Posted in the Buddhism Forum
#1 Dec 16, 2012
Buddha was able to recount stories of his past lives. He achieved retro-cognitive powers. Here is one of his past life stories.
"In days gone by there was a wicked king who used to extort from his subjects all he could get; and he ordered one of his officers to lay the lash on a man of eminence. The officer little thinking of the pain he inflicted upon others, obeyed; but when the victim of the king's wrath begged for mercy, he felt compassion and laid the whip lightly upon him. Now the king was reborn as Devadatta, who was abandoned by all his followers, because they were no longer willing to stand his severity and he died miserable and full of penitence. The officer is the sick bhikkhu, who having often given offence to his brethren in the vihara was left without assistance in his distress. The eminent man, however, who was unjustly beaten and begged for mercy was the Bodhisatta; he has been reborn as the Tathagata. It is now the lot of the Tathagata to help the wretched officer as he had mercy on him."
"The Buddha's remembrance of thousands of past lives during the first watch of the night he achieved omnipotent enlightenment gave rise to a vast body of Buddhist literature, in many versions, called the Jatakas or Tales of the Buddha's Past Lives. The Pali Jatakas record 357 past lives as a human, 66 as a god, and 123 as an animal. For Buddhists, the biography of the Buddha consists of not one but many lives.
The Jatakas is a collection of "birth stories" detailing many of the previous lives of the Buddha. Buddha Shakyamuni spent many lifetimes in the six realms of transmigration. His lives as the monkey king, elephant king, deer king, and goose king are examples of lives spent in the realm of animals"
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