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Old 12-07-2005, 12:58 PM
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Default The Illustrated History of Buddhism

The Illustrated History of Buddhism



1. Sumedha, a young millionaire, giving away his property in charity

The Future Buddha was once born as the son of a rich man and was known as "Sumedha" in the very existence in which he was to make a solemn wish that he should become the Enlightened Buddha. His parents died while he was still young, leaving him many treasure vaults of gold and silver. When he was sixteen years of age and finished his education, the Lord of the Treasury made over to him all the property left by his parents.

Sumedha the young millionaire thought to himself thus: "My parents and grand-parents knew only how to amass wealth but did not know to take it away beyond death. I shall now give away my property in alms so that the merit of the deeds may follow me after death." He made a public announcement: "Whoever cares to take away my property may open my treasuries and help himself to this hearts content." He then left for the Himalaya forests and became a hermit.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:28 PM
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Default 2. Sumedha and Sumitta receiving a prophetic declaration

2. Sumedha and Sumitta receiving a prophetic declaration



Hermit Sumedha, the Future Buddha, had attained the six High Powers.

While traveling by air he saw the townsfolk of Ramma clearing the pathway and came down to the ground, and asked to be permitted to clear a portion of the track on which the Buddha Dipankara was to travel. He was given a portion of it, and before he had cleared it, the Buddha Dipankara came along that way with a retinue of arahants. Sumedha spread himself out upon the mud with his face downwards, his body serving as a bridge so that the Buddha and the disciples following Him cold tread on him.

At that moment a lady by the name of "Sumitta" arrived with eight bunches of lotus flowers. She handed over to the hermit five of those bunches to be offered to the Buddha. The Buddha, with minds eye of Buddha, saw what was in store for these two persons in future, and made this prophetic declaration: "This hermit will become Gotama Buddha, and this lady will become his help-mate to help him fulfill the Perfections (Paramitas)".

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Default 3. The higher and lower gods beseeching the future buddha to leave Tusita h

3. The higher and lower gods beseeching the future buddha to leave Tusita heaven to be reborn as a man

The Future Buddha fulfilled the Ten perfections in his many existences over a period of four Incalculables (asankhyeyyas) and one hundred thousand worlds. In one life before the life when he became the Buddha, he was born as one of chief gods and known as "Setaketu" in the celestial city of the Tusita gods. When the span of his life there as a god was fast approaching its end, the higher and lower gods of all ten thousand worlds came into one place in Tusita heaven and approached the Future Buddha saying, "Sir, it was not to enjoy the glory and sensual pleasures of a god or of man that you fulfilled the ten Perfections; but it was t become a fully enlightened Buddha in order to save the world, that you fulfilled them. Sir, the time and fit season for your Buddhaship has now arrived. Be so good as to depart from the world of gods and take conception in the womb of a human mother in the world of men". The Great Being assented to their wish.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:32 PM
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Default 4. The dream of Maha-Maya when she conceived, The future Buddha

4. The dream of Maha-Maya when she conceived, The future Buddha

On the full moon day in the month of Wazo (July) Queen Maha-Maya rose early and dispensed huge sums of money in great charity. She then took the eight precepts and entered her elegantly furnished chamber of state. And lying down on the royal couch, she fall asleep and dreamed the following strange dream:-

The four guardian angels came and lifted her up, together with her couch, and took away to the Himalaya Mountains. There, in the Manosila table-land they laid her upon a huge slab of sulfurous rock under a very big sal tree. Then came the wives of thiese gurardian angels, and conducted her to Anotatta Lake, and bathed her to remove every human stain. And after clothing her with divine garments they took her into a golden mansion which was inside a Silver Hill. There they laid her down upon a divine couch. Now the Future Buddha had become a superb white elephant and was wandering about at no great distance on the Golden Hill. Descending thence, he ascended the Silver Hill and went into the golden mansion. And splitting her on her right side, he entered her womb. Thus the conception took place.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:32 PM
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Default 5. Birth of the future Buddha in the Lumbini grove

