Moggallana (5th century BC)

  • Disciple of the Buddha

    Moggallana is said to have lived in the 5th century BC in north India as a monk in the order of the Buddha. Many stories surround his life. He is said to have acquired supernatural powers through meditation which gave him the power to teach gods, convert apostates, and delay his own death.

    Moggallana became known as one of the two main disciples of the historical Buddha. He and a friend from his youth are seen in many representations at Buddha's side, venerating him as their teacher.

    Born into a Brahman family, Moggallana thus belonged to the highest caste within the Indian socio-religious system. As a young man he left home to gain mystical experience. His search finally came to an end when he joined the order of the Buddha as a mendicant monk.

    Moggallana possessed special gifts for meditation and concentration which made him stand out from his companions in the order. Thanks to these gifts, and with the support of the Buddha, he was able to overcome the limitations of space and time and acquire supernatural powers.

    The close relationship between Moggallana and Buddha shows the great importance of the role of the teacher in Buddhist mysticism.

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    Audio (German): “Mogallano” from Gautama Buddha's monks' and nuns' songs.