by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Kakusandha 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 Vessabhū’s attainment of Parinibbāna, when the aeon in which He appeared had come to an end, twenty-nine suñña-kappas which were aeons of no Buddhas had elapsed and there emerged the present bhadda-kappa of five Buddhas. In this kappa had appeared four Buddhas, namely, Kakusandha, Konāgamana, Kassapa and Gotama. The next Buddha yet to come, definitely is Metteyya.
The chronicle of Buddha Kakusandha, the first of these five Buddhas, is as follows: The bhadda-kappa comprises sixty-four antara-kappas (in the eighth antara-kappa according to the Mahā Rajavaṃsa or in the first antara-kappa according to the Hmannan Rajavaṃsa), when the human life span decreased from asaṅkhyeyyas to forty thousand years, Bodhisatta Kakusandha, on complete fulfilment of the Perfections, was reborn in Tusitā. Having complied with the request made by devas and Brahmās to becoming a Buddha, he descended to the human world to be conceived in the womb of a brahmin woman, Visākha by name, wife of the Purohita Aggidatta, who was advisor to King Khemankara of the city of Khemavati. When ten months had elapsed, the Bodhisatta was born in Khemavati Park.
As has been mentioned, all past Buddhas, from Dīpaṅkarā to Vessabhū, belonged to royal families, except for Buddha Kakusandha who was born to a brahmin family.
In the society which is composed of four classes of people, namely, aristocrats, brahmins, traders and lowly ones, never is a Buddha conceived, in His final existence, in the womb of a woman of the latter two classes.
As for aristocrats and brahmins, sometimes aristocrats enjoy superiority and at other times, brahmins do. At a time, when people show the highest honour to aristocrats, Bodhisattas are born in that class, for they are considered the best. At other times, when people show the greatest honour to the brahmins, Bodhisattas are born in their families, for they are then supposed to be the foremost.
In this way, Buddhas hailed only from aristocratic and brahmanic families. Since recognition of the former as the most superior is more frequent, Buddhas are generally aristocrats by birth; and because it is only sometimes that brahmins gain superiority, Buddhas of brahmanic birth are fewer. Thus, the greater number of aristocratic Buddhas and the smaller number of brahmin Buddhas should be understood.
Divine-Like Household Life
When the youthful Bodhisatta Kakusandha came of age, he lived in three mansions, namely, Kāma, Kāmavaṇṇa and Kāmasuddhi. Being entertained and served by his brahmin wife, Rocinī by name, who had thirty thousand brahmin maids, he thus enjoyed a divinelike household life for four thousand years.
When he had seen the four omens and when Rocinī had given birth to a son, named Uttara, Brahmin Kakusandha renounced the world riding a chariot drawn by a thoroughbred horse and became a recluse. Joining him were forty-thousand men who also became recluses by themselves.
Attainment of Buddhahood
With these forty thousand recluses, Bodhisatta Kakusandha practised dukkaracariyā for eight months. On the full moon of Vesākha, the day he would become a Buddha, he partook the milk-rice offered by the daughter of a Brahmin, Vajirinda, of the market-town of Vajirinda and spent the daytime in the local acacia grove. In the evening, he went alone to the Mahābodhi tree and on the way, he accepted eight handfuls of grass from Subhadda, a watchman of barley fields. As soon as he spread the grass at the foot of the Sirīsa Mahābodhi tree (which was as big, etc., as the aforesaid pātali Mahābodhi tree of Buddha Vipassī), there appeared the Aparājita Pallanka of twenty-six cubits. Sitting cross-legged on the pallanka, he concentrated his energy of four levels and attained Buddhahood in the same way as previous Buddhas.
Three Occasions of The Buddha’s Teaching (Dhammābhisamaya)
After His attainment of Buddhahood, Buddha Kakusandha stayed in the neighbourhood of the Sirīsa Mahābodhi tree for forty-nine days. Having accepted the request made by a Brahmā for His Teaching, He contemplated as to whom He should teach first and He saw His companions in renunciation. Using His psychic power, He immediately appeared at their residence in Isipatana Deer Park, near the town of Makila, When in their midst, He taught the Dhammacakka sermon, which was also taught by previous Buddhas, to numerous devas and Brahmās who went to listen to it respectfully, At that time, forty thousand crores of devas and humans attained the Path and Fruition.
(This was the first Dhammābhisamaya.)
At a later time, Buddha Kakusandha displayed the Twin Miracle near a sāla tree, close to the city-gate of Kannakujja and taught the Dhamma. Thirty-thousand crores of devas and humans penetrated the Four Noble Truths and gained Emancipation.
