Happy Vesak tomorrow 4/5 2004!
On this very day 2534 years ago on
the fulmoon night of May, the Gotama
Buddha was Perfectly Self-Awakened!
Such was this mighty & quite rare event!
The Great Enlightenment of the Buddha:
At that time a girl named Sujata Senani lived in Uruvela. When adult
she prayed before a certain Banyan tree, that she might get a husband
equal to herself in caste and that her firstborn may be a son. If so, she
promised to offer the perceived tree deity the value of 100.000 yearly.
Her prayer was successful, since so indeed did it happen!
Six years after the Buddha-to-be had started his severe asceticism, she
desired to pay back the perceived tree deity on the full moon day of the
month of Vesak. First she put 1000 cows on good grass in the forest.
The milk from them, she fed to 500 cows and the milk from these 500
cows, she gave to 250 and so on down to feeding such ultra pure milk
from 16 cows to 8 cows. This process called "Working the milk in & in"
made the milk more sweet, thick, protein rich & nutritious.
At the full moon day of the Vesak month, she rose at early dawn & made the
8 cows to be milked. As soon as new buckets were placed under the cows,
their milk poured forth in streams spontaneously all by itself. Seeing this
miracle Sujata collected the milk herself in a new pot and began to cook
milk-rice (Kiribath). Seeing the milk boil immediately while rotating right
with large bubbles, yet not spilling over & the fire burn without trace of
smoke, she knew something special was going on. On this auspicious
occasion the 4 guardian Kings stood guard, Maha Brahma held the white
umbrella of state & Sakka tended the fire. Just a man squeezes honey
out of a honeycomb, so did these deities by their superhuman power
collect the vital nectar from all 4 great continents & their 2000 islands.
They then infused this fine nutrient into
the milk-rice. At other events deities
infuse this nectar into each mouthful, but here on the day of Awakening
to Buddhahood and on the day of Decease, they place it in the vessel itself.
When Sujata saw so many miracles appear, she said to her servant girl Punna: "Punna, dear girl, the tree deity is very well disposed towards us today.
Never have I seen so many wonders. Run quickly to the Holy tree and get
everything clean, neat & ready. "Yes, my lady," answered the girl and ran
in hot haste to the foot of the tree.
Now at that very night the Future Buddha had 5 specific dreams
that made him conclude after thorough consideration: "Certainly,
without doubt, today is the very day, I will reach Enlightenment!"
When the night had passed, he cleaned himself and came early
before dawn to that very Bo tree and sat down facing east,
to await the suitable time for going the begging round.
His 5 colored radiance illuminated the whole tree.
Then Punna came. When she saw the streaming radiance from his
body lighting up the whole tree in a golden color, she became highly
excited and said to herself: "Our deity, methinks, have come down
from the tree and has seated himself in order to receive our offering
with his own hands!". So she ran in great speed back to Sujata & told
all about it.
When Sujata heard this news, she became both thrilled & jubilant! So
elated, she rewarded the slave Punna by saying: "From this very day
you may be here as my eldest daughter," and gave Punna all such
jewelry appropriate for that position.
Since all Buddhas on the day of Buddhahood receive their food on a
golden dish, the idea occurred to Sujata to put the milk-rice and a golden
plate worth 100.000. The milk-rice poured out from the pot as water
from a lotus leaf & filled exactly the
golden dish. Covering it with
another golden dish and wrapping it in a white cloth, she adorned herself
with all her ornaments and proceeded with the dish on her head to
the foot of the Banyan tree. As soon as she caught sight of the
Future Buddha, she became exceedingly overjoyed & ecstatic.
Expecting him to be the tree deity, she approached while constantly
bowing. She took down the golden dish from her head & uncovered
it. Advancing close to the Buddha-to-be she put down a golden vase
with flower scented water. His long kept earthenware bowl given by
Maha Brahma Ghatikara vanished at that moment, so when stretching
down his hand attempting to find his bowl, he got hold of the golden vase.
Sujata then placed the golden plate in the hands of the Great Being.
He gazed at her & she perceived that he was a Holy Man. Doing a
reverential obeisance she said: "Lord, please accept my donation &
take it wherever you see fit."
Adding "May your wishes come through
like mine." she raised and departed as disinterested in her golden plate
as had it been a withered leaf.
