The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

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

This page describes Buddha’s Journey to Kapilavatthu 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 great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Chapter 17a - Buddha’s Journey to Kapilavatthu

The Buddha left Veḷuvana monastery in Rājagaha for Kapilavatthu accompanied by twenty thousand arahats, which made up of ten thousand arahats who came from the good families of Anga and Magadha and ten thousand arahats who came from the good families of Kapilavatthu. (On the waning moon of Phagguna (Tabaung) 103 Great Era), travelling at the rate of one yojana per day and hoping to cover the distance of sixty yojanas to Kapilavatthu within two months. Such a mode of travel, which is not too fast, is termed ‘aturita’.

King Suddhodāna provided Food to The Buddha

As the Buddha left for the royal city of Kapilavatthu adopting the aturita mode of travelling, the Venerable Kaludayi thought to himself: “I might go ahead to inform King Suddhodāna of the Buddha’s departure for Kapilavatthu,” and using his supernormal power (iddhividhā-abhiñña), he instantaneously appeared in the royal palace. King Suddhodāna was moved with joy when he saw the Venerable Kaludayi and greeted him with words of warm welcome. “Welcome, beloved Kaludayi, take your seat on the royal throne,” (a seat befitting noble personalities) and he offered the Venerable Kaludayi a bowl of specially delicious food prepared for himself, filling the alms-bowl to capacity.

When the Venerable Kaludayi showed signs of preparing for departure, King Suddhodāna said: “Please take your meal on the throne.” The Venerable replied: “Noble King, I will take this food only in the presence of the Buddha.” Then the King inquired: “Beloved Kaludayi, where is the Buddha?” The Venerable Kaludayi replied: “The Buddha, accompanied by twenty thousand arahats, is on His way to see you.” The King was extremely glad to hear this welcome news and said: “I pray thee then, take your meal which I have just offered in the palace and please do come every day to fetch food for the Buddha until His arrival here.” The Venerable Kaludayi gave his assent by keeping silent.

Having completed feeding the Venerable at the palace, King Suddhodāna caused his bowl to be cleaned with scented power before filling it with delicious soft and hard food and handed it to the Venerable, saying: “Please offer it to the Buddha.” The Venerable Kaludayi sent up the bowl into the air ahead of him, and rising up himself, he made his way through the air while the officials and courtiers were looking on. He then made his offering of the alms-bowl to the Buddha who partook of the meal brought thus by Kaludayi from His royal father. Throughout the whole journey, Venerable Kaludayi went every day to the King’s palace and brought food, offered by King, for the Buddha.

Venerable Kaludayi used to announce every day after his meal at the golden palace of Kapilavatthu, by saying: “The Buddha has covered this much of the journey today.” With this preface, he told the whole of royal family the glorious attributes of the Buddha. He did this with the object of sowing the seed of devoted faith in the hearts of His royal relatives even before they get the change of seeing Him.

(It is this reason that that Buddha said, at a subsequent “Etadagga” conferring ceremony, “etadaggaṃ bhikkhave mama sāvakanaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ kulappasādakānaṃ yadidaṃ Kaludāyi.——Bhikkhus, Kaludayi excels others in the matter of promoting faith and devotion of the royal relatives towards Me.”)

This was how the Buddha and twenty thousand arahats arrived at the city of Kapilavatthu, safe and sound, in two months' time, on the first waxing moon of Vesākha (Kasone) in the year 104 of the Great Era, after covering a distance of sixty yojanas by adopting the aturita method of travelling one yojana per day.

