The oldest known story about how Gautama Buddha becomes a bodhisattva is the story of his encounter with the previous Buddha, Dipankara Buddha. During this encounter, a previous incarnation of Gautama, variously named Sumedha, Megha, or Sumati offers five blue lotuses and spreads out his hair or entire body for Dipankara to walk on, resolving to one day become a Buddha. Dipankara then confirms that they will attain Early Buddhist authors saw this story as indicating that the making of a resolution in the presence of a living Buddha and his prediction/confirmation of one’s future Buddhahood was necessary to become a bodhisattva. According to Drewes, “all known models of the path to Buddhahood developed from this basic understanding.
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