{short description of image}

{short description of image}

{short description of image}

("The Great Chronicles of Buddhas")

Namo Buddhaya Siddham

        Kidiso te mahavira

        abhiniharo nar' uttama

        kamhi kale taya dhira

        patthita bodhim uttama

    O Buddha, who is endowed with the four kinds of right exertion,1 who is the highest among men and higher than Devas and Brahmas, and who is thus Chief of these three categories of beings! How should we comprehend your resolve to gain Buddhahood of great glory, that pervades the whole universe extending from the bottom realm of intense suffering to the top realm of Brahmas. Since when has your mind become inclined to achieve the prime laurel of Perfect Self-Enlightenment, which surpasses the Enlightenment of a Private Buddha and the Enlightenment of a Disciple?"

    1. Right exertion: Sammappadhana. The four such exertions are:
    (i) The endeavour to prevent (he arising of evil which has not yet arisen;
    (ii) The endeavour to put away evil that has arisen;
    (iii) The endeavour to bring about the arising or good which has not yet arisen; and
    (iv) The endeavour to further develop the good that has arisen.

    This enquiring note of acclamation was sounded in the sky over the city of Kapilavatthu on the first waning moon of Kason in the year 104 Maha Era. The background story in brief of this question is narrated below.

    The Buddha, the Omniscient One and Lord of the Three Worlds, observed the first rains-retreat (vassa) in the Deer Park of Isipatana, Varanasi, in the year 103 Maha Era. During the retreat he converted the Five Ascetics and the group of 54 friends headed by Yasa, son of a wealthy man, leading them to Arahatship. When the retreat was over, he asked them to disseminate the Dhamma, which is excellent in all three aspects - the beginning, the middle and the end - no two of them going in the same direction. He himself went alone towards the forest of Uruvela to convert the three ascetic Kassapa brothers and their followers, numbering one thousand.

    On the way to Uruvela, on reaching Kappasika grove, the Buddha met with thirty Bhaddavaggiya brothers who were searching an absconding woman; he established them in the lower Paths and Fruitions and made them ehi-bhikkhus. Then he proceeded alone to Uruvela where he liberated the eldest brother, Uruvela Kassapa, with his 500 followers from heretical views. He did the same for Nadi Kassapa with 300 followers and Gays Kassapa with 200 followers. Finally, he preached all the one thousand ascetics the Adittapariyaya Sutta on the stone slab at Gayasisa and thereby established them in the Fruition of Arahatship. And being followed by all the one thousand newly accomplished Arahats, the Buddha set out on a journey to the city of Rajagaha.

    The day the Buddha arrived in Rajagaha, he helped King Bimbisara and Brahmin householders, one hundred and ten thousand in all, with his teaching to reach the state of Sotapattiphala and another ten thousand Brahmin householders to reach the state of lay devotees established in the Three Refuges. The following day the Buddha accepted Veluvana Monastery generously donated by King Bimbisara in support of the Buddha's ministry. It was the first monastery the Buddha had ever accepted and the occasion of the Buddha's acceptance of the monastery was marked by a great earthquake. From that time onwards the Buddha had taught all those worthy of conversion, who came to him, including those who would eventually become Chief Disciples, Great Disciples and Ordinary Disciples. He did so as though he were dispensing among them medicine for deathlessness.

    While the Buddha was thus busily engaging himself his father King Suddhodana sent nine ministers one after another, each with one thousand men, on a mission to beg the Buddha to return to Kapilavatthu. But they all became Arahats and sent back no information to the king. So the Buddha's birthmate, the minister Kaludayi, was sent as the tenth envoy also with one thousand men Kaludayi and his men became Arahats, too, and spent their time enjoying the bliss of their spiritual attainment. When the cold season was over and spring came, Kaludayi made a persuasive supplication to the Buddha in sixty four verses begging the Buddha's return to the home of his kinsmen. The Buddha then journeyed to the city of Kapilavatthu on the first day after the full moon of Tabaung travelling slowly, covering only one yojana a day, and arrived at Kapilavatthu on the first day after the full moon of Kason in the year 104 Maha Era.

    The same day the Sakyan princes welcomed the Buddha and his host of bhikkhus in a great ceremony and took them to Nigrodharama Monastery as they had arranged before hand. On arrival at the Monastery the Buddha sat in the seat specially prepared for him and remained quietly surrounded by twenty thousand Arahats. The Sakyans who took too great a pride in their high birth thought to themselves: "This prince Siddhattha is younger than we. He is only a young brother, or a young nephew, or a young grandson of ours." And puffed up with conceit they urged their younger kinsmen, "You bow in homage to the Buddha; we shall, however, stay behind you."

    The Buddha knew the inner minds of the Sakyan princes swelling with pride of their birth, and thought to himself: "These proud kinsfolk of mine do not realize that they have grown old without accomplishing anything beneficial for themselves. They know nothing about the nature of a Buddha. They know nothing about the power of a Buddha. What if I should display a Buddha's might by performing the Twin Miracle of water and fire. I will make a jewelled walk in the sky, a platform as broad as the ten thousand universe. And I will walk to and fro on it and pour forth a shower of sermons to suit the temperaments of all those who come to me." No sooner had he resolved thus than Brahmas and Devas acclaimed their joyous approval.

    Then the Buddha entered upon the Fourth Jhana making white (colour) as his object of concentration. On arising from that Jhana he made a firm resolve that light should spread all over the ten thousand universe. Immediately after that resolution, all the universe was flooded with light to the great delight of men, Devas and Brahmas. While they were rejoicing, the Buddha rose up in the sky by developing the supernormal power through exercise of the Fourth Jhana. Then he proceeded to perform the Yamakapatihariya, the Twin Miracle, which consisted of appearance of flames of fire and streams of water emitted alternatively (1) from the top and bottom of the body, (2) from the front and the back, (2) from the eyes, (4) from the ears, (5) from the nose, (6) from the shoulders, (7) from the hands, (8) from the sides, (9) from the feet, (10) from the fingers, toes and from between one finger and another as well as from between one toe and another, (11) from each hair of the body, and (12) from every pore of the body. The emitted fire sparks and water sprays fell amidst the crowds of human and celestial beings as though the Buddha was letting fall the dust from his feet onto their heads. The exhibition of the Twin Miracle with the emission of fire and water alternately from the body of the Buddha created a marvellous spectacle of great splendour which inspired all the Sakyan princes with awe and reverence, moving them to utter words of resounding praise.

    After the performance of the Twin Miracle, the Buddha created a jewelled walk of great brilliance which extended from east to west reaching even beyond ten thousand universe. The Buddha walked up and down the jewelled walk and delivered several discourses to humans and Devas suiting their mental dispositions.

    At that time the Venerable Sariputta, who was residing at Gijjhakuta Hill, Rajagaha, saw (through his supernormal power) the whole event (taking place at Kapilavatthu) and thought to himself: "I shall now go to the Buddha and make a request for a complete narration of the life histories of the Bodhisattas and the Perfections they had fulfilled." Accordingly, he lost no time to gather the five hundred Arahats, who were all his co-residents, and said to them: "Come, we will go. We will pay a visit to the Master and ask him about the past stories of the Buddhas." Having urged them to accompany him, they all travelled through space by means of supernormal power with so fast a speed surpassing that of the wind and the storm. In a moment the Venerable Sariputta with the company of bhikkhus arrived before the Buddha and paid homage to him. Then he uttered the verse, mentioned at the outset, thereby asking the Buddha to narrate elaborately how he had received the Definite Prophecy from the Former Buddhas and how he had fulfilled the ten Perfections, which extend to thirty in all, for the Bodhisattas.

