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and Śūnyatā in the Early and Developed
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THE CONCEPT OF BODHISATTVAHOOD
When, why and how did the concept of Bodhisattvahood (菩 薩) originate in India in the context of the long and checkered history of Buddhism are some of the most-debated questions among the Buddhologists world over. Both Theravāda37 and Mahāyāna do, so far as the scriptural testimony is concerned, display their common acquaintance with the concept to the extent that one may easily be led to the belief that the idea was almost inseparable in what is now generally called the original, the earliest or the primitive Buddhism (源 始 佛 教). The idea does not seem to have been alien to the ancient tradition of the Theravādis, although tracing the concept of Bodhisattvahood from the fifth century AD back to the time of the Nikāya period would indicate, as one may opine, a gradual diminution of its scope.
A categorical answer to the question as to whether the Hinayānists38 borrowed the idea from the Mahāyānists depends much upon how far one is prepared to pursue his research in ancient sources of Buddhism. Emerging from the main trunk of the original teaching of the Master, different branches of the faith grew and flourished side by side, never drifting away from their indisputable heritage of the common tradition.39
The development of the Bodhisattva ideal (菩 薩 理 想) goes without reservation to the credit of the Mahāyāna school, in which the Bodhisattva is indeed the characteristic feature. Nonetheless, it seems more likely that the Theravādis inherited the idea from the oldest oral tradition rather than borrowed it from another school. In this context, E.J. Thomas40 is of the opinion that no school of Buddhism may be called as the originator of the idea, nor any source can be identified from which the rest have borrowed it.
The conception of Bodhisattvas in the Mahāyāna was a corollary to its Buddhological speculation. The Theravādis believe that only Gotama Buddha was born as Bodhisattva in his previous existences, commencing with his birth as Sumedha Brāhmana up to his last existence in the Tusita heave, just before his advent to the mortal world. As a Bodhisattva he lived the life of an average being acquiring merits and avoiding demerits as far as possible. In some existences he sacrificed everything including his body (ātmabhāva) in order to acquire the six (according to Mahāyāna) and ten (according to Hīnayāna / Theravāda) supreme virtues designated as Pāramitās and Pāramis (波 羅 密).
According to the Mahāsānghika Lokottaravādis, in his last existence as Siddhārtha Gotama, he was not conceived in his mother’s womb, nor was he actually born like an ordinary human being in the biological form. He only made a show of being ignorant, leading a family life and making efforts for his so-called emancipation, and so forth.
The Mahāyānists are believed to have enriched and developed the Theravāda concept of Bodhisattva. They argued that there were among the worldly beings such individuals who are in a position to develop Bodhicitta (菩 提 心), fulfill the pāramis / pāramitās (波 羅 密) and become a Buddha. The development of the Bodhicitta requires that the adept must dedicate himself in his several lives to the service of others, and should not desire his own emancipation unless and until all others have attained it, because seeking one’s own emancipation before that of others would mean that he has not developed the virtue of self-sacrifice to the fullest extent.
According to the Mahāyānists, the Bodhisattvas are innumerable as sand particles in river Gangā (恆 河). In fact, the ontology every human being is a Bodhisattva as he has the potentiality to become a Bodhisattva in this very life or in lives to come. Concrete forms and specific qualities have been given and ascribed to some of the Bodhisattvas. In the earlier Mahāyāna texts, emphasis is more on qualities than on forms, while in the later texts the emphasis is reversed. In the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra, the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra and many other texts the powers and virtues of several Bodhisattvas have been described, who on their own accord, decided to continue to remain as such and not become a Buddha, for otherwise, they would have attained the metaphysical state which is beyond merit or demerit, and would not have been in a position to exercise Mettā (慈 , Skt. Maitrī, love) and Karūṇa (悲 , compassion) or it is only the skillful means to serve the suffering beings of the world.
During the course of time, they were given definite forms and insignia for the purposes of worship with elaborate rituals and mythological conceptions which were woven around them much on the same lines as around the Brāhmanical gods and goddesses. Thus, it appears, the Bodhisattva doctrine introduced and strengthened the element of belief (bhakti, 信 心) or devotion (rather blind or unalloyed faith) in the field of Buddhism.41
With this conception of the Bodhisattva, the Mahāyānists have chalked, in detail, the career of a Bodhisattva in which they have laid stress not only on the fulfillment of the pāramitās (spiritual perfections of the human values or qualities), but also on several forms of meditation with a view to training the mind for the realization of dharma-śūnyatā (法 空) or tathatā (真 如). Therefore, it is obviously the practical method of Bodhisattva.
One may very well realize how difficult it is to determine the period when the Bodhisattva conception essentially originated. For this purpose one has to ascertain the time of the composition of the Jātakas (in Pāli and later on in Mixed Sanskrit as well) and the Avadānas (in Mixed Sanskrit), which contain the Hīnayānist account of the various existences of the Buddha as a Bodhisatta. It must be noted that it might have taken some time after this date that the Mahāyānists developed their conception of Bodhisattva and in due course of time converted it into some sort of a creed known as Bodhisattvayāna (菩 薩 乘). In fact, Bodhisattva is a wide term, which has been assigned explanations, interpretations and definitions. Consequently the etymology of the term has become controversial and its application is made with varying significance. This may be considered as the explicit phenomenon of the striking historical point that the sense and value of the term Bodhisattva (Bodhisatta in Pāli language) had to undergo various changes more than once in the process of doctrinal development and historical growth.
Now first of all, it is very necessary that we must come to understand what the Buddhist technical meaning of the term ‘Bodhisattva’ is.
The Definition of the Term Bodhisatta
As we know the concept of Bodhisattva (菩 薩) is one of the most important concepts in the Buddhist tradition. The term is frequently mentioned in early as well as later Buddhism. Etymologically, the term ‘Bodhisattva’ is derived from the root / budh, originally meaning to be awake. The noun bodhi comes to the meaning: (i) knowledge, (ii) enlightenment, (iii) the knowledge possessed by a Buddha.42
It appears that in the Aṅguttara Nikāya the term bodhi denotes both the means and the end, viz., Aparihānīyā Dhammā and Nibbāna respectively.43
When the term ‘Bodhi’ is combined with the term ‘satta’, the Sarvāstivādīs take it to mean the wisdom of the holy man who attains a stage beyond defilement of all kinds.44
The term ‘Buddhi’ is etymologically associated with the term ‘Bodhi’, though its usage is cited here from the Brahmanic systems of philosopy. In the Sāṅkhya-yoga systems of Philosophy ‘Buddhi’ means only the first product of the evolution of the Prakṛti. At the psychological level Prakṛti is called ‘Buddhi’.45
Thus it may be surmised that the term ‘Bodhi’ refers not only to that which leads to ‘Nibbāna’, but ‘Nibbāna’ itself, that is, the supreme bliss itself.
According to Encyclopaedia of Buddhism,46 etymologically the term can be separated into two parts, bodhi and sattva: bodhi, from the root budh, to be awake, means ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment’ and sattva, derived from sant, the present participle of the root as, ‘to be’, means ‘a being’ or, literally, ‘one who is’, a sentient being. Hence, the term is taken to mean ‘one whose essence is Enlightenment’ or ‘enlightened knowledge’. By implication it means a seeker after Enlightenment, a Buddha-to-be. There is also a suggestion that the Pali term may be derived from bodhi and satta, (Skt. Sakta from sañj) ‘one who is attached to or desires to gain Enlightenment’.
According to the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics 47 "Bodhisattva is usually translated ‘one whose essence is perfect knowledge’ (sattva = ‘essence’, ‘one nature’, ‘svabhavā’). It is possible that this was the original meaning of the word; historical, however, Bodhisattva = ‘one who is on the way to attainment of perfect knowledge’ (Monier – Williams, M., Sanskrit-English Dictionary) i.e. ‘a future Buddha’.
Etymologically, the term ‘Satta’ (Skt. Sattva) is derived from Sat + tva. It generally stands for (i) a living being, a creature, a sentient and rational being or a person, (ii) soul, or (iii) substance.48
Har Dayal in his famous work, The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanksrit Literature 49 agreed that Bodhi means ‘enlightenment’, and mentioned a lengthy etymological discussion of ‘sattva’50 which has been put forward in different ways from time to time by many dictionaries and scholars in order to get the nearest possible meaning of sattva in the compound Bodhisattva.
After surveying the authoritative views held by various scholars, Har Dayal says "The safest way is always to go back to the Pāli without attaching much importance to the later lexicographers and philosophers" and he comes to the following conclusion that "sattva" (masculine) may mean "any living or sentient being" (Skt. Dicy. M.W) "ein lebendes Wesen" (Skt. Dicy. Pbg). The Pāli word satta may mean "a living being, creature, a sentient being, person (Pāli. Dicy. S.v). The most modern scholars adopt this interpertation"51 He rightly notes that the term ‘satta’ in this context does not denote a mere ordinary creature. He further points out that it is no doubt related to the Vedic word ‘satvan’ meaning ‘kelegar’ "a strong or valiant man, hero, warrior."52
In the Visuddhimagga (IX 53) the meanings of Satta are given as: "Beings (Satta): they are held (Satta), gripped (Visatta) by desire and greed for the aggregates beginning with materiality, thus they are beings (Satta). For this is said by the Blessed One, ‘Any desire for matter, Raden, any greed for it, any delight in it, any craving for it, has held (Satta) it, has gripped (Visatta) it; that is why a being (Satta) is said."53 The term ‘Sat’ occurs in the Vedantic
Philosophy and it means: (i) the world appearance or (ii) the real quality of the existence of the Ātman.54 In the Sāṅkhya-Yoga, the term ‘Sattva’ denotes the element of Prakṛti which is of the nature of bliss, light and illumination.55
The term ‘Bodhisattva’ (Bodhi+sattva) in general, means a ‘Bodhi being’. It denotes a being who is destined to obtain fullest Enlightenment or Buddhahood.56 The Dīgha Nikāya Commentary (II. 427) defines the term thus: "Bodhisatto ti paṇḍitasatto bujjhanasatto; bodhi-saṁkhātesu vā catūsu maggesu āsatto laggamānaso ti bodhisatto." It literally means that the ‘Bodhisattva’ is (i) one who is an intellectual, or (ii) one who is resolved or attached only to the four paths that lead to Enlightenment.57
According to the Sarvāstivādīs, it is defined that the Bodhisattva is a person who is certain to become a Buddha. He is a person who is born of wisdom and protected and served by the wise.58 In the Nāgārjuna’s Prajñā-pāramitā Śāstra, the same explanation is given.59
In the Bodhicaryāvatāra Pañjikā, Ācārya Prajñākaramati says: Tatra (bodhau) Sattvaṁ abhiprāyo’syeti bodhisattvaḥ.60 Similarly, in the Śatasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā (p. 2, note 2) it has been said: "bodhau sattvam abhiprāyo yeṣāṁ te bodhisattvāḥ".61 To them, the Bodhisattva is one whose mind, intentions, thoughts or wishes are fixed on Bodhi.
