The noble life of The Lord Buddha and his remarkable historic journey along the path to enlightenment is one of the most illustrious stories known to the world. Admired and recounted in countless ways before, it has served as an untarnished shining example of a righteous and perfect being, searching for and discovering the greatest source of all knowledge. This knowledge embodies the Universal Truth, an immaculate key to empower with wisdom and awareness everyone regardless of race, creed or religion. It inevitably leads them to rejoice in the self-discovery of the perfect peace and happiness that lies hidden within them.
Since first encountering Buddhism, finding himself inextricably drawn by an overwhelmingly intense desire to study the subject in-depth to conclusion, an unfaltering resolve of Abbot Dhammajayo (Most Ven. Phrarajbhavanavisudh) of Wat Phra Dhammakaya Temple has been to share the true nature of the legacy bestowed by The Lord Buddha with the people of the world. This reflects his committed strong faith in Buddhism, his appreciation for the Dhamma and his profound respect towards The Lord Buddha. As a result of over 40-years of meticulous research on the Mahapurisalakkhana or the 32 characteristics of The Great Man, he would like to correctly portray the exact appearance of the Lord Buddha as stated in the Tipitaka or Buddhist Scriptures. This research has been conducted using several methods including: a scientific and medical collection of data, artistic research, Buddhist scriptural research and, most importantly, the accuracy has been enhanced and purified by the clarity of enlightened wisdom and understanding attained through the practice of meditation.
The objective of this presentation is to humbly reflect the respect we acknowledge to our Holy Father Lord Buddha, expressing our sincere appreciation to Him for sharing the greatest of all knowledge with those that choose to follow in his footsteps. Our hope is that we offer inspiration to the reader so that they also may feel encouraged to experiment and joyously benefit from The Lord Buddha‘s Dhamma as we have. A compilation selected from over 40-years of Abbot Dhammajayo’s extensive works, the intention is to reveal his vision and the true nature and appearance of The Lord Buddha to all who choose to embrace The Lord Buddha’s example and guidance. It is the Abbot’s belief that The Lord Buddha’s teachings can be faithfully spread throughout the world when all Buddhist communities unite together as one, in the same way that there is only one sun in the sky. It is our wish and hope that this book will be, at some point in the reader’s life, of true and meaningful benefit. May the power resulting from the act of sharing this knowledge bestow peace and happiness upon all of humanity forevermore.
The Bodhisatta Sacrificed His Life to Accrue Perfections
The great Bodhisatta vowed to achieve self-enlightenment so as to lead all humans and celestial beings to attainment. He spent exactly 20 Asankheyyas and 100,000 Kappas to pursue Ten Perfections at all three levels. Exhausted all His worldly wealth and life, He donated His blood, body parts, heads, and eyes for countless times. When all the Perfections were accomplished, the Boddhisatta was reborn in the celestial heaven of Tusita as its sovereign King Santusita. It was there that He waited for the right opportunity to be born as a human being and become a Buddha.
Five Factors to Determine the Birth of Lord Buddha
When it was the right time for the Bodhisatta to be born as the Buddha, a congregation of celestial beings came to beseech King Santusita for His final rebirth. It was necessary to consider five important factors. They were: i) the right human continent, only Jombhu Continent was preferred, ii) the country which must situated in the middle of the continent, iii) average human lifespan between 100 to 100,000 years, when the human mind was ready to understand the Truths of life, iv) a royal family, the noblest birth, v) a potential mother who vowed to give birth to a Buddha. When everything was well in placed, the Bodhisatta accepted the request. The father was King Suddhodana. Queen Sirimahamaya dreamed that a white king elephant offered her a white lotus, the Bodhisatta entered her womb then.
Sat Inside the Womb in Half-lotus Position
The moment the Bodhisatta entered the womb of the Queen, the power of His Perfections effected a loud rumble and the ground quaked; brightness pervaded everywhere together with the occurrence of 32 supernormal events in 10,000 universes. Since the Bodhisatta was conceived, there were no feelings of discomfort or compression in the womb. Similarly, the mother felt easy and comfortable as though she was not pregnant. In addition, she could clearly see the foetus sitting in a half-lotus position inside her womb.
The Birth of A Great Man with 32 Perfect Signs
On the tenth month of pregnancy, in the morning of the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon; Queen Sirimahamaya and the royal retinue were traveling to her hometown at Devadaha. She took a breather at the beautiful Lumbini Grove, while enjoying her stroll, the queen reached out for a branch of the Sala tree, she felt a mild labour contraction. The officials hurried to prepare the area for labour and put up curtains surrounded the Sala tree. Then, a Prince possessing the 32 Great Man Signs was born. There were two streams of warm and cool water showering from the air, cleansing both the queen and the Prince. After that, the Prince raised on His feet, turned toward the north and took seven steps, each step was miraculously cushioned by a lotus sprung from the earth. With a resounding voice comparable to the lion roar yet most endearing as the voice of the Brahma King, the Prince stated: “ I am the supreme being. I am the most advanced being in the world. I am the most sublime being in the world. This is my final rebirth.”
On the fifth day, the Prince was named Siddhattha which means “wish fulfilled”. His family name was Gotama. Eight distinguished brahmins were amongst many invited to the palace for naming ceremony. Upon examining the characteristic marks of the child, seven of them raised two fingers each, and said that the Prince would either become a Universal Monarch or a Buddha. But the youngest brahmin, Kondañña who excelled others in wisdom, raised only one finger and convincingly declared that the prince would definitely retire from the world and become a self-enlightened Buddha.
King Suddhodana Saluted the Little Prince
When the Prince Siddhattha was 7 years old, he joined the Ploughing Festival with his father. King Suddhodana settled the young Prince under the shade of the Jombhu tree (Jave Plum) with the nurses. After awhile, the nurses took part in the festival. As he waited for his father, the Prince sat cross-legged and relaxingly went into meditation. Soon, he developed the First Jhana. The power of his deep meditation caused miracle, the shade of the tree did not shift despite the movement of the sun. The shade was seen to provide protection to the prince throughout the duration of his meditation. King Suddhodana was filled with reverence and saluted his son who was in deep meditation.
Mastering Eighteen Schools of Knowledge in Seven Days
Prince Siddhatha was highly gifted and mastered everything that he was exposed to, including royal education and special training in the art of warfare. He was described as brilliant and incomparably intelligent. At the age of seven, the prince finished eighteen schools of teachings within a brief period of seven day, exhausted all the knowledge and skills of the renowned teachers.
Leading A Divine-like Lifestyle
At the age of sixteen, Prince Siddhatha married his beautiful cousin Princess Yasodhara who was of equal age. For thirteen years, he led a happy marriage and luxurious life, ignorant of the vicissitudes of life outside the palace. There were three palaces built for different seasons, the cold, the hot and the rainy season. Night and day a white parasol was held over him to prevent from heat or cold, dust, leaves or dew. The King provided Prince Siddhatha with a divine-like lifestyle with the intention to keep him attached to the life of a householder and to assume the throne later on.
Renounced in Search of the Truths
One glorious day, Prince Siddhattha went on an excursion outside the palace. He came in direct contact with the stark realities of life, his observant eyes met the rare sights of a decrepit old man, a diseased person, a corpse and a dignifed monk. The first three sights convincingly proved to him the inexorable nature of life, while the sight of monk signified the means to overcome the ills of life for calm and peace. These four unexpected sights urged him to renounce the world. Although the he had every desirable thing in the world including the royal throne, Prince Siddhattha decided to leave the world in search of Truths and Eternal Peace.
Ordain in Search of Liberation to All Sufferings
When Prince Siddhattha was 29 years old, Princess Yasodhara gave birth to their son Rahula. Great was his love for the two dearest, greater was his compassion for the suffering humanity. He was not worried about the future worldly happiness and comfort of the mother and child as they had everything in abundance and were well protected. Time was ripe to depart. Leaving all behind, the prince with his loyal charioteer Channa left the palace on the royal steed Kanthaka. Thus did he renounce the world in search of ways to eliminate sufferings so as to liberate all sentient beings from the Samsara.
Pledge to Ordain As Samana
Prince Siddhattha journeyed far, crossing the river Anoma and ordained himself as samana (ascetic). He cut of his top-knot and trimmed his hair to the length of two fingers breadth. Immediately, all the hair on his head wound by itself clockwise to form neat rows of coils. Before tossing the severed hair into the air, Samana Gotama made a deliberate wish, “If I were to be self-enlightened as a Buddha, then let my severed top-knot remain in the air.” The hair remained in the air and received by King Sakka of the Tavatimsa Heaven. Later on, Brahma Ghatikara offered alms-bowl and the saffron robe to Samana Gotama.
Samana Gotama Exhausted the Knowledge of Famous Masters
Searching for the unsurpassed peace, Samana Gotama approached two famous masters Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta. Soon, he learnt all the doctrines and attained the same level of mental concentration as the teachers, at the Realm of Nothingness and the realm of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception respectively. Still, Samana Gotama felt that their teachings did not lead to detachment, cessation of suering, enlightenment, and Nibbana. He realized that his spiritual aspirations were far higher and that the highest Truth is to be found within oneself and ceased to seek external aid thereof.
Searching for the Ways to Eradicate Suffering
Embraced with strong determination, Samana Gotama continued his search for ways to eradicate sufferings. For six long years the samana embarked on severe asceticism such as clenching of teeth, non-breathing and complete abstinence from food. His body was reduced to almost a skeleton, but still nowhere near to the way of Truths. Eventually, he recalled the easy method of gaining the First Jhana at the age of seven, thus decided to abandon the painful extreme. The samana began to nourish his body by taking food sparingly. The five ascetics, who were attending to him, felt disappointed and left as they were not convinced that the new approach would lead to self-enlightenment.
Right after Samana Gotama aborted the ascetic life, he practiced meditation diligently. On the day of his Enlightenment, lady Sujata offered a special milk rice dish to him. In that evening, brahmin Sotthiya offered a bundle of fresh grass for him to sit under the Bodhi tree near Neranjara River. Adopting the half-lotus position, Samana Gotama vowed: “Should I not attain enlightenment today, be it that my blood and esh dry up leaving only skin, tendons, and bones; I shall not leave this seat”. Subsequently, the samana adopted the Middle Way approach, not too tense or too lax, meditated at the just right condition.
Victory before Enlightenment
The strong determination of Samana Gotama alerted the Mara Chief to mobilize the Mara troops against Him. The Mara Chief was on the elephant Girimekhla of 2,400 kilometers height, conjured up 1,000 hands carrying different weapons to intimidate the samana. He had no one to depend on but the three levels of Ten Perfections, they were His supreme warriors and weapons to battle against vicious tricks of the Mara including thunderstorm and different types of malicious rains. Eventually, the Mara troops were defeated and elephant Girimekhla too could not withstand the power of derived from the perfections, lost its balance and resulted in a dire fall of the Mara Chief. Thus did Samana Gotama conquer the Mara, gained victory before His Enlightenment.
Attained Self Enlightenment with Meditation
After clearing the Mara troop, Samana Gotama continued to meditate, by keeping his mind completely still at the center of body. When the mind achieved total stillness, samana realized the Middle Path; he continued to guard the mind till dawn. It was the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon, the Perfect Man attained self-enlightenment as the Lord Buddha. He was 35 years old.
The Supreme Truths
The Lord Buddha realised the ultimate truths that could lead all sentient beings out of suffering. The first knowledge was realized in the first watch of that night, Pubbenivasanussatinnana, the supernormal knowledge of previous lives recollection. Followed by the realization of Cutupapatannana during the second watch, the Enlightened One attained clairvoyant vision to perceive beings disappearing and reappearing from one state of existence to another according to their deeds, Kamma. In the last watch of the night, the realization of Asavakkhayannana, the Four Noble Truths were revealed. There and then, ignorance was dispelled, and wisdom arose; darkness vanished, and light arose.
A Supreme Teacher
The Lord Buddha is indeed a supreme teacher. The Enlightened One has penetrated the truth of all things. He can perceive the characteristics such as the nature, temperament, defilements, and intelligence of all beings with His supernormal vision, thus would expound Dhamma teaching accordingly. Right after His Enlightenment, the Buddha thought of the five energetic ascetics who had attended to Him; reckoned that they were residing in the Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares. The Buddha was pleased and set off for Benares.
Practice His Teachings to Attain Dhamma
On the 15th day of the 8th waxing moon, the Lord Buddha delivered the first discourse to the five ascetics, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the turning of the Wheel of Truth. Ascetic Kondañña, the senior the five, attained the Dhamma. After that, Añña-Kondañña requested ordination from the Lord Buddha. The day that Añña-Kondañña became the ffirst Buddhist monk also marked the day of formation of the Triple Gems (the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha). This is Asalha Puja Day.
The First Messengers of Truth (Dhammaduta)
When the Lord Buddha gathered the first sixty arahant disciples, He decided to send them to teach the Dhamma to all without any discrimination. The message from the Lord Buddha was: “Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the deva and human beings. Let not two go by one way. There are beings with little dust in their eyes, who not hearing the Dhamma, will fall away. There will be those who understand the Dhamma.” Then, the Lord Buddha decided to preach at Uruvela.
Veluvanarama, the First Buddhist Monastery
The Lord Buddha, with His large retinue of arahant disciples, went to Rajagaha, Magadha. King Bimbisara welcomed the Buddha with a large number of his subjects. Upon listening to the Dhamma expounded by the Lord Buddha, King Bimbisara attained Sotapatti, and took refuge in the Triple Gems. King Bimbisara gladly offered his Bamboo Grove to shelter the Lord Buddha and all the arahant monks, named the Veluvanarama, marked the first Buddhist Monastery. The Lord Buddha spent a total of six rains retreats at Veluvanarama, propagated Dhamma to many human and Celestial Beings. He had proven the fact that Buddhist Teachings are true, sublime and attainable.
A Great Teacher to All Humans and Celestial Beings
Lord Buddha was a most energetic and active teacher, His daily routine was fully occupied with religious activities. They were divided into five parts, (i) the Morning Session, Alms Round; (ii) the Afternoon Session, Deliver Discourses to the Laities; (iii) the Night Session, Coaching the Monastic Disciples; (iv) the Mid-Night Session, Answer Queries from the Celestial Beings; and (v) the Dawn Session, Survey the World with His Divine Eyes for Potential Person to Receive His Transcendental Aid. The Great Teacher provided guidance with magnificent determination without any discrepancies, leading to an exponential increase in the number of followers.
Ovadapatimokkha, the Core of Buddhism
On the 15th day of the 3rd waxing moon (Magha) in the following year, there were 1,250 Arahant disciples gathered spontaneously at the Veluvanarama. In that meeting, the Enlightened One delivered the Ovadapatimokkha (the Patimokkha Exhortation), a summary of the rules for the Sangha Community. The Lord Buddha expounded clearly the principles, values and method or propagating Dhamma; emphasizing the core of Buddhism as “Not to Do Any Evil, To Cultivate Good, To Purify One’s Mind”. This day is also named as the Magha Puja Day, an important day in the Buddhist calendar.
Lord Buddha’s Gratitude to His Parents
The Lord Buddha is indeed the best role model worthy of emulation in showing gratitude to His parents. Over four separate occasions, He has delivered Dhamma discourses to His father, King Suddhadana, till the King to attain Arahantship before he passed away. Subsequently, the Lord Buddha observed His rains retreat in Tavatimsa Heaven and expounded Abhidhamma to his mother (Sirimahamaya) who was reborn as the King Santusita in Tusita Heaven. King Santusita attained Sotapatti after hearing the discourse. The Lord Buddha demonstrated highest form of gratitude to His parents by ending the rebirth for the father and shortening the numbers of rebirth for the mother to seven lifetimes before she would attain eventual Arahantship.
Lord Buddha Unveiled the Three Spheres of Existence
After His Abhidhamma Discourse, the Lord Buddha descended back to the human world. The King Sakka created three stairways, with Lord Buddha on the diamond stairway in the middle, accompanied by the congregations of Devas on the gold stairway and Brahmas on the silver stairways. The stairways stretched from Tavatimsa to the city of Sakassa on earth. When the Lord Buddha set foot on the earth, He compassionately unveiled the Three Spheres of Existence to allow Celestial beings, Human, Hell beings, Animals, Petas and Asuras, to see each other clearly. That spectacular sight made many vowed to emulate the Lord Buddha. Subsequently, the Lord Buddha expounded Dhamma that enabled 300 millions human and Celestial Beings to attain the inner Threefold Refuge.
The Lord Buddha Tamed the Yakka
Reckoned that the nasty Yakka (demon) Alavaka, would achieve attainment soon, the Enlightened One went to Alavi, the forest where the Yakka was residing. Upon entering his abode, the Lord Buddha was welcomed by various weapons and vicious attacks. However, the Lord Buddha easily overthrew all the wicked tricks. Furiously, Alavaka ordered the Lord Buddha to leave and return to his abode three times; followed by challenging the Enlightened One with some profound questions and threatened to harm Him. Eventually, the Omniscient One convinced the beastly Yakka. Filled with faith and respect, Alavaka sought refuge in the Lord Buddha and subsequently attained Sotapatti.
The Lord Buddha Guided Angulimala to Arahantship
The Lord Buddha observed that Angulimala, a serial killer, was about to commit dire crime of killing his mother. Angulimala ran into an unscrupulous teacher who asked him to kill and collect 1000 human index fingers which he made into a garland and hang around his neck. The Lord Buddha appeared between Angulimala and his mother, and caused Him to be the target instead. After many rounds of chasing, the exhausted killer still could not catch the Lord Buddha, he then shouted “Stop recluse, standstill!” “I standstill Angulimala, you did not.” The Wise One replied. Subsequently, the Lord Buddha delivered a Dhamma Discourse, Angulimala dropped his sword and knelt down to seek refuge and ordination with the Lord Buddha. Soon after his ordination, Angulimala attained Arahantship.
Baka Brahma Developed Right Views
Baka Brahma was enjoying the immense span of existence in Brahma realm, and because he had supernatural powers, he could see distant things and create illusions. Thus, he assumed that Brahmas were eternal, they are the creators of the world, living in Nibbana. To correct his views, the Lord Buddha appeared instantly at his abode and pointed out his mistakes. Baka Brahma argued and challenged the Enlightenend One to trace his previous life, followed by answering difficult questions and disguising his physical form. The Lord Buddha resolved all the confrontations easily, but Baka Brahma was not able to track the Enlightened One when He disappeared. Hence, admitted his shortfalls and took refuge in the Buddha.
Buddhism Teaches the Attainment of Wisdom
The teaching of Lord Buddha is capable of transforming a mundane life to that of a sublime. His remarkable teachings are indeed impressive and incomparable because He had presented the truths of life in a sensible and realistic manner for all to practice. Moreover, the knowledge expounded over 2500 years ago is still relevant and applicable now. For instance, the details of human birth from conception to delivery were well elucidated by the Lord Buddha way before the advent of ultrasound technology. Most importantly, those who practice the teachings
were guided to attain higher wisdom and insight.
Buddhism Is the Religion of Peace
Buddhism promotes peace; it has always been propagated in a peaceful manner, and never did a single individual was forced to subscribe to it. Instead, people are reminded to thoroughly examine the Teachings and prove their values by personally practicing them. Hence, the pious Buddhists tend to be peaceful, rational and detest violence. For over 2500 years, Buddhists had never waged a war with another religion, so this goes to show that the Teachings of Lord Buddha emphasizes on mutual existence in harmony. Therefore, world peace is certainly of utmost concern.
Buddhism Teaches the Cessation of Suffering
The most unique teaching of the Lord Buddha is the cessation of sufferings. The Omniscient One realized the causes to all uncertainties, discontentment and unpleasant encounters in life, all lie in the defilements deeply rooted in the mind of each individual. The only way to cease these sufferings is to accomplish the Ten Perfections by diligently cultivate generosity, observe precepts and practice meditation. Once we achieved the Perfections, we could attain Arahantship, terminating the cycle of rebirth and be liberated from all sufferings in this Samsara world.
The Lord Buddha Announced Parinibbana
The Lord Buddha worked tirelessly over the span of 45 years to propagate Buddhism widely for the benefit of all beings. During His stay at the Pavala Cetiya on the 15th day of the 3rd waxing moon, the Lord Buddha foretold that He will enter complete Nibbana three months later. From then on, the Great Teacher continued to expound His teachings relentlessly to ensure that Buddhism is firmly rooted in this earth so that all beings could still benefit from His Teachings for longest possible after His departure.
The Final Exhortation
The Lord Buddha was genuinely a great teacher up till the moment prior to His departure. He had compassionately granted permission for the Sangha to assemble and checked consecutively three times if the disciples had any doubts on the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Order (Sangha), the Path and the Method. None replied. Then, Lord Buddha delivered His final teaching: “Behold, disciples. Subject to change are all component things, do not be reckless.”
Upon delivering His final advice, the Lord Buddha attained complete Nibbana near dawn on the on the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon, at the age of 80; exactly on the date foretold. The Lord Buddha attained Parinibbana in a most dignified manner through His meditative attainment. The entire sacred process was witnessed by Venerable Anuruddha who was known for his well developed Divine Eye. On the 8th day of the 6th waning moon, seven days after the Lord Buddha attained complete Nibbana, His holy body was cremated.
Distribution of the Holy Relics
Lord Buddha, the Supreme Teacher of the world has been most highly venerated by humans, Celestial, and Brahma Beings. After the Lord Buddha attained Parinibbana, kings from eight different kingdoms came to request for a share of the Holy relics which would be worshipped by the Buddhist laities. King Sakka received a portion of the Holy Relics and enshrined them inside the Culamani Cetiya in the Tavatimsa Realm where they are worshipped by the Celestial Beings.
Vesak Day —An Important Day for the World
The Lord Buddha had strived till the very last moments of His life for the sake of all sentient beings. The Enlightened One led a beautiful, impeccable, and crystal clear life from Birth, Self-Enlightenment to Parinibbana which occurred on the same day on the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon. As such, the United Nations has recognised Vesak Day as an important day for the United Nations and everyone in the world.
Other interesting facts about the Lord Buddha’s history
The importance of the royal steed “Kanthaka”
“Kanthaka” was Prince Siddhattha’s mount and he was born on the same day as the prince. There are seven beings and things which came into existence on the day that Prince Siddhattha was born. They included the minister Kaludayi, the royal page Channa, Phra Ananda, Princess Yasodhara, the horse Kanthaka, four treasure troves at the four city corners, and the Bodhi Tree. The horse Kanthaka was extremely loyal to Prince Siddhattha. Upon his death, he was reborn in the Tavatimsa Realm as a gentleman celestial being of the same name. He possesses stupendous celestial wealth which includes the celestial castle, celestial parks, celestial vehicles, and a huge retinue. His celestial wealth arises from the merit earned by having joyfully carried our Bodhisatta out of the palace to begin the religious life as a monk.
What food-offering earns the greatest merit?
On the day of our Lord Buddha’s self-enlightenment, He was offered a very special rice dish on a gold platter by a woman called Sujada. She had been awe-struck by our Bodhisatta’s Perfect Man body which was so dignified and handsome that she mistook Him for a celestial being. She made the food-offering in a deeply reverential manner. The food she offered lasted the Lord Buddha for 49 days. The Lord Buddha taught that the food offered to Him before His self-enlightenment and His attainment of complete Nibbana bore the richest fruit. Some time later, Sujada was overjoyed to have found out that our Bodhisatta had become enlightened as the Lord Buddha.
What is the real name of the Bodhi Tree?
It is called the Assatthaparakasa Tree. However, the reason it is called the Bodhi Tree is that any tree under which the Lord Buddha becomes selfenlightened will be called the Bodhi Tree. Currently, the Bodhi Tree is located in the locality of Buddhagaya. This tree is the fourth tree which grew out of the original tree. It is now more than 100 years old. The Bodhi Tree has been brought to other countries including Thailand when Asoka the Great requested some senior Buddhist monks to propagate Buddhism in different lands.
Why was Kondanna the first person to have attained the Dhamma?
Kondanna was one of the learnt Brahmins who foretold Prince Siddhattha’s future when he was just an infant. Kondanna said that the little prince would most certainly become self-enlightened as the Lord Buddha. He was also one of the Five Ascetics who had attended to our great Bodhisatta during the period of self-mortification. He was the first human being to attain the Fruit of Sotapanna and ordained as the first Buddhist monk. He was recognized by the Lord Buddha as being the first Buddhist monk to have attained the eternal Dhamma. This most special privilege was granted him as a result of his previous Kamma in that during the time of the Lord Padumutara Buddha, he had given alms to the Lord Buddha and 100,000 monks for 7 days. At the time, he made the deliberate wish to be the first person to attain the Dhamma under one of the future Buddhas.
Is it true that Brahma Beings have eternal life?
The story of the Brahma Being Baka
When Baka was a human being, he had been a Yogi and had achieved meditative absorptions. As a result, he was subsequently reborn in the Brahma Realm. However, the lifespan in the Brahma Realm is so long that Baka misunderstood the Brahma Realm to be devoid of birth and death, hence a land of eternal bliss. His misunderstanding was known to the Lord Buddha and He went to the Brahma Realm in order to save Baka. Later, Baka understood correctly that the Brahma Realm was not a place of eternal bliss but Brahma Beings would still have to undergo the round of rebirth. Baka admitted to the fact that the Lord Buddha was indeed the most superb and the most sublime being.
Interesting facts about sentient beings
Male and female celestial
Male and female celestial beings are former human beings who had diligently accumulated merit by performing such wholesome deeds as practicing alms-giving, observing the Precepts, practicing meditation, etc. After they died, they were reborn in the Celestial Realm to enjoy the fruit of their merit for a very long time. They are forever young. They do not experience aging and illnesses. They experience only birth and death. The magnitude of the celestial wealth and retinue is determined by each celestial being’s accumulated merit.
Gandhabas are celestial beings that dwell in the first celestial realm of Catumaharajika. They are skilled in the areas of music, dancing, plays, arts, poetry, and literature. They have the responsibility of entertaining higher-ranked celestial beings. Rebirth as a Gandhaba results from the fact that as a human being, he/she enjoyed singing, dancing, making music and when he/she made merit, his/her mind was not altogether clear and bright because it was tainted with lust.
Garudas are a type of celestial beings that dwell on earth, in the celestial forest of Himavanta, and in the first celestial realm of Catumaharajika. The reason for rebirth as Garudas is that when they were human beings, they made merit with a mind tainted with ignorance. High-class Garudas have gold feathers and are decked with jewels.They can change their physical form. Some eat celestial food. Others feed on Nagas, fruit or meat.
Kinaris and Kinaras
Kinaris and Kinaras possess a refined physical form which is not visible to the human eyes. They are half celestial and half animal. The top half is like a human being, the bottom half is like a bird. They can fly. They live in the celestial forest of Himavanta. Kinaras are male whereas Kinaris are female.
Phya Nagas are the kings of snakes. They possess great supernatural powers. They can change their physical form. They can breathe out fire. They dwell in the first celestial realm of Catumaharajika. There are altogether four Phya Naga families grouped according to their color: gold, rainbow, green, and black. Rebirth as a Phya Naga results from the fact that when he/she was a human being, he/she did not observe the Precepts immaculately and he/she made merit with a mind tainted with lust.
Earth-Sprite Yakkhas are low-class beings that possess a low level of merit. They are hideous and their canines protrude from their mouth. They have tight curls and a very dark body. Their eyes protrude from the sockets. Their skin is as rough as sandpaper. They are ferocious. Rebirth as a Yakkha results from the fact that when he/she was a human being, he/she was quick to anger, easily annoyed, and highly irritable. When he/she made merit, it was with a mind tainted with anger. Therefore whoever is quick to anger will be reborn as a Yakkha.
Raksasa is a type of Yakkhas that dwells in the water. They are hideous. They have very dark skin and a big, muscular body. Their canines protrude from their mouth. Their eyes protrude from the sockets. They are ferocious and feed on corpses and rotten carcasses.
Sorcerers and sorceresses
Sorcerers and sorceresses are beings that keep such worldly knowledge as astrology, medicine, science, etc. They are the users of spells and mantras and they can fly. They dwell in silver, gold, or crystal caves singly or in a group.
Phya Yamaraj is a Kumbhand which is a type of Yakkhas. They wear the ornaments characteristic of the first celestial realm of Catumaharajika. They do not wear buffalo horns or a buffalo skull as has been widely believed. Their eyes are red and inspire fear in any onlooker. They have a loud, intimidating voice. Phya Yamaraj has the responsibility of judging a deceased person in Yomaloka Hell based on the person’s overall merit and demerit.
Petas are former human or Celestial Beings that had committed serious misdeeds. After having served their sentence in the Hell Realm they are reborn as Petas. The life of a Peta is marked by extreme hunger and suffering. They wear no clothes. There are innumerable kinds of Petas. All of whom are hideous. Their appearance differs and is a result of their individual overall demerit.
Hell Denizens come into existence by the power of demerit. They are not sentient beings. They have a huge body the size of a mountain. Their skin is charcoal black. They are programmed to inflict horrific pain on the Hell Being in accordance with his/her individual demerit. Hell Beings receive no respite from their punishments and they have to endure horrific forms of punishment continuously until the sentence has been served.
Hell Beings are former human beings that had committed different forms of misdeeds such as murder, suicide, stealing, being involved in corruption, injuring one’s parents, killing animals, etc. When these human beings die, they must be reborn in the Hell Realm and endure horrific forms of punishment one existence after another for a very long time. Hell Beings experience absolute suffering.
