I: The Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas

[1] The Mahāvastu begins with an enumeration of the attributes of the Bodhisattvas, especially with regard to their conduct (caryā). In the first section obeisance is made to the past Buddhas by whom the present Buddha, viz., Śākyamuni of Kapilavastu, was initiated and perfected gradually in his Buddhahood. The Bodhisattvas are characterised by four kinds of conduct befitting them and these are Prakriticaryā, Praṇidhānacaryā, Anulomacaryā, and Anivartanacaryā. These terms are explained in the body of the text a few pages below. According to Mon. Senart, caryā means careers or degrees of the Bodhisattvas. Prakriticaryā is that where the native qualities are being showed; Praṇidhānacaryā, where they take the vow to reach the bodhi or enlightenment; Anulomacaryā, where the conduct conformable to that vow is practised; Anivartanacaryā, where the preparation is done without running the risk of any forfeiture. Kern defines caryā as course. According to him, Prakriticaryā is original course, Praṇidhānacaryā is the course of the vow or firm resolution, Anulomacaryā is the course in accordance with the vow taken and Anivartanacaryā is the course in which no sliding back is possible. In a former birth when he was a Rājacakravartī, a king of kings, Śākyamuni gained bliss by practising Prakriticaryā under Aparājitadhvaja Tathāgata. Next as a Śreṣṭhin or leading merchant practising Praṇidhānacaryā he prayed to Atīta or the past Śākyamuni for the root of good conduct. He thought that he too would be a Perfectly Enlightened One in future. The city of Kapilavastu [2] would be his birth place and everybody would know him as Śākyamuni. Then as a Rājacakravartī again, Śākyamuni practising Anulomacaryā prays to Samitāvīn Tathāgata. Last of all obeisance is shown to Dīpaṅkara Tathāgata who said to Śākyamuni, “O, disciple, you will, in future, be famous as Śākyamuni Tathāgata, and fully enlightened. Those who follow the tenfold righteous path come nearer to the knowledge of truth.”


Once the Buddha went to Dīpaṅkara Buddha who was then surrounded by an assembly of disciples and thought, “it would be better if I could be born to do good to mankind.” Dīpaṅkara Buddha coming to know of his intention said, “You will, in future, be born in the Śākya family and for the good of mankind you will attain Buddhahood.”

With a view to secure the good of mankind, Śākyamuni began to practise Bodhisattvācaryā and laboured for his own soul and the people. He practised dāna (charity). He thought of happiness and misery as of equal value. He began to spend his days in good deeds. He stayed free from attachment and enjoyment. Gradually he attained heaven, and found it transient; he practised severe austerity for final emancipation from this chain of births and deaths and taking his bath in the Nairañjanā river Phalgu River in Gayā. he stayed fearlessly in the town of Gayā. [3]

Purifying his heavenly eyes during the first watch of the night he thought of the movement of animals; during the middle watch he thought of the knowledge of former existence; during the last watch he discussed matters which must be known by everybody and thus he attained Buddhahood.

While the Lord Sammāsambuddha was at Śrāvastī, at the Jetavana of Anāthapiṇḍika, he instructed gods and men. Thera Mahāmaudgalyāyana who had been roaming about in the hells came to Jetavana and described the horrible scenes he had witnessed at the eight nirayas or hells. He saw beings without number suffering in hell. In the Sañjīva hell he noticed some with their feet turned upwards and with heads hanging downwards, some being hewn and split with axes, others being torn by sharp instruments of iron (āyasonakha) and cut up by swords. In the Kālasūtra hell too, he noticed beings subjected to similar punishments. In the Saṅghāta hell he noticed beings tortured or crushed by mountains piled up upon them. In the Raurava hell he found thousands of beings subjected to countless varieties of punishments. In the Mahāraurava hell he found some beings thrown into the blazing fire and crying at the top of their voice. Their shrieks seemed to reach the ears of the people of Jambudvīpa, The continent of India. Pubba-Videha, Aparagodāniya and [4] Uttarakuru. See my paper on Uttarakuru, published in the Saṁkalpa. He found many beings suffering in the Tapaṇa hell where thousands of flames of fire blazing forth in their fury from the east spread up to the walls of the west, and again flames rising in the west stretching their fiery tongues up to the east. These and thousand other varieties of punishments and sufferings were inflicted upon beings in the innumerable hells, and these Mahāmaudgalyāyana described in the presence of the people assembled.

The description of hell was finished and everybody was struck with awe and amazement. But the great sage proceeded to give further details of these hells. He went on, “Acts productive of the knowledge of Truth ought to be performed. Sinful deeds of every kind should be avoided. The eight hells are Sañjīva, Kālasūtra, Saṅghāta, Raurava, Mahāraurava, Mahā-avīci, Tapaṇa, and Pratāpaṇa. For a detailed account of hells and the description of them in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, see my book, “Heaven and Hell in Buddhist Perspective”. Horrible scenes of every conceivable and inconceivable kind are seen in those terrible abodes of punishment. Persons who stir up enmity with others with regard to land, or any other thing, go to the Sañjīva hell. The arms of persons who entertain a desire to kill domestic animals are pierced with nails made of iron. Persons who order the cutting off of the trunks and legs of fettered elephants go to the Kālasūtra [5] (hell) where they are cut off from head to foot like sugarcane sticks. The Saṅghāta hell is of wide extent. There is a mountain cave area in the hell; when the warders of this hell armed with the instruments of torture seek the sinful inhabitants of this region, they hide themselves inside the cave, but at that time fire appears before them; and forced to come back through fear, they are followed by torrents of blazing fire. They are then pounded or crushed by mountains. Those who take away the life of animals including even the small insects have to go to this hell. Thus in other hells as well people have to undergo great sufferings.”

Next Mahāmaudgalyāyana roamed about observing the painful conditions in which the lower animals had to pass their life and then reviewing their life of suffering gave an account of the miseries that they were subject to. Hay and wet grass were their food; water cold and hot their drink, they were harmful to one another; at every step they were in danger. At Jetavana he narrated in detail all these sufferings of the lower animals and impressed upon the audience that knowledge of truth should be acquired and sinful acts should be avoided, so that man may not run the chance of being reborn as any of the lower animals. Next he went about observing the condition of the pretas or spirits of the dead and found that the pretas suffer from intolerable miseries. Their mouths are like needles, the throats are choked, [6] they know no satisfaction. The wind blows, water flows, food is before them but they have no power of enjoying these things owing to the consequence of their deeds when in life. They go forward with an intent to enjoy these articles of pleasure but they have to come back sorely disappointed.

Maudgalyāyana narrated the sufferings of the pretas before the audience at Jetavana and said that every one should acquire knowledge of truth and avoid sinful acts, so that they may not have to be reborn in that state.

Then the great sage Maudgalyāyana observed the condition of the Asuras (demons). At the abode of the Asuras he found them to be of huge body, horrible in appearance and always eaten up with envy at the greater comforts and pleasure of the devas or gods.

The Asuras think that they have been placed below and the gods above. Burning with fury at this thought, they besiege the abode of the gods with an entire army made up of four divisions, viz., elephants, chariots, horse and foot; and fight with the gods and go to hell after being killed in the combat. Coming to Jetavana Maudgalyāyana narrated the miseries of the Asuras that had their abode in the great ocean and many people took to the path of salvation.

Reviewing the condition of the Cāturmahārājika The gods who are subjects of four guardian angels of four quarters. devas or gods inhabiting the lowest of the [7] six devalokas, Maudgalyāyana observes that while in this heavenly abode the beings enjoy various sorts of happiness, at the end of their period of pleasure and comfort, they fall down from heaven, and have to be reborn as Pretas or Asuras or as lower animals or to go to one or other of the hells. So these devas are also not immune from misery. Therefore, people should try to acquire knowledge of truth and should not commit sin. Arriving at Jetavana, Maudgalyāyana narrates his experiences and the people took to the path of salvation. Then again, reviewing the condition of the Trayastiṁśa devas, Gods dwelling in the Tāvatimsa Heaven, vide my book, “Heaven and Hell in Buddhist Perspective” pp. 7 foll. Maudgalyāyana found that they were long-lived strong and happy. They roamed in the heavenly regions and drank nectar living in jewel-bedecked and beautiful palaces and playing in eight gardens, viz., Vaijayanta, Nandāpuṣkariṇīparīpātra, Kovidāra, Mahāvana, Pāruṣyaka, Citraratha, Nandana and Miśrakāvana.