5. Birth of the future Buddha in the Lumbini grove

Queen Maha-Maya carried the Future Buddha in her womb for ten months; and on the full moon day in May (Vesak) she said to King Suddhodana- " I wish, O king, to go to Devadaha, the city of my family". The King approved and caused the road from Kapilavatthu to Devadaha to be made smooth and adorned, and sent her with a great retinue. Between the two cities there was a pleasure grove of sal trees, called Lumbini Grove. She entered the grove for a rest. And at this particular time, this grove was one mass of flowers presenting a very pretty scene. She went to the foot of a great sal tree and reached out her hand to seize hold of one of its branches. She was at once shaken with the pains of birth. Thereupon the people hung a curtain about her, and her delivery took place while she was standing up. At that moment came four Mahabrahmas (higher gods) with a golden net; and, receiving the Future Buddha with it, they placed him before his mother and said, " Rejoice, O Queen! A mighty son has been born to thee."

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:36 PM
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Default 6. Wedding ceremony of Prince Siddhattha

6. Wedding ceremony of Prince Siddhattha

When the Future Buddha was sixteen years of age, his father King Suddhodana sent official intimation to his relatives asking them to send their daughters to be married to his son. There arose the following discussion among his relatives, who were Rulers of their own states: - "Siddhattha is of handsome appearance but is not well trained in any manly art". They did not, therefore, comply with the request of King Suddhodana. The King told his son what his relatives had said about him, when the Prince agreed to show his proficiency as the best bowman of the day. Consequently the most distinguished bowmen of the city were assembled in the palace grounds. The Future Buddha placed them at four different points and directions round him while he stood in the centre. He then said to them. "You must shoot your arrows at me all at the same time". When the signal to shoot was given, the four archers shot their arrows at him all at once. The Prince defended himself by shooting and arrow which flew like lighting and hit all the four arrows coming in his direction. He thus exhibited his skill, such as none other bowmen could equal. His fathers relatives then sent their daughters, beautiful maidens, of whom the Prince chose Princes Yasodhara whom he married by celebrating a grand wedding.

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Default 7. Just before his great renunciation, the future Buddha went to the chambe

7. Just before his great renunciation, the future Buddha went to the chamber of princess Yasodhara to see his son

When the Future Buddha was 29 years of age he went to the park and saw the Four Signs, namely, an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a monk, whom the higher goods had fashioned. He was afraid to continue to live a worldly life and his mind turned ardently to retiring from the world. He said to himself, "It behooves me to go forth on the Great Renunciation this very day". At that very moment he received a message that a son had been born to him.

He then returned to the palace and lying on this couch, fell into a brief slumber. When he awoke he saw the female musicians sleeping round him in disgusting condition. The spectacle seemed like a cemetery, and filled with loathing for his worldly life, he made up his mind to renounce the world at once. He ordered his courtier China to saddle his horse Kathaka. He then walked to the chamber of Yasodhara to look at his son for the fist time.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:39 PM
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Default 8. Mara, the evil one, persuading the future Buddha to turn back on the poi

8. Mara, the evil one, persuading the future Buddha to turn back on the point of his departure from the city

Coming away from Yasodharas chamber, the Future Buddha descended from the palace and rode on the mighty steed, Kanthaka, already saddled and bridled for the journey, with Channa holding on by the tail. He issued forth on the Great Renunciation and arrived at midnight at the great gate of the city. At this moment came Mara, the Evil One, with the intention of persuading the Future Buddha to turn back; and standing in the air, he said, "Sir, go not forth! On the seventh day from now the Wheel Treasure will appear to you. Sir, turn back!

The Future Buddha replied as follows: "Mara, I know that the Wheel Treasure was on the point of appearing to me; but I do not wish for sovereignty. My sole desire is to become a Buddha and save the world of gods and men". He then departed from the city in great splendor surrounded by higher and lower deities on all sides, the divinity that guarded the city-gate having opened it for them.

