List of the named Buddhas
In countries where Theravāda Buddhism is practiced by the majority of people, such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, it is customary for Buddhists to hold elaborate festivals, especially during the fair weather season, paying homage to the 28 Buddhas described in the Buddhavamsa. The Buddhavamsa is a text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and the 27 Buddhas who preceded him. The Buddhavamsa is part of the Khuddaka Nikāya, which in turn is part of the Sutta Piṭaka. The Sutta Piṭaka is one of three main sections of the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.
The first three of these Buddhas—Taṇhaṅkara, Medhaṅkara, and Saraṇaṅkara—lived before the time of Dīpankara Buddha. The fourth Buddha, Dīpankara, is especially important, as he was the Buddha who gave niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) to the Brahmin youth who would in the distant future become the bodhisattva Gautama Buddha. After Dīpankara, 23 more noble people (ariya-puggala) would attain enlightenment before Gautama, the historical Buddha.
Many Buddhists also pay homage to the future (and 29th) Buddha, Maitreya. According to Buddhist scripture, Maitreya will be a successor of Gautama who will appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Jambudvipa (the terrestrial realm, where ordinary human beings live).
The Seven Buddhas of Antiquity
According to Mahayana Buddhist tradition, each kalpa has 1,000 Buddhas. The previous kalpa was the vyuhakalpa (Glorious aeon), and the present kalpa is called the bhadrakalpa (Auspicious aeon). The Seven Buddhas of Antiquity (Saptatathāgata) are seven Buddhas which bridge the vyuhakalpa and the bhadrakalpa:
- Vipassī (the 998th Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
- Sikhī (the 999th Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
- Vessabhū (the 1000th and final Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
- Kakusandha (the first Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
- Koṇāgamana (the second Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
- Kassapa (the third Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
- Gautama (the fourth and present Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
Following the Seven Buddhas of Antiquity will be Maitreya, the fifth and future Buddha of the bhadrakalpa.
Seven Buddhas engraving a Sachi
In the engraving of "The Seven Buddhas", at Sanchi, six Buddhas of the past are represented, together with the current Buddha, Gautama Buddha, with his Bodhi Tree (at the extreme right). In the central section of the engraving are three stupas alternating with four trees with thrones in front of them, adored by figures both human and divine. These represent six Buddhas of the past (namely: Vipassī Buddha, Sikhī Buddha, Vessabhū Buddha, Kakusandha Buddha, Koṇāgamana Buddha and Kassapa Buddha) with the current Buddha, Gautama Buddha. Three are symbolized by their stupas, and four by the trees under which each respectively attained enlightenment. The tree on the extreme right is the pipal tree of Gautama Buddha and the one next to it is the banyan tree of Kassapa Buddha. The identification of the others is less certain.