Buddha’s Display of The Twin Miracle

All the members of the Sakyan clan headed by King Suddhodāna gathered together to consider how they should pay respect to the Buddha, their noble blood relative, on His arrival at the city of Kapilavatthu. (The first item on the agenda was) to consider the question of accommodation for the Buddha, and they eventually came to the unanimous decision that the park of the Sakyan Prince, Nigrodha, is delightful and the most suitable place because it was replete with every convenience, such as shady trees, sources of water, proximity to the town, adequate and easy means of communication, and above all, seclusion. These were the five necessary provisions which would please Buddhas. As such, they reserve the park for the accommodation of the Buddha. When all the preparations had been made, they left in the following order, each holding flowers to welcome the Buddha.

a) Fully dressed boys and girls (sons and daughters of the common town people) took the lead in procession.

b) They were followed by the princes and princesses in their full ceremonial dresses.

c) The rest of the Sakyan clan came next, holding offerings of flowers and aromatic powder, which they made for the Buddha. The long procession of welcome headed for the Nigrodha park.

On arrival at the Nigrodha Park accompanied by twenty thousand arahats, the Buddha seated Himself on the Dhamma Throne, prepared and kept in readiness for Him.

Being stern and haughty through pride of birth, the Sakyan family members thought to themselves: “Prince Siddhattha is very junior to us in respect of age, being our young brother, young nephew, young son, grand son”; so they told the young princes: “You, young folks, may pay homage. As for us, we will sit behind you.” On seeing this, the Buddha realized the inner feeling and strong pride of birth of the Sakyans and thus considered and decided: “My haughty relatives have grown old in years profitlessly and thus do not make reverence to Me. My conceited relatives are totally ignorant of ‘the real nature of a Self-Enlightened Buddha; the might and glory of Buddhas. They do not know such is the nature of a Self-Enlightened One, and such is the might and glory of the Buddhas.’ Now I will let them know the real might and glory of a Buddha by the demonstration of Twin Miracle, which involved simultaneous streaming forth of water and fire from various parts of My body, and, at the same time, I will create a Walk in the sky, extending to ten thousand world-systems. On which I shall walk to and fro, pouring down the Dhamma rain on those beings who are gathered here according to the varying degrees of their inner disposition.” For this decision of the Buddha, all the devas and Brahmās in the ten thousand universes proclaimed instantly: “Sādhu! Sādhu!” in praise of the Exalted Buddha.

Immediately after the thought and decision, the Buddha attained the fourth jhāna which had white colour (odāta kasiṇa) as its object of meditation. And arising therefrom, He willed that “Ten thousand world-systems be illuminated” and the ten thousand worldsystems became illuminated instantly, much to the delight of devas, humans and the Brahmās. While they were thus exulting, the Buddha went up the sky through supernormal power which was derived from the fourth jhāna attainment and demonstrated the Twin Miracle of streaming alternately water and fire from twelve different parts of the body:—

(1) upward and downward; (2) front and back of the body; (3) left and right eyes; (4) ears; (5) nose; (6) shoulders;(7) hands; (8) sides of the body; (9) legs; (10) fingers and toes and spaces in between them; (11) every hair of the body; (12) pores of every hair of His body.

The Twin Miracle of fire-water, in pairs, springing from those parts or limbs of the body and producing alternately different patterns, was a matter for endless praise and admiration and it looked as if showers of particles from the soles of the Buddha were scattered on the heads of the Sakyan royalty——a strange and wonderful spectacle witnessed by devas, humans and Brahmās.

Third Obeisance by King Suddhodāna

When King Suddhodāna saw this strange and awesome spectacle of the Twin Miracle, he bowed solemnly and addressed the Buddha: “Glorious, Exalted son, on the day of your birth, as I tried to raise the clasped hands towards Kaladevila hermit so as to show him respect, I saw your pair of feet being raised up and placed firmly on the head of the hermit. That was the occasion when I made obeisance to you for the first time. And on the day of performing the Ploughing Ceremony, we kept you in an excellent spot under the cool shade of a Eugenia tree (although the shades of other tree shifted with time) which kept on protecting you without changing position with the passage of time. That, was when I paid homage at your feet for the second time. Now that I have witnessed the never-before seen extraordinarily strange spectacles of the Twin Miracle, I bow at your feet in homage for the third time.”