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Default 9. The future Buddha cutting his hair to become a monk

9. The future Buddha cutting his hair to become a monk

The Future Buddha who left the city at midnight on his Great Renunciation came to the bank of the Anoma (Illustrious) River at day-break. He gave the signal to his horse with his heel, and the horse sprang over the river, which had a breath of eight usabhas (an usabha is 140 cubits or 210 feet), and landed on the opposite bank. He handed over to Channa his ornaments and the horse, Kanthaka, and asked him to go back home with them. He then cut his hair with the sword on the sandy beach of the Anoma.

Then the Future Buddha seized hold of his top-knot and threw it into the air, saying- "If I am to become a Buddha, let it stay in the sky; but if not, let it fall to the ground". And Sakka, the King of the gods, received it in a golden casket, and established it in the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods as the Culamani Ceti (Shrine of the Diadem). After that, the Future Buddha put on the robes, the symbol of asceticism, brought by the Maha-Brahma god, Ghatikara, and became an ascetic. His garments, made of Benares cloth, were taken away by Ghatikara, and established in the realm of the higher gods as the "Dussa Shrine".

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:41 PM
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Default 10. King Bimbisara offering all his kingly glory

10. King Bimbisara offering all his kingly glory

Now the Future Buddha, having thus retired from the world and become an ascetic for about 7 days, entered the city of Rajagaha and begged for food from house to house. By the beauty of the Future Buddha the whole city was thrown into a commotion as he was a distinct contrast to the usual type of ascetics of those days, who were old and shabby in appearance. The Future Buddha being then only 29 years of age and bearing all the signs of a Universal Monarch naturally became an object of admiration and wonder.

Now the Great Being having collected some food for his sustenance went to the shade of Pandava rock and ate his meal. Thereupon, Bimbisara, the King, approached the Future Buddha, and being pleased with his princely deportment and appearance offered him all his kingly glory. "Great King", replied the Future Buddha, "I do not seek for the gratification of my senses or my passions, but have retired from the world for the sake of the supreme and absolute enlightenment of a Buddha".

"Verily", said the King, when his repeated offers had all been refused, " you are sure to become a Buddha; but when that happens your first journey will be to my Kingdom".

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Default 11. The future Buddha made the great struggle and his body became emaciated

11. The future Buddha made the great struggle and his body became emaciated

Having become a monk, the Future Buddha sought for teachers and found two renowned Brahmin teachers, Alara Kalarma and Uddaka Ramaputta. He acquired from them the method of meditation leading only to mundane superhuman power. But not satisfied with it, he ceased to practise it. And being desirous of attaining Enlightenment he continued his search and went to Uruvela grove. He entered Senani village and begged for his food from house to house and ate his meal. He thought to himself that having to go on a begging round for food in itself was a hindrance to his ascetic practices and began to practise the Great Struggle. The Great Struggle is an austere practice which is beyond human endurance of an average person. He tried various plans such as, abstaining from rice meal and living on fruits which dropped from trees, then on fruits which dropped from the tree under which he sat, then living on one fruit, one sesamum seed or one grain of rice a day. By this lack of nourishment his body was reduced to skin and bones and lost its golden colour and became dry and black.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:45 PM
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Default 12. The future buddha receiving the milk-porridge offered by Sujata

12. The future buddha receiving the milk-porridge offered by Sujata

There lived in the village of Senani, near Uruvela forest, a girl named Sujata. She had uttered a prayer for fulfillment of her wish at a banyan tree, and vowed a yearly offering to it, if she should have a good marriage and a son as her first born child. The wish having been fulfilled, she used to make an offering every year at the banyan tree. Now the Great Being had resumed taking usual food, because he found that the austerities he practised for full six years were not the way to enlightenment.

On the full moon day of the month Visakha (April-May) the Future Buddha who had attained 35 years of age, was sitting under the bayan tree. Sujata caught sight of the Future Buddha and, supposing him to be the tree-god, her benefactor, who had come down, offered him milk-porridge in a golden bowl that was worth a hundred thousand pieces of money. He proceeded to the banks of the Neranjara and ate the food. He took the bowl to the river bank and set it on the river saying "If today I shall be able to became a Buddha, let this bowl go up stream". It floated up-stream!

