by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Mangala 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).
When incalculable aeons had elapsed after the aeon of Buddha Koṇḍañña, in one kappa there appeared four Buddhas, namely, (1) Maṅgala, (2) Sumana, (3) Revata and (4) Sobhita in that order. The first of the four Buddhas therefore was Maṅgala.
Having fulfilled the Perfections for sixteen asaṅkhyeyya and one hundred thousand aeons and on completion of His fulfilment of the Perfections, Bodhisatta Maṅgala was reborn in Tusitā which was a common abode of all future Buddhas. While enjoying a divine life, He accepted the request made by devas and descended to the world of human beings to take conception in the womb of Uttarā, Queen of King Uttara, in the city of Uttara which excelled all other cities.
The Mother’s Body Luminescence
From the moment the Bodhisatta took conception, the light from the Queen’s body spread eight cubits all around and could not be overpowered even by sun-light and moon-light. Not requiring other lights, the queen moved about by means of her own luminescence with her maids of honour at her service.
Birth of the Bodhisatta
The conception was guarded by celestial beings, and when ten months had elapsed the Bodhisatta was born in the excellent and delightful Uttaramadhura Park.
Royal Household Life
When Bodhisatta Maṅgala came of age, he ascended the throne. He lived in three golden palaces, namely, the most famous Yasavanta Palace, the most delightful Rucimanta Palace and the most splendid Sirimanta Palace, together with his Chief Consort Yasavati and surrounded by thirty thousand dancers who were exquisitely adorned. Thus he enjoyed kingly luxuries that were likened to divine comforts for nine thousand years.
When Queen Yasavati gave birth to a son, named Sivala, the Bodhisatta saw the four omens of the aged, the sick, the dead and the recluse, and then he renounced the world by going forth, riding the well decorated thoroughbred horse named Pandara and became a monk.
His renunciation example was followed by three crores of people who also donned the robe.
With the three crores of monks, Buddha Maṅgala engaged in dukkaracariyā for eight months. On the full-moon day of Vesākha when he was about to attain Buddhahood, he partook the milk-food offered by Uttarā, daughter of a wealthy man and a resident of the village of Uttara. After spending the day-time in the local sāla grove, he left behind his host of bhikkhus and went alone to the Mahābodhi tree in the evening. On the way, he accepted the eight handfuls of grass from a heretic, Uttara by name. As soon as he spread the grass under the Naga Bodhi tree, there appeared the Aparājita Seat, which was fiftyeight cubits high.
Attainment of Buddhahood
Sitting cross-legged on that seat and putting forth energy at four levels, the Bodhisatta defeated Mara and his army. He acquired Pubbenivāsa ñāṇa in the first watch and Dibbacakkhu ñāṇa in the middle watch of the night. In the last watch, however, he reflected on the Doctrine of Paṭicca-samuppāda in forward and backward order, after which he entered upon the fourth jhāna through Ānāpāna Meditation. Having emerged from that jhāna, he reflected on the five aggregates, discerned the fifty characteristics of their rise and fall and developed Vipassanā Insight up to Gotrabhū ñāṇa. Gaining the arahatta-magga ñāṇa and penetrating all attributes of a Buddha, he attained the incomparable Buddhahood at sunrise.
Extremely Bright Rays of The Body
Buddha Maṅgala’s rays shone forth more intensely than those of other Buddhas. The rays from other Buddhas produced automatically without supernormal power, reached the distance of either eighty cubits or just an arms length. But Buddha Maṅgala’s rays shone day and night all over the ten-thousand world-system. Because of such brilliance, not only all the surrounding objects, such as trees, the ground, forests, hills, oceans, etc., were illuminated, but, to say the least, pots and pans that were usually dirty and black (with soot) were lit up as if they were covered with gold.
The life span of people belonging to the period in which Buddha Maṅgala appeared was ninety thousand years, and during that whole period everything was thus gold in colour. During His Dispensation, the sun, the moon, stars and planets had no light. Since there was no sunlight, the demarcation between day and night was not distinct.
Though there was absence of sunlight, people moved about attending to their business by means of the Buddha’s rays. Days and nights are recognized with the help of the chirps of birds, that were normally heard in the morning and the blooms of flowers that are normally seen in the evening.
