"Namely:  the Elder /S-ariputra"

     The assembly which heard the Amitbha Stra is
further described by an enumeration of the leading
Bhikus in the group of 1250, all of whom are Stavirh,
"Elders," Mahrvak, "great Sound-Hearers," and sarva
Arhanta, "all Arhats."  Note that the Sanskrit terms
are here given in the plural subject case form, whereas
in the Stra text itself the words appear in the
instrumental csae.

     Tad yath.  By spelling convention, these
two words are written as if they were one: but they
do not make a compound word.

     tad literally means "this," and is neuter
singular and in the subject (nominative) case.

     yath means "thus," or "as follows."  The
two words together introduce a list.  They
are also frequently used in citing mantras.  No
additional verb "to be" is needed with these words in
Sanskirt, and the total phrase amounts to saying "namely."

       ca means "and," and is translated before the word
it follows.  Here it need not be translated at all.

       Sthavira means "Elder." riputra is the name
of the Buddha's number one Sound-Hearer disciple, who was
foremost in wisdom. It can be broken down into two words:

       ri was the name of riputra's mother.  She
was named for the ri, the Indian maina bird,
becausre her eyes were as keen and bright as those of
that bird.

       Putra means "son," and so the full name means
"ri's son," or more precisely, "maina-son." Notice
that the - of r shortens when it joins a
following word to form a compound.

     Another explanation of riputra's name is "body
son."   The word for body in Sanskrit is arra.  The
reference is then to the beauty of his mother's physical
features.  arra is also the term for the pearllike
relics left after the body of a holy man is burned,
deriving from his perfection of precepts, samadhi, and
wisdom.  Sariputra is theb also explained as meaning

     Of the three kinds of Elder discussed in VBS #39,
riputra was a Dharma Nature Elder.  At the age of
eight he had mastered the entire Buddahdharma, and
could out-debate any Indian philosopher.  riputra was
at the head of the assembly when kyamuni Buddha spoke
the Amitbha Stra because only his kind of wisdom could
comprehend the subtle principles of the Pure Land Dharma