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Mahapadana Sutta

The Great Discourse on the Lineage

Thus have I heard. Once the Lord was staying at Savatthi, in Anathapindika’s park in the Jeta Grove, in the Kareri hutment. And among a number of monks who had gathered together after their meal, after the alms-round, sitting in the Kareri pavilion, there arose a serious discussion on former lives, as they said, "This is how it was in a former life," or "That is how it was."

And the Lord, with purified divine-ear faculty surpassing the powers of humans, heard what they were talking about. Getting up from his seat, he went to the Kareri pavilion, sat down on the prepared seat, and said, "Monks, what was your conversation as you sat together? What discussion did I interrupt?" and they told him.

"Well, monks, would you like to hear a proper discourse on past lives?"

"Lord, it is time for that! Well-Farer, it is time for that! If the Lord were to give a proper discourse on past lives, the monks would listen and remember it!"

"Well then, monks, listen, pay close attention, and I will speak."

"Yes, Lord." The monks replied, and the Lord said,

"Monks, ninety-one aeons ago the Lord, the Arahant, the fully enlightened Buddha Vipassi arose in the world. Thirty-one aeons ago, the Lord Buddha Sikhi arose; in the same thirty-first aeon before this Lord Buddha Vessabhu arose. And in this present fortunate aeon the Lord Buddhas Kakusandha, Konagamana, and Kassapa arose in the world. And, monks, in this present fortunate aeon I too have now arisen in the world as a fully enlightened Buddha.

"The Lord Buddha Vipassi was born of Khattiya race, and arose in a Khattiya family, the Lord Buddha Sikhi likewise; and the Lord Buddha Vessabhu likewise; the Lord Buddha Kakusandha was born of Brahman race, and arose in a Brahmin family; the Lord Buddha Konagamana likewise; the Lord Buddha Kassapa likewise; and I, monks, who am now the Arahant and fully-enlightened Buddha, was born of Khattiya race, and arose in a Khattiya family.

"The Lord Buddha Vipassi was of the Kondanna clan; the lord Sikhi likewise; the Lord Buddha Vessabhu likewise; the Lord Buddha Kakusandha was of the Kassapa clan; the Lord Buddha Konagamana likewise; the Lord Buddha Kassapa likewise; I who am now the Arahant and fully enlightened Buddha, am of the Gotama clan.

"In the time of the Lord Buddha Vipassi the life-span was eighty-thousand years; in the time of the Lord Buddha Sikhi seventy thousand; in the time of the Lord Buddha Vessabhu sixty thousand; in the time of the Lord Buddha Kakusandha forty thousand; in the time of the Lord Buddha Konagamana thirty thousand; in the time of the Lord Buddha Kassapa it was twenty thousand. In my time the lifespan is short, limited, and quick to pass: it is seldom that anybody lives to be one hundred.

"The Lord Buddha Vipassi gained his full enlightenment at the foot of a trumpet flower tree; the Lord Buddha Sikhi under a white mango tree; the Lord Buddha Vessabhu under a Sal tree; the Lord Buddha Kakusandha under an acacia-tree; the Lord Buddha Konagamana under a fig tree; the Lord Buddha Kassapa under a Banyan tree; and I became fully enlightened at the foot of an Assattha tree.

"The Lord Buddha Vippasi had the pair of noble disciples Khanda and Tissa; The Lord Buddha Sikhi had Abhibhu and Sambhava; the Lord Buddha Vessabhu had Sona and Uttara; the Lord Buddha Kakusandha had Vidhura and Sanjiva; the Lord Buddha Konagamana had Bhiyyosa and Uttara; the Lord Buddha Kassapa had Tissa and Bharadvaja; I myself now have the pair of noble disciples Shariputra and Moggallana.

"The Lord Buddha Vipassi had three assemblies of disciples, one of 6,800,000, one of a hundred thousand, and one of eighty thousand monks, and of these three assemblies all were Arahants; the Lord Buddha Sikhi had three assemblies of disciples: one of a hundred thousand, one of eighty thousand, and one of seventy thousand monks—all Arahants; the Lord Buddha Vessabhu had three assemblies, one of eighty thousand, one of seventy thousand, and one of sixty thousand monks, all Arahant; the Lord Buddha Kakusandha had one assembly: forty thousand monks – all Arahants; the Lord Buddha Konagamana had one assembly: thirty thousand monks – all Arahants; the Lord Buddha Kassapa had one assembly: twenty thousand monks – all Arahants; I, monks, have one assembly of disciples, one thousand, two hundred fifty monks, and this one assembly consists only of Arahants.

"The Lord Buddha Vipassi’s personal attendant was the monk Asoka; the Lord Buddha Sikhi’s was Khemankara; the Lord Buddha Vesabhu’s was Upasannaka; the Lord Buddha Kakusandha’s was Vuddhija; the Lord Buddha Konagamana’s was Sotthija; the Lord Buddha Kassapa’s was Sabbamitta; my chief personal attendant now is Ánanda.

"The Lord Buddha Vipassi’s Father was King Bandhuma, his mother Queen Bandhumati and King Bandhuma’s royal capitol was Bandhumati. The Lord Buddha Sikhi’s Father was King Aruna, his mother Queen Pabhavati; King Aruna’s capitol was Arunavati. The Lord Buddha Vesabhu’s father was King Suppatita, his mother was Queen Yasavati; King Suppatita’s capitol was Anopama. The Lord Buddha Kakusandha’s father was the Brahmin Aggidatta, his mother was the Brahmin lady Visakha. The king at that time was Khema; his capitol was Khemavati. The Lord Buddha Kanogamana’s father was the Brahmin Yannadatta, his mother was the Brahmin lady Uttara. The king at that time was Sobha; his capitol was Sobhavati. The Lord Buddha Kassapa’s father was Brahmin Brahmadatta, his mother was the Brahmin Lady Dhanavati. The king at that time was Kiki; his capitol was Caranasi. And now, monks, my father is King Suddhodana, my mother was Queen Maya, and the royal capitol was Kapilavatthu."

