Glossary of Basic Buddhist Terms

1.1 The Buddha

Being a lay Buddhist, one should know the basic meaning of these words to be able to give right answer if asked about it by other religious people in such a developing and globalizing world. It is incomplete that if one is asked what is Buddha and replied as “Buddha” in stead of giving the complete answer like Lord Buddha is the one who knows and achieve the fully enlightenment by himself and let all know like him. Actually he is a good instructor of all human beings and a good leader in the 6th centaury BC.

He was not a god nor a creator but a unique Being who was the profoundest of thinkers, the most persuasive of speakers, the most energetic of workers, the most successful of reformers, the most compassionate and tolerant of teachers, the most efficient of administrators. He was so pure and so holy that he should be called “The Holiest of Holies.” He was the perfect model of all the virtues He preached.

Before appearance of the Lord Buddha Gotama, there were many so called Buddhas who claimed themselves they were Buddhas such as Puranakassapa, makkhaligosala and so on. In deed they are not real Buddhas. They had no reason and condition for Buddha. Their lives were living under other people and later they claimed as noble ones in order to get food, fame and properties. So if you reply our lord Buddha as Buddha simply, at that time, some can confuse Him with them.

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Therefore, we need to give the detail answers to people who want to know about a Buddha. As a matter of fact, it is very difficult to become a real Buddha. A normal people can not consider to be a Buddha because it mast have to spend much time and perform many good perfection to be Buddha. So in the teachings of the Buddha, we can see the stanza like, ‘Tathagatassa arahato sammasambuddhassa patubhaho dullabho lokasmim’ meaning ‘it is very rare to appear a real Buddha endowed with the attribute of Araham and Sammasambuddha in the world.’[footnoteRef:1] [1: A.N.3. 167]

To become a real Buddha, our lord Buddha himself had to take much time and spent many years. It is said he spent for four Asankhyeyas and one lakh .During that time; he performed the great deeds such as the perfection of charity, perfection of morality, the perfection of renunciation and so on aiming at the attainment of enlightenment. He passed through the various lives- higher or lower. However, he did not take into consideration of life’ situation but for welfare of others.

1.1.1 The biography of the Buddha in Brief Prophecy of the Buddhaīpankarā

Lord Buddha, the Sakyan Prince, the real refuge of all men, devas and brahmas, had fulfilled the ten perfections (Pāramī) since the life of Sumedhā. Four Asankhyeyyas and one hundred-thousand world-cycles ago, the future Buddha named Sumedhā was the only son of a rich men at Amaravatī, the Royal City. He was born of a line of rich parents, both of whom were pure in morality and race. Sumedhā’s View on Life

The young man Sumedhā had acquired enough education when he reached the age of sixteen. His parents died since he was young. All of his wealth were guarded by his personal treasurer (financier). As he had come of age, the personal treasurer handed over all his wealth to him together with the lists of various things. When he saw his properties, he thought to himself: ‘My parents, my grandparents and my great grandparents were only able to make great earnings and save them, but were unable to take them along with them. As for me, I shall take all the wealth along with me.’

At that moment a deep understanding of life arose in him: ‘If there is heat, there must be cold; in the same way, if there is death, there must be deathlessness.’

Then he opened his treasure-houses and gave all his possessions away. Afterwards he went forth to Himavantā and made himself an ascetic. Within seven days, he attained the supreme psychic power. He could travel in the air. The five stalks of Lotus-flowers given by Sumittā

It was the time of the golden occasion of welcoming the Buddha Dipankarā to the great city of Rammāvatī. The citizens of Rammāvatī were repairing the road, eagerly waiting for the coming of Dipankarā Buddha. While travelling through space, the ascetic Sumedhā saw the citizens being engaged cheerfully in road-reconstruction and city-decoration. Wondering what was going on below, he came down and questioned them. They answered that they were repairing the road in order that the Buddha and his disciples could tread on it comfortably.

The ascetic Sumedhā felt greatly delighted and thought: ‘Oh! it’s very hard to hear the word ‘Buddha’, and it is, indeed, harder to become a Buddha’ He requested them to give him a chance to repair a part of the road.

Although the road-repairing could be finished quickly by his supernormal power, he used his own labour with the view that he would earn more merit by using his labour than by using his super-normal power. Before he finished repairing his portion of the road, the Buddha and his disciples came. To prevent the feet of the Buddha and his disciples from getting soiled, he prostrated himself on the mud to form a human-bridge. Among the welcoming people, there was a young woman named Sumittā. As soon as the young woman saw the ascetic, she was very happy and delighted. So, she gave five lotus-flowers to him leaving three lotus-flowers in her hands. The ascetic offered the flowers to the Buddha while lying on the muddy road. The firm Determination and the bold Proclamation

On seeing the Buddha’s noble glory, the young Sumedhā thought: ‘If I wish, I can even today become an Arahat who has eliminated all kilesās (defilements). Yet it is not appropriate for me to leave others wandering in samsāra although I have enough energy to save all beings. I will try to bemome a Buddha like the Buddha Dipankarā. So he immediately decided with firm resolution to become a Buddha. Afterwards, he made the following bold proclamations:-

Buddho bodeyyaṁ = As I know the Four noble Truths, so shall I make others know them;

Mutto moceyyamṁ = As I am liberated from the bonds of life, so shall I make others be liberated likewise;

Tinno Tāreyyaṁ = As I swim across the great whirlpool of saṁsāra, so shall I make others do the same.

