The Great Chronicle of Buddhas
by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Atthadassi 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).
Buddha Chronicle 14: Atthadassī Buddhavaṃsa
After Buddha Piyadassī had attained Parinibbāna, in that aeon (which should be called Manda-kappa because it was full of pleasing, spotless, special attributes though it was actually a vara-kappa as three Buddhas appeared during that period) the life span of human beings decreased gradually from ninety thousand years to ten years, and then it again increased to asaṅkhyeyyas. When the life span reached one hundred thousand years on its next decrease, future Buddha Atthadassī was reborn in Tusitā on complete fulfilment of the Perfections which was a common practice of Bodhisattas. Having agreed to the entreaties of devas and Brahmās to becoming a Buddha, he descended to the human world to be conceived in the womb of Queen Sudassana, Consort of King Sāgara, in the city of Sobhana. Ten months thereafter the Bodhisatta was born in Sucindhana Park.
On his naming day, he was named Atthadassī because owners of treasures, which were hidden underground, recovered them, after having discovered the forgotten sites where their treasures had long been kept, one generation after another.
Royal Household Life
When Bodhisatta Atthadassī came of age, he lived in three palaces, namely, Amaragiri, Sugiri and Vāhana. Being entertained and served by thirty-three thousand female attendants, headed by Princess Visākha, he thus enjoyed a divine-like royal household life for ten thousand years.
When the Bodhisatta had seen the four omens and when Queen Visākha had given birth to a son, named Sela, he went forth riding a horse, named Sudassana. Nine crores of men joined him and became recluses themselves.
Attainment of Buddhahood
With these nine crores of recluses, Bodhisatta Atthadassī practised dukkaracariyā for eight months. On the full-moon day of Vesākha, the day of his Enlightenment, people brought delicious milk-rice to offer it to the female nāga, Sucindhara by name. But she did not eat it. Having revealed herself to the people, she instead offered it in a golden bowl to the Bodhisatta. The Bodhisatta, partook it and spent the daytime in the local grove of sāla trees. In the evening, he proceeded alone to the Mahābodhi tree. On the way, he accepted eight handfuls of grass offered by the nāga king, Mahāruci. As soon as he spread the grass at the foot of the Campaka Bodhi tree, there appeared the Aparājita Pallanka, measuring fifty-three cubits. Sitting cross-legged on this seat, he mustered his energy of four levels, dispelled Māra’s forces and attained Omniscience, Perfectly Self-Enlightened Buddhahood and the state of Chief of the three worlds.
Three Occasions of The Buddha’s Teaching (Dhammābhisamaya)
After His attainment of Buddhahood, the Buddha stayed in the neighbourhood of the Mahābodhi tree for forty nine days. Accepting a Brahmā’s request for His Teaching, He contemplated as to whom He should teach first. Then He saw the nine crores of monks who had followed Him in renunciation and who were endowed with their past meritorious deeds, which could lead to the Path and Fruition. And surveying their whereabouts, He saw them staying in Anoma Park, near the city of Anoma. He then, by His psychic power, immediately appeared at Anoma Park, near Anoma City.
At that time, the nine crores of monks saw, from a distance, Buddha Atthadassī approaching them. With faithful heart, they all performed their duties, as has been described in the previous Chapters. And, taking their seats around the Buddha, who then taught the Discourse of Dhammacakka-pavattana, which was also taught by other Buddhas. By the end of the Discourse, one hundred thousand crores of beings attained the Path and Fruition.
(This was the first Dhammābhisamaya.)
At another time, Buddha Atthadassī travelled up to Tāvatiṃsa and taught Abhidhamma to devas and Brahmās. One hundred thousand devas and Brahmās attained the Path and Fruition.
(This was the second Dhammābhisamaya.)
Still at another time, like our Buddha Gotama who visited His father in the city of Kapilavatthu and narrated the Buddhavaṃsa, so did Buddha Atthadassī who visited the city of Sobhana and taught Dhamma to His relatives, headed by His father. At the time, one hundred thousand crores of people attained the Path and Fruition.
(This was the third Dhammābhisamaya.)
Three Occasions of The Disciples' Meeting (Sannipāta)
There were three meetings of the Buddha’s disciples. The first one took place at Sucandaka where Prince Santa and the Purohita’s son, Upassanta (who were His future Chief Disciples), who, seeing no essence in the three Vedas as well as in various creeds, assigned four intelligent men and some brave watch-men at the four gates of the four sides of the city with an instruction: “Come and inform us if you see or hear any enlightened person, be he a recluse or a brahmin.”
