Citta (disciple)

Upāsaka Citta (Sanskrit: Citra) was one of the chief lay disciples of the Buddha. He was a wealthy merchant from Savatthi. His life and character were so pure that near his death, had he wished to be a chakravartin, it would've been granted. However, he turned down this wish as it was temporal. He had became an Anāgāmi or Non-Returner.

In an Early Buddhist Texts (SN IV.297-300), Citta is asked by Nigantha Nataputta (Mahavira) if he believes the Buddha who says that there is a concentration free from deliberation and thought. He initially gives an ambiguous answer, but then turns out not to believe, but to know these things from his own experience obtained while practicing the jhanas.[1]

The Buddha considered Upāsaka Citta to be the most learned and lucid of all the lay Dhamma teachers. After becoming the Buddha's lay disciple, he shared and explained the Buddha's teaching to the other citizens of the town, and converted five hundred of them, and on one occasion took all of the new converts to Savatthi to visit the Buddha. The discourses in the Tipitaka preached to and by Citta indicate his profound grasp of the most subtle aspects of the Buddha Dhamma and indeed later he became an Anāgāmi or Non-Returner.[2]

In the Early Buddhist Texts (SN 17:23), the Buddha said that a devoted lay disciple should foster the wish to become like and Hatthaka, while devoted bhikkhus should aspire to equal Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna. They are the model standards are set for lay people and monks. Of the ten instructive discourses contained in the Citta Saṃyutta, three of the discourses deal with the questions posed by Citta to the bhikkhus, three of them are queries put to Citta by the bhikkhus, and four refer to personal events.[3]