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  • Thong Tri Temple

The Story of Buddha: The Awakened One (7)

Updated: May 30, 2022

September 27, 2020 | Equanimity {Upekṣā}


Shakyamuni sat in Samadhi for 49 days and nights under the Bodhi tree in a state of complete tranquility and solitude. In those 49 days, he fought with internal enemies such as greed, hatred, ignorance, and suspicion, and external enemies such as Mara (In Buddhist Cosmology, Mara is associated with death, rebirth, and desire).


Mara tempted Siddhartha by speaking in a seductive voice, “O good sir! Living, you could perform merit. What will you do with this striving? Hard is the path of striving, difficult, and not easily accomplished.” Siddhartha responded, “Even an iota of merit is of no avail.” As Siddhartha’s body withered, his mindfulness, wisdom, and concentration became firm. His mind did not lust after the army of Mara, which were:


1) Sense-desires

2) Aversion for the Holy Life

3) Hunger and Thirst

4) Craving

5) Sloth and Torpor

6) Fear

7) Doubt

8) Detraction and Obstinacy

9) Gain, Praise, Honor, and Fame

10) Extolling oneself and contempt for others


After Siddhartha experienced the Enlightenment when he learned that the way to escape hardship was to renounce all desires. He attained Supreme Enlightenment at the age of 35, on the 8th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, at the time of the Morning Star’s rising.


On the 49th night, at 10 o’clock, He achieved the "Knowledge of Former Existences," recollecting the successive series of his former births in the three realms.


By midnight, he acquired the "Supreme Heavenly Eye," perceiving the nature of the universe and its constituent cause.


At 2:00 AM, he reached the state of "All Knowledge," understanding the origin of suffering and discovering the ways to eliminate them so as to be liberated from birth-death and reincarnation.


After the Buddha had attained enlightenment (Nirvana), He remained under the Bodhi tree for another seven weeks to contemplate the truths, experience the bliss of deliverance, and to revise and check His own achievement and insights until He was absolutely certain of His Enlightenment.


During the first week, the Buddha entered a deep state of meditative concentration under the Bodhi tree while contemplating the truths and the bliss that had resulted from His Enlightenment. He was experiencing the happiness of peace and freedom from disturbing thoughts.

the Buddha entered a deep state of meditative concentration under the Bodhi tree while contemplating the truths and the bliss that had resulted from His Enlightenment. He was experiencing the happiness of peace and freedom from disturbing thoughts. The Buddha thoroughly reflected on the various aspects of the normal and reverse processes of the cause and effect of things, also known as, “Paticcasamuppada,” or the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.
Deep state of meditative concentration under the Bodhi tree

The Buddha thoroughly reflected on the various aspects of the normal and reverse processes of the cause and effect of things, also known as, “Paticcasamuppada,” or the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.

During the second week, the Buddha facing North-East, stood and gazed at the Bodhi tree with motionless eyes as a sign of gratitude to the tree that had sheltered him during his 49 days struggle.


the Buddha facing North-East, stood and gazed at the Bodhi tree with motionless eyes as a sign of gratitude to the tree that had sheltered him during his 49 days struggle.  The place was later called "Animmissacetiya." Even though the Buddha simply gazed in silence, this action was a great moral lesson in appreciation towards all living things.
The Bodhi tree

The place was later called "Animmissacetiya." Even though the Buddha simply gazed in silence, this action was a great moral lesson in appreciation towards all living things.


During the third week, the Buddha saw through his mind’s eye that the devas in the heavens had doubted whether He had attained Enlightenment.


The Buddha used His psychic power to create a Golden Bridge in the air and walked up and down it for a whole week, proving to the devas that He was truly enlightened. The place was later called "Ratanacankamacetiya."

The Buddha used His psychic power to create a Golden Bridge in the air and walked up and down it for a whole week, proving to the devas that He was truly enlightened. The place was later called "Ratanacankamacetiya."
Golden Bridge in the air

During the fourth week, the Buddha proceeded towards the Northwest of the Bodhi Tree and built a Jeweled Chamber. He meditated and contemplated what was later known as the “Abhidhamma” (Causality and Dependent Origination). The place was later named “Ratanagharacetiya.”


the Buddha proceeded towards the Northwest of the Bodhi Tree and built a Jeweled Chamber. He meditated and contemplated what was later known as the “Abhidhamma” (Causality and Dependent Origination). The place was later named “Ratanagharacetiya.”
Jeweled Chamber

The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination are the twelve causal conditions that link together to form a chain of cause and effect. The twelve links are derived from the Noble Truths. They are the twelve links in the chain that lead to human suffering and endless rebirth.


