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5 dreams of the bodhisatta

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Five great dreams of the would-be bodhisatta (Buddha before enlightenment):

1. When the Tathagata; worthy and rightly self-awakened; was still just an unawakened bodhisatta, this great earth was his great bed. The Himalayas, king of mountains, was his pillow. His left hand rested in the eastern sea, his right hand in the western sea, and both feet in the southern sea. This first great dream appeared to let him know that he would awaken to the unexcelled right self-awakening.

2. A woody vine growing out of his navel stood reaching to the sky. This second great dream appeared to let him know that when he had awakened to the noble eightfold path, he would proclaim it well as far as there are human and celestial beings.

3. White worms with black heads crawling up from his feet covered him as far as his knees. This third great dream appeared to let him know that many white-clothed householders would go for life-long refuge to the Tathagata.

4. Four different-colored birds coming from the four directions fell at his feet and turned entirely white. This fourth great dream appeared to let him know that people from the four castes — priests, noble-warriors, merchants, and laborers — having gone forth from the home life into homelessness in the Dhamma and Vinaya taught by the Tathagata, would realize unexcelled release.

5. The Tathagata walked back and forth on top of a giant mountain of excrement but was not soiled by the excrement. This fifth great dream appeared to let him know that the Tathagata would receive gifts of robes, alms food, lodgings, and medicinal requisites to cure the sick, but he would use them unattached to them, uninfatuated, guiltless, seeing the drawbacks [of attachment to them], and discerning the escape from them.

(from Anguttara Nikaya 5.196)

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