Subhūti (Pali: Subhūti; Chinese: 须菩提; pinyin: Xūpútí) was one of the Ten Great Śrāvakas of Gautama Buddha, and foremost in giving gifts. In Prakrit and Pāli, his name literally means "Good Existence" (su: "good", bhūti: "existence"). He is also sometimes referred to as "Elder Subhūti" (Subhūti Thera). He was a contemporary of such famous arahants as Śāriputra, Mahākāśyapa, Maudgalyayana, Mahākātyāyana and Ānanda.

Rabjor or Subhuti
A Tibetan illustration of Subhūti, where he is known as Rabjor.
Subhuti diamond sutra detail retouched.jpeg
Elder Subhūti addresses the Buddha, in the earliest dated printed book (Diamond Sūtra).

In Theravada Buddhism

In Theravada Buddhism, Subhūti is famed as the monk who was most worthy of gifts due to his practice of absorption on loving-kindness (mettā-jhāna) before receiving almsfood.

He was the son of Sumanaseṭṭhī and the younger brother of Anāthapiṇḍika. On the day of the dedication of Jetavana, he heard the Buddha teach and left the world. After ordination he mastered the two categories of Vinaya rules, and, after obtaining a subject for meditation, lived in the forest. There he developed insight, and attained Arahantship on the basis of mettā-jhāna. Teaching the Dhamma without distinction or limitation, he was declared chief of those who lived remote and in peace (araṇavihārīnaṃ aggo), and of those who were worthy of gifts (dakkhiṇeyyānaṃ) (A.i.24; cf., where the Buddha commends his proficiency in meditation). It is said that when he went begging for alms he would develop mettā-jhāna at each door, hence every gift made to him was of the highest merit. In the course of his travels he came to Rājagaha, and Bimbisāra promised to build him a dwelling-place. However, the king forgot his promise, and Subhūti meditated in the open air. There was no rain, and, discovering the cause, the king had a leaf hut built for him. As soon as Subhūti entered the hut and seated himself cross-legged on the bed of hay, rain began to fall.[1]

In Mahāyāna Buddhism

Among the Mahāyāna traditions, Subhūti is perhaps best known as the disciple with whom the Buddha speaks when imparting the Diamond Sūtra (Sanskrit: Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, Chinese: 金剛經 or 金剛般若經), an important teaching within the Prajñāpāramitā genre. This, along with the Heart Sūtra (Sanskrit: Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya, Chinese: 心經 or 般若心經), is one of the most well-known sūtras among both practitioners and non-practitioners of Buddhism. Subhūti is also responsible for much of the exposition in earlier Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.[2]

In the Lotus Sutra (Sanskrit: Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra, Chinese: 法華(花)經 or 妙法蓮華(花)經), Chapter 6 (Bestowal of Prophecy), the Buddha bestows prophecies of enlightenment on Subhūti, along with other śrāvakas such as Mahākāśyapa, Mahākātyāyana, and Mahāmaudgalyāyana.

In Zen writings

In Zen Buddhism, Subhūti appears in several koans, such as this one:[3]

One day, in a mood of sublime emptiness, Subhuti was resting underneath a tree when flowers began to fall about him. "We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness," the gods whispered to Subhuti. "But I have not spoken of emptiness," replied Subhuti. "You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard emptiness," responded the gods. "This is the true emptiness." The blossoms showered upon Subhuti as rain.

Lineage of the Panchen Lamas

In the lineage of the Panchen Lamas of Tibet there were considered to be four "Indian" and three Tibetan incarnations of Amitabha Buddha before Khedrup Gelek Pelzang, who is recognised as the first Panchen Lama. The lineage starts with Subhuti.[4][5]

In Chinese literature

A character based on Subhūti appears in the Chinese classical novel Journey to the West, as the teacher of the Monkey King Sun Wukong.[6] The story of Sun Wukong first meeting Subhūti was a play on the Zen story of Huineng meeting Hongren, as told in the Platform Sūtra of Zen Buddhism. Because of the role that Subhūti plays in the story, his name has remained familiar in Chinese culture.[7]


