Sumedha and Dīpankara Buddha, modern illustration
|Known for||The previous life of Gotama Buddha, when he first declared the wish to become a Buddha|
|Home town||Amaravatī, India|
In Buddhist texts, Sumedha is a previous life of Gotama Buddha (Pāli; Sanskrit: Gautama) in which he declares his intention to become a Buddha. Buddhist texts describe that this takes place when Gotama Buddha is still a Buddha-to-be (Pali: bodhisatta, Sanskrit: bodhisattva). Traditions regard Sumedha's life as the beginning of the spiritual journey leading up to the attainment of Buddhahood by Gotama in his last life, a journey which takes place through many lifetimes. Born in a brahmin family, Sumedha begins to live as an ascetic in the mountains. One day he meets Dīpankara Buddha (Sanskrit: Dīpaṃkara) and offers his own body for him to walk over. During this sacrifice, he makes a vow that he also will be a Buddha in a future lifetime, which is confirmed by Dīpankara through a prophecy.
The encounter between Sumedha and Dīpankara Buddha is the oldest Buddhist story known which deals with the path of a bodhisatta, and the story has been described as the Theravādin interpretation of this ideal. It is the most detailed story of a previous life of the Buddha, and is one of the most popular stories in Buddhist art. It is depicted in many Theravādin temples and is at least alluded to in innumerable Buddhist works. Sumedha's story has often been raised by Theravāda Buddhists as an example of selfless service.
Sumedha's life is described in the Pāli Buddhavaṃsa and Jātaka, the latter being based on the former. The Sanskrit textual traditions relate Sumedha's life as well. The Sanskrit tradition accounts are very similar to those of the Pāli, which has led Indologists Kenneth Norman and Richard Gombrich to argue that the accounts can be dated back to pre-sectarian Buddhism, possibly as early as a century after the Buddha. On the other hand, Buddhist studies scholar Jan Nattier argues that Dīpankara Buddha's absence in the earliest Pāli discourses (Pali: sutta, Sanskrit: sūtra) indicates that traditions about Dīpankara only became current several centuries after the Buddha. Buddhist studies scholar Naomi Appleton states parts of the biographical material were "fixed no later than the sixth century CE".
Chinese Buddhist pilgrims such as Faxian (337 – c.422 CE) identified the place where Sumedha would have met Dīpankara Buddha as Nagarāhāra (Afghanistan), now called Nangarhar. Faxian reported a shrine for Dīpankara there: apparently, it was important for Gandhāran Buddhists to claim that their country was the origin of Gotama Buddha's spiritual life. Since most of the depictions of Sumedha's account have been found in the area northwest of India, especially Gandhāra, it has been suggested that the story developed there. However, the motif of the spreading of hair has also been found in the Ajantā and Nālandā areas, and there is some evidence that the story was common in Ajantā.
Buddhist studies scholar Karen Derris has pointed out that the Buddhavaṃsa has received relatively little scholarly attention, due to mainstream scholars' focus on early Pāli texts and being prejudiced towards mythological accounts of later origin.
|Pali||Sumedha (~paṇḍita, ~tāpasa)|
|Tibetan||mkhas pa blo gros bzaṅ po dka' thub pa|
In the Pāli texts, Sumedha is said to have lived four "incalculable eons" and a hundred thousand normal eons ago. In what most texts describe as Gotama Buddha's own memories, an account is given of Sumedha's life, in the voice of the first person. Sumedha is born in Amaravatī in a brahmin family of noble birth. After having grown up, he realizes that life is full of suffering such as sickness and death, and he sets out to find a "state beyond death". He realizes he cannot take his wealth in the afterlife and therefore donates it all, becoming a type of ascetic wearing matted hair (Pali: jaṭila). He begins to live on the Dhammaka mountain, in the Himalayas. He starts to observe strict discipline, choosing only to live under trees and live on fruits. The texts say that his self-cultivation helps him to attain "the highest knowledge" and develop "great yogic power" like flying. He is depicted as being so immersed in yogic practice, that he does not notice the portents that a Buddha has arisen in the world.[note 1]
Encounter with Dīpankara Buddha
One day, while traveling to the city of Rammavatī, he sees people preparing a road for Dīpankara Buddha to travel on, Dīpankara being the first of twenty-four Buddhas that Sumedha will meet before becoming a Buddha himself. Being joyful on hearing the word buddha, Sumedha takes responsibility for a part of the road which has not been done yet, but he does not manage to finish it in time for Dīpankara. Since he does not want to use his psychic powers to repair the road, Sumedha prostrates himself in the mud in front of Dīpankara Buddha and his following as a human bridge.[note 2] He spreads his hair, his deer skin and bark garment on the mud to cover it fully. Later texts would come to see this is an advanced stage in the development of Gotama, the Buddha-to-be, in that he fully dedicates himself to Buddhahood, not only in mind and in speech, but also physically. In this manner, he pays homage to Dīpankara Buddha and helps him and the monks to cross the mud unsullied. This is regarded as a sacrifice of Sumedha's life, in that it entails many monks walking over him, and him possibly dying in the process. While doing so, Sumedha then pronounces a specific vow (Pali: abhinihāra; Sanskrit: pūrvapraṇidhāna) that in the future he too will become a Buddha.
