01 Receiving a prediction from Dīpaṅkara Buddha
02 Living in the Tusita heaven
03 Surveying the world from the Tusita heaven
04 Sakyamuni's family lineage
05 Conception
06 Birth
07 Mahāmāyā's death
08 Mahāpajāpatī nurses the prince
09 The prince's education
10 The prince rescues a wild goose shot down by Devadatta
11 Meditation under a tree
12 Marriage
13 Life in three palaces
14 Going out from the four gates (four encounters)
15 Pregnancy of wife, birth of Rāhula
16 Intimations of renunciation
17 Renunciation
18 Visiting Bhaggava
19 Meeting King Bimbisāra
20 Visiting two ascetics
21 Ascetic practices
22 Giving up ascetic practices
23 Enlightenment
24 Revelling in liberation
25 Brahma's request
26 Meeting Upaka
27 First discourse
28 Instruction of Yasa
29 Ordination of Yasa's four friends
30 Ordination of Yasa's fifty friends
31 Punna takes refuge in the Buddha
32 Nārada takes refuge in the Buddha; the Dragon King expresses faith in the Buddha
33 Soupixie takes refuge in the Buddha
34 Sending the disciples to spread the teachings
35 Overcoming Māra
36 Permitting disciples to take disciples
37 Ordination by the Triple Refuge
38 Ordination of the thirty rich young companions
39 Ordination of the Ganges boatman
40 The huntswoman of Uruvela becomes a lay follower
41 The ordination of the three Kassapa brothers
42 Conversion of the ascetics of Uruvela
43 King Bimbisāra becomes a lay follower
44 Donation of the Bamboo Grove (Veṇuvana) monastery
45 Ordination of Sāriputta and Moggallāna
46 Ordination of Mahā-Kassapa
47 Persecution by the people of Rājagaha
48 Return to Kapilavatthu
49 Ordination of Nanda and Rāhula
50 Donation of the Jetavana monastery
51 King Pasenadi becomes a lay follower
52 The Sakyan young men join the Order
53 Donation of the Ghosita monastery
54 King Udena becomes a lay follower
55 The Savatthi miracles
56 Preaching to Mahā-Māyā in Tāvatimsa (Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods)
57 Mahāpajāpatī-Gotami become first bhikkhuni
58 Conversion of Angulimāla
59 Expulsion of Devadatta
60 Eating oats (yava) at Verañjā
61 Conversion of numbers of disciples
62 Prophecy of future greatness of Pātaligāma
63 Speaking of future destinations of the people of Nādika
64 Ambapālī becomes a lay follower
65 Final rainy season retreat at Beluva
66 Determining on death
67 Discourse at Bhogagāmanagara
68 Donation of a meal by Cunda
69 Ordination of Subhadda
70 Last discourse
71 Nirvana
72 Funeral
Appendix 1 Table showing texts from which the various episodes are taken
Appendix 2 Table showing episodes in the seven weeks after the enlightenment


Lives of the Buddha, early Buddhist scriptures, scriptures relating to Lives of the Buddha, prediction, birth, marriage, the four encounters, renunciation, ascetic practice, attainment of enlightenment, Brahma's request, the first discourse, Sariputta, Moggallana, Jetavana monastery, death


The source material has been collected with the following objectives:

1. To compare episodes recorded in scriptures which give details about Sakyamuni's life (the socalled secondary documentation, or "B documents") and to indicate their location.
2. To investigate on what early scriptures (primary documentation, or "A" documents) these episodes are based and to indicate their location.
3. To investigate continuities with the above in literature about the Life of the Buddha compiled in China, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and others, and to indicate their location.

 The list of episodes was constructed with the prime objective of ascertaining the nature of the episodes in biographical material concerning Sakyamuni that was taken up in the Lives of the Buddha, and showing where and in what way, and in what text, they are found in the Lives of the Buddha, in the early scriptures and in later writings.

 Consequently, the episodes we examine are only those which appear in the Lives of the Buddha, and we do not look at any that do not appear there. For example, in the early scriptures, an arrogant Brahman (huhuṅkajātika brāhmaṇaṇ) came to the Buddha in the period after his enlightenment and questions him about what makes a person a true Brahman. However this episode is not taken up in any of the Buddha Lives, so we do not include it here. To be honest, such cases are too numerous to mention; the Lives of the Buddha possibly include less than one percent of the episodes concerning the Buddha's life found in the early scriptures. Of course the compilers of the biographies would have been aware of this, but they were forced to exclude them for the reason they could not judge at what particular time they occurred. Thus the Lives of the Buddha, though ostensibly records of Sakyamuni's life, are by no means complete documents.

