A saint in the Sanskrit Buddisht tradition who lived in the region of Mathura. He was born sometime after the Buddha himself, as he was the fifth Buddhist patriarch, following Mahakasyapa. He is said to have lived in the time of King Asoka. The Buddha predicted Upagupta’s life and leadership. It is said that he pointed to Mt Urumunda, a place where hermits meditated, and stated that a hundred years after him, a certain Upagupta would be born to a perfume merchant and would make many conversions. Buddha also predicted that Upagupta’s guru would be Sanakavasin. The former, aware of Buddha’s prediction sought Upagupta’s father out, and agred with him that he would take Upagupta to be a monk. Three sons were born before Upagupta’s father would let one go, and before Sanakavasin recognised the Upagupta as the right one. At the time, Sanakavasin was the fourth Buddhist patriarch and it was clear that Upagupta would be his successor. In the early years of his life, Upagupta remained with his family playing a role in the business and family. Sanakavasin was introduced to him in this context, and he began his meditation training. He made his first convert at a very early age. During his life as a lay person, Upagupta’s good looks and figure attracted the attention of a dancer/courtesan Vasavadatta who constantly sent her maid to entice him into her home for a visit. Upagupta consistently and cryptically replied that it was not time for him to visit her. Some time later, a well known artist disappeared. The townspeople claimed that he was last seen entering Vasavadatta’s house. Accusations of murder were made, blame was apportioned. Vasavadatta was tried and censured by having her hands, ears, feet and nose cut off, and being left to die in the cremation ground. At this point, Upagupta went to her and instructed her in the dharma. She was converted and attained a high level of consciousness. Upagupta himself was also elevated to a very high level of consciousness. At that point, Upagupta’s father gave him permission to leave the worldly life and pursue his Buddhist path. He was ordained as a monk, and committed himself to carry out the work of a Buddha.
Upagupta was the legendary tamer of Mara, a feared deity, for which he was greatly admired and esteemed. He also possessed great powers of clairvoyance, and was able to bilocate, appearing to people in different places. He was also able to give his disciples visions, and is associated with various supernatural phenomena. He was a great teacher, especially in meditation, and was a great meditator himself. He was also a great teacher through action and insight, and was very accurate in prescribing solutions and methods whereby his disciples could attain enlightenment and arhantship. He is also associated with miracles and supernatural powers and phenomena.
Upagupta was known as the “pure being who enjoys omniscience”.
Main InterestsAttaining enlightenment, full realisation, clarity of mind and being through meditation, devotion to the Buddha and to God, compassion, purity.
Gifts and BlessingsPure and clear meditation, learning about God, ourselves and enlightenment. Going beyond current limitations, compassion, clarity, wisdom, strength and power as a teacher.
ChakrasCrown, brow, throat, heart.
Colours and lightWhite, deep indigo, deep blue, green and pink.
CommentsA wonderful saint to teach you clarity of mind and meditation, one to call on for reaching beyond limitations and boundaries: Upagupta, omniscient one, I call on you to bring me the clear white light of meditation and clarity, today and always, from minute to minute, in your protection and grace.”