When Buddha Atthadassī, Lord of the three kinds of men, with His disciples, arrived at Sucandaka city, those on assignment went to the Prince and the Purohita’s son and informed them of the Buddha’s arrival. Being thus informed, with joyous hearts, they both hurriedly went outside the city with a retinue of one thousand members and greeted, honoured and invited Him (to the city). Having done so, they performed a great incomparable alms-giving (asadisa mahā-dāna) for seven days to the Sangha with the Buddha at its head. On the seventh day, with all the citizens, they both listened to the Buddha’s Teaching. On that day, ninety-eight thousand people, on being pronounced “Come, O monks” became ehi-bhikkhus and attained arahantship. In the midst of that assembly of monks, the Buddha recited the Ovāda Pāṭimokkha.
(This was the first sannipāta.)
At another time, when Buddha Atthadassī gave instructions to His own son, the Venerable Sela, eighty-eight thousand people developed faith and asked the Buddha for monkhood. The Buddha then pronounced, “Come, O monks” and they all became ehibhikkhus and attained arahantship. In the midst of that assembly of monks, the Buddha recited the Ovāda Pāṭimokkha.
(This was the second sannipāta.)
Still at another time, on the full-moon day of Māgha, when beings, such as devas, humans and Brahmās, assembled to listen to the sermon on Mahā Maṅgala, taught by the Buddha, seventy-eight thousand human attained arahantship. In that assembly of monks, the Buddha recited the Ovāda Pāṭimokkha.
(This was the third sannipāta.)
Future Buddha Gotama, as Hermit Susīma, received Prophecy from Buddha Atthadassī
At that time our future Buddha was reborn as Susīma, in the city of Campaka. He was a wealthy brahmin, considered and recognized by the whole world as a virtuous one. Having given away all his wealth to the poor, the helpless, the destitute, travellers and others, he went near the Himalayas and lived the life of an ascetic. After achieving the eight attainments and the five higher knowledges, he became a noble ascetic with supernormal power. Teaching people the merit of wholesome deeds and the demerit of unwholesome deeds, he waited for the time when a Buddha would appear.
Later on, when Buddha Atthadassī appeared in the world and "showered the rain of discourses of immortality" in the midst of an audience, which composed of eight classes of people, Susima the Ascetic listened to the Buddha’s Dhamma. And he went up to the celestial abode, brought back such celestial flowers as Mandārava, Paduma, Pāricchattaka, etc., from Tāvatiṃsa. Wishing to display his miraculous power, he made himself visible and caused a rain of flowers to fall in the four quarters, like a great rain that fell all over the four continents. He also created a pavilion of flowers decorated on all sides with flowers, had a pinnacled arch over the entrance with decorated columns and nets, etc., and adorned with flowers. He then honoured the Buddha with a huge umbrella of celestial Mandārava flowers. Buddha Atthadassī then made a prophecy concerning Susima the Ascetic: “This ascetic Susima will definitely become a Buddha, Gotama by name, in future when one thousand and eight hundred aeons have elapsed.”
On hearing Buddha Atthadassī’s prophecy, the future Buddha was extremely happy and firmly resolved to fulfil the Ten Perfections even more energetically, fearing that he would become heedless.
Particulars of Buddha Atthadassī
Buddha Atthadassī’s birthplace was Sobhana City. His father was King Sāgara and His mother was Queen Sudassanā.
He reigned for ten thousand years. His three palaces were Amaragiri, Sugiri and Vāhana.
His Chief Consort was Visākha who had thirty-three thousand maids of honour. His son was Prince Sela.
The vehicle He used in renunciation was a steed, Sudassana by name. He practised dukkaracariyā for eight months.
His two male Chief Disciples were Santa Thera and Upasanta Thera. His attendant was Abhaya Thera.
His two female Chief Disciples were Dhammā Therī and Sudhammā Therī. His Bodhi tree was a Campaka.
His male noble supporters were the wealthy persons, Nakula and Nisabha. His female supporters were Makilā Upāsikā and Sunandā Upāsikā.
The height of Buddha Atthadassī, who had as His equals only peerless Buddhas, was eighty cubits and majestic like a sāla tree in full bloom or like the full moon, king of all the stars and planets.
Buddha Atthadassī’s rays of intense power emitting from His body, constantly radiated, glowing above and below in the ten quarters for a yojana. (Should the Buddha wished and resolved, the rays could diffuse all over several crores of the world-systems.)
Excelling all beings, Buddha Atthadassī was endowed with five eyes and existed in the world for a hundred thousand years. (This statement is based on the fact that the life span during His time was a hundred thousand years. It should be understood, that in reality, He lived for four-fifths of this life span.)
After shedding the peerless light of Dhamma in the world of devas and humans, Buddha Atthadassī attained Parinibbāna just like a fire became extinct on exhaustion of fuel.
In this way, Buddha Atthadassī, Conqueror of the five Māras, attained Parinibbāna in Anoma Park. His relics dispersed according to His resolve and reached all over Jambudīpa and received veneration from beings such as devas, humans and Brahmās.
End of Atthadassī Buddhavaṃsa.