by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Kondanna Buddhavamsa 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 page is part of the series known as the chronicle of twenty-four Buddhas. 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).
(Though asaṅkhyeyya is a number which is incalculable, the period between the previous Buddha Dīpaṅkarā and the following Buddha Koṇḍañña is called Buddhantara-asaṅkhyeyya as it is to be understood as an interval between two Buddhas.)
This is how Buddha Koṇḍañña appeared: At the end of His fulfilment of the Perfections for sixty asaṅkhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons, while enjoying His life in the divine abode of Tusitā which is a tradition followed by all Bodhisattas, and having complied with the request made by other devas for becoming a Buddha, He descended to the human world to be conceived in the womb of Queen Sujātā at King Sunanda’s palace in the city of Rammavati.
(At the moment of His conception there occurred the usual thirty-two portent phenomena.)
The Bodhisatta was born after ten months had passed. At the moment of his birth also, the portents became manifest and other miraculous events that were associated with every Bodhisatta took place.
(All this will be mentioned in detail when we come to the chronicle of Buddha Gotama.)
Royal Household Life
Since the Bodhisatta belonged to the clan of Koṇḍañña, he was named Prince Koṇḍañña. When he came of age, he enjoyed a kingly life for ten thousand years, living in the three most delightful golden palaces, namely, Suci, Suruci and Subha, with his Chief Consort Ruci Devi, and being waited upon and entertained by three hundred thousand female dancers and attendants.
While Koṇḍañña was living thus, Queen Ruci Devī gave birth to a son, named Vijitasena. On seeing the four omens of the aged, the sick, the dead, and the recluse, the Bodhisatta renounced the world, riding a chariot drawn by four thoroughbred horses.
Prince Koṇḍañña’s renunciation was emulated by ten crores of people, who became recluses too.
Bodhisatta Koṇḍañña, with these ten crores of recluses, practised dukkaracariyā. On the day he was to attain Enlightenment, the Bodhisatta partook the milk-rice offered by Yasodharā, daughter of a wealthy man of the village of Sunanda. He passed the daytime in the local grove of sāla trees and in the evening, he went alone to the Bodhi tree, leaving behind all his recluse-followers. On the way, he accepted eight handfuls of grass offered by a heretic named Sunanda and as soon as he spread the grass at the foot of a sālakalyani tree, the Unconquered Seat (Aparājita Pallanka), which was fifty-seven cubits in height, appeared.
Sitting cross-legged on the seat, the Bodhisatta put forth energy at four levels and overcame Māra and his army; then he gained Pubbenivāsa ñāṇa in the first watch and Dibbacakkhu ñāṇa in the middle watch and in the last watch he contemplated the doctrine of Paṭicca-samuppāda in forward order and backward order. Thereafter, he entered upon the fourth jhāna through Ānāpāna Meditation, emerged from it and, while reflecting on the five aggregates, he discerned fifty characteristics concerning the rise and fall of the aggregates and developed Vipassanā Insight up to Gotrabhū ñāṇa. Gaining arahatta-magga ñāṇa and penetrating all the attributes of a Buddha, he attained unique Buddhahood at sunrise.
Three Occasions of The Buddha’s Teaching (Dhammābhisamaya)
After His attainment of Buddhahood, the Buddha Koṇḍaññā spent seven days at each of the seven places in the neighbourhood of the Bodhi tree. In the eighth week, He accepted the request made by a Brahmā for His Teaching and He considered as to whom He should teach first, ahead of all others. Remembering the eighty crores of recluses who had followed His example of renunciation, He thought of their whereabouts and came to know that they were staying at Devavana, Divine Grove of Arundhavati town, eighteen yojanas from the Bodhi tree. Taking His bowl and robe, He arrived at their place at once by means of His miraculous power.
