When did Buddha actually start become Bodhisatta?

According to Theravāda tradition. And if any Mahāyāna monk can present also their tradition.

Can I please get the answers from Elder Monks. (10 vassa+)

Because I wonder what is the tradition of each. Because it seems that in the Agama the Jatakas doesn’t make sense anymore as I usually believed it was. Buddha saying,

Ananda, at that time I benefited myself, benefited others, and ben- efited many people. I had compassion for the whole world and I sought prosperity, benefit, peace and happiness for gods and human beings. The teaching I gave at that time did not lead to the ultimate

So if it was not leading to Nirvana. How can tradition be that what he did leaded to Nirvana.

the World-honored One made his initial vow [to follow] the path [of becoming] a buddha and practiced the holy life.
That at the time of Kassapa Buddha the World-honored One made his initial vow [to follow] the path [of becoming] a buddha and practiced the holy life, this I remember as an extraordinary quality of the World- honored One.
I have heard that the World-honored One, having at the time of Kassapa Buddha made his initial vow [to follow] the path [of becom- ing] a buddha and practiced the holy life, was reborn in the Tusita heaven

So in this tradition since taking this first vow he practiced under a Buddha went Tusita heaven and stayed there until his Bodhisatta path follows when he came back to Earth until it finally reached Nirvana. But that was it’s completion. It’s completion was after he benefited others. And Dhamma was grounded. So actually he is bodhisatta even after becoming a Buddha.

He repeat again that the Dhamma he followed in present leaded to the Ultimate. So the path for this tradition started in the present life, atleast that he understood Dhamma, with Buddha Kassapa there is no proof how he practiced. If he was a good student etc

The teaching I now give leads to the ultimate, is the ultimate purity, the ultimate completion of the holy life. I have now abandoned birth, old age, sickness, death, sorrow, and distress. I have now attained complete liberation from suffering.
This is what the Buddha said.

So the perfections as supposed happened during Jatakas as if to lead to Nirvana. Atleast in this tradition doesn’t make sense anymore for me. If the path he followed didn’t lead to Nirvana. How can perfection also lead to Nirvana?

It’s seems to be more natural to believe that the Dhamma he heard before in the his past from Buddhas and Arahants as being the path that leads to Enlightenment, was finally understood in the present life. That’s it’s something he never heard before. Because actually the past person ears is not the present one.


Does the sūtra you quote continue by stating that the Bodhisatta remained in Tusita until he was reborn as Gotama? The part that you quote merely says that Tusita was his immediate destination after his encounter with the Buddha Kassapa, not that it was his penultimate destination in saṃsāra.

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After him taking the vow etc ananda said

I have heard that at the end of his life span in the Tusita heaven, when the World-honored One mindfully descended into his mother’s womb

So thanks for your response. :pray:t4: I was just wondering. I think nowadays we misunderstood the tradition. I know I did. Where exactly in Theravada canon does it mention this? Or is it in commentaries?

Never mind it’s in the parallel of course

"I heard and learned this from the Blessed One’s own lips: ‘For the whole of his life-span the Bodhisattva remained in the Tushita heaven.’ This too I remember as a wonderful and marvelous quality of the Blessed One.

"I heard and learned this from the Blessed One’s own lips: ‘Mindful and fully aware the Bodhisattva passed away from the Tushita heaven and descended into his mother’s womb.’ This too I remember as a wonderful and marvelous quality of the Blessed One.

But I think we misunderstood the early point of the Jatakas. In most of them he is of different path. So I see the message being that none of them helped to lead to Enlightenment. The message that the faithful listening, understanding that Buddha found the path to Enlightenment. Grows in faith. That following his path, you will surely lead yourself to Enlightenment also by following his path.

Jatakas and Avadanas was the preaching phase of Sangha.

I looked up further. Theravāda used Buddha Dīpaṅkara in Buddhavaṃsa, to explain the First Vow. But if we see the start of Ancient Buddha’s, the tradition doesn’t yet mention this Buddha. In the list is normally Buddha Kassapa as last Buddha by Canon. Reason to belief that the Agamas might have the proper tradition is that in Suttanipata mentions Buddha Kassapa. (Suddenly at the end of a sutta but still they mention him only in this early writing, maybe the name was later added but still they mention that name first in the early suttas)

Āmagandha Sutta

And the list of Buddhas according to the book that is probably the first Nikāya made its

Konāgamana (which by the way King Asoka mentions visiting his stupa)

(here the sutta doesn’t mention it complete of course )

Then according to Sarvāstivāda Sūtra

We have

“May you revere Vipassī,
the glorious Visionary,
may you revere Sikhī,
who has pity on all beings.