The Future Buddha then raised and circulating the tree right-wise he
proceeded down to the Neranjara river, and descended into its waters
just as many thousands of Future Buddhas before him, had here bathed
on the day of their complete enlightenment. This place is even today a
pilgrimage called Suppatitthita. Coming out of the water, he dressed
in the simple hempen dress of Saint-ship also common to all the Noble
Bodhisattvas before him. Sitting down on the bank, he then rolled the
entire dish of thick sweet milk-rice into 49 small pellets and ate them.
Thereafter he took no further food in the 49 days of the 7 weeks he
spent enraptured in the bliss of Awakening. During all that time the
Buddha neither bathed, rinsed his mouth nor eased himself, but was
absorbed into the ecstasy of the trance of Buddhahood.
When he had consumed the milk-rice he took the golden dish and said:
"If I am to become a Buddha today, let this golden dish go up-stream."
He then threw it into the water, and cleaving the stream as a fleet
horse it went up-stream in the middle of the river for 160 meters.
Then it dived into a whirlpool & sank into the submerged palace of
the black Snake King, where it hit "Click! Clack!" against the top of the
stack of golden dishes, used by the 3 prior Buddhas of this Eon.
When the black Snake King heard this particular sound he exclaimed:
"Yesterday another Buddha lived.
Today a new One has been born!"
repeating several hundred admiring verses. As the time from yesterday
did this immense time lapse between two Buddhas appear
At these rare occasions his body raised up into the air to several km.
Then the Future Buddha rested at the riverbank between Sal trees
in full bloom. At nightfall when the flowers closed, he raised like a lion &
went towards the Bodhi Tree along a path prepared by the deities.
The nagas, fairies, angels, deities, birds, & various other beings did the
Seer homage with flowers, perfumes, & other splendid offerings.
Divine music was heard, so that all of the ten thousand worlds were
vibrantly excited with expectation & shouts of acclaim.
Just then a grass-cutter came going with his harvest from the other side.
He offered the Great Being 8 handfuls of Kusa grass, when he saw that
this Sage was a Holy Man. The Future Buddha accepted the grass and
proceeded to the foot of the Bodhi-tree. There, the Expert of worlds
surveyed the site standing on the Southern side. This instantly sank
down, while the opposite side raised up. "This cannot be the site for the
attainment of supreme wisdom". So he went around the tree to the
Western & Northern sides, but also there did the ground sink down.
Reaching the imperturbable Eastern side, where all Buddhas take
their seat, he sat down saying to himself: "This is indeed the immovable
spot where all the Buddhas have seated themselves! This is the very
place for destroying this net of passion!" Shaking out the grass it
arranged itself into a suitable & symmetric seat.
Then the Future Buddha leaned his back against the trunk and was
thus faced East. Right there he then made this mighty decision:
"Let all blood & flesh of this body dry up & let just the skin
& sinews fall from the bones. I will not leave this seat
before having attained the absolute & supreme Freedom!"
So determined, did he seat himself in this unconquerable seat, which
not even a 100 strikes of lightning could make him waver from.
At this very moment the rebel deity Mara -the Evil One- raised exclaiming:
"Prince Siddhattha will pass beyond my power, but I will never allow it!"
and sounding the Mara's war shout, he prepared his army & went out for
battle. Mara's army extended 102 km in front & to the sides of him. Behind
it extended to the limits of the world & it towered 77 km up high. The sound
of it was like the rumbling roar of an earthquake. Mara mounted his
mountain-like Elephant carrying a 1000 different weapons. Not two in his
army carried the same weapon and this immense mass of warriors swept
forward as a flood to overwhelm the Blessed Bhagava.
There Deities of the 10 thousands worlds of this galaxy were singing the
praises of the Great Being. Sakka - the King of the 33 gods - was blowing
the conch horn, which could sound
for four months after a single blow.
The black Naga King was reciting the 100 laudatory verses & the mighty
Maha-Brahma was holding the white umbrella aloft. But when Mara's
army came close, no one dared stay put. They all fled, trembling like a
caught rabbit. The black Naga King dived into the earth and reaching
his submerged home, he covered his face with both hands & lay down.
Sakka threw the conch right over his shoulder & took up a safe position
at the rim of the world. Maha-Brahma left the white umbrella at the end
of this world & fled into his fine-material plane. Not a single deity was able
to stand his ground, so they all left the Great Being sitting cross-legged
all alone only protected by the consummation of his perfections.
Then Mara said to his militia: "This Siddhattha, son of king Suddhodana,
is far greater than any other man, so we will never succeed to fight
him up front. We will therefore attack him from behind."