Dependent Origination (Paṭiccasmuppāda/Pratītyasamutpadā) is the Buddhist doctrine of causality. Buddha confirmed the law of cause and effect as applicable to human beings. Everything has been caused into existence and nothing exists on its own. People generate karma when they are alive, and it does not simply vanish at death. Everything is always a consequence of something before. The Buddha saw the twelve causes or conditions and their effects in people’s lives and how they are linked together in a chain. He summarizes this doctrine in four verses:


“When this is, that is.

With the arising of this, that arises.

When this is not, that is not.

With the cessation of this, that ceases.”

~Gotama, MN 115. Bahudhatuka Sutta


As the Buddha sat upon a Jeweled Chamber, six rays of color radiated from him – blue, yellow, red, white, and orange. A combination of all those colors represents the colors of the aura that emanated from the body of the Buddha when He attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.

As the Buddha sat upon a Jeweled Chamber, six rays of color radiated from him – blue, yellow, red, white, and orange. A combination of all those colors represents the colors of the aura that emanated from the body of the Buddha when He attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.   Blue rays radiated from the Buddha’s hair; yellow rays radiated from the Buddha’s epidermis and skin; red rays radiated from the Buddha’s flesh and muscles; white rays radiated from the Buddha’s bones and teeth; and orange rays radiated from the Buddha’s palms, heels and lips. A combination of these five colors also emanated from the Buddha as part of his aura.
Six rays of color radiated from the Buddha when He attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.

Blue rays radiated from the Buddha’s hair; yellow rays radiated from the Buddha’s epidermis and skin; red rays radiated from the Buddha’s flesh and muscles; white rays radiated from the Buddha’s bones and teeth; and orange rays radiated from the Buddha’s palms, heels and lips. A combination of these five colors also emanated from the Buddha as part of his aura.


These six colors make up the International Buddhist flag and signify that there is no discrimination of races, nationality, regions, or skin color. Every living being possesses the Buddha Nature, and all have the potential to become a Buddha. Each color symbolizes one noble quality of the Buddha: blue symbolizes universal compassion, yellow symbolizes the Middle Path, red symbolizes blessings, white symbolizes purity and liberation, orange symbolizes wisdom and the combination color symbolizes the universality of the truth of Buddha’s teachings.


These six colors make up the International Buddhist flag and signify that there is no discrimination of races, nationality, regions, or skin color. Every living being possesses the Buddha Nature, and all have the potential to become a Buddha. Each color symbolizes one noble quality of the Buddha: blue symbolizes universal compassion, yellow symbolizes the Middle Path, red symbolizes blessings, white symbolizes purity and liberation, orange symbolizes wisdom and the combination color symbolizes the universality of the truth of Buddha’s teachings.
International Buddhist Flag

During the fifth week, the Buddha meditated under the shade of a Banyan tree called “Ajapalanigrodha,” East of the Bodhi tree. During this time, the Buddha answered a question put to Him by a Brahmin named Huhugjati, who asked Him about how one becomes a Brahmin and the conditions that make a Brahmin.

A Brahmin named Huhugjati

Mara sent his three daughters, Tanha (Thirst), Arati (Aversion, Discontentment) and Raga (Attachment, Desire, Greed and Passion) who came to tempt the Buddha during his meditation. The three girls danced in a seductive and charming manner to distract Him; yet, the Buddha continued to meditate and remained undisturbed. They were unsuccessful and left.

Mara sent his three daughters, Tanha (Thirst), Arati (Aversion, Discontentment) and Raga (Attachment, Desire, Greed and Passion) who came to tempt the Buddha during his meditation. The three girls danced in a seductive and charming manner to distract Him; yet, the Buddha continued to meditate and remained undisturbed. They were unsuccessful and left.
Mara three daughters, Tanha (Thirst), Arati (Aversion, Discontentment) and Raga (Attachment, Desire, Greed and Passion)

