Bv 24 Kassapa

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Chronicle of Twenty-four Buddhas

Edited and Translated by

Professor U Ko Lay and U Tin Lwin

Yangon, Myanmar


After Buddha Konagamana's attainment of Parinibbana in this very Bhadda Kappa, the life-span of human beings gradually decreased from thirty thousand years down to ten years and increased up to asankhyeyya, when it reached twenty thousand years on its next decline Bodhisatta Kassapa was reborn in Tusita. Having complied with the request made by Devas and Brahmas for becoming a Buddha he descended to the human world and was conceived in the womb of Dhanavati, a Brahmin lady and wife of Brahmadatta Brahmin in the city of Baranasi ruled over by King Kiki. When ten months had elapsed the Bodhisatta was born in Isipatana Deer Park.

On his naming day learned readers of omens and his relatives named him Kassapa, for he was a descendant of the clan of that name.

Royal household life

When the boy Kassapa came of age he lived in three mansions, Hamsa, Yasa and Sirinanda, being entertained and served by his wife Sunanda, a Brahmin lady, who had forty eight thousand women as attendants and enjoying a divine-like household life for two thousand years.

When he had seen the four omens while living a household life and when his wife Sunanda had given birth to a son named Vinjitasena, he was stirred with religious emotion and he thought to himself; "I shall renounce the world even today."

No sooner had he thought than the Bodhisatta's mansion rotated like a potter's wheel and flew up to the sky and, like the moon coming out in the company of stars in autumn and producing a very delightful light, the mansion moved on with hundreds of people accompanying it as though adorning the vault of heavens, as though exhibiting its glory, as though attracting spectators and captivating their hearts and as though lending splendour to the tree-tops. Finally it came down to the ground with the nigrodha Bodhi Tree in its centre.

Then the Bodhisatta got down from the mansion; standing on the ground, he accepted the robes offered by the Brahma and put them on. The Bodhisatta's wife and female attendants also got down from the mansion and went to a distance of forty usabhas (half a gavuta) where they erected temporary shelters like barracks of an army. Following the Bodhisatta's example, all the men who had come along with him renounced the world.

Attainment of Buddhahood

With the recluses who had followed his example, Bodhisatta Kassapa pratised dukkaracariya; on the full moon of Vesakha, the day on which he would become a Buddha, he partook of the milk-rice offered by his wife Sunanda and spent the daytime in the local grove of acasia. In the evening he proceeded alone to the Maha Bodhi and on the way accepted eight handfuls of grass offered by Soma, a watchmen of barley fields. As soon as he spread the grass at the foot of the Maha Bodhi Tree, there arose the Aparajita Pallanka measuring fifteen cubit feet. Sitting cross-legged on the pallanka, he concentrated his energy of four factors and as has been said before he attained Buddhahood.

Five occasions of the Buddha's teaching


After his attainment of Buddhahood, Buddha Kassapa stayed in the vicinity of Maha Bodhi Tree for forty-nine days. Having complied with the Brahma's request for teaching he contemplated as to whom he should teach first and saw the crore of recluses, his companions in renunciation who were endowed with the merits of their past deeds leading to the Path and Fruition and immediately went through space to their residence, Isipatana Deer Park, near the city of Baranasi. Staying in the middle of the recluses when the Buddha delivered the Dhammacakka sermon following the tradition of previous Buddhas, several Devas and Brahmas came to listen respectfully. At that time two crores of Devas and humans attained the Path and Fruition.

(This was the first Dhammabhisamaya.)

At a later time when Buddha Kassapa taught Dhamma while touring from town to town, from village to village, and from market-town to market-town, ten thousand crores of Devas and humans attained the Path and Fruition.

(This was the second Dhammabhisamaya.)

Still at a later time when Buddha Kassapa displayed the Twin Miracle of water and fire and taught Dhamma near the asana tree close to the gate of Sundara city and five thousand crores of Devas and humans penetrated the Four Noble Truths and gained Emancipation.

(This was the third Dhammabhisamaya.)

Having displayed the Twin Miracle of water and fire, when Buddha Kassapa, in the celestial assembly hall, named Sudhamma in Tavatimsa, taught Abhidhamma of seven books in order to benefit Devas and Brahmas who had assembled there respectfully to listen to the Dhamma which was especially intouch for the Deva, who had been his mother. At that time three thousand crores of Devas and Brahmas penetrated the Four Noble Truths and gained Emancipation. was the fourth Dhammabhisamaya.)