Seeing Buddha Koṇḍaññā approaching them from a distance and being moved by their devotional faith in Him, the ten crores of recluses extended Him warm welcome, took His bowl and robe, prepared the seat and paid obeisance to Him respectfully. After which, they set down at suitable places, surrounding the Buddha.
Then the Buddha taught the Dhammacakka-pavattana Discourse which was also delivered by all previous Buddhas.
Buddha Koṇḍañña, who was endowed with unlimited glory, incomparable retinue and fame, countless attributes, formidable appearance to those who are impudent, forbearance like the mass of earth, morality [extensive] like the mass of water in the ocean, concentration, steadfast like Mount Meru, wisdom [infinite] like the open space, always engaged Himself in teaching the faculties (indriya), powers (bala), constituents of Enlightenment (bojjhanga), factors of the Path (maggaṅga), Truths (sacca) as revealed in the Bodhi-pakkhiya Dhamma, the doctrines contributing to Enlightenment, for the benefits of large numbers of beings.
At this teaching of the First Sermon, one hundred crores of devas and human headed by ten crores of bhikkhus realized the four Truths.
(This was the first occasion of Dhammābhisamaya on which the Buddha taught the Four
Truths to devas, humans and Brahmās.)
This was followed, at one time, by the delivery of the Mangala Sutta to a great gathering of devas and Brahmās, who arrived from the ten-thousand world-system, assuming minute subtle bodies (so that there could be enough room for them all) in the universe. At this gathering, an unknown deva raised the question of blessings (maṅgala), asking as to what helped to bring about a perfect life with prosperity. Addressing that deva, the Buddha taught the Maṅgala Sutta.
(This was the second Dhammābhisamaya occasion of the Buddha’s Teaching of the Four
Truths to devas, humans and Brahmās.)
When Buddha Koṇḍañña taught the Dhamma, staying in the sky after defeating the heretics by a display of the twin miracle of water and fire, eight-thousand crores of devas, humans and Brahmās attained arahatta-phala. Those who were established in the three lower phala stages, were innumerable.
(This was the third Dhammābhisamaya occasion of the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Truths to devas, humans and Brahmās.)
Three Occasions of The Disciples’ Meeting (Sannipāta).
There were also three occasions of sannipāta, meeting of Buddha Koṇḍañña’s disciples:
In that city, two young men, Bhadda, son of Sucindhara, and Subhadda, son of Yasodharā, whose fathers belonged to the lineage of immensely rich Brāhmana families, listened to Buddha Koṇḍañña sermon. As a result, they developed devotional faith, donned the robes together with ten thousand youths in the presence of the Buddha and attained arahantship. There, the Buddha, being surrounded by one hundred crores of arahats led by Subhadda Thera, recited the Pāṭimokkha on the full-moon day of Jettha (May/June)
(This was the first sannipāta.)
Some time later, Buddha Koṇḍañña’s son, Prince Vijitasena (after becoming a bhikkhu) attained arahantship. The Buddha then recited the Pāṭimokkha in the midst of one thousand crores of arahats with Vijitasena Thera at their head.
(This was the second sannipāta)
Finally, at one time, while visiting the countryside, Buddha Koṇḍañña ordained King Udena and his host of followers. When they all attained arahantship, the Buddha, being surrounded by ninety crores of arahats, headed by Udena Thera, recited the Pāṭimokkha.
(This was the third sannipāta.)
Bodhisatta Gotama, as Universal Monarch Vijitāvī, received Prophecy from Buddha Koṇḍañña
At that time our Bodhisatta was a Universal Monarch, Vijitāvī by name, ruling in the city of Candavati. Having numerous distinguished hosts of attendants, he held, under his sway, the whole stretch of land in the universe up to the end of the four oceans with righteousness, not by force nor by arms.
Then Buddha Koṇḍañña, setting out on a journey followed by one hundred thousand crores of arahats, arrived at Candavati. Hearing of the Buddha’s visit, Bodhisatta King Vijitārvī extended a warm welcome to the Buddha, made arrangements for His lodging and invited Him and His Disciples for the next day’s meal. The following day, he prepared the meals properly and performed a ceremony of alms-food offering on an elaborate scale.