        Kidiso te mahavira

        abhiniharo nar' uttama,etc.,

    Then the Buddha, who was still on the walkway, responded with two verses:

        "Pitipamo jjajananam,

        sokasallavinodanam," etc.,

    - meaning: "Listen to the Buddhavamsa Discourse that could give you joy and happiness, remove the thorns of sorrow and bestow upon you the three kinds of bliss, namely; human existence, divine existence and Nibbana. Having thus listened, try to follow and practise the Path as will be explained in this Discourse that could dispel conceit, eradicate sorrow, liberate you from samsara and put an end to all suffering." Thus the Buddha, out of compassion, urged all humans, Devas and Brahmas reciting the verse numbering four bhanavaras (1070 stanzas).1

    1. One bhanavara: is equal to about 270 stanza each of four lines, recited in one session of a Synod.

The Commentary on the Buddhavamsa

    The Buddhavamsa Text is included in the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Suttanta Pitaka recited at the First, Second and Third Councils by Arahats. The Commentary on it entitled Madhuratthavilasini consisting of 26 bhanavaras was authored by the Venerable Buddhadatta, a resident of the Port Monastery of Kavirapattana of the Cola Country in South India.

The Great Buddhavamsa Story

    During the reign of King Bagyidaw (A.D. 1819-37), the Fourth Founder of the City of Ratanapura, the First Ngakhon Sayadaw recipient of the title of Adiccavamsabhidhaja Maha Dhammarajadhirajaguru, wrote the Buddhavamsa Story in prose combining the Text and its Commentary, interspersed with certain Pali verses and their word-for-word translations for the aforesaid benefits of joy, end of sorrow, etc. by young men and women of good families. He did not translate the whole Text word for word (as there already exist well known translations in that style called nissaya.)

    That Buddhavamsa in Myanmar prose was published in 1297 M.E (1935) by Zabumeitswe Pitaka Press, Yangon, in three volumes with the title "The Great Buddhavamsa Story."

Sudhammavati Buddhavamsa

    Not long after the Great Buddhavamsa Story had been published, The Suddhammavati Buddhavamsa Story appeared in one volume of poetical prose written by Editor U Htun Sein.

The State Buddha Sasana Council's version of the Maha Buddhavamsa

    After the founding of the new independent country of the Union of Myanmar, the people, both the Sangha and the laity, were busy assiduously making preparations and arrangements, shouldering their respective responsibilities for the holding of the Sixth Buddhist Council; the Prime Minister U Nu, seeing their dedicated activities, was inspired by the profound thought of bringing out a new version of the Buddhavamsa Text and its Commentary - a version that should include everything that is connected With the Buddha. Accordingly he requested me at his house on the occasion of Anekaja ceremony and inauguration of his shrine-room to write such a saga of the Buddhas in commemoration of the great event of the Buddhist Council.

    I said to the Prime Minister then: "I have been assigned to participate as a Tipitakadhara in the Sixth Buddhist Council which is to be held soon, and I still have to work hard to become qualified for the title." With that excuse, I refused to comply with his request. Indeed, at that time I had just passed the written examination in the Vinaya Pitaka and was about to sit for another one on the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

Succession of Compilers

    Undaunted by my refusal of the request the Prime Minister persisted in his earnest effort to produce the proposed book by approaching other scholar. And the compilation started first under the supervision of Medhavi Sayagyi U Saing. Some months later when only a portion had been done, the work was interrupted until Mahapannabala, Pathamagyaw Sayagyi U Kyee Pe took it over as supervisor. In the same way, the compilation again passed on to Aggamahapandita Sayagyi U Lin, M.A. After one and a half years he could finish compiling only the first volume of the series (from the story of Sumedha up to the end of the story of Buddha Kassapa). Then U Lin passed away to our great regret, leaving only the fame of his learning.

The assignment given to me

    It was on the 11th day of the waxing moon in the month of Nadaw, 1316, (December 6,1954), that Sayagyi U Lin passed away; and four days later the sponsor of my ordination and spiritual father, the wealthy Sir U Thwin, Thadothiri Thudhamma, Chairman of the State Buddha Sasana Council and Patron of the Sixth Buddhist Council, came to me in person at the request of the Prime Minister and asked me not to refuse should the Prime Minister make a supplication for writing a Buddhavamsa. On the full moon day of Pyatho, 1316 (8-1-55) the Prime Minister himself came to see me at my temporary residence at the Thathana Yeiktha Meditation Centre and made a formal request as follows:

    (1) Please supervise the compilation of a treatise on the lives of the Buddhas. In so doing please include everything about the Buddha, not leaving out even minor details. If one volume is not enough, make it two; if two is not enough make it four, eight and so on. It is important that the work should be exhaustive.

    (2) The writing should be intelligible and interesting to all, young and old, even to non-Buddhists, who wish to know about the lives of the Buddhas.

    (3) Should the Venerable Sayadaw undertake the task of writing the Maha Buddhavamsa in Myanmar, it will be welcomed by all, both the Sangha and the laity alike.

    The request had been made repeatedly, the first time in 1313 M.E. (A.D.1951), the second time in 1315 (1953); and now in 1316 (1954), by my spiritual father and finally by the Prime Minister himself. I therefore felt that I should no longer refuse to comply with their request: Accordingly I gave my consent firmly saying: "Very well, Dayakagyi, when the proceedings of the Council are over, I will take charge of the compilation and supervise the work to the best of my ability without sparing my energy."

    After the Prime Minister left, I reminded myself of the following dictum.

        Yam hi kayira tam hi vade,

        Yam na kayira na tam vade.

        Akarontam bhasamanam

        parijananti pandita.

        One should say what one would do,

        One say not what one does not.

        He who says but does not do

        Is subject to blame by the wise.

Supplication made by the State Buddha Sasana Council

    Not long after I had promised the Prime Minister, the State Buddha Sasana Council also made its own supplication. In reply to it, I stipulated the following three terms for carrying out the work: (1) the work would be done voluntarily without acceptance of any honorarium, (2) I would have nothing to do with office administrative work, and (3) I would take charge of the literary matters only in which I feel competent. I added that if these three conditions were agreeable to the State Buddha Sasana Council, it would mean that I had accepted the assignment.

    Some days later three officials from the State Buddha Sasana Council, namely, Chief Editor U Ba Hmi and Editors Saya Htun and Saya U Ba Than approached me with the favourable reply that the State Buddha Sasana Council had agreed to all the points raised by me. Then in accepting the compilation work I said to Saya Htun and Saya U Ba Than: "Subject to failure is a work without a leader; so is a work with too many leaders." I accept the work as its supervisor so that the compilation of the Buddhavamsa may not fail. You carry on with the assignment as has been planned since the time of Sayagyi U Lin. I shall attend to the editing work when the proceedings of the Council come to an end."

The Prime Minister's supplication in writing

    As though 'to drive in a nail where it is already firm or to strap on an iron belt where it is already tight, the Prime Minister's formal supplication in writing came. The letter was dated the 14th waxing moon of Nadaw, 2499 Sasana Era or 1317 Myanmar Era (December 28, 1955). (The translation of the letter is omitted here.)

Sayagyi U Lin's great learning

    When the Sixth Buddhist Council and the ceremonies commemorating the 2500th year of Buddhism in 1318 (1956) came to an end, in compliance with the Prime Minister's supplication and in fulfilment of my promise, I started editing the MSS so far prepared on the Maha Buddhavamsa. I found them running over 700 pages written while the Sayagyi was still alive, full of noteworthy facts with profound meaning, covering a wide field but not easy to be grasped by ordinary people. In preparing these MSS it looked as if the Sayagyi was making a final display of his great genius of learning.

    When Sayagyi U Lin first planned the compilation of the Maha Buddhavamsa, he had in mind to write it only briefly and did so accordingly. But the Prime Minister U Nu earnestly urged him saying, "Let it be elaborate as much as possible, Sayagyi. Write all there is to know about the Buddha; there cannot be anything that is too insignificant to be left out. Please write to the best of your ability for the benefit of the coming generations." Sayagyi then put aside, all that had been written before briefly and worked afresh keeping his mind steadfastly on the subject of the Buddhavamsa all the time. When he began working on arrival at office, he would put both his arms on the desk and start dictating to his stenographer giving him no rest, sometimes making a clicking sound with the tongue, at other times clenching the fists, closing the eyes and gnashing the teeth to concentrate his energy. All this was known from the information given by Saya Htun.

