New Publication: The Eight Auspicious Ones

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Toh 278

While the Buddha is dwelling in Vaiśālī at Āmrapālī’s grove, a Licchavi youth named Superior Skill requests him to reveal those buddhas presently dwelling in fulfillment of their former aspirations, such that venerating them and remembering their names can dispel fear and harm. The Buddha responds by listing the names of eight buddhas and the names of their buddha realms. He instructs Superior Skill to remember these buddhas’ names and to contemplate them regularly to develop their good qualities himself and ensure success before beginning any activity. After Superior Skill departs, Śakra, lord of the gods, declares that he has taken up this practice as well. The Buddha exhorts Śakra to proclaim this discourse before engaging in battles with the asuras to ensure his victory, and then enumerates the good qualities of those who proclaim this discourse.

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The cultivation of generosity, or dāna—giving voluntarily with a view that something wholesome will come of it—is considered to be a fundamental Buddhist practice by all schools. The nature and quantity of the gift itself is often considered less important.