  1. ^ "Dictionary of Pali Proper names". Association for Insight Meditation. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  2. ^ *Lopez, Donald S., Jr. The Heart Sutra Explained: Indian and Tibetan Commentaries (1988) State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-88706-589-9 p. 7
  3. ^ Reps, Paul and Nyogen Senzaki. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle, 2008.
  4. ^ Stein, R. A. Tibetan Civilization, (1972) p. 84. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. ISBN 0-8047-0806-1 (cloth); ISBN 0-80-470901-7.
  5. ^ Das, Sarat Chandra. Contributions on the Religion and History of Tibet (1970), pp. 81-103. Manjushri Publishing House, New Delhi. First published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LI (1882).
  6. ^ Ping Shao, "Huineng, Subhūti, and Monkey's Religion in 'Xiyou ji'", The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 65, No. 4 (Nov., 2006), pp. 713-740
  7. ^ Nan Huaijin. Diamond Sutra Explained. Florham Park: Primordia, 2004. Page 25.
Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sūtra (Sanskrit: Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra) is a Mahāyāna (Buddhist) sūtra from the Prajñāpāramitā sutras or 'Perfection of Wisdom' genre. Translated into a variety of languages over a broad geographic range, the Diamond Sutra is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras in East Asia, and is particularly prominent within the Chan (or Zen) tradition,

along with the Heart Sutra.

A copy of the Tang-dynasty Chinese version of the Diamond Sūtra was found among the Dunhuang manuscripts in 1900 by Daoist monk Wang Yuanlu and sold to Aurel Stein in 1907. They are dated back to 11 May 868. It is, in the words of the British Library, "the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book."It is also the first creative work with an explicit public domain dedication, as its colophon at the end states that it was created "for universal free distribution."

Kandahar Sophytos Inscription

The Kandahar Sophytos Inscription is a inscription in Greek made by Sophytos (Greek: Σώφυτος), son of Naratos, in the 2nd century BCE, in the city of Kandahar. The inscription is written on a square limestone plaque, which was probably part of a wall. The inscription, although bought on a market, is thought to have come from Old Kandahar, the supposed ancient Alexandria in Arachosia.The text is written in a very high level Greek language, displaying a real refinement of Greek culture so far east in Kandahar. The verses are in the sophisticated acrostich form.

Sophytos and Naratos are not Greek names. They may have been Indian, their actual names being possibly Subhūti and Nārada. The name "Sophytos" is also known from a 4th-3rd century Greek coins of the Arachosian satrap Sophytos, who is otherwise unknown. There is a possibility that the Sophytos of the inscription may have been a descendant of the eponymous Satrap Sophytos.According to the inscription, Sophytos was ruined in early life, but later rebuilt his fortune through fortitude. Some authors consider that his ruin may be due to the invasion of Arachosia by the Greco-Bactrians in the 2nd century BCE, supposing that Sophytos had been a Hellenized Indian in the service of the Arachosians region of the Maurya Empire. The usage of Greek and Aramaic is attested in the area from the 3rd century BCE due to the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription of Emperor Ashoka.The inscription highlight the facts that some Indians lived in the "Greek" city of Alexandria Arachosia, and had reached a very high level of Greek culture (only one mistake in prosody has been identified in the whole text).

Katyayana (Buddhist)

Kātyāyana or Mahākātyāyana (Sanskrit; Pali: Kaccāna, Mahākaccāna, or Mahākaccāyana) was a disciple of Gautama Buddha.

He is listed among one of the ten principal disciples and was foremost in expounding the Dharma.

In Thai Buddhism, he is also known as Phra Sangkajai and often portrayed as extremely portly.

King Kalābu

King Kalābu (Sanskrit: Kalāburāja), also known as King Kalinga, King Kalabha or King Kali is a mythical king in Buddhism. His name is extant in both Southern Buddhism and Northern Buddhism. In Chinese he is known as 歌利王 (Gēlì wáng), sometimes rendered 迦蓝浮王 (Jiālánfú wáng) or 卡拉補王 (Kǎlābǔ wáng).