Śakra, the lord of gods, played in the Vaijayanta palace surrounded by eighty thousand nymphs (Apsarās). Thera Mahāmaudgalyāyana saw the splendid and prosperous city of the gods (Sudarsanaṁ devanagaraṁ) and the heavenly council (Sudharmāṁ devasabhāṁ or the Motehall of the gods), extending over a thousand yojanas and gave an account of the sort of heavenly bliss that he had found them enjoying on his return [8] to Jetavana. At their will the devas enjoyed the blessings of heaven, but on the expiry of the term during which their merits acquired in past births entitled them to partake of these pleasures, they were born in the womb of lower animals and suffered. So the state of the gods was not quite enviable; it was mutable and transitory. So everybody should acquire knowledge of truth, perfect knowledge of Truth, supreme Buddhahood, do noble deeds, practise celibacy, and should not commit sin.

Maudgalyāyana next went to the other heavenly abodes, viz., those of the Yāma, Tuṣita, Nirmāṇaratī, Paranirmitavaśavartī, and Brahmakāyika god up to the region of the Śuddhāvāsa devas. For a detailed account see my book “Heaven and Hell in Buddhist Perspective.” He found that they were long lived, virtuous, full of happiness, they moved in the sky, spoke sweet words, and that they were free from affections or passions, etc.

The Thera came back to Jetavana and narrated everything that he had seen in the abodes of he gods and observed that even their happy state though apparently so free from pain was not permanent; ultimately it was liable to a change. He impressed the truth that all people have faults, all the worlds are full of misery and impermanent, so the Buddhas teach Dharma, so as to reach a permanent and stable state of existence and to acquire the highest good. [9]

Then he asked the assembly to acquire knowledge of truth, perfect knowledge of truth, to do noble deeds, to practise celibacy, and to refrain from committing sinful deeds. Many people listened to these words of the Thera and tasted the bliss of eternal life.


The Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One, thought of his mission, came to the Gdhrakūṭa hills at Rājagha, and was honoured by both gods and men. He taught them to be disinterested. He distributed knowledge amongst the people of Aṅga, Magadha, Vajjī, Malla, Kāśī, Kośala, Cedī, Vatsa, Matsya, Sūrasena, Kuru, Pañcāla, Sivī, Daśārṇa, Aśvaka, and Avantī Vide my books, “Some Kṣatriya Tribes of Ancient India”, “Ancient Mid-Indian Kṣatriya Tribes, Vol. I” and “Ancient Indian Tribes”. and had magnificent vihāras erected for him. Once Mahāmaudgalyāyana went to Rājagha for alms. He thought it was a long time since he had been to the holy abode of the gods. Thinking thus he went on foot to the holy abode of the gods. The sons of the gods of paradise saw long-lived Mahāmaudgalyāyana from a distance and proceeded forth to receive him and said, “O, long-lived one, welcome!” Thus they received him with greetings, saluted him, and took their seat. One of the sons of the gods said to Mahāmaudgalyāyana, “Long ago there lived in the city of Vasumata a bhikṣu named Abhiya during whose life-time, the city was the prosperous abode of many happy people. A rich Brahmin named [10] Uttiya also lived in this city. He associated with such bhikṣus as Nanda and Abhiya. When, however, Nanda and Abhiya would pay a friendly visit to the house of Uttiya, Nanda was honoured more than Abhiya. One of the daughters of Uttiya was the wife of a certain merchant of Vasumata. She too was pleased with Nanda. Abhiyabhikṣu was jealous of Nanda and traduced the character of Nanda with false report that Nanda had lost Brahmacaryā. Leading a holy life. As a result of this report, the Brahmin householders and the merchant did no longer honour him as they used to do previously. After a few days Abhiya repented of his sinful act of spreading calumny against Nanda of pure character. He then begged pardon of Nanda and made his wrong deed known to the world.” Abhiya went to the merchant Uttiya and said, “I want mastery over the assembly of Buddhist disciples, enjoyed by the Lord. Give me money.” Uttiya and other householders gave him gold. Two gandhikas (dealers in perfumes) of Vasumata were very pleased with Abhiyabhikhṣu. Abhiya did what he liked with that money. Then Abhiyabhikṣu thought that he would try to become Perfectly Enlightened, to be free and make people free, to be consoled and console others, to restrain himself and make others restrained. The Supreme Lord or the All Highest came to know of his good intention and said to him, “You will acquire perfect knowledge [11] and become Śākyamuni Tathāgata. Gods and men will take advice from you.”

“Endowed with the thirty-two signs of a great man The thirty-two signs of a great man or 32 Mahāpuruṣa lakṣanas. See ‘A Manual of Buddhism by R. Spence Hardy’, pp. 368-369 and the ten powers of a Tathāgata The balas or potentialities are: (1) Knowledge of what is fit or unfit, (2) of the necessary consequences of karma, (3) of the right road leading to any end, (4) of the elements, (5) of the different inclinations of beings, (6) of the relative powers of the organs, (7 and 8) of all degrees of meditation and ecstasy. and the four vaiśāradyas Four vaiśāradyas are: (1) assurance of the Buddha that he has got omniscience, (2) that he has freed himself from sin, (3) that he knows the obstacles in the way of attaining Nirvāṇa, (4) that he has shown the right path leading to Mukti or salvation. or subjects of confidence or fearlessness, you will gain excellence. In future you will set the wheel of Dharma Dharmacakra is a symbol rather than a relic. It is undoubtedly an object of worship as Kern points out. One of the sculptures of the Bharhut represents the Buddha’s Dhammacakka adorned with a strip of cloth under an umbrella in a shrine. Kern rightly points out that the wheel symbol is Buddhistic in so far as it is linked with the preaching of the doctrine. (Kern’s Indian Buddhism, pp. 99.) rolling, which has not yet been done by any śramaṇa or god or Māra. See my paper on the Buddhist Conception of Māra (Proceedings and Transactions of the Third Oriental Conference, Madras, 1925, pp. 483 foll.) and Buddhistic studies edited by Dr. B. C. Law. You will do good to gods and men in innumerable ways.”

“Give that gift and resolve, I shall be the priest of gods and men and preach the noblest religion. Beat the flagged drum of Dharma, elevate the divine sage, sound the sacred conches, [12] convert many people to the sacred religion. Let gods and men listen to my sweet words. Impart knowledge amongst the people oppressed by births and deaths; release people who are on the way to hell, do good to people by imparting counsel like the Buddha; being free I shall turn the wheel of Dharma.” The omnipresent and Perfectly Enlightened One came to know of his intention and said that in future he would be a jina Jina means a Buddha, a Sugata, or a Tathāgata. It literally means a Conqueror. (Conqueror).

Then in future when the gandhikas heard of Perfect Enlightenment of Abhiyabhikṣhu, they decided to accept the discipleship of the Buddha on his attaining perfect enlightenment.

Abhiyabhikṣhu exerted for a long time for perfect truth. He worshipped Arahats (saints) who had acquired perfect knowledge. They said nothing to him. He worshipped three hundred a arahats by the name of Puṣpa. They did not say anything. He worshipped innumerable Buddhas. They said nothing to him. He spoke of the four kinds of the conduct of the Bodhisattva, viz., Prakriticaryā, Praṇidhānacaryā, Anulomacaryā, and Anivartanacaryā. To worship the present Buddha and to pay respects to the disciples of the Buddha and to follow the right path is the principle involved in Prakriticaryā or the observance of the natural state. Praṇidhānacaryā is [13] the right realisation of the doctrine of Śākyamuni.