Thus the Lord spoke, and the Well-Farer then rose from his seat and went to his lodging.

Soon after the Lord had gone, another discussion arose among the monks,

"It is marvelous, friends, it is wonderful, the Tathágata’s great power and ability – the way he recalls the past Buddha’s who have gained Parinibbána, having cut away the hindrances, cut off the road of craving, put an end to the round of becoming, overcome all suffering. He recalls their birth, their name, their clan, their life-span, the disciples and assemblies connected with him, ‘Being born thus, these Blessed Lords were such and such, such were their names, their clans, their discipline, their Dhamma, their wisdom, their liberation.’ Well now, friends, how did the Tathágata come by the penetrative knowledge through which he remembers that, ‘Being born thus, these Blessed Lords were such and such, such were their names, their clans, their discipline, their Dhamma, their wisdom, their liberation?’ Did some deva reveal this knowledge to him?’ This was the conversation of those monks, which came to be interrupted.

Then the Lord, rising from seclusion of the rest period, went to the Kareri Pavillion and sat down on the prepared seat. He said,

"Monks, what was your conversation as you sat together? What discussion did I interrupt?" And the monks told him.

"The Tathágata understands these things by his own penetration of the principles of the Dhamma; and devas, too, have told him. Well, monks, do you wish to hear still more about past lives?"

"Lord, it is time for that! Well-Farer, it is time for that! If the Lord were to give a proper discourse on past lives, the monks would listen and remember it."

"Well then, monks, listen, pay close attention and I will speak."

"Yes, Lord." The monks replied, and the Lord said,

"Monks, ninety-one aeons ago the Lord, the Arahant, the fully enlightened Buddha Vipassi arose in the world. He was born of the Khattiya race, and arose in a Khattiya family. He was of the Kondanna clan. The span of his life was eighty thousand years. He gained his full enlightenment at the foot of a trumpet flower tree. He had the pair of noble disciples Khanda and Tissa as his chief followers. He had three assemblies of disciples: one of 6,800,000, one of a hundred thousand, and one of eighty thousand monks, all Arahants. His chief personal attendant was the monk Asoka. His father was King Bandhuma, his mother was queen Bandhumati. The Kings Capital was Bandhumati.

"And so, monks, the Bodhisattva Vipassi descended from the Tushita heaven, mindful and clearly aware, into his mothers womb. This, monks, is the rule.

"It is the rule, monks, that when a Bodhisattva descends from the Tushita heaven into his mother’s womb, there appears in this world with its devas, Maras and Brahmas, its ascetics and Brahmins, princes and people an immeasurable, splendid light surpassing the glory of the most powerful devas. And whatever dark spaces lay beyond the worlds end, chaotic, blind and black, such that they are not even reached by the mighty rays of sun and moon, are yet illumined by this immeasurable splendid light surpassing the glory of the most powerful devas. And those beings that have been reborn there recognize each other by this light and know, ‘Other beings too, have been born here!’ and this ten-thousand-fold world system trembles and quakes and is convulsed. And this immeasurable light shines forth. That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when a Bodhisattva has entered his mother’s womb, four devas come to protect him from the four quarters, saying, "Let no man, no non-human being, no thing whatsoever harm this Bodhisattva or this Bodhisattvas mother!" That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when a Bodhisattva has entered his mother’s womb, his mother becomes by nature virtuous, refraining from taking life, from taking what is not given, from sexual misconduct, from lying speech, or from strong drink and sloth producing drugs. That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when a Bodhisattva has entered his mother’s womb, she has no sensual thoughts connected with a man, and she cannot be overcome by any man with lustful thoughts. That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when a Bodhisattva has entered his mother’s womb she enjoys the fivefold pleasures of the senses and takes delight, being endowed and possessed of them. That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when a Bodhisattva has entered his mother’s womb, she has no sickness of any kind, she is at ease and without fatigue of body, and she can see the Bodhisattva inside her womb, complete with all his members and faculties. Monks, it is as if a gem, a beryl, pure, excellent, well cut into eight facets, clear, bright, flawless and perfect in every respect, were strung on a blue, yellow, red, white, or orange cord. And a man with good eyesight, taking it in his hand would describe it as such. Thus does the Bodhisattva’s mother, with no sickness, see him, complete with all his members and faculties. That is the rule.

It is the rule that when a Bodhisattva’s mother dies seven days after his birth and is reborn in the Tushita heaven. That is the rule.

It is the rule that whereas other women carry the child in their womb for nine or ten months before giving birth, it is not so with the Bodhisattva’s mother, who carries him for exactly ten months before giving birth. That is the rule.

It is the rule that whereas other women give birth sitting or lying down, it is not so with the Bodhisattva’s mother, who gives birth standing up. That is the rule.

It is the rule that when the Bodhisattva issues forth from his mothers womb, devas welcome him first, and then humans, that is the rule.

It is the rule that when the Bodhisattva issues forth from his mothers womb, he does not touch the earth. Four devas receive him and place him before his mother, saying, "Rejoice, your majesty, a mighty son has been born to you!" That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when the Bodhisattva issues from his mothers womb, he issues forth stainless, not defiled by water, mucus, blood, or any impurity, pure and spotless. Just as when a jewel is laid on the muslin from Kasi, the jewel does not stain the muslin, or the muslin the jewel. Why not? Because of the purity of both. In the same way the Bodhisattva issues forth stainless, not defiled by water, mucus, blood, or any impurity, pure and spotless. That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when the Bodhisattva issues forth from his mothers womb, Two streams of water appear from the sky, one cold, the other warm, with which they ritually wash the Bodhisattva and his mother. That is the rule.

"It is the rule that as soon as he is born the Bodhisattva takes a firm stance on both feet, facing north, then takes seven strides, and then under a white sunshade he scans the four quarters, and then declares with a bull-like voice, "I am chief in the world, supreme in the world, eldest in the world. This is my last birth, there will be no more re-becoming. That is the rule.

