If one aspired to being a samma sambuddha, how would the Theravadan tradition advise them to proceed?

I am familiar with some of the canonical references, (e.g., about getting a prediction from a Buddha) but what steps should one take that would advance that goal in this life?


  • According to the Buddhist literature, there are 10 perfections (in pali, Paramis) for one to develop to become a samma sambuddha. Everyone who wishes to attain Buddha-hood has to practice these perfections to a specific length of time. Our Gautama Buddha, for instance, had to willingly fulfill the ten perfections in his many existences for an innumerable period of time before being born as "Siddhartha Gautama".
  • The ten perfections are as follows:
    1. Perfection of generosity giving
    2. Perfection of Morality
    3. Perfection of Renunciation
    4. Perfection of Wisdom
    5. Perfection of Effort
    6. Perfection of Tolerance
    7. Perfection of Truthfulness
    8. Perfection of Strong Determination
    9. Perfection of Loving-kindness
    10. Perfection of Indifference towards all beings or Equanimity
  • Everyone seeking for Buddha-hood has to fulfill willingly all or most of these perfections, each in three different ways, in his every life for a very long period of time until he has already fully possessed all these ten qualities finally leading to Buddha-hood in his rebirth.
  • However, the time taken to develop these Paramis can vary from Bodhisattvas to Bodhisattvas. There are three types of Bodhisattvas, namely, Intellectual Bodhisattvas Devotional Bodhisattvas and Energetic Bodhisattvas. Intellectual Bodhisattvas take the least amount of time and Energetic Bodhisattvas the most. Our Gautama Buddha was an Intellectual Bodhisattva.

Technically you don't follow the teachings of one Sammasambuddha to become another Sammasambuddha. You have to do it all by yourself. Even if you do Samatha/Vipassana meditation, you won't be able to go pass the Jhanas. Usually people who don't understand the enormity of the task are discouraged to have such aspirations.

It all started for our Bodhisatva when he swam seven days in the ocean to rescue his mother, carrying her on his back. It is said that when the Mahabrahma saw this, he thought to himself that a being of such courage, energy and determination is worthy of aspiring for only one goal. That is to become a Sammasambuddha. So he planted the thought in the Bodhisattas mind through his mother. When they reached the shore, his mother's heart overflowed with happiness and gratitude and told the Boddhisatva "May you become a Buddha one day my wonderful son!". That is when the thought first entered his mind. From that point onwards, he thought about becoming a Buddha over a period of "Sath(seven) Asankya Kalpas". During that time he saw 125,000 Sammasambuddhas. After that he not only thought about it, but also spoke about his intentions of becoming a Sammasambuddha over a period of "Nava(nine) Asankya Kalpas". During that period, he met 387,000 Sammasambuddhas. So in total, he spent 16 Asankya Kalpas just thinking and speaking about it. Only after such a long time, he met the Buddha Deepankara and got the confirmation to become a Buddha in the future. Then he had to perfect the Dasa Paramitha in three ways over a period of "Sarasankya Kalpa Lakshaya". During that period he saw 27 Sammasambuddhas. So from the life he started thinking about it, he spent a total of (20*Anankya*Kalpa + 100,000*Kalpas) to attain Buddhahood. The next and the final Buddha who is going to appear before the end of the world is Buddha Maitreya. After him, there will be a period of vast number of Kalpas without any Buddhas.

So, if you are thinking of becoming a Buddha, you will have to wait a very very long time. It is said that Pacceca Buddhas are a result of those who aspire to become Buddhas but never get the confirmation from another Buddha.

If all of the above doesn't discourage you and if you think you are a person capable of great deeds like swimming for seven days to rescue your mother, start by cultivating Dasa Paramita. :) There's a detailed explanation about Paramitha in the Buddhawamsa.

  • What will happen to the Dhamma after Buddha Maitreya's period? – user2424 Jun 30 '15 at 15:50
  • It will disappear for a long time – Sankha Kulathantille Jun 30 '15 at 16:57
  • When will it come back? – user2424 Jun 30 '15 at 17:09
  • After the world system is destroyed and reformed and when the lifespan of humans are between 100 to 100k. – Sankha Kulathantille Jul 1 '15 at 1:03
  • @Lanka rise and fall – Lowbrow Jan 28 '16 at 23:51

Satuuk, Satuuk, Satuuk; All the answers on the top are wonderful and inspiring. Just keep it in mind and heart, please always practice the five Fold and remember the eight and tenth fold's which is already describe at the top. Always do Charities and meditattion...... Every wishes you should wish for is always to become the Buddha and reach Preah Nipean.......The procedure is so immensely long, this is a short detail in a nutshell......May your determination be fullfill.

  • Hi and welcome to Buddhism SE:) Could put in some canonical references to your answer. That would be great. – user2424 May 5 '15 at 8:40

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