When such persons will acquire virtue by purifying their body and mind, their minds will gain Bodhi or the Supreme knowledge. They will think thus, “We shall gain omniscience by virtue of meritorious deeds and our meditation may not be disturbed. Let the roots of meritorious acts which we have accumulated be beneficial to all people. Let evil come upon us for our sinful acts. Being possessed of a mind unaffected by worldly thoughts we shall roam over the whole world, we shall turn the unique wheel of religion which is honoured by gods and men alike.”


Then in the course of innumerable kalpas, Samitāvī became a Perfectly Enlightened Tathāgata. He became an instructor of gods and men. At this time Vijitāvī, lord of the four island-continents, possessed of the seven gems, virtuous and engaged in the path of ten-fold meritorious action, ruled as king over the earth. The seven treasures are cakraratna (the magic wheel of a cakravartī monarch, which rolls before him when he makes his royal tour from one continent to another), hastiratna (the elephant), aśvaratna (the horse), maniratna (the gem), strīratna (the empress), ghapatiratna (the retinue of householders), parināyakaratna (the crown prince). A thousand sons were born to him. They were brave, powerful, and handsome and victorious over alien armies. That the king [14] began to rule over the world, up to Jambudvīpa, East Videha, Aparagodāniya, and the Uttarakuru, without having to exercise the rod, the kingly weapons, and without oppression. Then once the king came to Cakravartī Samitāvī and cleaned robes, almsbowl, bed and seat and built a palace bedecked with the seven gems. Close to the palace he built eighty-four thousand pillars, set with gold, silver, pearl, and all sorts and varieties of the most precious gems in the world. He built eighty-four thousand kuṭāgāras (pinnacled houses) which were as beautiful as the palace bedecked with gems like those just mentioned. He thought, “I would become a perfectly enlightened one like Samitāvī. Being erudite I shall descend on earth as governor of gods and men. Bearing the thirty-two signs of a great man, versed in innumerable Buddhist doctrines, endowed with the ten-fold power of the Tathāgata, having the four Vaiśāradyas or subjects of confidence, I shall console others and shall console myself, I shall help people to attain Nirvāṇa and myself shall attain Nirvāṇa. I shall do such deeds as will be beneficial to mankind.”

“I shall move in this world with minds unaffected by worldly affairs like this Samitāvī and shall turn the wheel of law being worshipped by gods and men.”

Then the perfectly enlightened Samitāvī thought thus, “After how long a time will Buddha be born? The Buddha is not seen in one kalpa or in two [15] kalpas. He is seen once in a thousand kalpas.” Then he became kind to all people. Five-fold Buddhacaryā became his essential duties. The five-fold Buddhacaryās are (1) to turn the wheel of law as a duty, (2) mild behaviour towards mother, (3) mild behaviour towards father, (4) conversion of people into the Buddhist faith, (5) and celebration of the sprinkling ceremony of a prince.


The Buddha named Ajita was of Maitra gotra in Bandhuma capital. He invited the bhikṣus and said, “A thought, when the Buddha will be born, has crossed my mind. I want to live for thousands and thousands of years: is there any bhikṣu who likes to live with me?”

All of them cried out or replied “Lord! we shall be with you.”

When Vijitāvī was ruling as cakravartī Universal monarch and lord of the four island-continents and as the conqueror of the four island-continents by virtue of merit, the Perfectly Enlightened Samitāvī was established in the long course of life with the śrāvakas (disciples). When he came to know that the span of human life was limited and that human beings are on the way to old age, disease and death, then Samitāvī with his disciples came to Jambudvīpa and began to preach religious counsels. Then Vijitāvī got palaces built for the Perfectly Enlightened Samitāvī. Thus elapsed many a kalpa in prayer for Perfect Enlightenment.

Thus I have [16] heard: the Lord was once staying on the Gdhrakūṭa mountain at Rājagha. At that time Mahāmaudgalyāyana was wandering for alms with his robes and alms-bowl. Desirous of going to the sacred abode of the gods he went to the sky; the sons of gods saw him come up the firmament. They went towards the spot where Maudgalyāyana was coming, and bowing down they took their seats. They began to say thus in verse, “After a hundred thousand years having acquired matured knowledge (Bodhi or enlightenment) the Lord Buddha was born in the world.” Saying this the gods of the holy abode saluted Maudgalyāyana and took their seats on one side. Then waiting for sometime on one side they disappeared. Then Mahāmaudgalyāyana thought of various things and then disappearing from that place he came to Rājagha. Then after wandering for alms in Rājagha, he kept his robes and alms-bowl and washing his feet he saluted the Lord, took his seat on one side and narrated everything in detail. Then he said, “Lord! I put to you questions regarding Perfect Enlightenment.” The Lord then said, “Innumerable Tathāgatas in innumerable kalpas (cycles) have eradicated the (root or) principle of sin. They pray for the highest enlightenment. I worshipped thirty koṭis of Buddhas named Śākyamuni with their disciples. When I was a Cakravartī king, these Buddhas told me that I would become the ruler of gods and men, and would be a Perfectly Enlightened Tathāgata [17] Arahat. I know hundred of thousands of Dīpaṅkara Mahābuddhas whom I honoured with their disciples. They told me that I would attain Buddhahood in the future. I know five hundred Buddhas named Padmottara; I know eight thousand Buddhas named Paddyotas; I know three koṭis of Buddhas named Puṣpa; I know eighteen thousand Buddhas named Māradhvaja to whom I used to pray for the highest enlightenment, practising Brahmacaryā or restraint. They gave me much advice. I served five hundred Buddhas named Padmottara with their disciples. I know nine thousand Buddhas named Kāśyapa, fifteen thousand Buddhas named Kauṇḍinya and each and every one of the eighty-four thousand Buddhas.

I know the Perfectly Enlightened One named Samantagupta, thousand Buddhas named Yambuddhvaja, eighty-four thousand Buddhas named Indraddhvaja, sixty-two hundred Buddhas of different names, sixty-four Buddhas named Samitāvī. I know the Perfectly Enlightened Buddha named Suprabhāsa where Maitreya, Bodhisattva and Vairocana being Cakravartī, first uprooted the three evil principles.”


When Suprabhāsa became Tathāgata, the span of human life became eighty-four koṭi thousand years. Suprabhāsa formed three Saṁghas or assemblies of Śrāvakas or disciples. The first Saṁgha was formed with ninety-six koṭis of arahats, and the second with ninety-four koṭis of arahats. King Vairocana was delighted to [18] see Suprabhāsa. He served the Lord Suprabhāsa for ten thousand years and he too intended to be erudite and to attain the perfectly enlightened Buddhahood. He thought of becoming a religious teacher like Suprabhāsa. He would do good to mankind. Being a valiant Cakravartī, he served with a desire for Perfect Enlightenment. On hearing those words Mahāmaudgalyāyana praised the words of the Lord.


“In ancient times,” – continued the Buddha Gautama, – “there was a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha named Ratna. I was then a Rājacakravartī. I got eighty-four thousand kuṭāgāras built for that Buddha. Those kuṭāgāras were set with seven kinds of precious minerals such as gold, silver, pearl, gems (as sapphire, ruby), cat’s eye, diamond, and coral. Thus serving the Perfectly Enlightened Lord I was eager for knowledge. He told me everything about Perfect Enlightenment. This is Praṇidhicaryā or practice of profound meditation. “O, Mahāmaudgalyāyana, Anulomacaryā is to stay in an agreeable way for the understanding of the Bodhisattva. Anivartanacaryā is to understand the revolving in the circles of transmigration. For this ten bhūmikas The whole law of a Bodhisattva is divided into ten bhumīs or stages. The Mahāvastu amply describes the system of bhumīs. The most usual names are: (1) Pramuditā, Vimalā, Prabhākarī, Arciṣmati, Sudurjayā, Abhimukhī, Duraṅgamā, Acalā, Sādhumatī or Madhumatī, and Dharmameghā. (See J.R.A.S., 1875, Daśabhūmīśvara.) or stages are to be practised.” [19]


When the son of the Śākyas, bright like gold, passed away, the earth with her mountains shook. Then Kāśyapa noticed this, and revolving within himself as to why the earth had shaken found out that the Buddha had attained Nirvāṇa. He saw the Buddha attaining Nirvāṇa and the heavenly nymphs worshipping him and thought of following the Buddha on foot rather than with wealth. With this thought Kāśyapa went with a sorrowful heart with many bhikshus. Then four Mallas came with torch, but the torch was suddenly extinguished, at this everybody was astonished and asked the reason for the torch’s sudden extinction. When Kāśyapa came there and bowed down to the Buddha at the time of the cremation of his body, all who were present began to give expression to their sorrow by saying that it was no good to live in this world for a long time and that they too should relinquish this body.