“May you revere Vessabhū,
the austere one, cleansed (of corruptions),
may you revere Kakusandha,
who has crushed Māra’s army.

“May you revere Koṇāgamana,
the accomplished brahmin,
may you revere Kassapa,
who is free in every respect.

“May you revere Aṅgīrasa,
the glorious son of the Sakyans,
he who preached this Dhamma,
which is the dispelling of all suffering.

One more but they probably agree in the exact parallels.

So let’s say with time it seems to accept the early idea that the Jatakas actually was about a moral message and at the same time portraying Buddha as not following a path that leads to Enlightenment. And then his sudden holy life under Buddha Kassapa and after that becoming a Buddha. Makes more sense even without the vow.

Reason maybe they had Kassapa as the last Buddha before Gotama. Aha

Just think traditionally then. Because my mentality is like Ven Sujato about Buddha thinking to teach in the present life.

I see this was a tradition probably going in the beginning. Maybe Buddha in the beginning did say something of living under Buddha Kassapa, maybe without the vow is point discussed here.

But in Nikāyas this sutta is made different in both tradition, so maybe that the reason for a spilt. Between Sarvāstivāda.

I was the brahmin student Jotipāla on that occasion.”

So that’s the reason for disagreement.

Because it seems a disagreement in a early Jataka. Of who was who in the Jataka by Elders.

Sarvāstivāda ends it with.

someone other [than me]? Do not think so. You should know that he was me.
At that time, Ānanda, I wanted to benefit myself, to benefit others, to benefit many people; I had compassion for the whole world, and I sought prosperity, benefit, peace, and happiness for gods and human beings.
In the teaching taught at that time I did not reach the ultimate, the ultimate purity, the ultimate holy life, the ultimate completion of the holy life. At that time I was not able to abandon birth, old age, disease, death, sorrow, and distress, and I was not able to attain liberation from all suffering.

Saying he is the Brahmin youth.

So actually the exact point is that during Kassapa he didn’t make it to accomplish the holy life. So in the the next life he did.

It’s like what I would think Vedas people thought. From Teacher to teacher. From Buddha to Buddha?

So actually it looks like a claim that it’s something practiced in the line of Brahmins.

I understand that the Buddha went forth as Jotipāla. That would be a start.

MN81:11.4: ‘Well then, dear Ghaṭīkāra, I shall go forth from the lay life to homelessness.’

MN81:23.4: I myself was the student Jotipāla at that time.”

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Why I said about disagreements. :joy: maybe because I see here that it’s transmitted like this. Because there was disagreement about this sutta.

“Now, Ānanda, you may think thus: ‘Certainly, someone else was the brahmin student Jotipāla on that occasion.’ But it should not be regarded thus. I was the brahmin student Jotipāla on that occasion.”

Now why would Buddha say you should not think it’s someone else? Get it? It was thought by other traditions to be probably someone else. That’s just a sign there was no agreement about this story.

Mahavastu agree at the end also.

Now, Ānanda, you will perhaps think that the monk named Jyotipāla at that time and on that occasion was somebody else. You must not think so. For it was I who at that time and on that occasion was the monk named Jyotipāla.

But after the other part said this.

The association of the Master, the Daśabala, with these in his former lives has thus been related. A few Buddhas have been mentioned, many more are unmentioned of those under whom the Conqueror fulfilled his time in his quest to make existence cease.

So there was a disagreement. For them say it’s been already related.

I don’t know which schools disagreed.

But it’s seems there is different opinions on when also the Bodhisatta career began.

It seems Sarvāstivāda don’t agree it leaded to Enlightenment
Lokottaravādins Emphasizes that it’s because they lived holy life under various Arahant And Buddhas
Theravada seems to focus on the action that he perfected in the Jatakas. (I think)

I don’t know much. But traditions seems all different on the emphasis.

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Me either.

I just study the suttas to illuminate my own doubts so I can relinquish them. For example, MN50 is fiercely challenging to rationality, yet I have found it remarkably effective as pumice for eroding defilements. This is my own reason for avoiding commentaries and later texts. The meaning found within us can’t be verified in a hall of warped mirrors. I would however certainly consult them later to contrast and compare and challenge any internal certainty.

