Ashvajit

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Ashvajit ( Skt. Aśvajit; Pali Assaji; Tib. རྟ་ཐུལ་; Wyl. rta thul) was one of the five first excellent disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni. He was also one of his five ascetic companions until the Buddha to be abandoned this extreme lifestyle. The five companions received what was to become the Buddha's first teaching on the four noble truths at Deer Park, and all eventually became arhats.

Two wanderers, Upatissa and Kolita, who had been friends since childhood, had made a pact to tell the other if either of them discovered ‘the way to the Deathless’. At Rajagriha, Upatissa saw Ashvajit on his alms round and was drawn by his air of calm. He asked Ashvajit what dharma he followed, and Ashvajit replied in verses on dependent origination that were later repeated throughout the Buddhist world.

Upatissa told his friend Kolita and they decided to seek out Gautama, the Buddha, and he ordained them, thereby taking the names Shariputra and Maudgalyayana.