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Five ascetics

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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five ascetics
五比丘 (Jpn go-biku ) five ascetics: The five hermits with whom the Buddha practiced and to whom He taught His first sermon at Deer Park on the Four Noble Truths

Ajnata Kaundinya (Annata Kodanna or Kondanna),
Mahanaman (Mahanama),
Bhadrika (Bhaddiya),
Dashabala Kasyapa (Vappa), and
Ashvajit (Assaji),

all brahmins.

    The first converts of Shakyamuni Buddha. Their names are Ajnata Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Mahanama, Bhadrika, and Vashpa, though these differ somewhat according to the source. The Buddha's Preaching Life Sutra lists Dashabala Kashyapa as one of the five ascetics instead of Vashpa. When Shakyamuni renounced secular life, his father, Shuddhodana, anxious about his son's safety, dispatched these five men to accompany him. Together with Shakyamuni they engaged in ascetic practice. When Shakyamuni rejected asceticism, they thought that he had abandoned the search for truth altogether and left him, going to Deer Park in Varanasi to continue their austere practice. After he attained enlightenment, Shakyamuni sought them out as the first people to whom he would preach. According to scriptural accounts, the five at first resolved to greet him with coolness, regarding him as a backslider. But when Shakyamuni approached them, they were struck by his dignified bearing and welcomed him in spite of themselves.They listened to his teachings and became his first disciples.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org