The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

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

This page describes The Buddha Arriving at Migadaya Forest 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 Buddha Reflecting Deeply on the Profundity of the Dhamma. 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 4 - The Buddha Arriving at Migadaya Forest

The Buddha proceeded on His journey by successive stages until He came upon the group of Five Ascetics in Isipatana, Migadāya Forest of Bārāṇasī in the cool evening of the fullmoon day of Āsāḷha, in the year 103 Great Era. Seeing the Buddha approaching from a distance, the Five Ascetics made an agreement among themselves:-

“Friends, the monk Gotama is approaching. The monk Gotama is one who has given up meditation practices. He has become one who strives for the acquisition of the Four Requisites. He is one who has reverted to the acquisition of the Four Requisites. Let us not make obeisance to the monk Gotama. Let us not greet Him. Let us not take the alms-bowl from His hands. However, we will prepare a seat for Him to sit on if He wants to.”

Being aware of the mood of the Five Ascetics, the Buddha developed loving-kindness specially directed towards them, (Odhissaka Mettā). As the Buddha came nearer and nearer and touched with the splendour and might of the Buddha (Buddhatejo Ānubhāva) as well as the splendour and might of His loving-kindness (Mettātejo Ānubhāva), they found themselves unable to keep the agreement they had made and all the five went to welcome the Buddha; one took the alms-bowl from His hands, another prepared a seat for Him, another set out water, another placed a plank and another kept a broken piece of pot for washing His feet.

The Buddha took His seat and washed His feet as arranged by the ascetics. (Although they showed due respect with physical actions regardless of their agreement,) they spoke to Him as their equal by addressing Him by the name Gotama and by calling Him, Āvuso (friend). They entered into a friendly talk with the Buddha, addressing Him by the name 'Gotama' and as friend as their equal: “Friend Gotama, at the time when you were engaged in meditation practices in Uruveḷā Forest, we carried your alms-bowl and robe and went round (for alms). We offered you water and tooth cleaner. We swept the precincts of the monastery. Who looked after you by attending to such duties, big and small, after we five had left? Were you not in a state of confusion when we left you?”

Thereupon, the Buddha said: “O Pañcavaggīs! do not address Me by My name Gotama and by the term ‘friend’ as your equal. O Pañcavaggīs! I have become a truly Enlightened One who, being possessed of complete true, penetrating and clear knowledge of all cognizable Truths (Saccañeyya Dhamma), is deserving of special veneration. Ascetics, listen attentively, I have realised the Deathless Nibbāna (Amata Nibbāna). I will instruct you. I will teach you the Dhamma. If you follow and practise in accordance with the instruction given by Me, you, yourself, will realise soon, even in this present life and, through direct knowledge, the happiness of arahatta-phala which is aspired to by these two kinds of noble men, namely, men noble by birth (jāti-kulaputta) and men noble by virtue of good conduct though of lowly birth (ācārā-kulaputta) who renounce the world, abandoning family life, and become recluses in the service of the sāsana.” But the group of Five Ascetics (being sceptical) replied (in good faith): “Friend Gotama! Even though you practised and attained apānaka-jhāna, etc.. which is difficult to achieve by ordinary individuals at the time you practised dukkarācariya for six long years, you could not realise arahatta-magga-ñāṇa and sabbaññutā-ñāṇa which could make you an ariya. At that time, you were striving for the acquisition of the Four Requisites, and you had given up the meditation practices, now that you have reverted to the acquisition of the Four Requisites, how could you have attained and realised arahatta-magga-ñāṇa and sabbaññutā-ñāṇa which can make one an ariya, and which is superior to the ten modes of virtuous action (kusalā-kammapathas) of ordinary individuals?”