There was once an ogre who was powerful like the one named Naradeva of Buddha Kakusandha' s lifetime. He was well known by the same name of Naradeva. Assuming the appearance of a king ruling in a city outside Jambudipa and also assuming the king's voice, behaviour and other characteristics, he killed the king and devoured him; then he ruled over the whole kingdom slaying man people for food. He also indulged into debauchery pleasures with women.

When intelligent queens, maids of honour and members of retinue discovered that "This man is not our master, not our king. He is indeed a yakkha," he felt awkward, killed and devoured them all and moved on to another city where he made himself king in the aforesaid manner.

Killing and devouring people in this way, Naradeva arrived at Sundara City. Having heard of his reign of terror, the citizens became scared of the danger of death and fled from their city. Seeing the tumultous situation of the people, Buddha Kassapa went and stood before the yakkha. When he saw the Buddha standing in front of him, he defied the Buddha by roaring thunderously; unable to frighten the Buddha he approach him for refuge. He also put forward some questions which the Buddha answered to his satisfaction. When the Buddha admonished him and gave a sermon innumerable Devas and humans, who had assembled there respectfully to listen to it, penetrated the Four Noble Truths and gained Emancipation.

(This was the fifth Dhanimabhisamaya.)

The single occasion of the Disciples' meeting


The meeting of Buddha Kassapa's Disciple-Arahats took place just once like this. In the city of Baranasi, when Tissa, son of the Purohita, saw the thirty-two marks of a superman on the body of Bodhisatta Kassapa, he remembered his father's word that "only those who would become Buddhas can have such marks"; as he had not one iota of doubt about it, he thought to himself: "This Kassapa will become a Buddha through supreme renunciation. I shall work hard to be free from suffering of samsaraafter becoming a monk in the presence of that Buddha Kassapa". Accordingly he went to the Himalayas and became an ascetic even before Bodhisatta Kassapa renounced the world. The ascetics of his company were twenty thousand in number.

Later on when he heard that "Kassapa after renouncing the world, has now become a Buddha", he left the Himalayas with his company of twenty thousand ascetics, and requested for monkhood in the presence of the Buddha. Being pronounced then by the Buddha, "Come, monks", Tissa the ascetic with his twenty thousand companions became "Ehi bhikkhus" and attained Arahatship. In the assembly of these twenty thousand monks on the full moon of Magha, Buddha Kassapa recited the Ovada Patimokkha.

(This was the only sannipata.)

Future Buddha Gotama as Jotipala the Youth received prophecy from Buddha Kassapa

Meanwhile our Future Buddha Gotama was famous as Jotipala the Youth; he recited the Veda texts continuously, learned various hymns by heart, reached perfection in the Vedas and was accomplished in treatises on prognostication that explain physical marks of a superman, etc., treatises on legends that narrate ancient tales and all arts and crafts that had been handed down by generation after generation of teachers. No less accomplished, but fully well-versed and skilful was he in terrestrial science and celestrial science.

Jotipala was an intimate friend of Ghatikara the Potter, who being a noble supporter of Buddha Kassapa was greatly devoted to the Three Gems and famous as an Anagami devotee. Ghatikara the Potter took him to Buddha Kassapa.

After listening to the Buddha's Dhamma, Jotipala became a monk in the Buddha's presence. Highly energetic, clever in performing duties big and small, and not negligent in any matter associated with the three trainings of morality, concentration, and wisdom, he shouldered responsibilities in the Buddha's Dispensation.

Having learned the Teachings (Pariyatti) of the Buddha comprising nine divisions, he glorified the Buddha's Dispensation. Discerning Jotipala's aforesaid marvellous qualities, Buddha Kassapa prophesied of him: "This Jotipala bhikkhu will indeed become a Buddha named Gotama even in this Bhadda Kappa."

On hearing the Buddha's prophecy the noble bhikkhu Jotipala became overjoyed and resolved to fulfil the ten perfections even more energetically.

On account of his only wish which was attainment of Omniscience, our Bodhisatta who would become the inconceivable Lord of the three worlds he kept himself far away from all demeritorious deeds that are to be avoided throughout samsara, repeated existences, and put efforts unflinchingly to perform meritorious deeds, which ordinary people can hardly do, in absolute fulfilment of the Ten Perfections.

Particulars of Buddha Kassapa

Buddha Kassapa's birthplace was Baranasi City where King Kiki reigned; his father was Brahmin Brahmadatta and his mother Dhanavati, a Brabmin lady.

