What is a Great Disciple? (Part 2)

What is a Disciple?

The disciples (Pali: sāvaka) of a given Buddha (any Buddha, that is, not just of Buddha Gotama) are those who accept the Buddha as their teacher and attempt to follow his path.[1] By taking refuge in the Triple Gem, in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, we too are disciples of the Buddha, we too are his sāvaka.

The concept of sāvaka cuts across the traditional four-fold division of the great assembly of Buddhist followers in to lay women practitioners, ordained women practitioners (the Bhikkhunis), lay men practitioners, and ordained men practitioners (the Bhikkhus).[2]

One need not be a Bhikkhuni or a Bhikkhu to be a disciple of the Buddha.


[1] Great Disciples, p. XVI.

[2] I say “greater assembly” since in the Theravādan tradition the term ‘Sangha’ refers only to the community of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis.  But as we can see there is also a greater, inclusive sense of the Buddha’s followers which counts all practitioners, both ordained and non-ordained.

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2 thoughts on “What is a Great Disciple? (Part 2)”

    1. I know!

      And thank you for your comments and continued reading – I was telling someone here I need to give you an award for best blog reader around!

      The posts this week and next might be somewhat dry – I realize that simply pasting from a brief report into a blog does not fully connect – but as I wrap up teaching and job hunting this is the best way I can kick up this blog again…

      hope you are well these days!

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