by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Sobhita 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 Revata’s Parinibbāna, the life span of human beings decreased gradually from sixty thousand years to ten years and then from ten years, it increased to asaṅkhyeyyas. When the life span became ninety thousand years on its second decline, Bodhisatta Sobhita, after complete fulfilment of the Perfections for four asaṅkhyeyyas and one hundred thousand aeons, was reborn in Tusitā, a common practice by all Bodhisattas. While living there, he accepted the request made by devas, and then descended from his celestial abode to the human world and took conception in the womb of Sudhamma, Chief Queen of King Sudhamma, in the city of the same name. Ten months thereafter, the Bodhisatta left his mother’s womb in Sudhamma Park, like the way the big full moon came out of the clouds.
Royal Household Life
When Bodhisatta Prince Sobhita came of age, he lived in three golden palaces, namely, Kumuda, Nalina and Paduma, and enjoyed a heavenly-like royal household life with his Chief Consort Manila, and being entertained and waited upon by thirty-seven thousand female attendants.
While he was enjoying thus, a son, named Sīha, was born by the Princess. Seeing then the four omens, Bodhisatta Sobhita was stirred by a strong religious emotion. Even while in the palace, he lived the life of a recluse and practised respiration meditation (ānāpāna-bhāvanā) till he attained the fourth jhāna. Still again in the very palace, he practised dukkaracariyā for seven days.
“Let this very palace of mine, with its usual decorations, go through the air while the populace is watching and descend onto the earth, making the Mahābodhi tree lie in the centre. When I take residence near the Bodhi Tree, may all female courtiers here leave the palace on their own accord without my asking.”
As soon as he had thus resolved, the Bodhisatta’s palace rose from the courtyard of his father, King Sudhamma, into the sky of the dark blue-green colour of collyrium. The palace adorned with scented festoons shone very brightly as though it beautified the whole sky like the sun with its splendid colour of liquid gold showers, and also like the bright moon of the month of Kattikā in autumn. The flying palace travelled all over the vault of heaven and attracted the people’s eyes, as would the brilliant colour of tree branches and various gems.
It also had a net of various exquisites, little bells hanging downwards. Touched by the breeze, the net made sweet tinkling sound that was like the sound of five musical instruments played by highly skilled musicians. The sweet tinkling sound, from a distance, attracted the people as if enticing them from its aerial travel, neither too low nor too high, whether they were staying in the houses or standing on cross-roads, they praised and marvelled at the sound. The sound seems to be proclaiming the qualities of the acts of merit done by the Bodhisatta.
The female dancers, who were in the flying palace, sang with delightful voices resembling the sound of five musical instruments. They also spoke sweetly in praise (of the Bodhisatta) among themselves. The Bodhisatta’s fourfold army surrounded the palace in the sky, just as it did on the ground. They were like divine ones, brilliant with their shining equipments and physical radiance and in their raiment of fragrant blossoms.
Having taken its flight, the palace descended onto the earth making the Nāga Bodhi tree lie in the centre. This tree was eighty-eight cubits tall, its trunk straight, broad, round, and beautiful with flowers, leaves, sprouts and buds. Then the female dancers went out of the palace and departed of their own accord.
Attainment of Buddhahood
Glorious with numerous qualities and surrounded by hosts of people, Buddha Sobhita acquired the three-fold knowledge during the three watches of the night. Mara’s forces were defeated as usual. The palace, however, remained there.
Three Occasions of The Buddha’s Teaching (Dhammābhisamaya)
After His attainment of Enlightenment, Buddha Sobhita spent forty-nine days near the Bodhi tree. Having agreed to a Brahmā’s entreaty, He thought as to whom He should teach first and He saw, with His mind’s eye, His half younger brothers, Princes Asama and Sunetta. Knowing that they were endowed with supporting merits (upanissaya) and were able to grasp the profound and subtle Dhamma, He decided to teach them. Accordingly, by His psychic power, He immediately appeared at Sudhamma Park. Through the gardener, the Buddha summoned the Princes. Being surrounded by the Princes and their retinues, in the midst of the audience of countless devas, humans and Brahmās from all over the regions, ranging from the highest Bhavagga abode down to the lowest Avīci hell, the Buddha taught the Dhammacakka-pavattana Sutta. As a result of which, a large multitude of devas, humans and Brahmās realized the Four Truths.
(This was the first Dhammābhisamaya.)