"It is the rule that when the Bodhisattva issues from his mothers womb there appears in this world with its devas, Maras and Brahmas, its ascetics and Brahmins, princes and people an immeasurable, splendid light surpassing the glory of the most powerful devas. This is the rule.

"Monks, when prince Vipassi was born, they showed him to king Bandhuma and said,

‘Your majesty, a son has been born to you. Deign, sire, to look at him." The king looked at the prince, and then said to the Brahmins skilled in signs:

‘You gentlemen are skilled in signs. Examine the prince."

"The Brahmins examined the prince and said to King Bandhuma,

‘Sire, rejoice, for a mighty son has been born to you. It is a gain for you sire, it is a great profit for you, sire, that such a son has been born into your family. Sire, this prince is endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man. To such, only two courses are open. If he lives the household life he will become a ruler, a wheel turning righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters who has established the security of his realm and is possessed of the seven treasures. These are: the Wheel Treasure, the Elephant Treasure, the Horse Treasure, the Jewel Treasure, the Woman Treasure, the Householder Treasure, and, as seventh, the Counselor Treasure. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, by the law. But if he goes forth from the household life into homelessness, then he will become an Arahant, a fully enlightened Buddha, one who draws back the veil from the world.

"And what, Sire, are these thirty-two marks of a great man?

I. He has feet with level tread

II. On the soles of his feet are wheels with a thousand spokes

III. He has projecting heels

IV. He has long fingers and toes

V. He has soft and tender hands and feet

VI. His hands and feet are net-like (webbed?)

VII. He has high-raised ankles

VIII. His legs are like an antelopes

IX. Standing and without bending, he can touch and rub his knees with either hand.

X. His male organs are enclosed in a sheath.

XI. His complexion is bright, the color of gold

XII. His skin is delicate and so smooth that no dust adheres to it

XIII. His body hairs are separate, one to each pore.

XIV. They grow upwards, bluish-black like collyruim, growing in rings to the right.

XV. His body is divinely straight

XVI. He has the seven convex surfaces.

XVII. The front part of his body is like a Lion’s.

XVIII. There is no hollow between his shoulders.

XIX. He is proportioned like a banyan-tree: his height is as the span of his arms.

XX. His bust is evenly rounded.

XXI. He has a perfect sense of taste.

XXII. Her has jaws like a lions

XXIII. He has forty teeth.

XXIV. His teeth are even.

XXV. There are no spaces between his teeth.

XXVI. His canine teeth are very bright.

XXVII. His tongue is very long

XXVIII. He has a Brahma-like voice, like that of the Karavika-bird.

XXIX. His eyes are deep blue.

XXX. He has eyelashes like a cow’s.

XXXI. The hair between his eyebrows is white, and soft like cotton down.

XXXII. His head is like a royal turban."

"Sire, this prince is endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man. To such, only two courses are open. If he lives the household life he will become a ruler, a wheel turning righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters who has established the security of his realm and is possessed of the seven treasures. These are: the Wheel Treasure, the Elephant Treasure, the Horse Treasure, the Jewel Treasure, the Woman Treasure, the Householder Treasure, and, as seventh, the Counselor Treasure. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, by the law. But if he goes forth from the household life into homelessness, then he will become an Arahant, a fully enlightened Buddha, one who draws back the veil from the world."

"Then King Bandhuma, having clothed those Brahmins in fresh clothes, satisfied all of their wishes.

"And King Bandhuma appointed nurses for Prince Vipassi. Some suckled him, some bathed him, some carried him, some dandled him. A white umbrella was held over him night and day, that he might not be harmed by cold or heat or grass or dust. And Prince Vipassi was much beloved of the people. Just as everybody loves a blue, yellow, or white lotus, so they all loved Prince Vipassi. Thus he was borne from lap to lap.

"And Prince Vipassi had a sweet voice, a beautiful voice, charming and delightful. Just as in the Himalaya mountains, the Karavika-bird had a voice sweeter, more beautiful, charming and delightful than all other birds, so too was Prince Vipassi’s voice the finest of them all.

"And owing to the results of past karma, the divine eye was present to Prince Vipassi, with which he could see for a league day and night alike.

"And prince Vipassi was unblinkingly watchful, like the Thirty-Three Gods. And because it was said that he was unblinkingly watchful, the prince came to be called "Vipassi." When King Bandhuma was trying a case, he took prince Vipassi on his knee and instructed him in the case. Then, putting him down from his knee, his father would carefully explain the issues to him. And for this reason he was all the more called Vipassi.

"Then King Bandhuma caused three palaces to be built for Prince Vipassi, one for the rainy season, one for the cold season, and one for the hot season, to cater for all the fivefold sense pleasures. There Prince Vipassi stayed in the rainy season palace for the four months of the rainy season, with no male attendants, surrounded by female musicians, and he never left that palace."

[End of the Birth Section]

"Then, monks, after many years, many hundreds and thousands of years had passed, Prince Vipassi said to his charioteer, ‘Harness some fine carriages, Charioteer! We will go to the pleasure park to inspect it.’ The charioteer did so, then reported to the prince, "Your Royal Highness, the fine carriages are harnessed, it is time to do as you wish.’ And prince Vipassi mounted a carriage and drove in procession to the pleasure park.

"And as he was being driven to the pleasure park, Prince Vipassi saw an aged man, bent like a roof beam, broken, leaning on a stick, tottering, sick, his youth all vanished. At the sight he said to the charioteer, "Charioteer, what is the matter with this man? His hair is not like other men’s, his body is not like other men’s."

"‘Prince, that is what is called an old man.’

"‘But why is he called an old man?’

"‘He is called old, Prince, because he has not long to live.’

"‘But am I liable to become old, and not exempt from old age?’

"‘Both you and I, prince, are liable to become old, and are not exempt from old age.’

"‘Well then, Charioteer, that will do for today with the pleasure park. Return now to the palace.’