The question may be asked whether other Buddhas were lacking such glorious powers. The answer is: they were not, indeed they also had such powers. They could make the rays permeate the ten thousand world-system if they so desired. But while others had their natural luminescence of their bodies just within an arm’s length, the rays of Buddha Maṅgala’s body always spread throughout the ten thousand world-system without having to be produced purposely because of the power of His wish made in a previous existence.
Buddha Maṅgala’s Wish made in A Previous Existence
Hearing that the Bodhisatta was very generous, an ogre named Kharadāṭhika, in the guise of a brahmin, approached him to ask for His son and daughter.
The Bodhisatta handed His son and daughter over to the brahmin most delightedly and thus caused the trembling of the great earth, two hundred and forty thousand leagues in size, the bottom of which touching the waters below.
Leaning against the wooden plank of the railing of the walkway, the ogre devoured up both children as though he chewed and ate a bundle of lotus stems while the Bodhisatta was looking on.
While looking, he saw bright blood like flames of fire pouring out from the ogre’s mouth as he opened it, but there arose not one iota of distress in him. Instead, he was greatly delighted and happy, thinking: “This is my excellent act of charity.”
He then expressed his wish: “As a result of this generous act of mine, may my body emanate rays in future, bright like the blood (in the ogre’s mouth).” Hence, in fulfilment of that wish, on attainment of Buddhahood, the brilliant natural rays emanated and spread from Buddha Maṅgala’s body all over the ten-thousand world-system.
Besides, there was another wish made previously by Buddha Maṅgala. As a Bodhisatta, he once got an opportunity to pay homage to a cetiya dedicated to a Buddha. Thinking: “I should sacrifice my life to this Enlightened One,” he had his whole body wrapped up in cloth soaked with oil. He then filled a golden bowl, which was worth one hundred thousand pieces of money, with butter up to the brim which was about a cubit in diameter, through the slit. In that golden bowl, he lighted a thousand wicks and carried the bowl on his head. He also set his body ablaze and spent the whole night circumambulating the sacred cetiya.
Though the Bodhisatta was paying homage thus till dawn, the heat could not touch even the pores of his body, as if he were staying amidst lotus blooms. Indeed the nature of the Dhamma is such that it gives reciprocal protection from danger to one who protects (practises) it. Therefore the Buddha says:
Also as a result of this act of merit, Buddha Maṅgala’s natural body rays spread throughout the ten thousand world-systems.
Three Occasions of The Buddha’s Teaching (Dhammābhisamaya)
After His Enlightenment, Buddha Maṅgala stayed for seven days at each of the seven sites near the Bodhi tree. He then accepted a Brahmā’s request for His Teaching, and when He contemplated to whom He should teach, He saw the three crores of bhikkhus who had donned the robe to follow His example and who were endowed with sufficing conditions (upanissaya) for the Path and Fruition.
Thinking that He would teach them first, the Buddha contemplated also their whereabouts and came to know that they were staying in the forest called Sirivana of the city of Sirivaddhana, eighteen leagues away from the Mahābodhi tree. Taking with Him His bowl and robe, the Buddha immediately appeared at the forest of Sirivana, using His psychic power.
On seeing the Buddha approaching them, the three crores of bhikkhus, with faithful minds, welcomed the Buddha by taking His bowl and robe, prepared the seat for Him, and paid obeisance respectfully. When all these had been done, (surrounding the Buddha) they took their appropriate seats.
Then the Buddha delivered the Dhammacakka-pavattana Sutta as all previous Buddhas had done. By the end of which, the three crores of bhikkhus attained arahatta-phala. (They all became arahats.) Devas and humans, numbering one hundred thousand, realized the Four Truths. (They were thus liberated.)
(This was the first Dhammābhisamaya.)
Immediately before Buddha Maṅgala taught the Abhidhamma, He was staying near the city of Citta, His resort for food. Like our Buddha (Gotama) who performed the Twin Miracle of water and fire near the mango tree of the gardener, Kanda, near the city-gate of Sāvatthī, and defeated the heretics, so did Buddha Maṅgala display the Twin Miracle and defeated the heretics at the city-gate of Citta. He then went up to Tāvatiṃsa where he sat on the emerald stone slab, Paṇḍukambala, at the foot of Pāricchattaka tree and taught Abhidhamma discourses to devas and Brahmās.