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I’m like you also. I will look up that sutta.

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Dasabala just a name for Buddha btw. But I meant that they related already. But another way to see which was the First Buddhas mentioned traditionaly in the beginning is in verses of Elders. But I don’t have all to study them. Although the verses are probably made later but the tradition is still early.

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Me either. I only study what is available now on SuttaCentral. More and more is becoming available thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Ajahns and many many volunteers.

Ok I got these Buddhas in verses of Elders. I don’t want to search because is obviously becoming too big. Disinterested and had to keep scrolling down. o. O

These I didn’t compare to commentary but it seems already Buddhas from Commentary.

Vipassi Buddha

Padumuttara Buddha

Sambhava Buddha

Kassapa Buddha

Atthadassi Buddha

Siddhattha Buddha

Piyadassi Buddha

Sumedha Buddha

Siddhattha Buddha

Anomadassi Buddha

But there was this interesting theragatha.

He also had a connection with Kassapa Buddha and then many rebirth he born same birth as Prince Siddhartha. What coincidence. (?)

But what is interesting of these Thera versus all had good births and then Arahantship after doing something good in presence of a Buddha

But there Buddha names still let me doubt

This sort of tradition fits well with later Sri Lanka tradition. I wonder now about India sthaviragatha

I draw your attention to the fact the is a Q&A question - “When did the Buddha actually start to become Bhodisatta” has it been solved? If so could you please mark the answer that solved it.

If there is a further discussion you wish to have about this, it is worth doing a search to see if that topic has been discussed before. If not, then, could you please frame the Topic in such a way as to highlight what that discussion is about - specifically, and then we can move it to the discussion thread.

It may appear unimportant - but otherwise the search function doesn’t work well. We are not set up for long ‘stream of consciousness’ style posting…

With Metta


I didn’t find a satisfactory response yet. But I will take your suggestions. But as I remember. I searched before. Then I posted. I am getting of the drill already. Search then Post. :slight_smile: but I’m sorry for going off topic a bit but I thought it help someone to find extra solutions for me with extra info. One thing links to the other. Void now.


I think you misread the text.

The teaching I gave at that time did not lead to the ultimate, was not the ultimate purity,
not the ultimate holy life, not the ultimate completion of the holy life.

The above sentence (only the sentence, not the whole sutta ) is related with the following sentence:

“reached the ultimate end (accantaniṭṭhā), the ultimate sanctuary (accantayogakkhemī), the ultimate spiritual life (accantabrahmacārī ), the ultimate goal (accantapariyosānā)”

What the Buddha saying was he hadn’t reached the ultimate end (i.e. nibbāna), when he still was a Bodhisatta. After he became a Buddha from a Bodhisatta (through meditation under the bodhi tree), he fully understood the four noble truth and reached the ultimate goal.

For a Bodhisatta to becaming a Buddha, he must accumulated parami. The dhamma he heard from the past Buddhas was not fully ripe (or manifested) until he accumulated all the needed parami.


I find the parallel text. (see below)

The Buddha said when he was Sunetta, He taught them the path to rebirth in the company of Brahmā. Those who totally understood Sunetta’s teachings were—when their body broke up, after death—reborn in a good place, the company of Brahmā.

“Rebirth in the company of Brahmā” is not the ultimate end, nibbāna (Also, this is not the dhamma he heard form the past Buddhas). That’s why the Buddha said “the teaching I gave at that time did not lead to the ultimate”.

Once upon a time, there was a teacher called Sunetta. He was a religious founder and was free of sensual desire. He had many hundreds of disciples. He taught them the path to rebirth in the company of Brahmā. Those who totally understood Sunetta’s teachings were—when their body broke up, after death—reborn in a good place, the company of Brahmā. Of those who didn’t totally understand Sunetta’s teachings, some—when their body broke up, after death—were reborn in the company of the Gods Who Control the Creations of Others. Some were reborn in the company of the Gods Who Love to Create, some with the Joyful Gods, some with the Gods of Yama, some with the Gods of the Thirty-Three, and some with the Gods of the Four Great Kings. Some were reborn in the company of well-to-do aristocrats or brahmins or householders.

Then the teacher Sunetta thought: ‘It’s not proper for me to be reborn in the next life in exactly the same place as my disciples. Why don’t I further develop love?’