"‘Very good, Prince,’ said the charioteer, and brought Prince Vipassi back to the palace. Arrived there, Prince Vipassi was overcome with grief and dejection, crying, ‘Shame on this thing birth, since to him who is born old age must manifest itself!’

"Then King Bandhuma sent for the charioteer and said, ‘Well, did not the prince enjoy himself at the pleasure park? Wasn’t he happy there?’

"‘Your Majesty, the Prince did not enjoy himself, he was not happy there.’

"‘What did he see on the way there?’

"So the charioteer told the king all that had happened.

"Then King Bandhuma thought, ‘Prince Vipassi must not renounce the throne, he must not go forth from the household life into homelessness – the words of the Brahmins learned in signs must not come true!’ So the king provided for Prince Vipassi to have even more enjoyment of the fivefold sense pleasures, in order that he should rule the kingdom and not go forth from the household life into homelessness. Thus the prince continued to live indulging in, and addicted to the fivefold sense-pleasures.

After many years, many hundreds and thousands of years had passed, Prince Vipassi said to his charioteer, ‘Harness some fine carriages, Charioteer! We will go to the pleasure park to inspect it.’ The charioteer did so, then reported to the prince, "Your Royal Highness, the fine carriages are harnessed, it is time to do as you wish.’ And prince Vipassi mounted a carriage and drove in procession to the pleasure park.

"And as he was being driven to the pleasure park, Prince Vipassi saw a sick man, suffering, very ill, fallen in his own urine and excrement, and some people were picking him up, and others were putting him to bed. At the sight he said to the charioteer, ‘What is the matter with this man? His eyes are not like other men’s, his head is not like other men’s.’

" ‘Prince, that is what is called a sick man.’

" ‘But why is he called a sick man?’

" ‘Prince, he is so called because he can hardly recover from his illness.’

" ‘But am I liable to become sick, and not exempt from sickness?’

" ‘Both you and I, prince, are liable to become sick, and not exempt from sickness.’

"‘Well then, Charioteer, that will do for today with the pleasure park. Return now to the palace.’

"‘Very good, Prince,’ said the charioteer, and brought Prince Vipassi back to the palace. Arrived there, Prince Vipassi was overcome with grief and dejection, crying, ‘Shame on this thing birth, since to him who is born sickness must manifest itself!’

"Then King Bandhuma sent for the charioteer and said, ‘Well, did not the prince enjoy himself at the pleasure park? Wasn’t he happy there?’

"‘Your Majesty, the Prince did not enjoy himself, he was not happy there.’

"‘What did he see on the way there?’

"So the charioteer told the king all that had happened.

"Then King Bandhuma thought, ‘Prince Vipassi must not renounce the throne, he must not go forth from the household life into homelessness – the words of the Brahmins learned in signs must not come true!’ So the king provided for Prince Vipassi to have even more enjoyment of the fivefold sense pleasures, in order that he should rule the kingdom and not go forth from the household life into homelessness. Thus the prince continued to live indulging in, and addicted to the fivefold sense-pleasures.

After many years, many hundreds and thousands of years had passed, Prince Vipassi said to his charioteer, ‘Harness some fine carriages, Charioteer! We will go to the pleasure park to inspect it.’ The charioteer did so, then reported to the prince, "Your Royal Highness, the fine carriages are harnessed, it is time to do as you wish.’ And prince Vipassi mounted a carriage and drove in procession to the pleasure park.

"And as he was being driven to the pleasure park, Prince Vipassi saw a large crowd collecting, clad in many colors and carrying a bier. At the sight he said to the charioteer, ‘Why are those people doing that?’

" ‘Prince, that is what they called a dead man.’

" ‘Drive me over to where the dead man is.’

" ‘Very good, Prince,’ said the charioteer, and he did so. And Prince Vipassi gazed at the corpse of the dead man. "Then he said to the charioteer, ‘Why is he called a dead man?’

" ‘Prince, he is called a dead man because now his parents and other relatives will not see him again, nor he them.’

" ‘But am I subject to dying, not exempt from dying?’

" ‘Both you and I, Prince, are subject to dying, not exempt from it."

"‘Well then, Charioteer, that will do for today with the pleasure park. Return now to the palace.’

"‘Very good, Prince,’ said the charioteer, and brought Prince Vipassi back to the palace. Arrived there, Prince Vipassi was overcome with grief and dejection, crying, ‘Shame on this thing birth, since to him who is born death must manifest itself!’

"Then King Bandhuma sent for the charioteer and said, ‘Well, did not the prince enjoy himself at the pleasure park? Wasn’t he happy there?’

"‘Your Majesty, the Prince did not enjoy himself, he was not happy there.’

"‘What did he see on the way there?’

"So the charioteer told the king all that had happened.

"Then King Bandhuma thought, ‘Prince Vipassi must not renounce the throne, he must not go forth from the household life into homelessness – the words of the Brahmins learned in signs must not come true!’ So the king provided for Prince Vipassi to have even more enjoyment of the fivefold sense pleasures, in order that he should rule the kingdom and not go forth from the household life into homelessness. Thus the prince continued to live indulging in, and addicted to the fivefold sense-pleasures.

After many years, many hundreds and thousands of years had passed, Prince Vipassi said to his charioteer, ‘Harness some fine carriages, Charioteer! We will go to the pleasure park to inspect it.’ The charioteer did so, then reported to the prince, "Your Royal Highness, the fine carriages are harnessed, it is time to do as you wish.’ And prince Vipassi mounted a carriage and drove in procession to the pleasure park.

"And as he was being driven to the pleasure park, Prince Vipassi saw a shaven headed man, one who had gone forth, wearing a yellow robe. And he said to the charioteer, ‘What is the matter with that man? His head is not like other men’s, and his clothes are not like other men’s."

" ‘Prince, he is called one who has gone forth.’

" ‘Why is he called one who has gone forth?"

" ‘Prince, by one who has gone forth we mean one who truly follows the Dhamma, who truly lives in serenity, does good actions, performs meritorious deeds, is harmless and truly has compassion for living beings.’