On another occasion, having displayed the Twin Miracle of water and fire near an exquisite Cittapāṭalī tree, in the neighbourhood of the city-gate of Sudassana, sitting on the emerald stone slab of pandukambala under the coral tree, the Buddha taught Abhidhamma. In that conclusion, ninety thousand crores of devas and Brahmās realized the Truths and were liberated.
(This was the second Dhammābhisamaya.)
Still on another occasion, Prince Jayasena had a monastery built in the compound of a garden in Sudassana where he had such excellent trees as Asoka, Assakaṇṇa, etc., planted, one close to another. He dedicated the monastery, together with the garden, to the Sangha with the Buddha at its head. At the great ceremony of dedication, the Buddha Sobhita gave a sermon in appreciation of the dedication, lauding the Prince’s great generosity (mahādāna). At the conclusion of the sermon, one hundred thousand crores of beings, such as devas, humans and Brahmās, attained realization of the Truths and liberation.
(This was the third Dhammābhisamaya.)
Three Occasions of The Disciples’ Meeting (Sannipāta)
Another offering of a monastery, Sunandarama, at the city of Sunanda, was done by King Uggata to the Sangha headed by the Buddha. On this occasion, a hundred crores of ehibhikkhus arahats assembled. To them, the Buddha recited the instructive Pāṭimokkha.
(This was the first sannipāta.)
Again, a group of virtuous people, Dhammagaṇa, built a monastery named Gaṇārama in the city of Mekhala and offered it to the Sangha headed by the Buddha. They also performed dāna of various requisites. On this occasion, assembled ninety crores of ehibhikkhus arahats. At this meeting, the Buddha uttered the instructive Pāṭimokkha.
(This was the second sannipāta.)
After teaching Abhidhamma in Tāvatiṃsa and staying there for the whole period of vassa, being accompanied by devas and Brahmās, Buddha Sobhita returned to the human world to perform pavāraṇā and did so at the four-factored the meeting of four features attended by eighty crores of arahats.
(This was the third sannipāta.)
Future Buddha Gotama, as Brahmin Sujātā, received Prophecy from Buddha Sobhita
At that time, our future Buddha Gotama was born a brahmin, Sujātā by name, whose parents were of brahmin caste, in Rammavati City. Having listened to the Buddha’s Dhamma, he was established in the three Refuges. He gave alms on a grand scale to the Buddha and His Sangha for the three months of vassa. Then the Buddha made a prophetic declaration concerning Sujātā the Brahmin: “This man will become a Buddha, Gotama by name, in future.”
Particulars of Buddha Sobhita
Buddha Sobhita’s birthplace was Sudhamma City. His father was King Sudhamma and His mother was Sudhammā.
He reigned for nine thousand years. His three palaces were Kamuda, Nalina and Paduma.
His Chief Consort was Manilā who had thirty-seven thousand maids of honour. His son was Sīha.
His conveyance on His renunciation, after seeing the four omens, was a palace. He observed dukkaracariyā just for seven days even in this palace.
Buddha Sobhita’s height was fifty-eight cubits. Like the rising sun, He possessed body lustre which could shine and spread all over the directions as much as He wished.
Like a great grove full of trees in full bloom and fragrant with various scents, the Buddha Sobhita’s grove of instructive words was fragrant with the scents of morality.
Another simile: as one is not satiated looking at the moving and rising waves of the ocean, so beings, such as devas, humans and Brahmās, were not satiated listening to the words of Buddha Sobhita.
The life span during Buddha Sobhita’s time was ninety thousand years and living four-fifths of this life span, He saved devas, humans and Brahmās from saṃsāric currents and placed them on Nibbānic shores.
After bequeathing His diverse Teaching, long and short, to future beings who had not attained liberation in His presence, Buddha Sobhita, together with His arahat- disciples, came to the cessation of His existence, attained Parinibbāna just as a great flame became extinguished.
That Buddha Sobhita, equal only to peerless Buddhas, and His arahat-disciples who had acquired abhiññānas and other powers, had all vanished. Unsubstantial and futile indeed are all conditioned things!
Before His Parinibbāna, Buddha Sobhita resolved: “When I am gone, let the relics of my body not remain in a mass but split into pieces and reach various places” and His Parinibbāna took place in Sīha Park. Accordingly His relics did not remain in a massive but dispersed all over Jambudīpa and were worshipped by beings, such as devas, humans and Brahmās.
Here ends Sobhita Buddhavaṃsa