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 in the distant future become Gautama Buddha, receiving his niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) from the Dīpankara Buddha

In countries where Theravāda Buddhism is practiced by the majority of people (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]

The 28 Buddhas described in the Buddhavamsa are not the only Buddhas believed to have existed. Indeed, Gautama Buddha taught that innumerable Buddhas have lived in past kalpas.[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 (Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna), 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[edit]

According to 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.

The 29 named Buddhas[edit]

Pāli name[6][7][8] Caste[7][8] Birthplace[7][8] Parents[7][8] Bodhirukka (tree of enlightenment)[7][8][9] Incarnation of Gautama[8]
1 Taṇhaṅkara King Sunandha, and Queen Sunandhaa Rukkaththana
2 Medhaṅkara Sudheva, and Yasodhara Kaela
3 Saraṇaṅkara Sumangala, and Yasawathi Pulila
4 Dīpankara Brahmin[10] Rammawatinagara Sudheva, and Sumedhaya Pipphala Sumedha (also Sumati or Megha Mānava, a rich Brahman)[11]
5 Koṇḍañña Kshatriya[10] Rammawatinagara Sunanda, and Sujata Salakalyana Vijitawi (a Chakravarti in Chandawatinagara of Majjhimadesa)
6 Maṅgala Brahmin[10] Uttaranagara (Majhimmadesa) Uttara, and Uttara a naga Suruchi (in Siribrahmano)
7 Sumana Kshatriya[10] Mekhalanagara Sudassana and Sirima a naga King Atulo, a Naga
8 Revata[12] Brahmin[10] Sudhannawatinagara Vipala and Vipula a naga A Veda-versed Brahman
9 Sobhita Kshatriya[10] Sudhammanagara Sudhammanagara (father) and Sudhammanagara (mother) a naga Sujata, a Brahman (in Rammavati)
10 Anomadassi Brahmin[10] Chandawatinagara Yasava and Yasodara ajjuna A Yaksha king
11 Paduma[13] Kshatriya[10] Champayanagara Asama, and Asama salala A lion
12 Nārada Dhammawatinagara King Sudheva and Anopama sonaka a tapaso in Himalayas
13 Padumuttara[14] Kshatriya Hansawatinagara Anurula, and Sujata salala Jatilo an ascetic
14 Sumedha Kshatriya Sudasananagara Sumedha (father), and Sumedha (mother) nipa Native of Uttaro
15 Sujāta Sumangalanagara Uggata, and Pabbavati welu a chakravarti
16 Piyadassi[15] Sudannanagara Sudata, and Subaddha kakudha Kassapa, a Brahmin (at Siriwattanagara)
17 Atthadassi Kshatriya Sonanagara Sagara and Sudassana champa Susino, a Brahman
18 Dhammadassī Kshatriya Surananagara Suranamaha, and Sunanada bimbajala Indra, the leader of the gods (devas)
19 Siddharttha Vibharanagara Udeni, and Suphasa kanihani Mangal, a Brahman
20 Tissa Khemanagara Janasando, and Paduma assana King Sujata of Yasawatinagara
21 Phussa[16] Kshatriya Kāśi Jayasena, and Siremaya amalaka Vijitavi
22 Vipassī Kshatriya Bandhuvatinagara Vipassi (father), and Vipassi (mother) patali King Atula
23 Sikhī Kshatriya Arunavattinagara Arunavatti, and Paphavatti pundariko Arindamo (at Paribhuttanagara)
24 Vessabhū Kshatriya Anupamanagara Suppalittha, and Yashavati sala Sadassana (in Sarabhavatinagara)
25 Kakusandha Brahmin Khemavatinagara Agidatta the purohitta Brahman of King Khema, and Visakha airisa King Khema[17]
26 Koṇāgamana Brahmin[18] Sobhavatinagara Yannadatta the Brahman, and Uttara udumbara King Pabbata of a mountainous area in Mithila
27 Kassapa[19] Brahmin Baranasinagara Brahmadatta a Brahman, and Dhanavati nigroda Jotipala (at Vappulla)
28 Gautama Kshatriya Lumbini King Suddhodana, and Maya peepal a.k.a. fig (Ficus religiosa) Siddartha Gautama, a Kshatriya
29 Maitreya foretold as a future Buddha Buddha of the future Buddha of the future

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  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. ^ Malalasekera (2007), Buddha, pp. 294-305
  7. ^ a b c d e 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. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f 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. 
  9. ^ Malalasekera (2007), Bodhirukka, p. 319
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Beal (1875), Beal S, Chapter III: Exciting to religious sentiment, pp. 10-17
  11. ^ Ghosh, B (1987). "Buddha Dīpankara: twentyfourth predecessor of Gautama". Bulletin of Tibetology. 11 (new series) (2): 33–8. ISSN 0525-1516. 
  12. ^ Malalasekera (2007), Revata, pp. 754-5
  13. ^ Malalasekera (2007), Paduma, p. 131
  14. ^ Malalasekera (2007), Padumuttara, pp. 136-7
  15. ^ Malalasekera (2007), Piyadassi, p. 207
  16. ^ Malalasekera (2007), Phussa, p. 257
  17. ^ Prophecies of Kakusandha Buddha, Konagamana Buddha and Kassapa Buddha
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ 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. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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 (1st ed.). Yangon, Myanmar: Ti=Ni Publishing Center. pp. 130–321. 

External links[edit]

The chronicle of twenty-four Buddhas, by Mingun Sayadaw, edited and translated by Professor U Ko Lay and U Tin Lwin, Yangon, Myanmar. Includes only chapters 1, 22, 23, and 24.