Then Kāśyapa began to advise them that they should act up to the behests of the Buddha, they should establish the wheel of religion in the Saptaparṇa cave at Rājagha in Magadha. Then all of them went up to the sky within a very short time and came to the forest by the side of a mountain and began to beat drums. At this all began to assemble.

“For the good of gods and men,” said Kāśyapa, “I shall be free and shall free others, I shall establish the wheel of religion in Kāśīpuri for the [20] good of gods and men.” The gods from the sky listened to the various words of Kāśyapa and said, “That’s good, That’s good. Thus continues the rule of the Buddha. One who is engaged for the good of mankind is an excellent man.”

Kāśyapa instructed them regarding the five elements of being (Pañcaskandha). He regarded passion as a black serpent, and instructed people regarding passion as such. He realised eternal happiness. As a glow-worm loses its light with the sun-rise, so anti-Buddhists lose their brightness at the rise of the Buddha-sun. God acquires vision by virtue of the strength of the Jina (conqueror). Then Mahāmaudgalyāyana called long­lived Mahākāśyapa and said, “O, disciple of Buddha (Jinaputra), cause the doubtful mind of all to settle.” Mahākāśyapa said to Aniruddha, Upāli, old Alakundalabhathiya, and Sundarananda, “O, disciples of Jina (Buddha)! Take care to study Psychology. Question every one as to any doubt that may be entertained by him.” Then the disciples began to study the minds of other people. Kāśyapa said to Pranamvavāhu Vaśībhūta, “I shall build a palace to accommodate eighteen thousand people at the peak of the Gdhrakūṭa hill.” He said to Vicintacūta Vaśībhūta, “I shall create clouds of Ganges water in the sky.” He said to Haryakṣa Vaśībhūta, “Practise self-concentration.” He said to Varuṇa Vaśībhūta, “Put an end to bitings and mosquitoes like dissatisfaction of mankind.” He said to Ajakarṇa, [21] “Put an end to hunger, thirst, and disease.” The disciples of the Buddha praised Kāśyapa on hearing him and went away.

Then Thera Kāśyapa said to Kātyāyana, “Narrate the biography of great men.” Kātyāyana began to describe Buddhacaryā or the career of a Buddha, “There are ten bhūmikas or stages of the Bodhisattvas. The first one is named Durārohā, the second Vardhamānā, the third Puṣpamaṇḍitā, the fourth Rucirā, the fifth Cittavistarā, the sixth Rūpavatī, the seventh Durjayā, the eighth Janmanideśā, the ninth Yauvarājya, and the tenth Abhiṣeka.” Kāśyapa again asked Kātyāyana to describe the results of the aforesaid stages. Kātyāyana said, “O, disciple! It is impossible to determine whether the stages of the Bodhisattvas are ten only or innumerable. The whole world is a stage by parts of the Bodhisattvas, so its name is stage (Bhūmi).” Then a Jinaputra named Ānanda said to Kātyāyana, “O, Jinaputra! If one of the stages be immeasurable or unknowable, then how can another stage be reached”? Kātyāyana replied, “It is the rule of the Supreme One that immeasurable advices are imparted in immeasurable kalpas. The wise Buddha by the influence of his intelligence has exhibited these stages. The remaining stages are known by slight hints.”

Those who are on the first stage, are seen to have eight-fold practices, such as renunciation, kindness, complacency, humidity, proficiency in all the śāstras, [22] prowess, command of men, and patience. Bodhisattvas attain the second stage only because of one reason which is experiencing enjoyment. They stay at the second stage for two reasons which are (1) absence of desire for sensual qualities, and (2) freedom from living on the interest on capital.

Again for three reasons, the Bodhisattvas stay on the second stage, as a Bodhisattva of the first stage attains the second stage in six different ways; e.g., knowledge of impermanence.

Thus after many words Mahākāśyapa asked Mahākātyāyana, “How much merit arouses the desire to be a Perfectly Enlightened one?” Then Kātyāyana said, “Such a sacred desire is cherished by those disciples of Buddha who wishing to acquire perfect knowledge, give charity to those endowed with ten potentialities in Jambudvīpa, think lightly of wealth, and do good deeds to mankind.” Mahākāśyapa asked Kātyāyana, “O disciple of Buddha! Do the Bodhisattvas acquire by virtue of their merit the earnestness of which you speak, or do they attain the above stage on the development of the roots of goodness (Kuśalamūlā)?” Kātyāyana said to Mahākāśyapa in verse, “First, man worships Tathāgata, It means ‘one who has trodden the right path.’ Vide my paper on “Data from the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī, Buddhaghosa’s commentary on the Dīgha Nikāya of the Sutta Piṭaka.” (J.A.S.B., New series, Vol. XXI, 1925, No. I. Article No. 10.) does not allow his mind to be attached to other things, then he thinks that [23] he may acquire omniscience by virtue of the acquisition of the roots of goodness. Let good or evil deeds done by me be passed over.”

Then Mahākāśyapa asked Kātyāyana, “What sort of strong prowess is acquired by the Bodhisattvas?” Mahākātyāyana said, “I shall not withdraw the state of mind by which I have acquired knowledge of perfection (paramārtha). I shall not hesitate to renounce birth, decrepitude, death, sorrow, and oppression. In this world work for money produces sorrow. This is the prowess of the Supreme man.”

Mahākāśyapa asked Mahākātyāyana, “What wonderful virtue is gained by the Bodhisattvas at the first stage of concentration?” Mahākātyāyana said to Mahākāśyapa, “When supreme persons acquire the practice of profound meditation, a lustre like that of the sun shines. All sides are lit up. Gods begin to talk to each other thus: ‘This person strives for being the foremost of men, is eager for the good of the world. So we should always save him.” Kāśyapa asked Kātyāyana, “What sort of difficult acts are done by the Bodhisattvas while on the above first stage?”

Kātyāyana began to reply to Kāśyapa, Doers of wonderful deeds, being established on the first stage, do not feel sorrow after giving away wife, happiness, children, head, eye, and ample dress. Because they are ready to be all-knowing. They use soft words to those who are inimical towards them. They do not repent after giving any good [24] thing. Their hope for worldly happiness disappears by virtue of the rules of penance.

The Bodhisattvas even when suffering bodily injury do not cherish anger; those who are foremost amongst human beings always think of doing good at heart. For the good of humanity, people should accumulate much merit. One should practise charity and be free from jealousy; one should show his fitness for gaining entrance into the paths with a mind well concentrated, one should not accumulate merit for the enjoyment of sensual pleasures. Those who are determined to be like the Buddhas should not be addicted to sensual pleasures. A person should hanker after the noble truth giving up all thoughts of earthly gain and honour. One should not covet the food of others even if he is put to dire strait. One should not cherish desires even if he is attached to the worldly life. Persons who are well-versed in all religions, and who have inclination to perform good deeds, are deemed to be good persons. In the Mahāvastu, all such persons are called by different epithets.

Persons who perform twenty-eight kinds of religious acts and who are in the second stage, go to the third stage, e.g., (1) One who is satisfied with the acquisition of small merit, (2) One who is not jealous of others on account of his own form (beauty), etc., (3) One who holds garlands, garments, etc. Those who go from the second stage to the third one are bent upon self-sacrifice. They exert for the happiness of others and not for worldly [25] happiness. They consider a good saying to be as precious as their son and wife.