When the royal father, King Suddhodāna, made obeisance to the Buddha, all the members of the royal family without exception, could not help but pay homage to Him too.

Creation of The Jeweled Walk and Teaching The Dhamma

After subduing the pride of the royal relatives with the demonstration of the Twin Miracle in the sky and after duly considering the workings of their mind, the Buddha desired to teach them the Dhamma according to their mental dispositions, while He walked to and fro, on the created Jewelled Walk, which was finished with all kinds of gems, and extending from east to west, even beyond the ten thousand universes.

The following is a brief description of the magnitude of the Walk. With this Universe as the centre, ten thousand Meru mountains belonging to the ten thousand universes formed the mainstay of the entire structure of the Walk and the whole file of posts was made to shine golden yellow like golden posts. Above this was created the clean and broad surface of the Jewelled Walk. The eastern perimeter of the walk rested on the eastern edge of the eastern most universe, and in the same way the western perimeter rested on the edge of the western most universe.

The bordering surfaces on either side of the Walk were golden in colour. The middle portion of the entire walk was filled with earth of rubies, and the rafters, beams, purloins were finished with various kinds of shining gems. The roofing was of gold and the balusters lining the Walk were of gold. Ruby and pearl grains were spread like sand on the entire surface of the structure. The walk resembled a rising sun lighting up all the ten directions.

The Buddha, with peerless grace and glory which was the characteristic of Self- Enlightened Buddhas, paced slowly up and down the walk. The devas and Brahmās from ten thousand Universes gathered together bringing Mandārava flowers, Paduma lilies and flowers of Indian coral tree (Erythirina Indica) and scattering them on the Walk made their offerings and homage.

(N.B. As regards the Erythirina Indica tree, it should be mentioned here that, while the thirty-three lads of virtue headed by the youthful Māgha were performing meritorious deeds in the human world, they planted such a tree so that people might take shelter with ease and comfort. As a result of that good deed, an Erythrina Indica tree appeared in Tāvatiṃsa Deva realm (where they were reborn). The sweet fragrance of its seasonal flowers permeated the whole of ten thousand yojana extent of that celestial world.)

As the Buddha walked to and fro on the Jewelled Walk, some celestial beings paid homage from their abodes, while others, out of joy, gathered at various places. All those in the world of devas, humans and Brahmās, together with nāgas, garuḷas, and Kinnarās joyously worshipped the Buddha who was walking to and fro on the Jewelled Walk, looking like a moon at full waxing. (With the exception of Assaññasa Brahmās and Formless Brahmas) all the Brahmās in the fifteen Rupāvacara Brahmā-worlds, in their immaculately white garments, paid their homage with clasped hands uttering such words of praise as: “Victor of the five Maras, Promoter of wellbeing of all beings, Protector of interests of all beings, One who has compassion for all beings.” Flowers of brown, yellow, red, white, and dark-green colour, mixed with powdered sandal wood, were thrown into the air in volumes, in worship. Like pennants flown in the sky, they also briskly waved their Brāhmaṇa scarves as an act of worship.

(NB. There are twenty stanzas uttered by the Brahmās in praise of the Buddha in the Pāli Canon. For particulars, readers may refer to Buddhavaṃsa Pāli Text.)

The Arrival of Venerable Sāriputta and His Five Hundred Arahats

After the demonstration of the Twin Miracle and the creation of the Jewelled Walk, while the Buddha was being paid homage by devas and Brahmās as He walked to and fro on the Walk, Venerable Sāriputta and his five hundred disciples were residing on the slopes of Mount Gijjha-kūṭa in Rājagaha. Venerable Sāriputta, saw, through his supernatural powers, (dibbacakkhu abhiññā) the Buddha taking His walk on the Jewelled Walk in the sky above the city of Kapilavatthu. He thought of approaching the Buddha immediately and supplicating Him to reveal in full the life story of a Bodhisatta (His many existences and stages of development before His last birth and Enlightenment).