List of Buddhists

This is a list of notable Buddhists, encompassing all the major branches of the religion (i.e. in Buddhism), and including interdenominational and eclectic Buddhist practitioners. This list includes both formal teachers of Buddhism, and people notable in other areas who are publicly Buddhist or who have espoused Buddhism.


Prince Prisdang (Thai: พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าปฤษฎางค์; RTGS: Pritsadang; 23 February 1851 – 16 March 1935) was a member of the family of the Chakri Dynasty of Siam and a Thai diplomat.

Ten Principal Disciples

The ten principal disciples were the main disciples of Gautama Buddha. Depending on the scripture, the disciples included in this group vary. The Vimalakirti Sutra includes:


Śāripūtra (Sanskrit), or Sāriputta (Pāli), is a top master of Wisdom. In Heart Sutra, the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara preaches to him.


Maudgalyāyana (Sk.) or Moggallāna(Pl.), also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or Mahāmoggallāna. He is a top master of supernatural powers. Maudgalyayana and Śāriputra were once disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the skeptic, but they became disciples of the Buddha. In Chinese Buddhism, the Mass that Maudgalyayana held to save his mother who had gone to the Hungry Ghost realm (one of the Six realms) is the foundation of ullambana (Ghost Festival).


Mahākāśyapa (Sk.) or Mahākassapa (Pl.). He was a top master of ascetic training. After the death of Shakyamuni Buddha, he assumes the leadership of the sangha, compiled the Buddha's sayings (suttas) with 500 other disciples (First Buddhist councils), and became the first man who preached the Buddha's teachings directly.


Subhūti (Sk. & Pl.) understood the potency of emptiness. He appears in several Sutras of Mahāyāna Buddhism which teach Śūnyatā (Emptiness or Voidness). He is the subject of the Subhūti Sutta.

Purna Maitrayani-putra

Pūrṇa Maitrāyaniputra (Sk.) or Puṇṇa Mantānīputta (Pl.). He was also called Purna for short. He was the greatest teacher of the Law out of all the disciples. He was the top master of preaching.


Kātyāyana or Mahākātyāyana (Sk.) or Mahākaccāna (Pl.). He understood Shakyamuni Buddha's lecture the best. Although he had only five master in the rural areas, he was permitted to learn Vinaya by the Buddha.


Anuruddha (Pl.) or Aniruddha (Sk.) was a top master of clairvoyance and the practice of the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana). Aniruddha was a cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha. He and Ananda became monks at the same time.


Upāli (Sk. & Pl.) was a top master of Vinaya. He was born in the Shudra class and worked as a barber, ayurveda vaidya. Buddha had denied the class system, he ranked his disciples according to the order in which they joined. So Upali was ranked ahead of the ex-princes. In the First Buddhist council, the Vinaya was compiled based on his memory.


Rāhula (Sk. & Pl.) was the only son of the Buddha (when he was still Prince Siddhartha) and his wife Princess Pṛthī. He was a scrupulous, strict and shrewd person. When the Buddha went to his hometown, he became the first Sāmanera (novice monk).


Ānanda (Sk. & Pl.) listened to the Buddha's teachings the most among the disciples. He was a cousin of the Buddha. Ananda means great delight. After he became a monk, he took care of the Buddha for 25 years, until the Buddha died. In the First Buddhist council, the suttas/sutras were compiled based on his memory. He lived to 120 years old.


Śrāvaka (Sanskrit) or Sāvaka (Pali) means "hearer" or, more generally, "disciple". This term is used in Buddhism and Jainism. In Jainism, a śrāvaka is any lay Jain so the term śrāvaka has been used for the Jain community itself (for example see Sarak and Sarawagi). Śrāvakācāras are the lay conduct outlined within the treaties by Śvetāmbara or Digambara mendicants. "In parallel to the prescriptive texts, Jain religious teachers have written a number of stories to illustrate vows in practice and produced a rich répertoire of characters.".In Buddhism, the term is sometimes reserved for distinguished disciples of the Buddha.

Topics in Buddhism
The Buddha
Key concepts
Major figures


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.