(This was the second Dhammābhisamaya.)
Still at a later time, another Dhammābhisamaya took place in the following manner. At a deva shrine, not too far away from the town of Khemavatī, lived a divine ogre named Naradeva. At the time of propitiation, he received, in his visible frame, honour done to him by people. He was, however, in the habit of catching human beings who, through a difficult road approach to a big pond in the middle of a huge forest, fetched various species of lotus. If there were no people there, he went back to his great forest-abode and caught those who happened to be there and devoured them.
In fact, the road through the forest was notorious for its difficult terrain. At one time, at both ends of the forest, people were discussing among themselves as how to get through the wilderness. At that time, after emerging from His mahā karuṇā-samāpatti early in the morning, Buddha Kakusandha surveyed the world and saw that the ogre, Naradeva, and those people in His vision of wisdom. So, using His psychic power, He went through the sky and, while the people were looking up, He displayed various forms of miracle. Then He descended into Naradeva’s mansion and took a seat on the ogre’s splendid couch.
Naradeva became delighted the moment he saw the Buddha in the sky emitting His rays of six colours from His body, he thought to himself: “The Buddha is coming here out of compassion for me.” With his attendant ogres, he went to the Himalayas and brought back aquatic and terrestrial flowers of various hues and scents. With which, he honoured the Buddha, singing in praise of Him who was remaining on the couch. Naradeva stood with his clasped hands touching his forehead in salutation.
On seeing the Buddha’s miracles, the people’s minds became serene and they all went to the Buddha and encircling Him and paid obeisance to Him. By explaining to the ogre how wholesome deeds are related to wholesome results, Buddha Kakusandha made the ogre inspired and by giving a talk on abodes of intense suffering, He made him frightened. Thereafter, the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths. At that time, countless devas and humans penetrated the Truths and gained Emancipation.
(This was the third Dhammābhisamaya.)
Single Meeting of The Disciples (Sannipāta)
There was only one meeting of Buddha Kakusandha’s disciples. It took place in the Isipatana Deer Park, near the city of Kaṇṇakujja, on the full moon of Māgha. Amidst forty thousand arahats, who had been His companions in renunciation, Buddha Kakusandha recited the Ovāda Pāṭimokkha.
Future Buddha Gotama, as King Khema, received Prophecy from Buddha Kakusandha
Meanwhile, our future Buddha Gotama was King Khema. Having made grand offering of bowls and robes to the Sangha, headed by the Buddha and also having offered them such medicinal materials as minerals for preparing eye-ointment etc. and herbs including liquorice among others, he became so immensely pleased with the Dhamma taught by the Buddha that he renounced the world and became a monk in the Buddha’s presence. With reference to him, the Buddha prophesied: “This monk Khema will indeed become a Buddha, named Gotama, in this very bhadda-kappa.”
Having heard the Buddha’s prophecy, the Bodhisatta Khema became overjoyed and determined to fulfil the ten Perfections even more energetically.
Particulars of Buddha Kakusandha
Buddha Kakusandha’s birthplace was Khemavatī City. His father was Brahmin
Aggidatta, purohita to King Khemarikara, and His mother was Visākha, a brahmin lady.
He lived a household life for four thousand years. His three mansions were Kāma, Kāmavaṇṇa and Kāmasuddhi.
His wife was Rocinī, a brahmin lady, who had thirty thousand attendants. His son was Uttara.
The vehicle He used in renunciation, after seeing the four omens, was a chariot drawn by a thoroughbred horse. He practised dukkaracariyā for eight months.
Buddha Kakusandha’s height was forty cubits. The rays from His body spread around, up to ten yojanas.
The human life span during His time was forty thousand years. He lived for fourfifths of this life span rescuing such beings as devas, humans and Brahmās from saṃsāric waters and placed them on Nibbānic shores.
In the world of devas and humans, He opened the ‘shop of Dhamma’ for the virtuous, male and female alike, and bravely roared a lion’s roar: “I am an Omniscient Buddha indeed. The defilements and mental intoxicants with their latent tendencies have all been rooted out from Me.” After that, with His arahatdisciples, Buddha Kakusandha attained Parinibbāna.
The Buddha, who was endowed with a voice of eight qualities, such as clearness, sweetness, legibility, pleasantness, firmness, fullness, depth and echo, and His two Chief Disciples and other arahat-disciples who were possessed of morality that was unbreached, untorn, unmottled, and free at all times, they had all disappeared. Unsubstantial and futile indeed are all conditioned things!
Here ends Kakusandha Buddhavaṃsa.