Before walking over Sumedha's body, Dīpankara stops before him and makes a prophecy (Pali: veyyakaraṇa, Sanskrit: vyākaraṇa) that Sumedha's wish will come true in a future lifetime: he will then become the Buddha called Sākyamuni (Sanskrit: Śākyamuni). Dīpankara also mentions several details of the future Buddha's life, such as the names of his parents and main disciples. When Dīpankara makes this statement, many devotees who believe they cannot yet attain enlightenment under Dīpankara vow that they will attain it under the next Buddha, Sākyamuni. After the prediction, with Sumedha still lying in the mud, Dīpankara Buddha and his following of monks circumambulate around Sumedha, and in some stories offer flowers, as a sign of respect and to celebrate Sumedha's future Buddhahood. Meanwhile, deities are depicted as approving of the prophecy, like a "divine chorus that give notice of his pending buddhahood", a subservient role typical for Buddhist cosmology. The text reveals that many of the onlookers later become followers of Gotama Buddha in his final lifetime, after his enlightenment, according to the wish they made. Specifically, they are reborn as the disciples called the Kassapa Brothers (Sanskrit: Kāśyapa), and their followers. The motif that people who formerly encountered Dīpankara Buddha become enlightened under another Buddha Gotama indicates that each Buddha is regarded as continuing upon the work left unfinished by the previous Buddhas.
Response to the prophecy
Sumedha makes his vow as a Buddha-to-be (Pali: bodhisatta, Sanskrit: bodhisattva) because of the concern he has with other living beings. The story relates that Sumedha could have attained personal enlightenment at the time of meeting Dīpankara, but chooses to strive to become a Buddha instead. Inspired by Dīpankara's example, he feels he has the duty to strive for the highest accomplishment, to become a Buddha. After the prophecy is made, Sumedha reflects on the qualities he needs to accomplish Buddhahood called the 'perfections' (Pali: pāramī; Sanskrit: pāramitā), and concludes which are most important, beginning with the perfection of giving. With Sumedha having reflected on these perfections, an earthquake follows: in Buddhist studies scholar Kate Crosby's words, "the whole universe confirms the future success of his vow". This causes panic among the inhabitants, but Dīpankara explains to them there is no reason for dismay. The texts conclude with Sumedha returning to the Himalayas.
Sumedha continues his spiritual journey through many lifetimes, "millions of lifetimes and billions of years". Every time he meets another Buddha, he performs an act of devotion and renews his bodhisatta vow to become one himself. All the while, he develops his perfections further, as each of the Buddhas he meets inspires him to pursue Buddhahood further, and in the process, adds something unique to the Buddha-to-be's identity. Traditionally, the rest of the Jātakas are also understood to depict the period between Sumedha's bodhisatta vow and his eventual enlightenment as a Buddha. One of the more well-known tales of a previous life is that of Prince Vessantara (Sanskrit: Viśvantara), part of the Jātaka collection, who famously gives his wealth, wife and children away to attain Buddhahood.
In several Chinese Buddhist texts, as well as the Sanskrit Mahāvastu, Sumedha is called Megha. In several other Chinese and Sanskrit texts, including the Divyavadāna, he is called Sumati. The spelling Sumegha also occurs.
In the Pāli Apadāna and Āgamas, Sumedha receives (or buys) blue lotus flowers from a young brahmin girl called Sumittā; he later offers the flowers to Dīpankara Buddha, throwing them in the air. Sumittā takes a vow that she may be reborn as the wife of Sumedha in a future life, which is confirmed by a prediction by Dīpankara Buddha. Later, Sumittā is reborn as Yasodharā (Sanskrit: Yaśodharā), the wife of Prince Siddhattha who later becomes Gotama Buddha. In some versions of the story, Yasodharā only gives the flowers to Sumedha on the condition that he join her in pledging to be reborn as a couple in future lives.[note 3]
Yasodharā is depicted in many Gandhāran bas reliefs and statues, alongside Sumedha (and Dīpankara Buddha). In the Apadāna, the Divyāvadāna and the Mahāvastu, Sumedha also has a friend called Meghadatta or Mati. The texts relate that the friend does much bad karma and is reborn in hell for many lifetimes as a result. He is reborn in the time of Gotama Buddha as his disciple Dhammaruci (Sanskrit: Dharmaruci). 
