Nine Qualities are atributed to the Buddha.(1) Accomplished: Araham (2) Perfectly Self Enlightened: Samma-sambuddho (3) Endowed with knowledge and Conduct or Practice: Vijjacarana-sampanno (4) Well-spokenSugato: Well-spoken, – (5) the Knower of worlds: Lokavidu (6) Supreme trainer of those willing to be tamed: Anuttaro-purisadammasarathi (7) the Teacher of gods and men: Sattha Devamanussanam (8) Enlightened: Buddho and (9) Blessed: Bhagava.
Nine Qualities This article provides a detialed review of the nine qualities of the Buddha.
The Nine Qualities of the Buddha
That Blessed One is such since He is (1) Araham – Accomplished, (2) Sammasambuddho – Perfectly Enlightened, (3) Vijjacaranasanpanno – Endowed with knowledge and Conduct or Practice, (4) Sugato – Well-gone or Well-spoken, (5) Lokavidu – the Knower of worlds, (6) Anuttaro-purisadammasarathi – the Guide Unsurpassed of men to be tamed, (7) Sattha Devamanussanam – the Teacher of gods and men, (8) Buddho – Enlightened, and (9) Bhagava – Blessed.
A. Buddha is endowed with the nine supreme attributes; and those who happen to see and hear the Buddha’s Teachings can gain knowledge and peace of mind; therefore the Buddha is highly honored and adorable for those who contact with him.
B. The jewels like diamond, gold and silver, etc, are great in value. The owner of these jewels enjoys peace and happiness only in the present life whereas those who happen to see and contact with the Buddha, enjoy peace and happiness not only in the present life but also in future lives. So, the Buddha is the most valuable treasure.
C. As the ten jewels such as ruby, diamond, etc., are incomparable in value with other human utilities, so also the Buddha is incomparable with any other person in morality, concentration, and wisdom. Therefore, the Buddha is an incomparable treasure in the whole universe.
D. It is extremely difficult to come across the wheel treasure of the Universal Monarch and yet it is more extremely difficult to come across the fully-enlightened person known as the Buddha. So, the Buddha is the most difficult to see.
E. As the precious jewels like diamond and ruby are owned and utilized not by poor people but by rich people, so also the Buddha-treasure can be revered and venerated not by ordinary persons but by glorious ones who have accumulated a great deal of meritorious deeds. Therefore, the Buddha is the most honorable, most precious, most incomparable, most rare and most worthy (for the glorious ones) treasure in the universe.
(1) The Accomplished One (Araham)
Araham means that the Blessed One is worthy of all veneration because He has destroyed all defilements – greed, hate, delusion, conceit, speculative view, skeptical doubt, mental torpor, restlessness, shamelessness and lack of moral dread. Therefore, He is far away from all internal conflicts and devoid of secret evil-doing.
(2) The Perfectly Self-Enlightened One (Sammasambuddho)
The Lord Buddha is the Perfectly Enlightened One because He has known all things (Nyeyadhamma) rightly by Himself. In fact, He has of Himself known all the things, knowable things as knowable, removable things as removable, realizable things as realizable, and things that may be developed as such.
There are five kinds of Nyeyadhamma: a. Consciousness and mental concomitants – mental phenomena and material qualities grouped as the “conditioned” (Samkhara), b. Mutable material qualities (Vikara Rupa), c. Four characteristics of material qualities (Lakkana Rupa), d. All names and terms which make known and idea or notion of attributes of a thing which is made known (Panntti), e. Nibbana, the ultimate goal, i.e. the dhamma which can be gained by the complete destruction of all forms of craving.