The Buddha Dipaṅkarā, stading in front of Sumedhā prophesied as follows: ‘This young ascetic, lying down as a bridge at the risk of his life, will become a Buddha like me in the future.’ On hearing this, the audience cheered and honoured Sumedhā. The Buddha did not tread on him, but passed by him. The disciples of the Buddha followed suit. The future Buddha, ascetic Sumedhā, having gained the prophec, having gained the prophecy made by the Dīpaṅkara Buddha, got up and sat crosslegged with great joy. When he reviewed ways and means to be a Buddha, he found the The Nobel Perfections – i.e. charity. morality…etc. While he reflected on the Ten Perfections repeatedly, the earth shook violently as if cheering the Budhisatta.2

1.1.2 The Fulfillment of the Perfections

The perfections are the most important practices a Bodhisatta has to fulfill in his career for the attainment of Buddhahood[footnoteRef:2]. The meaning of parami was defined by several scholars. Dhammapala states that perfections are the virtues such as giving, morality. Bodhisattas are the best among beings, the highest, etc. Perfection is their state or condition or action, like the act of giving, etc. It is otherwise called the highest, because it fulfills. The Bodhisatta is the best or the highest as he is an accomplisher and a guardian of virtues like giving. Perfection is the state of the highest person, ie (Bodhisatta) or (his) action like the act of meaning. [2: BTB. p. 267 . 2 The teachings of the Buddha (basic level) p.219]

A similar definition is given to disciple. While explaining the meaning of SAvaka-pAramippatto, at PTS III 653 its author MahAnama states that perfection is reaching the end of the knowledge of disciple. In this instance, he repeated the expression of “Pramassabhavo kammamva parami” referring to the disciple. This shows that the term PAramI has two meanings; one is to refer to the highest state or condition and the other is the technical sense of perfection themselves. The former is Bhava and the later Kamma. This definition therefore shows that the term PAramI can apply not only to Bodhistva but also disciples. Some PAli scholars state that etymologies of the worlds Parami and PAramita are basically two types. One is to take, for instance, the word PAramita as consisting of two components ParaM (The opposite bank, the further shore) and “Ita” (gone). The other is to take it as a derivative from the word Parama (highest condition, highest point, best states, perfection, etc.) In the PAli sources, the word PAramI occurs in the SuttanipAta, one of the early texts in the canon, in the sense of achieving the very end (Nitthagamana) as the commentary interprets it.[footnoteRef:3] [3: BTB. p. 284]

The Parami in the technical sense of perfection, according to ten numbers occurs for the first time in the BuddhavaMsa of the khuddaka Nikaya in the Pali tradition. The ten paramis, according to the BuddhavaMsa, are as follows;

(1) Dana (Generosity/Giving )

(2) Sila (Virtue/Morality)

(3) Nekkhamma (Renunciation)

(4) Panna(Wisdom)

(5) Viriya (Energy)

(6) Khanti (Patience)

(7) Sacca (Truthfulness)

(8) Adhitthana (Determination)

(9) Metta (Loving-kindness)

(10) Upekkha (Equanimity)[footnoteRef:4] [4: Bv. I. v. 76]

The number of PAramitas in Mahayana Buddhism is generally accepted as six. They included dana, sila, ksanti, viriya, dhyana and prajga. Lists of ten with supplementary pAramitas are also found in the Buddhist Sanskrit Literature. The Abhidharma-mahAvibhasa-sastra records that ‘Foreign Master’ enumerates six pAramitas, which is erroneous, and the number must be four since ksantI should be in included in sila, and dhyana in prajga. This position was taken by the Kashimirain Vaibhasikas. Further, it is reported that the Tibetan Literature has a treaties on the five pAramitas. The fact that various authorities speak of different numbers may suggest that doctrine of pAramitas was the result of a gradual growth.[footnoteRef:5] Whatever the pAramis are ten or six or five or four in number, whatever Buddhism it is either Theravada or Mahayana, those who have aspire to become the Buddha, must undoubtedly fulfill these pAramis because these are either the ripening the path to NibbAna or the ripening of omniscient knowledge. Without fulfilling these pAramis, it is no doubt that no one can become the Buddhahood under any circumstances however hard he tries. [5: BTB. p.269; TP. p. 10]

The ascetic Sumehdā, the Bodhisatta, fulfilled the Ten Perfections with unshakable effort throughout his uncountable existences. The Fulfillment of the Perfection of Charity

Firstly, he fulfilled the perfection of charity, giving away his own properties, both animate and inanimate to others. By the fulfillment of the perfection of charity, he did not aspire to receive worldly pleasures,but to achieve the Supreme Enlightenment. He fulfilled the perfection of charitFirstly, he fulfilled the perfection of charity, giving away his own properties, both animate and inanimate to others. By the fulfillment of the perfection of charity, he did not aspire to receive worldly pleasures, but to achieve the Supreme Enlightenment. He fulfilled the perfection of charity in many existences. Among them the lives of King Sivi and King Vessantarā are very well known. King Sivi, the Bodhisatta, was very earnest in giving charity, and so Sakka, the king of Devas, wanted to investigate his inclination. Thus, the Sakka, in the form of an old blind Brahmin, asked for an eye of King Sivi. King Sivi took out both of his eyes and offered them to him willingly.