New Plan of the compilation of the Maha Buddhavamsa

    Such a very ambitious literary work, full of noteworthy doctrinal points with their deep leanings, like a treasure house of knowledge presented by the Sayagyi as if 'he had hoisted the flag of learning' of his lifetime should not be published as originally envisaged by him I feared that readers would find it rather confusing and difficult to read and understand. Therefore the writing of the Maha Buddhavamsa had to be planned anew as follows:

    (1) The main subject of the Buddhavamsa should be treated separately;

    (2) The Chapter (2) on "Rare appearance of a Buddha" should be re-written and get confirmed by learned Sayadaws;

    (3) A new chapter on miscellaneous matters concerning duties which should be comprehended and performed by every aspirant of Buddhahood should be added;

    (4) Explanatory notes and interpretations should be given fully in a separate chapter entitled Anudipani to serve as a supplement to the first part of the first volume, and

    (5) Difficult usages should be made easy by replacing them with simple ones in Myanmar.

    When the MSS of the Maha Buddhavamsa finally went to the press of the State Buddha Sasana Council, Sayagyi Saya Nyan, Maha Pannabala, Professor of Pali, acted as Chief Proof Reader.

Exhortation to readers

    This version of the Maha Buddhavamsa contains the same material with the same meaning as that preserved in the original Buddhavamsa Text, its Commentary, etc.; the only difference between the original works and this lies in the medium employed, the former in Pali and the latter in Myanmar.

    Since a Buddhavamsa can truly confer upon its worthy readers such benefits as (1) joy and happiness, (2) end of sorrow, and (3) the three attainments of human existence, divine existence and Nibbana, as has been pronounced by the Buddha, this Introduction is concluded with an exhortation in verse so that each reader might enjoy his or her share of welfare.

        Patubhuto Maha Buddha-

        vamsa buddhatthadipako

        Buddhavadinam atthaya

        tam nisametha sadhavo.

    O you worthy men of gentle mind, seeking your own interest and that of others! This book of the Maha Buddhavamsa, a version of the State Buddha Sasana Council which has made its appearance in commemoration of the convening of the Sixth Buddhist Council, resembles a plot of land on which virtuous Buddhists may sow seeds of the Dhamma; it vividly describes for the benefits of those who are virtuous devotees of Buddhism how the Buddha, The Friend of the three classes of beings, had performed unique, meritorious deeds beginning from his existence as Sumedha. Therefore you all who aspire after the fourfold knowledge of the Path, the true Enlightenment, should study it carefully with an eye of wisdom, fully confident that you will gain the fruits of joy and happiness, end of sorrow and the three attainments of human existence, divine existence and Nibbana.

U Vicittasarabhivamsa.

Tipitakadhara Dhammabhandagarika

The 7th waxing moon of 'Wazo', 1399, Myanmar Era

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma-sambuddhassa1


    With most respectful adoration I pay obeisance to the Buddha who, like his predecessors, has made a very rare appearance; who, like them, has no peers among Brahmas, Devas and human beings in the three worlds; who, like them, forms a refuge for all these beings who bow in homage; and who is like them in all aspects of glory, virtues and attributes (except in eight individual features3 such as life-span, height, lineage, duration of strenuous exertion, rays emitted from body, conveyance used on renouncing the world, Bodhi-tree and size of dais as seat).

    1. This Pali sentence is the formula of great honour paid to the Buddha which may be translated "Honour to Him the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Perfectly Self-Enlightened One." A Buddhist literary work usually begins with it to show the author's exclamation of obeisance.

    2. The original word in Pali is patinna which literally means "promise" or "vow."

    3. These are called atthavemattani, which Malalasekera translates "eight particulars in which the Buddha differ from each other." His rendering of these eight are: "length of life in the epoch in which each is born, the height of his body, his social rank, (some are born as khattiyas, others as brahmins), the length of his austerities, the aura of his body (thus in the case of Mangala, his aura spread throughout the ten thousand world systems, while that of Gotama extended only one fathom), the Conveyance in which he makes his renunciation, the tree under which he attains Enlightenment, and the size of the seat (pallanka) under the Bodhi tree." Dictionary of Pali Proper Names under Buddha.

    With most respectful adoration I pay obeisance to the Dhamma, which, through his Omniscience and out of profound compassion for all beings, has been well taught1 by that Buddha, and which has been held in high esteem by himself.

    With most respectful adoration I pay obeisance to the Sangha, the Order of Noble Ones, who have become true sons of the Master by their proper and upright practice2 of the Dhamma.

    Having paid obeisance to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, I shall now write in a language neither too brief nor too elaborate, neither too simple nor too difficult, and relying mainly on the canonical texts of the Buddhavamsa3 and its commentary and also taking relevant materials from other texts and commentaries, the Maha Buddhavamsa, the Great Chronicle of the Buddhas - a book on the lives of twenty-five Enlightened Ones from out of innumerable Buddhas past, whose number is far greater than that of the grains of sand of the Ganges,4 beginning with the account of the Exalted Dipankara, from whom the Future Gotama as the Hermit Sumedha received the definite prophecy5 that he would become a Perfectly Self-Enlightened One.

    1. This is the first attribute of the Dhamma.

    2. These are the first and second of the attributes of the Sangha.

    3. The fourteenth book of the Khuddaka-Nikaya of. the Sutta-Pitaka.

    4. Cp. "Few are the sands of the Ganges.
Innumerable are the Conquerors,
Who have entered Nirvana,..."

    This is from U Pe Maung Tin's translation of the popular Pali gatha beginning with the word "Sambuddhe." The relevant Pali composition in two lines are;.

"Appaka valuka ganga

ananta nibbuta jina,.

    5. Receiving of the definite prophecy (Niyata—vyakarana) is an important feature in the spiritual evolution of a Bodhisatta. We shall see more about it when we come to the story of Sumedha.

    May those virtuous people, who are desirous of seeking merit and knowledge; who, with abiding faith, have established a firm foundation of refuge in the Buddha1 , the Dhamma and the Sangha; and who are properly and up rightly cultivating the threefold practice of morality (sila), concentration (samadhi) and insight (panna) - may they easily attain the Path, Fruition and Nibbana.

    1. Here the author adds an adjectival clause reading "whose supremacy in the three worlds is like the ruby-studded pinnacle of a palace." The three worlds here are the three realms of sensuality (kama). materiality (rupa) and immateriality (arupa. The first corresponds to the realm of five senses, comprising the four woeful states (apaya), the human world and the six celestial worlds. The material and immaterial worlds belong to the Brahmas.


     Singular opportunity of living in an age when a Buddha appears

     The wealthy Anathapindika,1 soon to become the donor of Jetavana monastery, on his visit to Rajagaha when he would see the Buddha for the first time, heard the word "Buddha" from his wealthy brother-in-law2 in Rajagaha. As soon as he heard the sound "Buddha" he exclaimed, "Ghoso' pi kho eso gahapati dullabho lokasmim yad idam 'buddho buddho' ti", meaning "Friend, rare indeed it is in the world even to hear the utterance 'Buddha, Buddha.' "

     While the Buddha was staying in the market town of Apana in the country of Anguttaripa, Sela3, a leading Brahmin teacher, heard from Keniya the matted-haired ascetic, the word "Buddha", As soon as he heard the sound "Buddha" it occurred to him thus: "Ghoso' pi kho eso gahapati dullabho lokasmim yad idam 'buddho buddho' ti", meaning "Rare indeed it is in the world even to hear the utterance 'Buddha, Buddha.' "Not long after, together with three hundred followers, he gained ehi-bhikkhu 4 monkhood, and seven days thence he at£dined arahatship with them.

     1. A merchant of Savatthi and a staunch supporter of the Buddha and his Sangha. Anathapindika means "one who feeds the destitute". His Personal name was Sudatta. He came to Rajagaha on business and found his brother-in-law making elaborate preparations to treat the Buddha and his bhikkhus to a meal. It was on this occasion during the first year of the Buddha's Enlightenment that he heard the word Buddha for the first time. See the Senasanakkhandhaka of the Vinaya Culavagga.