" ‘Charioteer, he is well called one who has gone forth—one who truly follows the Dhamma, who truly lives in serenity, does good actions, performs meritorious deeds, is harmless and truly had compassion for living beings. Drive the carriage over to where he is.’

" ‘Very good, Prince,’ said the charioteer, and did so. And Prince Vipassi questioned the man who had gone forth.

" ‘Prince, as one who has gone forth I truly follow Dhamma…and have compassion for living beings.’

" ‘You are well called, one who has gone forth…’

"Then Prince Vipassi said to the charioteer, ‘You take the carriage and drive back to the Palace, but I shall stay here and shave off my hair and beard, put on yellow robes and go forth from the household life into homelessness.’

" ‘Very good, Prince,’ said the charioteer, and returned to the Palace. And Prince Vipassi, shaving off his hair and beard and putting on yellow robes, went forth from the household life into homelessness.

"And a great crowd from the royal capitol city, Bandhumati, eighty-four thousand people, heard that Prince Vipassi had gone forth into homelessness. And they thought, ‘This is certainly no common teaching and discipline, certainly no common going forth, for which Prince Vipassi has shaved off hair and beard, donned yellow robes and gone forth into homelessness. If the prince has done so, why should not we?’ And so, monks, a great crowd of eighty-four thousand, having shaved off their hair and beards and donned yellow robes, followed the Bodhisattva Vipassi into homelessness. And with the following the Bodhisattva went on his rounds through villages, towns, and royal cities.

"Then the Bodhisattva, having retired to a secluded spot, had this thought, ‘It is not proper for me to live with a crowd like this. I must live alone, withdrawn from this crowd.’ So after a while he left the crowd and dwelt alone. The eighty-four thousand went one way, and the Bodhisattva another.

"Then, when the Bodhisattva had entered his dwelling alone, in a secluded spot, he thought, "This world, alas, is in a sorry state: There is birth and decay, there is death and falling into other states and being reborn. And no one knows any way of escape from this suffering, this aging and this death. When will deliverance be found from this suffering, this aging and death?"

"And then, monks, the Bodhisattva thought, "With what being present, does aging and death occur? What conditions aging and death?" And then, monks, as a result of wisdom born of profound consideration the realization dawned on him, "Birth being present, aging and death occurs, birth conditions aging and death."

"Then he thought, "What conditions birth?" And the realization dawned on him, "Becoming conditions birth"… "What conditions becoming?"… "Clinging conditions becoming."… "Craving Conditions clinging"… "Feeling conditions craving."… "Contact conditions feeling"… "The Six sense Bases condition contact"… "Mind and body condition the six sense bases"… "Consciousness conditions mind and body"… And then the Bodhisattva Vipassi thought, "With what being present does consciousness occur? What conditions consciousness?" And then, as a result of the wisdom born profound consideration, the realization dawned on him, "Mind and body conditions consciousness’."

"Then, monks, the Bodhisattva Vipassi thought, "This consciousness turns back at mind and body, it does not go any further. To this extent there is birth and decay, there is death and falling into other states and being reborn, namely mind - and- body conditions consciousness and consciousness conditions mind - and - body, mind - and - body conditions the six sense bases, the six sense bases conditions contact, contact conditions feeling, feeling conditions craving, craving conditions clinging, clinging conditions becoming, becoming conditions birth, birth conditions aging and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and distress. And thus this whole mass of sufferings takes its origin". And at the thought, "Origin, origin," there arose in the Bodhisattva Vipassi, with insight into things never realized before, knowledge, wisdom, awareness, and light.

"Then he thought "What now being absent does aging and death not occur? With the cessation of what comes the cessation of aging and death?" And then, as a result of the wisdom born of profound consideration, the realization dawned on him, "Birth being absent, aging and death does not occur. With the cessation of Birth comes the cessation of aging and death… with the cessation of what comes the cessation of birth?… With the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth… With the cessation of clinging comes the cessation of becoming…With the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging…With the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving… with the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling… with the cessation of the six sense bases comes the cessation of contact…"

"With the cessation of mind and body comes the cessation of the six sense bases… with the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of mind and body… with the cessation of mind and body comes the cessation of consciousness."

"Then the Bodhisattva Vipassi thought, "I have found the insight way to enlightenment, namely:

"By the cessation of mind and body, consciousness ceases; by the cessation of consciousness mind and body ceases; By the cessation of mind and body the six sense bases cease; by the cessation of the six sense bases contact ceases; by the cessation of contact feeling ceases, by the cessation of feeling craving ceases; by the cessation of craving clinging ceases; by the cessation of clinging becoming ceases; by the cessation of becoming birth ceases; by the cessation of birth aging and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and distress cease. And thus this whole mass of suffering ceases." And at the thought, ‘Cessation, cessation,’ there arose in the Bodhisattvas Vipassi, with insight into things never realized before, knowledge, vision, awareness and light.

"Then, monks, at another time the Bodhisattva Vipassi dwelt contemplating the rise and fall of the five aggregates of clinging, "Such is the body, such its arising, such its passing away; such is feeling…such is perception…such are the mental formations…such is consciousness…such its arising…such its passing away." And as he remained contemplating the rise and fall of the five aggregates of clinging, before long his mind was freed from the corruptions without remainder.

[End of Second Section]

"Then Monks, the blessed Lord, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened Buddha Vipassi thought, "Suppose now I were to teach Dhamma?" And then he thought, "I have attained to this Dhamma, which is profound, hard to see, hard to grasp, peaceful, excellent, beyond reasoning, subtle, to be apprehended by the wise. But this generation delights in clinging, rejoices in it and revels in it. But for those who so delight rejoice and revel in clinging this matter is hard to see, namely, the conditioned nature of things, or dependant origination. Equally hard to see would be the calming of all the mental formations, the abandonment of all substrates of rebirth, the waning of craving, dispassion, cessation and Nibbána. And if I were to teach Dhamma to others and they did not understand me, that would be a weariness and a trouble to me."