He immediately assembled around him the five hundred co-resident arahats and said:

“Venerable Sirs, the Exalted Buddha is performing the Twin Miracle together with the demonstration of supernatural power of unveiling the world (lokavivarana- abhiññā) which are to be admired and revered by the whole world. We will go to see the demonstrations of these miraculous powers and as well as to pay homage to Him. Come, Venerable Sirs, we will all go to the Buddha and request Him to recount the course of practices for Enlightenment undertaken in the past as a Bodhisatta so as to dispel any doubt we may have regarding this matter.”

(N.B. With regard to the words of the Venerable Sāriputta, “so as to dispel any doubt——kaṅkhaṃ vinodayissāma,” it might be asked: “Why should the Venerable Sāriputta say so, as it is a fact that arahats who have rid themselves of all āsavas are free from doubts?” The answer is: Sixteen forms of doubt (vicikicchā) are completely eradicated at the stage of the Stream-Winner (sotāpatti-magga). Therefore arahats no longer entertain any doubt (about the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha or about their own past, present or future lives.) The doubt (kankhā), mentioned here by the Venerable Sāriputta, does not refer to the mental concomitant (vicikicchā). He meant here the lack of knowledge in full about the previous existences of Bodhisattas who had become Enlightened Buddhas during the past four asaṅkhyeyyas and a hundred thousand aeons, details concerning the world-cycle in which they made their appearances, their names, clans, families, the order of their appearances, and duration of their Dispensations, etc. To state further, Venerable Sāriputta wanted to request the Buddha for an account of the whole lineage, clan, family, tradition, etc., (Buddhavaṃsa) which could be given only by a Buddha; it is the province of a Buddha only, not of a Paccekabuddha nor of a disciple. Not being within his province, Sāriputta said: “Let us dispel the doubt by approaching the Buddha with this request.” (As explained in-Buddhavaṃsa Commentary.)

On being urged thus by the Venerable Sāriputta, the five hundred co-resident arahats quickly gathered round him, carrying robes and aims bowls in readiness.

Then the Venerable Sāriputta, accompanied by the five hundred arahats, travelled through the air by means of their supernormal psychic powers (iddhividhā-abhiñña) and, upon arrival, paid homage to the Buddha who was still pacing up and down the Jewelled Walk. The five hundred arahats also paid homage in silence without coughing or sneezing but with deep veneration. Along with the Venerable Sāriputta were the Venerables Mahā Moggallāna, Mahā Kassapa, etc. who also remained in the sky making obeisance to the Buddha.

Buddha’s Exposition of His Own Attributes

As the Buddha was aware of the intense enthusiasm and devotional faith springing in the five hundred arahats headed by the Venerable Sāriputta, He proceeded to expound His own attributes and attainments, beginning with the verse:

Cattaro te asancheyyā
Koti yesam na nāyati

Dear son, Sāriputta, there are four ‘Immensities’ which are innumerable, incalculable; their beginning and the end are unknowable, unfathomable. They are (1) beings in general (2) wide open spaces (3) universes (4) sabbaññutā-ñāṇa of Fully-Enlightened Buddhas.

(At this time, the minds of devas and humans were full of wonder of the Buddha’s miraculous creation. As if He were urging the devas and humans, “there are still things that excel the wonderful miracles I have just created. Listen also to the revelation of those exceedingly wonderful miracles", the Buddha went on to elaborate.)