     2. They were related as each had married the other's sister.

     3. He visited his friend Keniya who was then preparing to shower his lavish hospitality on the Buddha and his Order ofbhikkhus, an incident similar to that of Anathapindika. Both were filled with joy on hearing such a great name as Buddha. See Sela Sutta of the Majjhima -pannasa of the Majjhima Nikaya.

     4. Literally, "Come bhikkhu!" It was the command made by the Buddha in order to bring a deserving person to the Order of the Buddha's followers in the yellow robe. Accordingly, it formed the oldest formula of admission to the Order.

     In the light of these canonical extracts, it is very rare and difficult in the world even to hear the word "Buddha, Buddha;" inexpressably and extremely more so indeed is the appearance of a Buddha.

     In this respect, it may be noted that the utterance "diamond" may refer to a genuine diamond or a fake. Like wise, because rumours of a coming Buddha had been widespread prior to the Buddha's appearance, both Anathapindika and Sela must have heard before the false claim of six heretical teachers5to be "Buddhas." But just as the sound (of the word) "diamond," only when spoken of a genuine one, would please one who can differentiate between a genuine diamond and a fake; so also, to such men of highly developed intelligence as Anathapindika and Sela, the utterance "Buddha" could have been delightful only when spoken of the true Buddha.

     Just as taking a fake diamond to be genuine by unworthy persons of poor intelligence is a wrong notion, even so taking their masters (the six heretical teachers) to be genuine Buddhas by those who followed them was a wrong and harmful conclusion (micchadhimokkha).

     In order to appreciate more profoundly the rare phenomenon of a Buddha's appearance in the world, it is important to know briefly (at the outset) the following (matter) concerning a Bodhisatta and a Buddha:

    1. Bodhisatta (A Being destined to attain Enlightenment, i.e. a Future Buddha),

    2. Bodhisatta-kicca (Duties of a Future Buddha).

    3. Buddha (A Supreme Being who has fulfilled the duties of a Future Buddha and has consequently attained Enlightenment), and

    4. Buddha-kicca, (Daily Duties of a Buddha).

     5. Cha-satthara in Pali simply meaning "six teachers." They were Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambala, Pakudha Kaccayana, Nigantha Nataputta and Sanjaya Belattha-putta. They were all non—Brahmanical teachers and contemporaries of the Buddha but older in age.

1. Bodhisatta

     The Fourfold Insight Knowledge of the Path (Magga-nana) 6 with or without accompaniment of Omniscience (Sabbannutanana) 7 is called Enlightenment (Bodhi). Enlightenment is of three kinds:

     (1) Samma-sambodhi: Enlightenment consisting of the Fourfold Insight-Knowledge of the Path with the accompaniment of Omniscience. The Fourfold Insight-Knowledge of the Path is understanding of the Four Noble Truths8by oneself without a teacher's help, and it has distinctive power of removing mental defilements as well as habitual tendencies (vasana) of past existences; Omniscience is understanding of all principles worthy of understanding.

     (2) Pacceka-Bodhi: Enlightenment consisting of the Fourfold Insight-Knowledge of the Path which is understanding of the Four Noble Truths by oneself without a teacher's help.

     (3) Savaka-Bodhi: Enlightenment consisting of the Fourfold Insight-Knowledge of the Path which is understanding of the Four Noble Truths only with the help of a teacher.

     6. The Path leading to the extinction of suffering, which forms the last of the Four Noble Truths is eightfold (See below, n.3). The Eightfold Path consists of (1) right understanding (samma-ditthi). (2) right thinking (samma-sankappa), (3) right speech (samma-vaca), (4) right bodily action (samma-kammatha), (5) right livelihood (samma-ajiva), (6) right effort (samma-vayama (7) right mindfulness (samma-sati), and (8) right concentration (samma-samadhi). The first two form wisdom (panna) the second three, morality (sila) and the last three, concentration (samadhi): .VbhA 416.

     7. Sabbannuta-nana is the compound of sabbanutta and nana. The first word sabbannuta itself means Omniscience. The word occurs in Nett 204; DA 1.99; VbhA 197. One who is endowed with Sabbannuta or Sabbannuta-nana is Sabbannu, the Omniscient One. "The Buddha is omniscient, not in the sense that he knows everything, but that he could know anything should he so desire." DPPN under Buddha.

     8. They are the Truth of suffering (dukkha), of the Origin of suffering (dukkha-samudaya), of the Extinction of suffering (dukkha-nirodha) and of the Path leading to the Extinction of suffering (dukkha-nirodha-gaminipati-pada).

     (1) Noble Persons who have a strong wholesome desire to realise Samma-Sambodhi are called Samma- Sambodhisatta, "Future Perfect Buddhas,"9 (2) Noble Persons who have a strong wholesome desire to realise Pacceka-Bodhi are called Pacceka-Bodhisatta, "Future Private Buddhas," and (3) Noble Persons who have a strong wholesome desire to realise Savaka-Bodhi are called Savaka-Bodhisatta, "Future Disciples of a Buddha."

Three types of Future Buddhas10

     Of these three kinds of Noble Persons (1) Samma- Sambodhisatta or Future Perfect Buddhas are grouped into three types: (a) Pannadhika Future Buddhas, (b) Saddhadhika Future Buddhas, and (d) Viriyadhika Future Buddhas.

     Buddhahood is attainment of Omniscience (Sabbannutta nana ). To attain this Supreme Wisdom the seeker must have a mental make-up in which Wisdom is predominant. The factor of predominant Wisdom means careful consideration and forethought in doing everything physically, verbally or mentally. By so doing, one's wisdom becomes strengthened and mature existence after existence so that in due course one painlessly attains Omniscience which is far superior to all kinds of wisdom. Just as money is gained in the world by means of monetary investment, even so Omniscience is gained by means of intellectual investment.

     (a) Future Buddhas called Pannadhika with the factor of predominant Wisdom always present in their endeavours become Buddhas after fulfilling their Perfections (Parami) for four asankhyeyya11and a hundred thousand aeons12.

     9. "Future Perfect Buddhas" means "Future Perfectly Self-Enlightened Ones."

     10. "Future Buddhas" from now on means "Future Perfect Buddhas" or "Future Perfectly Self-Enlightened Ones" unless otherwise stated.

    11. Perfection: parami, also called paramita, 'Completeness' and 'highest state' are also given as meanings of the Pali word in PED. The Perfect ions arc ten in number which are "the perfect exercise of the ten principal virtues of a Bodhisatta." PED. For details see the Anudipani.

     12. Asankhyeyya (asankheyya) literally means 'innumerable.' Some take it to be the figure one followed by 140 zeros, i.e. 10 x 14. Kacc. 395; Abhidh. 474-6. Warren translates the word as 'immensity.' Buddhism in Translation , p. 5.

     (b) Other Future Buddhas also believe that they can become Buddhas by fulfilling Perfections, and in their mental make-up such belief is predominant. With them Faith plays a greater role than Wisdom. They are therefore called Saddhadhika Future Buddhas, "Future Buddhas with predominant Faith." Since they are not led by Wisdom but by Faith in their fulfilment of Perfections they cannot become Buddhas after four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons, but only after eight asankhyeyyaand a hundred thousand aeons.13

     (c) There are still other Future Buddhas who rely solely upon their Energy (Industriousness). For them Wisdom is not a principal factor. Neither do they place emphasis on the Faith that Perfections lead to Enlightenment. Holding that Energy brings about Buddhahood, they give top priority to Energy in their fulfilment of Perfections and become Buddhas only after sixteen asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons. They are therefore called Viriyidhika Future Buddhas, "Future Buddhas with Predominant Energy."