In the text Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā, it is written: "Nothing real is meant by the word Bodhisattva, because a Bodhisattva trains himself in non-attachment to all dharmas. For the Bodhisattva, the great being awakes in non-attachment to full enlightenment in the sense that he understands all the dharmas, because he has enlightenment as his aim, an enlightened being (Bodhisattva)."62
According to the Tibetan Lexicographers, the term ‘Bodhisattva’ means byanchub sems-dpah (byan-chub-sams — mind, and dpah — herd).63 On this Har Dayal rightly points out that this does not make the ‘Bodhisattva’ clearly in any way. Again, he observes that the translator might have associated the idea of ‘mind’ and ‘courage’ with the word ‘satta’.64 The Chinese on the other hand interpret it as one whose essence has become Bodhi.65
T.R.V. Murti’s observation in this respect says that the Bodhisattva is but the virtuous and good and the source of all goodness in the world.66 Charls Elliot says that a Bodhisattva is one whose essence is knowledge.67 H.Kern holds that a sentient or reasonable being, possessing bodhi68 is a Bodhisattva.
In short, etymologicallly Bodhisatta (菩 薩) means a Bodhi-being (覺 有 情) or a "Buddha-to-be" or "a being who desires to attain enlightenment". The word can, therefore, be used in reference to all those who seek bodhi (菩 偍), including Buddhas (諸 佛), Pratyeka-Buddhas (緣 覺) and disciples of the Buddhas, but it is commonly used only for those beings who seek to become Buddha. As far as this research work is concerned, we are able to understand that Bodhisatta (菩 薩) is considered as an ordinary man, a hero or a warrior who with his own karma at his very birth as all other human beings, but with effort and determined mind, he will be able to eliminate all his bad karmas (業) and sufferings, and attain the final liberation by cultivating a realistic and practical way which had been discorvered and taught by Lord Buddha Gotama. Even after the concept had been developed in Mahāyāna, the Bodhisattva became the one who seeks for the ‘Samyak sambodhi’ (正 等 覺) or Anuttara-Samsak-sambodh (阿 耨 多 羅 三 藐 三 菩 提 , 無 上 正 等 覺),69 Insight causing the Enlightenment by one’s own supreme virtues and high effort) in which it is neither for oneself nor from someone, but for the welfare of all kinds of sentient beings with the help of his own pāramitās (波 羅 密). Time and sufferings are not important for a Bodhisattva, his main concentration is focussed on the full acquirement of pāramitā and their complete accumulation for the Enlightenment. He has to prepare himself wholeheartedly to undertake it with firm resoluteness and he is the one who for the sake of all sorts of sentient beings, seeks for the ‘Samsak-sambodhi’, plus the ‘Anuttara-Samyak-sambodhi’. However, we should remember the fact that in Mahāyāna Buddhism such Bodhisttvas are only symbolic names from the characteristics of the historical Buddha or a description on the saints at other worlds, they are neither ‘historical personalities’, nor heavenly gods for worship and the real nature of all the bodhisattvas has crystallized only as a result of the virtues of the historical Buddha being deified as a kind of god in response to the popular demands influenced by the practice of polytheism.
The Meaning of Other Terms Denoting Saints
Before we actually deal with the concept of Bodhisattva, it is better that we have to understand generally different categories of the saints in Buddhism as gods (諸 天), the Arahantas (阿 羅 漢), the Śrāvakas (聲 聞), the Pratyeka-Buddhas (辟 支 佛), and even the Buddhas (佛 陀).
Devas or Gods (諸 天)
The concept of gods (諸 天), though present in Buddhism, does not either form the part of its central teachings or serve as a basis for its religious practices. Buddhism is a non-theistic religious-philosophy. This means that it does not accept the possibility of a Creator God, either as the Creator of man or as the Creator of the world. The Aggañña Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya70 quite clearly states that both the physical world and the human society are not the products of any creative fiat of a God but merely the products of an evolutionary process.
The Pāli term which describes the gods in the Buddhist tradition is ‘devā’ as defined in the Pāli Text Society’s Pāli-English Dictionary:
"The popular etymology refers it to the root div in the sense of playing, sporting or amusing oneself; a god, divine being, usually in plural devā, the gods. As title attributed to any superhuman being or beings regarded to be in certain respect above the human level..."71
According to the Buddhist tradition, the concept of the world means the world of beings – the gods and men. Therefore in the Sūtras of both Theravāda (Pāli) and Mahāyāna (Sanskrit and Chinese) literatures the existence of various kinds of gods and goddesses has been accepted. The Mahā Sihanādā Sutta of Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. 1, 73f) gives description of the different spheres or realms of existence of the diverse types of devas. The lengths of life-span of devas also increase to five hundred celestial years (gods of the Cātummahārājika realm) or sixteen thousand celestial years (the gods of Paranimmitavasavatti realm) or... following to their past conducts. The Mahāvastu (II, p. 282) and the Lalitavistara (p. 232 f) quite clearly depict the different stages of gods and goddesses. Goddesses, for example, Gauri, Laksmi, Durgā, Kāli, Sarasvati were of great importance in the Hindu pantheon. This may have prompted the Mahāyānists to create goddesses by deifying objects of natural phenomena, abstract ideas and other objects.
However, in Buddhism, the position of gods or goddesses is not as important as in other religions, because all kinds of such gods and devas were regarded by the Buddha as different classes of living beings who have not yet liberated themselves from the law of impermanence, who have still been subject to the cycle of saṁsāra, even though they are superior to man in terms of power and conditions of life and enjoy the bliss in their heaven as it has been said in the Book of Gradual Sayings:
"Upon a time, monks, Sakka, lord of the Devas, was instructing the Devas of the Thirty – Three, and on that occasion uttered this verse:
He who would be like unto me should keep
But, monks, this verse was ill sung, not well sung by Sakka, lord of the Devas. It was wrongly, not rightly uttered. How so?
Monks, Sakka, lord of Devas, was not rid of passion, not rid of malice, not rid of delusion: whereas a monk who is an arahanta, one in whom the āsavas are destroyed, who has lived the life, done what was to be done, who has laid down the burden, attained his own welfare, utterly destroyed the fetters of becoming, who is perfectly released by knowledge, by such an one this saying of ‘ He who would be like unto me’ were fitly uttered. Why so? Because that monk is rid of passion, rid of malice, rid of delusion.
Upon a time, monks, Sakka, lord of the Devas...and on that occasion uttered this verse...
But, monks, this verse was ill sung...It was wrongly, not rightly uttered. How so?
Monks, Sakka, lord of the Devas, was not released from birth, old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation and woe. He was not released from despair and tribulation. He was not released from ill. I declared. Whereas the monk who is arahanta... who is perfectly released by knowledge, - by such an one this saying of ‘He who would be like unto me’ were fitly uttered. Why so?
Because that monk is fully released from birth, old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation and woe: he is fully released from despair and tribulation. He is fully released from ill, I declare".72
(Bhūtapubbaṁ bhikkhave Sakko devānaṁ indo deve Tāvatiṁse anunayamāno tāyaṁ velāyaṁ imaṁ gātham abhāsi:
Cātuddasī pañcadasī yāva pakkhassa aṭṭhamī
Sā kho pan’ esā bhikkhave Sakkena devānaṁ indena gāthā duggītā na sugītā dubbhāsitā na subhāsitā. Taṁ kissa hetu? Sakko bhikkhave devānaṁ indo avītarāgo avītadoso avītamoho. Yo ca kho so bhikkhave bhikkhu arahaṁ khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppatta-sadattho parikkhīṇabhavasamyojano sammadaññāvimutto, tassa kho etaṁ bhikkhave bhikkhuno kallaṁ vacanāya.
Cātudilasī pañcadasī yāva pakkhassa aṭṭhaṁi
Bhūtapubbaṁ bhikkhave Sakko devānaṁ indo deve Tāvatiṁse anunayamāno tāyaṁ velāyaṁ imaṁ gāthaṁ abhāsi:—
Cātuddasī pañcadasī yāva pakkhassa aṭṭhamī
Sā kho pan’ esā bhikkhave Sakkena devānaṁ indena gāthā duggītā na sugītā dubbhāsitā na subhāsitā. Taṁ kissa hetu ? Sakko hi bhikkhave indo devānaṁ aparimutto jātiyā jarāya maraÏ ena sokehi paridevehi dukkhehi domanassehi upāyāsehi aparimutto dukkhasma ti vadāmi. Yo ca kho so bhikkhave bhikkhu arahaṁ khīÏ āsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppattasadattho parikkhīṇabhavasaṁyojano sammadaññāvimutto, tassa kho etaṁ bhikkhave bhikkhuno, kallaṁ vacanāya.
