The fourteenth sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya. It gives an
account of the general events attendant on the advent of a Buddha, and gives
various facts connected with the Buddhas, with details of seven Buddhas by way
of illustration. But it is only the life of Vipassī, the first of the seven
Buddhas preceding Gotama, which is at all elaborately treated.
The sutta was
preached at the Karerimandapa in Jetavana, and was the result of a conversation
among the monks, in which they expressed the desire to know something of the
births of previous Buddhas (D.ii.6 54). It is noteworthy that the Cullaniddesa
(p. 80) cites the sutta as a typical example of the earlier Jātakas. Some regard
it as the basis of the Mahāvastu.
The sutta is held in great esteem and is
called in the Commentaries (E.g., DA.ii.480) the "King of Suttas" (Suttantarājā),
because no other sutta contains so many bhānvāras (one hundred and twenty six).