“Sāriputta, besides the foregoing miraculous creations, there are many exceedingly wonderful things which have never occurred before, and which, when revealed, will surely cause your hairs to stand on end. (To recount them briefly:)

“After my death as King Vesantara, (having fulfilled Perfections (pāramī), sacrifices (cāga) and virtues through practice (cariya), while I was waiting for the time of attainment of Buddhahood) as a celestial being named Santusita, enjoying the divine bliss in the Tāvatiṃsa realm of devas for fifty-seven crores and six million years reckoned in terms of human life, devas and Brahmās from ten thousand world-systems gathered in my presence and made the supplication:

“O! Bodhisatta Deva, freed from all suffering, you have already fulfilled ten pāramīs extended into thirty categories[1], three kinds of cariya[2] and ten kinds of cāga[3], not with the desire to gain the bliss of a ‘Wheel-turning’ Monarch, or of Sakka, the ruler of devas, or of māras or of Brahmās; you had fulfilled these Perfections aspiring only after Buddhahood in order to liberate the multitude of sentient beings. O! Bodhisatta Deva, freed from all suffering, the propitious time you have longed for to attain Buddhahood has come!

“O! Energetic Bodhisatta Deva, the time is now ripe for you to become an Omniscient Buddha. May you take conception in the womb of the royal mother Maya. Rescuing all beings, including devas, from the current of saṃsāra. May you realize the Deathless Nibbāna.” Thus they made their supplication.

“I did not, however readily give my consent to their supplication. I first made five great investigations as following:

(1) appropriate time for the appearance of a Buddha, (2) appropriate island continent for the appearance of a Buddha, (3) appropriate country for the appearance of a Buddha, (4) clan or family into which the Bodhisatta would be reborn, and (5) the span of life of the Bodhisatta’s mother. I gave my consent only after making these five great investigations: ‘My friends, devas and Brahmās, the time is indeed ripe for me to become a Buddha (as you have said).’ Having lived the full life-term in the Tusitā Deva realm, I entered the womb of my royal mother, Mahā Maya, a descent of the unbroken line of the Sakyan rulers.

“As I took conception in the womb of my mother with mindfulness and comprehension, ten thousand universes trembled and quaked.

“Without forsaking mindfulness and comprehension, I came out of my mother’s womb, standing erect, with arms and legs stretched straight, like a preaching bhikkhu descending from the Dhamma throne or a man coming down the stairway at the entrance of a stupa, without any trace of unwholesome filth besmearing my body, (on Friday, the full moon of Vesakha, in the year 68, Great Era.) At that time also, ten thousand Universes trembled and quaked (as if to cheer the occasion).

“My son, Sāriputta, there is none to equal Me as a Bodhisatta, in the manner of taking conception and of coming out from the mother’s womb. (At the moment of descending into the mother’s womb, during ten months in the mother’s womb, and at the moment of birth, on all the three occasions, he remained mindful with full comprehension; hence such an utterance.) (Again arahatta-magga-ñāṇa of certain disciples results in arahatta-phala-ñāṇa only; that of some disciples gives rise to three vijjās only and that of some others produces six forms of abhiññā; whereas some disciples achieve patisambhida-ñāṇa through arahatta-magga, others gain only sāvaka-pāramī-ñāṇa; and Paccekabuddhas attain only Pacceka-bodhi-ñāṇa for their achievement of arahatta-magga-ñāṇa. The arahatta-magga-ñāṇa of all Buddhas, however, brings the advantage of being instantaneously accomplished in all the attributes of Fully-Enlightened Ones.) Therefore, in the matter of attainment of arahatta-magga-ñāṇa, there is none my equal. As regards desanā-ñāṇa also, I am supreme.” Thus the Buddha gave an exhaustive exposition of His own attributes.

At that time, there occurred a violent earth-quake which was similar to that as at the moment of taking conception. The ten thousand world-systems trembled and quaked in the following six modes: (1) the earth surface rose in the east and sank in the west, (2) it rose in the west and sank in the east, (3) it rose in the north and sank in the south, (4) it rose in the south and sank in the north, (5) it rose in the centre and sank along the circumference, and (6) it rose along the circumference and sank in the centre. A great expanse of light, beyond the power of devas and Brahmās, was shining with unsurpassed brilliance.

