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Mahāpadāna Sutta

The fourteenth sutta of the Dīghanikāya. It gives an account of the general events attendant on the advent of a Buddha, and gives various facts connected with the Buddhas, with details of seven Buddhas by way of illustration. However, it is only the life of Vipassī, the first of the seven Buddhas preceding Gotama, which is at all elaborately treated.

The sutta was taught at the Karerimaṇḍalamālā in Jetavana, and was the result of a conversation among the monks, in which they expressed the desire to know something of the births of previous Buddhas (D.ii.6‑54). It is noteworthy that the Cūḷaniddesa (p.80) cites the sutta as a typical example of the earlier Jātaka stories. Some regard it as the basis of the Mahāvastu.

The sutta is held in great esteem and is called in the Commentaries (e.g., DA.ii.480) the “King of Suttas” (Suttantarājā), because no other sutta contains so many sections for recital (bhāṇavāra) (one hundred and twenty-six).

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