Medieval post-canonical Pāli texts from Burmese, Thai, Sinhalese and Khün vernacular traditions describe an even earlier period in the spiritual path of Gotama Buddha, relating about lives even prior to that of Sumedha, during which he not yet received confirmations of his vow from other Buddhas. In this "pre-Sumedha" narrative tradition, the encounter between Sumedha and Dīpankara is seen as an advanced stage on the spiritual path of Gotama Buddha, as opposed to a beginning. These narratives depict a more gradual process of development, and do not regard the beginning of the spiritual path of Gotama Buddha as a single, revolutionary event. Because of that, they offer a perspective which diminishes the importance of the encounter between Sumedha and Buddha Dīpankara. For example, the Paññāsa Jātaka collection that circulated in Southeast Asia relates about a previous life of Sumedha, in the time of a previous Buddha also called Dīpankara. In this lifetime, Sumedha already has the wish to become a Buddha, but cannot receive the prophecy from this Dīpankara Buddha, because in this lifetime Sumedha is a woman. This Dīpankara hears of the woman's wish, who is his stepsister, and lets her know that she will be able to receive the prediction later, when she is born as the male Sumedha during the time of the next Dīpankara. There is debate among scholars whether this story should be interpreted as empowering women to become bodhisattas, or affirming the status quo of women being unable to access the bodhisatta path.
Archaeologist Maurizio Taddei has noted that in many Gandharan art depictions, Sumedha's life is linked to that of Rāhula, the son of the Buddha. The Buddha giving his spiritual heritage to his son is compared to that of Sumedha allowing the Buddha Dīpankara to walk over him, and Dīpankara making the prophecy. Both the figure of Gotama Buddha giving his inheritance to his son, and the figure of Dīpankara Buddha giving his inheritance of Buddhahood to Sumedha are depicted with flames emitting from their bodies; both scenes are depictions of inheritance, filial and disciple piety; both may have been considered by fifth-century Buddhists to be representations of "eager youth".
Sumedha is a powerful spiritual figure, who is depicted as striving with willpower to attain the reality beyond painful rebirth, and in the process is willing to discard his "filthy" body for the higher good. The story of the encounter is meant to evoke respect for Gotama Buddha, but also meant as an encouragement for those who strive for enlightenment in a future lifetime. It could have been used to encourage devotees to aspire to be reborn under Metteyya (Sanskrit: Maitreya), believed by Buddhists to be the future Buddha. Furthermore, the story of Sumedha, as well as many Jātaka stories, indicate that the path of a Buddha-to-be is superior and more heroic than that of striving for only personal enlightenment. The story of Sumedha meeting Dīpankara has a "strong devotional ethos".
Through the motif of the prophecy, Dīpankara not only shows his "complete cognizance of cosmos"Template:Em dashin the words of comparative religion scholar Eviatar ShulmanTemplate:Em dashbut also that the Buddha Gotama and the Buddhas that have preceded him, are "ultimately of the same substance". Sumedha is depicted as the "Buddha seed" (Pali: buddhabhījaṅgura) that will eventually develop into a fully enlightened Buddha, just like all the other Buddhas. Thus, Sumedha's prophecy not only shows the future personal attainment of Gotama Buddha, but also reveals a "cosmic structure". The story of Sumedha shows that "buddhas make other buddhas", or as Buddhist studies scholar Steven Collins puts it, "[e]ach Buddha is connected with others, in a complex and interwoven pattern of predictions and recollections". In addition, Sumedha's sacrifice of his body as a sort of bridge can be interpreted as a symbol for the passing of Buddhism from one age to the next.
Since Dīpankara's approval of Sumedha is a pattern that occurs with every Buddha before attaining Buddhahood, it becomes "paradigmatic and reoccurring". It can therefore be regarded as "sacred time" in contrast with profane, single events, following the theory of historian Mircea Eliade. Collins does point out that Sumedha's account in the Buddhavaṃsa depicts both repetitive and non-repetitive time: though the paths of the bodhisattas and Buddhas are depicted as repetitive in nature, time in the cycle of rebirth of living beings is described as a continuous flowing river, where living beings can reach salvation under a certain Buddha and thereby reach "the further shore of nirvana" and no longer be reborn. Derris adds that in the narratives about Dīpankara's prediction there is a "shimmering temporal landscape", in which the Buddha-to-be Sumedha is to some extent already the Buddha. Words like Jina (lit. 'conqueror') and Tathāgatha are applied to him, which are epithets of an already enlightened Buddha. This indicates how certain the prediction was seen to be.