Also, the Bodhisatta, in the life of King Vessantarā, donated food, clothing and other utensils, that were valued at six hundred-thousand silver coins, in six pavilions daily. Once, the Brahmins form Kalinga asked the king to donate to them the invaluable white elephant and the king offered it generously too. The people objected to the last donation, for the white elephant was regarded as a great honourable treasure to the country and to the people. Therefore, he had to leave his royal palace and live as an ascetic in the valley of Vankabā in the Himavanta together with his Queen Maddī Devī, his son Jāli and his daughter Kahnājina. During that time, the Brahmin Jūjakā asked for his children and he offered them. He also offered his wife Queen Maddī to the Sakka who disguised himself as a Brahmin.

Thus, the Bodhisatta had donated not only his own properties but also his wife and children in the fulfillment of the perfection of charity throughout his past existences. Moreover, he had sacrificed his own limbs and even his own life without hesitation in many existences. The Fulfillment of the Perfection of Morality

Controlling bolidy and verbal actions in order to avoid demerits is called Morality or Precepts (Sīla). There are different kinds of Sīla – five precepts, eight precepts, –etc. The Bodhisatta fulfilled the perfection of morality in his many past lives. There is a well known example of Prince Alīnasattu who fulfilled the perfection of morality. The father of Prince Alīnasattu, whine hunting in the forest, got to a banyan tree that was dominated by an ogre who had the right to catch and eat everybody who passed nearby. He returned home after giving a promise to the ogre that he would come back the next day to be eaten by the ogre. When his son Alīnasattu learnt about that matter, the prince himself went to the ogre on behalf of his father. When the ogre saw the prince coming boldly, the ogre dared not kill him. Finally, the ogre listened to the teaching of the prince and became one who observed the five precepts. The Bodhisatta had already sacrificed his life to fulfil the pertection of charity. Why dared not he rist his life in fulfilling the perfection of morality? The Fulfilment of the Perfection of Renunciation

Leading an ascetic life and forsaking worldly sensual pleasures is called the fulfillment of the perfection of renunciation. There are many lives of the Bodhisatta in which he fulfilled the perfection of renunciation. Of them, the life of Prince Ayoghara is the most notable. After the birth of Prince Ayoghara, he had to live only in an iron cage due to the danger of ogres. He had to learn lessons there up to the age of sixteen. When he was sixteen, his father arranged to give him the throne and he was taken out of the cage. At that time, the prince thought to himself: ‘I had been in my mother’s womb for ten months and in the iron cage for sixteen years. Though I had escaped from them, I have not escaped from death yet.’ So, he relinquished the royal throne and went to the forest to lead an ascetic life. The Fulfilment of the Perfection of Wisdom

In fulfilling the perfection of wisdom one has to seek the knowledge and develop wisdom first. Then one has to teach others what one has already learnt and perform meritorious deeds for the welfare of others with his knowledge. Such a deed is called the fulfillment of the perfection of wisdom. It is obvious that the Bodhisatta Mahosadha, in the fulfillment of the perfection of wisdom, performed public welfare-work by the power of his wisdom. King Cūlanī Brahmadatta planned to arrest one hundred kings of the Jambudīpa and kill them by poisoning their liquors. Mahosadha, the wise man, destroyed that plan by the power of his wisdom. Moreover, Mahosadha,by his wisdom, was able to settle the dispute between the two kings, Cūlanī Brahcadatta and Videgarāja, to a peaceful situation without any casuality. The Fulfilment of the Perfection of Effort

Every exertion for the welfare of all beings is called the fulfillment of the perfection of effort. The Bodhisatta never slackened his effort. Either for his own benefit or for others, he diligently put forth strenuous effort without hesitation. He never gave up any thing out of idleness or sleepiness; he was always diligent regardless of heat or cold, early or late. In the life of Mahājanaka, the diligent effort of the Bodhisatta was notable. One day, Mahājanaka, together with seven hundred people, sailed in a ship for the sake of trading in other lands. While the ship was crossing the seas, it was violently struck by a storm. Although all men on board were desperate and did not attempt to survive the disaster, the Bodhisatta used all his strength and swam in the wide ocean for seven days. Then he not only escaped from the disaster with the help of the goddess Manimekhalā but also gained the throne of Mithīlā. If he did not make any effort to swim, he would not meet anyone who would save him, and he would die like others. The Fulfilment of the Perfection of Patience

Tolerance and forbearance arise out of a peaceful mind with the thought: ‘If I retaliate the ill- treatment done to me by a stupid person, I shall also be a stupid one.’ Such a practice is called the fulfillment of the perfection of patience. The Bodhisatta, for the welfare of all beings, fulfilled the perfection of patience in every existence. Regarding the fulfillment of the perfection of patience, the life of the great monkey-king is remarkable. While a Brahmin, the future Devadatta, climbed up a tree, a branch broke, and he fell into a ravine. As the monkey saw him crying, the monkey took him out of the ravine. While the tire monkey was sleeping with his head upon the brahmin’s lap, the stupid ungrateful Brahmin mercilessly struck the monkey’s head with a stone in order to have its flesh as his meal. So, the monkey woke up and suddenly ran up a tree. But the monkey still worried that the stupid Brahmin might lose his way in the forest and die. As he dared not get down to the ground, he jumped from one tree to another, showing the Brahmin the way to his home by the drops of blood shedding from his head. The Fulfilment of the Perfection Truthfulness

Telling the truth and keeping one’s promise is called the perfection of truthfulness. The Bodhisatta did not tell lies; he kept his word he promised others and he did as he said in order to fulfill the perfection of truthfulness.

