by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Revata 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).
After Buddha Sumana had attained Parinibbāna, the life span of human beings decreased gradually from ninety thousand years down to ten years; and from ten years, it again increased to an asaṅkhyeyya. When the life span became sixty thousand years on its decline, Bodhisatta Revata, on complete fulfilment of the Perfections, was reborn in Tusitā, as it was a common practice by all Bodhisattas. While enjoying the celestial life there, He agreed to comply with the request made by devas and Brahmās, and descended to the human abode and took conception in the womb of Queen Vipulā, wife of King Vipula, in the city of Sudhaññavatī. When ten months had elapsed, he came out of his mother’s womb like the golden Haṃsa King that appears from Mount Citta.
Royal Household Life
When the Bodhisatta, Prince Revata, came of age, he resided in three uniquely beautiful palaces, namely, Sudassana, Ratanagghi, and Avela, which appeared as a result of his Perfections and glorious deeds of the past. Enjoying a royal household life, that was comparable with a divine life, for six thousand years together with his Consort Sudassanā and being entertained and waited upon by thirty-three thousand attendants.
While he was thus enjoying, his wife Princess Sudassanā gave birth to a son named Varuṇa. After seeing the four omens, in the attire presented by devas which was a common practice to all Bodhisattas, he mounted the chariot drawn by thoroughbred horses and went forth, renouncing the world, in a procession composed of his fourfold army of elephants, horses, chariots and foot-soldiers, like the moon surrounded by stars and planets, like Sakka, King of Devas, followed by his fellow-beings or like Harita, King of Brahmās, followed by divine beings of his abode. On reaching a grove, he handed his garments to the keeper of his treasures, cut off his hair with his ever-present sword and flung his hair into the sky.
Having put on the lotus-robe offered by the Brahmā and thus became a recluse, a crore of men followed his example and became recluses themselves.
Bodhisatta Revata then put efforts to undergo the practice of austerity (dukkaracariyā) with his one crore of followers for seven months.
Attainment of Buddhahood
Having completed dukkaracariyā practice, on the full-moon day of Vesākha-the day he was to become a Buddha, he partook of the milk-food offered by Sādhu Devī, daughter of a wealthy man, and spent the daytime in the local sāla grove. In the evening, he left behind his followers and went alone to the region of the Mahābodhi tree. On the way, he accepted eight handfuls of grass from a heretic, Varunindhara by name, and spread it under the Nāga Bodhi tree. Suddenly, there appeared the Aparājita Pallanka of fifty-three cubits in size, on which he sat cross-legged, mobilized his resources of fourfold energy, dispelled Mars and his forces, and attained the Omniscient State of a Perfectly Self-Enlightened One, Chief of the three worlds.
Three Occasions of The Buddha’s Teaching (Dhammābhisamaya)
After His attainment of Buddhahood and staying near the Bodhi Tree for forty-nine days, Buddha Revata accepted a Brahmā’s request for His Teaching. When He considered as to whom He should teach first, He discerned the one crore of bhikkhus, who joined Him in His renunciation, and also devas and other humans, who were endowed with meritorious deeds of the past, leading them to the Path, Fruition and Nibbāna. When He contemplated their whereabouts, He came to know that they were staying in Varuṇa Park, eighteen leagues from the Mahābodhi tree. Taking His bowl and robe, He then, using His psychic power, immediately appeared at the bhikkhus' residence in Varuṇa Park.
(To cut the story short, on His arrival there, Buddha Revata was very warmly received by the bhikkhus.) To these bhikkhus the Buddha taught the Dhammacakka-pavattana Sutta and one crore bhikkhus realized arahantship. Those who were established in lower Paths and Fruitions were countless.
(This was the First Dhammābhisamaya)
At another time, Buddha Revata paid a visit to the city of Uttara, so named because it excelled all other cities during the reign of King Arindama, who had conquered all his enemies. Learning of the Buddha’s arrival, the King, with his three crores of followers, extended a warm welcome and invitation to the Buddha for the next day’s meal. For seven days he gave great dāna and held a festival of lights extending three gāvutas in honour to the Buddha and stayed near Him. Then the Buddha gave various sermons that suited the King’s disposition. On that occasion of teaching of Dhamma, one thousand crores of devas and humans attained liberation as they realized the Truths.