Looking towards the North the Kinsman of the sun perceived that Mara's
Army was approaching like a great flood and noted:
"Here come this mighty gang putting up all their forceful power against
me alone. Neither my parents, family nor friends are here. But I have
these great accumulated perfections at my side. These will be my
shield and the force, that will crush this mighty evil & armed gathering.
And so he remained all still inwardly focusing on the 10 great perfections.
Wanting to drive away the Future Buddha Mara, then whirled up a great
storm, which could tear away mountain peaks, uproot trees and pulverize
entire cities into scattered powder. Yet, when this immense energy reached
the Future Buddha, it could not even make the corner of his robe flutter.
Such was the power of the Great Being's long accumulated merit.
to drown this Bull among Seers Mara caused a great rain to
pour down until the wild torrents of water flooded even the treetops.
But on reaching the Future Buddha, this immense flood could not even wet
his robe to the extent of a dewdrop.
Infuriated, Mara, yielding power over even the creation of others, then
caused a showering bombardment of flaming rocks & smoking boulders.
Yet these turned into celestial flowers reaching the Great Being. So also
did a veritable assault by a cascade of burning spears, swords, arrows
& axes hurled through the air. Enraged, Mara then whirled forth an attack
of burning red coals. These also, however, feel gently as flowers at the feet
of the Foremost of all humans. Seething mad, Mara then tried white ashes &
sand glowing like fire, but this fell as sandal wood powder at the feet of the
Caravan leader. A shower of boiling mud became a delighting balm.
Feverishly attempting to frighten the Great
Seer, Mara then caused a dense
fourfold darkness to spread out, but reaching the Dispeller of darkness
it disappeared, like darkness is lighted up in the radiance of the sun.
Frustrated, being unable even to touch the Wielder of Power with these
nine mighty hurricanes of wind, rain, rocks, weapons, red coals, hot ashes,
sand, mud, & darkness Mara somewhat in panic commanded his army:
"Why do you stand still? Seize, kill & drive away this prince". Armed
with a discus, he drew near the Future Buddha on his elephant &
yelled: "Siddhattha, leave this seat. It is not yours, but mine!"
Hearing this the Well-gone One replied:
"Mara, neither have you fulfilled the 10 perfections to the third degree,
nor have you given the 5 great donations. Neither has you striven
for insight, for the welfare of the world, nor for enlightenment!
Therefore does this seat not belong to you, but indeed to me."
Unable to control his fury the enraged Mara hurled his discus, which
could cut stone pillars like bamboo shoots. But as the Great Being
reflected on the perfections, it changed into a canopy of flowers,
which remained suspended over his head. Mara's army then threw
enormous mountain like boulders saying: "This will make him get up & flee!"
but they also fell to the ground as flowers.
Meanwhile the gods were standing on the rim of the world &
craning their necks to see, they mumbled:
"Oohh what a day...
This handsome prince will certainly be smashed!
What will he do to save himself?"
The Conqueror then confidently continued:
"Mara, who is your witness to have given the great donations ?"
Mara responded: "As many as you see here!" and instantly all in
his army roared "I am his witness, I am his witness" as with one
voice. Mara then asked the Great Being:
"Siddhattha, who is your witness to have given the great donations ?"
The Future Buddha answered: "You have alive witnesses at your side
while I have none. However the great seven-hundred-fold donation,
which I gave at my existence as Vessantara, shall now be testified
by this great earth, how inanimate she may be. And at the exact moment
he touched the earth with his hand, it erupted into a tremulous earthquake.
When he gladdened remembered his prior great donation, Mara's elephant
crouched down before him on its knees. Suddenly overpowered by fear
Mara's followers fled helter-skelter in all directions. Not two went the
way, but leaving their weapons in a chaos all behind, they fled terrified
by panic. Seeing them flee, the great assembly of deities triumphantly
"Mara is defeated. Prince Siddhattha has conquered.
Let us celebrate the Victory!"
The snakes then urged the snakes, the birds urged the birds,
the deities urged the deities, the Brahmas urged the brahmas and
they all approached the great wisdom seat of the Supreme Teacher
carrying perfumes, flowers, garlands, and offerings, while they sang:
"The Victory has this illustrious Buddha Won.
The Evil One, The End-maker is defeated & done.