The life of King Mahāsutasoma is remarkable in the fulfillment of the perfection truthfulness. While the Bodhisatta became Mahāsutasoma, King Porisāda was expelled from his country, because he was found eating human flesh. He lived in a forest hunting human beings passing by. One day his sole was pierced by a sharp stump. In order to heal the wound, he made a pledge to the guardian deva of a banyan tree, saying: ‘Oh Deva, help me, please! If you heal my wound during one week. I will offer you as a sacrifice the blood from the throats of all Jambudīpa kings.’ Within one week his wound healed of its own accord, but he thought that it was cured by the guardian deva of the banyan tree. Thus he caught all Jumbudīpa Kings to offer their blood as a sacrifice. King Sutacoma, just before being arrested, made a promise to a buahmin to listen to the Dhamma propounded by the Brahmin. So he requested Porisāda to let him fulfill his promise to the Brahmin, promising that he would come back after listening to the Dhamma. Porisāda released him easily. After he had heard the Dhamma, though he knew that he would be killed, he came back to Porisāda without breaking his promise. Poresāda was surprised to see him again and asked why he was not afraid to die. King Sutasoma preached the Dhamma to Porisāda and thus Porisāda became a good man. So he released all the arrested kings. With the help of King Sutasoma. Porisāda regained his kingdom. The Fulfillment of the Perfection of Resolution

The Pāli word, ‘Adhitthāna’ means firm determination or resolution to perform the good deeds that have already been planned to be done. The Bodhisatta, in his many past existences, fulfilled the perfection of resolution. It is most obvious that the Bodhisatta fulfilled the perfection of resolution in the life of Prince Temiya. The Bodhisatta, in his previous existence before the life of Prince Temiya, had been born in niraya for some minor error in his judgement as a king in settling disputes. The one-month-old prince Temiya, lying under a white royal parasol, attained the knowledge of Jātissara that could recall the previous existences. While he was gazing at the white parasol, he saw his life in hell. He was greatly shocked and afraid of becoming a king. So, the goddess of the white parasol, who had been his mother in a past life, knowing this intention, advised him thus, ‘My beloved son, Temiya, don’t be afraid; if you don’t want to be a king, pretend yourself to be a dump and deaf person.’

From that time onwards, he made up his mind to pretend to be a dumb and deaf person. So he did not speak and he did not listen to anyone. When he was sixteen, his father decided that he was not worth of the royal throne and gave the order to expel him to the forest and kill him there. When he was about to be killed, he explained to his parents why he pretended to be deaf and dumb. Then he made himself a recluse. The Fulfillment of the Perfection of Loving-kindness (Mettā)

Mettā means wishing for the well-being of others. One, who has cultivated loving-kindness, does not look at others’ faults even when he is insulted verbally or bodily. Viewing only the virtues of others, he goes on endeavouring for others’ welfare.

To become a fully-enlightened Buddha, the Bodhisatta fulfilled the perfectionof loving-kindness in his many past exisences. In the life of the ascetic Suvannasāma, he lived in the fores and looked after his parents who were blinded by a venmous snake. He also loved with true loving-kindness harmless animals as well as sild beasts such as lions, tigers, leopards, etc. He cultivated loving-kindness firmly and never felt angry even towards the king, Pīliyakkha, who shot him with a poisoned arrow, taking him tho be a beast. Later, by the power of loving-kindness and truthfulness, the poison became ineffective and diasappeared. Thus not only his life was saved but also his parents regained their eye-sight. The Fulfillment of the Perfection of Equanimity

The Pāli word ‘Upekkhā’ means equilibrium of the mind, not having a bias on account of hatred or love. The life of Lomahamsa was very famous in the fulfillment of the perfection of equanimity. Lomahamsa, the Bodhisatta, when his parents died, gave all his properties in donation and went into a forest. Although he wished to become an ascetic, he did not have a desire to be praised by people. So he wandered around with a single set of clothing. He did not stay for a long time in a place where he was well treated and revered. When he reached a village, though he was jeered and mocked insolently by wicked children and drunkards, he was not angry with them. In a cemetery, he was slept with his head on a skull. The wicked kids gathered, and insulted him by spitting and discharging excrement and urine on him. He neither got angry with the children nor blamed them, nor felt depressed. Some people offered him flowers, good food and drinks. But he did not feel affectionate towards them either. His attitude towards good and bad was indifferent. He steadfastly maintained an equilibrium of mind (Upekkhā) under any situation. Ten Pāramīs and Thirty Pāramīs

When the above ten Pāramīs are multiplied by Pāramī (minor Perfection), Upapārami (middle Perfection) and Paremattha Pāramī (major perfection), there are altogether thirty kinds of Pāramī. For example, if material things are donated as the fulfillment of Pāramī, it is called Dāna Pāramī. If body-organs such as eye and kidney are given away, it is called Dāna Upapārami. Moreover, if one’s own life is offered to others, it is called Dāna Pāramī.

The Bodhisatta, who constantly fulfilled the Ten Prefections through four Asankhyeyyas and one lakh world systems, reached the zenith of his fulfillment in the life of King Vesantarā.

1.1.3 Three Noble Practices (Cariya)

The Bodhisatta, in fulfilling the perfections throughout his previous existences, practiced the following three cariyas:-

(a) Lokattha Cariya= the noble practice aiming at the welfare of all beings;

(b) Nātattha Cariya = the noble practice aiming at the welfare of his own relatives and race;

(c) Buddhattha Cariya= the noble practice aiming at becoming the fully enlightened Buddha who can save beings from the sufferings of Samsāra.

1.1.4 The Fivefold Great Sacrifice

In the exercise of Ten perfections in his many past existences, the Bodhisatta made the following fivefold great sacrifice:-

(1) the sacrifice of the most valuable treasure, royal kingdom and royal properties (Dhanapariccāga);

(2) the sacrifice of sons and daughters (Puttapariccāga);

(3) the sacrifice of one’s wife (Bhariyapariccāga);

(4) the sacrifice of one’s limb (Angapariccāga); and

(5) the sacrifice of one’s own life (Jīvitapariccāga).

The Bodhisata fulfilled the perfections, the fivefold sacrifices and the three cariyas throughout his past existences, in order to achieve only one reward, i.e. the Omniscience or Sabbaññutañāna is so great that the Tathāgatas have to exert great effort for a very long durationin order to achieve it.

1.1.5 Incomparable Achievements Arise out of Incomparabel Sacrifices

The Bodhisatta’s sacrificial and selfless efforts, aiming at the reward of the Omniscience, are only for the welfare of all beings, but not for his own. Everyone should help others liberally for their welfare. As these perfections lead the whole society to peace and prosperity, he who fulfils the perfections can also achieve success as much as he does.

As a matter of fact, the Bodhisatta gave his life as a sacrifice for the welfare of the world selflessly and peerlessly. So he was endowed with everything needed in his final life. He is incomparable! He is supreme! He is peerless! We should follow the perfect example of the Buddha!

1.1.6 The Life of Prince Siddhattha, the Future Buddha The Demise from the Abode of Devas

After being prophesied by Dipankarā Buddha and the other twenty three Buddhas who appeared during four Asankhyeyyas and one hundred thousand world cycles as well, the Bodhisatta fulfilled the Perfections. He had accumulated the ten Perfections completely by the time he was reborn as King Vessantara. And then he was reborn as Deva Setaketu in the abode of Tusitā. The Deva enjoyed the supreme divine bless throughout his life. When the end of his life drew near, the Devas and the Brahmas from ten thousand universes gathered and approached him. They requested, ‘Dear Deva, it is the right time for you to become a Buddha. May you be reborn in the human bode.’ The Five Great Observation

The Bodhisatta Deva did not consent to their request instantly; he first made the following five great observations:-

(1) Period (Kāla) : The proper period for a Buddha to appear is when the life-span of human beings is between one hundred thousand years and one hundred years.

(2) Island-Continent (Dīpa) : Among the four great island continents, only the Jambudīpa or the Southern Island-continent is the place where Buddhas appear.

(3) Place (Desa) : Even in the southern Island- continent, Buddhas appear only in Majjhima Desa-Middle Regions.

(4) Clan (Kula) : In Majjhima Desa, Buddhas came of only royal clan, khatthiya, or Buahmana clan.

(5) The Mother’s Life-span (Mātu āyupariccneda) The future mother of Buddha must possess good moral characterand must have fulfilled the perfections for one hundred thousand worlds. Moreover, her life-span must be such that she dies on the seventh day after giving birth to the Bodhisatta. The Birth of the Bodhisatta at Lumbini Park

The Deva Setaketu, after making the five great observations, agreed to be rebon in the human sbode. Soon after he gave his promise, he passed away from the abode of Tusitā, and was duly conceived in the womb of Mahāmayā Devī, the chief queen of King Suddhodana. Right at the time of his conception there broke out a violent earthquake. The date of his conception was Thursday, the fullmoon day of Waso (about July) in the year 67 Mahā Era (624 B.C). While Mahāmayaā Devī was sleeping in her royal chamber, having observed eight precepts she dreamed as follows:-

‘The four Kings of Devas bathed her in Lake Anotatta in the Himavanta and dressed herin celestial constumes. Next she was put to sleep with her head towards the east in the golden mansion inside the silver mountain. At that time she felt that a white elephant entered her womb through her right side.’ The three Bold Utterances

On the fullmoon day of Kason (about May), the royal mother, Mahāmāyā Devī, set out on a journey Devadahs where her relatives lived. Now the ten-month gestation period had ended. Between Kapilavatthu and Devadaha, there was a grove of Sal trees known as Lumbinī.

The Sal trees were in full bloom. The Bodhisatta was born while the royal mother was holding on to a branch of a fully blooming Sal tree. At that time, too, the earth quaked violently.

Devas and Buahmas paid homage to the Bodhisatta who had just been born. The Bodhisatta prince, standing on the ground, looked towards the ten directions. After taking seven steps northwards and standing erect firmly on the ground, he boldly proclaimed the following solemn utterances:-

(a) Aggohamasami Lokassa:

I am the foremost among the living beings of the world.

(b) Jetthohamasami Lokassa:

I am the greatest among the living being of the world.

(c) Setthohamasami Lokassa:

I am the noblest among ther living beings of the world.

Next, the royal mother, Mahāmāyā, returned to Kapialvatthu with her son, the bodhisatta prince. The Bodhisatta was born on Friday, the fullmoon day of Kason (about May) in the year 69 Mahā Era (623 B.C).Mahāmāyā passed away on the seventh day after giving birth to her son and was reborn in the Tusitārealm. Handing over the Throne to the Bodhisatta

The royal father King Suddhodana viter the brahim prophets. who mastered the three Vedas, and asked them to examine the physical marks of the prince on the fifth days after he had been delivered.The seven Brahmins predicted: ‘If the prince leads the life of a householden, he will become a Universal Monarch; if the renounces the world he will become a Buddha.’ The youngest prophet Kondañña, however, prophesied, ‘He will certainly become a Buddha.’ The prince was named Siddhattha as he could fulfill the desires of all living beings and bring about their prosperity as well. He belonged to the Gotama clan, and looked after the prince on behalf of her elder sister.

At the age of sixteen, the prince head already learnt what a prince should do. King Suddhodana wanted his son to become a Universal Monarch. The King managed to construct the three grand, magnificient mansions called Ramma, Subha and Suramma as royal residence for the prince to sojourn during the three seasons in turn and he crowned the prince king so that the latter should not renounce the world and live in the forest.

The prince chose Yasodarā as his consort. She was the daughter of King Suppabuddha who was the brother of his late mother. He made her his chief queen and lived in the lap of great luxury at each of the three seasons. Seeing the Four Great Omens

Prince Siddhattha, after enjoying the luxurious pleasures of a King for 13 years, came to the age of twenty-nine. He used to go to the royal garden together with his retinue. On his way to the royal garden, he saw the four great omens, namely an old man, a sick man, a dead the age of twenty-nine. He used to go to the royal garden together with his retinue. On his way to the royal garden, he saw the four great omens, namely an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a recluse. Each of them was created by devas (gods) after an interval of four months. The royal father Suddhodana took measures to prevent the Bodhisatta from seeing these miserable sights with the help of his guards, because he was worried that the Bodhisatta might renounce the worldly life. So the Bodhisatta had never seen the aged, the sick, the dead and the recluse till then. When he saw the four great omens consecutively, he was shocked and remorseful. An idea flashed into his mind: ‘I shall also, one day, become old, sick and die.’ He could not bring himself to enjoy the luxury and pleasures of the palace. Therefore, he was determined: ‘I shall renounce the worldly pleasures today to become a recluse like the one I had seen.’ While he was staying in the royal garden, he was informed that his chief queen Yasodarā had given birth to a son and he was startled, thinking; ‘There appears one more fetter.’ And he decided, ‘I will renounce the world tonight.’

He murmured: ‘This son will hinder me from renouncing the world just like the Deīl Rāhu seizing the moon.’ That is why the royal son was named Rāhulā.

When he got to the palace from the royal garden, he went to bed early, because he did not want to enjoy the royal entertainment as usual. The lady attendants fell asleep in the light of scented oil- lamps. They were all asleep—some with their things or calves exposed, some with saliva oozing from the corners of their lips, some opening their mouths wide, some snoring and some rolling, turning and talking in their sleep. When the Bodhisatta woke up at midnight, he felt as if the sleeping lady-attendants were corpses and he himself were in a cemetery. So he decided to leave the palace at once. The Deterrence of the Evil Māra and the Welcome of Devas and Brahmas

The Bodhisatta woke up Channa and ordered him to get the royal horse Kandaka saddled. Then he went to the royal chamber of Yasodarā as he wished to see his son. Yasodarā with the son by her side was sleeping, embracing him warmly. Although he wanted to take his son into his hands, he turned back form the threshold of the chamber lest she would be awakened and be a disturbance to his renunciation.

The Bodhisatta, riding on Kandaka, left the palace along with Minister Channa. It was Monday, the fullmoon day of Waso, 97 Mahā Era (594 B.C). Thereupon, the evil Māra, standing in the sky, deterred him, saying: ‘On the seventh day from now, the flying Wheel Treasure will appear and you will be the Universal Monarch who rules over the four island continents. Do not renounce this world.’

‘Oh, Māra, I know that the Wheel Treasure will arise seven days later. I don’t want the Universal Kingship. I will strive to become a Buddha.’ So saying he went on his journey. The devas and the bramas who were looking forward to the appearance of the Buddha were delighted so much that they went together with the Bodhisatta, holding up beautiful, colourful torches, scattering flowers and sandalwood powder, singing and playing musical instruments. The Lamentation of the Whole place

On reaching the other bank of Anomā river at dawn, the Bodhisatta took his hair-knot by one hand, and with a sword in the other, cut it off. The hair remained at that length, i.e. at two finger-breadth, until his death.

When he threw up the hair-knot into the sky, making a solemn resolution: ‘If I should certainly become a Buddha, may this hair stay in the sky’, the hair did stay in the sky. Kakka, the king of devas, received it with a jeweled casket and took it to Tāvatimsa. Then he built the Culāmani pagoda, enshrining the hair relic in it.

Next the Bodhisatta received the almsbowl and the yellow robes offered by the Brahma Ghatikāra. Then, donning the robe, he took up the life of an ascetic. Brahma Ghatikāra took the royal dress of the Bodhisata to the Brahma abode and built Dussa Cetiya, enshrining the dress. The bodhisatta sent his minister Channa with the horse Kandaka back to the capital. Kandaka left his master in great despair. When it lost sight of its master, it could bear its grief no more and died. Channa continued his journey alone and reported the news to the king. On hearing the news, the whole palace burst into tears. The Request of Bimbisāra

After becoming an ascetic, the Bodhisatta stayed in the mango grove called Anuppiya near Anoma river for seven days and then he proceeded to Rājagaha. When he went into the town for alms-food, the citizens looked admiringly at the splendid and greaceful appearance of the Bodhisatta. On hearing the news, King Bimbisāra followed and pleaded with the Bodhisatta who was residing at the foot of Mount Pantava. The King pleaded with the Bodhisatta not to lead a homeless life as he was still very young. Moreover, the King admired and respected the Bodhisataso much athat he offered his kingship to the Boddhisatta. The Bodhisatta refused what he was offered. At last King Bimbisāra requested the Bodhisatta to come first to his country when he attained the Buddhahood.