Then one hundred thousand crores of devas and Brahmās realized the Four Truths. (They were liberated.)
(This was the second Dhammābhisamaya.)
Before Buddha Maṅgala appeared, there was King Sunanda, in the city of Surabhi, who performed the duties necessary for acquisitions of the Wheel (which is one of the seven treasures of a Universal monarch). After fulfilment the duties, the wheel treasure came into his possession.
When Buddha Maṅgala appeared, the Wheel slipped from its place. Seeing this, King Sunanda became very unhappy and asked his brahmin advisors: “Why was the Wheel treasure that appeared by the power of my meritorious deeds has slipped from its place?” Then the Brahmins replied:
“O King, the Wheel slips because the life of a Universal Monarch is nearing its end; or when the monarch becomes a monk; or because a Buddha appears.
“There is absolutely no danger of your life ending. You will live a very long life.
“Indeed Buddha Maṅgala has now appeared in the world. That is the reason for the slipping of your Wheel treasure.”
Having heard the reply given by the Brahmins, the Universal Monarch Sunanda with his retinue paid his respects to the Wheel treasure and made a request thus: “I will do obeisance to Buddha Maṅgala by means of your glory, O Wheel. Please do not disappear yet in the meantime.” Then the Wheel returned to its original place.
Immensely delighted, Universal Monarch Sunanda with his multitude of people, thirty leagues in size, approached Buddha Maṅgala who was indeed maṅgala (auspiciousness) of the whole world. The King gave alms on a grand scale to the Buddha and His Sangha. He offered the hundred thousand arahats pieces of cloth from Kāsi, to be made into robes, and all kinds of requisites to the Buddha. After the alms-giving, he sat down at a suitable place to listen to the Buddha’s sermon. Likewise, Prince Anurāja, son of the Universal Monarch, took his seat.
Then Buddha Maṅgala gave the audience, headed by King Sunanda, the usual series of sermons. This led to the attainment of arahantship with the Fourfold Analytical Knowledge by Universal Monarch Sunanda and his followers, numbering ninety crores.
Contemplating on the acts of merit done by them in the previous existence, the Buddha saw their past wholesome deeds that would bring them bowls and robes miraculously (without looking for them). So He stretched out His right arm and uttered: “Etha Bhikkhavo–Come, O monks!” Instantly all of them became monks with their hair of two fingers length, carrying their respective bowls and putting on their respective robes and assuming the respectable appearance of Mahātheras of a hundred years' standing in the Order, and they surrounded the Buddha.
(This was the third Dhammābhisamaya.)
Three Occasions of The Disciples' Meeting (Sannipāta)
While Buddha Maṅgala was sojourning in the city of Mekhala, His future Chief Disciples, the young men Sudeva and Dhammasena, who had one thousand (according to the Sinhalese Commentary, ten thousands) youthful companions each, became ehi-bhikkhus in the Buddha’s presence, and when they attained arahantship on the full moon of Magha (January-February), the Buddha recited the Ovāda Pāṭimokkha in the midst of one hundred thousand crores of monks.
(This was the first sannipāta.)
Again, the Buddha recited the same Pāṭimokkha at the meeting of one thousand crores of monks, who had been ordained at the assembly of the Buddha’s kinsmen, that took place in the Park named Uttara.
(This was the second sannipāta.)
In the midst of ninety crores of monks, who took part in the Sangha meeting headed by the bhikkhu who formerly was Sunanda the Universal Monarch, the Buddha repeated His recitation of the Pāṭimokkha.
(This was the third sannipāta.)
Bodhisatta Gotama, as Brahmin Suruci, received prophecy from Buddha Maṅgala
At the time of Buddha Maṅgala, our Bodhisatta was a brahmin, Suruci by name, living at the village of Suruci. He was accomplished in the Vedas (Vedic texts), nighaṇḍu (glossary), keṭubha (rhetoric), akkharapabheda (grammar) and itihāsa (legends and histories) as the fifth treatise.
He was well-versed in Lokāyata philosophy, which was concerned not with spiritual matters but only with mundane affairs and also in Mahāpurisa Lakkhaṇa, the art of reading bodily signs of a superior being.
