Sāriputta (Pali) or Sanskrit Śāriputra was one of two chief male disciples of Gautama Buddha along with Moggallāna, counterparts to the bhikkhunis Khema and Uppalavanna, his two chief female disciples. He became an arhat renowned for his teaching and is depicted in the Theravada tradition as one of the most important disciples of the Buddha.

Sāriputta (Pali) or Sanskrit Śāriputra was one of two chief male disciples of Gautama Buddha along with Moggallāna, counterparts to the bhikkhunis Khema and Uppalavanna, his two chief female disciples. He became an arhat renowned for his teaching and is depicted in the Theravada tradition as one of the most important disciples of the Buddha.

Sāriputta came from a Brahmin[1] family and had already embarked on life as a spiritual ascetic when he encountered the teachings of the Buddha. Sāriputta had a close friend Moggallāna (Pāli: Maudgalyāyana), another wandering ascetic. They both renounced the world on the same day and became disciples of the sceptic Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta before converting to Buddhism.

After hearing of the Buddha's teachings from a monk named Assaji (Sanskrit: Asvajit), Sāriputta sought out the Buddha and became an adherent to his teachings. These two are often depicted together with the Buddha, and several sutras regard interactions between Sāriputta and Moggallāna (who became renowned among the early Buddhists for his mastery of supernatural powers).

Sāriputta often preached with the Buddha's approval and was awarded the title "General of the Dharma" (Pāli: Dhammasenāpati) for his propagation of the teachings and is regarded as the founder of the Abhidharma tradition. However, the Buddha also lightly reprimanded Sāriputta on occasion when he did not fully explain the Dhamma to a prince,[2] or when he allowed a group of novice monks to become too loud.[3]

Nevertheless, Sāriputta was one of the most highly praised disciples and on at least one occasion the Buddha declared him to be a true spiritual son and his chief assistant in "turning the Wheel of the Dhamma":[4]

"If a person, rightly saying it of anyone, were to say, 'He is the Blessed One's son, his offspring — born of his mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, his heir in the Dhamma, not his heir in material things,' he would be rightly saying it of Śāriputra if he were to say: 'He is the Blessed One's son, his offspring — born of his mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, his heir in the Dhamma, not his heir in material things.' Sariputta, monks, takes the unexcelled wheel of Dhamma set rolling by the Tathagata, and keeps it rolling rightly."