Points of Controversy

4.7. Of becoming “The Enlightened” (Buddha) through Enlightenment (bodhi).

Controverted Point: That one who is gifted with the Marks is a Bodhisatta

Theravādin: By your proposition you must also admit a fortiori (a) that anyone who is gifted with the Marks to a limited extent, with one-third, or one-half of them, is a limited, one-third, or half Bodhisatta, respectively—which you deny.

And (b) that a universal emperor—who is also gifted with the Marks—is a Bodhisatta, and that the previous study and conduct, declaring and teaching the Dhamma in the Bodhisatta’s career, are the same as those in the universal emperor’s career; that (c) when a universal emperor is born, devas receive him first, and then humans, as they do the new-born Bodhisatta; that (d) four sons of the devas receiving the new-born imperial babe place it before the mother, saying: “Rejoice, O queen! to thee is born a mighty son!” even as they do for the new-born Bodhisatta; that (e) two rain-showers, cold and warm, come from the sky, wherewith both babe and mother may be washed, even as happens at the birth of a Bodhisatta; that (f) a new-born imperial babe, standing on even feet, and facing north, walks seven paces, a white canopy being held over him, and looking round on all sides speaks the trumpet notes: “I am the foremost, I am chief, I am the highest in the world. This is my last birth; now is there no more coming again to be!” that (g) there is manifested at the birth of the one as of the other a mighty light, a mighty radiance, a mighty earthquake; that (h) the natural body of the one as of the other lights up a fathom’s space around it; that (i) one and the other see a great dream—all of which you deny.

Uttarapāthakas: But if you reject my proposition, tell me: is there not a Suttanta in which the Exalted One said:

Bhikkhus, to one encloived with the thirty-two marks of a Superman, two careers lie open, and none other. If he live the life of the house, he becomes Lord of the Wheel, a righteous Lord of the Right, Ruler of the four quarters, conqueror, guardian of the people’s good, owner of the Seven Treasures; his do those seven treasures become, to wit, the Wheel treasure, the Elephant, the Horse, the Jewel, the Woman, the Steward, the Heir Apparent. More than a thousand sons are his, heroes, vigorous of frame, crushers of the hosts of the enemy. He, when he has conquered this earth to its ocean bounds, is established not by the scourge, not by the sword, but by righteousness. But if he go forth from his home to the homeless, he becomes an Arahant Buddha Supreme, rolling back the veil from the world.”

Is not therefore my proposition true?