I've been writing biographies of the Buddha's major disciples. I haven't gotten to them all yet. As I research, I keep running into new ones.
The biographical information we have about the disciples is, of course, more folklore than history. Still, sometimes through the mythic mists of time you can get a glimpse of a real person with a very human story. For example, Maudgalyayana (or Moggallana in Pali) struggled to stay awake during meditation -- a problem many of us can relate to.
Anathapindika was the wealthy layman who built the first monastery, in Jeta Grove. It is remembered that he was determined not to ask for special treatment because of his generosity. When he went to hear the Buddha speak, he would sit to one side and not ask questions, but would wait for the Buddha to address him if he chose.
I found Anathapindika's modesty very moving. He was a true bodhisattva, showing more concern for the enlightenment of others than for himself.
When he was on his deathbed, Anathapindika sent for the Buddha's disciples Sariputra and Ananda instead of the Buddha himself, because he was too modest to make demands of the Buddha. His last wish was to make the Buddha's highest teachings more widely available to laypeople.
Another disciple I hadn't known much about was Upali. Upali was a low-caste barber who had become a favorite of some of the Buddha's princely kinsmen. When some of his clients chose to become disciples of the Buddha, Upali followed them.
Upali feared the Buddha would reject him as a disciple because of his low birth. Instead, the Buddha insisted on ordaining Upali first, before the princes, which made him their superior in the monastic order. Very sweet story.
The Buddha's son Rahula also became a disciple, when he was only about nine years old. Most of the stories about Rahula are about his struggles as a novice monk. It couldn't have been easy to be the Boss's Kid who was treated no differently from the other monks. The Buddha gave his son no special acknowledgment.
In one story, a senior monk entered Rahula's shelter during a heavy rain and took over Rahula's sleeping spot (the sleeping quarters were assigned by seniority). Abruptly turned out in the rain, Rahula found shelter in a latrine.
After a time he heard his father's voice outside, saying "Who is there?" "It is Rahula," the boy replied. "I see," said the Buddha, who walked away. I wonder if the father had heard his son had been left outside in a storm, and was checking on him.