He lived household life for two thousand years; his three mansions were Hamsa, Yasa and Sirinanda.

His wife was Sunanda, a Brahmin lady who had forty-eight thousand Brahmin women as attendants; his son was Vijitasena.

The vehicle in which he renounced the world was a mansion; he practised dukkaracariya for seven days.

His two Chief Disciples were Tissa Thera and Bharadvaja Thera; his attendant was Sabbamitta Thera.

His two female Chief Disciples were Anula Theri and Uruvela Theri; his Bodhi Tree was a nigrodha

His noble supporters were Sumangala and Ghatikara the Potter; his female supporters were Vijitasena Upasika and Bhadda Upasika.

Buddha Kassapa's height was twenty cubits; he was glorious like forceful lightning and the full moon surrounded by planets and stars.

The life-span in his time was twenty thousand; he lived for four-fifths of the life-span rescuing numerous beings from samasric waters to place them on the shores of Nibbana.

Buddha Kassapa created the big pond of Pariyatti Dhamma for several beings humans, Devas and Brahmas and gave the 'unguent of Catu Parisuddhi Sila' for them to beautify their minds, made them put on the garments of Hiriand Ottappa, distributed among them the flowers of thirty seven Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma, and placed the spotless mirror of Sotapatti Magga Nana so that they could see clearly for themselves distinguishing between faulty things and faultless things, between acts of merit and acts of unwholesomeness. He placed the mirror as though he were inviting those who were wandering in search of Nibbana near the aforesaid pond, "Behold (yourselves in) all kinds of adornment."

By providing those who listened to his admonishment with the raiments of the five precepts, ten precepts and the four Catu parisuddhi Sila so that they could fight against their enemy of defilement; by making them fasten their coats of mail of the four mundane and five supramundane jhanas; by making them wear the leather robe of Sati and Sampajanna; by supplying them with the full military equipment of sublime energy of four levels by giving them the shield of four Satipatthanas so that they could defend themselves from various enemy—defilements; (by making his army of Disciples) wield the lances of very sharp Vipassana Nana and gave them the sword of Magga Panna the swords that had been sharpened on the whet stone of viriya; by handing to them the supramundane precepts so that they could eradicate their inclinations to associate with defilements; by giving them various dressing articles of three Vijjas and six Abhinnanas having fashioned the crowning flower of supramundane Fruitions so that they could adorn and beautify themselves with; and by making a big cluster of the flowers of nine supramundane Dhammas and together with it he gave them the white umbrella of Arahattaphala so that they could protect themselves against the sun of demerits, Buddha Kassapa created the great bloom of the eightfold Magga leading happily to the haven of Nibbana. That Buddha Kassapa and his numerous Disciple-Arahats attained Parinibbana and came to the end of his final exitstence.


That Buddha Kassapa, the embodiment of unmeasured qualities, whom others could hardly approach; the gem of Dhamma taught by that Buddha, the Dhamma that was in a position to extend its bold invitation saying, "Come, have a look and try it as a practice."; the gem of Sangha, the Order of Disciples who were most excellent, for they had well practised that Gem of Dhamma all this had vanished. Unsubstantial and futile indeed are all conditioned things!


In this way Buddha Kassapa, Conqueror of the five Maras, Teacher of humans and Devas, attained Parinibbana in a great park called Setavya near Setavya City, in the country of Kasi. People of Jambudipa unanimously held a meeting and for worship erected a cetiya with bricks each brick to lay externally cost a crore (of money) and each brick to lay internally five millions; (as has been said above) the cetiya was one yojana high.

Our Bodhisatta had thus received the prophecy predicting his Buddhahood from the former twenty-four Buddhas beginning with Dipankara and ending with Kassapa and this has been composed briefly in the 'Dhammarasi Pyo' (vv. 7, 8 and 9). (The author then gives pertinent extracts from the 'pyo' which we leave untranslated.)


From the above-quoted Buddhavamsa Text, it seems that Ghatikara the Potter brought his friend, Jotipila the Youth to Kassapa Buddha without difficulty. In reality, however, he did not succeed easily in so doing. He had to persuade him again and again and finally used force by dragging him along by his hair. This is mentioned in the Ghatikara Sutta, Raja Vagga of the Majjima Pannasa. The detailed story of Ghatikara and that of Jotipala should be known from that Sutta.