A Brahmin went to a ṣi named Nareśvara and said, “There is a good saying (Subhāsita) which is equal in value to your helmet.” The king took away his helmet and at his request the Brahmin communicated to him the good saying which runs thus, “If a person who has attained enlightenment and who is of good character, performs a demerit, it does not look well.”

A rākṣasa went to a king named Surupa and said, “I have a good saying which I can sell to you in exchange for your prince, wife, and yourself.” It is to be noted that the rākṣasa would devour them all. The meaning of that good saying is this, “It is better to stay in hell which is full of lamentations than to associate with a bad person.” A demon told a minister named Sañjaya, “Give me your heart and I shall give you a good saying in exchange.” Sañjaya consented. The meaning of that good saying is this, “As fire cannot be extinguished by grass or wood so desire cannot be removed by a person who is steeped in worldly affairs.”

A poor man came to a banker named Vasundhara and spoke to him thus, “There is a good saying which can be exchanged for everything you possess.” The banker consented and requested the poor man to relate the good saying which is as follows: ‘The place where a fool dwells, appears to be empty even if it is inhabited by many men. [26] But the place where a wild person dwells appears to be fully inhabited even if it is actually vacant’.

A certain person went to a king named Surupa and offered to relate to him a good saying in exchange for the continent of India. Surupa promised to hand over the whole of the continent of India to him. At his request the following good saying was narrated: “The Tathāgatas appear in the place where pride, arrogance, etc., prevail in order to destroy them.” A hunter told a deer named Sattara that if he could offer him his flesh, he could tell him a good saying. The deer consented and the hunter uttered the good saying which runs thus, “Dust of good men is very wholesome, but a golden mountain is not so, the dust removes sorrow, but the golden mountain increases it.”

A servant of a king, named Nāgabhuja, told his master, “You can have a good saying in exchange of the Empire of four island-continents.” The king consented and the servant uttered the good saying which is as follows: “A person feels slight pain if a hair of his body be uprooted. Such is the nature of the evil deed of a wise person. One should become the preceptor of the world by uprooting demerit by wisdom and by acquiring purity.” Thus the foremost amongst the conquerors performs many difficult deeds for the sake of good sayings and thereby acquires fame.

Mahākātyāyana questioned by Mahākāśyapa, told him that a person remaining in the third stage in fourteen forms goes to the fourth stage, [27] e.g., one who is unattached to dice-play, etc., one who finds delight in his own conscience, one who does not enjoy wealth though he is possessed of it, etc. Mahākātyāyana further said, “All creatures traversing the path of intelligence like sages, having acquired concentration of mind, enjoy all kinds of happiness.”

A Bodhisattva named Nāmatideva saluted the Blessed One and uttered the following words: “One should salute a person who is endowed with thirty-two signs of a great man, who is noble in character, who has his senses under control, who is of serene mind, who is worshipped by gods and demons. One should salute the sage, who performs good deeds, who is compassionate and who has performed many good deeds in order to free himself from the worldly tie. One should salute the great sage who belonged to the Ikṣāku family and who enjoyed supreme happiness by renouncing worldly life. One should salute the chief of the Śākyas, who after giving up the Tuṣita heaven, entered into the womb of Queen Maya and who was born later to save the creatures who are ignorant of true knowledge.”

The Character of Bodhisattvas

“The Bodhisattvas,” said Thera Kātyāyana to Kāśyapa, “never disobey their parents and arahats. They never destroy stūpas, they never cherish ill feeling towards the Tathāgata, never perform evil deeds, are not attached to the world. They never cut the leaves of the tree which gives [28] them shade. They do not sing such incantations as are destructive of human life. They never find much delight in wealth nor are they overwhelmed with sorrow at the time of danger. He who is the foremost amongst men performs deeds for the good of the world. Up to the eighth stage, the jinas, i.e., conquerors, are unknown as Perfectly Enlightened Buddhas. As soon as they attain the eighth stage they take to deep meditation, they acquire supreme knowledge and they obtain pure birth. Gods, brahmins, and demons stand before them with folded hands on account of their virtues. The Bodhisattvas who are supreme rulers advise the people not to kill living beings and not to commit adultery. The Bodhisattva who is the lord of four islands obtains seven treasures. He acquires cakraratna, hastiratna, aśvaratna, turagaratna, maṇiratna, strīratna, ghapatiratna, and pariṇāyakaratna. Then he rules the kingdom righteously. The jinas who have acquired the fourth stage, pass on to the fifth stage and acquire seven kinds of state therein. They do not attach much importance to the bhikkhuṇīs. They bring about the ruin of good men and by means of the mantra they make others diseased. Those among the Bodhisattvas are the foremost, who are possessed of real intelligence. Kātyāyana questioned by Mahākāśyapa told the name, family name and span of life of the Perfectly Enlightened ones who acquired name and fame. In the Śākya family [29] there was a Buddha named Yaśovrata; he belonged to the family of Gautama; he lived for six thousand years; his aim was to obtain the noble truth, Paramārtha, by the merit accumulated by charity to the Arhat. There was a chief of men named Sudarśana; he belonged to the family of Bharadvāja. His influence extended over an area of ten yojanas. He had many koṭis of disciples. He acquired a long span of life by subduing Māra. There was a cakravartī king named Dhāraṇīdhāra who told Sudarśana that he would save the people who were subject to old age and death. There was a Buddha named Nareśvara. His influence extended over an area of ten yojanas and he belonged to the family of Vaśiṣṭha. At this time, the span of human life was nine thousand years. There was a cakravartī king named Aparājita. He offered many monasteries to the chief of men who was endowed with ten potentialities. He promised to acquire the strength of a jina by means of charity. An officer named Vijaya became a jina named Suprabha. He belonged to the family of Kāśyapa. His influence extended over an area of ten yojanas. He had eighteen koṭis of disciples. He invited the foremost of conquerors to a dinner at his house which he accepted. There was a Buddha named Ratṇaparvata. He belonged to the family of Gautama. His influence extended over an area of ten yojanas. At his time, the span of life was for twenty thousand years. [30] At that time there was a king named Accyuta who offered a thousand palaces to the Buddha and made up his mind to become a saviour of the poor by means of charity. There was a Buddha named Kanakaparvata. He belonged to the family of Kauṇḍinya. His influence extended over an area of six yojanas; the members of his family were five koṭis.

At this time there was a king named Priyadarśana. He was the lord of four islands; he gave in charity his kingdom named Kanakaparvata to the Buddha, and he resolved to acquire the state of the Buddha by means of charity.

Puṣpadanta of the Vatsa family

There was a Buddha named Puṣpadanta endowed with thirty-two signs of a great man. He belonged to the family of Vatsa or Vaṁśa. His influence extended over an area of nine Yojanas. He had thirty-four koṭis of disciples. At this time the span of life was fifty thousand years.

At this time there was a king named Durjaya. With his family he went to Puṣpadanta, worshipped him, and invited him to take his food for a week at his palace. Thus having pleased him the king made up his mind to become a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha like Puṣpadanta.

Lalitavikrama of the Vaśiṣṭha family

There was a Buddha named Lalitavikrama endowed with thirty-two signs of a great man. He belonged to the family of Vaśiṣṭha. His influence extended over an area of seven [31] yojanas. He had thirty koṭis of disciples. At this time there was a king named Priyamanāpa who had a fourfold army. He built many small palaces made up of various gems and a big palace. Later on he made up his mind to become a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha in order to put an end to old age, death, etc.

Mahāyaśa of the Kāśyapa family

There was a Buddha named Mahāyaśa who was also endowed with thirty-two signs of a great man. He belonged to the family of Kāśyapa. His influence extended over an area of fifty yojanas. He had many disciples. At this time there was a king named Mgapatiśvara who pleased the Buddha very much and made up his mind to become all-knowing like the Buddha.

