The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes The Great Homage paid by the Devas and Brahmas 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 Attainment of Buddhahood. 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).

Part 7 - The Great Homage paid by the Devas and Brahmās

At that time, standing in the Tāvatiṃsa deva-world, Sakka sounded the Vijayuttara conch which was 120 yojanas long, to summon the devas and Brahmās. The sound of his conch could be heard from all over the deva-world, ten thousand yojanas in width. Even while blowing the conch continuously, Sakka was running fast to reach the Bodhi tree. (It was not only Sakka of this universe, but all Sakkas of the other ten thousand world-systems also went blowing conches to the presence of the Bodhisatta.)

Mahā Brahmā arrived and paid homage by holding the white umbrella, which had been left behind on top of the Cakkavāḷa mountain, and sheltered the Bodhisatta with it from above. (All Mahā Brahmās from the other ten thousand world-systems arrived and stood holding their white umbrellas, touching one another so as to leave no gap between them.)

Suyama, King of Yama abode of devas, also arrived and stood near the Bodhisatta, paying homage by fanning him with the yak-tail fan which was three gāvutas in size. (All the Suyama devas from the other ten thousand world-systems also arrived and paid homage, each holding a yak-tail fan, crowding the whole of this world-system.)

Santusita, King of Tusitā abode of devas, also arrived and paid homage by fanning the Bodhisatta with a circular ruby fan, three gāvutas in size. (All Santusita devas from the other ten thousand world-systems also arrived and paid homage, each holding a circular ruby fan, crowding the whole of this world-system.)

Pañcasikha Deva arrived, carrying the celestial harp, Beluva, accompanied by a group of celestial dancers, and paid homage by dancing, singing and making music. (All the celestial dancers dwelling in the other ten thousand world-systems also arrived and paid homage by dancing, singing and making music.)

Furthermore, all male and female deities dwelling in the ten thousand world-systems gathered together in this world-system and paid homage, taking their positions in the vicinity. Some of them standing and holding a jewelled archway, others stood around in various groups of their own, some carrying offering made of seven kinds of jewels, some holding golden plantain plants, some holding mansions of splendour, some holding yaktails fans, some holding goads (for driving elephants), some holding pairs of carp, some holding primrose flowers, golden circular platforms, bowls filled with water, jars filled with water, conches, fire-stirrers, oil lamp-stands with rubies, golden mirrors, stonestudded mirrors, mirrors with seven jewels, oil lamps finished with rubies, bunting and streamers, and wish-fulfilling trees. All the devas dwelling in the ten thousand worldsystems arrived, assuming the appearance of celestial dancers, and paid homage, dancing celestial dances, singing celestial songs, offering celestial flowers, perfumes and scented powder. At that time, the whole sky was full of cascades of celestial flowers and celestial perfumes as if the whole environment was filled with rain drops and rain water of a heavy downpour.

This tremendous ovation and ceremonious homage was made with such grandeur by all the devas and Brahmās because they were exulted with the belief: “When this noble Bodhisatta attains Buddhahood, we will certainly get the opportunity to hear the Dhamma from him and thereby receive the immortal Supramundane Dhamma of Path and Fruition and Nibbāna; and we will have delightful satisfaction (pīti), by applying our mind to the said nine Supramundane Dhammas (four Paths, four Fruitions and Nibbāna). We will also witness all kinds of miracle which will be objects of delight for the eye. The Buddha, by teaching us the Dhamma of Deathlessness, will bring about our emancipation and safety from the difficult journey of birth (jāti), the difficult journey of ageing (jarā), the difficult journey of sickness (vyādhi), the difficult journey of death (maraṇa), and the difficult journey of grief (soka), lamentation (parideva), suffering (dukkha), distress (domanassa) and despair (upāyāsa).”

Although the devas and Brahmās paid him homage with great joy and respect, crowding the whole ten thousand world-systems for the aforesaid reason and although he saw clearly, with his own eyes, these extraordinary acts of reverence performed in numerous ways, the Bodhisatta had no feeling of attachment and enjoyment at all; and he paid no attention to them. He dwelt reflecting only on the Dhamma which he relied upon as his support.

The Cakkavāḷa mountain, which protected the Bodhisatta who was thus positioned, was like a curtain and the open sky above him with its stars and constellations was like a canopy studded with gold and silver stars. The ten thousand world-systems, with its seven planes of happy existences (sugati bhūmi), was like a great seven-tiered palace. The high ground of the Bodhi tree was like a great Audience Hall, the Invincible Throne was like a great Audience Throne and the Mahābodhi tree was like a great umbrella finished with precious emeralds——all inside this seven-tiered palace of the ten thousand world-systems.

While he remained sitting on the Invincible Throne, which resembled a great Audience Throne, on the high ground of the Mahābodhi tree, which resembled a great Audience Hall, covered from above by the Mahābodhi tree, one hundred cubits high from bottom to top and one hundred cubits in circumference, which resembled a great umbrella decorated with precious emeralds, the Bodhisatta was oblivious of the devas and Brahmās around him, crowding the whole of the ten thousand world-systems and paying homage to him. Since he had been reflecting only on the Dhamma, his diligence (vīriya) was undiminished and very keen; his mindfulness (sati) was steadfast and clear, and he was physically and mentally very calm and peaceful. He, therefore, achieved and remained absorbed again in the first jhāna of rūpavacara.

The mind continuum of the Bodhisatta, who was thus absorbed in the first jhāna, was entirely free from the hindrances (nīvaraṇas) and being detached from sensual objects (vatthu-kāma) and sensual desires (kilesa-kāma), delightful satisfaction (pīti) and happiness (sukha) arose in him profusely.

And again, when the Bodhisatta achieved and remained absorbed in the second jhāna of rūpavacara, his mind continuum was free of agitation and mental disturbance from thoughts (vitakka and vicāra); there was internal purity and clarity and his concentration was uniquely firm. On account of that concentration, his pīti and sukha increased.

And again, when the Bodhisatta achieved and remained absorbed in the third jhāna of rūpavacara, even pīti, which had manifested itself in his mind continuum, disappeared and he dwelt only with the feeling of happiness (sukha-vedanā). Fully detached even from that feeling of happiness at its height, he became imbued with the mental state of equanimity (tatramajjhattatā) or (jhānupekkha). His mindfulness became pellucid and his insightwisdom greatly sharpened.

And again, when the Bodhisatta achieved and remained absorbed in the fourth jhāna of rūpavacara, since he had already dispelled both physical and mental pain and pleasure from his mind continuum, he dwelt in the state of viewing sensual objects calmly and with equanimity (upekkhā-vedanā). By virtue of this upekkhā-vedanā and the mental state of tatramajjhattatā, his mental concomitants, such as mindfulness, etc., which were part and parcel of the fourth jhāna, were pellucid like the light of the moon.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: