Tapussa and Bhallika the Buddha’s First Disciple

In the Mahavacchagotta Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya the Buddha mentioned that he had many thousands of disciples, a good number of whom had attained one or another of the stages leading to enlightenment. However, the Buddha’s first disciples were the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika. During the Buddha’s fourth week at Uruvela, now called Bodh Gaya, these two men happened to be passing the outskirts of the village and saw him quietly meditating there. Impressed his serene looks and the aura of peace around him they approached him with an offering of barley gruel and honey balls. When the Buddha had finished eating the merchants asked if they could take refuge in him, i.e. become his disciples, and his Dhamma.



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