Ratnacūḍa of the Bhāradvāja family

There was a Buddha named Ratnacūḍa. His influence extended over an area of one hundred yojanas. He belonged to the family of Bhāradvāja. He had many disciples. At his time the span of life was eighty-four thousand years. At this time there was a king named Maṇivisāna. He built many palaces and offered them to the Buddha Ratnacūḍa. For ten years continually be fed Ratnacūḍa. Later on he made up his mind to save people who had given themselves up to worldly affairs. Thus we see that the jinas having acquired fame perform good deeds for the good of the world.

Mahākātyāyana further said to Mahākāśyapa, [32] “The jinas ascend to the sixth stage from the fifth stage in four forms, viz., (1) living in association with Yogācāra, having been a follower of the Exalted Buddha, (2) giving up sensation, etc., (3) acquiring tranquillity, insight, contemplation, etc., and (4) contemplating with a concentrated mind.”

Kātyāyana added, “The duty of a Buddha is to fulfil the Karma of the Buddha which is difficult to perform. If a Buddha is incapable of finishing all work, two Buddhas arise.”

Kātyāyana names a good many jinas (conquerors), e.g., Mgapatiskandha, Sinhahanu who was endowed with thirty-two signs of a great man, Lokaguru and he further names the Buddhas, Jñānadhvaja, and Devanandita. There was a king named Kuśa in the seventh stage and he had a queen named Apratimā. There was also a king named Jaṭhara who heard of Apratimā and being desirous of winning her, sent a messenger to King Kuśa with a request to giving him Apratimā who would be his wife, and if Kuśa refused to do so, he should be ready for a fight. Jaṭhara further sent the message that Kuśa should inform him what he would like to do, otherwise Kuśa would have to submit to him (Jaṭhara). King Kuśa told his wife all about it. The queen shed tears and assured the king that she would cut off the body of Jaṭhara and would colour the earth with his blood; she further said that she was aware of innumerable sorts of magic and that Jaṭhara was [33] insignificant to her. When Jaṭhara entered the harem of Kuśa he submitted to Queen Apratimā who placing her right leg on Jaṭhara’s bosom and her left leg on his whiskers addressed him thus, “Oh, fool, have you not heard that a bee does not suck honey from a flowery creeper which is already being sucked by another bee? Don’t you know that a forest elephant does not come forward to enjoy a lotus which is being enjoyed by another forest elephant?” King Jaṭhara prayed to the queen for protection and implored her to show mercy to him. Thereupon King Kuśa said to his wife Apratimā, “Oh, Queen, afford protection to this coward who is begging refuge, for to give protection to one who seeks shelter is the duty of a virtuous person.”

Formerly a nāga king named Campaka was overpowered and subdued by an ahituṇḍika (snake­charmer). The nāga king knew that he could burn the ahituṇḍika (snake-charmer) who had lost his mantra and medicine, but he did not do so as he was pious.

Many persons named (1) Satyadharmavipulakīrti, (2) Sukīrti, (3) Lokābharan, (4) Vidyutprabha, (5) Indrateja, and others were helped to attain perfect enlightenment by the Lord Śākyasiṁha. Mahākāśyapa once said to Mahākātyāyana, “O, Jinaputra! Please relate the wonderful events of those who have passed from the ninth stage to the tenth one, have gone to Tuṣita heaven and desirous of human life, are born of mothers.” [34] Mahākātyāyana replied, “One may be perfectly enlightened while in the womb, while about to be delivered or while being born.”

The Bodhisattva, seeing the people of the world blinded by delusion, desired to be born on earth to save them, and thought within himself ‘who is that lady who shall bear me, who has so much excellence that qualifies her to be my mother?’ With this thought he saw Māyādevī possessed of this merit, in the harem of Śuddhodana and addressed the gods thus, ‘I shall be born for the good of the world’. With folded hands, the gods said, ‘We shall not be able to stay without you. We shall also live in the world to worship you’.

Thus the Bodhisattva entered into the womb of Māyādevī.

When the Bodhisattva stayed inside the mother’s womb, he conversed with the gods. Celestial music regaled him in the womb. Marks of purity became visible on the countenance of his mother, Māyādevī, who informed Śuddhodana of her intention to pass her days in Brahmacaryā, giving up malice and other faults. Celestial girls with flowers and garlands came to Māyādevī, paid her homage and said, “O, Queen, the Lord Bodhisattva resides in your womb.” Conceiving the Bodhisattva the mother wore heavenly dress. Hundreds of thousands of heavenly girls conversed with her. She did not feel any pain due to child bearing. When she slept, heavenly girls waited upon her.

When Māyā’s conception matured in the tenth [35] month, she made her desire of going to the Lumbini garden known to Śuddhodana and requested him to arrange for her conveyance. King Śuddhodana, according to Māyā’s desire, made all arrangements and with his retinue took her to the pleasure garden. When Māyādevī caught hold of the branch of a Plakṣa tree and yawned, hundreds of thousands of nymphs came to her and said, ‘Today you will give birth to a son who will dissipate the fear of decrepitude and death’. Then Māyādevī brought forth the Bodhisattva with ease. Eight thousand gods in the guise of turbaned Brahmin astrologers came there and sent word to the king through the warder. The gatekeeper spoke of the greatness of the persons in Brahmin’s dress and said, ‘Methinks, gods have come in the guise of Brahmins to see your son of great radiance’. The king gladly allowed them to come in. He saw them coming forward, got up from his seat with his company, and welcomed them with salutes. Then he seated them with great honour. Thereupon they explained to the king the necessity of their coming, “A son, with all signs, has been born unto you. We can read signs. We have come to see the child.” The king showed them the child. They were very pleased and bowed down to the child who possessed all the signs of a great man.

The Bodhisattvas are not subject to passion in the Tuṣita heaven. Replying to the question about Rāhula’s birth, Mahākātyāyana explained [36] to Mahākāśyapa that the Bodhisattvas are not subject to passion for many a reason; Rāhula himself came down from the Tuṣita heaven, and entered into the womb of his mother Yaśodharā.

Then they described in verse the birth of the Bodhisattva. Then Mahākātyāyana said, “O, Mahākāśyapa, Bodhisattvas get five eyes such as (1) the human eye, (2) the divine eye, (3) the eye of wisdom, (4) the eye of universal knowledge, and (5) the eye of a Buddha. These five sorts of vision are their unique possession. When the Bodhisattvas acquire omniscience, they retain the power of seeing as far as they like because they have accumulated much merit. The human eye has unlimited quality. The ways of the perfectly enlightened one are beyond human knowledge. The human eye resembles eyes of other creature in form and colour. The divine eye of the perfectly enlightened one is brighter, larger, and more distinct than the eyes of gods, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and terrestrial beings. It is engaged in rūpa (form) springing from the mind. The mental mastery over the ten forces is Dharmacakṣu, i.e., the eye of universal knowledge. The ten forces are as follows:- The knowledge of proper and improper place is the first force; the knowledge of unknowable intelligence that moves in all directions is the second force; the knowledge of the world of different materials is the third force. The knowledge of different stages of adhimukti or will is the fourth force. The knowledge of the character [37] of other persons is the fifth force. The force by which good or evil deeds are known is the sixth force. The knowledge of the annihilation of Kleśa is the seventh force. The knowledge of dhyānasamāpatti, i.e., the eight successive states induced by the ecstatic meditation is the eighth force. The knowledge of former states of existence is the ninth force. The tenth force is that by which the sacred divine eye is obtained and all evil passions (Kleśa) are annihilated.”

There are eighteen kinds of Buddha-Dhamma (qualities of a Buddha). These are known as 18 āveṇikadharmas or āveṇiyadharmas. They are as follows:- (1) seeing of all things past, (2) of all things future, (3) of all things present, (4) propriety of actions of the body, (5) of speech, (6) of thought, (7) firmness of intention, (8) of memory (sati), (9) of concentration (samādhi), (10) of energy (viriya), (11) of emancipation (vimutti), (12) of wisdom (paññā), (13) freedom from fickleness or wantonness, (14) from noisiness, (15) from confusedness, (16) from hastiness, (17) from heedlessness, (18) from inconsiderateness (vide Kern’s Manual of Indian Buddhism, p, 63).

