The Life of Buddha: Titles and Captions

1. The

The Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) was invited by Brahma and Four Celestial Guardian Kings to be born in the world from Tushita Heaven.

2. Buddha's Mother's dream

On the day Sirimahamaya, the Buddha's mother, conceived a child, she had dreamt that a white elephant descended from the silver and golden mountains and brought her a lotus.

3. Birth

On the Full Moon Day of the Vesak month, 625 BC, the Buddha was born in Lumbini Park. Immediately after being born, he walked for seven steps, and there was a lotus holding him up for every step. He said he was the most exalted one in the world.

4. Kaladevila the Hermit

When a hermit named Kaladevila visited the child, the prince mystically appeared on the hermit's head. King Suddhodanama, his father, and all the Sakyans bowed before the prince.

5. The Ploughing Ceremony

During the Ploughing Ceremony, Prince Siddhattha sat down in the shade of a tree and was soon lost in meditation. Though the shadows of all the trees had lengthened, the shadow of the tree under which the Prince was seated had not moved. His father was overjoyed and bowed before him again.

6. Universal Monarch

Prince Siddhatta showed his skill in archery by lifting a bow which no one within the memory of man had ever been able to draw or lift. It was known from his marvellous strength that he would become Universal Monarch.

7. Coronation Ceremony

The gods gave the holy water from the conch when Prince Siddhatta married Princess Yasodhara. The Prince was very happy in his three palaces all days and nights.

8. The Four Signs

One day Prince Siddhatta went into the garden and saw the four signs of an old man, a man afflicted with a loathsome, a corpse and an ascetic. He appreciated the last one.

9. Great Renunciation

On the day Rahula, his son, was born, Prince Siddhattha decided to renounce the world. He took a last lokk at Yasodhara. And he happened to see his ladies in waiting who were sleeping, showing him their various kinds of ugly manners like cemetry.

10. Renunciation

Prince Siddhattha renounced the world. Accompanied by his confidant, Channa, he rode to the banks of the Anoma river


11. Renunciation

Prince Siddhattha took a sword and cut off his hair with one blow.

12. Self-mortification

Prince Siddhattha, the Buddha-to-be, practised self-mortification for six years until he became very thin. His bones showed prominently. But his austerities did not lead him to deliverance. When he listened to a song played by Indra, he thought of a stringed instrument and discovered the Middle Way.

13. Sujata's offering

Sujata offered the Buddha-to-be a gold bowl full of milk mixed with rice flour and honey. Sujata thought he was a god. After taking that meal, the Buddha-to-be threw the bowl into the water.

(thus indicating that he would not eat again until he had achieved enlightenment)

14. The defeat of Mara

The Buddha-to-be defeated Vasavatti Mara, King of Evil, and his companies who attacked him at the Bodhi tree. A goddess of great beauty emerged from the earth and helped the hero defeat Mara. Then the King of Mara paid him his homage.

15. Enlightenment

At dawn on the Full Moon Day of Vesak month, 588 B.C., the Buddha achieved enlightenment and by realising the Four Noble Truths, i.e. Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, and the Way leading to the Cessation of Suffering.

16. Mara's daughters

The three daughters of King of Evil (Mara) tried to solace and fascinate the Buddha. But their endeavour was in vain.

17. Uniting the bowls

Two merchants named Tapussa and Bhallika gave the Buddha his barley meal. The Kings of four directions offered the Buddha four bowls. He made them to be one bowl.

18. The invitation of Brahma

The Buddha was invited by Brahma to go and preach for the welfare of the peoples of the world.

19. First Sermon

The Buddha preached the First Sermon to the five ascetics in the Deer Park, Sarnath.

20. Sermon to Yasa

The Buddha gave a sermon to Yasa. Later he gave Yasa and his fifty-four friends ordination. Yasa's parents and wife were the first peope who accepted the Triple Gem as their refuge.

21. Sermon to the Kassapas

The Buddha gave a sermon to Uruvela Kassapa, Nadi Kassapa, Gaya Kassapa, as well as their 1000 disciples and made them all attain Arahatship

22. Magha Day

The Buddha gave Ovadapatimokkha to 1250 monks. Not to kill, to do good, purify one's mind, these are the teachings of the Buddhas.

23. Nanda's ordination

On the day Prince Nanda, his younger brother, was entering his wedding ceremony the Buddha gave his bowl to Nanda. Nanda unwillingly carried it following the Buddha to his residence. The Buddha gave him ordination and took him to see the fairies. Later be became an Arahat.

24. Rahula' s request

King Suddhodana and Princess Yasodhara suggested Rahula ask the Buddha for his heritage. The Buddha gave him ordination as a novice. Suddhodana was very sorry. He then asked the Buddha not to give ordination to anyone who did not have the permission of his parents. The Buddha accepted his proposal.

25. Devadatta's fate

Devadatta fought against the Buddha by all means for many thousands of births. He made a schism in the Order and hurt the Buddha till the Buddha's foot was bruised. But the earth would not uphold Devadatta. The ground opened. The fierce flames burst forth. Devadatta sank amidst the flames and disappeared.

26. Prajapati

Prajapati, the Buddha's step-mother, offered him a pair of her own hand-made ropes. But the Buddha told her to offer them to the Order since she would get more merits.

27. Buddha's filial piety

The Buddha gave flame to the remains of King Suddhodana at the Cremation Ceremony to show the four Buddhist companies his filial piety.

28. Buddha's mother

The Buddha ascended to Tavatimsa heaven and preached Abbidhamma to his mother.

29. Buddha's revelation

In the day the Buddha was descending from Tavatimsa heaven, both men and gods were crowded. The Buddha mystically showed all worlds to the crowd.

30. Agulimala's reform

Angulimala, the bandit, was trying to kill his mother. When he saw the Buddha he changed his mind, decided to kill him instead and ordered the Buddha to stop. The Buddha said he had already stopped, he meant he had stopped from killing. Angulimala was conscience-struck and became a monk. He later became an Arahat.

31. Parinirvana

The Buddha entered into Nirvana at the Sal grove in Kusinara city, 543 B.C., after preaching for the welfare of the people for forty-five years.

32. Division of Buddha's relics

A brahmin named Tona told the kings of seven cities to stop fighting for the Buddha's relics and practise following the Dharma. He divided the relics to those kings proportionally.

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