     Thus it should be noted that three designations — Pannadhika, Saddhadhika and Viriyadhika are applied only to Future Buddhas. Otherwise one would think that they belonged to Fully Enlightened Buddhas. These distinctions exist only while they remain as Future Buddhas, but once they attain Buddhahood, they are all identical in respect of Wisdom, Faith and Energy. One cannot say which Buddha is more accomplished than the other in each of these aspects.

     13. Aeon: kappa. which may also be translated 'world cycle.' A kappa has an age of enormous length. For details see the Anudipani.

     Pannadhikanam hi saddha manda hoti panna tikkha;

     Saddhadhikanam panna majjhima hoti saddha balava;

     Viriyadhikanam saddha-panna manda viriyam balavam.14

     In Pannadhika Future Buddhas, Wisdom is strong but Faith is weak;

     In Saddhadhika Future Buddhas, Wisdom is medial but Faith is strong;

     In Viriyidhika Future Buddhas, Faith and Wisdom are weak, but Energy is strong.

Reasons for difference between the three types of Future Buddhas

     As has been stated, Bodhisattas are of three types with three respective periods of fulfilment of Perfections, namely, four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons, eight asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons and six teen asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons. A reason this for difference is mentioned in the Paramidawgan Pyo15, an epic composed by the celebrated poet of Old Burma - Ashin Silavamsa16. According to it17 the difference lies in the Path chosen by the individual Future Buddha, viz., a Pannadhika Future Buddha chooses the Wisdom Path which takes four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons to reach the goal; a Saddhadhika Future Buddha chooses the Faith Path which takes eight asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons to reach the goal; and a Viriyadhika Future Buddha chooses the Energy Path which takes sixteen asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons to reach the goal.

     14. Commentary on the first Khagga-visana Sutta of the Sutta Nipata.

    15. Dated A.D. 1491 and composed when the poet was 38, according to the Introduction, Paramidawgan Pyo, Rangoon 1953. It is the best known work and masterpiece of the poet. Preface, ibid.

    16. A monk poet and literary genius (A.D. 1453—1520) who was born in a village near Taungdwingyi but who made his name in the city of Ava.

    17. But what is mentioned in the epic with regard to the three types of Future Buddhas is apparently based on commentrial statements. It is interesting to note that, in the author's view, the names Pannadhika, etc. belong only to Bodhisattas, but not to Buddhas.

     According to the view of other teachers as mentioned in the Pakinnaka-katha of the Cariya-Pitaka Commentary, the difference between the three durations lies in the three degrees of energy, namely, strong, medial and weak. ( This view implies that it takes Pannadhika Bodhisattas only four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons for fulfilment of Perfections because of their predominant energy; the view is thus not free from the fault of confusion (sankara-dosa)18 as it mixes up Pannadhika Future Buddhas with Viriyakhika Future Buddhas.)

     The view which appeals to the Commentator Dhammapala and others is that the difference in duration is due to the difference in the degrees - strong, medial and weak of maturity of Perfections leading to emancipation (Vimutti paripacaniya Dhamma).

     To elaborate, even at the time of receiving the prophecy the Bodhisattas are of three types:

     (i) Ugghatitannu Bodhisattas,19 (ii) Vipancittanu Bodhisattas20 and (iii) Neyya Bodhisattas.21

     (i) Ugghatitannu Bodhisattas are those who have the capacity to attain Arahatship together with the six Higher Spiritual Powers (Abhinna)22 and four kinds of Analytical Knowledge (Patisambhida)23 they can attain that stage even before the end of the third line of a verse-sermon of four lines delivered by a Buddha if they wish to achieve Enlightenment of a Disciple (Savaka-Bodhi) in that very existence. ( This is one of the eight factors for receiving the prophecy.)

     18. Fault of confusion; sankara—dosa. The word is also found in Sanskrit which means in rhetoric the confusion or blending together or metaphors which ought to be kept distinct. SED.

    19. "One who already during a given explanation comes to penetrate the truth." Buddhist Dictionary.

    20. "One who realizes the truth after Explanation." This is said of one who realizes the truth only after detailed explanation of that which has already been taught him in a concise form.

    21. "Requiring Guidance" is said of a person who through advice and questioning, through wise consideration, and through frequenting noble-minded friends, having intercourse with them, associating with them, gradually comes to penetrate the truth.

    22. They are (1) Psychic Powers (Iddhi-vidha), (2) Divine Ear (dibba-sota), (3) Penetration of others mind (citta-pariya-nana or cetopariya), (4) Divine Eye (dibba-cakkhu), (5) Rememberance of former existences (pubbenivasanussati or pubbenivasa), and (6) Extinction of. 'influxes' (asavakkhaya). The first five being mundane can be attained through intense mental concentration (samadhi) whereas the last being supramundane can be attained only through penetrating insight (Vipassana).

    23. They are (1) Analytical Knowledge of Meaning(attha), (2) of causal relations ( dhamma ) (3) of language (nirutti ) and (4) sharp intellect (patibhana ) which can define the above three analytical knowledges.

     (ii) Vipancittannu Bodhisattas are those who have the capacity to attain Arahatship together with the six Higher Spiritual Powers (Abhinna) and four kinds of Analytical Knowledge (Patisambhida); they can attain that stage before the end of the fourth line of a verse-sermon of four lines delivered by a Buddha if they wish to achieve Enlightenment of a Disciple ( Savaka-Bodhi) in that very existence.

     (iii) Neyya Bodhisattas are those who have the capacity to attain Arahatship together with the six Higher Spiritual Powers (Abhinna) and four kinds of Analytical Knowledge (Patisambhida); they can attain that stage at the end of the whole verse-sermon of four lines delivered by a Buddha if they wish to achieve Enlightenment of a Disciple ( Savaka-Bodhi) in that very existence.

     With Ugghatitannu Bodhisattas the degree of maturity of Perfections leading to emancipation is so strong that they have to endeavour only for four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons after receiving the prophecy. With Vipancitannu Bodhisattas the degree of maturity of Perfections leading to emancipation is medial and they have to endeavour for eight asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons after receiving the prophecy. With Neyya Bodhisattas the degree of maturity of Perfections leading to emancipation is so weak that they have to endeavour for sixteen asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons after receiving the prophecy.

     Ugghatitannu Bodhisattas are identical with Panadhika Bodhisattas; so are Vipancitannu Bodhisattas with Saddhadhika Bodhisattas and Neyya Bodhisattas with Viriyadhika Bodhisattas.

Impossibility of attainment of Buddhahood before completing the required period of Perfections

     The paddy species that ripens only when it is three, four or five months old by no means yields crops in fifteen days or a month although watering and weeding may have been done many times a day; its stems and leaves cannot grow (as much as one would like) and its ears cannot start bearing seeds, thrive and mature. In the same way, it should be noted that all the three types of Bodhisattas by no means attain full Buddhahood with its perfectly ripe fruit of Omniscience before they have completed the full course of Perfections that lasts a hundred thousand aeons in addition to four, eight or sixteen asankhyeyya even if, since receiving the prophecy, they have given daily alms like those of Prince Vessantara24and have observed pertinent virtues such as morality, etc.

     24. Famous for his most daring generosity. From the time he was made king at the age or sixteen by his father he gave alms each day costing him six hundred thousand pieces of money. Besides, he gave his white elephant, which had the power of causing rain, to the drought-stricken citizens of Jetuttara against the will of his own people. He was therefore banished to Vankagiri, and while in exile he gave his son and daughter to Jujaka, an old brahmin who wanted to use them as slaves; he also gave his wife to Sakka who came under the disguise of a brahmin to ask for her as a test of his generosity. His existence is said to be the last of the Bodhisatta before he was reborn in Tusita, the third highest abode of celestial beings.

2. Bodhisatta-kicca

     Mere desire to possess wealth and not working for it leads nowhere. Only when one works hard enough can one hope to gain the desired object. In the same way, the three types of Future Buddhas who wish to attain the above mentioned three respective types of Enlightenment attain them only when they have fulfilled their Perfections (Parami), sacrificed their life and limb in charity (Caga) and developed their virtues through practice (Cariya) as means of achieving the Enlightenment which they so desire.

