Sunday, March 8, 2009

Story Of The Buddha And Buddhism ( Part 1 - 4 )

Part 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 "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 heart's content.He then left for the Himalaya forests and became a hermit.

Part 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 mind's 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)

Part 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

Part 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.