The Remarkable Figure that Exhibited the Merits of Past Lives of the Gautama Supreme Buddha
May 03, 2016
Propaganda about the Buddha (a Buddha Kōlahalaya) was spread throughout the world when the time was close to the birth of the Gautama Supreme Buddha in India. People’s behavior started to change in that time period. When we exploit the history of the era of the Supreme Buddha, we can see that it was the Veda that first being worshiped and practiced. With time, it progressively developed into which is called ‘Brahmin’. Then, an era known as ‘Upanisa’ was formed. In that period of time, people created their own religious opinions believing they can answer their questions. Moreover, a time of student-teacher relationship was created. Students started to learn under a mentor by residing at teacher’s place. When sages heard the rumors or prophesy about the birth of a Buddha, they started to pursue in finding details about him. Who is this Buddha? What is His nature? What bodily characteristics does He have? How can one find or identify Him? As you know, these sages were the creators of various fields such as “Veda” and “Ayurveda”. Likewise, they created a field to correlate bodily characteristics to a person. This subject in fact described how to identify a Buddha from His bodily characteristics. Most of Brahmins of that time learned it, and it was also a unique subject. From this field, they found that a person with thirty two bodily characteristics (Mahapurisa Lakkhana) will become a Buddha, and it was a known fact for most of people who lived in that time. If that person is to follow a household life, then he will become a Universal King (Chakkavatti). Thus, these bodily characteristics became the basic guidelines to find the Buddha for the outside world. So, open your heart and believe in the Most Fortunate One with those remarkable characteristics that are only reasonable to Him and to another Buddha… The Lord Buddha inherited these great characteristics as a result of the merits He accumulated from His meritorious actions with respect to His physical body, speech, and mind in His infinite number of past lives. These merits resulted in Him being born in higher level worlds like divine and human for incredible amount of time. Other than that, He was born in His last life as a beautiful prince called Prince Siddharta with all these 32 bodily characteristics. He has taught all these characteristics to His disciples one by one in detail at one point after He became the Supreme Buddha. Let us now learn those 32 characteristics. He received well formed feet because He performed good deeds from His body, speech, and mind in His past lives. He prevented evil and unseen powers and thieves from hurting people and gave them righteous protection in many lives. Also, He performed alms-giving together with lots of people. As a result of these meritorious actions, He was born with pleasant feet containing marks of wheels. In lots of His past lives, He refrained from killing. He felt shame in killing other beings and let go of all types of weapons. He lived his past lives with compassion towards every being. This was why He had long fingers and a straight body like of a Brahma (a higher level being who lives in Brahma divine world). He also had a body with completely grown muscles lofty from seven places in the whole body. The merits He received by donating tasty foods, eatable delicious foods, and various and rich in flavor drinks (“Ashtapāna”: eight types of drinks) resulted such marvelous character in His body. He also treated people with alms, tenderly words, benevolent conduct that helpful for many, and equanimity. These four ways of treating people are known as “Sangraha Vastu”. He received great merits by treating many in these ways. As a result of these merits, He was born with legs of perfectly formed bones (Gop Ata) and facing up bodily hair of indigo color. In a large number of His past lives, He learned various subjects and sciences well and passed His knowledge onto others systematically, kindly, and generously. As a result of such actions, He inherited a hair like that of a red-deer. What is merit and demerit? What is fault and righteousness? What should be searched and what should not? What actions will bring me comfort for long time? He thought these questions and avoided doing sins and did good deeds. This was why He had a pleasant and smooth skin that no dust can retain. His lives were full of compassion. He did not get angry, did not make quarrels with others, and lived a life without any hatred. He also furnished others with smooth covering sheets, blankets, and smoothly decorated beds. As a result of these tremendous qualities, He obtained a skin with gold colored luminescence. There was another great deed He cultivated in His past lives. He brought scattered families together by making peace between mothers and sons, daughters and mothers, sons and fathers, daughters and fathers, and brothers and sisters. He enjoyed their unity. As a result of this quality, He inherited a masculine gender inserted like in a spout. In many of His past lives, He treated the people corresponding to their talents properly. He identified them accurately and treated them with equanimity. As a result of this behavior, He had hands that could touch His knees when standing up straight like a banyan tree with a body equally and well formed. He practiced loving and kindness and developed his mind with those moral qualities in many life times. How should these beings be developed with devotion, virtue, Dhamma learning, generosity and wisdom? How should they become rich? What are the ways to expand their good relationship with respect to their families? How can the relationships of their children, parents, relatives, and friends be tightened? Likewise, Buddha lived many lives as the Bodhisatta thinking kindly and compassionately about others’ joy. He spread his compassion towards others with love and kindness. This was why He got a proud body like that of a lion. His body was well formed at each location and the shoulders were filled well with flesh. In His last life, He had perfect taste organs as a result of merits He accumulated by avoiding doing harm to any being using any kind of weapons. In most of past His lives, He never looked at anyone with displeased eyes, made faces, or frown with anger. He looked at everyone with clear and opened eyes directly with honest and virtuous thoughts without any anger towards them. The trait of having blue eyes in the Buddha was thus attributable to not making angry facial expressions in His past lives. Our teacher also had a full grown forehead as a result of Him being virtuous from His actions (bodily), speech, thoughts, observation of precepts, taking care of parents, and worshiping the ascetics who attempt to find enlightenment. Buddha also cultivated the true word. He lived sincerely in most of his past lives without deceiving people by telling lies. He spoke truthful words and did not break others confidence in His truthfulness. These true words merited Him with a wooly hair (relic of Ūrna Rōma) on his forehead in between eye brows and each bodily hair was formed in one separate hair pore of His body. He abstained from divulging secrets, breaking relationships, or urging others to do His bidding of breaking relationships. In fact, He supported the peace between others. He enjoyed promoting peace and seeing it prevail. This was why He inherited forty well placed teeth without gaps in His mouth. It was faultless words He practiced in most of His past lives. He did not use rude words but the words others pleased to hear. This was why He was born with a deep voice like a Brahma (a being in Brahma world) known as “Brahma Voice” and a broad and long tongue. His jaw was fully grown like that of a lion because He used the words of truth that benefited others and avoided useless words. The teeth in His mouth were naturally pure white in color. The reason to have such teeth was His sincere livelihood. In many lives in which He traded, He never cheated with weights and measures. He did not take bribes, deceived others with cheating methods, or took things from them forcefully and trickishly. We must understand that the Gautama Supreme Buddha inherited all these great characteristics because of the great merits He accumulated in His past lives. Such a great person thus lets us believe in Him and His meritorious deeds. You must remember it and make a determination to become a person valuing such great merits and to become virtuous and meritorious accordingly. Most Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero


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