The Meaning of the Former Buddhas in the Mahāpadānasuttanta The Meaning of the Former Buddhas in the Mahapadanasuttanta
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The purpose of this article is to examine the meaning of the former Buddhas in the Mahāpadānasuttanta (= MP). Previous research argues that the legends of the former Buddhas attempted to reveal the eternalness of the Dharma to which Gotama awakened. Considering, however, that the main theme of the legends is rather the Buddhas than the Dharma, the present study will show that this is not the sole purpose of these legends. We conclude that the purpose of the MP is to show the essential equality of the Buddhas except for the difference in their appearances. We proceed as follows. First, the similarities between the Buddhas, which are emphasized in the MP, are examined. Next, referring mainly to the Mahāpadānasuttanta-aţţhakathā and the Samantapāsādikā, we examine how the differences between the Buddhas are understood in the Pāli commentaries. Lastly, the nature of the Buddha, as far as it can be derived from the texts, and the meaning of the former Buddhas in the MP are revealed.
- Studies in Indian philosophy and Buddhism,Tokyo University
Studies in Indian philosophy and Buddhism,Tokyo University (8), 73-85, 2001-03