Having listened to the Buddha’s talks on the Dhamma, Brahmin Suruci cultivated faith in Him and took refuge in the Three Gems. He then invited the Buddha and His disciples: “Please accept my offering of food for tomorrow.”
“Brahmin, how many monks do you like to have?” asked the Buddha. “How many monks are there, Venerable Sir?” “There are all together one hundred thousand crores,” replied the Buddha, as it was the occasion when His Disciples assembled for the first time. “Then Venerable Sir, together with all these monks, please accept my offering of the meals.” The Buddha kept silent showing His consent.
Having invited the Buddha, Bodhisatta Brahmin Suruci went home and thought thus: “I can afford to give such a great number of monks rice gruel and pieces of cloth meant to be robes. But how can the seating for them be arranged?”
Then Sakka contemplated thus: “Who is interested in removing me from this place?” When he looked for the cause of the warming of his seat, he saw Brahmin Suruci; it then occurred to him thus: “This Bodhisatta has invited the Sangha, led by the Buddha, for meals and is worrying about their accommodation. I should go there and take my share of merits.” Assuming the appearance of a carpenter and carrying an axe in hand, he appeared before the Bodhisatta.
Construction of A Pavilion
Sakka, as the carpenter, enquired: “Is there any job for a worker?” Seeing the carpenter, the Bodhisatta asked: “What can you do?” “There is no craft that I do not know. If anybody wants to build a pavilion, a palace, a house, or any other building, that is my job.” “Then I have something for you to do.” “What is it?” “I have invited a hundred thousand crores of monks to tomorrow’s meal. Can you build a pavilion to accommodate theme.” “Yes, I can, provided you pay me.” “Friend, I will.” “Very well, I will construct it as you will make payment.” So saying, Sakka looked round for a certain plot of land.
Rise of A Jewelled Pavilion from The Earth
The plot of land, twelve leagues in size, which was viewed by Sakka, became an evenly level ground like a kasiṇa-device. Sakka looked around and made the wish: “Let a great pavilion of seven kinds of jewels, pleasing to the eye and richly adorned, appear from the earth.” And while he was watching, there rose up a great pavilion of jewels, splitting the earth surface. Its pillars of gold had lotus-vases of silver; its pillars of silver had lotus vases of gold; its pillars of rubies had lotus-vases of coral; its pillars of coral had lotusvases of rubies, and its pillars of seven kinds of jewels had lotus-vases of seven kinds of jewels.
Thereupon he looked at the pavilion and made the wish: “Let there be chains of tinkling golden bells hanging between the pillars in the pavilion.” As he was thus looking, the chains of tinkling golden bells appeared, hanging between one pillar and another. Fanned by a gentle breeze, the tinkling bells made a very sweet sound like the sound of music produced by five kinds of musical instruments. It was like the time when celestial beings in heaven performed a concert.
Again, he made the wish: “Let there be festoons of heavenly perfumes, festoons of flowers and festoons of leaves hanging down.” At that moment, festoons of heavenly perfumes, flowers and leaves appeared hanging down.
Again, he made the wish: “Let seats for the hundred thousand crores of monks, costly spreads and bowl-stands allowable to monks appear breaking the earth.” Instantly, these things appeared.
Still again Sakka made the wish: “Let there be huge water pots in every corner.” Instantly, huge water pots appeared.
When all these had been created, Sakka went to the Bodhisatta Brahmin Suruci and said: “Come, Brahmin, please have a look at your pavilion and make payment due to me.” The Bodhisatta went to the pavilion and while he was examining it, the whole frame of his body was suffused with five kinds of joy.
Performance of Mahā Dāna
While the Bodhisatta was looking at the pavilion, it occurred to him thus: “This pavilion could not have been made by a human being. On account of my wholesome desire to perform a great act of charity and also of my virtues, surely Sakka’s seat must have become warm. The warmth must have led the King of Devas to construct this pavilion. With such a pavilion, it does not befit me to make offerings just for one day. For seven days shall I perform a great act of charity.” He then accommodated the Sangha, headed by the Buddha, in the pavilion for seven days and offered them specially prepared milk-rice.