"And to the Lord Buddha Vipassi there occurred spontaneously this verse, never previously heard:

"This that I’ve attained, why should I proclaim?"

Those full of lust and hate can never grasp it.

Leading upstream this Dhamma, subtle, deep,

Hard to see, no passion-blinded folk can see it."

"As the Lord Buddha Vipassi pondered thus, his mind was inclined to inaction rather than to teaching the Dhamma. And, monks, the Lord Buddha Vipassi’s reasoning became mentally known to a certain Great Brahma. And he thought: "Alas the world is perishing, it will be destroyed because the mind of Vipassi, the Blessed Lord, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened Buddha is inclined to inaction rather than to teaching the Dhamma!"

"So this great Brahma, as swiftly as a strong man might stretch his flexed arm, or flex it again, disappeared from the Brahma world and reappeared before the Lord Buddha Vipassi. Arranging his upper robber over one shoulder and kneeling on his right knee, he saluted the Lord Buddha Vipassi with joined hands and said, "Lord, may the Blessed Lord teach Dhamma, may the Well-Farer teach Dhamma! There are beings with little dust on their eyes who are perishing through not hearing Dhamma: they will become knowers of Dhamma!"

"Then the Lord Buddha Vipassi explained "I have attained to this Dhamma, which is profound, hard to see, hard to grasp, peaceful, excellent, beyond reasoning, subtle, to be apprehended by the wise. But this generation delights in clinging, rejoices in it and revels in it. But for those who so delight rejoice and revel in clinging this matter is hard to see, namely, the conditioned nature of things, or dependant origination. Equally hard to see would be calming of all the mental formations, the abandonment of all substrates of rebirth, the waning of craving, dispassion, cessation and Nibbána. And if I were to teach Dhamma to others and they did not understand me, that would be a weariness and a trouble to me."

"And the Great Brahma appealed a second time and a third time to the Lord Buddha Vipassi to teach…then the Lord Buddha Vipassi, recognizing Brahma’s appeal and moved by compassion for beings, surveyed the world with his Buddha eye. And he saw beings with little dust on their eyes and with much dust, with faculties sharp and dull, of good and bad disposition, easy and hard to teach, and a few of them living in fear of transgression and of the next world. And just as in a pool of blue, red or white lotuses some are born in the water, grow in the water and, not leaving the water, thrive in the water, some are born in the water and reach the reach the surface, while some, having reached the surface, grow out of the water and are not polluted by it, in the same way, monks, the Lord Buddha Vipassi, surveying the world with his Buddha eye, saw some beings with little dust on their eyes and with much dust, with faculties sharp and dull, of good and bad disposition, easy and hard to teach, and a few of them living in fear of transgression and of the next world.

"Then, knowing his thought, the Great Brahma addressed the Lord Buddha Vipassi in these verses,

As on a mountain peak a watcher sees the folk below

So, man of Wisdom, seeing all, look down from Dhamma heights!

Free from woe, look on those who are sunk in grief, oppressed with birth and age.

Arise, hero, victor in battle, leader of the Caravan, traverse the world!

Teach, O Lord, the Dhamma, and they will understand.

And the Lord Buddha Vipassi replied to the Great Brahma in verse,

Open to them are the Deathless doors!

Let those that hear now put forth faith.

For fear of trouble I did not preach at first

The excellent Dhamma for men, Brahma!

Then the Great Brahma, thinking, "I have been the cause of the Lord Buddha Vipassi’s preaching Dhamma," made obeisance to the Lord Buddha, and, passing by his right, vanished then and there.

"Then the Lord Buddha Vipassi thought, "To whom should I first teach this Dhamma? Who would understand it quickly?" Then he thought, "There are Khanda the King’s son and Tissa the Chaplain’s son, living in the capital city of Bandhumati. They are wise, learned, experienced, and for a long time have had little dust on their eyes. If now I teach Dhamma first to Khanda and Tissa, they will understand it quickly." And so the Lord Buddha Vipassi, as swiftly as a strong man might stretch out his flexed arm, or flex it again vanished then and there from the root of that tree of enlightenment, and reappeared in the Royal Capital of Bandhumati in the deer park of Khema.

"And the Lord Buddha Vipassi said to the Park Keeper, "Keeper, go to Bandhumati and say to prince Khanda and the Chaplains son Tissa, ‘My Lords, Vipassi the Blessed Lord, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened Buddha has come to Bhandumati and is staying in the Deer Park of Khema. He wishes to see you."

"Very Good Lord," said the park keeper, and went and delivered the message."

"Then Khanda and Tissa, having harnessed some fine carriages, drove out of Bhandumati making for the deer park of Khema. They took the carriages as far as they would go, then alighted and continued on foot until they came to the Lord Buddha Vipassi. When they reached him, they made obeisance to him and sat down to one side.

"And the Lord Buddha Vipassi delivered to them a graduated discourse on generosity, on morality and on heaven, showing the danger, degredation and corruption of sense desires, and the profit of renunciation. And when the Lord Buddha Vipassi knew that the minds of Khanda and Tissa were ready, pliable, free from the hindrances, joyful and calm, then he preached the Buddha’s special sermon in brief: On sufferings, its origin, its cessation, and the path. And just as a clean cloth from which all stains have been removed receives the dye perfectly, so in prince Khanda and Tissa, the Chaplains son, as they sat there, there arose the pure and spotless Dhamma Eye, and they knew: whatever things have an origin must come to cessation.

"And they, having seen, attained, experienced, and penetrated the Dhamma, having passed beyond doubt, having gained perfect confidence in the teachers doctrine without relying on others, said,

"Excellent Lord, Excellent! It is as if someone were to set up what had been knocked down, or to point out the way to one who had got lost, or to bring an oil lamp into a dark place so that those with eyes could see what was there. Just so, the Blessed Lord has expounded the Dhamma in various ways. We go for refuge to the Lord and to the Dhamma. May we receive the going forth at the Lords hands, may we receive ordination!"