 Conversely, if an episode appears in only a single Life of the Buddha, and moreover cannot be found in the early Buddhist scriptures, we have not used it, since to do so would make the amount of material with which we had to deal almost infinite. However, there are cases where there are episodes so well known that we had to include them. For example, there is a tradition that Sakyamuni stayed in a cave on a mountain called Pragbodhi ("Prior to Enlightenment") while he was practising austerities; this is a later accretion yet it is now part of the legend.

 The items in the list above more or less follow a chronological pattern. There are differences in order among the Lives of the Buddha and there are many cases where it is difficult to extract historical fact and even to find the greatest common measure among the Lives. As a general plan, we first follow what is recorded in the Nidānakathā, and for what is not recorded there, look for a sequence based on episodes that is most generally agreed upon in the Buddha Lives. However this stage remains largely tentative. Studying the life of Sakyamuni based on materials in the early Buddhist scriptures naturally means that they are our principal materials and our main source of information, but also we look to the Lives of the Buddha and later related materials for reference in order to understand Sakyamuni's life in a comprehensive way. However, as our research progresses, we may revise this plan if it seems unworkable. We have previously explained when clarifying our objectives and methodology why we have made the Nidānakathā the focus of our study (see Monograph 1): we feel that the image given us in the Pali scriptures, which were transmitted by a single school, the Theravada, is easier for us to apprehend than the diversity of images which appears in the Chinese translations, coming from a variety of sects and schools. Thus for our purposes, the Pali scriptures have a higher value as source material.

 The source materials investigated here and their abbreviated references are:

 Early scriptural sources (A documents)

1. Pali Canon. Including Vinaya, DN, MN, SN, AN, KN
2. Dīrghāgama (Long Discourses) Zhang ahan jing, 22 kan. Translated by Buddhayaśas and Zhu Fonian, 413. T 1: 1-149
3. Madhyamāgama (Middle-Length Discourses) Zhong ahan jing, 60 kan. Translated by Gautama Saṃghadeva, 397-98. T 1: 421-809
4. Saṃyuktāgama (Connected Discourses) Za ahan jing, 50 kan. Translated by Guṇabhadra, 435- 43. T 2: 1-373
5. Saṃyuktāgama (different translation) Zengyi za ahan jing (incomplete), 16 kan. Translator unknown. T 3: 374-492
6. Ekottarāgama (Increased by One Discourses) Zengyi ahan jing, 51 kan. Translated by Gautama Saṃghadeva, Eastern Jin. T 2: 549-830
7. Sifen lü (Vinaya in Four Divisions) of the Dharmaguptaka School, 60 kan. Translated by Buddhayaśas and Zhu Fonian, et al., 405. T 22: 567-1014
8. Wufen lü (Vinaya in Five Divisions) of the Mahīsāsaka School, 30 kan. Translated by Buddhajiva and Zhu Daosheng, et al. Liu Song. T 22: 1-194
9. Shisong lü (Vinaya in Ten Recitations) of the Sarvāstivādin School, 61 kan. Translated by Puṇyatāra and Kumārajīva, c. 404. T 23: 1-470
10. Mohesengqi lü, the Vinaya of the Mahāsaṃghika School, 40 kan. Translated by Buddhabhadra and Faxian, 416. T 22: 227-549
11. MūlasarvāstivādinVinaya translations, T 23: 627-1057, T 24: 1-414
a. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye, 50 kan. Translated by Yijing, 703
b. Genben shuoyiqie youbu bichuni pinaiye, 20 kan
c. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye chujia shi, 4 kan
d. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye anju shi, 1 kan
e. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye suiyi shi, 1 kan
f. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye pige shi, 2 kan
g. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye yao shi, 18 kan
h. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye jiechi nayi shi, 2 kan
i. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye poseng shi, 20 kan
j. Genben shuoyiqie youbu pinaiye zashi, 10 kan
12. Others. (a) Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra: Four Chinese translations of the Pali version (by Buddhayaśas, T 1:19; by Baifazhu, Taisho I, 168; translator unknown, T 1: 183-84; by Faxian, T 1: 198). Sanskrit Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra. (b) assorted other translations of single sutras