Post-canonical Pāli works, Sanskrit works such as the Mahāvastu, Sarvāstivāda and Mūla-sārvastivāda commentaries describe that a Buddha-to-be must go through several stages before becoming a Buddha: the "natural stage", before conceiving the wish to become a Buddha; the stage of taking a vow to become one; and the stage of living in agreement with that vow, fulfilling the perfections. At the fourth stage, the Buddha-to-be is declared to have an irreversible destination as a Buddha, provided the Buddha-to-be makes a correct vow. Among qualities needed for that vow to succeed, the commentary of the Jātaka states that the Buddha-to-be must fulfill eight conditions, among which having extreme willpower and being male. These conditions are only found in the Theravāda texts. Buddhist studies scholar Peter Harvey does add, though, that the condition of being male only holds for becoming a Buddha, but not for becoming an enlightened disciple of a Buddha. In the Pāli tradition, therefore, this condition has hardly any practical consequences, because Buddhahood is seen as open for very few individuals, and most people aim to attain enlightenment as a disciple instead. Most scholars agree that the Pāli Canon does not describe the bodhisatta path as open for every individual, and that the Pāli texts differ in this respect from Mahāyāna Buddhism, in which the path of Buddhahood is regarded as open for all. A number of scholars have argued that there is no such difference, however.
Role in Buddhism
In the Theravāda tradition, the story is usually regarded as the beginning of the Buddha's spiritual path, and is included in the first part (Pali: Dūre-nidāna, lit. 'Distant Epoch') in most traditional accounts about the Buddha's life. The model for this organization of information was the Buddhavaṃsa, and the Nidānakathā, part of the commentary on the Jātakas, in which the Dūre takes up half of the account. The story of Sumedha attempts to establish a relation between Gotama Buddha and a lineage of predecessors, thus legitimizing the message of the Buddha, and describing a "pre-enlightenment training". This is comparable to how an Indian king was anointed by his predecessor, and therefore conforms to Indian beliefs. Indeed, the medieval Pāli Jīnalaṅkāra dubs Dīpankara's prophecy "a great consecration", consecration referring to anointment of kings (Pali: mahābhiseka).
The story is the longest and most detailed account about a previous life of the Buddha, and serves as the model for other such accounts. It is the oldest known Buddhist story about the path of a bodhisatta, and it forms the oldest instance in the Pāli tradition of the altruistic bodhisatta rationale, depicting a person aiming for the enlightenment of other living beings. Indeed, the story has been dubbed "a concise Theravādin reformulation of the Mahāyāna bodhisattva ideal", as it deals with the very question of what it means to be a Buddha-to-be. The story defines the role of the bodhisatta path within Theravādin Buddhist doctrine and terminology in a revolutionary manner, using new terms like 'prediction' (Pali: vyākaraṇa), 'aspiration' (Pali: abhinīhāra) and 'service, meritorious act' (Pali: adhikāra). The Jātakanidāna describes the personal relationship between a Buddha and a bodhisatta within the Theravādin doctrine and normalizes, incorporates and integrates the bodhisatta in its structure. Scholar Juyan Zhang argues that accounts about Sumedha in the Ekottara Āgama and Jātaka Nidāna may have formed a prototype for the later Mahāyāna mythology and iconography of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, developing from the fifth century CE. Buddhist studies scholars Hikata Ryushō and Shizutani Masao believe the story of Sumedha to be part of "primitive Mahāyāna", the earliest stage in the development of Mahāyāna Buddhism, but archaeologist Rhi Juhyung believes the evidence is not yet definitive.
The story of Sumedha's encounter with Dīpankara Buddha is one of the most popular in Buddhist art. It is depicted in many Theravādin temples and is at least alluded to in a huge amount of religious works. Indeed, in Theravādin Buddhist culture, the story of Sumedha, as well as hat of Vessantara, is as important as the final life of Gotama Buddha, and in some countries, Sumedha's story is included in children's books about the Buddha. The story of Sumedha's encounter with Dīpankara has been much depicted in Buddhist art. In depictions of rebirth narratives in Gandhāran art, the story dominates and has an "extraordinary" position in the iconography of Gandhāran monuments with relics (stūpas). It is often depicted integrated with the present life of the Buddha and is as at least as often depicted as key events in the Buddha's last life. The reason why the story was less influential outside of Gandhāra may have been because Vessantara's story was more popular there, Vessantara providing both a model in terms of spirituality and kingship.