(3) The Endowed One with Knowledge and Conduct (Vijjacaranaasampanno)
The Lord Buddha is One who is endowed with (proficient) supreme knowledge and moral conduct. There are “Eight Kinds of supreme Knowledge”
1. The knowledge or ability of attaining insight (With this knowledge, He knows, “my body is material, made from four great elements, born of mother and father, fed on rice and gruel, impermanent, liable to be injured and abraded, broken and destroyed, and this is my consciousness which is bound to it and dependent on it.” Vipassana),
2. The knowledge of the production of a mind-made body, or the supernormal power of the mind-made body (With this knowledge, out of this body He produces another body, having a form, mind-made, complete in all its limbs and faculties. Manomayiddhi),
3. The various supernormal powers (With the super-normal powers, being one, He becomes many, and being many, He becomes one; He appears and disappears; He passes through fences, walls, and mountains unhindered as if through air; He sinks into the ground and emerges from it as if it were water; He walks on the water without breaking the surface as if on land; He flies cross-legged through the air like a bird with wings; He even touches and strokes with His hand the sun and moon, mighty and powerful as they are, and He travels in the body as far as the Brahma world. Iddhividha),
4. The divine ear (With the divine ear, He hears sounds both divine and human, whether far or near. Dibbasota),
5. The knowledge of others’ minds [understanding the ways of others’ thought] (With this knowledge, He knows and distinguishes with His mind the minds of other beings. Cetopariya),
6. The knowledge of previous existences [the remembrance of one’s former states of existence] (With this knowledge, He remembers many previous existences: one birth, two births,. . . . a hundred thousand births etc. Pubbenivasanussati),
7. The divine eye or the knowledge of the passing-away and arising of beings (With this divine eye, He sees beings passing-away and arising, inferior and superior, well-favored and ill-favored, to happy and unhappy destinations as kamma directs them. Dibbacakkhu), and
8. The knowledge of eradicating defilements (With mind concentrated, purified and cleansed, unblemished, free from impurities, malleable, workable, established and having gained imperturbability, He applies and directs his mind to the knowledge of eradicating defilements or destruction of corruptions. With this knowledge, He knows as it really is: “This is suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering. Asavakkhaya)
There are ‘Fifteen kinds of Conduct’:
1. Faith in kamma – action and reaction (Saddha),
2. Mindfulness in performing meritorious deeds (Sati),
3. Shame of wrong-doing (Hiri),
4. Fear of wrong-doing (Ottappa),
5. Endeavor to perform meritorious deeds (Viriya),
6. Broad-knowledge (Suta),
7. Wisdom (Panna),
8. Moderation in eating (Bojane Mattannu),
9. Wakefulness (Jagariya),
10. Guarding the doors of the sense faculties (Watching over the sense-doors – Indriyasamvara),
11. Restraint by virtue (moral restraint – Sila),
12. First Jhana Concentration (Pathamajjhana),
13. Second Jhana Concentration (Dutiyajjhana),
14. Third Jhana Concentration (Tatiyajjhana), and
15. Fourth Jhana Concentration (Catutthajjhana).
(4) The Well-gone One or The Well-spoken One ( Sugata)
The Lord Buddha, through the fulfillment of the thirty perfections and through following the correct path without deviating towards either the extreme of eternalism or that of annihilationism by avoiding indulgence in sensual pleasures or self-mortification from the time of his pledge at the feet of the Dipankara-Buddha until that of his Enlightenment has followed the correct path, and therefore worked for the welfare and happiness of the entire world. He is, therefore, named the “Well-gone or Welfare”. He also spoke rightly, that is the proper words in the proper place at the proper time. He is, therefore, honored with the title “Well-spoken or Perfect Speaker”.
There are six kinds of speech; (l) The words of untruth, disadvantageous and not pleasing to others; (2) the words of untruth, disadvantageous but pleasing to others; (3) the words of truth, disadvantageous and not pleasing to others; (4) the words of truth disadvantageous but pleasing to others; (5) the words of truth, advantageous but not pleasing to other; and (6) the words of truth, advantageous and pleasing to others. Suitable speech here means two kinds of speech (5) and (6), out of Six.
(5) The Knower of the Worlds (Lokavidu)
Having complete knowledge of all worlds, the Lord Buddha is known as “Knower of the World.” He has known, experienced and penetrated the world. This knowledge is divided into three parts:
1. The world of Beings (Satta Loka)
2. The world of Formations (Samkhara Loka)
3. The world of location (Okasa Loka).
All living creatures are of the “World of Beings.” The Lord Buddha knows the habits, inherent tendencies, keen and dull faculties of all living beings. Thus his knowledge of the “World of Being” is complete.
“The World of Formations” means the impermanence and transitoriness of all mental and material qualities, names and terms. Material quality consists of uncountable, tiny units of matter (Rupa Kalapas). They cannot be seen. Although it may be said that scientists can examine particles of matter with microscopes, there is never only a single particle, but always a collection of them. In the words of the Lord Buddha, the tiniest particle is composed of eight inseparable material qualities: solidity, fluidity, heat, motion, form, odor, taste and nutritive essence. These cannot be analyzed discriminatively by science. However, the Lord Buddha knows all such minute particles and also their root-causes of arising, their characteristics and functions. Moreover, there are mental phenomena contained in the so-called body of a person which consist of numerous particles of matter. Through the power of mental phenomena we are conscious of things such as sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and other cognizable objects. The Lord Buddha understands completely the root causes of their arising and their functions.
