Guide to Tipitaka
Khuddaka Nikæya

(14) Buddhavaµsa Pæ¹i

History of the Buddhas

Buddhavaµsa Pæ¹i gives a short historical account of Gotama Buddha and of the twenty-four previous Buddhas who had prophesied his attainment of Buddhahood. It consists of twenty-nine sections in verse.

The first section gives an account of how the Venerable Særiputta asks the Buddha when it was that he first resolved to work for attainment of the Buddhahood and what pæramis (virtues towards perfection) he had fulfilled to achieve his goal of Perfect Enlightenment. In the second section, the Buddha describes how as Sumedha the hermit, being inspired by Døpa³kara Buddha, he makes the resolution for the attainment of Buddhahood and how the Buddha Døpa³kara gives the hermit Sumedha his blessing prophesying that Sumedha would become a Buddha by the name of Gotama after a lapse of four asa³kheyya and a hundred thousand kappas (world cycles).

From then onwards, the Bodhisatta Sumedha keeps on practising the ten pæramøs, namely, alms-giving, morality renunciation, wisdom, perseverance, forbearance, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness and equanimity. The Buddha relates how he fulfils these pæramøs, existence after existence, and how each of the twenty-four Buddhas, who appeared after Døpa³kara Buddha at different interval of world cycles, renewed the prophesy that he would become a Buddha by the name of Gotama.

In sections three to twenty-seven are accounts of the twenty-five Buddhas including Gotama Buddha, giving details about each of them with regard to birth, status, names of their parents, names of their wives and children their life-span, their way of renunciation, duration of their efforts to attain Buddhahood, their teaching of the Dhammacakka Sutta in the Migadæyavana, the names of their Chief Disciples and their chief lay disciples. Each section is closed with an account of where the Buddhas pass away and how their relics are distributed.

In the twenty-eighth section is given the names of three Buddhas, namely, Ta¼ha³kara, Medha³kara and Sara¼a³kara who lived before Døpa³kara Buddha at different intervals of the same world cycle. The names of other Buddhas (up to Gotama Buddha) are also enumerated together with the name of the kappas in which they have appeared. Finally there is the prophesy by the Buddha that Metteyya Buddha would arise after him in this world.

The last section gives an account of how the Buddha’s relics are distributed and where they are preserved.

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