The 29 named Buddhas
|Pāli name||Sanskrit name||Caste||Birthplace||Parents||Bodhirukka (tree of enlightenment)||Incarnation of Gautama|
|1||Taṇhaṅkara||Tṛṣṇaṃkara||Kshatriya||Popphavadi||King Sunandha, and Queen Sunandhaa||Rukkaththana|
|2||Medhaṅkara||Medhaṃkara||Yaghara||Sudheva, and Yasodhara||Kaela|
|3||Saraṇaṅkara||Śaraṇaṃkara||Vipula||Sumangala, and Yasawathi||Pulila|
|4||Dīpaṃkara||Dīpaṃkara||Brahmin||Rammawatinagara||Sudheva, and Sumedhaya||Pipphala||Sumedha (also Sumati or Megha Mānava, a rich Brahman)|
|5||Koṇḍañña||Kauṇḍinya||Kshatriya||Rammawatinagara||Sunanda, and Sujata||Salakalyana||Vijitawi (a Chakravarti in Chandawatinagara of Majjhimadesa)|
|6||Maṅgala||Maṃgala||Brahmin||Uttaranagara (Majhimmadesa)||Uttara, and Uttara||a naga||Suruchi (in Siribrahmano)|
|7||Sumana||Sumanas||Kshatriya||Mekhalanagara||Sudassana and Sirima||a naga||King Atulo, a Naga|
|8||Revata||Raivata||Brahmin||Sudhannawatinagara||Vipala and Vipula||a naga||A Veda-versed Brahman|
|9||Sobhita||Śobhita||Kshatriya||Sudhammanagara||Sudhammanagara (father) and Sudhammanagara (mother)||a naga||Sujata, a Brahman (in Rammavati)|
|10||Anomadassi||Anavamadarśin||Brahmin||Chandawatinagara||Yasava and Yasodara||ajjuna||A Yaksha king|
|11||Paduma||Padma||Kshatriya||Champayanagara||Asama, and Asama||salala||A lion|
|12||Nārada||Nārada||Dhammawatinagara||King Sudheva and Anopama||sonaka||a tapaso in Himalayas|
|13||Padumuttara||Padmottara||Kshatriya||Hansawatinagara||Anurula, and Sujata||salala||Jatilo an ascetic|
|14||Sumedha||Sumedha||Kshatriya||Sudasananagara||Sumedha (father), and Sumedha (mother)||nipa||Native of Uttaro|
|15||Sujāta||Sujāta||Sumangalanagara||Uggata, and Pabbavati||welu||a chakravarti|
|16||Piyadassi||Priyadarśin||Sudannanagara||Sudata, and Subaddha||kakudha||Kassapa, a Brahmin (at Siriwattanagara)|
|17||Atthadassi||Arthadarśin||Kshatriya||Sonanagara||Sagara and Sudassana||champa||Susino, a Brahman|
|18||Dhammadassī||Dharmadarśin||Kshatriya||Surananagara||Suranamaha, and Sunanada||bimbajala||Indra, the leader of the gods (devas)|
|19||Siddhattha||Siddhārtha||Vibharanagara||Udeni, and Suphasa||kanihani||Mangal, a Brahman|
|20||Tissa||Tiṣya||Khemanagara||Janasando, and Paduma||assana||King Sujata of Yasawatinagara|
|21||Phussa||Puṣya||Kshatriya||Kāśi||Jayasena, and Siremaya||amalaka||Vijitavi|
|22||Vipassī||Vipaśyin||Kshatriya||Bandhuvatinagara||Vipassi (father), and Vipassi (mother)||patali||King Atula|
|23||Sikhī||Śikhin||Kshatriya||Arunavattinagara||Arunavatti, and Paphavatti||pundariko||Arindamo (at Paribhuttanagara)|
|24||Vessabhū||Viśvabhū||Kshatriya||Anupamanagara||Suppalittha, and Yashavati||sala||Sadassana (in Sarabhavatinagara)|
|25||Kakusandha||Krakucchanda||Brahmin||Khemavatinagara||Agidatta the purohitta Brahman of King Khema, and Visakha||airisa||King Khema|
|26||Koṇāgamana||Kanakamuni||Brahmin||Sobhavatinagara||Yannadatta the Brahman, and Uttara||udumbara||King Pabbata of a mountainous area in Mithila|
|27||Kassapa||Kāśyapa||Brahmin||Baranasinagara||Brahmadatta a Brahman, and Dhanavati||nigroda||Jotipala (at Vappulla)|
|28||Gotama (current)||Gautama (current)||Kshatriya||Lumbini||King Suddhodana, and Maya||Asatu Bodhi||Gautama, the Buddha|
|29||Metteyya||Maitreya||Brahmin||Ketumatī||Subrahma and Brahmavati||Naga Bodhi|
- List of Buddhas
- List of bodhisattvas
- Thirty-five Confession Buddhas
- Five Tathagatas
- Praises to the Twenty-One Taras
- List of Buddha claimants
- Glossary of Buddhism
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