When the milk-rice was offered, it was not possible for the people alone to wait upon the monks, devas too, one beside each man, participated in waiting upon them. The site which was twelve or thirteen leagues was not large enough for all the bhikkhus. Therefore those bhikkhus, who could not get seats, had to make their own accommodation there by exercising their respective powers.
Offering of Medicinal Food and Sets of Three Robes
The day the alms-giving was over, all the monks' bowls were washed well, filled with clarified butter, ghee, honey, molasses for medicinal purposes and were offered together with sets of three robes. The set of robes that was received by the most junior member of the Sangha was worth one hundred thousand pieces of money.
Buddha Maṅgala’s Prophetic Declaration
When Buddha Maṅgala was giving His sermon in appreciation of the alms given to Him, He contemplated through His foreseeing wisdom: “This man had performed such an act of great alms-giving. What will he become in future?” Then He foresaw that Bodhisatta Brahmin Suruci would definitely become a Buddha, Gotama by name, in one bhadda-kappa after two asaṅkhyeyyas and one hundred thousand aeons had elapsed. He then called out to him and made a prophetic declaration: “When two asaṅkhyeyya and one hundred thousand aeons have elapsed, you will definitely become a Buddha, Gotama by name.”
Hearing Buddha Maṅgala’s prophecy, the Bodhisatta became elated and rejoiced, and it occurred to him thus: “The Buddha has prophesied that I would certainly become a Buddha. What is the use of living a household life. I shall go forth immediately.” Having abandoned the wealth of a rich brāhmaṇic household as though it were spittle, he became a monk in the presence of Buddha Maṅgala, learned the three Piṭakas, attained the Five Abhiññās and Eight Jhānas, and without slackening from his jhānas, he was reborn in the Brahmā-world on his death.
Particulars of Buddha Maṅgala
Buddha Maṅgala’s birthplace was the city of Uttara.
His father was King Uttara and His mother was Queen Uttara.
His Bodhi tree was a nāga-tree.
Buddha Maṅgala’s height was eighty-eight cubits. His physical rays always appeared in splendour throughout the ten-thousand world-system. Sometimes they spread beyond the ten-thousand world-system, reaching hundreds of thousands of world-systems.
The life span of people during His time was ninety thousand years, and the Buddha lived throughout that period, rescuing such beings as humans, devas and Brahmās out of the waters of saṃsāra and carried them to the shores of Nibbāna.
While a lay-prince, the golden palaces he lived in were three viz., Yasavanta Palace, Rucimanta Palace, and Sirimanta Palace.
He had thirty thousand female attendants. His Chief Consort was Yasavatī. His son was Sivala. He reigned for nine thousand years.
He went forth riding the horse named Pandara. On His Enlightenment He stayed in Uttara Park.
Just as counting the waves in the great ocean is impossible, so was the number of the arahat-disciples of Buddha Maṅgala.
Throughout the lifetime and Dispensation of Buddha Maṅgala who conveyed all the three kinds of beings to Nibbāna, there never was a single recluse who died with defilements. (They all became arahats and were pure when passed away into Nibbāna.)
Buddha Maṅgala, who had large numbers of followers and great fame, lighted the Lamp of Dhamma and saved a great multitude of people from saṃsāric currents to Nibbānic shores. Like a mass of fire that had shone forth became extinct and like the sun that was gone, the Buddha attained Parinibbāna, revealing thereby the nature of impermanence, suffering and uncontrollability of conditioned things to humans together with devas and Brahmās.
As soon as Buddha Maṅgala had thus passed away, His physical rays disappeared, and the entire ten-thousand world-system was left in total darkness. Then there occurred great lamentation of people throughout the world-systems.
The peerless glory of Buddha Maṅgala and His concentrated mind that was permeated with Omniscience had all vanished. Unsubstantial and futile indeed are all conditioned things!
Buddha Maṅgala, who had fully realized the Four Noble Truths, thus attained Parinibbāna at Uttara Park. (So called because its fruit trees bore more fruits and its flower trees had more flowers than those of other gardens.) In the same park, a cetiya, thirty yojanas high, was built with the soft plaster made of powdered red orpiment mixed with oil and butter; and it was dedicated to Buddha Maṅgala.
The unbreakable relics of the Buddha, true to the nature of long-lived Enlightened Ones, remained solid like a golden image 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 Maṅgala Buddhavaṃsa.