Monday, April 25, 2016

Trees and the Buddha's enlightenment (e-learning, Buddhism, Life of the Buddha) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
The future-buddha Siddhartha under the bodhi tree as the tempter Mara attacks (wiki)

(Part 1) 18. Seven Weeks After the Buddha's Enlightenment by
During the first week after enlightenment, the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree experiencing the bliss of freedom and peace. He was free from disturbing thoughts, serene and joyful.

The original bodhi tree from cutting, India
During the second week, with thanks and gratitude to the tree that had sheltered him during his struggle for buddhahood, the Buddha stood without moving his eyes as he meditated on the bodhi tree.

Following this example, it is the custom of Buddhists to pay respect to not only the original bodhi tree, but also to the descendants of the bodhi tree that still thrive today.

In the third week, the Buddha saw through his mind’s eye that the devas in the heavens (space) were not sure whether he had attained enlightenment or not. To prove his enlightenment the Buddha created a golden bridge in the air and walked up and down it for a week.


In the fourth week, he created a beautiful jewelled chamber and sitting inside it meditated on what was later known as the "Detailed Teaching" (Abhidharma). His mind and body were so purified that an aura of six colored rays came out of his body: blue, yellow, red, white, orange, and a blend of these five.

Today these six colors make up the Buddhist flag. Each color represented one noble quality of the Buddha: yellow for sanctity (enlightenment-level), white for purity, blue for confidence (faith), red for wisdom, and orange for contentment (desirelessness). The mixed color represents a blend of all of these noble qualities.

During the fifth week, while meditating under a banyan tree, three most charming "girls" called Tanha, Rati, and Raga [Mara's daughters Craving, Ennui, and Lust] came to disturb his meditation. They "danced" in a most seductive manner and did everything to tempt the Buddha to watch their dance. Yet, he continued to meditate unperturbed, and soon they tired and left him in peace.

The Buddha then went and meditated at the foot of a mucalinda tree. It began to rain heavily. And a huge king cobra (naga 7) came out coiling his body seven times around the Buddha to keep him warm. It also placed his hood over the Buddha’s head to protect him from the rain. After seven days the rain stopped and the snake changed into a young man (reptilian) who paid his respects to the Buddha. The Buddha then 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 conceit 'I am' is indeed the highest happiness."

The great golden stupa (reliquary mound) at the center of Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma
During the seventh week, the Buddha meditated under the rajayatana tree. On the 50th morning, after seven weeks of fasting, two merchants came into his presence. They were called Tapussa and Bhallika. They offered the Buddha rice cakes and honey to break his fast. The Buddha told them some of what he had found by his enlightenment.

These two merchants, by taking guidance (sarana) in the Buddha and the Dharma (the "enlightenment teachings of a supremely enlightened being"), became the first Buddhist lay followers.
There was no Sangha (monastic order with monks and nuns) yet. They asked the Buddha for something sacred to keep with them. The Buddha wiped his head with his right hand and pulled out some hair to give to them.

These hair relics, called kesa dhatu, were later reputedly enshrined by the merchants on their return home to what is now known as Burma. They became the central relics of the great Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon. More

Life of the Buddha

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