Sāriputta Thero and the six branches of super-human knowledge

When we read Teravāda Thepitaka there is no significant evidence to conclude that Sāriputta Thero had super-human knowledges such as read others minds, Iddhividhañāṇa; other than Therapadana.

In anupadasutta, the blessed one explained qualities of Sariputta Thero. In this sutta we can see Sāriputta Thero had eight jhānās where he had mastered the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.(MN111).
However, there is nothing about super-human powers in the sutta. Ever since the blessed one mentioned his qualities, it seems strange that super-human powers are not to mentioned if there were.

In the Nalanda sutta Sāriputta Thero confesses that he has no power to read the blessed one’s mind.

“Then, Sāriputta, have you encompassed with your mind my own mind—I being at present the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One—and known thus: ‘The Blessed One is of such virtue, or of such qualities, or of such wisdom, or of such dwellings, or of such liberation’?”
No, venerable sir.

Here we can see Sāriputta thero could not read blessed one’s because he did not master super-human power of mind reading (cetopariya).

Several Senior Theros are present in the aparadittisutta insidant but Sariputta Thero.
Aparadittisutta insidant
Several Theros found where the Buddha is and traveled to the World of Brahma.

There is another insidant that shows Sariputta Thero did not have the super-human power of divine sight.
In Channasutta

Then the Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, the Venerable Channa has used the knife. What is his destination, what is his future bourn?”

“Sāriputta, didn’t the bhikkhu Channa declare his blameless-ness right in your presence?”

“Venerable sir, there is a Vajjian village named Pubbavijjhana. There the Venerable Channa had friendly families, intimate families, hospitable families.”

“The Venerable Channa did indeed have these friendly families, Sāriputta, intimate families, hospitable families; but I do not say that to this extent one is blameworthy. Sāriputta, when one lays down this body and takes up another body, then I say one is blameworthy. This did not happen in the case of the bhikkhu Channa. The bhikkhu Channa used the knife blamelessly. Thus, Sāriputta, should you remember it.

If Sariputta Thero had super-human knowledge of Divine Sight he could rather see where Channa Thero has gone after death. But as he asked buddha about it we can assume that he had no Divine Sight.

Do other Arihat theros had the same problem reading budda’s mind?

  1. Mara the evil one read the buddha’s mind,
    Then Mara the Evil One, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind,.
    (Rajja sutta)
    Note: There are more evidence in Marasamyutta.

  2. Other brahmas also read budda’s mind,
    According to Ayacanasutta, Brahma Sahampati read buddha’s mind.

  3. Other Arihat Theros also read buddha’s mind.
    Evidence needed, however, since other devas and brahmas could read buddha’s mind why not Arihat Theros.

At the end of the Sāriputtattheraapadāna,

Paṭisambhidā catasso , vimokkhāpi ca aṭṭhime;
Chaḷabhiññā sacchikatā, kataṃ buddhassa sāsanaṃ.

There is no English meaning in the SuttaCentral, and I will take important part that Chaḷabhiññā sacchikatā which means mastered the six branches of super-human knowledge.
This is the only evidence to suggest that Sāriputta thero had super-human knowledges.

Then there is a partial evidence to prove in petavattu, kuddakanikaya.
Here Sariputta Thero talked to the Petha. To talk He may be having Divine Sight.

Please provide suttas regarding this topic and give your opinions :smiley:
Best regards! :slightly_smiling_face:


Another sutta that supports Sāriputta not having the divine eye is Ud 4.4, in which a yakkha strikes him on the head. Moggallāna sees this, but Sāriputta cannot:

Then the yakkha taking no notice of that other yakkha, gave a blow on the elder venerable Sāriputta’s head: it was such a great blow that with that blow a seven, or seven and a half cubit Nāga elephant might have been felled, or a great mountain top might have been burst open.

Then that yakkha calling out: “I’m burning, I’m burning” right there and then fell into the Great Hell.

Venerable Mahāmoggallāna saw with his divine-eye, which is purified, and surpasses that of normal men, that yakkha giving a blow on venerable Sāriputta’s head. And after seeing it, he went to venerable Sāriputta, and after going, he said this to venerable Sāriputta: “Can you bear up, venerable friend? Can you carry on? Do you have any pain?”

“I can bear up, friend Moggallāna; I can carry on, friend Moggallāna, but I have a little pain on my head.”

“Wonderful, friend Sāriputta, marvellous, friend Sāriputta, such is the venerable Sāriputta’s great power and great majesty. Here, friend Sāriputta, a certain yakkha gave a blow on your head: it was such a great blow, that with that blow a seven, or seven and a half cubit Nāga elephant might have been felled, or a great mountain top might have been burst open. But then venerable Sāriputta said this: ‘I can bear up, friend Moggallāna; I can carry on, friend Moggallāna, but I have a little pain on my head.’ ”

“Wonderful, friend Moggallāna, marvellous, friend Moggallāna, such is the venerable Mahāmoggallāna’s great power and great majesty, in as much as he can even see a yakkha, whereas we at present do not even see a mud-demon!”


I think this meant that at present, he could not see a mud demon (as there were none around), and he was humble enough to pay a nice complement!


Another bit of evidence from the Theragāthā that seems to indicate that Sāriputta never tried to develop the higher knowledges (aside from destruction of the āsavas, of course):

My listening was not in vain; I am released without āsavas. Not for knowledge of former habitation, nor even for the deva-eye, nor for supernormal power of knowledge of other people’s thoughts, nor for knowledge of passing away and rebirth, nor for purity of the ear-element was there any resolve of mine. (Thag 996-997)


This one The Life of Sariputta

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