28 Buddha and Future Buddha
The detailed account of the life of Gautama Buddha and other 27 Buddha who preceded him is written in the book, "Buddhavamsa". Many scholars believe that the Buddhists scripture, Buddhavamsa, have been written during 1st and 2nd century BCE and it is a late addition to Pali Canon (Tripitaka).
This scripture consists of 29 chapters. The first chapter explains how Gautama Buddha demonstrates his supernormal knowledge and created the jeweled walkway in the sky. In the second chapter, Gautama explains that Dipankara Buddha predicted Sumedha, a distant past life of Gautama Buddha, to become a Buddha named Shakyamuni. In chapter three to twenty-six, there is an explanation about the Buddha before Gautama Buddha.
In chapter 27, there is written about the life of Gautama Buddha and in chapter 28, it is mentioned that there were three Buddha that preceded Dipankara Buddha. In chapter 29, it tells us about the distribution of the Buddha's relic after his death.
It is not to be forgotten that the Buddhavamas Scripture is a part of Scripture, "Khuddaka Nikaya" and it is also a part of "Sutta Pitaka". The Sutta Pitaka is a part of the scripture, Tripitaka also known as Pali Canon.
In Buddhavamsa, it is mentioned about altogether 28 Buddha along with future Buddha. The first ever Buddha that lived on the earth as according to Buddhavamsa is Tanhankara Buddha. He belongs to Kshatriya family. He got the enlightenment while meditating in the Bodhirukka, Rukkaththana. His parents were king Sunandha and Queen Sunandhaa. The second one that is mentioned in the Buddhavamsa is Medhankara Buddha. His parents were Sudheva and Yasodhara. He got the enlightenment while meditating in the Bodhirukka, Kaela. The third Buddha that lived on the earth is Saranankara Buddha. He got the enlightenment in the Bodhirukka, Pulila and his parents were Sumangala and Yasawathi. These were the first three Buddha who lived on the earth before the Dipankara Buddha.
Dipankara Buddha was born in Brahmin family at Rammawati Nagara and his parents were King Arcishtra and Queen Susila. Dipankara Buddha has important part in the history of Buddhism because he forecast present day Gautama Buddha. He even plays important role in Newari Buddhism. In Kathmandu Valley, Nepal; Buddhist people celebrate almsgiving festival called Samyak. This festival is celebrated on a large open ground mainly at Basantapur Durbar Square and Bhuikhel (located at the base of Swayambhu Stupa). During this festival, Antique Buddha Statue of Dipankara is depicted following tantric rituals.
After Dipankara Buddha, there are other 23 Buddha before Gautama Buddha that born in the world. Every Buddha has its significance in their period of birth and living. The Buddha got born in different periods and got enlightenment while meditating in different Bodhirukka. The Buddha’s that born in the world were- Kondanna Buddha, Mangala Buddha, Sumana Buddha, Revata Buddha, Sobita Buddha, Anomadassi Buddha, Paduma Buddha, Narada Buddha, Padumuttara Buddha, Sumedha Buddha, Sujata Buddha, Piyadassi Buddha, Atthadassi Buddha, Dhammadassi Buddha, Siddhartha Buddha, Tissa Buddha, Phussa Buddha, Vipassi Buddha, Sikhi Buddha, and Vessabhu Buddha.
Above mentioned Buddhas were born in the Vyuhakalpa. It is believed that there were 1000 Buddhas who got born in a Kalpa. That means Vessabhu Buddha is the 1000th Buddha in Vyuhakalpa. After Vyuhakalpa, now it is BhadraKalpa and the first Buddha of this Kalpa is Kakusandha Buddha and fouth or present Buddha is Gautama Buddha.
Kakusandha Buddha was born in Brahmin Family at Khem Avanti, present day Gotihawa. It is located about 4 km southeast of Kapilvastu in Kapilvastu District of southern Nepal. It was believed that Kakusandha’s body was of sixty foot in heights and he lived for forty thousand years. His father was Aggidatta, a Brahmin chaplain of the King Khemankara of Khemavati, and mother was Visakha.
The second Buddha of BhadraKalpa is Konagamana Buddha. He was born in Brahmin family at Sobhavati Nagara. He got enlightenment while meditating in the Bodhirukka, Udumbara. His parents were Yannadatta and Uttara.
The third Buddha of BhadraKalpa is Kassapa Buddha. He was born in Brahmin family at Baranasi Nagara. His parents were Brahmadattaa and Dhanavati. He got the enlightenment while meditating in the Bodhirukka, Nigroda.
The fourth Buddha of Bhadrakalpa is Gautama Buddha. He is the present day Buddha. He was born in Kshatriya family at Lumbini, Nepal. His parents were King Suddhodana and Maya Devi. He got the enlightenment in the tree, bodhirukka called Bodhi.
There has been forecast about the forthcoming Buddha. He is Maitreya Buddha who will be fifth Buddha of Bhadrakalpa. According to the Buddhist scriptures, Maitreya will be born on earth in the future and achieve enlightenment and spread the knowledge of pure dharma. It is believed that Maitreya will be born when the Dharma will have been forgotten by most on the terrestrial world. While depicting Maitreya Buddha in Buddha Statues, he is shown with the Dharmachakra Mudra.