     In a business enterprise the extent of profit gained is determined by the capital invested and the effort put in. When the capital is large and the effort great, the profit is considerable; when the capital and effort are fair, the accruing profit is just fair; when the capital and effort are little, the profit gained is little. In the same way, there exist distinctions between Enlightenment attained by those who make investment in the form of fulfilment of Perfections, Sacrifice of life and limb in charity and development of virtues - the practices which are conducive to arising of Enlightenment25(Bodhiparipacaka). The profits gained in the form of Enlightenment differ inasmuch as there are differences in their investment of Perfections, sacrifices and virtues through Practice.

     The differences may be explained as follows

     (1) Samma-Sambodhisattas, Future Buddhas, who even before the definite prophecy (made by a Buddha saying "This person shall attain Buddhahood under a certain name in a certain World,")26 accumulate merits and make the mental resolution to become a Buddha.

     As mentioned in the passage

     Aham pi pubbabuddhesu, buddhattam abhipatthayim

     manasa yeva hutvana, dharnmaraja asankhiya

     in the Buddhapadana of the Apadana,27 a Future Buddha aspires mentally to Buddhahood in the presence of innumerable Buddhas throughout incalculable aeons.

     After thus making the mental resolution for attainment of Buddhahood and accumulating special merits for and inestimable period of tune, when he becomes endowed with the eight factors28 ( like Sumedha the Hermit ), a Bodhisatta receives the definite prophecy from a living Buddha.

     25. Conducive to arising of Enlightenment Bodhiparipacaka literally, "That which makes Enlightenment ripen

     26. Like Buddha Dipankara who prophesied the attainment of Buddhahood by Sumedha.

     27. Buddha-Vagga v.4 p.1.

     28. See below p.29

    Here it should be noted that the act of resolution by and aspirant to become a Buddha (abhinnhara)29 is made up of two phases, as aspiration to Enlightenment prior to his possession of the eight factors is mainly mental, his act of resolution made before Buddhas one after another as not complete, and he is not yet entitled to the designation of Bodhisatta.

     But when he becomes endowed with eight factors like Sumedha and, on that very account, he now makes the resolution saying:

     "Imina me adhikirena katena purisuttame

     sabbannutam papunitva taremi Janatam hahum"30

     which means

     "As the fruit of this great meritorious deed done by me for the sake of this Omniscient Buddha31 (without regard even for my life,) may I, having myself attained Omniscient Buddliahood, be able to save multitudes of beings,"

     his act of resolution becomes complete then and there, and it enables him to be worthy of receiving the definite prophecy.

     It should be noted that this complete act of resolution (abhinihara) is the great wholesome consciousness 32(intention or volition) that arises as a result of his reflection on the unimaginable attributes of a Buddha and his great compassion for the welfare of the entire world of beings. And this great wholesome consciousness has the unique power of motivating his fulfilment of Perfections, Sacrifice of life and limb in charity and development of virtues through Practice.

     31. An act of resolution to become a Buddha (abhinihara) the literal meaning of the word given by the author is directing one's mind towards attainment of Buddhahood.

     32. Verse 57, Sumedha-katha, Buddhavamsa

     33. Meaning Buddha Dipankara

     32. This Abhidhamma term in Pali is Mahakusala-cutt'uppada

     The moment that great wholesome consciousness arises in the Future Buddha, he sets himself on the Path leading to Omniscience. Because he is definitely on his way to Buddhahood, he now wins the title Bodhisatta. Owing to the great complete resolution which, as has been explained above, is the great wholesome consciousness, there becomes established in him the wholesome aspiration for full Omniscience and the unrivalled ability to fulfil Perfections, to sacrifice life and limb in charity and to develop virtues which form requisites for attainment of Omniscience.

     And also because of the aforesaid great wholesome consciousness he reflects on the Perfections to be accomplished and determines the order for doing so. He does it by means of the knowledge of investigation of Perfections (Parami-pavicaya-nana), etc. which enables him to penetrate things without a teacher's help. This knowledge is a precursor to attainment of Omniscience, it is followed by the actual fulfilment of Perfections one after another.

     As mentioned in the Nidana-katha of the Cariya-Pitaka Commentary,33 after receiving the definite prophecy of Buddhahood, the Future Buddha ceaselessly and uniquely strives to fulfil Perfections (Parami, Sacrifices (Caga) and virtues through Practice (Cariya)34 which are requisites for achieving the Path-Knowledge of Arahatship (Arahatta-magga-nana) and Omniscience (Sabbannuta-nana) by four means of development, namely, (i) sabbasambhara bhavana,

     (ii) nirantara bhavana, (iii) cirakala-bhavana and (iv) sakkacca-bhavana.

     33. 'Catasso hi bodhisambharesu bhavana sabbasambhara-bhavana nirantara-bhavana cirakala-bhavana sakkacca-bhavana ca ti."

     34. Perfections, sacrifices and conduct Parami-Caga-Cariya: Paramis are ten in number Caga here refers to Mahapariccaga, great offerings or abandonings of extraordinary nature, which are five kinds of relinquishing of wealth, of children, of wife, of limbs and of life. For details of Parami and Caga see the Anudipani. Cariya literally means 'conduct, behaviour, or practice' cultivated for the welfare of both oneself and others. Cariya is of three categories namely, (1) lokattha-cariya, practice for the benefit of all beings (2) Natattha-cariya, practice for the benefit of one's own kith and kin, and (3) Buddhattha-cariya, practice and efforts to achieve Enlightenment.

     Of these four (i) sabbasambhara-bhavana is complete development of the entire range of Perfections, (ii) nirantara-bhavana is development of Perfections throughout the minimum period of four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons, or the medial period of eight asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons or the maximum period of sixteen asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons, without a break of even a single existence, (iii) cirakala-bhavana is development of Perfections for a long duration which is not an aeon less than the minimum period of four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons; and (iv) sakkacca-bhavana is development of Perfections with seriousness and thoroughness.35

Moral Qualities of a Future Buddha

     The Future Buddha, who has received the definite prophecy is strongly moved by great compassion for beings when he sees these helpless ones who have no refuge in this difficult journey of life, who are beset with a variety of intolerably acute sufferings such as those springing from birth, old age, sickness and death; of killings, imprisonment of beings maimed and disabled, of hardships associated with earning a living and the sufferings of beings in woeful states. Being so moved by this great compassion, he forbears his own suffering from such outrageous oppressive atrocities as cutting off of the hand, the leg, the ear, etc. perpetrated against him by those totally blind and ignorant people, and his compassion for them is long and enduring.

     He suffuses them with compassion an this manner. "How shall I treat these people who have wronged me? I am of truth the person who is striving for Perfections with a view to liberating them from the woes of the cycle of births. Powerful indeed is delusion! Forceful indeed is craving! Sad it is that, being overwhelmed by craving and delusion, they have committed such great offences even against me who am endeavouring to liberate them thus.

     35. With seriousness and thoroughness, sakkacca usually taken to be respect or reverence, is rendered here as seriousness and thoroughness. See the Anudipani for full interpretation of sakkacca under sakkacca-dana in types of dana in group of twos.

     Because they have perpetrated these outrages, serious troubles lie in wait for them."

     Shedding his compassion on them thus he tries to find suitable ways and means to save them and reflects: "Being overwhelmed by craving and delusion, they have wrongly taken what is impermanent to be permanent, suffering to be happiness, nonself to be self and unpleasantness to be pleasantness. In what way shall I go to their rescue and get them out of suffering that arises owing to a cause."

     While contemplating thus the Bodhisatta rightly discerns that forbearance (khanti) is the only means to set beings free from the bondage of existence. He does not show even the slightest anger to beings who have outraged him by cutting off his limbs, etc. He thought to himself, "As the result of demeritorious deeds done in my past existences I deserve the suffering now. Since I myself have done wrong previously, this suffering I deserve, I am the one who has started the wrongdoing." Thus he takes the offence of others upon himself.