In the texts of monastic discipline of the Dharmaguptaka textual tradition, Sumedha receives the prediction of his future Buddhahood and flies away into the air. His hair, however, remains on the ground, still spread out, but now detached from his body. Dīpankara warns his disciples not to step on the hair. Hundreds of thousands of persons then come and make offerings of flowers and perfumes to the hair. In some versions of the story, such as in the Divyavadāna, stūpas are built by local kings to enshrine the hairs. Buddhist studies scholar John S. Strong argues that these accounts indicate a historical development toward a relic cult of bodhisattas.
The bhikkhu [Buddhist monk] is not a selfish, cowardly individual thinking only of his happiness and salvation, unmindful of whatever happens to the rest of humanity. A true bhikkhu is an altruistic, heroic person who considers others' happiness more than his own. He, like the Bodhisattva Sumedha, will renounce his own nirvāṇa for the sake of others. Buddhism is built upon service to others.[emphasis added]
Comparison with Jainism
In Jainism, a similar story exists with regard to their founder Mahāvira, who is predicted to become a jina, an omniscient being, in a future life. He creates much bad karma, however, and is reborn in hell as a result. Later he manages to be reborn as a human being and fulfill the prophecy. Both the Buddha-to-be and Mahāvira-to-be encounter 24 preceding omniscient teachers.[note 4] Therefore, there are similarities between this story on the one hand, and the life of Sumedha and his friend Meghadatta on the other hand.
There are some differences, however. Sumedha makes an aspiration for full enlightenment before he receives his prophecy, whereas Marīci, the previous life of Mahāvira, is not depicted as upholding such an aspiration, and the prophecy is made at the request of Marīci's father, whereas in Sumedha's case, the prophecy is made in response to his aspiration. Secondly, in Marīci's case, the prophecy also pertains to some "worldly and morally dubious" attainments such as becoming a powerful king (Pali: cakkavatti, Sanskrit: cakravartin), whereas the prophecy Sumedha receives does not contain such elements. Sumedha's aspiration is seen as a powerful and positive intention, that can only lead to positive consequences, as predicted in the prophecy. In Marīci's case, however, his prophecy is not connected with his conscious intention, and the consequences of the prophecy are both positive and negative. This ties in with doctrinal differences in karma and intention between the two religions: whereas in Buddhism intention is fundamental to the concept of karmic retribution, in Jainism all action is important, even that without intention. Whereas in Buddhism a positive and powerful aspiration is seen to only lead to positive results, in Jainism, nearly all aspiration has a problematic side to it, as Marīci's prophecy leads him to an accomplishment as a jina, but also potentially dangerous worldly powers.
In popular culture
The life of Sumedha was depicted in the initial episodes of the 1997 Indian serial Buddha, produced by G. Adi Sheshagiri Rao. In this serial of 27 episodes, the Buddha (and the Buddha-to-be) is played by actor Arun Govind. The story mostly follows the traditional outline, but much time is spent on the generosity of Sumedha, at one point showing him sacrificing his eyes for a blind person.
- The texts say that an earthquake took place at the moment of Prince Siddhattha's enlightenment as a Buddha. Other portents are also listed, such as animals that were once hostile living in harmony.
- Buddhist studies scholar Bhikkhu Anālayo points out that the motif of lying in the mud as a human bridge can already be found in the early Pāli texts and Āgamas.
- Some accounts relate that the king bought all the flowers himself to offer to Buddha Dīpankara, thus leaving no flowers for others to offer.
- Scholars are in debate as to whether the shared idea of 24 predecessors originates in Buddhism or in Jainism. However, in the Buddhavaṃsa another three Buddhas are mentioned, making for a total of 27, but these are not expanded on in the main body of the text.
- Norman 1983, p. 79.
- Gombrich 2012, p. 95.
- Nattier 2004.
- Appleton 2011, p. 36.
- Neelis 2019, p. 179.
- Rhi 2003, pp. 158–9, note 17.
- Analayo 2010, p. 87, note 95.
- Derris 2000, pp. 7, 9.
- Gaffney 2018, p. viii.
- Williams, Paul (2005). "Bodhisattva Path". Encyclopedia of Religion. Thomson Gale. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Unknown parameter
- Gaffney 2018, p. 360.
- Derris 2000, p. 139.
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. For the noble birth, see Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist..
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Lopez, D.S. (8 March 2019). "Buddha - Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. The 2013 monograph specifies the types of suffering.
- See Lopez, D.S. (8 March 2019). "Buddha - Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica, and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Lopez mentions the matted hair.
- Malalasekera 1960, Dhammaka.
- Matsumura 2010, p. 106.
- Collins 1998, p. 337.
- For the knowledge, see Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. For the power, see Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist..
- Sasson 2015, p. 176.
- Derris 2000, p. 144.
- Malalasekera 1960, Sumedha, Ramma, Rammavatī.