Cātuddasī pañcadasī yāva pakkhassa aṭṭhamī
Taṁ kissa hetu ? So bhikkhave bhikkhu parimutto jātiyā jarāyā maraneṇa sokehi paridevehi dukkhehi domanassehi upāyāsehi parimutto dukkhasmā ti vadāmi).73
Gods are the living beings who can only enjoy by indulging in various kinds of pleasure to satisfy their senses brought back as the result of their past lives’ effort and cultivation, and their pleasure is considered to be better than human’s and other suffering realms as the Mahāsīhanāda Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. 1, 73f) said beings in heavenly spheres experience feelings which are exclusively pleasant (ekantasukhā vedanā) compared with the continued suffering which is sharp and severe (ekantadukkhā tibbā kaṭukā) of the beings of purgatory, suffering which is sharp and severe (dukkā tibbā kaṭukā) of the beings of the animal world (tiracchāna yoni), feelings which are abundantly painful (dukkhabahulā vedanā), and the experience of pleasure in general (sukhabahulā vedanā) of the beings of the realm of human beings. However, devas who are unaware of the law of impermanence or the inevitable end of such temporary bliss, then after that they will fall down to the suffering worlds of ghost, animal, and hell and so, the role of gods in Buddhism is somewhat lower than and inferior to that of men.
The heavenly realms are not conceived of as blocks or compartments in a storied structure either above or below the human world, but as categories or types of beings of similar attainments or accomplishments and composition existing in environments parallel and coterminous with the world of human and other beings.
According to the evidence in Pāli Canonical texts the Buddhist gods are not objects of prayer or religious ritual, but because the path of the spiritual development of man and everything that is associated with the practice thereof was considered dependent solely on man was therefore outside the intervention and supervision of any one else, divine or otherwise. Hence, the gods are irrelevant to the attainment of Nibbāna. Therefore, the gods have no central or important function to perform in Buddhism.
While Bodhisattva was being deified as a kind of god, saint in response to the popular demands influenced by the practice of polytheism, but Bodhisattva makes an attempt in following the path of Buddha for the purpose of liberating themselves as well as using measureless skills to do the same for others in the suffering worlds. Therefore the nature, character and knowledge of Bodhisattva is highly appreciated in Buddhism.
The Arahantas (阿 羅 漢)
Encyclopaedia of Buddhism74 mentions that the word ‘Arahanta’ is derived from the root ‘arh’, to deserve, to be worthy, to be fit, and is used to denote a person who has achieved the goal of religious life (in Theravāda Buddhism).
Arahanta is composed with two parts (word): Ari and hanta. Ari means enemies or defilements. Hanta means killing or destroying. So, an Arahant is a man who killed or destroyed all defilements like lust (rāga), hatred (dosa) and delusion (moha). I.B. Hornor 75 gives us the following four forms of the nouns: arahā, arahat, arahanta and arahan.
In early Buddhism, the term denotes a person who has gained insight into the true nature of things (yathābhūtañāṇa) and the Buddha was the first Arahanta.
After the first conversion, five brothers of Kondañña (pañcavaggiya) also became Arahantas. The Arahantas are described as buddhānubuddhā, i.e. those who have attained enlightenment after the fully Enlightened One.76 Then, as time passed, the conception of arahantaship was gradually widened and elaborated by the Teacher and his successors. Thus, an arahanta who was also supposed to comprehend the formula of the twelve nidānas (Causes), had eradicated the three āsravas,77 practiced the seven factors of enlightenment (Pāli: sambojjhanga),78 got rid of the five nīvaraṇas, freed himself from the three "roots of evil", ten Fetters (samyojana) of belief. He practiced self-restraint and Concentration, and acquired various wonder-working Powers and awakened the nature of the misery of saṁsāra. He practiced the four Meditations, the four ecstatic Attainments and the supreme condition of Trance and obtained the six super-knowledge (abhiññā),79 threefold knowledge (tisso vijjā)... resulted in the liberation in the end. This freedom made him an arahanta who destroyed the fetter of rebirth in the cycle of Saṁsāra (birth, old-age, illness and death) and enjoyed himself in Nibbāna (Skt. Nirvāṇa) and was worthy of being revered in this world... which we can see in Pāli Nikāyas as Saṁyutta Nikāya,80 Aṇguttara Nikāya,81 Majjhima Nikāya...82
And the same with these ideas, in the Pasādika Suttanta belongs to The Dialogues of the Buddha, we find the Buddha offering us the following arahanta formula:
"The brother who is arahanta (is one) in whom the intoxicants (āsavā) are destroyed, who has done his task, who has laid down his burden, who has attained salvation, who has utterly destroyed the fetters of rebirth, who is emancipated by true gnosis (sammadaññā)..."83
(Yo so āvuso bhikkhu arahaṁ khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakararaṇiyo ahita-bhāro anuppata sedattho pāraikkhīṇa-bhava-saṁyojano sammas-aññā vimutto).84
The discipline of a Buddhist monk is aimed at the attainment of arahantaship. In other words, Arahanta (阿 羅 漢) is an ideal man or sage at the highest of spiritual development.
When we compare Arahanta with gods, the elementary point in Buddhism comes out very clearly that arahanta is beyond the range of the gods, māra even together with Brahmā who are relocated into just another sector of saṁsāra (輪 迴), albeit a pleasant and more enduring sector. Some Buddhists pray to the gods, but they are quite aware that they pray to them for ‘secular’ wealth, love, successful missions...The gods, according to them, can indeed bestow material benefits, but spiritual fruits are totally a matter of the individual’s control and effort.
The Śrāvakas (聲 聞)
Śrāvakas (聲 聞) means ‘disciple’85 or ‘hearer’ who aspires to become an Arahanta (阿 羅 漢) usually asks for the guidance of a superior enlightened instructor, after hearing, he realizes the nature of things then gets enlightenment. A slight indication from an experienced and wise teacher would alone be sufficient for a morally advanced aspirant to progress on the upward path of enlightenment. Venerable Śāriputta (舍 利 弗), for instance, attained the first stage of Sainthood, hearing only half a stanza from Arahanta Assaji. Cula Panthaka, who could not memorize a verse for four months, attained Arahantaship by meditating on the impermanent nature of a clean handkerchief, which he was handling while gazing at the sun...
Arahanta (阿 羅 漢) is a liberated one from the cycle of saṁsāra (輪 迴), and enjoys the state of Nibbāna (涅 槃). Śrāvaka is also a realized one from hearing Dhamma and can attain one of four stages of emancipation or all. Four stages of emancipation include:
1. The status of the Stream Entrant
Arahanta or Śrāvaka is the one who is freed from defilements, taints and who is devoting strictly to meditation and liberation. Arahanta represents the example of a virtually pure superhuman teacher. So, he is an object and merit-field which we can follow to cultivate as well as salute.
There are some scholars who consider Arahanta’s ideal as lower, smaller than the Bodhisattva’s, but in my opinion both of them are highly appreciated and each ideal has its own special meaning which will be discussed in detail in the Third Chapter.
Pratyeka-Buddha (緣 覺 , 辟 支 佛)
The singular ideal of a Pacceka-buddha (Skt. Pratyeka-buddha, 緣 覺 , 辟 支 佛) was also evolved during this period.
In ‘Tu Dien Phat Hoc Han Viet’86 explains Pratyeka-buddha who was born in life when no Buddha had come down; non any truth had been given out. Therefore he was regarded to be higher than a Śrāvaka (who had heard Buddha-dhamma then realized). Pratyeka-buddhahood is the independent enlightenment of a highly evolved person who achieves his goal by his own efforts without seeking any external aid, but as a result of personal realization of the doctrine of Dependent Origination; such a holy person is termed a private Buddha, or silent Buddha. He is a ‘Buddha’ on account of awakening the real nature of phenomena, but ‘private’ or ‘silent’ because he lacks the power to purify and serve others by expounding the Dhamma.
There are two kinds of Pratyeka-buddha: firstly, Pratyeka-buddha cultivated alone and secondly, he practised with his accompanies and all realized together.
Such a Buddha - "one enlightened by himself, i.e. one who has attained to the supreme and perfect insight, but dies without proclaiming the truth to the world" (cf. Puggala- paññatti, p.14)87 is definitely different from Bodhisattva ideal. However, we must recognize how much efforts Pratyeka-buddha did in his situation. To cite an example, while Śrāvaka gets emancipation from hearing dhamma as a liberated guidance, Pratyeka-buddha attains his goal by his own firm resoluteness and evolution. So, it is much worthy for our admiration and respect. Although the Buddha Gotama (瞿 曇 佛) of the present era has passed away, we are still living in a Buddha cycle, for the teaching still exists in its pristine purity. Therefore no Pratyeka-buddha will arise during this period.
The Buddha (佛 陀)
Encyclopaedia of Buddhism88 defines the Buddha as a generic name, an appellative – but not a proper name – given to one who has attained enlightenment. This word is the passive past participle derived from the root budh (to wake, to wake up, to perceive, to learn, to understand).