     It further occurs to him thus. "Only with forbearance, will I be able to save them. If I do wrong to the wrong doer I will become like him; I will not be different from him. How then can I liberate them from the woes of the cycle of births? Never can I.36 Therefore, resting on the strength of forbearance which is the basis of all strengths, and taking their misdeeds upon myself, forbear I will; and with loving-kindness and compassion as guides, I shall fulfil the Perfections. Only by so doing will I attain Omniscient Buddhahood. Only by having attained Omniscient Buddhahood will I be able to save all beings from suffering that arises owing to a cause." He thus sees the correct situation as it stands.

     Having observed thus, the Future Buddha fulfils his Perfections in a unique manner - the Perfections being ten ordinary ones, ten superior ones and ten most superior ones, thirty in all, known as Requisites of Enlightenment (Bodhisambhara). The fulfilment of Perfections takes place in the above-mentioned four ways of development.37

     36.The author mentions that the above exposition of the moral qualities of a Future Buddha is drawn from Bodhisambhara-vannana of the Jinalankara Tika.

     37. See page 19

Not living long in celestial abodes while fulfilling Perfections

     Before he attains the complete fulfilment of Perfections as in the existence of Vessantara,38 while still fulfilling Perfections, sacrificing life and limb in charity and developing practices is a unique manner, a Future Buddha may be reborn frequently as a divine being of long life in consequence of his great meritorious deeds. But he chooses to cut short his life in the divine world by means of intentional death (adhimutti-marana)39 because it is difficult to fulfil Perfections in those celestial abodes; accordingly, he is reborn in many a world of human beings where he can continue to fulfil Perfections.

Perfections compared with an ocean

     However enormous an ocean may be, it is finite in its extent, being limited by its bed at the bottom, by its surface at the top and encircled by cakkavala mountains on all sides. On the other hand, the ocean of Perfection in alms-giving (dana-parami) fulfilled and accumulated by the Future Buddha is infinite in its extent, its dimensions are limitless. With regard to this particular Perfection of alms— giving one cannot define its limits by the extent of external properties given away; by the amount of flesh or blood given away; or by the number of eyes or heads sacrificed. Likewise, one cannot speak of limits of other Perfections such as that of morality (sila-parami.) Thus in this comparison of the ocean with the ocean of Perfections, it should be noted that the former is limited in capacity however vast it may be whereas the latter is of infinite magnitude.

     38. Future Buddha Gotama as King of Jetuttara, the last rebirth in the human world before the Bodhisatta appeared again as Prince Siddhattha. See also note on p. 12.

     39. See adhimutti-marana in the Anudipani

Future Buddhas do not feel even intense pains

     At noon during the hot season a man may go down into a deep lake and take a bath there submerging himself; and while he is so doing he dose not take note of the intense heat that descends from the sky. In the same way the Future Buddha who suffused himself with great compassion, while seeking the welfare of beings, goes down into the ocean of Perfections and submerges himself there. Since he is suffused with great compassion, he does not feel even intense pains, caused by cutting off his limbs, etc. by evil cruel persons, as sufferings.

Long duration needed for fulfilment of Perfections

     A Future Buddha has to fulfil Perfections at least four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons from the time of his receiving the prophecy to the last existence when he achieves the completion of his fulfilment of Perfections (as in the existence of Vessantara). According to the Samyutta Nikaya. an aeon is a period of time during which, if the bones of a being were piled up, the size of that pile would become as high as a mountain. Therefore the number of births taken by the Future Buddha during the long period of four asahkhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons would be larger than that of drops of water in a great ocean. Among these existences there is none that has not witnessed his fulfilment of Perfections and none that has passed in vain.

     The accounts of fulfilment of Perfections by the Future Buddha as mentioned in the 550 Jataka stories and in the stories of Cariya-Pitaka are just a few examples out of the total experiences which he had during the long period of four asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons. It is like a bowl of water taken out of a great ocean in order to sample its salty taste. The Buddha told these stories as illustrations as occasions arose and under appropriate circumstances. The number of stories he had told and the number of stories he had not may be compared to the water in a bowl and the water in a great ocean respectively.

     The Perfection of alms-giving fulfilled by the Buddha is sung in praise in the Jinalankara as follows:

  • So sagare jaladhikam rudiram adasi
  • bhumim parajiya samamsam adasi danam
  • meruppamanam adhikan ca samolisisam
  • khe tarakadhikataram na yanam adasi. 40

     Aiming at Infinite Wisdom, and full of faith and fervour, that Bodhisatta had given in charity his ruby-red blood in quantities much more than drops of water in the four oceans, aiming at Infinite Wisdom and full of faith and fervour, he had given in charity his naturally soft and tender flesh in quantities which would exceed the great earth that is 240,000 yojanas. in extent, aiming at Infinite Wisdom and full of faith and fervour, his heads with glittering crowns studded with nine gems he had given in charity would pile up higher than Mount Meru, aiming at Infinite Wisdom and full of faith and fervour, he had given in charity his wondrous smiling eyes, dark as corundum or of a beetle's wing, more numerous than the stars and planets in the space of the universe.41

     (2) Future Private Buddhas (a) called Pacceka-Bodhisattas have to fulfil their Perfections for two asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons They cannot become Private Buddhas if their duration of fulfilment of Perfections is less than that number of aeon. Because as has been said in the chapter dealing with previous Bodhisattas, Enlightenment of a Private Buddha (Pacceka Buddha) cannot become mature before they have completed the full course of Perfections.

     40. Verse 31 under VI. Bodhisambhara-dipani-gatha

     41. This is the translation of the Burmese version of the Pali verse. Moved by the awe-inspiring sacrifices of the Bodhisatta, the illustrious author has rendered it in a most ornate language with appropriate elaborations. Incidentally it is a good example of Pali-Myanma nissala translation.

     (3) Future Disciples called Savaka-Bodhisattas are (a) Future Chief Disciples (Agga savaka), a pair of Disciples like the Venerable Sariputta42 and the Venerable Moggallana,43(b) Future Great Disciples (Maha savaka), those like the eighty Great Disciples44 in the lifetime of Buddha Gotama and (c) Future Ordinary Disciples45(Pakati savaka), all arahats other than those mentioned above. Thus there are three categories of Future Disciples.

     Of these three categories (a) Future Chief Disciples have to fulfil their Perfections for one asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons (b) Future Great Disciples, for a hundred thousand aeons, and as for (c) Future Ordinary Disciples, duration of their fulfilment of Perfections is not directly given in the Texts. However, it is said in the Commentary and Sub-Commentary of the Pubbenivasakatha (in the Mahapadana Sutta46) that Great Disciples can remember their past lives for one hundred thousand aeons and Ordinary Disciples for less than that figure. Since fulfilment of Perfections takes place in every existence of theirs, it may be inferred that Future Ordinary Disciples have to fulfil Perfections not more than a hundred thousand aeons. The duration of their fulfilment of Perfections is thus indefinite: it may be one hundred aeons or one thousand aeons, etc. According to some, it may be just one or two existences as illustrated by the story of a frog.47

     42. His name prior to his enlightenment was Upatissa.

     43.. His name prior to his enlightenment was Kolita.

     44. The enumeration of the eighty Great Disciples begins with the Venerable Kondanna and ends with the Venerable Pingiya

     45. Disciples other than the Chief Disciples and Great Disciples of the Master are Ordinary Disciples. Vis Tika. II, 45.

     46. The fourteenth Sutta of the Digha Nikaya it deals elaborately with the life of Buddha Vipassi, the first of the seven Buddhas preceding Buddha Gotama. Because it contains the largest number of bhanavaras or sections it came to be known as "King of Suttas" in the commentaries.

     47. It so happened that the frog was reborn as a deva after hearing the voice of the Buddha who was delivering a sermon. As a deva he visited the Buddha and became a 'stream-winner' as a consequence of hearing the Dhamma from the Buddha. For details see the story of Manduka in the Vimana-vatthu.

