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Buddha in Former Lives

Buddha in Former Lives

Buddha in Former Lives

The Dawn of Buddhism was sparked off in the deep past covering a period of four Asaṅkheyyas and one hundred thousand aeons ago. There was even an actual pre-dawn era to signal the germination of the Buddha Aspiration.

Viewing the glory of the Buddha is a very traumatic experience and may involve the arousing of the Buddhist Righteous Wish (Dhamma Canda) and the very great inspiration to become a Buddha Supreme:

This happened to our Gotama Buddha who, in the Buddhist history, began practising the Act of Wishing (Mano Paṇidhāna) by thought, to become a Buddha.

Gotama did this in the presence of the numerous Supremely Enlightened Buddhas whom he met in the journey of the cycle of birth and death (Samsara). This would ensure that he was firmly and mentally resolute to become a Buddha.

Then he practised the Act of Wishing by verbal expression (Vaci Paṇidhāna), to become a Buddha in the presence of the very many Supremely Enlightened Buddhas whom he met during his journey in Samsara (the cycle of birth and death,).This would ensure that he was firmly rooted in speech and not to deviate from his aspiration to become a Buddha.

The mental and verbal Acts of his wish could be only completed when the bodily (physical) expression (Kāya Paṇidhāna) to become Buddha was duly performed:

This he did upon meeting the Dipankara Buddha in the “Sāra Manda Kappa” which means “a Five-Buddha aeon” when he made the “Kaya Paṇidhāna” act by offering his body to the Dipankara Buddha as a bridge to walk across the muddy hole along the Buddha’s path.

Although it is extremely difficult to become a Supreme Enlightened Buddha, it should be everyone’s aim to become enlightened.

At that moment of declaring and practising the “Kaya Paṇidhāna” (the physical manifestation to become a Buddha) before a living Supreme Buddha, He became a confirmed Bodhisattva or a future Buddha, possessing the following 8 inherent factors:-

1. He must be born as a human being.

2. He must be of the male sex

3. He must be qualified to attain Arahatship and be prepared to renounce that in favour of becoming a Bodhisattva instead. This is a Crucial Qualification to be a qualified Bodhisattva.

4. He must aspire in the presence of a Supreme Buddha. It would be futile to aspire before a Pacceka Buddha or an Arahant.

5. He must have had renounced everything (all his worldly possessions) and be a hermit or a recluse during the dispensation of a Buddha.

6. He must have the Supernormal Powers (such as Divine Eyes, Divine Ear, etc., etc.,), together with the full jhānic ecstasy.

7. He must be so selfless as to even sacrifice his life for the Buddha and the Ariyan Noble Truth.

8. He must also have the enduring fortitude and energy to uphold and practise the Bodhisattva ideals (Paramitas) until successfully and completely accomplished.

So our Gotama Buddha as the Sumedha Pandit was replete with the above 8 requisite qualifications to walk the path of the Buddha-to-be,

then received the universal declaration from Dipankara Buddha that in future, Sumedha would definitely become a Buddha himself.

This unique declaration made Sumedha the hermit, an officially qualified Bodhisattva. Thus the pre-Dawn Buddhism of Gotama Buddha ended.

Dawn of Buddhism

Long, long ago, measuring in many millions of years, there was an ancient royal city named Amarāvatī, a place of great splendour. People living there were very happy, prosperous and enjoyed long life.

Among the richest in Amarāvatī, was a family who had an only son, named Sumedha who was endowed with profound prudence.

At the age of 16, young Sumedha was very learned and talented.

His parents died when he was young and so the vast family inheritance was put in the care of an appointed treasurer. When he came of age, the treasurer handed over all his family inheritance and showed him the vast extent of his properties.

At that juncture, he realized within himself:

My parents and their forebears were unable to take even a single coin along with them when they died, but I should find a way to take along with me all the inheritance in my possession!

So I am giving away all my entire possession to the welfare and benefit of all!

He threw open the doors of his thousands of warehouses containing silver, gold, diamonds and other treasures to the public who could take away anything they wanted. He freed his serfs and made them very rich.

After giving away all his wealth, he went forth to the Himalaya Mountains and became an ascetic in the forest there.

He earnestly practised ecstatic meditation and attained supernatural powers within seven days. He soon became a well-known and respected powerful ascetic.

It was when the people of Rammavatī were busily preparing to welcome the Dipankara Buddha for alms-giving, that the ascetic Sumedha also participated in the joyous event.

Among the welcoming crowd, there was a young lady named Sumitta who was also an eager participant. When she saw the ascetic, she was so happy and delighted:

She had with her eight lotus blooms of which she gave five to the ascetic, leaving three in her hand for offering to the Dipankara Buddha.

Having offered the flowers, the ascetic made a wish with the firm resolution to become a Buddha in future and the lady also made a wish that she would always accompany the ascetic until he fulfilled his quest.

At this juncture, the Dipankara Buddha foretold that the ascetic Sumedha would become a Buddha in four Asaṅkheyyas and one hundred thousand aeons when He was passing over the body of ascetic Sumedha, being offered as a bridge over a muddy hole on the road.

The Life of a Bodhisattva

Since he became a Bodhisattva , he set about fulfilling the three grades of the Ten Perfections, the Five Sacrifices and the Three Modes of Conduct in every life, whether in the human world or in heavens and elsewhere.

His epic Bodhisattva journey which began straight away from the Buddha Dipankara was to last four Asaṅkheyyas and one hundred thousand aeons:

During his life as a practising Bodhisattva from the time he met the Dipankara Buddha until he became a Sammā Sambuddha, he met the following Buddhas during his journey:-

1. DIPANKARA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Ascetic Sumedha
2. KONDANNA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Raja or King
3. MANGALA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
4. SUMANA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was King
5. REVATA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
6. SOBHITA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
7. ANOMADASSI - when Bodhisattva was Devil King
8. PADUMA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Bodhisattva Lion
9. NARADA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was an ascetic
10. PADUMUTTARA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
11. SUMEDHA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
12. SUJATA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise rich man
13. PIYADASSI BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
14. ATTHADASSI BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was an ascetic
15. DHAMMADASSI BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Heavenly King
16. SIDDHATTHA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
17. TISSA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise man
18. PHUSSA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Raja or King
19. VIPASSI BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Raja or King
20. SIKHI BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Raja or King
21. VESSABHU BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Bhikkhu (monk)
22. KAKUSSANDHA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Bhikkhu (monk)
23. KONAGAMANA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was wise rich man
24. KASSAPA BUDDHA - when Bodhisattva was Bhikkhu (monk)

Whereupon he repeated his affirmation to become a Buddha just like them. They too repeated their declaration that he was a confirmed Bodhisattva to become a Sammā Sambuddha in due course.

His Bodhisattva journey in the cycle of birth and death began with ascetic Sumedha and finally ended with his life as King Vessantara. Thus he had completed Bodhisattva path fulfilling the Perfections, Sacrifices and Mode of Conduct as he was duty bound to do so.