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:45 PM
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Default 13. The future Buddha being attacked by Mara. The evil one, just before he

13. The future Buddha being attacked by Mara. The evil one, just before he attained enlightenment

After eating the milk-porridge offered by Sujata, the Future Buddha took his noonday rest on the bank of Neranjara, in the cool and pleasant shade of a grove of sal trees. And at nightfall he went towards the Bodhi tree. On the way he received from a grass-cutter named Sotthiya handfuls of grass and sat down cross-legged on that grass. He made the mighty resolution: "I will not stir from this seat until I have attained the supreme and absolute wisdom." Many higher and lower goods with Sakka came near the Future Buddha.

The god Mara, the Evi One, saw the Future Buddha seated in that unconquerable position and knew that he was sure to become a Buddha. He went back to his celestial realm and brought his army drawn out for battle. He grasped a variety of weapons himself and sounded the war-cry, " Advance! Seize!" to frighten the Great Being. But the Future Buddha won a peaceful victory over Mara with the power of loving kindness, which he had practised in his many past lives, just as a mother would tame a cruel and wicked son with her maternal love.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:52 PM
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Default 14. Attainment of enlightenment as Buddha

14. Attainment of enlightenment as Buddha

Having vanquished the army of Mara, the Future Buddha sat cross-legged at the foot of the Bodhi tree with the firm resolution that he would not get up from his seat until he attained the supreme wisdom of a Buddha, and went into deep mediation. He acquired in the first watch of the night the knowledge of previous existences; in the middle watch of the night, the divine eye with which he could see the beings of all thirty-one planes of existence dying and being reborn; and in the last watch of the night, he gained the bliss of complete emancipation. Thus on Wednesday the full moon day of Visakha (April-May) 103 the Greast Era at down, the Great Being attained the Supreme Enlightenment of a Buddha.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:54 PM
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Default 15. Cakes being offered to the Buddha by the brothers Tapussa and Bhallika

15. Cakes being offered to the Buddha by the brothers Tapussa and Bhallika

Not long after his attainment of Supreme Buddhahood, the Blessed One sat cross legged at the foot of the Rajayatana tree (Buchanania latifolia). At that time two brothers Tapussa and Bhallika, from a village called Ukkala went for trade to (the middle Districts of) India where the Buddha was dwelling. A deity who was related to them in a past existence informed the two brothers that the Blessed One had recently attained the Supreme Buddhahood, and directed to the place where the Blessed One was then dwelling. The deity also instructed them to offer to the Buddha the cakes which they had brought with them.

As directed by the deity, the two brothers approached the Buddha and offered the cakes which they had brought. They then addressed the Buddha with the words "We take our refuge, Lord, in the Blessed One and the Dhamma; may the Blessed One receive us as disciples, who from this day forth, while our life lasts, have taken their refuge in Him". They then asked the Blessed one, "What shall we receive as an object of worship from today. Lord?" the Blessed One rubbed his head with his hand and gave to the two brothers whatever hairs came off and stuck to his hand.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:54 PM
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Default 16. The Buddha preaching the sermon "the wheel of law" to the "Band of five

16. The Buddha preaching the sermon "the wheel of law" to the "Band of five disciples"

Soon after the birth of the Future Buddha, eight Brahmin fortune-tellers, observed the marks and characteristics of the Future Buddhas person. Five of these Brahmins interpreted that prince Siddhattha would unquestionably become a Buddha and with that belief, had already become ascetics. When Siddhattaha retired from the world, they attended to his personal needs. Then seeing that the Future Buddha had given up extreme asceticism and gone back to the usual way of taking ordinary material food, they doubted if he would ever become a Buddha, and deserted him. Then they went and lived in the Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares.

The Blessed One, having attained the Supreme Wisdom, began his life as the Great Teacher. He fist thought of the persons whom he should first aid his teaching, and saw that these five ascetics had developed mature intellect. He therefore went to the Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares, 18 yojanas (1 yojana = about 8 miles) away from the Bodhi tree and preached his first sermon to this "Band of Five Disciples" before sunset on the full moon day of Wazo (June-July). Kondanna was established in the first noble stage of the Aryan Path, along with eighteen crores of higher and lower gods.