3. Buddha

     As has been said before, after fulfilling their Perfections for their respective duration, the three types of Future Buddhas attain the Fourfold Knowledge of the Path (Magganana), which is understanding of the Four Noble Truths by himself without a teacher's help, as well as Omniscience (Sabbannutanana), which is understanding of all principles that are worthy of understanding. They acquire at the same time the special attributes of a Buddha that are infinite (ananta) and immeasurable (aparimeyya). Such attributes are so immense that, if a Buddha extols the attributes of another Buddha without touching on any other topic for an aeon, the aeon may come to an end, but the attributes will not. The 'Noble Person who has thus attained Enlightenment with no equal in the three worlds is called an Omniscient Buddha or a Perfectly Self-Enlightened One (Samma-sambuddha).

     After fulfilling the necessary Perfections for two Asankheyya and a hundred thousand aeons, a Private Buddha attains Enlightenment consisting of the Insight-Knowledge of the Path which is understanding of the Four Noble Truths (Magganana) by himself without a teacher's help. But he does not achieve Omniscience and the Ten Powers (Dasabalanana).48etc. The Noble Person who has thus attained Enlightenment is called a Private Buddha or a Minor Buddha (Pacceka-Buddha).

     After fulfilling the necessary Perfections for one asankhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons if he is a Future Chief Disciple, or a hundred thousand aeons if he is a Future Great Disciple, or a hundred aeons or a thousand aeons or any smaller number of aeons if he is a Future Ordinary Disciple, a Future Disciple attains Enlightenment consisting of the Insight-Knowledge of the Path which is understanding of the Four Noble Truths (Savaka-Bodhinana), with the help of a teacher who is a Buddha. The Noble Person who has thus attained Enlightenment of a Disciple (Savaka-Bodhinana) is called an Enlightened Disciple (Savaka-Buddha); he may have the status of a Chief Disciple, a Great Disciple or an Ordinary Disciple.

     48. The Dasa-Nipita of the Angutara Nikaya enumerates the Ten Powers (Dasabalanana) as follows:

     (1) Thanatthana nana, knowledge according to reality as to the possible as possible and the impossible as the impossible,

     (2) Kammavipaka nana, knowledge of the result of the past, present and future actions,

     (3) Sabbathagamini patipada nana, knowledge of the path leading to the welfare of all.

     (4) Anekadhatu Nanadhatu lokanana, knowledge of the world with its many different elements.

     (5) Nanadhimuttikata nana, knowledge of the different inclinations of beings,

     (6) Indriya paropariyatta nana, knowledge of the lower and higher faculties of beings.

     (7) Jhanadi Samkilesa Vodanavutthana Nana, knowledge of the defilements, purity and rising with regard to jhana, concentration, attainments etc.

     (8) Pubbenivasa nana, knowledge of remembering many former births.

     (9) Cutupapata nana, or Dibbacakkhu nana, knowledge of perceiving with the divine eye how beings vanish and reappear according to their actions (Kamma), and

     (10) Asavakkhaya nana, knowledge of the extinction of all moral intoxicants (impurities that befuddle the mind). i.e. Arahattamaggana nana.

4. Buddha-kicca

     Among these Great Personages namely, Omniscient Buddhas, Private Buddhas and Enlightened Disciples, Omniscient Buddhas are called Tarayitu49Beings, the Mast Supreme Ones, who, having themselves crossed over the ocean at Samsara,50 save others from its perils.

     Private Buddhas are called Tarita51Beings, the Noble Ones who have crossed over the ocean of Samsara on their own, but are unable to save others from its perils. To elaborate: Private Buddhas do not appear in an age when an Omniscient Buddha makes his appearance. They appear only in the intervening period between the lifetime of two Buddhas. An Omniscient Buddha realises far himself the Four Noble Truths without guidance and has the ability to teach and make others understand them. A Private Buddha also realises the Four Noble Truths on his own, but he is in no way able to teach and make others understand them. Having realised the Path, Fruition and Nibbana (Pativedha)52 he is unable to recount his personal experiences of these attainments because he lacks possession of appropriate terminology for these supramundane doctrines. Therefore a Private Buddha's knowledge of the Four Truths (Dhammabhisamaya)53 is compared by the commentators to a dumb person's dream or an ignorant peasant's experience of a city life for which he has no words to express. Private Buddhas (Tarita Beings) are thus those who have gone across Samsara on their own, but who are in no position to help others cross.

     Private Buddhas may bestow monkhood on those who wish to become monks, and they may give them training in special practices of the holy life (Abhisamacarika)54 thus:

     "In this calm manner you should step forward, step backward, you should see, you should say," and so on; but they are not able to teach them how to differentiate between mind and matter (nama-rupa), and how to view them in terms of their characteristics, namely, impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and insubstantiality, etc. so that they may reach the stage of realisation of the Path and Fruition. (The next paragraph is omitted )55

     Noble Disciples who are Savaka-Bodhisattas, are called Tarita Beings as they have been helped cross the ocean of Samsara and saved by Omniscient Buddhas. To illustrate, Upatissa, the wandering ascetic, who was to become the Venerable Sariputta, became established in the Path and Fruition of Sotapatti, on hearing from the Venerable Assaji the following stanza:

     Ye dhamma hetuppabhava

     tesam hetum tathagato. 56

     From this account one would think Noble Disciples could be both those who have been saved (Tarita Beings) by others and those who have saved others ( Tarayitu Beings). But the teaching of a Buddha's disciple has its origin in the Buddha; it does not originate from the Disciple himself. He does not preach a sermon of his own without taking help and guidance from the teaching of the Buddha. Therefore such Disciples are to be called Tarita Beings, not Tarayitu Beings, as they can by no means realise the Four Noble Truths without a master; and their realisation of the Path and Fruition can take place only with the master's help and guidance.

     As has been said, Private Buddhas and Noble Disciples are Tarita Beings and Tãrita Beings respectively. Hence after their realisation of the Path and Fruition of Arahatship they entered into the stage of attainment of Fruition (Phala samapatti) and attainment of Cessation (Nirodha samapatti) for their own enjoyment of bliss of Peace, not working for the benefit of others. On the other hand, an Omniscient Buddha (Samma-Sambuddha) would not remain working for his interest only. In fact, even at the time of fulfilling Perfections he resolves:

     "Having understood the Four Noble Truths I will make others understand the same (Buddho bodheyyam)," and so on. Accordingly, he performs the five duties of a Buddha continuously day and night.57

     Because he has to perform the five duties of a Buddha, the Buddha takes rest just a little while after his day-meal each day. At night he rests only for one third of the last watch of the night. The remaining hours are spent attending to his five duties.

     Only those Buddhas who are possessed of energy in the form of unique and supreme diligence (payatta ), one of the glories (Bhaga ) of a Buddha, are able to perform such duties. The performance of these duties is not the sphere of Private Buddha and Disciples.

     49. Tarayitu. literally, "one who makes other cross" and helps them through.

     50. Samsara, literally, moving about continuously from one life to another, i.e. cycle of births.

     51. Tarita, Grammatically speaking, it is a Past Participle form of tarati meaning to cross or to pass over.

     52. Pativedha, literally, penetration. It is one of the three aspects of the Buddha's Teaching, the first two being pariyatti and patipatti, learning of the scriptures and engagement in practices respectively.

     53. (Dhammabhisamaya)literally, truth-realisation, which is Penetration of the Four Noble Truths according to the commentaries.

     54. Abhisamacarika "belonging to the practice of the lesser ethics, according to PED; "the minor precept," according to CPD.

     55. The next paragraph in the original. The text deals with the Uposatha services observed by Pacceka Buddhas. This account is too technical for lay readers, and we have thus omitted it from our translation.

     56. This is only half of the gatha, and the remaining two lines read:

     Tesan ca yo nirodho

     evam vadi mahasamano

     57. Here the author asks to see details of the five duties of a Buddha in the exposition on the attributes of Bhagava in the Gotama-Buddhnamsa in a later volume.


This page at Nibbana.com was last modified:

To be continued