1000 buddhas of this Fortunate Eon

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1000 buddhas of this Fortunate Eon (T. bskal pa bzang po pa’i sangs rgyas stong བསྐལ་པ་བཟང་པོ་པའི་སངས་རྒྱས་སྟོང་).[1] According the Fortunate Eon Sutra (Bhadrakalpikasūtra) of the Sanskrit Mahayana tradition, one thousand buddhas will appear in succession during the current great eon (mahākalpa) which is referred to as the "fortunate eon" (bhadrakalpa).

According to the sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni taught an assembly of 1000 bodhisattvas, all of whom were to become future buddhas during the current great eon. Buddha Shakyamuni revealed the names under which these bodhisattvas would be known as buddhas in the future, and described the circumstances surrounding their awakening.[2] Since Buddha Shakyamuni is traditionally the fourth buddha of the current eon,[3] the Fortunate Eon Sutra actually lists 1004 named buddhas for this eon: the first four buddhas, including Shakyamuni Buddha, plus an additonal one thousand buddhas to follow Shakyamuni Buddha. However, the entire group is typically referred to as "the one-thousand buddhas of the Fortunate Eon."[4]

The Lotus Sutra also includes accounts of the origin stories of these one thousand buddhas.[5]

Names of the buddhas

The Fortunate Eon Sutra presents the names and details of 1004 buddhas of the Fortunate Eon. A full list of the names of the buddhas can be found in verses 2.A.7 - 2.A.99 of the following translation:

The first twelve buddhas of the Fortunate Eon, according to the sutra, are:[6]

  1. Krakucchanda
  2. Kanakamuni
  3. Kāśyapa
  4. Shakyamuni (the Buddha of the present age)
  5. Maitreya
  6. Siṁha
  7. Pradyota
  8. Muni
  9. Kusuma (T. me tog མེ་ཏོག་)
  10. Kusuma (T. me tog gyis pa མེ་ཏོག་གྱིས་པ་)
  11. Sunakṣatra/Sunetra (T. spyan legs སྤྱན་ལེགས་)
  12. Sārthavāha (T. sde dpon སྡེ་དཔོན་)

The first four buddhas in the above list correspond to the last four buddhas in the list of the seven buddhas of antiquity. These four buddhas, along with buddha Maitreya, are also named in the group of 29 buddhas identifiied in the Buddhavamsa of the Pali Canon.

The stages in the life of a buddha

The Dharmachakra Translation Committee states:

The notion that buddhas have arisen and will arise one after another over time is the logical corollary of the idea that buddhas arise not as individuals in isolation but because they have, in previous lifetimes, been inspired and taught by previous buddhas. In this fundamental process through which the presence and teaching of buddhas inspire ordinary beings to themselves become further buddhas, the successive stages are seen as being spread over very long periods spanning many eons. The stages are defined in various different ways, but in essence the process begins with a period in which an individual accumulates merit independently, without necessarily involving the influence of a buddha. This is then followed by the first vow to attain awakening in the presence of a buddha, and at some subsequent point the prophecy of awakening made by another, later buddha. Next comes a long period of maturation during which the six (or more) perfections are practiced and the successive bodhisattva levels are traversed under the guidance of still more buddhas. During this period the bodhisattva will eventually reach a stage of irreversible progress after which awakening is inevitable. The process culminates in the bodhisattva being anointed by the preceding buddha as the next to come, taking birth in the Heaven of Joy, and being reborn in the final human lifetime in which awakening as a tathāgata will occur.
Each buddha during his dispensation will, in turn, inspire numerous disciples to make the aspirational vow to become awakened, will teach and guide others already on their path to that end, will prophesy the future awakening of many, and will anoint an immediate successor. The number of formal prophecies of awakenings made by the Buddha Śākyamuni alone throughout the canonical sūtras would account for a very large number of future buddhas. Most of these, however, are destined for awakening in a future eon rather than in the present one. The buddhas of the present fortunate eon, detailed in this text, are all understood to have been granted their prophecies in eons of the distant past, even if the text makes no mention of the prophecies themselves.[5]