"And so Prince Khanda and Tissa the Chaplains son received the going forth at the hands at the Lord Buddha Vipassi and they received ordination. Then the Lord Buddha Vipassi instructed them with a discourse on Dhamma, inspired them, fired them and delighted them, showing the danger, degradation and corruption of conditioned things and the profit of Nibbána. And through their being inspired, fired, and delighted with this discourse, it was not long before their mind was free from the corruptions without remainder.

"And a great crowd of eighty four thousand people from Bhandumati heard that the Lord Buddha Vipassi was staying at the Deer Park in Khema, and that Khanda and Tissa had shaved off their hair and beards, donned yellow robes, and gone forth from the household life into homelessness. And they thought: This is certainly no common teaching and discipline, certainly no common going forth, for which Prince Khanda and Tissa, the Chaplains son has shaved off their hair and beard, donned yellow robes and gone forth into homelessness. If they can do this in the presence of the Lord Buddha Vipassi, why should not we? And so this great crowd of eighty-four thousand left Bhandumati for the Deer Park in Khema where the Lord Buddha Vipassi was. When they came to him they made obeisance to him and sat down to one side.

"And the Lord Buddha Vipassi delivered to them a graduated discourse on generosity, morality, and on heaven, showing the danger, degradation and corruption of sense desires and the profit of renunciation and just as a clean cloth from which all stains have been removed receives the dye perfectly, so in those eighty-four thousand, as they sat there, there arose the pure and spotless Dhamma Eye, and they knew: whatever things have an origin must come to cessation. And they, having seen, attained, experienced, and penetrated the Dhamma, having passed beyond doubt, having gained perfect confidence in the teachers doctrine without relying on others, said,

"Excellent Lord, Excellent! It is as if someone were to set up what had been knocked down, or to point out the way to one who had got lost, or to bring an oil lamp into a dark place so that those with eyes could see what was there. Just so, the Blessed Lord has expounded the Dhamma in various ways. We go for refuge to the Lord and to the Dhamma. May we receive the going forth at the Lords hands, may we receive ordination!"

"And those eighty-four thousand received the going forth at the hands of the Lord Buddha Vipassi and they received Ordination. And the Lord Buddha Vipassi instructed them with a discourse on Dhamma, inspired them, fired them and delighted them, showing the danger, degradation and corruption of conditioned things and the profit of Nibbána. And through their being inspired, fired, and delighted with this discourse, it was not long before their mind was free from the corruptions without remainder.

"Then the eighty-four thousand who had gone forth heard: The Lord Buddha Vipassi has come to Bhandumati and is staying in the Khema Deer Park giving Dhamma. And so this great crowd of eighty-four thousand left for Bhandumati to the Deer Park in Khema where the Lord Buddha Vipassi was. When they came to him they made obeisance to him and sat down to one side.

"And the Lord Buddha Vipassi delivered to them a graduated discourse on generosity, morality, and on heaven, showing the danger, degradation and corruption of sense desires and the profit of renunciation and just as a clean cloth from which all stains have been removed receives the dye perfectly, so in those eighty-four thousand, as they sat there, there arose the pure and spotless Dhamma Eye, and they knew: whatever things have an origin must come to cessation. And they, having seen, attained, experienced, and penetrated the Dhamma, having passed beyond doubt, having gained perfect confidence in the teachers doctrine without relying on others, said,

"Excellent Lord, Excellent! It is as if someone were to set up what had been knocked down, or to point out the way to one who had got lost, or to bring an oil lamp into a dark place so that those with eyes could see what was there. Just so, the Blessed Lord has expounded the Dhamma in various ways. We go for refuge to the Lord and to the Dhamma. May we receive the going forth at the Lords hands, may we receive ordination!"

"And those eighty-four thousand received the going forth at the hands of the Lord Buddha Vipassi and they received Ordination. And the Lord Buddha Vipassi instructed them with a discourse on Dhamma, inspired them, fired them and delighted them, showing the danger, degradation and corruption of conditioned things and the profit of Nibbána. And through their being inspired, fired, and delighted with this discourse, it was not long before their mind was free from the corruptions without remainder.

"And at that time in the Royal Capital there was a vast gathering of 6,800,000 monks. And when the Lord Buddha Vipassi had withdrawn into seclusion he thought, "There is now this great gathering of monks here in the capital. Suppose I were to give them permission, "wander abroad monks for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans. Do not go two together monks, but teach the Dhamma that is lovely in the beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in its ending, both in the letter and in the spirit and display the holy life fully complete and perfect. There are beings with little dust on their eyes who are perishing through not hearing Dhamma: They will become Knowers of Dhamma. But at the end of six years precisely you are to come together to the Royal Capital of Bhandumati to recite the disciplinary code."

"Then a certain great Brahma, having divined the Lord Buddha Vipassi’s thought, as swiftly as a strong man might flex his arm, or flex it again, vanish from the Brahma world and appeared before the Lord Buddha Vipassi. Arranging his robe over one shoulder, and saluting the Lord with joined palms, he said, "Just so, O Lord, just so, O Well-Farer! Let the Lord give permission to this great gathering to wander abroad for the good of the many for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans. Let them not go two together, but let them teach the Dhamma that is lovely in the beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in its ending, both in the letter and in the spirit and display the holy life complete and perfect. There are beings with little dust on their eyes who are perishing through not hearing Dhamma: They will become Knowers of Dhamma. And we too will do the same as the monks: at the end of six years we will come to Bhandumati and recite the disciplinary code.

"Having spoken thus, that Brahma made obeisance to the Lord Buddha, and passing by to his right, vanished there and then. So the Lord Buddha Vipassi, emerging from the seclusion of his Rest Period told the Monks what had occurred.

"I allow you, monks, to wander abroad for the good of the many, for the welfare and happiness of Devas and Humans. Do not go two together monks, but teach the Dhamma that is lovely in the beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in its ending, both in the letter and in the spirit and display the holy life fully complete and perfect. There are beings with little dust on their eyes who are perishing through not hearing Dhamma: They will become Knowers of Dhamma. But at the end of six years precisely you are to come together to the Royal Capital of Bhandumati to recite the disciplinary code." And the majority of those monks left that very day to wander about the country.

