Bv 22 Kakusandra

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Chronicle of Twenty-four Buddhas

Edited and Translated by

Professor U Ko Lay and U Tin Lwin

Yangon, Myanmar

22. KAKUSANDRA BUDDHAVAMSA

After Buddha Vessabhu's attainment of Parinibbana, when the aeon in which he appeared had come to an end, twenty-nine sunna kappas, aeons of no Buddhas, elapsed and there emerged the present Bhadda-kappa of five Buddhas. In this kappa had appeared four Buddhas - Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa and Gotama. The Buddha yet to come definitely is Metteyya.

The chronicle of Buddha Kakusandha, the first of these five Buddhas, is as follows. The Bhadda-kappa comprises sixty-four antara-kappas; (in the eighth antara-kappa according to the Maha Rajavamsa or in the first antara-kappa according to the Hmannan Rajavamsa,) when the human life-span decreased from asankhyeyya to forty thousand years, Kakusandha Bodhisatta, on complete fulfilment of the Perfections, was reborn in Tusita. Having complied with the request made by Devas and Brahmas for becoming a Buddha he descended to the human world and was conceived in the womb of a Brahmin woman, Visakha by name, wife of the Purohita Aggidatta who was advisor to King Khemankara of the city of Khemavati. When ten months had elapsed the Bodhisatta was born in Khemavati Park.

As has been mentioned above the series of Buddhas from Dipankara down to Vessabhu belonged to royal families, but Kakusandha Buddha was born in a Brahmin family.

In the society which is composed of four classes of people: aristocrats, brahmins, traders and lowly ones, never is a Buddha conceived in his final existence in the womb of a woman of the latter two classes.

As for aristocrats and Brahmins, sometimes aristocrats enjoy superiority and at other times brahmins do. At a time when people show the highest honour to aristocrats, Bodhisattas are born in their class, for they are considered the best. At other times when people show the greatest honour to the Brahmins, Bodhisattas are born in their families, for they are then supposed to be the foremost.

In this way Buddhas hailed only from aristocratic and brahmanical families; since recognition of the former as the most superior is more frequent, Buddhas are generally aristocrats by birth; and because it is only sometimes that Brahmins gain superiority, Buddhas of Brahmanical birth are fewer. Thus the greater number of aristocratic Buddhas and the smaller number of Brahmin Buddhas should be understood.

Royal household life

When the youthful Bodhisatta Kakusandha came of age, he lived in three mansions, namely, Kama, Kamavanna and Kimasuddhi, being entertained and served by his brahmin wife, Rocini by name, who had thirty thousand brahmin maids, and enjoying a divine-like household life for four thousand years.

Renunciation

When he had seen the four omens and when Rocini had given birth to a son named Uttara, Brahmin Kakusandha renounced the world riding a chariot drawn by a thoroughbred and became a recluse. Following his example forty-thousand men became recluses themselves.

Attainment of Buddhahood

With those forty thousand recluses, Bodhisatta Kakusandha practised dukkaracariya for eight months. On the full moon of Vesakha, the day he would become a Buddha, he partook of the milk-rice offered by the daughter of a Brahmin, Vajirinda, of the market-town of Vajirinda and spent the daytime in the local acacia grove. In the evening he went alone to the Maha Bodhi and accepted on the way eight handfuls of grass from Subhadda, a watchman of barley fields. As soon as he spread the grass at the foot of the sirisa Maha Bodhi Tree (which was as big and fair as the aforesaid patali Maha Bodhi) measuring twenty-six cubits. Sitting cross-legged on the pallanka he concentrated his energy of four levels and attained Buddhahood the way mentioned previously.

Three occasions of the Buddha's teaching

(Dhammabhisamaya)

After his attainment of Buddhahood, Buddha Kakusandha stayed in the neighbourhood of the sirisa Maha Bodhi Tree forty-nine days. Having accepted with the request made by the Brahma for teaching he contemplated as to whom he should teach first and saw his companions in renunciation and went to their residence, Isipatana Deer Park, near the town of Makila; when in their midst he delivered the Dhammacakka sermon as previous Buddhas had done numerous Devas and Brahmas came to listen to it respectfully. At that time forty thousand crores of Devas and humans attained the Path and Fruition.

(This was the first Dhammabhisamaya.)

At a later time Buddha Kakusandha displayed the Twin Miracle near a sala tree close to the city-gate of Kannakujja and taught Dhamma; thirty-thousand crores of Devas and humans penetrated the Four Noble Truths and gained Emancipation.

(This was the second Dhammabhisamaya.)