1.1.7 Practising Austerities Devas Thought that Siddhattha was dead

The Bodhisatta left for the groves not far from the southern part of Rājagaha. He placed himself under the guidance of the two ascetic leaders, Ālāra and Udaka, and practiced for Jhāna (concentration). He soon agained the mundane jhanic ecstay. Knowing his capability, the two ascetic leaders made him leader as themselves. But he did not accept their proposals. He decided that the power of his jhānic ecstasy was not the way to attain the omniscience. Thus he proceeded to the Uruvela grove.

In those days, there prevailed an ideology among the ascetics that one can attain enlightenment only by means of practicing strenuous and severe austerities. Hence the Bodhisatta practiced them in the Uruvela grave for six years. He took food very sparingly. He undertook the difficult practice very severely, having just a fruit for the whole day. Sometimes he took no food at all. His flesh and blood dried up because of the severe self denial. The thirty-two special bodily marks disappeared and the bright golden complexion became gray also. The skin of the belly stuck to the spinal-cord. His sacred body was reduced to a skeleton. Indeed, he was nearly dying. The skin of the head wrinkled wnd withered like a little tender gourd dried up in the sun. As he was very frail, he fell down and fainted while walking with the contemplation of breathing-out and breathing-in. Some devas thought that Siddhattha was dead.

After having practiced austerities for six years, he reflected that he would not be able to attain enlightenment unless he was healthy and strong. So he went round for alms again and followed the Middle Way (Majjhimapatipadā). Thus, his complexion became golden and bright again; and he became strong enough to practice the Middle Way. The thirty-two special bodily marks of the greatest man reappeared. The group of five ascetics—Kondañña, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahānāma and Assaji—had attended to the Bodhisatta while he was practicing austerities for six long years. They were looking forward to hear the very first discourse when he attained Buddhahood. Nevertheless, when he partook of food again by going round for alms to sustain himself and followed the Middle Way, they became disappointed with him. So they departed from him and left for the Migadāya (Deer Park). Sujāta’s Offering of Milk-Rice

There was a market town called Senā near Urūvela Grove. Sujāta, the daughter of a wealthy man there, offered food in oblation to the deva of a banyan tree on the fullmoon day of Kason yearly as all her wishes were fulfilled. On the fullmoon day of Kason of that year, Sujāta offered the gold cup with milk-rice in it to the Bodhisatta, who was sitting magnificently under the bayan tree. She thought that the guardian deva himself was sitting to receive her offering.

After the Bodhisatta had cleansed himself in the River Nerañjarā, he took forty-nine mouthfuls of milk-rice. After he had taken the food he placed the gold cup afloat in the river, making the solemn resolution: ‘If I shall become a Buddha today, may this gold cup float upstream.’ The gold cup floated up stream for eighty cubits and then sank down. Vanquishing the Māra

Then the Bodhisatta stayed the whole day in the Sal grove near Nerañjarā, reflecting on the constituent parts of the body. In the evening, on the way to the Bodhi Tree, he accepted eight handfuls of grass offered by Sotthiya, the grass-cutter. The Bodhisatta approached the Bodhi Tree from the east, went around the tree clockwise three times, and scattered the eight handfuls of grass at the foot of the tree. Thereupon, the magnificent jeweled throne, ‘Aparājita pallanka’ appeared marvelously, He sat cross-legged on it facing eastward with his back against the trunk of the Bodhi Tree.

Then hemade the solemn resolution: ‘Let my flesh and blood dry up, and let only my skin, nervesandbones remain! Never shall I unfold this cross-legged position until I attain Buddhood!’ Then the Bodhisatta cultivated mind fullness of breathing-out and breathing-in and remained completely absorbed in the fourth jhānic ecstasy.

On seeing the Bodhisatta seated with firm and solemnresolution, Māraknew that the Bodhisattawould certainly attain Buddhahood on that day. So he disturbed and fougth him, riding Girimekhalā elephant and leading numerous fighting forces armed with various weapons. Māra attacked the Bodhisatta incessantly by creating violent storms, by showering weapons and hotash, etc., as if the world were going to e destroyed. The Bodhisatta however, vanquishedhim by virtue of the power of Perfections which he had accomplished through four asankhyeyyas and one hundred-thousand worlds. The Bodhisatta repulsed successfully the force of Māra before the sun-set. The Attainment of Buddhahood

Contemplating on mindfulness of breathing-out and breathing-in and remaining absorbed in the fourth Ānāpāna jhanic ecstasy, the Bodhisattagained the Pubbenivāsānussatiñāna—the power that recollects past existencesof himself as well as of others—during the first watch of the night. In the middle watch of the night. In the middle watch of the night, heattained Dibbacakkhuñāna—thepower of wupernormal vision to see penetratively things, big or small