 Lives of the Buddha (B documents)

1. NK Nidānakathā (Jātaka Vol. I, Nanden taizōkyō, vol. 28). Translated from V. Fausböll's ed. of the Pali text (1877-96) by T.W. Rhys Davids (1880)
2. Xiuxing benq ijing, 2 kan. Translated by Zhu Dali and Kang Mengxiang, 197. T 3: 461-72
3. Zhong benq ijing, 2 kan. Translated by Tan Guo and Kang Mengxiang, 207. T 4: 147-63
4. Taizi ruiying benqi jing, 2 kan. Translated by Zhi Qian, Wu (c. 223-253). T 3: 472-83
5. Yichu pusa benqi jing, 1 kan. Translated by Nie Daozhen, Western Jin (c. 280-312). T 3: 617-20
6. Puyaojing, 8 kan. Translated by Zhu Fahu, 308. T 3: 483-538
7. Fangguang dazhuangyan jing, 12 kan. Translated by Dipoheluo (Divākara), 683. T 3: 539-617
8. LV Lalitavistara, ed. Lefmann, 1902-08, Halle (Lalita Vistara. Leben und Lehre des Saakyabuddha); ed. Hokazono, 1994, Daitō shuppansha (Raritabuistara no kenkyū, I); Jap. tr., Mizoguchi, 1996, from French tr. of Ph. Éd. Foucaux (E. Leroux, 1884-92); Eng. tr. Gwendolyn Bays and Tarthang Tulku, 1983, Dharma Publishing.
9. Sengjialuo shaji jing, 3 kan. Translated by Sengjiabacheng (Samghabhadra?), 384. T 4: 115-54
10. Foshuo shieryou jing, 1 kan. Translated by Jialutuojia (Kalodaka), 392. T 4: 146-47.
11. Fosuoxingzan (by Aśvaghoṣa), 5 kan. Translated by Tan Wuchen (Dharmakṣema), 414-26. T 4: 414-26. Eng. tr. (from Ch.) Samuel Beal, The Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King. Oxford, 1883.
12. Buddhacarita (by Aśvaghoṣa). E. H. Johnston, The Buddhacarita or Acts of the Buddha. 2 vols, Lahore, 1936. (Cantos 1-14 in Sanskrit and English); Patrick Olivelle, Life of the Buddha. Clay Sanskrit Library, 2008. (Cantos 1-14 in Sanskrit and English with summary of the Chinese cantos not available in the Sanskrit). Jap. tr. Daijō butten 13, Chūō kōronsha, 1980; Genshi butten 10, Kōdansha, 1985.
13. Fobenxing jing, 7 kan. Translated by Shi Baoyun, c. 424-53. T 4: 54-115.
14. Guoqu xianzai yinguo jing, 4 kan. Translated by Qiunabatuoluo (Guṇabhadra), 444-53. T 3: 620-53.
15. Fobenxing jijjing, 60 kan. Translated by Shenajueduo (Jṇanagutta), 587-591/2. T 3: 655-932.
16. MV Mahāvastu. E. Senart, Le Mahavastu : texte Sanscrit, publie pour la premiere fois et accompagne d'introductions et d'un commentaire, 3 vols. Paris, 1882-1897; J. J. Jones, trans., The Mahāvastu in Sacred Books of the Buddhists. 3 vols. London: 1949-56.
17. Zhongzu mohedi jing, 13 kan. Translated by Faxian, 985-994?. T 3: 932-75.

 Literature associated with the Buddha Biographies (C Documents)

1. Shijiapu, 5 or 10 kan. Compiled by Sengyou, 502-18?. T 50: 1-84.
2. Lidai sanbao ji, 15 kan. Compiled by Fei Changfang, 597. T 49: 22-127.
3. Shijiashi pu, 1 kan. Compiled by Daoxuan, 665. T 50: 84-99. 4. Fozu tongji,
4 kan of 54. Compiled by Zhipan, 1269. T 49: 129-69.
5. JM Jinakālamālī. Transcribed from a Siamese text and edited by A.P. Buddhadatta. Pali text romanized, English introduction. Published for the Pali Text Society by Luzac & Co., 1962.
6. Bigandet The Life or Legend of Gaudama. Paul Bigandet, London, 1880, 1911.