Having thus performed, the King listened to the Buddha’s sermon, which was given in appreciation of the offering. At the end of the sermon, he made a request: “May the Venerable Ones spend the three months of vassa in the city of Candavati, to do the citizens a favour.” And he performed matchless acts of charity to the congregation of monks led by the Buddha during the whole period of vassa.
Then Buddha Koṇḍañña declared a prophecy: “Innumerable aeons from the present one, in the aeon that appears after three asaṅkhyeyya and one hundred thousand aeons, you will definitely become a Buddha.” (The prophecy, like the one made by Buddha Dīpaṅkarā, given in full detail in the Pāli text, mentioning the practice of austerity and other events, but they are not repeated here as they have already been given in the story of Sumedha.)
Having declared the prophecy, Buddha Koṇḍañña carried on teaching. After listening to the Buddha’s sermon, the King’s faith in the Buddha grew to a great extent and being desirous of achieving Buddhahood, he made an offering of his vast kingdom to the Buddha, in whose presence he became a monk. After learning the Three Piṭakas, he acquired the eightfold attainment and fivefold higher knowledge. Reaching the apex of the higher knowledge, he was reborn in the Brahmā abode on his death.
Particulars of Buddha Koṇḍañña
Buddha Koṇḍañña’s place of birth was the city of Rammavati.
His father was King Sunanda, and His mother was Sujātā Devi.
His Bodhi tree was a Sālakalyānī tree.
His height was eighty-eight cubits, and He shone like the moon or the sun at noon.
The life span then was one hundred thousand years and throughout that long period He saved beings, such as devas, humans and Brahmās, taking them out of the waters of saṃsāra and placing them onto the land of Nibbāna.
While a lay-prince, Buddha Koṇḍañña had three palaces; Suci Golden Palace, Suruci Golden Palace and Subha Golden Palace.
His female attendants were three hundred thousand. His Chief Consort was Ruci Devī, and His son Vijitasena. He reigned for ten thousand years.
He used for His renunciation the chariot drawn by thoroughbred horses. When He became Buddha, He stayed at Candārama (Canda Park).
In Buddha Koṇḍañña’s Dispensation, the earth with arahats, whose āsavas were gone and who were purified of impurities, was in splendour like the open sky with stars and planets. (That is to say, the colour of the arahats' robes covered the surface of the whole earth.)
The arahats were of incomparable nobility. They were not at all disturbed by the eight vicissitudes of life; it was hard for the fiery tempered unruly people to approach them. When these arahats, who were endowed with great fame, were desirous of passing into Nibbāna, they rose to the sky, about seven toddy palm trees high, (as though the lightening rushes into the murky clouds). They entered upon tejo-kasiṇa jhāna (attained with the fire-element as a kasiṇa object) and flashing a great light completely burned themselves in the sky and attained Parinibbāna.
The peerless glory of Buddha Koṇḍañña and His concentrated mind that was permeated with Omniscience had all vanished. Unsubstantial and futile indeed are all conditioned things!
Buddha Koṇḍañña, who had fully realized the Four Noble Truths, attained Parinibbāna at Candārāma. In the same park, a cetiya, seven yojanas high, was built. It was made of powdered red orpiment mixed with oil and butter and was dedicated to Him.
The unbreakable relics of the Buddha, true to the nature of long-lived Enlightened Ones, remained solid like golden images without falling into pieces. These relics were enshrined in the cetiya and people from all over Jambudīpa completed the construction by decorating it with seven kinds of precious stones.
Here ends Koṇḍañña Buddhavaṃsa.
Footnotes and references:
This statement made by the another is repeated after the declaration of prophecy made by each Buddha. We will leave out similar statements from the accounts of later Buddhas.