- For the passage of hearing the word, see Lopez, D.S. (8 March 2019). "Buddha - Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. For the details of the road, see Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist..
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Crosby mentions the psychic powers.
- Analayo 2010, p. 76, note 69.
- Buswell & Lopez 2014, Sumedha.
- Matsumura 2011, p. 106.
- Derris 2000, pp. 148, 151–2.
- Gombrich 2012, p. 101.
- See Williams, Paul (2005). "Bodhisattva Path". Encyclopedia of Religion. Thomson Gale, Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Gombrich mentions that Dīpankara makes the prophecy before walking over him.
- Derris 2000, pp. 162–3.
- Gaffney 2018, pp. 346–7.
- Auerback 2016, p. 12.
- Derris 2000, pp. 174–5.
- Lopez, D.S. (8 March 2019). "Buddha - Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019. Unknown parameter
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Crosby mentions giving.
- Crosby 2013b, The Changing Character of the Buddha.
- Matsumura 2011, p. 108.
- Lopez 2013, p. 2.
- For the act of devotion, see Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. For the renewal of the vow, see Williams, Paul (2005). "Bodhisattva Path". Encyclopedia of Religion. Thomson Gale, and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist..
- Malalasekera 1960, Bodhisatta.
- Derris 2000, pp. 183–4.
- Kumari 2012, p. 163.
- Matsumura 2011, pp. 1138–9.
- Auerback 2016, p. 7.
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist., Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Zhang specifies the type of flower.
- Durt 2005, pp. 81–2.
- Malalasekera 1960, Rāhulamātā.
- Hudson, Gutman & Maung 2018, p. 10.
- Zhang 2017, pp. 21–2.
- Zhu 2012, p. 73.
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Matsumura specifies the type of epigraphic findings.
- Appleton 2012, p. 6 note 1.
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Only Derris mentions traditions outside of Thailand.
- Derris 2000, pp. 27–9.
- Reynolds 1997, p. 38, note 33.
- Appleton 2011, pp. 39–40.
- Derris 2008, pp. 40–1.
- Woodward 1997, p. 52.
- Crosby 2013a, pp. 119–20.
- Shulman 2017, p. 176.
- Prebish, Charles (2005). "Buddha". Encyclopedia of Religion. Thomson Gale. Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Unknown parameter
- Adam 2018.
- Shulman 2017, p. 177.
- Derris 2000, p. 170.
- Derris 2000, p. 157.
- Collins 1998, p. 248.
- Filigenzi 2009, p. 81.
- Gilks 2010, pp. 58–9.
- Collins 1998, pp. 263–4.
- Derris 2000, pp. 160–1.
- See Williams, Paul (2005). "Bodhisattva Path". Encyclopedia of Religion. Thomson Gale, Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Drewes mentions the Sarvāstivāda and Mūla-sarvāstivāda commentaries.
- Samuels 1997, p. 414 note 52.
- Drewes 2017, pp. 3–4.
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Appleton mentions all eight conditions.
- Drewes 2017, p. 2.
- Harvey 2000, p. 373.
- Gaffney 2018, p. 363, note 1; 364, note 1.
- Malalasekera 1960, Dūre-nidāna.
- Buswell & Lopez 2014, Nidānakathā.
- See Prebish, Charles (2005). "Buddha". Encyclopedia of Religion. Thomson Gale, Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist. and Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. Gombrich points out that the Dūre amounts to half of the Nidānakathā.
- Gaffney 2018, p. 363.
- Gilks 2010, p. 58.
- Derris 2000, pp. 147–8.
- Norman 1983, p. 93.
- Gaffney 2018, p. 361.
- Gaffney 2018, pp. 340–2, note 5, 355, 361.
- Zhang 2017, pp. 23–4.
- Rhi 2003, p. 158.
- See Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. For the importance in Theravāda, see Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist.. For the children books, see Script error: The function "harvard_core" does not exist..
- Neelis 2019, pp. 176, 178–9.
- Filigenzi 2009, p. 82.
- Strong 2004, p. 56.
- Prebish 1993, p. 59.
- Ratnayaka 1985, p. 88.
- Myint 2015, p. 5.
- Appleton 2012, p. 11.
- Reynolds 1997, p. 30.
- Appleton 2012, pp. 6–7, 11.
- Appleton 2012, pp. 8, note 1.
- Bakker 2009, p. 150.
