Universal Brightness (1) ［普明王］ ( Shrutasoma; Pali Sutasoma; Fumyō-ō): The name of Shakyamuni Buddha in a past existence, when he was a king engaged in the pāramitā, or practice, of observing precepts. The story of this king, either under the name Universal Brightness (a translation of his Chinese name) or the Sanskrit name Shrutasoma, is related in the Sutra on the Wise and the Foolish, the Benevolent Kings Sutra, The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom, and elsewhere. These sources give slightly different accounts.
According to The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom, King Universal Brightness and 99 other kings (999 by another account) were captured by King Deer Feet (Spotted Feet by another account). King Universal Brightness asked Deer Feet that, before killing him, he first let him carry out a promise he had made to give offerings to a certain Brahman (or monk by another account) in his country. He told Deer Feet that he had no fear of losing his life, but that failing to keep his promise would amount to lying and was hard to bear. King Deer Feet granted him seven days’ grace to fulfill his promise. King Universal Brightness returned to his country, where he gave the Brahman offerings and transferred the throne to his son. After proclaiming to his people that speaking only truthful words, or never speaking falsely, is the most important precept, he returned to Deer Feet as he had sworn to do. King Deer Feet was very impressed by the sincerity of Universal Brightness and praised him as a great man of truthful words. King Universal Brightness then explained to Deer Feet from various standpoints the importance of truthful speech. Deer Feet listened to Universal Brightness, put faith in his words, and thereupon released not only Universal Brightness but the other 99 kings as well. See also Spotted Feet.
(2) ［普明如来］ ( Samantaprabhāsa; Fumyō-nyorai): The Thus Come One Universal Brightness. The name that Kaundinya and others of Shakyamuni’s voice-hearer disciples will assume when they attain Buddhahood in the future, according to the “Five Hundred Disciples” (eighth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. In this chapter, Shakyamuni predicts that a group of five hundred arhats and another group of seven hundred will in the future all become Buddhas of the same name, Universal Brightness. Samanta of the Sanskrit name Samantaprabhāsa means universal, and prabhāsa means brightness.