How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

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How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby phucnguyen » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:07 pm

Hi,

I'm pretty new to Buddhism and know very little.

So from what I've known, unlike Gautama Buddha, Buddhas like Amitabha Buddha, Medicine Buddha, or Bodhisattvas like Avalokitesvara or Manjusri never lived on the earth. So how did we know they existed?

I'm sorry if my question sounds ignorant or offensive. I just want to learn. Thank you very much :)
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Re: How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby Bodhi » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:32 pm

Hi Phuc,

From what we know, there are many Buddhas in the cosmo because there are many worlds. Buddha Shakyamuni is the Buddha of our world and therefore is a historical figure in our world. But through his teaching recorded in Sutra, he often mentioned of other Buddhas, such as the Amitabha Sutra where he talked about Amitabha Buddha in the West and other Buddhas of all directions. Bodhisattvas Avalokita and many others minor and great Bodhisattvas are often mentioned in many Mahayana Sutras and that they were in the assembly while the Buddha give his sermon.

It is the fundamental teaching of Mahayana that all sentient beings are capable of attaining full enlightenment and became Buddhas. And it is also a fundamental teaching that there are infinite worlds of 10 directions and each world have its own sentient beings and they also have Buddha Nature therefore they are capable of realizing enlightenment as well. So there are many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of many worlds.

Hope that helped.

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Re: How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby Inge » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:51 pm

I have seen it written that "basically, there is not even one Buddha; there is only great wisdom", but also that there are more buddhas in a single atom then there are atoms in the universe. Isn't that strange?
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Re: How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby Will » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:29 pm

In various sutras the past lives (human & otherwise) of great buddhas and bodhisattvas are given. When you have studied more sutras you will find these.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:41 am

Shakyamuni is quoted as saying that wherever sentient beings suffer the Tathagata arises.

He also stated there are other realms with sentient beings, so presumably the Tathagata would also arise there.

Furthermore, by his own admission he was not the first Buddha nor would he be the last. In the Pali Nikaya and Agammas we find reference to past Buddhas.

Thus we can conclude that other Buddhas exist.
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Re: How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby Sonrisa » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:58 am

Huseng wrote:
Furthermore, by his own admission he was not the first Buddha nor would he be the last. In the Pali Nikaya and Agammas we find reference to past Buddhas.

Thus we can conclude that other Buddhas exist.


I want to add to this:

Dont forget about the future Buddha, Maitreya. If Maitreya Buddha comes then that means Shakyamuni Buddha was a "past Buddha". Wouldnt it make sense that there were other Buddhas before Shakyamuni too?
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Re: How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby remm » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:40 am

Buddha's appear only during a time of decrease within a Kalpa of duration, when the human life span is between 80 000 and 100 years.

There are seven Buddhas of the Past which are noted within the Pali cannon.

Names and Period of Existence
Vipasyin 91 Kalpas ago
Sikhin 31 Kalpas ago
Visvabhu 31 Kalpas ago
Krakucchanda In the present Kalpa
Kanakamuni In the present Kalpa
Kasyapa In the present Kalpa
Sakyamuni In the present Kalpa

According to research done in Japan based on a Great Kalpa (mahakalpa), one of these great kalpas consist of a changing cycle of four kalpas, they are namely: (1) Kalpa of dissolution (samvartakalpa), (2) Kalpa of nothingness (samvartasthayikalpa), (3) creation kalpa (vivartakalpa), (4) duration of a created world kalpa (vivartasthayikalpa). Each of the four kalpas last twenty intermediate or anatarakalpas. One great kalpa consist of eighty kalpas. A kalpa is sometimes said to be 4.320 million human years.

Based on this research, they concluded that Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future is due to appear in 5,670,000,000 years after the Nirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha.

They also stated that for one to perfect the paramitas and rid of every dust of klesa would take three incalculable (asamkhya) kalpas or if thought of mathematically "3x10^59".

This is based on a class I took at my University, it is quite academic, but that's what we were taught.


To be honest though, I like this quote a lot better than what I just stated:
Shakyamuni is quoted as saying that wherever sentient beings suffer the Tathagata arises
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Re: How did we know of Buddhas other than Gautama Buddha?

Postby phucnguyen » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:23 pm

My thanks to all of you for the informative answers :)
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