On being thus told, the Buddha addressed the Pañcavaggīs: “Ascetics, I am not one who strives for the acquisition of the Four Requisites. I am also not one who has given up the practice of meditation. I am also not one who has reverted to the acquisition of the Four Requisites. Ascetics, I have become a truly Enlightened One who, being possessed of complete, genuine, penetrating and clear knowledge of all the cognizable Truths, (Saccañeyya Dhamma) and deserving of special veneration, ascetics! Listen attentively. I have realised the Deathless Nibbāna. I will instruct you. I will teach you the Dhamma. If you follow and practise in accordance with the instruction given by Me, you, yourself, will realise soon, even in this present life and, through direct knowledge, the happiness of arahatta-phala, which is aspired by these two kinds of noble men, namely, Jātī-kulaputta and Ācārā-kulaputta, who renounce the world, abandoning family life, and become recluses in the service of the sāsana.” But the Five Ascetics (still remaining sceptical) replied as before for the second time.

Although the Buddha told them for the second time as before, “I am not one who strives for the acquisition of the ‘Four Requisites’, etc.”, the Five Ascetics (still remaining persistently sceptical) replied as before for the third time.

Thereupon, the Buddha (changing His tactics) addressed them thus: “Ascetics, do you recollect whether, when I was previously engaged in meditation practices in Uruvelā Forest, I ever came and spoke to you, by way of giving encouragement and to keep you from being bored and also in order to make you form a high opinion of myself, thus: ‘My friends, do not get yourselves confused and think of leaving for another place. I have begun to see lights and signs in meditation (Kammaṭṭhāna nimitta).’” The Five Ascetics then reflected: “At the time when this monk Gotama was practising meditation, we would have readily believed Him if He had said, ‘I have become an arahat!’ But, this Monk Gotama did not brag nor deceive us thus at that time. At present, however, He is only speaking of the quality (guṇa) truly possessed by Him.” With this one single utterance of the Buddha, they were reassured and they regain faith and held Him in high esteem. And, fully convinced that “this Monk Gotama has really become an Enlightened One,” they replied in acknowledgement: “No hetaṃ Bhante— Venerable Buddha, we cannot recollect that you have spoken such words (you have not spoken such words).”

The Buddha was able to make the Five Ascetics know perfectly that He had become an Enlightened One. Thereupon, the Five Ascetics listened to the words of the Buddha with respect. They gave rapt attention to Him. They directed their minds towards achievement of arahatta-phala. Having made the Pañcavaggīs know perfectly well that He had no doubt become genuinely Enlightened, the Buddha, for the first time, delivered the Discourse of Dhammacakka-pavattana, beginning with the words “Dve'me bhikkhave ante”, etc., on the cool evening of Saturday, the full-moon day of Āsāḷha in the year 103 Great Era. At that time, the sun was just setting in the west after dispelling darkness with its light and the moon, in conjunction with the constellation of Uttarasatha, was just rising in the east and vanquishing darkness with its rays.

(No sooner had the Buddha uttered this sentence of “Dve'me bhikkhave ante”, than the sound that had appeared spread all over the ten thousand world-systems, reaching Bhavagga, the highest of the arūpa worlds above and Avīci, the lowest of the hells below. Even at that time, eighteen crores of Brahmās who were of mature meritorious roots and who had performed deeds of extraordinary merit (adhikārakusala) to comprehend the Four Truths had already assembled in unison.)

When the Buddha thus delivered the Discourse of Dhammacakka-pavattana, the Venerable Koṇḍañña followed the teaching, concentrating his mind on the sermon through its course and developed his ñāṇa, so that he became established in sotāpatti-phala along with the eighteen crores of Brahmās by the time the delivery of the discourse came to an end.

Thirty-two awesome and extraordinary great omens appeared when the Buddha delivered the sermon, as on the occasions of His conception, birth and attainment of Buddhahood.

When the Venerable Koṇḍañña was thus established in sotāpatti-phala, the Buddha exclaimed with joy:

Aññāsi vata bho Koṇḍañño! Aññāsi vata bho Koṇḍañño!

—Ah! Koñḍanna has penetratingly discerned the Four Noble Truths indeed! Ah! Koñḍañña has penetratingly discerned the Four Noble Truths indeed!”

so that devas and humans of the ten thousand world-systems might hear. Because the Buddha had thus made His joyous utterance beginning with “Aññāsi vata”, etc., the Venerable Koñḍañña Thera became renowned by the name of “Aññasi Koñḍañña Thera”.

On thus becoming a sotāpanna, the Venerable Aññāsi Koñḍañña Thera asked the Buddha for the state of being a bhikkhu: “Glorious Buddha, may I, in your presence, have the state of being a novice (sāmaṇera) and then the state of being a bhikkhu.” Thereupon, the Buddha stretched out His golden right hand from beneath the robe and addressed him in a voice like that of a Brahmā: “(1) Ehi Bhikkhu; (2) Svākkhāto Dhammo;(3) Cara brahmacariyaṃ sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāya–(1) Come, Bhikkhu, receive the status of bhikkhu you had prayed for; (2) the Dhamma has been well-taught by Me. (3) Strive for the accomplishment of the noble Practice constituting the three upper maggas in order to put an end to the round of suffering.” The ordination of the Venerable Aññāsi Koṇḍañña as bhikkhu came to a successful completion just as the first of the three sentences uttered by the Buddha ended.

(Even as the Buddha pronounced the Venerable Koṇḍañña “Ehi Bhikkhu”, immediately his original appearance vanished and he was transformed into a bhikkhu, with the head already shaved and the body already donned in the robes. He became already equipped with the eight requisites each in its proper place, one robe at the waist, another robe of single layer (ekacci) covering the body, another robe (the bigger one), resting on the shoulder and the alms-bowl hung over the tip of the left shoulder. The deportment (iriyapatha) he carried was worthy of devotion and was like that of a senior Thera with 60 years of monkhood (being 80 years of age); and his posture was that of making obeisance to the Buddha, who was his preceptor (upajjhāya).

(The requisites received by these ehi-bhikkhu monks are known as requisites created by supernatural powers (iddhimaya parikkhāras). If a certain person gave away in charity the eight requisites, such as robe, etc., (or an alms-bowl or robe, if he could not afford all) to a noble individual (ariya-puggala), such as a sotāpanna, etc., or to an ordinary but virtuous (puthujjana-sīlavanta) bhikkhu and aspired earnestly saying: “Let this gift of requisites be the supporting cause (paccaya) for becoming an ehi-bhikkhu in the future,” the said gift, provided it is of Adhikāra merit, could be of help to that person to acquire iddhimaya-parikkhāra (to become an ehi-bhikkhu) in the presence of the Buddhas.... Sāratha Ti.)

The Buddha took up residence in that Migadāya Forest for the rainy season; and, on the following day (the 1st waning moon of the month of Āsāḷha) He remained in the monastery (without going round for alms) and spent the time giving instruction to Vappa Thera. The remaining four bhikkhus went on alms-round. Vappa Thera became a sotāpanna in the morning of that very day. Similarly, the Buddha remained only in the monastery without going round for alms and spent the time giving instruction to Bhaddiya Thera on the following day (the 2nd waning moon of the month of Āsāḷha), to Mahānāmā Thera on the next following day (the 3rd waning moon of the month of Āsāḷha) and to Assaji Thera on the day following after (the 4th waning moon of the month of Āsāḷha). These theras also attained sotāpatti-phala each, on the day concerned and all became ehi-bhikkhus in the presence of the Buddha.

On Thursday, the 5th waning moon of the month of Āsāḷha, the Buddha delivered the sermon of Anatta-lakkhaṇa Sutta in order that the Five Bhikkhus might become arahat with the āsavas extinguished. When the Anatta-lakkhaṇa Sutta came to an end, the group of Five Bhikkhus became arahat with the āsavas extinguished.

(Note worthy facts relating to the Dhammacakka-pavattana Sutta and Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta will be given later in the Chapter on Dhamma Ratana.)

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