Is this the accepted Theravada idea?
Below is extracted from the Notes section (page 478) of Venerable Acariya Mun Bhuridatta Thera- A Spiritual Biography:Spiritual partner.
Literally, "one's partner in developing the spiritual perfections (parami).Most living beings have an individual, usually of the opposite sex with whom they have maintained an intimate, personal relationship spanning countless lifetimes over many eons of existance. Life after life, those couples who share a deep spiritual commitment will reconnect and renew their relationship, assisting each other to develop one or another aspect of spiritual perfection. Such a devoted companion is considered to be essential for the eons-long quest to become a fully-enlightened Buddha, as Gautama Buddha's own story illustrates:
In a past eon of the world, as a forest-dwelling ascetic named Sumedha, he threw himself at the feet of an earlier Buddha, Dipankara, and resolved to become a Buddha himself in future. As he made this vow, a young woman bearing incense and flowers stepped forth joyously to congratulate him. He immediately rejected her support, saying that as a forest-dwelling ascetic he was determined to live alone. Dipankara Buddha then cautioned the young ascetic, telling him that every aspirant to Buddhahood had a spiritual companion (pada-paricarika) who was his inseparable partner throughout the long, ardous journey to perfection. After that, through countless lives, the Bodhisatta and his spiritual partner labored and sacrificed together for the benefit of other living beings as they traveled the Path of Awakening.
And also:http://thaiforesttradition.blogspot.com ... ation.htmlThe Power of Aspiration
I cannot read Thai but Khun Mer, a Thai mae chi shared with me the story about Luang Por Mun.
During the time of the Buddha, Luang Por Mun was a rich man and inspired by the Buddha's teachings, he gave up his wealth and seek ordination with his wife. As he was old, he was not able to learn the Dhamma as much as he would like to. But in that lifetime, he had made an aspiration to become the future Buddha.
So through about 2500 years, he went through the cycle of life and death- till he reached his final birth and was born in Ubon Ratchathani (North East of Thailand) in 1870. He ordained as a monk at the age of 22 and practiced with dilligence. He remembered back his past birth during the Buddha's lifetime. It was during his final lifetime, he gave up his aspiration to become the future Buddha but instead, to end the cycle of rebirth and death.
Khun Mer said that in my previous birth, I had known Ajahn Mun and did dana and paid respect to him. But I was probably too old to be able to learn the Dhamma well, still, the respect I had for Ajahn Mun had always been deep.