The Venerable Maha Kassapa

Venerable Maha Kassapa (Ma Ha Ca Diếp)

Mahākāśyapa (摩訶蓮葉 – Ma Ha Ca Diếp) also known as Kāśyapa was one of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, known as foremost in the ascetic practices called dhuta. He was born to a Brahman family in a village near Rajagriha, the capital of the Indian kingdom of Magadha. He married BhaddaKapilaniand with her later renounced secular life and became Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciple. Only eight days later, Mahakashyapa is said to have attained the state of arhat. He persisted in Buddhist practice and won Shakyamuni’s deep trust to the extent that the Buddha sometimes asked him to preach in his stead. He is said to have been almost the same age as Shakyamuni. Shortly after Shakyamuni’s death, Mahakashyapa, as the head of the Buddhist Order, presided over the First Buddhist Council, at which the Buddha’s teachings were compiled. He died at Mount Kukkutapada in Magadha after transferring leadership of the Order to Ananda, another of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples. In the Lotus Sutra, Mahakashyapa belongs to the second of the three groups of voice-hearers, having understood the Buddha’s true intention through the parable of the three carts and the burn-ing house related in the sutra’s “Simile and Parable” (third) chapter. The “Bestowal of Prophecy” (sixth) chapter states that he will become a Buddha named Light Bright Thus Come One. He is regarded as the first of the Buddha’s twenty-three or twenty-four successors.

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