The use of the word ‘Buddha’ (佛 陀) in its Buddhist sense began with its application to Gotama (Skt. Gautama, (瞿 曇), known to his contemporaries also as Śākyamuni - the founder of what came to be known as Buddhism. Gotama was born in what is now Nepal, more than 2500 years ago, attained Enlightenment, taught the truth (Pāli: Dhamma, Skt: Dharma, 法), which he had realized and died at the age of eighty. Gotama genarally called him as Tathāgata (如 來), Bhagavat (世 尊), the Blessed One, Śākyamuni, but later he is stated as Supreme Teacher, Buddha as below:
"I am the one who is worthy of being revered in this world; I am the Supreme Teacher; I am the only one who has attained the most perfect Enlightenment"
(Ahaṁ hi arahā loke, ahaṁ satthā anuttaro, eko’mhi sammāsambuddho).89
"I am not indeed a deva, nor a gāndharva, nor a yakṣya, nor a manuṣya (a human). Know ye that I am the Buddha".
(Na kho ahaṁ devo bhavissāmi, na kho ahaṁ gandhabbo bhavissāmi... yakkho... manusso... buddho ti maṁ dhārehi).90
The Buddha-concept in Theravāda (源 始 佛 教) is a man who has perfected himself by realizing his ‘self’ to the highest degree as is possible for a human being. He is the only discoverer of a lost teaching. His greatness was that he found out what his contemporaries could not discover at all or discovered only incompletely. He was a genius by birth who achieved the highest state possible for a man. A Buddha is said to possess ten Powers (balāni, 十 力),91 four Grounds of Self-confidence (vaiśāradyāni, 四 信),92 the eighteen different characteristics of a Buddha as compared with Bodhisattvas (Āveṇika-dharmas, 十 八 法 不 共).93 Because of these, he was a great man, a superman (Mahāpurisa, 大 人) in intellect and morally.
Literally, Buddha means ‘Enlightened One’ (覺 者). A distinction must be made among an Arahanta (阿 羅 漢), a Śrāvaka (聲 聞), a Pratyeka-buddha (辟 支 佛), and a Buddha (佛 陀), all of whom are the enlightened beings, but a Buddha is referred to as the supreme, perfectly enlightened one" the ‘Anuttara Samyak sambodhi’ (阿 耨 多 羅 三 藐 三 菩 提 , 無 上 正 等 覺).94 Such a Buddha, every man and woman, every living creature can and must become. This is a Bodhisattva’s goal and ideal. A Bodhisattva should know and comprehend these qualities and characteristics of the Buddha before he can start his career.
The Concept of Bodhisattva as found in the Pāli Nikāyas
Several centuries after Gotama Buddha’s death, Bodhisattva may be regarded as the final outcome of the tendencies that were at work in India and contributed to the rise and growth of the new doctrine of Bodhisattva.
Bodhisattva is one of the most important ideas of Mahāyāna Buddhists. However, it would be a mistake to assure that the concept of Bodhisattva was a creation of the Mahāyāna. The term Bodhisattva had been mentioned in the Pāli Canon and it stems from the original Pāli Buddhism which is used more or less exclusively to designate Gotama Buddha prior to his Enlightenment Nonetheless, if we go through the Pāli texts such as the Majjihima Nikāya, the Dīgha Nikāya, the Sutta-Nipāta and the Jātaka of Khuddaka Nikāya, it may be shown out that the concept of Bodhisatta has four shades of meanings as noted below:
From the Time of the Buddha’s Renunciation (Mahābhinikkhamaņa) upto the Time of his Enlightenment
First of all, the term Bodhisatta reflects concretely the life of Gotama Buddha from renunciation upto the time of his Enlightenment when he was prince Siddhattha of the Kingdom Kapilavatthu, who was also suffering in the cycle of birth and death as we are, then there was a day as he went out of the palace to the city to see the world outside, he came in direct contact with the stark realities of life. His observant eyes met the strange sights of a decrepit old man, a diseased person, a corpse and a dignified hermit. The first three sights convincingly proved to him the inexorable nature of life and the universal ailment of humanity. The fourth signified the means to overcome the ill of life and to attain calm and peace. Then he decided to abandon his homely life, and became a wandering ascetic in search of truth.
Leaving his parents, wife, son and luxury palace behind, he stole away with a light heart from the palace at midnight and rode into the dark, attended only by his loyal charioteer. Alone and penniless he set out in search of truth and peace. Thus did he renounce the world? It was not the renunciation of an old man who has had his fill of worldly life. It was not the renunciation of a poor man who had nothing to leave behind. It was the renunciation of a prince in the full bloom of youth and in the plentitude of wealth and prosperity - a renunciation unparalleled in history.
It was in his twenty-ninth year that prince Siddhattha made this historic journey. His extraordinary decision becoming a Bodhisatta in seeking for truth was just blooming as soon as he comprehended the bondage and imprisonment of the worldly life as Mahāsaccaka Sutta of the Middle Length Sayings depicts:
"Now, Aggivessana, before my Self-awakening while I was still the bodhisatta, not fully awakened, it occurred to me: Narrow is the household life, a path of dust, going forth is the open, nor is it easy while dwelling in a house to lead the Brahma-faring completely fulfilled, utterly purified, polished like a conch-shell. Suppose now that I, having cut off hair and beard, having clothed myself in saffron garments, should go forth from home into homelessness? So I, Aggivessana, after a time, being young, my hair coal-black, possessed of radiant youth, in the prime of my life... So, Aggivessana, sat down just there thinking: indeed this does well for striking".95
(Kim hi no siyā Aggivessana. Idha me Aggivessana pubbe va sambodhā anabhisamBuddhassa bodhisattass’ eva sato etad - ahosi: Sambādho gharāvāso rajāpatho, abbhokāso pabbajjā, na-y-idaṁ sukaraṁ agāraṁ ajjhāvasatā ekanta-paripuṇṇaṁ ekantaparisuddhaṁ saṅkhalikhitaṁ brahmacariyaṁ carituṁ, yannūnahaṁ kesamassuṁ ohāretvā kāsāyani vatthāni acchādetvā agārasmā anagāriyaṁ pabbajeyyan - ti. So kho ahaṁ Aggivessana aparena samayena daharo va samano susu kāḷakeso... (repeat from p. 163, 1. 28 top. 167, 1. 8; for bhikkhave substitute Aggivessana)... alam-idaṁ padhanayati).96
Or in the Ariyapariyesana-sutta recounted as follows:
"And, I too, monks, before Awakening, while I was still the Bodhisatta, not full awakened, being liable to birth, because of self, sought what was likewise liable to birth; being liable to ageing because of self, sought what was likewise liable to ageing; being liable to disease because of self...being liable to dying because of self...being liable to sorrow because of self...being liable to stain because of self, sought what was likewise liable to stain. Then it occurred to me, monks: ‘why do I, liable to birth because of self, seek what is likewise liable to birth; being liable to aging... being liable to stain because of self, seek what is likewise liable to stain? Suppose that I, (although) being liable to birth because of self, having known the peril in what is likewise liable to birth, should seek the unborn, the uttermost security from the bonds-nibbāna? Being liable to decay because of self...should seek the unageing... Being liable to decay because of self...should seek the undecaying... Being liable to dying because of self...should seek the undying... Being liable to sorrow because of self...should seek the unsorrowing... Being liable to stain because of self, having been seeking the stainless, the uttermost security from the bonds-nibbāna?"97
(Aham-pi Sudaṁ bhikkhave pubbe va sambodhā anabhi-sambuddho bodhisatto va samāno attanā jātidhammo samāmo jātidhammaññeva pariyesāmi, attanā jarādhammo samāno jarādhammaññeva pariyesāmi, attanā byādhidhammo..., attanā maraṇadhammo..., attanā sokadhammo..., attanā saṅkuesadhammo samāno saṅkilesadhammaññeva pariyesāmi.
Tassa mayhaṁ bhikkhave etad - ahosi: Kin - nu kho ahaṁ attanā jatidhammo samano jatidhamman-neva pariyesami, attana jaradhammo samāno - pe - attanā saṅkilesadhammo samāno saṅkilesadhammaññeva pariyesāmi; yan-nūnāhaṁ attanā jātidhammo samāno jātidhamme ādīnavaṁ viditvā ajātaṁ anuttaraṁ yogakkhemaṁ nibbānaṁ pariyeseyyaṁ, attanā jarādhammo... ajaraṁ.. pariyeseyyaṁ, attanā byādhi-dhammo... abyādhiṁ... pariyeseyyaṁ, attanā maraṇadhammo... amataṁ pariyeseyyaṁ, attāna sokadhammo... asokaṁ... pariyeseyyaṁ, attanā saṅkilesadhammo samāno saṅkilesa-dhamme ādīnavaṁ viditvā asankiliṭṭham anuttaraṁ yogak-khemaṁ nibbānaṁ pariyeseyyan- ti).98
The Period from Gotama Siddattha’s Conception to Gotama Buddha’s Enlightenment
Secondly, Bodhisattva was extended to denote the period from Gotama Siddattha’s conception to Gotama Buddha’s Enlightenment as depicted below: On the day of his conception, the Bodhisatta’s mother takes the vows of fasting and celibacy at the conclusion of a great festival, and when she has retired to rest she dreams that the Four Regent Gods take her with her bed, bathe her in the Anotatta lake, clad her in divine garments, and place her in a golden palace surrounded by all kinds of luxury. As she lies there "the Bodhisatta in the form of a white elephant enters her womb through her right side".99 The earth trembles and all the ten thousand world-systems are filled with radiance. Acchariyabhutadhamma-sutta which belongs to The Middle Length of Sayings depicts vividly this historical point:
"Face to face with the Lord, revered sir, have I heard this, face to face have learnt: The Bodhisatta deceasing from the Tusita group mindful and clearly conscious, entered his mother’s womb, then an illimitable glorious radiance, surpassing even the deva-majesty of devas, appeared in the world with its devas, its Māras, its Bratmās, among the generations recluses and brāhmans, devas and men...cannot make their light surpassing even there there appeared the illimitable glorious radiance, surpassing even the deva-majesty of devas..."100
(Sammukhā, me taṁ, bhante, Bhagavato sutaṁ sammukhā paṭiggahītaṁ; Sato sampajāno, Ānanda, Bodhisatto Tusitā kāyā cavitvā mātu kucchiṁ okkamīti; yam pi, bhante, sato sampajāno Bodhisatto Tusita kāyā cavitvā mātu kucchiṁ okkami, idam p’ ahaṁ Bhagavato acchariyaṁ abbhutadhammaṁ dhāremi).101
or in the Mahapadana Sutta belonging to the Dialogues of the Buddha it has been also retold that:
"Now Vipassi, brethren, when, as Bodhisatta, he ceased to belong to the hosts to the heaven of Delight, descended into his mother’s womb mindful and self-possessed. That in such a case is the rule.
It is the rule, brethren, that, when a Bodhisatta issues from his mother’s womb, there is made manifest throughout the universe - including the worlds above the gods, the Maras and the Brahmas, and the world below with its recluses and brahmins, its princes and people - an infinite and splendid radiance passing the glory of the gods. And those beings who happen to be existing there, perceiving each other by that radiance, say: ‘Verily there be other beings living here!’ And the ten thousands worlds of the universe tremble and shudder and quake. And this infinite splendid radiance is made manifest in the world, passing the glory of the gods – that, in such a case, is the rule".102
(Dhammatā esā bhikkhave, yadā Bodhisatto Tusitā kāyā cavitvā mātu kucchiṁ okkamati atha sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake sassamaṇa- brāhmaṇiyā pajāya sadeva-inamissāya anpamāṇo uḷaro obhāso pātubhavati atikkamma devānaṁ devānubhāvaṁ. Ya pi tā lokan-tarikā aghā asaṁvutā andhakārā andhakāra-timisā, yattha pi ‘me candima-suriyā’ evaṁ mahiddhikā evaṁ mahānubhāvā ābhāya nānubhonti, tattha pi appamāno uḷāro obhāso pātubhavati atikkamm’ eva devānaṁ devānubhāvaṁ. Ye pi tattha sattā upapannā, te pi ten’ obhāsena aññaṁ aññaṁ sañjānanti: "Aññe pi kira bho santi sattā idhūpapannā ti." Ayañ ca dasa-sahassi loka-dhātu saṁkampati sampakampati sampavedhati. Appamāṇo ca uḷāro obhāso loke pātubhavati atikkamm’ eva’ devānaṁ devānubhāvaṁ. Ayam ettha dhammatā).103
Encyclopaedia of Buddhism104 lay it that the Bodhisatta’s last birth is attended by miracles because both in Pāli and Sanskrit sources, an attempt is made to show that at the actual moment of conception there is no physical union of father and mother.105
Right after the birth, a great ascetic of high spiritual attainments, named Asita, admired Gotama Siddatha’s body and declared in general that: there were thirty two special marks on His tiny body which say that He would lead His homeless life as a wandering monk and would become a fully - enlightened Buddha, a teacher of Gods and Men. Asita’s words are as follows:
"This prince will reach the summit of perfect enlightenment. He will turn the wheel of the Dhamma, he who sees what is exceedingly pure (i.e. Nibbāna), this prince feels for the welfare of the multitude, and his religion will be widely spread".106
(Sambodhiyaggam phusissat’ āyam kumāro, so dhammacakkam paramavisuddhadassī vattes’ āyam bahujanahitānukampi, vitthārik ‘assa bhavissati brahmacariyam).107
That also may be the reasons on which the concept of Bodhisatta developed with this second meaning i.e. even he was in the womb of Queen Mahāmāyā or a tiny baby, he also has the great figure of great man, of a Bodhisatta.
The Period from the Conception of all the Buddhas in their Mother’s Wombs to the Attaining of their Respective Enlightenment
Thirdly, Bodhisattva with the meaning was all the Buddhas from the conception in their mother’s wombs to the attainment of their respective bodhi or Enlightenment. The earlier and contemporary Indian literature do suggest that the concept of Bodhisattva, along with that of Buddha and cakkavattī / cakravartin (global-ruler, 轉 論 王) was in vogue in India even before the appearance of Gotama Buddha on the scene. When Siddhattha / Sidhārtha (士 達 多), who later became Gotama Buddha, took conception in Māyā’s womb, a seer is reported to have predicted that Suddhodana’s son would be either a global ruler (Cakkavattī) or a Buddha.108 Once while answering a question put up by a Brāhman, the Buddha himself is reported to have admitted that he was neither a god nor a yakkha (a category of divine being), but a Buddha meaning thereby one in a succession of Buddhas. The fact of the succession of the Buddhas is testified by the following gāthā or verse of the Dhammapada:
"Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one’s mind
(Sabba-pāpassa akaraṇaṁ kusalasse upasampadā,
Which states that the teaching it contains is not that of a single Buddha, but of all the Buddhas. A reference to the Āmagandha Sūtta110 may be made in this context which is recorded as a discourse of Kassapa Buddha and not of Gotama Buddha.
By applying the doctrine of karma and of regeneration (or rebirth), which had general acceptance in pre-Buddhist India and its neighbouring countries, the use of the term was further extended to refer to the past lives not only of Gotama Buddha, but also of those rare beings who aspire for Perfect Enlightenment.111
The earliest Theravāda tradition, as contained, for instance, in the Mahāpadāna Suttanta belongs to the Dialogues of the Buddha gives the details of six Buddhas who appeared prior to Gotama Buddha. The relevant passage may be reproduced below:
"Ninety-one Kalpas from now, there appeared in the Loka Vipassī Blessed One, Arahanta and Fully-Enlightened One. Thirty-one Kalpas from now, there appeared in the Loka Sikhī Blessed One, Arahanta and Fully-Enlightened One. In that very thirty-first Kalpa, there appeared in the Loka Vessabhū Blessed One, Arahanta and Fully-Enlightened One. In this very Bhadda-kalpa, there appeared in the Loka Kakusandho Blessed One, Arahanta and Fully-Enlightened One. In this very Bhadda-kalpa, there appeared in the Loka Konagamana Blessed One, Arahanta and Fully-Enlightened One. In this very Bhadda-kalpa, there appeared in the Loka Kassapa Blessed One, Arahanta and Fully-Enlightened One."112
(Ito so bhikkhave eka-navuto kappo yaṁ Vipassī bhagavā arahaṁ sammā-sambuddho loke udapādi. Ito so bhikkhave eka-tiṁso kappo yaṁ Sikhī bhagavā arahaṁ sammā-sambuddho loke udapādi. Tasmiṁ yeva kho bhikkhave eka-tiṁse kappe Vessabhū bhagavā arahaṁ sammā-sambuddho loke udapādi. Imasmiṁ yeva kho bhikkhave bhadda-kappe Kakusandho bhagavā arahaṁ sammā-sambuddho loke udapādi. Imasmiṁ yeva kho bhikkhave bhadda-kappe Konāgamano bhagavā arahaṁ sammā-sambuddho loke udapādi. Imasmiṁ yeva kho bhikkhave bhadda-kappe Kassapo bhagavā arahaṁ sammā-sambuddho loke udapādi. Imasmiṁ yeva kho bhikkhave bhadda-kappe ahaṁ etarahi arahaṁ sammā-sambuddho loke uppanno).113
This discourse, i.e., the Mahāpadāna Sutta is attributed to the Śākyamuni Buddha himself, who gives the time, caste, family, length of life, etc. of these predecessors of his. They were the Buddha Vipassī (毘 婆 施), the Buddha Sikhī (施 氣), the Buddha Vessabhū (毘 舍 浮), the Buddha Kakusandha (拘 留 尊), the Buddha Koṇagamana (拘 那 含 牟 尼), and the Buddha Kassapa (迦 葉). The Dīgha Nikāya refers to the last life of seven Buddhas, including the Gotama Buddha with elements bearing colours of legendary events may be reproduced below:
"How, Vipassi, brothers, when, as Bodhisattva, he ceased to belong to the hosts of the heaven of Delight, descended into his mother’s womb mindful and sefl-possessed. That, in such a case, is the rule." 114
(Atha kho bhikkhave Vipassī Bodhisatto Tusitā kāyā cavitvā sato Kampajāno mātu-kucchiṁ oldami. Ayam ettha dhammatā).115
In the Buddhavaṁsa, possibly a later work belonging to the Khuddaka Nikāya, the number increases to twenty-five and this number remains fixed in the Theravāda literature. The whole list may be reproduced below:
"1. Dīpaṇkara Buddhavaṁso, 2. Koṇḍañña Buddhavaṁso, 3. Maṅgala Buddhavaṁso, 4. Sumana Buddhavaṁso, 5. Revata Buddhavaṁso, 6. Sobhita Buddhavaṁso, 7. Anomadassī Buddhavaṁso, 8. Paduma Buddhavaṁso, 9. Nārada Buddhavaṁso, 10. Padumuttara Buddhavaṁso, 11. Sumedha Buddhavaṁso, 12. Sujāta Buddhavaṁso, 13. Piyadassī Buddhavaṁso, 14. Atthadassī Buddhavaṁso, 15. Dhammadassī Buddhavaṁso, 16. Siddhattha Buddhavaṁso, 17. Tissa Buddhavaṁso, 18. Phussa Buddhavaṁso, 19. Vipassī Buddhavamso, 20. Sikhī Buddhavaṁso, 21.Vessabhū Buddhavaṁso, 22. Kakusandha Buddhavaṁso, 23. Koṇāgamana Buddhavaṁso, 24. Kassapa Buddhavaṁso, 25. Gotama Buddhavaṁso."116
It may be noted here that the enumerations given above is by no means exhaustive. The proof of this fact lies in the Mahāpadāna Suttanta itself, the Buddha starts the story of the six Buddhas merely by saying that ninety-one kappas ago, there appeared such and such a Buddha implying thereby that such Buddhas were not limited in number. There might have appeared some Buddhas prior to ninety-one kappas and later than ninety-one kappas. In fact, it was this concept that was fully developed and enriched in later Mahāyāna Buddhism. From this it follows that if the number of the Buddhas can be innumerable, the number of Bodhisattvas could also be innumerable. It is indeed, based upon a logical corollary itself as it is the Bodhisattvas alone who in due course of kalpas/kappas (劫 杷) 117 turn into Buddhas.