- Adam, M.T. (2018), "Moral Development in the Āvadanas, Jātakas, and Pāli Nikāyas", in Cozort, Daniel; Shields, James Mark, The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-106317-6
- Analayo, Bhikkhu (2010), The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal (PDF), Hamburg University Press, ISBN 978-3-937816-62-3, archived from the original (PDF) on 7 May 2019 Unknown parameter
- Appleton, N. (2011), "In the Footsteps of the Buddha? Women and the Bodhisatta Path in Theravāda Buddhism" (PDF), Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 27 (1): 33–51, doi:10.2979/jfemistudreli.27.1.33, archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2017 Unknown parameter
- Appleton, N. (12 July 2012), "The Multi-life Stories of Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira", Buddhist Studies Review, 29 (1): 5–16, doi:10.1558/bsrv.v29i1.5, archived from the original on 24 April 2019
- Auerback, M.L. (2016), A Storied Sage: Canon and Creation in the Making of a Japanese Buddha, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-28638-9
- Bakker, Freek L. (2009), The Challenge of the Silver Screen: An Analysis of the Cinematic Portraits of Jesus, Rama, Buddha and Muhammad, BRILL Publishers, doi:10.1163/9789004194045_005, ISBN 9789004168619
- Buswell, R.E. Jr.; Lopez, Donald S. Jr. (2014), Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-15786-3
- Collins, Steven (1998), Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-57054-1
- Crosby, Kate (2013a), "The Inheritance of Rāhula: Abandoned Child, Boy Monk, Ideal Son and Trainee", in Sasson, Vanessa R., Little Buddhas: Children and Childhoods in Buddhist Texts and Traditions, Oxford University Press, pp. 97–123, ISBN 978-0-19-994561-0, lay summary – Buddhist Views of Childhood (26 April 2018)
- Crosby, Kate (2013b), Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, and Identity (PDF), John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-1-118-32329-8, archived from the original (PDF) on 27 April 2019 Unknown parameter
- Derris, K.A. (2000), Virtue and Relationships in a Theravādin Biography of the Bodhisatta: A Study of the Sotaṭṭhakīmahānidāna (PhD thesis), Harvard University, OCLC 77071204
- Derris, K.A. (2008), "When the Buddha Was a Woman: Reimagining Tradition in the Theravāda", Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 24 (2): 29–44, doi:10.2979/FSR.2008.24.2.29, ISSN 8755-4178, JSTOR 20487925
- Drewes, David (2017), Mahāyāna Sūtras and Opening of the Bodhisattva Path, XVIIIth IABS Congress, Toronto
- Durt, H. (2005), "Kajaṅgalā, Who Could Have Been the Last Mother of the Buddha?", Journal of the International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies, 9: 6–90, archived from the original on 27 April 2019 Unknown parameter
- Filigenzi, A. (2009), "Migration, Diffusion, Localization: The Common Roots of Late Buddhist Art in Afghanistan/Pakistan and Early Buddhist Art in The Himalayan Countries", Tibetan Arts in Transition, pp. 79–87
- Gaffney, S.D. (2018), sKyes pa rabs kyi gleṅ gźi (Jātakanidāna): A Critical Edition Based on Six Editions of the Tibetan Bka' 'Gyur, Indica et Buddhica, ISBN 978-0-473-44462-4, archived from on 7 May 2019 Unknown parameter
- Gilks, P.J. (2010), No Turning Back: The Concept of Irreversibility in Indian Mahayāna Literature (PDF) (PhD thesis), The Australian National University, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 May 2019 Unknown parameter
- Gombrich, R. (2012) , Buddhist Precept & Practice, Routledge, ISBN 978-1-136-15623-6
- Gombrich, R. (2006), Theravāda Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo (2nd ed.), Routledge, ISBN 978-0-203-01603-9
- Harvey, Peter (2000), An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-511-07584-1, archived from the original (PDF) on 27 April 2019 Unknown parameter
- Hudson, Bob; Gutman, Pamela; Maung, Win (2018), "Buddha's Life in Konbaung Period Bronzes from Yazagyo", Journal of Burma Studies, 22 (1): 1–30, doi:10.1353/jbs.2018.0000, archived from the original on 26 April 2019 Unknown parameter
- Kumari, Sabita (2012), "Representation of the Birth of the Buddha in Buddhist Art of Andhradesa", Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 73: 163–8, ISSN 2249-1937, JSTOR 44156202
- Lang, K. (2015), "Indian Buddhist Narratives", in Powers, John, The Buddhist World, Routledge, ISBN 978-1-317-42016-3
- Lopez, D.S. Jr (2013), From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-49321-3
- Malalasekera, G.P. (1960), Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, 2, Pali Text Society, OCLC 793535195
