by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Salutation & Intention contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
[For the Anudīpanī on this chapter, see Anudīpanī on words and phrases]
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, devas, human and Brahmās 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 features, 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).
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 taught by that Buddha, and which has been held in high esteem by Himself.
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 Buddhavaṃsa and its commentary and also taking relevant materials from other texts and commentaries, the Mahā Buddhavaṃsa, the Great Chronicle of the Buddhas–a book on the lives of twenty-five Enlightened Ones from out of innumerable past Buddhas, whose number is far greater than that of the grains of sand of the Ganges, beginning with the account of the Exalted Dīpaṅkarā, from whom the future Gotama, as the Hermit Sumedha, received the definite prophecy that he would become a Perfectly Self-Enlightened One.
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 Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha; and who are properly and uprightly cultivating the threefold practice of morality (sīla), concentration (samādhi) and insight (paññā)–may they easily attain the Path, Fruition and Nibbāna.
Footnotes and references:
This Pāli 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.
These are called aṭṭha vemattāni, 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 Maṅgala, 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 Pāli Proper Names under Buddha.
This is the first attribute of the Dhamma.
These are the first and second of the attributes of the Sangha.
The fourteenth book of the Khuddaka-Nikāya of the Sutta-Piṭaka.
“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 Pāli gāthā beginning with the word “Sambuddhe.” The relevant Pāli composition in two lines are:—
“Appakā vālukā Gangā,
anantā nibbutā jinā,...”
Receiving of the definite prophecy (Niyata-vyākaraṇa) 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.
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 (kāma), materiality (rūpa) and immateriality (arūpa). The first corresponds to the realm of five senses, comprising the four woeful states (apāya), the human world and the six celestial worlds. The material and immaterial worlds belong to the Brahmas.