Then Sunetta developed love for seven years. Having done so he did not return to this world for seven eons of cosmic expansion and contraction. As the cosmos contracted he went to the realm of streaming radiance. As it expanded he was reborn in an empty mansion of Brahmā. There he was Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the undefeated, the champion, the universal seer, the wielder of power. He was Sakka, lord of gods, thirty-six times. Many hundreds of times he was a king, a wheel-turning monarch, a just and principled king. His dominion extended to all four sides, he achieved stability in the country, and he possessed the seven treasures. He had over a thousand sons who were valiant and heroic, crushing the armies of his enemies. After conquering this land girt by sea, he reigned by principle, without rod or sword. Yet even though Sunetta lived so long, he was not exempt from rebirth, old age, and death. He was not exempt from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair, I say.

Why is that? Because of not understanding and not penetrating four things. What four? Noble ethics, immersion, wisdom, and freedom. These noble ethics, immersion, wisdom, and freedom have been understood and comprehended. Craving for continued existence has been cut off; the attachment to continued existence is ended; now there are no more future lives.”

Oh I see you thought like that’s the exact parallel of Pali. But Ajahn Sujato explain to me. In the Pali version that the Ascetic is not Buddha. But I believe that the Pali version is probably the start of making it into Jataka. Theravada also did similar thing. It already started actually in suttanipata. Where Buddha is born as most gods. So I’m not using a good Agama. As the true words of Buddha. But still I did not misread. I think what the Agamas was trying to portray is done alot in Jatakas.

If you Read Buddha is saying the Teaching that he gave. So actually the point of Jatakas is that all the Path he followed thinking it will reach Nirvana it did not. How can a Path thinking of wrong view lead to Nirvana? In that sense. Buddha said many times others Path are devoid of the Noble Eightfold Path. And that’s the way to ending of suffering. The 4th Noble Truth.

Jatakas was made as examples of what he went threw past life and at the same time showing what sort of low Path he used to follow. But until he was Bodhisatta in the present life he found the real Path leading to Enlightenment. That’s the first Jatakas

But later there is much more. Portraying of his life under former Buddhas etc

But then again those are the only moments he followed Noble Eightfold Path. And it’s those that other sects stress on of his former life.

For example Mahavastu explain a Bodhisattvas living under many Arahant, Buddhas before reaching Nirvana.

Because Noble Eightfold Path is practiced by them.

I still do not know Theravada view. But as I understand Sarvāstivāda and Mahavastu both have that view why they mention him under former Buddha. Because life as a Brahmin etc can’t be said to lead to Enlightenment.

So we either have to have faith he once practiced Noble Eightfold Path in his past or either that he heard it first time in the present life as said in Pali. “Never heard before”-Buddha

For example we didn’t reach Nirvana but because we heard of Noble Eightfold Path we have to have faith hopefully we find the Path again in cycle of samsara. Maybe it won’t happen until we have accumulated merit to find the Path again. But I don’t think every life a Bodhisattva perfected paramis to reach Nirvana. Jatakas made it look like that. Even Arahants had many lives in samsara and one good merit brought them to the Path and they reached Nibbana. I think we can fall in a trap. If we don’t believe in the potential of reaching Nibbana in this life. Atleast try. And Keep believing.

I’m not sure this post is long yet. I have seen more important post way longer than this. So I wonder whats the big issue with this one? Maybe it takes time for someone to respond. Khanti. If it’s like for reason of hackers I think the other posts must be the concern. Some of them is really long. Useful discussion but here at my question if it doesn’t become long for example that you have to scroll down then there is no reason to worry. :man_shrugging:

The difference is that this is posted inthe Q&A category. ie it asks avery specific question, and a specific answer is given. If you want to have a discussion then the topic is phrased differently and posted in the discussion category.

This is to enable the search and archive function to work better, so that it is easier for the 90% of our membership, who use the site in this way.

I hope that clarifies the reasons for you :pray: :slightly_smiling_face:

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I understand better now. Really organized. Got it. But then again some users sometimes try to help then it needs to be considered that they might want to keep helping by making discussion. I think there needs to be rule. Same as Buddha said. Talk about dharma or silence. There is a post for example I made once the other user compassionately discussed what was my concern and by doing that actually the answer is slowly given. It’s like our roots. Sangha did that. Don’t kill it. :slight_smile: