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Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya

Immediately preceding the morn of His Enlightenment, as the Bodhisattva Siddhartha Gautama was seated under the Ajapala banyan tree in close proximity to the Bodhi tree, a generous lady, named Sujata, offered Him some rich milkrice, specially prepared by her with great care. This substantial meal He ate, and after His Enlightenment the Buddha fasted for seven weeks, and spent a quiet time, in deep contemplation, under the Bodhi tree and its neighbourhood.

The First Week
Throughout the first week the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree in one posture, experiencing the Bliss of Emancipation (Pali: vimutti sukkha).

After those seven days had elapsed, the Buddha emerged from the state of concentration, and in the first watch of the night, thoroughly reflected on "The Dependent Arising" (Pali: paticca samuppada) in Direct Order thus: "When this cause exists, the effect is; with the arising of this cause, this effect arises... Thus does this whole mass of suffering originate."

Thereupon the Buddha, knowing the meaning of this, uttered, at that time, this paean of joy: "When, indeed, the Dharma become manifest unto the strenuous and meditative Brahmana, then do all his doubts vanish away, since he knows the truth together with its cause."

In the middle watch of the night the Exalted One thoroughly reflected on "The Dependent Arising" in Reverse Order thus: "When this cause does not exist, this effect is not; with the cessation of this cause, this effect ceases... Thus does this whole mass of suffering cease."

Thereupon the Buddha, knowing the meaning of this, uttered, at that time, this paean of joy: "When, indeed, the Dharma become manifest unto the strenuous and meditative Brahmana, then all his doubts vanish away since he has understood the destruction of the causes."

In the third watch of the night, the Buddha reflected on "The Dependent Arising" in Direct and Reverse Order thus. "When this cause exists, this effect is; with the arising of this cause, this effect arises. When this cause does not exist, this effect is not; with the cessation of this cause, this effect ceases... Thus does this whole mass of suffering arise... Thus does this whole mass of suffering cease."

Thereupon the Buddha, knowing the meaning of this, uttered, at that time, this paean of joy: "When, indeed, the Dharma become manifest unto the strenuous and meditative Brahmana, then he stands routing the hosts of the Evil One even as the sun illumines the sky."

The Second Week
The second week, the Buddha taught a great moral lesson to the world. As a mark of profound gratitude to the inanimate Bodhi tree that sheltered Him during His struggle for Enlightenment, He stood at a certain distance gazing at the tree with motionless eyes for one whole week.

The Third Week
As the Buddha had not given up His temporary residence at the Bodhi tree, the Devas doubted His attainment of Buddhahood. The Buddha read their thoughts, and in order to clear their doubts He created by His psychic powers a jewelled ambulatory (Pali: ratana camkamana) and paced up and down for another week.

The Fouth Week
The fouth week He spent in a jewelled chamber (Pali: ratana ghara) contemplating the intricacies of the Higher Teaching (Pali: Abhidhamma). His mind and body were so purified when He pondered on the Book of Relations (Pali: Patthana), the seventh rays emitted from His body.

The Fifth Week
During the fifth week, the Buddha enjoyed the Bliss of Emancipation (Pali: vimutti sukkha), seated in one posture under the famous Ajapala banyan tree in the vicinity of the Bodhi tree. When He arose from that trancendental state a conceited brahmin approached Him and after the customary salutations, questioned Him thus: "In what respect, Oh Venerable Gautama, does one become a Brahmana and what are the conditions that make a Brahmana?"

The Buddha uttered this paean of joy in reply: "That brahmin who has discarded evil, without conceit, free from defilements, self controlled, versed in knowledge and who has led the Holy Life rightly, would call himself a Brahmana. For him there is no elation anywhere in this world."

It was during this week that the daughters of Mara (Tanha, Arati and Raga) made a vain attempt to tempt the Buddha by their charms.

The Sixth Week
The Buddha proceeded to the Mucalinda tree, where he spent the sixth week, again enjoying the Bliss of Emancipation. At that time there arose an unexpected great shower. Rain clouds and gloomy weather with cold winds prevailed for several days. Thereupon Mucalinda, the serpent-king, came out of his abode, and coiling around the body of the Buddha seven times, remained keeping his large hood over the head of the Buddha so that He may not be affected by the elements.

At the close of seven days, Mucalinda, seeing the clear cloudless sky, uncoiled himself from around the body of the Buddha, and leaving his own form, took the guise of a young man and stood in front of the Buddha with clasped hands. Thereupon the Buddha uttered this paean of joy: "Happy is seclusion to him who is contented, to him who has heard the truth, and to him who sees. Happy is goodwill in this world, and so is restraint towards all beings. Happy in this world is non-attachment, the passing beyond of sense-desires. The suppression of the "I am" conceit is indeed the highest happiness."

The Seventh Week
The seventh week, the Buddha peacefully passed at the Rajayatana tree, experiencing the Bliss of Emancipation.


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