Textual sources

The Dharmachakra Translation Committee states:

[An] extended future is outlined in a number of texts that contain the notion that our present eon is particularly “good” or fortunate in that a thousand (or in some texts five hundred) buddhas will appear in it, many of these texts not being of distinctly Mahāyāna allegiance. The Good Eon, with its enumerations of only four past buddhas but one thousand still to come, is therefore by no means unique, even if the detail in which it sets out these buddhas’ names and other characteristics is unparalleled. Another feature of The Good Eon, origin stories (in fact two different origin stories) of the thousand buddhas as a group of practitioners whose collective inspiration to attain awakening arose on a specific, collectively experienced occasion, are also not confined to this text alone. The next most detailed account of the thousand buddhas’ origin story comes in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka (The White Lotus of Compassion, Toh 112), of which the third and fourth chapters contain a long narrative about a king called Araṇemin (a previous lifetime of Amitāyus), his priest Samudrareṇu, and the priest’s son, the Buddha Ratnagarbha, whose followers more generally are destined to become most of the best-known buddhas and bodhisattvas of the Mahāyāna. Among them, a thousand young brahmin disciples are prophesied to become the thousand buddhas of the Good Eon, and of these seven are named.
Similarly, a long narrative jātaka passage in the Tathāgatācintya­guhya­nirdeśa (The Teaching on the Unfathomable Secrets of the Tathāgatas, Toh 47) describes how the thousand sons of a king called Dhṛtarāṣṭra (a previous incarnation of the Buddha Dīpaṅkara) are prophesied to become the thousand buddhas of the Good Eon; some twenty of those buddhas are named, but only the first six match the names in The Good Eon.
In the Vimala­kīrti­nirdeśa (The Teaching of Vimalakīrti, Toh 176), too, the Buddha recounts a jātaka story about the thousand sons of a king called Ratnacchattra (a previous lifetime of the Buddha Ratnārcis) who, under the Buddha Bhaiṣajyarāja, are prophesied to become the thousand buddhas.[5]

Correlation with Padmasambhava in Tibetan Buddhism

In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, it is said that for each of the 1000 buddhas, an emanation of Padmasambhava will also appear.

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche states:

In the world period that we are now in, one thousand buddhas will appear. In the same way, for each of these buddhas there will be one thousand Guru Rinpoches to carry out their activities. In the present age of Buddha Shakyamuni one such emanation appeared in the person of Padmasambhava, the Lotus-born One.[7]

Jamgön Kongtrul states:

In the future, when Buddha Maitreya appears in this world, Padmakara will emanate as the one known as Drowa Kundul and spread the teachings of Secret Mantra to all worthy people.[8]

See also


  1. For Tibetan rendering, see 84000.png Dharmachakra Translation Committee (2023), Good Eon, g.6351 , 84000 Reading Room and Internet-icon.svg bskal pa bzang po pa’i sangs rgyas stong, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  2. 84000.png Dharmachakra Translation Committee (2023), The Good Eon, "Summary", 84000 Reading Room
  3. See, for example, seven buddhas of antiquity.
  4. See, for example: 84000.png Dharmachakra Translation Committee (2023), Good Eon, g.6351 , 84000 Reading Room; Internet-icon.svg bskal pa bzang po pa’i sangs rgyas stong, Christian-Steinert Dictionary; Dudjom Rinpche (2011), passim; Jigme Lingpa (2010), passim.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 84000.png Dharmachakra Translation Committee (2023), The Good Eon, "Introduction" , 84000 Reading Room
  6. 84000.png Dharmachakra Translation Committee (2023), The Good Eon, verse 2.A.7, 84000 Reading Room
  7. Padmasambhava 1999, p. xxv.
  8. Padmasambhava 1999, p. xxiv.


Further reading