The Buddha of a future age.

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According to the Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta, he will be born, when human beings will live to an age of eighty thousand years, in the city of Ketumati (present Benares), whose king will be the Cakkavatti Sankha. Sankha will live in the fairy palace where once dwelt King Mahapanada, but later he will give the palace away and will himself become a follower of Metteyya Buddha.

The Anagatavamsa gives further particulars. Metteyya will be born in a very eminent brahmin family and his personal name will be Ajita. Metteyya is evidently the name of his gotta [caste]. For eight thousand years he will live the household life in four palaces. Sirivaddha, Vaddhamana, Siddhattha and Candaka – his chief wife being Candamukhi and his son Brahmavaddhana. Having seen the four signs while on his way to the park, he will be dissatisfied with household life and will spend one week in practising austerities. Then he will leave home, travelling in his palace and accompanied by a fourfold army, at the head of which will be eighty-four thousand brahmins and eighty-four thousand Khattiya maidens.

Among his followers will be Isidatta and Pūrana, two brothers, Jatimitta, Vijaya, Suddhika and Suddhana, Sangha and Sangha, Saddhara, Sudatta, Yasavati and Visakha, each with eighty-four thousand companions. Together they will leave the household and arrive on the same day at the Bodhi tree. After the Enlightenment, the Buddha will preach in Nagavana and King Sankha will, later, ordain himself under him. Metteyya’s father will be Subrahma, chaplain to King Sankha, and his mother Brahmavati. His chief disciples will be Asoka and Brahmadeva among monks, and Paduma and Sumana among nuns. Siha will be his personal attendant and his chief patrons Sumana, Sangha, Yasavati and Sangha. His Bodhi will be the Naga tree. After the Buddha’s death, his teachings will continue for one hundred and eighty thousand years.

According to the Mahavamsa, Kakavannatissa and Viharamahadevi, father and mother of Dutthagamani, will be Metteyya’s parents, Dutthagamani himself will be his chief disciple and Saddhatissa his second disciple, while Prince Sali will be his son.

At present, the future Buddha is living in the Tusita deva-world. There is a tradition that Natha is the name of the future Buddha in the deva world.

The worship of the Bodhisatta Metteyya seems to have been popular in ancient Ceylon, and Dhatusena adorned an image of him with all the equipment of a king and ordained a guard for it within the radius of seven yojanas.

Dappula I made a statue in honour of the future Buddha fifteen cubits high. It is believed that Metteyya spends his time in the deva-world, preaching the Dhamma to the assembled gods, and, in emulation of his example, King Kassapa V. used to recite the Abhidhamma in the assemblies of the monks. Parakkamabahu I. had three statues built in honour of Metteyya, while Kittisirirajasiha erected one in the Rajata-vihara and another in the cave above it. It is the wish of all Buddhists that they meet Metteyya Buddha, listen to his preaching and attain to Nibbana under him.

Yasa’s initiation

Yasa was a man with great wealth inherited from his father. He had all riches around him, such as music and female company. That night he went to sleep listening to music and feeling the female company. He woke up early in the morning and saw the appalling scene of tired women sleeping here and there. Yasa was greatly frustrated.

The Buddha had a lengthy talk with the young man on generosity, morality, the futility of sensual pleasures and the benefit of renunciation. Yasa could slowly collect his wits and his mind became stable. He had the rare privilege of being a monk straight away when the Buddha called him as ‘Come here, monk’. He became a Sotapanna.

He was the sixth to be a monk as well as an arahant. He is believed to have lived in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in northern India.

The Buddha and his six arahants visited the home of Yasa the following day. Yasa’s mother and his former wife thus became the first two female lay disciples. Upon hearing of Yasa’s ordination, four of his closest friends, Vimala, Subahu, Punnaji and Gavampati followed him into the sangha and they too became arahants. Within two months, a further fifty of Yasa’s friends had joined the Sangha and attained arahantship, bringing the total number of arahants to sixty.

This Yasa should not be mistaken with the namesake monk who played a pivotal role in the Second Buddhist Council, which took place 100 years following the Buddha’s death.

How could Yasa get a chance to become the first Arahant monk after five ascetics? Saddharmaratnavaliya has an interesting account:

Yasa had done a good deal of merits in a time of a certain Buddha. He and his friends were all born on earth in a time when no Buddha was in existence. Still, they did merits such as cremating the poor and needy and those who had no kinsmen.

Yasa’s retinue

Yasa’s family found him to be missing. His father got into the street to locate him but met only the Buddha. He was impressed by the sermon of the Buddha, and became a disciple; he attained Sotapanna too. The scriptures say Yasa’s father became the Buddha’s first lay disciple. He was more than happy to hear of his son’s spiritual achievement and invited the monk community to his home.

Yasa’s family members, mother and wife, became first female disciples and his closest friends, Vimala, Subahu, Punnaji and Gavampati became monks. This was followed by another batch of fifty friends, who all became Arhaths ultimately. Now the monk community consisted of sixty-one altogether. The Buddha knew it was the right time to propagate the teaching now.

Go forth, O monks, for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit and happiness of gods and men. Two must not take the same path. Teach the Dhamma which is excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle and excellent in the end, both in spirit and letter. Proclaim the holy life, perfect and pure.