"And at that time there were eighty-four thousand religious residences in Jambudvipa. At the end of one year the Devas would proclaim: gentlemen, one year has passed, five remain. At the end of five years you are to return to Bhandumati to recite the disciplinary code. And similarly at the end of two, three, four, five years. And when six years had passed the Devas announced: "Gentlemen, six years have passed, it is now time to go to the Royal Capital of Bhandumati to recite the disciplinary code!" And those monks, some by their own psychic powers, and some by that of the devas, all in one day came to Bhandumati to recite the disciplinary code.

"And then the Lord Buddha Vipassi gave to the assembled monks the following precepts:

Patient forbearance is the highest sacrifice.

Supreme is Nibbána, so say the Buddhas.

He’s not ‘One Gone Forth’ who hurts others,

No ascetic, he who harms another.

Not to do any evil but to cultivate the good,

To purify ones mind, this the Buddha’s teach.

Not insulting, not harming, restraint according to rule,

Moderation in food, seclusion of dwelling,

Devotion to high thinking, this the Buddha’s teach.

 

"Once, monks, I was staying Ukkattha in the Subhaga grove at the foot of a great Sal tree. And as I dwelt there in seclusion it occurred to me: "There is no abode of beings easily accessible that has not been visited by me for so long as that of the Devas of the Pure Abodes. Suppose I were to visit them now? And then as swiftly as a strong man might stretch his flexed arm, or flex it again, I vanished from Ukkattha and appeared among the Aviha Devas. And many thousands of them came to me, saluted me and stood to one side. Then they said:

"Sir, it is 91 aeons since the Buddha Vipassi appeared in the world."

"The Lord Buddha Vipassi was born of Khattiya race and arose in a Khattiya family; he was of the Kondanna clan; in his time the life span was 80,000 years; he gained his full enlightenment under a trumpet flower tree; he had the pair of noble disciples Khanda and Tissa; he had three assemblies of Disciples, one of 6,800,000, one of a hundred thousand and one of eighty-thousand monks, all of whom were Arahants; his chief personal attendant was the Monk Asoka, his father was King Bandhuma, his mother Queen Bhandumati, and his fathers royal capital was Bhantumati. The Lord Buddha Vipassi’s renunciation was like this, his going forth like this, his striving like this, his full enlightenment like this; his turning of the wheel like this.

"And we, sir, who lived the Holy Life under the Lord Buddha Vipassi, having freed ourselves from sense desires, have arisen here.

"In the same way many thousands of Deva’s came, they said, "Sir, in this fortunate aeon, now the Lord Buddha has arisen in the world, he was born of the Khattiya race and arose in a Khattiya family; he was of the Gotama clan; in his time the life span is short, limited and quick to pass: it is seldom that anybody lives to be a hundred. He gained his full enlightenment under an Assattha tree; he has a pair of noble disciples, Shariputra and Moggallana; he has one assemblies of Disciples, one thousand, two hundred and fifty monks, who are all Arahants; his chief personal attendant is Ánanda; his father is King Shuddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, and his fathers royal capital is Kapilavatthu. Such was the Lord’s renunciation, such his going forth, such his striving, such his full enlightenment; such his turning of the wheel. And we sir, who have lived the Holy Life under the Lord, having freed our self from sense desires, have arisen here.

Then I went with the Aviha Devas to see the Atappa Devas, and with these to see the Sudassa Devas, and with these to see the Sudassi Devas, and with all of these to see the Akanittha Devas. And there many thousands of devas came, saluted me and stood to one side, saying, "Sir, it is ninety-one aeons since the Lord Buddha Vipassi appeared in the world. "The Lord Buddha Vipassi was born of Khattiya race and arose in a Khattiya family; he was of the Kondanna clan; in his time the life span was 80,000 years; he gained his full enlightenment under a trumpet flower tree; he had the pair of noble disciples Khanda and Tissa; he had three assemblies of Disciples, one of 6,800,000, one of a hundred thousand and one of eighty-thousand monks, all of whom were Arahants; his chief personal attendant was the Monk Asoka, his father was King Bandhuma, his mother Queen Bhandumati, and his fathers royal capital was Bhantumati. The Lord Buddha Vipassi’s renunciation was like this, his going forth like this, his striving like this, his full enlightenment like this; his turning of the wheel like this.

"And we, sir, who lived the Holy Life under the Lord Buddha Vipassi, having freed ourselves of sense desires, have arisen here.

"In the same way many thousands of Deva’s came, they said, "Sir, in this fortunate aeon, now the Lord Buddha has arisen in the world, he was born of the Khattiya race and arose in a Khattiya family; he was of the Gotama clan; in his time the life span is short, limited and quick to pass: it is seldom that anybody lives to be a hundred. He gained his full enlightenment under an Assattha tree; he has a pair of noble disciples, Shariputra and Moggallana; he has one assembly of Disciples, one thousand, two hundred and fifty monks, who are all Arahants; his chief personal attendant is Ánanda; his father is King Shuddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, and his fathers royal capital is Kapilavatthu. Such was the Lord’s renunciation, such going forth, such his striving, such his full enlightenment; such his turning of the wheel. And we sir, who have lived the Holy Life under the Lord, having freed our self from sense desires, have arisen here.

"And so it is, monks, that by his penetration of the Fundamentals of Dhamma, the Tathágata remembers the past Buddhas who have attained final Nibbána, cutting through multiplicity, blazing a trail, have exhausted the round, have passed by all suffering; he recalls their births, their names, their clan, their life span, their twin disciples, their assemblies of disciples: "These Blessed Lords were born Thus, were called thus, thus was their clan, thus was their morality, their Dhamma, their wisdom, their dwelling, thus was their liberation.""

Thus the Lord spoke, and the monks, delighted, rejoiced at his words.

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