Still at a later time another Dhammabhisamaya took place in the following manner. At a Deva shrine not too far away from the town of Khemavati lived a divine ogre named Naradeva. At the time of propitiation he received in his visible frame honour done to him by people; he was, however, in the habit of catching human beings who through a difficult road approached a big pond in the middle of a huge forest to fetch various species of lotus. If there were no people there he went back to his great forest-abode and caught those who happened to be there and devoured them.

In fact, the road through the forest was notorious for its difficult terrain. At one time, at both ends of the forest, people were discussing among themselves how to get through the wilderness. At that time, after emerging from his Maha Karunasamapatti early in the morning Buddha Kakusandha surveyed the world and saw that ogre Naradeva and those people in his vision of wisdom; so he went through space and, while the people were looking up, displayed various forms of miracle; then he descended into Naradeva's mansion and took a seat on the ogre's splendid couch.

Naradeva became delighted the moment he saw the Buddha coming on his aerial journey and emitting rays of six colours from his body, for he thought to himself: "The Buddha is coming here out of compassion for me." With his attendant ogres he went to the Himalayas and brought back aquatic and terrestrial flowers of various hues and scents with which he honoured the Buddha; singing in praise of him who was remaining on the couch, Naradeva stood with his clasped hands touching his forehead in salutation.

On seeing the Buddha's miracles, the people's minds became serene and they all came to the Buddha and, encircling him paid obeisance to him. By explaining to the ogre how wholesome deeds are related to wholesome results, Buddha Kakusandha made the ogre inspired and by giving a talk on abodes of intense suffering, he made him frightened; thereafter the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths. At that time countless Devas and humans penetrated the Truths and gained Emancipation.

(This was the third Dhammabhisamaya.)

Single meeting of the Disciples (sannipata)

There was only one meeting of Buddha Kakusandha's Disciples. And it took place like this. In the Isipatana Deer Park near the city of Kannakujja on the full moon of Magha, amidst forty thousand Arahats who had been his companions in renunciation. Kakusandha Buddha recited the Ovada Patimokkha.

Future Buddha Gotama as King Khema received prophecy from Buddha Kakusandha

Meanwhile our Future Buddha Gotama was King Khema; having made grand offering of bowls and robes to the Sangha headed by the Buddha and also having offered them such medicinal materials as minerals for preparing eye-ointment etc. and herbs including liquorice among others; he became so immensely pleased with the Dhamma taught by the Buddha that he renounced the world and became a monk in the Buddha's presence. With reference to him, the Buddha prophesied: "This monk Khema will indeed become a Buddha named Gotama in this very Bhadda Kappa."

Having heard the Buddha's prophecy, the Bodhisatta Khema became overjoyed and determined to fulfil the ten Perfections even more energetically.

Particulars or Buddha Kakusandha

Buddha Kakusandha's birthplace was Khemavati City; his father was Brahmin Aggidatta, Purohita to King Khemankara, and his mother Visakha, a brahmin lady.

He lived a household life for four thousand years; his three palaces were Kama, Kamavanna and Kamasuddhi.

His wife was Rocini, a Brahmin lady, who had thirty thousand attendants; his son was Uttara.

The vehicle he used in renunciation after seeing the four omens was a chariot drawn by a thoroughbred; he practised dukkaracariya for eight months.

His two Chief Disciples were Vidhura Thera and Sanjiva Thera; his attendant was Buddhija Thera.

His two female Chief Disciples were Sama Theri and Campa Theri; his Bodhi Tree was a sirisa.

His noble supporters were the wealthy men Accuta and Sumana; his noble female supporters were Nanda Upasika and Sunanda Upasika.

Buddha Kakusandha's height was forty cubits; the rays from his body spread around up to ten yojanas.

The human life-span in his time was forty thousand years; he lived for four-fifths of the life-span, rescuing such beings as humans, Devas and Brahmas from samsaric waters to place them on Nibbanic shores.

In the world of humans and Devas he opened the 'shop of Dhamma' for the virtuous, male and female alike, and bravely roared a lion's roar: " am an Omniscient Buddha indeed; The defilements and mental intoxicants with their latent tendencies have all been rooted out from me." After that, with his disciples of the Sangha Buddha Kakusandha attained Parinibbana and became extinct.

Samvega

The Buddha who was endowed with a voice of eight qualities' voice such as clearness, sweetness, legibilty, pleasantness, firmness, fullness, depth and echo and his two Chief and other Disciples who were possessed of morality that was unbreached, untorn, unmottled free at all times - they had all disappeared. Unsubstantial and futile indeed are all conditioned things!

Cetiya

In this manner Buddha Kakusandha attained Parinibbana in Khema Park. In that very Park, as has been said before, a cetiya was erected over the relics of Buddha Kakusandha; it was exactly one yojana high.

Here ends Kakusandha Buddhavamsa.