During the sixth week, the Buddha went to the Southeast of the Bodhi tree, where He sat and meditated under the shade of a tree called Mucalinda, experiencing the bliss of His deliverance. It began to rain heavily with a cold storm. A Naga or king cobra snake came out and coiled his body seven times around the Buddha to keep him warm and spread his wide hood over the Buddha’s head to protect Him from the rain. After seven days, the rain stopped and the snake gave up his form and changed into a young man who paid his respects to the Buddha. It was during this week that the Buddha uttered an exclamation, praising, among other things, seclusion and non-violence (through loving-kindness) as sources of happiness.


the Buddha went to the Southeast of the Bodhi tree, where He sat and meditated under the shade of a tree called Mucalinda, experiencing the bliss of His deliverance. It began to rain heavily with a cold storm. A Naga or king cobra snake came out and coiled his body seven times around the Buddha to keep him warm and spread his wide hood over the Buddha’s head to protect Him from the rain. After seven days, the rain stopped and the snake gave up his form and changed into a young man who paid his respects to the Buddha. It was during this week that the Buddha uttered an exclamation, praising, among other things, seclusion and non-violence (through loving-kindness) as sources of happiness.
Mucalinda Tree and Mucalinda the Naga

Then Buddha said:

"Happy are they who are contented. Happiness is for those who hear and know the truth. Happy are they who have good will in this world towards all sentient beings. Happy are they who have no attachments and have passed beyond sense-desires. The disappearance of the word "I AM" is indeed the highest happiness." ~ Si Satchanalai Historical Park


During the seventh week, the Buddha went south of the Bodhi tree and meditated under the Rajayatana tree. On the fifth morning, after seven weeks of fasting, there were two merchants named Tapussa and Bhallika, who had come from the district of Ukkala. Seeing the Buddha, the two merchants were impressed and offered Him part of their Sattu rice and honey, which was their provision for the long journey. This was Buddha’s first meal after fasting for 49 days. The Buddha accepted their offering and told them some of what He had found in His enlightenment. Both merchants became the first lay followers by taking refuge in the Buddha and His Dharma (Double Gem). There was no Order of the Sangha (order of monks and nuns) yet. They asked the Buddha for something sacred to keep with them. He presented the two merchants with some of His head hair. These hair relics called Kesa Datu were reputed to be enshrined by the merchants on their return home to what is now known as Burma, in the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.


the Buddha went south of the Bodhi tree and meditated under the Rajayatana tree. On the fifth morning, after seven weeks of fasting, there were two merchants named Tapussa and Bhallika, who had come from the district of Ukkala. Seeing the Buddha, the two merchants were impressed and offered Him part of their Sattu rice and honey, which was their provision for the long journey. This was Buddha’s first meal after fasting for 49 days. The Buddha accepted their offering and told them some of what He had found in His enlightenment. Both merchants became the first lay followers by taking refuge in the Buddha and His Dharma (Double Gem). There was no Order of the Sangha (order of monks and nuns) yet. They asked the Buddha for something sacred to keep with them. He presented the two merchants with some of His head hair. These hair relics called Kesa Datu were reputed to be enshrined by the merchants on their return home to what is now known as Burma, in the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.
Two merchants named Tapussa and Bhallika

Siddhartha became, “Anuttara Samyak-Sambuddha,” which means, “Unsurpassed Perfectly Enlightened Buddha.” He became a Buddha – or Awakened One, and the people called him Shakyamuni Buddha, which means “The Sage of Shakya, Enlightened One.” Shakyamuni Buddha had attained a deep insight into the true nature of life and determined to penetrate its truth through a concentration in meditation. The Buddha is the embodiment of true compassion, loving-kindness, equanimity, and blissfulness.


To be continued...


May you all be free from suffering and all the causes of suffering!


Namo Shakyamuni Buddha.


References:

“Chơn Lý,” Tác Giả Đức Tổ Sư Minh Đăng Quang (Language in Vietnamese)

“Phật Học Phổ Thông,” Tác Giả Hòa Thượng Thích Thiện Hoa (Language in Vietnamese)

“The Seeker’s Glossary of BUDDHISM,” Edited by the Van Hien-Study Group, Sutra Translation Committee of the United States & Canada

“A Simple Path – Basic Buddhist Teachings,” by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

“The Buddha and His Teachings,” by Venerable Narada Mahathera (Sri Lanka 1970), Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.

"Kinh Tụng Hằng Ngày," Biên Soạn Thượng Tọa Thích Nhật Từ (Language Vietnamese)

"Gotama, MN 115. Bahudhatuka Sutta"

"Si Satchanalai Historical Park"


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