- Matsumura, J. (2010), "The Sumedhakathā in Pāli Literature and Its Relation to the Northern Buddhist Textual Tradition", Journal of the International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies, 14: 101–33, archived from the original on 7 May 2019 Unknown parameter
- Matsumura, J. (2011), "The Story of the Dīpaṃkara Buddha Prophecy in Northern Buddhist Texts", Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies (Indogaku Bukkyogaku Kenkyu), 59 (3): 1137–46, doi:10.4259/ibk.59.3_1137, archived from the original on 24 April 2019 Unknown parameter
- Myint, Tun (2015), "Buddhist Political Thought", in Gibbons, M.T., The Encyclopedia of Political Thought, John Wiley & Sons, doi:10.1002/9781118474396.wbept0114 (inactive 2020-01-22)
- Nattier, Jan (2004), "Dīpaṃkara", in Buswell, R.E. Jr, Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 1, Macmillan Publishers, p. 230
- Neelis, Jason (2019), "Making Places for Buddhism in Gandhāra: Stories of Previous Births in Image and Text", in Rienjang, W.; Stewart, P., The Geography of Gandhāran Art: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop of the Gandhāra Connections Project, University of Oxford, 22nd-23rd March, 2018, Archaeopress, pp. 175–85, doi:10.32028/9781789691863P175-185 (inactive 2020-01-22), archived from the original (PDF) on 27 April 2019
- Norman, K.R. (1983), Pāli Literature: Including the Canonical Literature in Prakrit and Sanskrit of all the Hīnayāna Schools of Buddhism, Otto Harrassowitz, ISBN 978-3-447-02285-9
- Penner, Hans H. (2009), Rediscovering the Buddha: The Legends and Their Interpretations, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-538582-3
- Prebish, C. (1993), "Text and Tradition in the Study of Buddhist Ethics" (PDF), Pacific World, 9: 49–68, archived from the original (PDF) on 19 September 2015 Unknown parameter
- Ratnayaka, S. (1985), "The Bodhisattva Ideal of Theravāda", Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies: 85–110, archived from the original on 26 March 2015 Unknown parameter
- Reynolds, F.E. (1997), "Rebirth Traditions and the Lineages Of Gotama: A Study in Theravada Buddhology", in Schober, Juliane, Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-1699-5
- Rhi, Juhyung (2003), "Early Mahāyāna and Gandhāran Buddhism: An Assessment of the Visual Evidence", The Eastern Buddhist, 35 (1/2): 152–202, ISSN 0012-8708, JSTOR 44362367
- Samuels, Jeffrey (1 July 1997), "The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravāda Buddhist Theory and Practice: A Reevaluation of the Bodhisattva–Śrāvaka Opposition", Philosophy East and West, 47 (3): 399–415, doi:10.2307/1399912, JSTOR 1399912, archived from the original on 3 November 2018 Unknown parameter
- Sasson, Vanessa (June 2015), "Divining the Buddha's Arrival", Religion Compass, 9 (6): 173–81, doi:10.1111/rec3.12151
- Schober, Juliane (1988), "The Path To Buddhahood: The Spiritual Mission and Social Organization of Mysticism in Contemporary Burma", Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 4 (1): 13–30, ISSN 0741-2037, JSTOR 40860255
- Shulman, E. (2017), "Buddha as the Pole of Existence, or the Flower of Cosmos", History of Religions, 57 (2): 164–96, doi:10.1086/693680
- Strong, J.S. (2001), The Buddha: A Beginner's Guide, Oneworld Publications, ISBN 978-1-85168-626-1
- Strong, J.S. (2004), Relics of the Buddha, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-11764-5
- Woodward, M.R. (1997), "The Biographical Imperative in Theravāda Buddhism", in Schober, Juliane, Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia, University of Hawaii Press, pp. 40–63, ISBN 978-0-8248-1699-5
- Zhang, J. (2017), "The Creation of Avalokiteśvara: Exploring His Origin in the Northern Āgamas", Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies, 12: 1–62, archived from the original on 30 April 2019 Unknown parameter
- Zhu, Tianshu (12 July 2012), "Reshaping the Jātaka Stories: From Jātakas to Avadānas and Praṇidhānas in Paintings at Kucha and Turfan", Buddhist Studies Review, 29 (1): 57–83, doi:10.1558/bsrv.v29i1.57
- Bodner, C., 2009. Depictions of the Narrative of the Buddha Dīpankara and the Hermit Sumedha in the Art of Burma/Myanmar, MA thesis, Northern Illinois University
- Jayawickrama, The Story of Gotama Buddha, Pali Text Society. Translation of the Nidānakathā, relating the life of Sumedha
- Rebirth Narratives in Buddhist Literature, Images, and Landscapes, lecture by Prof. Jason Neelis, hosted by SOAS, with special attention for the story of Sumedha (27th minute)
- At the feet of the Dīpankara Buddha, Sinhalese chant in honor of Dīpankara Buddha and Sumedha
|This article includes content from Sumedha on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0.|