Sariputta was one of the top disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha. He was foremost in wisdom. In Buddhist temples, his statue is often depicted as a monk standing to the right of Sakyamuni Buddha.
He was a prodigy born with great intellect ability. At a young age,he had mastered his studies and was so gifted that the King had awarded a village to him when he was still a boy.
His thirst for knowledge and the ultimate Truth caused him to search for a teacher and he attained enlightenment shortly after he joined the monastic order.
When that happened, Buddha declared Sariputta as one of his chief disciples. Sariputta was gifted with the ability to articulate the Dharma well. He constantly helped spread the Dharma and also assisted in instructing his fellow monks. When a group of monks fell into the wrong company and went astray, Buddha had tasked Sariputta to bring them back onto the right path. At the end of Sariputta’s sermon, the wayward monks gained the 1st stage of enlightenment and gave up their wrong actions.
His meditative power was also exemplary. On one occasion, a demon had tried to hurt Sariputta while he was meditating and struck Sariputta on the head with extremely violent force, capable of splitting a mountain. Sariputta was completely unharmed or disturbed by the attack, as he was absorbed in meditation.
Sariputta was well liked by his peers and deeply respected in his community of monks. He was friendly and approachable. Sariputta also displayed an unwavering sense of gratitude and respect for his first dharma teacher.
Before Sariputta became a monk, he learned about Sakyamuni Buddha from the Arhat Assaji (One of Buddha’s first 5 disciples) Assaji’s summary of Buddha’s teachings caused Sariputta to attained the 1st level of enlightenment on that very spot. In gratitude, Sariputta would always bow down towards the direction of Arhat Assaji even when he himself had become Buddha’s chief disciple.
Sariputta appears in both the Theravada and Mahayana scriptures. He remains as popular today as 2500 years ago.
May all be well and happy