Devas and Brahmās, witnessing the awesome phenomena and also coming to know from the Buddha’s Teaching that these phenomena only occurred on such occasions as the taking conception of the Bodhisatta, recited a stanza in praise thereof:

Aho acchariyaṃ loke
Buddhānam gunamahāntatā
dasasahassi 1okadhātu
chappakāraṃ pakampatha
obhātso ca Mahāāsi
accheram lomahāṃsanaṃ

O! friend, devas and Brahmās, Glories and attributes of Buddhas have caused earth tremors to rock ten thousand universes and the surface of the earth rises and fall in alternating directions: east-west, north-south and centre and at the edges. A broad ray of light surpassing the power of the devas and Brahmās has also illuminated these worlds. The wonder of this awesome phenomena has made us snap our fingers in awe and praise and our hairs to stand on end. Oh, the greatness of the many attributes of the Buddha indeed warrants us snapping our fingers in wonder and admiration.

At that time, the Buddha was displaying the Twin Miracle and walking to and fro on the Jewelled Walk by means of His psychic power. And while He was thus pacing to and fro on the Walk, He was expounding the Dhamma like a mighty lion king roaring, seated on a slab of red orpiment, like a thundering sky, like a man swimming across the river of the sky. With a voice of eight features, in various ways and minute details, He taught the sermon of the Four Noble Truths leading to the salient characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and insubstantiality.

Although the Jewelled Walk covered the whole length of the ten thousand worlds, the

Buddha walked to one end of it quickly and then turned back from it as if He was making the walk on a path measuring only four cubits. He actually walked on the Jewelled Walk from end to end, not turning round without reaching the end.

[Here it might be asked: Did the Buddha, through His power, cause the shortening of such an immensely long Walk or did He create His own body to a size corresponding to that of the Walk? (That is, is that the work of supernormal psychic power (iddhi-visaya)?)

Here is the answer: No, it is not a creation by means of supernormal psychic power (iddhi-visaya). The power possessed by the Omniscient One, Buddhavisaya, is inconceivable, beyond human imagination. It being so, the Buddha could walk to and fro on the Jewelled Walk as He would do on a walk measuring four cubits.

It was due to this inconceivable power of the Buddhas that the whole spectacle could be witnessed right from Akaniṭṭha-Brahmās realm to the Avīci plane of miseries without obstruction whatsoever. All the world-systems involved became as a vast open plain, adjoining one another uninterrupted, so that humans could see devas and Brahmās and vice versa. They all could see the Buddha walking to and fro on the long walk as they would see Him walking on a simple ordinary walk. The Buddha preached as He walked, and having complete mastery over the mind, (cittissariya), He was absorbed in phala-samāpatti during the infinitesimal fraction of time intervals while the audience was saying: ‘Sādhu, Sādhu’.]

Venerable Sāriputta’s Request for The Expounding of Buddhavaṃsa

The Venerable Sāriputta, after paying homage to his heart’s content to the Buddha who was walking to and fro with peerless grace, preaching the sermon of the Four Noble Truths to gathering of devas, humans and Brahmās from ten thousand universes, thought to himself: “Such a united gathering of devas, humans and Brahmās from the ten thousand world-systems is an unprecedented one; it should be an occasion for a great Dhamma Exposition. A discourse on the Buddhavaṃsa especially would be greatly beneficial, promoting faith and devotion towards the Buddha. It would be well if I should request the Buddha for an exposition of His life story and the Perfections He had fulfilled from the time of receiving the definite prophecy of becoming a Buddha.” He then approached the Buddha after slipping one end of his robe over the left shoulder and with his hands raised, made this request in three stanzas beginning with “Kediso te mahāvira, etc.,” (reproduced below in both Pāli and vernacular) to expound a full discourse on the Buddhavaṃsa together with an account of the practices, which had cultivated in the past.