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Old 12-07-2005, 01:54 PM
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Default 17. Venerable Yasa and his father met the Buddha

17. Venerable Yasa and his father met the Buddha

Yasa was the first born son of Sujata who offered milk-porridge to the Great Being on the very day he was to become the Enlightened Buddha. He had been brought up in the greatest luxury as in the case of the Future Buddha, three separate mansions being provided for three different seasons, namely, the wet, cold and dry seasons. Waking up one night, he found his palace attendants, female musicians, asleep in unseemly conditions, and deeming the scene to be a cemetery, went out from his house and the city to the Deer Park of Isipatana that every night.

Yasa came into the presence of the Buddha and, after hearing the sermon from the Blessed One, was established in the first noble stage of the Aryan Path. Yasas father went in search of his son and came to the Buddha. The Buddha made Yasa invisible with his supernatural power and assuring him with these words. "You will find your son" preached a sermon to him. Yasas father was also established in the first holy stage of the Aryan Path, while Yasa was established in the fourth holy stage of the Aryan Path. The Blessed One then discontinued the use of the supernatural power with the result that the father met the son, and ordained Yasa as a monk at his request.

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Default 18. Bhadda - Vaggiya brothers went searching for a woman, and were converte

18. Bhadda - Vaggiya brothers went searching for a woman, and were converted by the Buddha

The Buddha went back from Benares to Uruvela, and on his way he entered a grove and sat under a tree. At that time, thirty Bhadda-vaggiya brothers, who were born of the same father as King Pasenadi of Kosala, were sporting with their wives in that grove. One of them had no wife and they had brought a courtesan for him, but while they were not noticing she had taken their bag of valuables and fled. They came seeking her, and when they came near the Blessed One they inquired, "Did you not see a woman?" "What do you think, young men," Buddha replied, "which is better for you, to go in search of a woman or to go in search of yourselves?" The brothers admitted, "It is better to go in search of oneself". Buddha then told them to sit down and preaching to them the evils of sensual indulgence, converted and ordained them as monks of the Holy Order.

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Default 19. Buddha sending out a mission of sixty Arahants

19. Buddha sending out a mission of sixty Arahants

After the Buddha had kept his retreat at the Deer Park at Isipatana during the first rainy season, there were fully sixty Arahants besides the Blessed One. He called them and said. "Released am I, O Bhikkhus, from fetters both human and divine. Ye also are free from fetters both human and divine. Go ye, now O Bhikkus, and wander for the gain of the many, for the good of the many, for the gain and welfare of gods and men. Preach, O Bhikkhus, the doctrine which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle, glorious at the end, in spirit and in letter. Proclaim the Holy Life altogether perfect and pure. There are beings with a little dust in their eyes, who, not hearing the Doctrine will fall away. There will be those who will understand the Doctrine". With this exhortation the Buddha despatched His first sixty disciples in various directions.

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Old 12-07-2005, 02:23 PM
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Default 20. The Buddha taming the dragon in the fire-shed with his supernatural pow

20. The Buddha taming the dragon in the fire-shed with his supernatural power

After sending forth the Arahants to preach, the Blessed One went to Uruvela to convert a thousand hermits headed by the three Kassapa brothers known as Uruvela Kassapa, Nadi Kassapa and Gaya Kassapa. The Buddha tamed the King of the Dragons in a fire-shed by using a variety of his supernatural powers. The thousand hermits became monks and with this retinue, the Blessed One proceeded to Gayasisa. On arrival there he preached to them again and they all became arahants.

The Buddha went from there to Rajagaha accompained by those monks and dwelt in the Toddy Palm Grove. King Bimbisara went there with a large following of 120,000 persons to pay his respects to the Buddha. As the ascetic Kassapa was held in high esteem by his people, he was at a loss to understand whether the Buddha was a disciple of Kassapa or the latter was a disciple of the former. The Venerable Kassapa knew this and placing his head upon the Buddhas feet acknowledged the Buddhas superiority, saying, "My teacher, Lord, is the Lord, I am the disciple" repeatedly.

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