In order to understand who a Bodhisattva is, it would be worthwhile to explain more who a Buddha is. The Buddha-concept in Theravāda Buddhism is not a personality cult; nor is the Buddha an object of glorified devotion. He is neither a theoretical metaphysician nor a hard-headed materialist. He is not that sort of religious teacher who demands unquestioned loyalty like a Messiah. He is a man who has perfected himself by realising his ‘self’ to the highest degree as is possible for a human being. The fact is that the Buddha’s teachings are man-centred in the sense that only a man can become a Buddha and none else. There may be other supernatural beings inhabiting perhaps other lokas or realms. But they are not capable of becoming a fully-Enlightened One. Even though there may be such beings who lead happier lives in their non-human spheres, still they are subject to the laws of change and evolution (aniccā/vaya-dhammā), and as such not free from birth and death and their attendant conflicts and hence they are not released from dukkha or sufferings. A Buddha is a human being who has realised that there is a happier state than the state obtained in this world of conditioned phenomena. After a persevering struggle, he realises this unconditioned state (asaṅkhata) which is free from duality. This freedom from duality implies the absence of any conflict (dukkha).
The psychological state under reference is, therefore, described as free from both sorrow and happiness in the ordinary sense. It is the highest happiness (paramaṁ-sukhaṁ) in the transcendental sense. As such it is not subject to change and is, therefore, imperishable (akālika and amata). It is a state of changelessness (avyaya) and, therefore, permanent (dhuva). It is this very state which has been described as the Nibbāna/Nirvāṇa. The Buddha is the person who realised this state for the first time in the whole history of human race, by his own efforts and hence he was designated the Teacher (Satthā/Śāstā) and continues to be so for all those who have unquestioned faith on Him (the Buddha, 佛 陀), Law (the Dhamma/Dharma 法) and the Fraternity (the Saṅgha, 增). Arahantas are His disciples who follow his teachings. Bodhisattvas are, on the other hand, those who aspire to become the Buddhas (the Fully-Enlightened Ones).
The life of the Buddha, strictly speaking, commenced only from the time of His Enlightenment and His life before that event was that of the Bodhisatta (called Siddhattha). The Buddha himself used the term in this sense and it is more than probable that Gotama Buddha occasionally referred to his previous existences in His discourses to the people in order to elucidate a particular doctrinal point.
The Various Previous Lives of Gotama Buddha
Fourthly, Bodhisatta means the various previous lives of Gotama Buddha. Jātaka is a part of Khuddaka Nikāya (Minor Work) in Pañca-Nikāya and is the later inscribed Nikāyas as T.W. Rhys Davids118 has introduced the chronological table of the Pāli literature as follows:
1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in
identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all books.
This classification seems to have been accepted and used by a number of scholars including Maurice Wintemitz, the author of the work History of Indian Literature, H. Nakamura, Indian Buddhism, and others.
Jātaka is a separate compilation of the Nikāya and forms a part of the Khuddaka Nikāya, yet one can find a number of Jātaka - like pieces in the other Nikāyas as well. One such Jātaka can be cited in the Mahāgovinda Sutta of the Dialogues of the Buddha whose relevant passage is reproduced below:
"Once upon a time there was a king named Disampati. And king Disampati’s minister was a brahmin named Govinda (the Steward). And king Disampati had a son named Renu and Govinda had a son named Jotipala. And prince Renu and the young Jotipala and six other young nobles – these eight – were great friends..." 119
(Bhūta-pubbaṁ bho rājā Disampatī nāma ahosi. Disaropatissa rañño Govindo nāma brāhmaṇo purohito ahosi. Disampatissa rañño Reṇu nāma kumāro putto ahosi. Govindassa brāhinaṇassa Jotipālo nāma māṇavo putto ahosi. Iti Reṇu ca rājaputto Jotipālo ca māṇavo aññe ca chalddiattiyā ice ete aṭṭha sahāya ahesuṁ).120
The passage cited above clearly bears out the fact under reference. Similarly a passage can be cited from the Makhādeva Sutta which belongs to The Middle Length sayings—
"Upon a time, Ānanda, in this very Mithilā there was a king named Makhādeva, a dhamma-man, a king under dhamma, firm in dhamma, a great king who fared by dhamma among brahmans and householders, townsfolk and countryfolk, and who observed the Observance on the fourteenth, fifteenth and eighth days of the half-month."121
(Bhūtapubbaṁ, Ānanda, imissā yeva Mithilāyaṁ rājā ahosi Makhādevo nāma dhammiko dhammarājā dhamme ṭhito Mahārājā dhammiko carati brāhmaṇagahapatikesu negamesu c’ eva jānapadesu ca, uposathañ ca upavasati cātuddasiṁ pañcaddasiṁ aṭṭhamiñ en pakkhassa).122
The more important change in the doctrinal meaning of Bodhisatta is that which is more clearly visible in the later inscribed Nikayās, especially the Jātaka. Its significance lies in the vivid description of the various previous lives of Gotama Buddha which, in the opinion of Bhikṣu Thich Minh Chau,123 may be summarized under four categories of the previous story, that is,
1. Paccuppanna-Vatthu (the present story of Lord Buddha
relating to His past karma);
Bodhisatta concept in Jātaka was so abundant and diverse in various forms such as deva, ascetic, brahmā, king, prince, millionaire, landlord, merchant, farmer...or there was time Bodhisatta was born as a fish, bird, bull, deer...However, because Bodhisatta played the role of previous lives of the Buddha, then Bodhisattva’s character was moral, virtuous, compassionate, intelligent and wise. Some typical stories in Jātakas usually start as below:
"Once on a time in the kingdom of Seri, five aeons ago, the Bodhisatta dealt in pots and pans, and was called ‘the Serivan’. In the company of another dealer in the same wares, a greedy fellow who was also known as ‘the Serivan’, he came across the river Telavāha and entered the city of Andhapura. Apportioning the streets between the two of them, he set about hawking his wares round the streets of his district, and the other did the same in his district..."
(Atīte ito pañcame kappe Bodhisatto Serivaraṭṭhe Serivo nāma kacchapuṭavāṇijo ahosi. So Serivā nāma ekena lolakacchapuṭavaṇijena saddhiṁ Telavāhaṁ nāma nadiṁ uttaritvā Andhapuraṁ nāma nagaraṁ pavisanto nagaravīthiyo bhājetvā attano pattavīthiyā bhaṇḍaṁ vikkiṇanto can. Itaro attano pattaṁ vīthiṁ gaṇhi).
"Once on a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a deer. At his birth he was golden of hue; his eyes were like round jewels; the sheen of his horns was as of silver; his mouth was red as a bunch of scarlet cloth; his four hoofs were as though lacquered; his tail was like the yak’s, and he was as big as a young foal. Attended by five hundred deer, he dwelt in the forest under the name of king Banyan Deer. And hard by him dwelt another deer also with an attendant herd of five hundred deer, who was named Branch Deer, and was as golden of hue as the Bodhisatta..."
(Atīte Bārānasiyaṁ Brahmadatte rajjaṁ kārayamāne Bodhisatto migayoniyaṁ paṭisandhiṁ gaṇhi. So mātu kucchito nikkhanto suvaṇṇavaṇṇo ahosi, akkhīni c’ assa maṇi-guḷasadisāni ahesuṁ, siñgāni rajatavaṇṇani, mukham ratta-kambalapuñjavaṇṇaṁ, hatthapādapariyantā lākhā parikammakatā viya, vāladhī camarassa viya ahosi, sarīraṁ pan’ assa mahantaṁ assapotakappamāṇaṁ ahosi. So pañcasatamigaparivāro araññe vāsaṁ kappesi nāmena Nigrodhamigarājā nāma. Avidūre pan’ assa añño pi pañcasatamigaparivāro Sākhamigo nāma vasati, so pi suvaṇṇavaṇṇo va ahosi).
"Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born into a wealthy family in the kingdom of Kāsi. Having come to years of discretion, he saw how from passion springs pain and how true bliss comes by the abandonment of passion. So he put lusts from him, and going forth to the Himalaya became a hermit, winning by fulfillment of the ordained mystic meditation the five orders of the Higher Knowledge and the eight Attainments. And as he lived his life in the rapture of Insight, he came in after times to have a large following of five hundred hermits, whose teacher he was..." 124
(Atīte Bārānasiyaṁ Brahmadatte rajjaṁ kārente Bodhisatto Kesiraṭṭho mahābhugakulo nibbatto viññūtaṁ patvā kāmesu ādīnavaṁ nekkhamme cānisaṁsaṁ disvā kāme pahāya Himavantaṁ pavisitvā, isipabbajjaṁ pabbajitvā kasiṇa-parikammaṁ katvā pañca abbiñña aṭṭha samāpattiyo uppādetvā jhānasukhena vītināmento aparabhāge mahāparivāro pañcahi tāpasasatehi parivuto gaṇassa satthā hutvā vihāsi).125
Here is an important thing which we must note that it seems to have been neither a Jātaka collection as such, nor the developed concept of the Bodhisatta practising pāramitās, until a much later period. Hence, it would appear that the concept of the Bodhisatta could be divided into two parts, the original concept and the concept developed by the later Buddhists.
