 18.
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