Through the power of omniscience, he also knows the “World of Locations”. He is aware of the existence of countless universes including stars, planets, their satellites etc. He does not, however, emphasize this knowledge in his teaching, because it is not conducive to liberation from the cycle of rebirth and the attainment of the ultimate goal of Nibbana.
(6) The Incomparable Leader of men to be Tamed (Anuttaro purisadammasarathi)
The Lord Buddha is a peerless charioteer to tame men. No one can be compared with him, and thus he is supreme. He surpasses the entire world in the attributes of morality and in the eminent characteristics of concentration, realization, deliverance, wisdom and vision of deliverance. He is equaled only by the previous Enlightened Ones. Just as an experienced elephant trainer can drive away a wild elephant, chasing him in only one direction, the Lord Buddha guides men and admonishes them of the dangers of the cycle of rebirth. The wise and the foolish, the poor and the rich, the noble and the ordinary must all be tamed and admonish in accordance with their natural tendencies and attributes. Even non-human beings, including animals, gods and spirits, who are not civilized but are fit to be tamed, were set free from the passion, were freed from defilement, and established in the three refuges and precepts of virtue, being disciplined by various rules and regulations. Moreover, he also cultured those who had already been tamed, leading them to higher levels of purification, including that of the stream-winner, once returner, non-returner and so forth.
(7) The Teacher of Celestial and Human Beings (Sattha devamanussanan)
The Lord Buddha is the teacher of all gods and men. As their teacher, he points out the advantages of the present life, of the life hereafter and of Nibbana. He bestows his blessings on all of the gods, men and animals who are capable of progress. In this way he is similar to a caravan leader who leads his followers from the dangers of the desert to a safe land. He leads all living beings from extremely fearful states, i.e. the cycle of rebirth, decay and death which is the whirlpool of samsara to the peaceful path leading to Nibbana.
(8) The Enlightened One (Buddho)
The Lord has discovered the Four Noble Truths by Himself and awakened others too, thus He is enlightened.
The Four Noble Truths that He has discovered are:
(1) the truth of suffering,
(2) the truth of the cause of suffering,
(3) the truth of the cessation of suffering, and
(4) the truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
(9) The Blessed One (Bhagava)
The Lord Buddha is called “The Glorious” because he is associated with glory. Here the word glory is used to refer to six supernatural powers: Lordship – Issariya, Supramundane Dhamma, Fame – Yasa, Splendor – Siri, Wish – Kama and Endeavor – Payatta;— He has the supreme power of lordship over His own mind, such as:—
(1) making his body minute, as small as the size of an atom (Anima];
(2) making his body light and swift (Laghima);
(3) making his body gigantic (Mahima);
(4) arriving where he would like to go (Patti);
(5) producing what he wants by resolving and so on (Pakamma);
(6) power to make anyone or anything follow His wishes (Isita);
(7) mastery of miraculous powers (Vasita), and
(8) power of immediate accomplishment at His wish while performing a case (Yatthakamavasayita).
The Benefits of Reflecting upon the Qualities of the Buddha
As long as someone reflects the Buddha’s qualities, his mind is not invaded either by greed, hate or delusion. His mind is quite upright with the Buddha as object. And by absence of the invasion of greed, etc., his mind faces the subject of meditation with rectitude; then his applied and sustained thoughts occur with a tendency towards the qualities of the Buddha. When he continually practices the applied and sustained thoughts upon the Buddha’s qualities, happiness arises in him. And then with his mind happy, his bodily disturbance and mental disturbance are tranquillized by tranquility which has happiness as proximate cause. When they have been tranquillized, bodily bliss and mental bliss arise in him. When he is blissful, his mind, with the Buddha’s qualities as its object, becomes concentrated, thus the Jhana factors eventually arise in a single moment. In addition, when a monk reflects the Buddha’s qualities, he is respectful and deferential towards the Buddha. He attains an abundance of faith, of mindfulness, of understanding, and of merit. He has much happiness and gladness. He overcomes fear and dread. He is also able to bear pain. He comes to feel as if he were living in the Buddha’s presence. And his body, when the reflection upon the Buddha’s qualities dwells in it, becomes as worthy of veneration as a shrine room. His mind tends towards the stage of the Buddhas. When he encounters an opportunity for transgression, he has awareness of conscience and shame as vivid as though he were face to face with the Buddha. Besides, if he penetrates no higher, he will be at least destined to be born in a happy state.