It means that the earliest use of the term Bodhisatta in literature with the first meaning which seems to refer to from the time of the Buddha’s renunciation upto the time of his Enlightenment. This seems to be the main concept of Bodhisattva through Pāli Nikāya, then the developed concept with the second, third, and fourth meanings such as the period from Gotama Siddattha’s Conception to Gotama Buddha’s Enlightenment, from the Conception in their Mother’s Wombs to the Attainment of their respective Bodhi or Enlightenment as well as the Various Previous Lives of Gotama Buddha as depicted in the Pāli Suttas inclusive of the fashion of the later Jātaka stories recounted therein.
37The earliest split of Buddhism is defined in terms of Theravāda and Mahāsanghika. But in later centuries an ideological divide took place, which divided the Buddhists into two camps — Mahāyāna and Hinayāna.
38The term ‘Hinayāna’ has been quite often used in retrospectively.
39Bhikkhu Telwatte Rahula, A Critical Study of the Mahāvastu, pp. 49-62.
40E.J.Thomas, Buddhism, London, 1934, p. 256.
41Ibid., p. 351.
42T.W. Rhys-Davids and Welliam Stede, Pali - English Dictionary, I, 14.
43A, IV, 23.
44Buddhist Scriptures, 20.
45The Sākhya Sūtra I.71, vide S. Chatterjee and D.M. Datta, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy, Calcutta, 1954, p. 272.
46Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, III, 224.
47Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, op.cit., vol. II, p. 739.
48PED, I, 132.
49BDBSL, pp. 4-9.
501. Sattva may mean ‘Wesen, Charakter’, ‘essence, nature, true essence’ (Skt. Dicy. Pbg. & Skt. Dicy. M.W). The Pāli word satta may also mean ‘substance’ (Pali Dicy.s.v). The great modern lexicographers seem to interpret sattva in this sense. Thus, according to Bohtlingk and Roth, bodhisattva means: ‘(adj) dessen Wesen Erkenntniss ist; (mas) der im Besitz des Wesens der Bodhl Seiende.’ Monier Williams translates: ‘one who has bodhl or perfect wisdom as his essence’ (p. 688b). E. Burnouf seems to interpret the word in the same way as Bohtlingk and Roth: ‘celui qui possede 1’essence de la bodhi.’ P. Oltramare follows Monier Williams and translates: ‘un etre dont I’essence consiste dans I’eveil’. (‘Bouddhique,’ p. 250). C. F. Koeppen: ‘Derjenige, dessen Wesenheit die hochste Weisheit (bodhi) geworden’ (‘Buddha’, ii, 18). C. Eliot: ‘One whose essence is knowledge’ (Eliot, ii, 7). H. Hackmann: ‘He whose essence is becoming Enlightenment’ (‘Buddhism,’ p. 52). It may be added that the modern Hindi word ‘sat,’ which is derived from Skt. ‘sattva’, means ‘essence, extract’.
2. ‘Sattva’ (masculine) may mean ‘any living or sentient being’ (Skt. Dicy. M.W), ‘ein lebendes Wesen’ (Skt. Dicy. Pbg). The Pali word satta may mean ‘a living being, creature, a sentient and rational being, person’ (Pali Dicy. s.v). Most modern scholars adopt this interpretation. M. Wintermtz: ‘Ein Eneuchtungswesen’ (‘Lit.’ ii, 183). L. de la Vallee Poussln: ‘On peut Ie traduire ‘creature ‘ou’ etre vivant’ (‘Opinions’, p. 169, line 8).M. Walleser: ‘Weisheitswesen’ (Pr. Pa. tr., p. 5). H. Kern: ‘A sentient or reasonable being, possessing bodhi’ (‘Manual,’ p. 65, line 11).T. W. Khys Davids and W. Stede: ‘a bodhi-bemg, i.e. abeing destined to attain fullest Enlightenment’ (Pali Dicy. s.v). L. D. Barnett: ‘Creature of Enlightenment’ (‘Path’, p. 20). S. Lefmann: ‘Bodhisattva bedeutet einen, dessen Wesen Erweckung oder Erleuchtung ist’ (La!. V. tr., p. 50). M. Anesaki: ‘A being seeking for bodhi’ (ERE., v, 450). E. J. Thomas: ‘a being of (or destined for) Enlightenment’ (‘Buddha’, p. 2, note I). P. Masson-Oursel: ‘un etre d’illumination’ (‘Esquisse’, P. 127). R. Pischel: ‘Ein Wesen, das bestimmt ist, einst ein Buddha zu werden’ (‘Buddha’, p. 50). D. T. Suzuki: ‘Intelligence-Being’ (‘Outlines’, p. 277). Csoma de Kors: ‘Purified, mighty soul’ (Csoma, p. 6). The author of the Samādhl-rāja-sutra interprets sattva as ‘being, creature’, but thinks that the word bodhlsattva means ‘one who admonishes or exhorts all beings’ (bodhettisattvan. Sam. Ra. fol. 25a, 4). P. Ghosa seems to interpret sattva as ‘living being’, but analyses the whole word in a peculiar way: ‘bodhih sa casau maha-krp-Sfayena sattv-alambanat sattvaf cet’t bodhisattva.’ This would mean that the person is both bodhi and sattva.
3. ‘Sattva’ may mean ‘spirit, mind, sense, consciousness’, ‘Geist’ (Skt. Dicy. M.W. and Pbg). The Pāli word satta may also mean ‘soul’ (Pali Dicy. s.v). According to L. de la Vallee Poussin, the Indian lexicographers also explain sattva as a synonym for citta (thought) or vyavasaya (decision, determination). Prajnakaramati says: ‘tatra(bodhau) sattvam abhiprayo’syete bodhisattvah.’ P. Ghosa cites an old commentator, who also interprets sattva as meaning abhlpraya (intention, purpose): ‘bodhau sattvam abhiprayo yes am te bodhisattvah’ (Pr. Pa. Qata., p. 2, note 2). Thus the word would mean: ‘one whose mind, intentions, thoughts or wishes are fixed on bodhi’. P. Oltramare rejects this interpretation as far-fetched and inaccurate; but L. de la Vallee Poussin seems to be inclined to accept it, while he at the same time admits that the original meaning of the word may have been derived from the idea of ‘ essence, own nature’.
4. Sattva may mean ‘embryo’ (Skt. Dicy. M.W). H. S. Gour translates: ‘In whom knowledge is latent and undeveloped’ (‘Buddhism,’ p. XI).
5. Sattva may have the same meaning as it has in the Yoga- sūtras, where it is opposed to purusa and means ‘mind, intelligence’. This interpretation is offered by E. Senart, who believes that Buddhism was profoundly influenced by the Yoga system. He says: ‘Sattva ne designe pas seulement Ie premier des trois gunas, soit seul, soit complete par buddhi ou citta; il designe I’esprit, mais en tant que 1’esprit resume et exprime la prakrti et les gunas qui la constituent... 1’esprit actif, conscient, qui relevent de la prakrti. Explique par cette acception de sattva et comme bahuvrlhi, bodhisattva designerait Ie futur Buddha, provisoirement retenu dans les liens de 1’existence, comme ‘possedant Ie sattva de la bodhi’, c’est-a-dire une illumination encore liee aux conditions inferieures des gunas, partant imparfaite.’ It is true that sattva occurs frequently in the Yoga-sūtras, and G. Jha translates it as ‘thinking principal or mind’: (Yo.Su. II, 41, p. 109, ‘Sattva-fuddhl-saumanasy-aikagry-endrlya-jay-atma-darfana-yogyatvani ca’). E. Senart points out that sattva is declared to be distinct from purusa in the Yoga-sūtras (III, 55, ‘Sattva-purusayoh fuddhi-samye kaivalyam,’ p. 174). He thus prefers the interpretation cited above, but I must confess that I do not really understand what he means by ‘Ie sattva de la bodhi’. H. Kern is of opinion that the first word bodhi may be related to the buddhi of the Yoga system, especially as the word buddhisattva is found in the literature of Yoga. A bodhlsattva would thus be a personification of potential intelligence.
6. Sattva may be a wrongly Sanskritized form of the Pall word satta, which may correspond to Skt. sakta. Thus Pali bodhisatta, from which the Sanskrit word is derived, would mean bodhi-sakta, ‘one who is devoted or attached to bodhi’. Sakta (from the root sanj) means ‘clung, stuck or attached to, joined or connected with, addicted or devoted to, fond of, intent on’ (Skt. Dicy. M.W). According to the Pali Dictionary, the Pali word satta may correspond to several Sanskrit words: sattva, sapta, sakta, and sapta. It has been suggested that the Pali word sutta is also related to Skt. sukta, and not to Skt. sutra, as the latter word is a very inappropriate designation for the lengthy and prolix Buddhist discourses. The Buddhists attached great importance to subhaslta (good sayings), and the Pāli word sutt’i does correspond to Skt. sukt’i (Pali Dicy. s.v). However that may be, it may be plausibly argued that Skt. bodhi-sakta is a possible equivalent of Pali bodhisatta. The opinion of the Buddhist writers, who adopted the rendering sattva, need not be considered absolutely decisive in this question, as they have certainly given us other wrongly Sanskritized forms, e.g. smrty-upasthana (for Pāli sati-paṭṭthana), samyak-prahāna (for Pāli sammappadhdna), etc. Bodhisattva may also belong to this class of wrongly Sanskritized terms. P. Oltramare rejects this interpretation, as the verb sanj is not used to denote attachment to moral and spiritual ideals, and the later writers could not make such ‘a strange mistake ‘in translating Pāli into Sanskrit.