All the Exalted Buddhas are endowed with great virtue. The speech of the Exalted Buddhas has sixty qualities, e.g., sweetness like that of music, sweet tune like that of a seven-stringed musical instrument, sweetness like the crackling of the swan, depth like that of thunder, the note of a cuckoo, the sound of a chariot, etc. They give instructions in the true law. They are truthful, speak of Dharma, Vinaya, etc. They are not attached to the worldly life although they are in this world. They are beyond old age, sorrow, death, etc. They are worshipped by all in this world. [38]

In the Gdhrakūṭa mountain, in the assembly of five hundred persons who are controlled in their senses, instructions are given to the effect that all beings should desire to obtain Buddhahood.

Formerly there was a cakravartī king named Arcimāna. He had seven gems, e.g., cakraratna, hastiratna, aśvaratna, etc. He conquered the earth with her seas, mountains, and islands. He had a beautiful capital city named Dīpavatī. Sudīpā was his chief queen.

The Bodhisattvas are born either in Brahmin or in Kṣatriya families. The family in which they take their birth is endowed with sixty aṅgas, e.g., that family is full of many men and women, is famous, knows no fear, is full of enjoyments, firm in friendship, grateful to benefactors, and so forth.

Dīpaṅkara Bodhisattva

The Bodhisattva One who is destined to be a Buddha. Dīpaṅkara saw that Queen Sudīpā was immaculate and short­lived and that the span of her life was only ten months and seven nights more, so he made up his mind to be conceived by her, as one who would conceive the Bodhisattva would not be able to enjoy sensual pleasures. Then Sudīpā conceived Dīpaṅkara Bodhisattva. When the tenth month became full and complete, Sudīpā told her husband, King Arcimāna, that she would like to [39] go to Padmavana. The king with his retinue took Sudīpā to Padmavana. As soon as the queen, while roaming about by boat in the tank in this vana, desired to descend from the boat, an island (dīpa) sprang up. The queen landed there and brought forth Dīpaṅkara Bodhisattva.

The queen Sudīpā with the Bodhisattva was brought to the capital city of Dīpavatī. The Śuddhāvāsa devas came in disguise as Brahmins and informed the king of the signs of greatness on the countenance of the newly-born child. Being requested by the king they named the boy, Dīpaṅkara. When Dīpaṅkara became a youth the king built three palaces for the enjoyment of the prince. The Bodhisattva went to Padmavana for enjoyment in the tank, there were a good many objects of enjoyment but the Bodhisattva was not attached to them. He became indifferent to the world and practised samādhi or self-concentration to acquire divine insight. With a concentrated mind in the middle watch of the night he began to recollect his former births. After many years, Dīpaṅkara acquired perfect enlightenment and in order to do good to the world he came to Dīpavatī with eighty thousand bhikkhus to show favour to his father, Arcimāna and relatives. King Arcimāna approached to welcome him and brought him to Dīpavatī. At this time being charmed by the influence of Dīpaṅkara, a Vedic student, named Megha, became his disciple. Megha’s class mate, named Meghadatta, [40] who heard of Dīpaṅkara, told Megha that he would not be able to follow him as he had not then completed the study of the Vedas. Later, Meghadatta being enamoured of another man’s wife killed his preventive mother and disclosed the facts of matricide to his mistress who was alarmed to hear of this and forbade him to come to her. Meghadatta then became attached to his step-mother and at her instance killed his father.

All his relatives knowing everything shunned his company. Then he removed to a different place. Once upon a time a bhikkhu who knew about the family of his father went for alms to the spot where Meghadatta had been staying. He was killed by the latter who feared that he might divulge everything concerning his character. In consequence of all these sinful deeds Meghadatta was reborn in hell.

When the Lord Śākyamuni, after attaining perfect enlightenment, was turning the wheel of law, this Meghadatta was living as a timiṅgila (a fabulous fish of an enormous size) in the Ocean. When a householder named Thapakarṇi was making a voyage, this fish was about to swallow him up but Thapakarṇi was saved by the Buddha. The fish, as soon as it heard of the name of the Buddha, remembered, at once, all about Dīpaṅkara. By thinking about the Buddha at the end of life it was reborn in a brahman’s family at Śrāvastī. When he grew [41] up, he became a religions mendicant and disciple of the Bodhisattva.

Maṅgala Buddha

After the Exalted Buddha, there arose another Exalted Buddha named Maṅgala. The span of his life was hundred thousand crores of years. He had three congregations of disciples. The first congregation had hundred thousand crores of disciples; the second, ninety crores of disciples; and the third, eighty crores of disciples. Sudeva and Dharmadeva were two principal disciples and there were also two chief female disciples named Śīvatī and Aśokā. Maṅgala’s father was a Kṣatriya king and his mother was named ‘Śrī’.

There lived in Kuṇḍalā near the Himalayas, a Yakṣī (ogress) who had many sons who were sent to Vaiśālī to destroy the vitality of the people. The Vaiśalians gradually began to die of disease and were eager to find out one who would be able to drive away the disease. They thought about the matter and brought many notable persons such as Kāśyapapūraṇa but in vain. They sent a deputation headed by Tomara, a Licchavi chief of power and position ... and at the same time of great learning, to Rājagha to bring the Exalted One to their city. Tomara went to Rājagha, fell down at the feet of the Master, and sought his help with supplications, but he was asked to apply to King Śreṇika Bimbisāra who insisted on the condition that the Licchavis must welcome the Buddha at the [42] border of their own dominions and that he himself would follow the Great Teacher to the boundaries of his own territory. To this, the Licchavis readily assented and Bimbisāra secured the consent of the Buddha to save the Licchavis from the decimating disease.

The Magadhan king, to impress the Licchavis with an idea of his power and opulence, had the road all the way from Rājagha to the Ganges, which formed the boundary between the two dominions, levelled, rendered clean like the palm of the hand, decorated with flags, garlands, and richly embroidered cloth; besides, the whole road was watered, flowers were freely scattered upon it and the smoke of rich incense perfumed its whole length. He himself followed the Enlightened One with his whole court and numerous retinue. The Licchavis both the Abhyantara Vaiśālakas, the Vaiśālī-cockneys proper, living within the walls of the city and the Bāhira­Vaiśālakas, the people living in the outer town, the suburbs and surroundings – came in all their splendour and magnificence, in all the glory of their dazzling garments, blue, purple, green, yellow, brown, and crimson; their appearance, as they approached was so splendid and ravishing that even the Great Buddha was impressed with the sight and said addressing the monks, “Bhikkhus, you have never beheld before the Trayastiṁśa gods, as they go out of their city, Sudarsanā, to the garden. Behold now the Licchavis [43] of Vaiśālī who equal those gods in their prosperity and splendour. Look at the Licchavis with their elephants, with umbrellas of gold, their gold-covered litters, their chariots decorated with gold. See how they all come, both the young and the aged as also those of middle age; all with ornaments on, with garments dyed crimson with lac and advancing with various beautiful movements.” The Licchavis of Vaiśālī decorated the road from the Ganges to Vaiśālī with a magnificence that left the preparations made by the Magadhan king far behind, they provided for the comfort of the Exalted One and the congregation of monks on a still more lavish scale. As soon as the Enlightened One crossed over to the northern side of the river and stepped on the Licchavi soil, all malign influences that had hung over the country and were making a havoc among the people, vanished, and the sick and the suffering were restored to health. The Licchavis received him with all honour and reverence and guided him to their city, by easy stages with all the comfort and convenience that they were able to provide for him. Entering the city, the Enlightened One uttered the Svastyayanagāthā, the song of welfare, or according to the Pāli scriptures, the Ratana Sutta, he was asked as to whether he would live among the people of inner Vaiśālī or of outer Vaiśālī. The Exalted One would not live among either of them but he accepted the [44] invitation of Bhagavatī Gośṅgī in the Mahāvana, the great forest, extending from their city far away to the north.