(This was the second Dhammābhisamaya)
Still at another time, while sojourning at a place near the market-town of Uttara, a resort for His alms-food, Buddha Revata engaged himself in nirodha-samāpatti for seven days. Then townsfolk brought rice-gruel and other kinds of food and drink and offered them to the members of the Sangha. “Venerable Sirs, where is the Buddha staying?” asked the people. “Dear supporters,” replied the monks, “the Buddha is being absorbed in nirodhasamāpatti.” When seven days had lapsed, they had an opportunity of seeing the Buddha and asked Him about the advantages of that very attainment. Accordingly, the Buddha explained to them the advantages of nirodha-samāpatti. As a result, one hundred crores of devas and humans were established in arahatta-phala.
(This was third Dhammābhisamaya)
Three Occasions of The Disciples' Meeting (Sannipāta)
There were three meetings of the Buddha’s disciples, the first of which took place in the city of Sudhannavati where Buddha Revata recited the Pāṭimokkha for the first time to the arahats, who had become ehi-bhikkhus and who were too innumerable to count.
(This was the first sannipāta.)
Later, at the meeting held in Mekhala city, the Buddha recited the Pāṭimokkha to one hundred thousand crores of ehi-bhikkhus arahats.
(This was the second sannipāta.)
At the third meeting, Buddha Revata explained the three characteristics (impermanence, suffering and unsubstantiality) to the people who went to enquire after the ailing Varuṇa Mahā Thera, who was the Buddha’s Chief Disciple and Right-hand Man and was foremost among knowers of Dhamma as he was able to set the Wheel of Dhamma in constant motion. His health condition then was so serious that it gave rise to anxiety and the question, “Will He survive?” At that meeting, the Buddha also made one hundred thousand men ehi-bhikkhus and established them in arahatta-phala. Finally He recited the Pāṭimokkha in that very meeting which composed of four features.
(This was the third sannipāta.)
Bodhisatta Gotama, as Brahmin Atideva, received Prophecy from Buddha Revata
At that time, our Bodhisatta was a brahmin named Atideva, fully accomplished in brahmanic lore, which was handed down by generation after generation of teachers. On encountering Buddha Revata, and after listening to the Buddha’s sermon, he took refuge in the Three Gems. He also sang one thousand verses in praise of the Buddha’s attributes of morality, concentration of the mind and wisdom, and offered his upper garment that was worth one thousand pieces of money.
Thereupon Buddha Revata made a prophecy: “Two asaṅkhyeyyas and one hundred aeons after the present one, you will become a Buddha by the name of Gotama.”
On receiving Buddha Revata’s prophecy, the Bodhisatta’s mind became all the more serene and he courageously resolved to make more effort in fulfilling of the Perfections: “I will contemplate and develop the Perfections and try to attain the Buddhahood that I long for.”
Particulars of Buddha Revata
Buddha Revata’s birthplace was Sudhañña City. His father was King Vipula and
His mother was Queen Vipulā.
He reigned for six thousand years and His three palaces were Sudassana, Ratanagghi and Āveḷa.
His Chief Consort was Sudassanā, who had thirty-three thousand maids of honour. His son was Varuṇa.
Having seen the four omens, He renounced the world in a chariot drawn by thoroughbred horses. He practised dukkaracariyā for seven months.
His Bodhi tree was a Nāga tree.
Buddha Revata’s height was eighty cubits. He illumined all the directions like the hoisted banner of Sakka. His physical rays spread all round, up to one league, day and night.
The life span during His time was sixty thousand years. He lived throughout the period equal to four-fifths of this life span, rescuing numerous devas, humans and Brahmās from saṃsāric waters and placed them on Nibbānic shores.
Having taught the doctrine of Deathlessness to the world by showing the powers of the ten-fold wisdom of Enlightened Ones, Buddha Revata attained Parinibbāna, like great flames of fire that become extinct as the fuel runs out.
That Buddha Revata’s frame, which was like a solid gem stone, and His incomparable ten-fold Dhamma had all vanished. Unsubstantial and futile indeed are all conditioned things!
When His Parinibbāna was drawing near, Buddha Revata resolved: “May My relics remain not in a mass but split into pieces and reach various places so that, when I am gone, all beings may attain celestial abodes and Nibbāna (as a result of them).” Then He attained Parinibbāna in the Nāga grove, neither too near nor too far from the city. His relics did not form into one mass, a deviation from the usual mode of relics of long-lived Buddhas, but dispersed and spread to every nook and corner of Jambudīpa, in accordance with His resolve and were held in honour by devas, humans and Brahmās.
Here ends Revata Buddhavaṃsa
Footnotes and references:
Four features, refer to second sannipata of Buddha Sumana.