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When Siddhartha Gautama started his path, before acknowledging the possibility of achieving and passing on the path to enlightenment, is there reference of his thoughts before making the decision to influence the world and ease its suffering?

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The unawakened Bodhisatta had dreams foretelling his future path as the Buddha in the Supina Sutta, quoted below.

"Now, when the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, and this great earth was his great bed, the Himalayas, king of mountains, was his pillow, his left hand rested in the eastern sea, his right hand in the western sea, and both feet in the southern sea: this first great dream appeared to let him know that he would awaken to the unexcelled right self-awakening.

"When the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, and a woody vine growing out of his navel stood reaching to the sky: this second great dream appeared to let him know that when he had awakened to the noble eightfold path, he would proclaim it well as far as there are human & celestial beings.

"When the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, and white worms with black heads crawling up from his feet covered him as far as his knees: this third great dream appeared to let him know that many white-clothed householders would go for life-long refuge to the Tathagata.

"When the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, and four different-colored birds coming from the four directions fell at his feet and turned entirely white: this fourth great dream appeared to let him know that people from the four castes — brahmans, noble-warriors, merchants, and laborers — having gone forth from the home life into homelessness in the Dhamma & Vinaya taught by the Tathagata, would realize unexcelled release.

"When the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, and he walked back & forth on top of a giant mountain of excrement but was not soiled by the excrement: this fifth great dream appeared to let him know that the Tathagata would receive gifts of robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites to cure the sick, but he would use them unattached to them, uninfatuated, guiltless, seeing the drawbacks [of attachment to them], and discerning the escape from them.

"When the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, these five great dreams appeared to him."

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  • Thank you Ruben, was there any mention of dreams regarding future consequences if he chose to not take the path? – Beau. D Jan 15 at 11:18
  • @Beau.D No. It was always his destiny, apparently. – ruben2020 Jan 15 at 12:49
  • Good answer and reference. I would like to ask: did those dreams occur in the very life where the unawakened bodhisatta achieved Enlightenment? Also, did those dreams occur in one night or were they spread over days/weeks? – user19910 Jan 18 at 0:37
  • @Rain Yes. It was in the life of former prince and ascetic Gautama before his awakening. When did the dreams occur? That's unknown. – ruben2020 Jan 18 at 3:39
  • @ruben2020. Thank you. – user19910 Jan 18 at 12:40
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Possibly. For example, MN 4:

Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me ... If anyone, when speaking rightly, were to say: 'a being not subject to delusion has appeared in the world for the benefit & happiness of many, out of sympathy for the world, for the welfare, benefit & happiness of human & divine beings,' he would rightly be speaking of me.

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  • Thank you for that information, a perfect answer. – Beau. D Jan 15 at 9:19
  • Great and precise answer. – user19910 Jan 15 at 17:34

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