Kidiso te Mahāvīra
abhinihāro naruttama
kamhi kāle tayā dhīra
pattitā Bodhimuttamā

Veneration to the Exalted One, who has exercised the Four Great Exertions (sammappadhāna), one who is nobler than men, superior to devas and excels the Brahmās, the Crown of the three worlds! In what world-cycle and in what aeon, did you aspire for and resolve to attain Perfect Self-Enlightenment which excels Pacceka-bodhi and Sāvaka-bodhi?

Dānam Sīlanca nekkhamam
paññā viriyanca kidisam
khantī saccamadhitthanam
mettupekkha ca kidisa

Veneration to the Exalted Omniscient One, Crown of the three worlds. How should we understand and regard your Perfections, such as Perfection of Alms-giving, Perfection of Morality, Perfection of Renunciation, Perfection of Wisdom, Perfection of Energy? How should we understand and regard your Perfections of Forbearance, Truthfulness, Resolution, Loving-Kindness and Equanimity?

Dāsa Paramī tayā dhīra
kīdisī lokanāyaka
kathaṃ upaparamī punnā
parmatthaparamī kathaṃ

Veneration to the Exalted Omniscient One, Lord of the three worlds. May you enlighten us as to how you had fulfilled these Perfections, how you had acquired higher and higher stages of these Perfections and attained full maturity thereof? Likewise, with the ten higher Perfections (upa-pāramī) and the ten highest Perfections (paramattha-pāramī) in what way, in what manner had you cultivated them to acquire their maturity at the higher level of development?

N.B. (With regard to Perfection of Alms-giving (dāna-pāramī), gift of external properties is ordinary dāna-pāramī, gift of one’s own limbs, big and small is dānaupa-pāramī, gift of life is dāna-paramattha-pāramī. The same principle of classification applies to nine other Perfections. Thus, observance of morality at the sacrifice of external properties is ordinary sīla-pāramī, observance of morality regardless of loss of one’s limbs is sīla-upa-pāramī and observance of morality regardless of losing one’s own life is sīla-paramattha-pāramī. This is how they should be differentiated and noted.)

For innumerable existences, the Bodhisatta had fulfilled dāna and other pāramīs, of which the following are of special interest:

(1) When He was born as a wise hare, he mistook Sakka, who was in the guise of a brahmin, as a genuine brahmin going round collecting alms. So he caused a blazing bonfire to be made and offered himself by jumping into it. Such dāna is Dānaparamattha-pāramī. (As told in7-Sasa Pandita Jātaka, 2-Pucimanda Vagga of Catukka Nipata.)

(2) When He was born as Naga-king Sankhapala, he endured the agony of wounds, which were caused by a ruthless attack by sixteen hunters with spears at eight places on his body, after being impaled on a stake. Without showing resentment, he offered his life and maintained the observance of his precepts. Such a sīla comes under the category of Sīla-paramattha-pāramī. (As told in Sankhapala Jātaka of Catalisa Nipata.)

(3) When He was King Cula Sutasoma, he abdicated the throne of the country of Sudassana (ancient Bārāṇasī) without fear of danger to his life and without attachment to the luxury of kingship and abnegated himself. Such an act of renunciation is called Nekkhama-paramattha-pāramī. (Culasoma Jātaka, Cattalisa Nipata.)

(4) When He was born as a wise man by the name of Senaka, he saved the life of a brahmin by revealing, as if he had seen with his eyes, the presence of a cobra in the leather bag which contained the brahmin’s food. Such an exhibition of wisdom, which had saved the life of the owner of the leather bag, comes under the category of Paramattha-paññā-pāramī. (Sattubhasthe Jātaka of Sattaka Nipata.)

(5) When He was born as a Prince, named Janaka, his undaunted effort to swim across the ocean in the face of odds and without despair, while his fellow travellers were perishing and meeting with destruction, reflects Prince Janaka’s great perseverance. Such a remarkable persevering effort belongs to the category of Paramattha-vīriyapāramī (The Mahā Janaka Jātaka of Mahā Nipata.)

(6) When He was a hermit, named Khantivādī, King Kalabu of the country of Kasi, cut off his hands and feet with a sharp axe. He was unmoved and bore the suffering as though he were a piece of log that lacked sensation and consciousness. He also showed no resentment to the King. Such an act of forbearance comes under the category of Paramattha-khantī-pāramī. (3-Khantivadi Jātaka, 2-Pucimanda Vagga of Catukka Nipata.)

(7) When He was King Mahā Sutasoma, he gave his word of honour, “I will certainly return tomorrow,” to the cannibal Porisada. He stood by his word, regardless of his own life, thereby saving the lives of one hundred and one kings. Such a righteous and truthful vocal deed (vacisacca) comes under the category of Sacca-paramattha-pāramī. (Mahā Sutasoma Jātaka, Asiti Nipata.)

(8) When as a Bodhisatta, He was Prince Temi, he pretended to be deaf and mute and persisted with this practice at the risk of his life, up to the time of his renunciation. Such an act of resolution comes under the category of Sacca-paramattha-adhitthānapāramī. (Mugapakkha (Temiya) Jātaka, Mahā Nipata.)

(9) When He was a hermit by the name of Suvannasama, he cultivated loving-kindness (mettā) at the risk of his life. Such an act of loving-kindness comes under the category of Paramattha-mettā-pāramī. (Suvannasama Jātaka Nipata.)

(10) When He was an ascetic practicing austerities, as described in Lomahāmsa Jātaka, 10Litta Vagga of Ekakanipata, he did not allow himself to be swayed either by the perverted, corrupted demeanour of young villagers or by the various acts of reverence and homage done by the wise, thereby safe-guarding himself entirely from ill-will and greed. Such equanimous attitude of the Bodhisatta exemplifies Upekkhā-paramatthapāramī.

(For full particulars of this category of Paramattha-pāramī, reference may be made to Cariyapitaka Commentary and other relevant Jātaka Commentaries.)

On such a supplication being made by the Venerable Sāriputta, the Buddha expounded two verses as if He was pouring the Elixir of Deathlessness to keep the minds of all sentient beings in peace, urging them: First, to listen with reverent attention to the discourse on the Chronicle of Buddhas which will cause joy and gladness to the audience of devas and humans, eradicate the pricking sorrow in their disturbed minds and let them achieve various attainments, and secondly, to strive earnestly to follow and practice the noble Path to Buddhahood which will destroy all forms of pride, vanity, which will remove various kinds of grief, sorrow, and which will save beings from the cycle of rebirths and extinguish all suffering.

Then, in order to encourage the assembled devas and humans to become enthusiastic to aspire after Perfect Self-Enlightenment, the Buddha gave a discourse on the Chronicle of Buddhas, adorned with nine hundred and fifty one stanzas beginning with:

Kappe ca satasahasse
caturo ca asarṅkhiye
amaraṃ nāma nagaraṃ
dassaneyyaṃ manoramaṃ

The discourse was well received and highly appreciated by the great audience of devas and humans.

By the end of the discourse on the Chronicle of Buddhas, ten million crores of devas, humans and Brahmās became arahats, having eliminated all traces of āsavas; and innumerable beings became established in the lower stages of the Path.

(Here it should be noted that there are nine hundred and fifty-one stanzas which deal wholly with the Buddhavaṃsa. In Nidānakatha, there are eighty-one stanzas comprising a mixture of words of the Mahātheras who participated in the Council (Saṅgītikāraka), words of the Venerable Sāriputta and those of the Buddha; and thirty-eight stanzas in Pakiṇṇaka section and Dhatubhājaniya kathā, being words of the Saṅgītikaraka Mahā Theras, thus totalling one thousand and seventy stanzas in the whole of Buddhavaṃsa-Pāli Text.)

Footnotes and references:


Pāramī —Refer to Chapter II, RARE APPEARANCE OF A BUDDHA.


Cariya—Refer to Chapter II, RARE APPEARANCE OF A BUDDHA.



Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: