List of the named Buddhas
In countries where Theravāda Buddhism is practiced by the majority of people, such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, it is customary for Buddhists to hold elaborate festivals, especially during the fair weather season, paying homage to the 28 Buddhas described in the Buddhavamsa. The Buddhavamsa is a text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and the 27 Buddhas who preceded him. The Buddhavamsa is part of the Khuddaka Nikāya, which in turn is part of the Sutta Piṭaka. The Sutta Piṭaka is one of three main sections of the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.
The first three of these Buddhas—Taṇhaṅkara, Medhaṅkara, and Saraṇaṅkara—lived before the time of Dīpankara Buddha. The fourth Buddha, Dīpankara, is especially important, as he was the Buddha who gave niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) to the Brahmin youth who would in the distant future become the bodhisattva Gautama Buddha. After Dīpankara, 23 more noble people (ariya-puggala) would attain enlightenment before Gautama, the historical Buddha.
Many Buddhists also pay homage to the future (and 29th) Buddha, Maitreya. According to Buddhist scripture, Maitreya will be a successor of Gautama who will appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Jambudvipa (the terrestrial realm, where ordinary human beings live).
The Seven Buddhas of Antiquity
According to Theravada Buddhist tradition, each kalpa has 1,000 Buddhas. The previous kalpa was the vyuhakalpa (Glorious aeon), and the present kalpa is called the bhadrakalpa (Auspicious aeon). The Seven Buddhas of Antiquity (Saptatathāgata) are seven Buddhas which bridge the vyuhakalpa and the bhadrakalpa:
- Vipassī (the 998th Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
- Sikhī (the 999th Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
- Vessabhū (the 1000th and final Buddha of the vyuhakalpa)
- Kakusandha (the first Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
- Koṇāgamana (the second Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
- Kassapa (the third Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
- Gautama (the fourth and present Buddha of the bhadrakalpa)
Following the Seven Buddhas of Antiquity will be Maitreya, the fifth and future Buddha of the bhadrakalpa.
The 29 named Buddhas
|Pāli name||Caste||Birthplace||Parents||Bodhirukka (tree of enlightenment)||Incarnation of Gautama|
|1||Taṇhaṅkara||Kshatriya||King Sunandha, and Queen Sunandhaa||Rukkaththana|
|2||Medhaṅkara||Sudheva, and Yasodhara||Kaela|
|3||Saraṇaṅkara||Sumangala, and Yasawathi||Pulila|
|4||Dīpankara||Brahmin||Rammawatinagara||Sudheva, and Sumedhaya||Pipphala||Sumedha (also Sumati or Megha Mānava, a rich Brahman)|
|5||Koṇḍañña||Kshatriya||Rammawatinagara||Sunanda, and Sujata||Salakalyana||Vijitawi (a Chakravarti in Chandawatinagara of Majjhimadesa)|
|6||Maṅgala||Brahmin||Uttaranagara (Majhimmadesa)||Uttara, and Uttara||a naga||Suruchi (in Siribrahmano)|
|7||Sumana||Kshatriya||Mekhalanagara||Sudassana and Sirima||a naga||King Atulo, a Naga|
|8||Revata||Brahmin||Sudhannawatinagara||Vipala and Vipula||a naga||A Veda-versed Brahman|
|9||Sobhita||Kshatriya||Sudhammanagara||Sudhammanagara (father) and Sudhammanagara (mother)||a naga||Sujata, a Brahman (in Rammavati)|
|10||Anomadassi||Brahmin||Chandawatinagara||Yasava and Yasodara||ajjuna||A Yaksha king|
|11||Paduma||Kshatriya||Champayanagara||Asama, and Asama||salala||A lion|
|12||Nārada||Dhammawatinagara||King Sudheva and Anopama||sonaka||a tapaso in Himalayas|
|13||Padumuttara||Kshatriya||Hansawatinagara||Anurula, and Sujata||salala||Jatilo an ascetic|
|14||Sumedha||Kshatriya||Sudasananagara||Sumedha (father), and Sumedha (mother)||nipa||Native of Uttaro|
|15||Sujāta||Sumangalanagara||Uggata, and Pabbavati||welu||a chakravarti|
|16||Piyadassi||Sudannanagara||Sudata, and Subaddha||kakudha||Kassapa, a Brahmin (at Siriwattanagara)|
|17||Atthadassi||Kshatriya||Sonanagara||Sagara and Sudassana||champa||Susino, a Brahman|
|18||Dhammadassī||Kshatriya||Surananagara||Suranamaha, and Sunanada||bimbajala||Indra, the leader of the gods (devas)|
|19||Siddharttha||Vibharanagara||Udeni, and Suphasa||kanihani||Mangal, a Brahman|
|20||Tissa||Khemanagara||Janasando, and Paduma||assana||King Sujata of Yasawatinagara|
|21||Phussa||Kshatriya||Kāśi||Jayasena, and Siremaya||amalaka||Vijitavi|
|22||Vipassī||Kshatriya||Bandhuvatinagara||Vipassi (father), and Vipassi (mother)||patali||King Atula|
|23||Sikhī||Kshatriya||Arunavattinagara||Arunavatti, and Paphavatti||pundariko||Arindamo (at Paribhuttanagara)|
|24||Vessabhū||Kshatriya||Anupamanagara||Suppalittha, and Yashavati||sala||Sadassana (in Sarabhavatinagara)|
|25||Kakusandha||Brahmin||Khemavatinagara||Agidatta the purohitta Brahman of King Khema, and Visakha||airisa||King Khema|
|26||Koṇāgamana||Brahmin||Sobhavatinagara||Yannadatta the Brahman, and Uttara||udumbara||King Pabbata of a mountainous area in Mithila|
|27||Kassapa||Brahmin||Baranasinagara||Brahmadatta a Brahman, and Dhanavati||nigroda||Jotipala (at Vappulla)|
|28||Gautama (current)||Kshatriya||Lumbini||King Suddhodana, and Maya||Asatu Bodhi||Gautama, the Buddha|
|29||Maitreya||Brahmin||Ketumati, no proof yet||Naga Bodhi|
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