Is it possible to become sammāsam-buddha in other then human realm?

I have heard that sammāsam-buddha can be attained only in human world but is it really true? – if that is true could you please share the source.

Thank you!

I don’t think you will find an EBT source for this. In my opinion this kind of question would have been considered by 1st council arahants to belong to the same category as questions about whether the universe is finite or not, etc

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So far, I only manage to find such detail in the Buddhavamsa which belongs to the KN (Khuddaka Nikaya):

The part that says such detail is here below:

Manussattaṁ liṅgasampatti,
hetu satthāradassanaṁ;
Pabbajjā guṇasampatti,
adhikāro ca chandatā;
abhinīhāro samijjhati’.

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It’s not a completely explicit claim that a fully Enlightened Buddha can only appear in human realm but it can be infer from the meaning of the Akkhaṇasutta AN 8.29 and Dutiyachiggaḷayugasutta SN 56.48 and Devadūtasutta AN 3.36

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I think we have to be careful with this kind of inference. Because with a similar logic we could also infer from AN 8.29 that a Buddha always arises in the Ganges area, and that therefore the Indian subcontinent and the Ganges are permanent over billions of years between the arising of two Buddhas. But we now know from geology that this is impossible.


The sutta only mentions “central province” though and “central province” still needs to do a hard work to jump (and stick) to “Ganges area”.

However, I agree with you that we must be careful with the inference and do not stretch it unreasonably. Also, it’s still up to the original poster @Thitamedha to determine if he can accept peacefully the inference logic from those suttas. :smiley:

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Later tradition did think that Buddhas only arise in Jambudvipa among humans. It can be found in Avadana texts like DA 30 in the Dirgha Agama. It was one of the ways Jambudvipa was considered better than any other birthplace in DA 30.8.120-135. Of course, when we say “later” for these types of texts, we don’t really know how much later.

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What is sure is that these texts are not trustworthy. Their authors obviously forgot that Jambudipa is anicca

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Thank you all for your kind help and time!

Thanks for referring to the suttas, but it doesn’t satisfy me as I’m looking for a passage where I have to make very minimal assumptions.

It seems to me that these sayings like “one can become a Buddha only in the human world” also gives rise to similar thoughts that circulate in some buddhist mind “best place to become enlightened is human world because here is not much happiness but lots of suffering.” Then they has been explaining this further that “In deva realm the dukkha is very small, that the possibility of becoming enlightened is very small”. – when asking where did they got this information then they’re not able to tell it.

So far, no one has found that one can become a sammasambuddha only in the human world or in other existences, then one could assume that the saying “It’s possible only to become Buddha in human realm” is not true.

Mettā to You! :pray:

The logic is that in deva realm there’s no urgency to practice, so people prefer enjoying themselves, and also the assumption is that it is harder for devas to see dukkha. It is certainly a stretch to use this for any claim about things that only an extremely advanced practitioner would be able to know

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I guess the other part of this is that from a scientific point of view ‘humans’ have not even been around for a fraction of that time. So maybe the ‘human realm’ has to be defined in some other way (than the way we are used to thinking about it) when discussing previous or future sammāsam-buddhas?


You mean like to see with dibba-cakkhu?

Personally I would leave such highly speculative discussions to Mahayanists

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Something like that yes. The only way to get direct knowledge about such things

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It’s easy enough to supply evidence that this was unanimously and uncontroversially held to be the case at a relatively early point in the sangha’s history. See, for example, the third debate in the Kathāvatthu on the question of whether the brahmacariyā can be found among the devas. The Theravādins said yes (which seems to have been the majority opinion of Indian schools) and the Saṃmitīyas said no. But both sides were in agreement that what you won’t find among devas are monastics, sammāsambuddhas, paccekabuddhas or chief disciples.

But if what you’re looking for is evidence for the factualness of the early sangha’s belief, then that might be a little trickier. Perhaps you could state what for you would count as evidence?


What I mean as evidence which I can take more seriously is when it is specifically written in the one of the four Nikayas (DN, MN, SM, AN) that sammāsam-buddha can/can’t be attained above the human world. Basically what I’m looking for is a verbatim statement.

But like you said it can be quite a tricky.

I am satisfied with what You sent, and I can put this matter aside for now.

Thank You for Your time Venerable!