Just wondering, since enlightenment is the cessation of all suffering, were there other people or beings that had achieved that and were contemporary to buddha. One such candidate may be the Jain leader Mahavira - he is said to have achieved not only freedom from suffering but also omniscience after that. This is just one person, there could have been many others who were fully enlightened but not teaching maybe sitting in a cave or something; especially when one thinks that Buddha himself after his liberation was considering that.

So it seems to me a little bit surprising that buddhas have such long waiting period In between them appearing on earth. Did buddha himself resolve this, or comment on anything like this? On the same theme, where did the prophecy of Maitreya-buddha come from - was it shakyamuni-buddha himself who foresaw that? Thanks

2 Answers 2


were there other people or beings that had achieved that and were contemporary to buddha

Cessation: yes, many; the first Council was composed of 500 Arahants, for example. Perfect Buddhahood? No.

Using Pali terms because I'm more familiar with them, but I think the same applies to the Mahayana: an Arahant isn't necessarily a Buddha, and a Paccekabuddha is also fully awakened (or cut off, depending on which terminology you like), but not a Buddha in the Sammasambuddha (perfectly awakened) sense (see these answers).

On Mahavira specifically, see this answer and the links there for more information. I don't have a sutta reference handy but I seem to remember Jains being implicitly grouped among those with wrong views, somewhere.

As for the origin of Maitreya's prediction, dating early texts is inexact, but I believe Metteyya is listed in the Buddhavamsa. He's much more prominent in Mahayana sutras though (and I don't know as much about those).


MN 115 states there can only be one Buddha (sammāsambuddhā) in a world system. Gotama is the only Buddha since the Enlightenment. All other fully enlightened beings are Arahant disciples.

He understands: 'It is impossible, it cannot happen that two Accomplished Ones (arahanto), Fully Enlightened Ones (sammāsambuddhā), could arise contemporaneously in one world-system - there is no such possibility.'And he understands: 'It is possible that one Accomplished One, a Fully Enlightened One, might arise in one world-system - there is such a possibility.'

MN 115

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