Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C. B. Varma Introduction | Glossary | Bibliography

102 – Kassapa Buddha

Kassapa Buddha is the twenty-fourth Buddha of the Pali tradition; and one of the seven Buddhas mentioned in Pali canons. Besides, he is also reckoned as the third Buddha of the present aeon (Bhadda Kappa).

Kassapa was born in the Deer Park of the Isipatana when king Kiki was ruling Varanasi. He was the son of Brahmadatta and Dhanavati and belonged to the Kassapa gotta (clan). His chief wife was Sunanda; and son Vijitasena. He led the house-hold life for two thousand years and lived in the palaces called Hamsa, Yasa and Sirinanda. Then he renounced the worldly life.

His wife offered him the milk-rice; and Soma gave him the grass for his seat just before his Enlightenment. Yana was his Bodhi tree. He gave his first sermon in Isipatana to one crore monks; and showed his twin miracles on the foot of an asana tree outside Sundaranagara. Many legends are associated with him; and the story of the conversion of the Yakkha Naradeva is particularly interesting. Tissa and Bharadvaja were his chief monks; and Anula and Uruvela were his most prominent followers among the nuns. His attendant was Sabbamitta. It is said that the golden complexion of Maha Kacchana was due to his offering of a golden brick to the Kassapa’s shrine.

Kassapa Buddha lived for twenty thousand years and died in Setavya Park in Kashi.

During the time of Kassapa Buddha the Bodhisatta lived as a brahmin youth by the name Jotipala.

Faxian (Fahsien) and Xuangzang (Huan Tsang) also refer to the physical existence of the Kassapa’s shrines.

The Sanskrit Buddhist texts like the Divyavadana 333 f.; Mahavastu i. 114 refer Kassapa as Kashyapa.

See Dipavamsa xv.55 ff.; Mahavamsa xv.128 ff.; Digha Nikaya ii.7; Majjhima Nikaya ii.45 f.; Buddhavamsa xxv; Buddhavamsa Atthakatha 217 ff.; Dhammapada Atthakatha ii.236.


Kassapa Buddha on the panel Cave 17, Ajanta