List of the named Buddhas

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Buddhist men at the Sule Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, paying homage to the 28 Buddhas described in Chapter 27 of the Buddhavamsa
Sumedha, the youth who would after many reincarnations become Gautama Buddha, receiving his niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) from Dīpankara Buddha

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.[1] 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.[2] After Dīpankara, 23 more noble people (ariya-puggala) would attain enlightenment before Gautama, the historical Buddha.[citation needed]

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).[citation needed]

The Seven Buddhas of Antiquity

According to Mahayana Buddhist tradition, each kalpa has 1,000 Buddhas.[3] The previous kalpa was the vyuhakalpa (Glorious aeon), and the present kalpa is called the bhadrakalpa (Auspicious aeon).[4] The Seven Buddhas of Antiquity (Saptatathāgata) are seven Buddhas which bridge the vyuhakalpa and the bhadrakalpa:[5]

  1. Vipassī (the 998th Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
  2. Sikhī (the 999th Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
  3. Vessabhū (the 1000th and final Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
  4. Kakusandha (the first Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
  5. Koṇāgamana (the second Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
  6. Kassapa (the third Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
  7. 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

"The Seven Buddhas", at Sanchi (1st century BCE/CE).

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.[6]

The 29 named Buddhas

Pāli name[7][8][9] Sanskrit name Caste[8][9] Birthplace[8][9] Parents[8][9] Bodhirukka (tree of enlightenment)[8][9][10] Incarnation of Gautama[9]
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)[11]
5 Koṇḍañña Kauṇḍinya Kshatriya Rammawatinagara Sunanda, and Sujata Salakalyana Vijitawi (a Chakravarti in Chandawatinagara of Majjhimadesa)
6 Maṅgala Maṃgala Brahmin[12] Uttaranagara (Majhimmadesa) Uttara, and Uttara a naga Suruchi (in Siribrahmano)
7 Sumana Sumanas Kshatriya[12] Mekhalanagara Sudassana and Sirima a naga King Atulo, a Naga
8 Revata[13] Raivata Brahmin[12] Sudhannawatinagara Vipala and Vipula a naga A Veda-versed Brahman
9 Sobhita Śobhita Kshatriya[12] Sudhammanagara Sudhammanagara (father) and Sudhammanagara (mother) a naga Sujata, a Brahman (in Rammavati)
10 Anomadassi Anavamadarśin Brahmin[12] Chandawatinagara Yasava and Yasodara ajjuna A Yaksha king
11 Paduma[14] Padma Kshatriya[12] Champayanagara Asama, and Asama salala A lion
12 Nārada Nārada Dhammawatinagara King Sudheva and Anopama sonaka a tapaso in Himalayas
13 Padumuttara[15] 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[16] 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[17] 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[18]
26 Koṇāgamana Kanakamuni Brahmin[19] Sobhavatinagara Yannadatta the Brahman, and Uttara udumbara King Pabbata of a mountainous area in Mithila
27 Kassapa[20] 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[21] Ketumatī[22] Subrahma and Brahmavati[22] Naga Bodhi

See also

Notes

  1. Morris, R, ed. (1882). "XXVII: List of the Buddhas". The Buddhavamsa. London: Pali Text Society. pp. 66–7. 
  2. "Life of the Buddha: Dīpankara's Prediction of Enlightenment". The Huntington Archive - The Ohio State University. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  3. "Chapter 36: The Buddhas in the three periods of time". Buddhism in a Nutshell Archives. Hong Kong: Buddhistdoor International. Retrieved 2014-12-21. 
  4. Buswell (2014), Bhadrakalpa, p. 106
  5. Buswell (2014), Saptatathāgata, p. 776
  6. John Marshall, A Guide to Sanchi, 1918 p.46ff (Public Domain text)
  7. Malalasekera (2007), Buddha, pp. 294-305
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Davids, TWR; Davids, R (1878). "The successive bodhisats in the times of the previous Buddhas". Buddhist birth-stories; Jataka tales. The commentarial introduction entitled Nidana-Katha; the story of the lineage. London: George Routledge & Sons. pp. 115–44. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Horner, IB, ed. (1975). The minor anthologies of the Pali canon. Volume III: Buddhavaṁsa (Chronicle of Buddhas) and Cariyāpiṭaka (Basket of Conduct). London: Pali Text Society. ISBN 0-86013-072-X. 
  10. Malalasekera (2007), Bodhirukka, p. 319
  11. Ghosh, B (1987). "Buddha Dīpankara: twentyfourth predecessor of Gautama" (PDF). Bulletin of Tibetology. 11 (new series) (2): 33–8. ISSN 0525-1516. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Beal (1875), Beal S, Chapter III: Exciting to religious sentiment, pp. 10-17
  13. Malalasekera (2007), Revata, pp. 754-5
  14. Malalasekera (2007), Paduma, p. 131
  15. Malalasekera (2007), Padumuttara, pp. 136-7
  16. Malalasekera (2007), Piyadassi, p. 207
  17. Malalasekera (2007), Phussa, p. 257
  18. Prophecies of Kakusandha Buddha, Konagamana Buddha and Kassapa Buddha Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Barua, A (2008). Dīgha-Nikāya: romanize Pāli text with English translation. 2 (1st ed.). Delhi, India: New Bharatiya Book Corporation. p. 6. ISBN 81-8315-096-9. 
  20. Cunningham, A (1880). "XVIII: Tandwa". Report of Tours in the Gangetic Provinces from Badaon to Bihar, in 1875-76 and 1877-78. Calcutta, India: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing. pp. 70–8. 
  21. "Cakkavatti Sutta: The Wheel-turning Emperor". www.accesstoinsight.org. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Vipassana.info, Pali Proper Names Dictionary: Metteyya


References

Further reading

  • Law, BC, ed. (1938). "The lineage of the Buddhas". The Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon: Buddhavaṃsa, the lineage of the Buddhas, and Cariyā-Piṭaka or the collection of ways of conduct (1st ed.). London: Milford. 
  • Takin, MV, ed. (1969). "The lineage of the Buddhas". The Genealogy of the Buddhas (1st ed.). Bombay: Bombay University Publications. 
  • Vicittasarabivamsa, U (1992). "Chapter IX: The chronicle of twenty-four Buddhas". In Ko Lay, U; Tin Lwin, U. The great chronicle of Buddhas, Volume One, Part Two (PDF) (1st ed.). Yangon, Myanmar: Ti=Ni Publishing Center. pp. 130–321. 

External links

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