Luang Por Dhammajayo
Experiencing happiness and sorrow, fortune and misfortune, or good and bad times are the inescapable realities that accompany the gift of life, thus each of our lives is filled with both happiness and unhappiness. Although born into, or achieving material wealth, may seem to provide perfect circumstances for a contentedly happy life, true happiness is not found in external possessions or false notions. Any happiness imagined under these deluding influences inevitably proves to be disappointing and unsustainable. Nonetheless, humankind without guidance invariably seek for unnecessary levels of physical comfort or excessive pleasures, with the misconception that these will lead to a state of happiness, while in fact it is only an illusion affording temporary relief or distraction from suffering. Before becoming Phra Dhammajayo, even as a young boy who went by the name of Chaiyaboon Sutthiphol, he realized this misconception of man and believed that there must be something more meaningful to life which would prepare, and more importantly lead, all people along the way to attaining true happiness in this lifetime. With a resolute, calm inherent passion, he searched for the truth through various methods, teachings and philosophies, determining to help all mankind reach true happiness once he had found the answer. Devoting his life to this search and determination, his efforts were rewarded with a remarkably enlightened understanding of The Lord Buddha’s teachings that reveal the only means to reach our innate inner happiness, a true happiness that is not only resilient but reaches out to all around that come into contact with its purity and lasting brightness. With an indefatigable determination and devotion spanning almost four decades, he has steadfastly adhered to his conviction to share with each individual, regardless of their race, religion or creed, the gift of discovering the true happiness within themselves.
Phra Dhammajayo was born in Singburi Province, Central Thailand, on April 22, 1944. From his persistent searching and focused studies he became aware of the path to true happiness, this was at a time when he was just 20-years old. Encouraged, he was inspired to study Buddhism even more intensively leading to his discovery that the universal teachings of The Lord Buddha are the true revelation to the nature of all things and the sufferings of humankind. This source of all wisdom empowers one to be content and depend on oneself. He began by developing peacefulness in the mind in order to accept the teachings of The Lord Buddha. From this basic beginning, he realized that the mind can be the origin of both war and peace, and the only way to enter into a peaceful state of mind is through the practice of meditation. At the age of 25 after graduating from Kasetsart University, Bangkok, he became a monk practicing meditation in earnest. He spent the following 40-years of his life working tirelessly in order to share the wisdom of his most respected teacher The Lord Buddha to all humankind. He believes that the only way he can pay gratitude for the happiness and wisdom he had been fortunate to embrace is to commit his life to sharing this revealed source of wisdom with everyone. As a result, he teaches meditation to all people around the world, based on his personal experience that “if everyone could attain inner peace, the feeling of love and well-wishes for fellow humankind will arise. Discrimination and conflict will dissolve, and true world peace will be achieved”.
Phra Dhammajayo also believes that the only way to accomplish inner peace is through meditation, this he teaches using a very simple technique easily understood by people of all ages, races, and different beliefs. After meeting The Master Nun Chand Khonnokyoong (Khun Yai Ajahn) who was one of the forefront disciples of The Great Master Phramongkolthepmuni (Luang Pu Wat Paknam), the past famous abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen who rediscovered the Dhammakaya Meditation technique, he started with a group of ten men, building his first temple in Pathum Thani province.
The number of devotees, who came to his temple seeking Dhamma guidance and meditation instruction, which he still teaches every Sunday morning, slowly increased from ten to hundreds, thousands and currently to exceed the million mark. When the Dhamma Media Center satellite television channel began broadcasting, he was invited to provide a program of meditation training to Thai people across the world, called “Inner Dreams”, it soon became popular not only among Thais, but has also been well accepted by countless numbers of people in other Asian nations and around the world. This program’s aim is to provide an alternative wholesome media for people of all ages that are not only entertaining but also educational, both morally and physically. This program was very successful in a short period of time receiving the accolades of 12 “Telly Awards” in one year.
For his determined efforts to improve the well-being of all people, Phra Dhammajayo was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 on the occasion of the “World No Tobacco Day”. In addition, he was also awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Medal for Peace, in recognition of his promotion of world peace. In 2007, the program also garnered the Universal Peace Award from the World Buddhist Sangha Youth (WBSY). Also in 2009, he received the Award of Gratitude from Hon. Ratnasiri Wickamanayaka, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for his life-long devotion to Buddhism.
Until this day, it is Phra Dhammajayo’s unfaltering determination to fulfill his purpose of devotion to express gratitude to The Lord Buddha, continually devoting every moment of his life to spreading the word of his great teacher far and wide. Another wish he has is to see the unity of all Buddhist communities, believing that if all Buddhists unite together as one, just as each individual is nurtured, warmed and sustained under the same sun, the all-encompassing peaceful influence of Buddhism can timely expand much further and widely to the benefit of all mankind.