1.2. Buddhism

Buddhism is the teachings of the Buddha which are taught by Him during 45 years. It is not a religion of neither faith nor soul system. It is the noble way of life. We can divide Buddhism into three portions. The first one is Vinaya- pertaining to morality, the second Suttanta concerning with concentration and the third Abhidhamma related to wisdom. In the Vinaya, the Buddha taught many fundamental and highest rules and regulations for the Order of monks and nuns and human society. The noble disciplinary rules which we should abide by from the beginning of one life till Nibbana, are found in it. In Suttanta, we can see many kinds of discourse which were taught by the Buddha in various ways and in different places. In the Abhidhamma, there are many profound Dhammas which cannot be thought with normal knowledge by normal people. Buddhism is indeed based on morality, concentration and wisdom and freedom for thought. The Buddha never demands blind faith from his followers but he always advises them to come and see and later choose the ways which should be suitable form them to practice for liberation. He had already showed the ways to happiness in many canonical texts. Therefore, before acceptance the Buddhism we firstly should come to study the teaching s of Buddha in detail. Then only can we understand about Buddhism well. As the second step, we need to practice it with much effort. And than as the third stage, we will realize the way to happiness and find out of our liberation in Samsara. So, as another way, we can call Buddhism as one kind of religion based on study, practice and knowledge.

When we went to back to view the religions that appeared during the 6th BC, we could find that most of them were based on God or Creator. So here we have to know how the religions appeared in the world. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha said

“When threatened with danger, men go to many a refuge, – to hills, woods, groves, trees, and shrines. But such a refuge is not a safe refuge, not the best refuge. One is not liberated from all evil consequences of existence (dukkha) for having come to such a refuge.”

Thousands of years back, man noticed many wonderful occurrences when he started to think of various kinds of natural phenomena in this world. By the time of the certain natural forces were not in his favor, he had to face sufferings and he had seen disasters and terrifying events. Then he began to consider how he could protect these unfavorable conditions that created fear, suspicion, insecurity, tension and pain. He find out many of these things were beyond comprehension and therefore, he thought there must be some invisible powerful supernatural forces or persons behind all these happenings. These events which were difficult to understand were thought to be the work of various ‘gods’. He began to worship them and to make animal sacrifices hoping to please these supernatural powers. He also started to praise and worship in thanksgiving when certain phenomena were in his favor, thinking that these too were the acts of the gods. The aim of these practices was to gain protection and blessings form these gods to in this world without facing many difficulties. When these concepts started to develop, certain other important practices were also incorporated. They are rites, rituals and ceremonies or festivals. Separate communities organized them in accordance with their own needs in their own geographical regions. When there was a big enough body of ceremonies and philosophical thought, ‘religion’ became an intrinsic part of every civilization.

The foundation of religion was laid by man at the beginning for self-preservation because of fear, suspicion, insecurity, misunderstanding of life and natural phenomena. These served as the foundation for religion as materials like bricks, stones, sand, cement and earth are used for laying the foundation of a building.

After that, man embellished this building of religion by introducing faith, offerings, prayers, vows, penalties, morals and ethics in the name of god in order to control mankind, and also to find out an eternal place called paradise for everlasting happiness and peace of the soul. Many years later after accepting the supernatural powers as worship, another religion named ‘Buddhism’ came into being in the world. In spite of being later religion, the leader of Buddhism did not use any kinds of those wrong and old beliefs. He did not exploit the concept of god, the soul-theory, eternal hell or eternal heaven to formulate Buddhism. He did not show fear and distorted views regarding the natural phenomena to support his religion. Neither did he demand blind faith nor unnecessary rites and rituals. He never believed in self-torture, the imposition of penalties or commandments in the propagation of Buddhism nor did He also seek the authority of any external divine agency to strengthen his arguments. For the sake of erecting this religious building called Buddhism, He used original ideals or materials ;as the Right Understanding of life, the world and natural phenomena or the cosmic order and the real characteristics of mind and matter, elements and energies, moral and spiritual development, discipline, mental training and purification, knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment.

1.2.1 Basic Doctrines Tri-Pitaka (orTipitaka)

Tripitaka is the collection of the teachings of the Buddha over 45 years in the Pali language, and it consists of Sutta—conventional teaching, Vinaya —disciplinary code, and Abhidhamma—moral psychology.

The Tripitaka was compiled and arranged in its present form by those Arahants who had immediate contact with the Master Himself.

The Buddha has passed away, but the sublime Dhamma which He unreservedly bequeathed to humanity still exists in its pristine purity.

Although the Master has left no written records of His Teachings, His distinguished disciples preserved them by committing to memory and transmitting them orally from generation to generation.

Immediately after the final passing away of the Buddha, 500 distinguished Arahants held a convention known as the First Buddhist Council to rehearse the Doctrine taught by the Buddha. Venerable Ananda, the faithful attendant of the Buddha who had the special privilege of hearing all the discourses the Buddha ever uttered, recited the Dhamma, whilst the Venerable Upali recited the Vinaya, the rules of conduct for the Sangha.

One hundred years after the First Buddhist Council, during King Kalasoka, some disciples saw the need to change certain minor rules. The orthodox monk said that nothing should be changed while the others insisted on modifying some disciplinary rules(Vinaya). Finally, the formation of different schools of Buddhism germinated after this council. And in the Second Council, only matters pertaining to the Vinaya were discussed and no controversy about the Dhamma was reported.


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Glossary of Basic Buddhist Terms. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from

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