Long time ago , I was reading some text related to Buddha online and saw that there were many pre-conditions already set for a person to become a complete Buddha. I remember very clearly , the first condition was that the person should have lived as King in the past. While googling again to see the other conditions, I am unable to find the original article. Is anyone aware of such conditions ? Can someone help . Thanks

3 Answers 3


Theravada perspective: this paper claims (page 7) that the origin of the idea of a relationship between being a ruler in a previous life and becoming a Bodhisatta is from the Vessantara Jātaka, was expanded on and embraced by Mauryan rulers, and eventually more-or-less canonicalized due to the influence of various South and South East Asian rulers (see also the Mahāvaṃsa and Jinakālamālī). I don't have a full English Buddhavaṃsa available to check, but the Madhuratthavilāsinī (the commentary) doesn't mention that all of the preceding Buddhas were kings/rulers. However the Theravada does not emphasize broad Buddhahood for everyone, and the primary factors for the next Buddha are a prediction and the complete decline of the current Buddha's teachings.

Mahayana perspective: according to the Lotus Sutra, everyone is predicted to become a bodhisattva, and therefore a Buddha (or already is, depending on the interpretation), and no Sutra that I know of insists on a specific past-birth path that includes kingship.


To my understanding, it's not about becoming a king, but it's about cultivating the perfections (parami or paramita) that makes one qualified to become a Sammasambuddha.

Kingship is not likely to be the criteria to become a Buddha. Rather, becoming a king could be a byproduct of cultivating perfections.

There are 10 perfections from the Theravada tradition, from the link above:

  1. Dāna pāramī: generosity, giving of oneself
  2. Sīla pāramī: virtue, morality, proper conduct
  3. Nekkhamma pāramī: renunciation
  4. Paññā pāramī: wisdom, discernment
  5. Viriya pāramī: energy, diligence, vigour, effort
  6. Khanti pāramī: patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
  7. Sacca pāramī: truthfulness, honesty
  8. Adhiṭṭhāna pāramī: determination, resolution
  9. Mettā pāramī: goodwill, friendliness, loving-kindness
  10. Upekkhā pāramī: equanimity, serenity

Ven. Bodhi stated in the introduction to A Treatise on the Paramis from the Commentary to the Cariyapitaka:

It should be noted that in established Theravaada tradition the paaramiis are not regarded as a discipline peculiar to candidates for Buddhahood alone but as practices which must be fulfilled by all aspirants to enlightenment and deliverance, whether as Buddhas, paccekabuddhas, or disciples. What distinguishes the supreme bodhisattva from aspirants in the other two vehicles is the degree to which the paaramiis must be cultivated and the length of time they must be pursued. But the qualities themselves are universal requisites for deliverance, which all must fulfill to at least a minimal degree to merit the fruits of the liberating path.

This answer has a hint in the suttas with regards to the degree to which the perfections must be cultivated on the path to Buddhahood.

To a person unblemished,
constantly searching for purity,
a hair-tip's worth of evil
seems as large
as a cloud.
SN 9.14


It could be the Buddhavaṃsa -- there's a partial a copy of it here:

The chapters I see -- i.e. 1, 22, 23, 24 -- all have the same format: starting with "Royal household life", then "Renunciation", and "Attainment of Buddhahood".


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