The Licchavis who wished that the Exalted One would be induced to live in their city, built the Kuṭāgārasālā, the peaked monastery, for him in the forest and paid their respects to him there. They offered it to him and the Buddhist congregation and he permitted the bhikkhus to reside there. One day, the Licchavis on coming to the Mahāvana learnt that the Exalted One had repaired to the Cāpāla caitya for spending the day; they proceeded there and presented it to him and the congregation of the Śrāvakas or Buddhist monks.

Similarly finding the Exalted One spending the day at the Saptāmra-caitya, the Bahuputra-caitya, the Gautama-caitya, the Kapinhya-caitya, and the Markaṭa-harda-tīra-caitya, Cf. Mahāparinibbāna Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya. the Licchavis made a gift of all these places of worship to the Exalted One and the Buddhist Church. Next the courtesan, (gaṇikā) Āmrapāli, made a gift of her extensive mango-grove to the congregation and similarly Bālikā made over Bālikā chavi.

Once upon a time the Buddha Gautama with a larger number of bhikkhus was staying at Marakanda in the kingdom of Kośala. In the evening the Blessed One coming out of the hermitage looked around, went up and down, and laughed a [45] little. Ānanda noticing this came to the bhikkhus and said thus, “The Blessed One has laughed. The Exalted Buddha does not laugh where there is no reason for laughing. We shall ask the Blessed One about the cause of his laughter.” The bhikkhus agreed to do so and went with Ānanda to the Blessed One and asked him about the cause of his laughter. The Blessed One replied thus, “O, Ānanda, the world which is before you, is the Abode of Kāśyapa, is the place where Kāśyapa walked up and down. It is in this world that three Tathāgatas dwelt, namely, Kakucchanda, Kanakamuni, and Kāśyapa.” Hearing this, Ānanda saluted the Buddha and asked him to sit in the place as it would then be connected with the incidents in the life of the four Tathāgatas. Ānanda and other bhikkhus saluted the Blessed One and sat on one side. The Blessed One asked Ānanda, “O, Ānanda! Are you willing to listen to the religions discourse in connection with the former abodes of the Tathāgata?” Ānanda replied, “O, Blessed One, This is the time to listen to the religions discourse.” The Blessed One related the following story: “O, Ānanda”! At the time of Kāśyapa Buddha, there was a Brahmin village named Verudiṅga. There lived a potter named Ghaṭikāra. He was a great devotee of Kāśyapa. He had a play-mate who was also a brahmin’s son, named Jyotipāla. Once the Blessed One came to this Verudiṅga village with his disciples. Ghaṭikāra heard of this and he also [46] informed Jyotipāla of this and asked him to go with him to see Kāśyapa. But Jyotipāla did not give his consent. Ghaṭikāra thought of various means of bringing Jyotipāla to the Buddha. Ghaṭikāra took Jyotipāla to a tank not far from the place where Kāśyapa was, with the intention of bathing in the tank. They bathed in the tank and Ghaṭikāra afterwards asked Jyotipāla to go to that part of the neighbouring forest where Kāśyapa Buddha was dwelling. Jyotipāla refused to do so but Ghaṭikāra holding him by the neck said thus, “He lives in the forest, let us go to him and worship him.” Jyotipāla again refused to do so and left Ghaṭikāra. Ghaṭikāra then followed him, caught hold of the hair of his hand, and made special requests to go to Kāśyapa. Jyotipāla thought thus, “Ghaṭikāra, though he is of low birth, has caught hold of the hair of my head not for a slight reason. It is better to comply with his request.” Jyotipāla then went to Kāśyapa with Ghaṭikāra and after saluting him they sat on one side. Ghaṭikāra requested the Buddha to give some instructions to his companion, a brahmin’s son. The Blessed One instructed Jyotipāla in the three refuges and five precepts. Jyotipāla said to the Blessed One, “I cannot follow the five precepts as I have got to kill a person.” Being questioned by the Blessed One he answered thus, “This Ghaṭikāra has caught hold of my hair after my bath.” The Blessed One pacified him by his religious instructions. Jyotipala [47] then promised to accept the five precepts, and asked Ghaṭikāra, “Have you properly realised religious instructions of the Blessed One?” Ghaṭikāra answered in the affirmative. Jyotipāla then questioned him, “It is proper for you to accept renunciation.” Ghaṭikāra replied, “I am the only support of my parents and it is for this reason that I cannot accept ordination from the Blessed One.”

Then Jyotipāla began to hate the world and he told Ghaṭikāra to go to the Blessed One for ordination. At the command of the Blessed One the bhikkhus gave him ordination.

Once upon a time Kāśyapa was dwelling at ṣipatana Mgadāva (Sārnāth at Benares). As soon as King Kki heard the news, he sent a person to the Blessed One to request him to accept invitation to his palace which the Buddha Kāśyapa did.

The Blessed One was informed thus, “King Kki spent the night in making ready the food for the Blessed One and reminds the Blessed One of the invitation.” The Buddha Kāśyapa went to the royal residence at Benares with his disciples to take his food at the palace of king Kki. The King saw him from a distance and saluted him. A new palace was built at the royal city unused by the Śramaṇas and the Brāhmaṇas, and it was at this palace that Kāśyapa took his residence. The King brought food for the Buddha at this palace. The king offered the food to the Buddha with his own hand and while the Blessed [48] One was taking rest, he bowed to his feet. He requested the Buddha to spend the rainy season at Benares and promised to build an ārāma (hermitage), a thousand kuṭāgāras, streets, etc. But when the Blessed One did not comply with his request, the king gave vent to his grief and afterwards implored him thus, “O, the Blessed One! Have you got a disciple like unto me?” The Blessed one replied, “I have a better disciple than you and he is the potter, named Ghaṭikāra of the village of Verudiṅga.” Ghaṭikāra strictly followed the ten precepts throughout his life. He never dug new land. He made earthen pots with the earth taken from the land damaged by water or by ants and placed them on the cross-way to be taken away by the person who liked them and he was the only support of his old parents. Once the Blessed One went to Verudiṅga and came to the house of the potter to take food when he was not at home, his blind parents offered soup and cooked rice to the Blessed One. The potter afterwards returned home and was informed of the arrival of the Buddha by his parents and became very much pleased. On another occasion, grass was needed to cover up the forest hut of the Tathāgata, and the old parents of the potter were told by the bhikkhus that they were in need of grass for covering the newly-built hut. Thereupon the bhikkhus were permitted to take the grass and were further told that they might regard it as their own. The [49] potter was not then at home. He afterwards returned and was informed of the taking of grass by the bhikkhus and became very much pleased. After hearing all this, King Kki thought that the Blessed One was dwelling in his kingdom. The Buddha Kāśyapa then went away after giving religions instructions to the king.

Jyotipāla made up his mind to become an Exalted Buddha like Kāśyapa for the good of the world. Kāśyapa came to know of the determination of Jyotipāla and afterwards told him that he would surely become the Exalted Buddha. Bhikkhu Jyotipāla offered a golden stool to the Buddha Kāśyapa and thought within himself, “Like Kāśyapa, I shall attain perfect enlightenment and do good to the world. Then gods and men will respectfully listen to my words. I shall free myself and free others! Being consoled, I shall console others! Abstained from worldly affairs I shall cause people to follow my example, I shall cause the people to be established in the sublime Dharma, I shall light the torch of Dharma, sound the drum of Dharma, hoist the flag of Dharma, and blow the conch of Dharma. I shall free the persons suffering in the six kinds of hell, viz., Sañjīva, Kālasūtra, Saṅghāta, Raurava, Mahāraurava, and Avīci. For detailed accounts of these hells, vide my book “Heaven and Hell in Buddhist Perspective.” I shall give instructions to people in Vinaya as the Buddha Kāśyapa is at present doing.”