7. Sattva may mean ‘strength, energy, vigour, power, courage’ (Skt. Dicy. M.W. p. 1052). The word bodhisattva would then mean, ‘one whose energy and power is directed towards bodhi.’ Sattva in this sense occurs frequently in Ksemendra’s Avadana-kalpa-lata: ‘sattv-abdhih’ (II, p. 713, verse 42), ‘sattv-ojjvalam bhagavataf caritam nifamya’ (II, p.85, verse 74); ‘kumarah sattva-sagarah’ (II, p. 723, verse 21), sattva-nidhir (II, p. 945, verse 21); ‘bodhisattvah sattva-vibhusitah (II, p. 113, verse 8). The word also seems to have the same signification in the B. Ct. (IX, 30—‘bodhisattvah parlpurna-sattvah’). E. B. Cowell translates, ‘whose perfection was absolute’; but this rendering does not explain the precise meaning of sattva. The Tibetan lexicographers translate bodhisattva as byan-chub sems-dpah. In this compound, byan-chub means bodhi, sems means ‘mind’ or ‘heart’, and dpah signifies ‘hero, strong man’ (= Skt. sura, vira). (Tib. Dicy. Jaschke, 374b and 325b; Tib. Dicy. Das, 883b, 787b and i276b). This interpretation seems to combine two meanings of saliva., viz. ‘mind’ and ‘courage’ (Nos. 3 and 7 above). But it does not make the etymology of the compound word bodhisattva in any way clearer or more intelligible. It may be inferred that the Tibetan translators associated the ideas of ‘mind’ and ‘courage’ with the word sattva. According to E. J. Eitel, the Chinese interpret bodhisattva as ‘he whose essence has become bodhi’ (p. 34a).
53Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (Tr.), The Path of Purification (Visuddhi-magga), Sri Lanka, Buddhist Publication Society, 1975, IX, 53, p. 310.
54For details see S.N.Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. I, Cambridge, 1963, pp. 445-52.
55S. Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy, Vol.II, London, 1966, pp. 475-85.
56PED, I, 114.
57DPPN, II, 322 ff. 44
62Cf. Edward Conze (tr), Astāhasrika Pran.
66T.R.V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, London, 1960, p. 264.
67Charles Elliot, Buddhism and Hinduism, Vol. II, London, 1968, p.1.
68H. Kern, Manual of Indian Buddhism, Delhi, rpt. 1974, p. 65.
69DCBT, pp. 337.
70DB, III, 77f.
71See EB, V, 349-350.
72BGD, Vol. I, Chapter Three Dhammas, iv, Sakka, 127.
73A, I, 143-5.
74EB, II, 41.
75Isaline B. Horner, the Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected: A Study of the Arahanta, London: Williams & Northgate Ltd., 1979, p.52.
76Theragāthā, ed. H. Bendall, JRAS, 1883, p.111.
77A, III, 376.
79S, II, 217.
80S, I, 12; II, 120-6, IV, 252.
81A, IV, 145.
82M, II, 29.
83DB, III, No. 29 Pasadika Sutta, 125.
84D, III, 138.
85BIHP, 259; The Boddhisattva Ideal, Ven. Narada Maha Thera, the Journal ‘The Maha Bodhi’, vol. 80 – Oct. & Nov., Delhi, 1972, p. 481.
86Tu Dien Phat Hoc Han Viet (A Dictionary of Vietnamese-Chinese Buddhist Terms), Phan vien Phat hoc xuat ban, Viet Nam: Ha Noi, 1992, p. 446.
88EB, III, 357.
89Vinayapitaka, ed. H. Oldenberg, vol. I, London, 1879, p. 8.
90A, II, 38-9.
91Ten balāni: 1. A Buddha possesses the knowledge of correct and faulty conclusions. 2. He knows fully and truly the consequences of all actions in the past, the present and the future with regard to their causes and circumstances. 3. He is cognisant of the various aspirations or dispositions of the different types of persons. 4. He knows the true nature of the various dhātus (elements) in the universe. 5. He understands the higher or lower powers of different creatures. 6. He knows the Way that leads everywhere. 7. He realises the defilement, purification and origination of all the forms of Musing, Deliverances, Concentration and Ecstatic Attainment. 8. He remembers all his previous existences. 9. He discerns the process of the death and rebirth of all beings. 10. He knows that his āsravas (Intoxicants: sins and errors) have been destroyed. (See A, V, 33.7 ff.; M, I, 69 ff.; DCBT, 46; BDBSL, 20)
92The Four Vaisāradyas: 1. He knows that he has attained perfect Enlightenment and understands all principles and phenomena (dharmā). 2. He knows that he has destroyed all the āsravas (Intoxicants). 3. He knows that the obstacles to the higher life, which he has described, really constitute serious hindrances. 4. He knows that the Way, which he teaches for the cessation of Pain and Evil (dukkha), really leads to that goal (see M, I, 71; A, II, 9)
93The Eighteen Āveṇika-dharmas distinguish a Buddha from all other beings as follows: 1. He is free from errors and faults. 2. He is not noisy or loquacious. 3. He never loses Mindfulness. 4. His mind is always composed and collected. 5. He has no notion of multiplicity (i.e. he considers the universe under its aspect of unity and not with reference to the diversity of phenomena and objects). 6. His equanimity is not due to want of judgment. 7. His Will and Resolution never falter. 8. His Energy is never diminished. 9. His Mindfulness is never relaxed. 10. His Concentration always remains the same. 11. His Wisdom never fails. 12. His Deliverance knows no change. 13. All his actions, performed with the body, are preceded by Knowledge and continue to be in accordance with Knowledge. 14. All his words and utterances are preceded by Knowledge and continue to be in accordance with Knowledge. 15. All his thoughts are preceded by Knowledge and continue to be in accordance with Knowledge. 16. He has absolute and infallible Knowledge and Insight with regard to the past time. 17. He has absolute and infallible Knowledge and Insight with regard to the future. 18. He has absolute and infallible Knowledge and Insight with regard to the present (time). (see Divy-āvadāna, ed. E.B.Cowell & R.A. Neil, Cambridge, 1886, p. 148; DCBT, 45)
94DCBT, pp. 337.
95MLS, I, No. 36 Mahasaccaka Sutta, 295.
96M, I, 240.
97MLS, I, No. 26. Ariyapariyesana Sutta, 207.
98M, I, 163.
99EB, III, 229.
100MLS, III, No. 123 Acchariyabhutadhamma-sutta , 165.
101M, III, 119-120.
102DB, II, No. 14 Mahapadana Sutta, 8-9.
103D, II, 12.
104EB, III, 229.
105This seems to be what is meant by a ‘virgin birth’. See MLS, the Acchariya-abbhuta-dhamma-sutta, III, 165 ff; Mahāvastu, ed. E. Senart, Paris, 1882-97, II, p.6 and Lalitavistara, ed. P.L.Vaidya, PST, I, pp. 29- 30.
106GD, Nālaka sutta, verse No. 693, p.125.
107Sn, Nālakasuttam Nitthitam, verse No. 693, p.125.
108EB, III, 228.
109Dha, Verse No. 183, p. 97-8.
110DPPN, II, 578.
112DB, II, No. 14 Mahapadana Sutta, 5.
113D, II, 2.
114DB, II, No. 14 Mahapadana Sutta, 8 (also see DB, II, No. 17, the Mahasudassana suttanta, 192; No. 19, the Mahā Govinda suttanta, 253).
115D, II, 12.
116The Buddhavaṁsā, ed. R. Morris, vol 38, London: PTS, 1882, pp. 240-1.
117Kalpa (劫 杷): the period of time between the creation and recreation of a world or universe; also the kalpas of formation, existence, destruction, and non-existence, which four as a complete period are called mahākalpa (大 劫). Each great kalpa is subdivided into four asaṇkhyeya (阿 增 祇 劫 i.e. numberless, incalculable): 1. Kalpa of destruction (壞 劫) saṁvarta. 2. Kalpa of utter annihilation or empty kalpa (增 滅 劫 , 空 劫) saṁvartasiddha. 3. Kalpa of formation (成 劫) vivar. 4. Kalpa of existence (住 劫) vivartasiddha. Or they may be taken in the order (成 住 壞 空). Each of the four kalpas is subdivided into twenty antarakalpas or small kalpas (小 劫), so that a mahākalpa consists of eighty small kalpas. Each small kalpa is divided into a period of increase (增) and decrease (減); the increase period is ruled over by the four cakravartī in sucession i.e. the four ages of iron, copper, silver, gold, during which the length of human life increases by one year every century to 84,000years, and the length of the human body to 8,400 feet. Then comes the kalpa of decrease divided into periods of the three woes, pestilence, war, famine, during which the length of human life is gradually reduced to ten years and the human body to 1 foot in height. There are other distinctions of the kalpas. One small kalpa amounts as 16,800,000 years, a kapal as 336,000,000 yeas and a mahākalpa as 1,334,000,000 years. There are many ways of illustrating the length of a kalpa, e.g. pass a soft cloth over a solid rock 40 li in size once in a hundred years, when finally the rock has been thus worn away a kalpa will not yet have passed; or a city of 40 li, filled with mustard seeds, one being removed every century till all have gone, a kalpa will not yet have passed; quoted in DBCT, 232.
118T.W. Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, Motilal, rpt.1993, p.188.
119DB, II, 266 ff.
120D, II, 230.
121MLS, II, No. 83 Makhādeva Sutta, 268.
122M, II, 74-5.
123Ty kheo Thich Minh Chau (tr.), Chuyen Tien Than Duc Phat (Jātaka), Vien Nghien Cuu Phat Hoc Viet Nam, 1991, p. 5-6.
124SBFB, I, Story No. 3, p. 12; No. 12, p. 39; No. 43, p. 114 respectively.
125J, I, pp. 111, 149, 245 respectively.
Sincere thanks to Bhikkhuni Gioi-Huong for giving the digital files (Binh Anson, 07-2009).