Thus they jubilantly circled the wisdom throne,
the band of snakes singing their praises of the Seer,
the flocks of birds singing their praises of the Sage,
the assembly of Deities singing their praises of the Conqueror,
the group of Brahmas singing their praises of the Worthy One."
It was before the sun had set that the Tathagata thus conquered Mara &
defeated his army. Then at the same night, while the Bo tree rained red
sprigs on his robe, the Consummate One acquired knowledge of his previous
existences in the first watch of the night:
"With the mind thus concentrated, purified, bright, intact, unified, focused,
tractable, compliant, steady & imperturbable, I directed it to remembrance
of my past lives. I recollected numerous past lives, i.e., one birth,
two...five, ten...fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand,
many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion,
many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion:
There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan & species, had such
a body. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain,
such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there.
There I had such name, belonged to such a sort & family, had such a form.
Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of
my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.
Thus I remembered my various past lives in all their various modes & details.
This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night.
Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed;
light arose as happens in one who is mindful, keen, & determined...
But the pleasant feeling, that arose in this way did not invade my mind
nor remain. With the mind thus still, concentrated, purified, bright, intact,
pliant, malleable, steady & imperturbable, I directed it to the knowledge of
the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw by means of the divine eye,
purified & surpassing the human eye beings passing away & re-appearing,
and I realized how & why they are high & low, beautiful & ugly, fortunate &
unfortunate, all in accordance with the kamma of their prior actions:
who were endowed with bad behaviour of body, speech, & mind,
who reviled the Noble Ones, held wrong views and acted under the influence
of wrong views with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared
in the plane of misery, the bad destination, the lower realms, even in hell.
But these beings, who were gifted with good behaviour of body, speech & mind,
who did not revile the Noble Ones, who held right views and acted under the influence of right views with the break-up of the body, after death, have
re-appeared in happy destinations, even in a divine world.
Thus, by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human, I saw beings passing away & re-appearing and I could see directly, why they are high & low, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate all in accordance with their particular
mixture of good & bad kamma.
This was the second knowledge I attained in the second watch of the night.
Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed;
light arose as happens in one who is mindful, keen, & determined...
But the satisfaction that arose in this way did not invade my mind nor remain.
With the mind thus concentrated, absorped, bright, intact, purified, pliant,
malleable, steady & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the
knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I realized how it
actually develops, that:
Caused by Ignorance, Mental Construction emerges.
Ceasing of Ignorance, therefore ceases Mental Construction.
Caused by Mental Construction, Consciousness emerges.
Ceasing of Mental Construction, therefore ceases Consciousness.
Caused by Consciousness, Name-&-Form emerge.
Ceasing of Consciousness, therefore ceases Name-&-Form.
Caused by Name-&-Form, the Six Senses emerge.
Ceasing of Name-&-Form, therefore ceases the Six Senses.
Caused by The six Senses, Contact emerges.
Ceasing of The six Senses, therefore ceases Contact.
Caused by Contact, Feeling emerges.
Ceasing of Contact, therefore ceases Feeling.
Caused by Feeling, Craving emerges.
Ceasing of Feeling, therefore ceases Craving.
Caused by Craving, Clinging emerges.
Ceasing of Craving, therefore ceases Clinging.
Caused by Clinging, Becoming emerges.
Ceasing of Clinging, therefore ceases Becoming.
Caused by Becoming, Birth emerges.
Ceasing of Becoming, therefore ceases Birth.
Caused by Birth, Ageing, Sickness & Death emerge.
Ceasing of Birth, therefore ceases Ageing, Sickness & Death.
Caused by Ageing, Sickness & Death, Misery emerge.
Ceasing of Ageing, Sickness & Death, therefore ceases all Misery!
Such is Misery...
Such is the cause of Misery...
Such is the end of Misery...
Such is the way leading to the end of Misery...
Such is mental fermentation...
Such is the cause of fermentation...
Such is the end of fermentation...
Such is the way leading to the end of fermentation.
When my mind saw that, realized that, it was freed of the fermentation of
sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, unobstructed by
the fermentation of ignorance. With that release, there was the knowledge;
Released! I realized that: Birth is ended, this Holy life is fulfilled,
this mission is completed. There is no further state in this or any other
Such was the third knowledge, I attained in the third watch of the night.
Ignorance was destroyed; certainty arose; darkness was destroyed;
light arose as it happens to one who is mindful, keen, & determined...
But the satisfaction that so arose, did not obsess my mind nor remain!
At this very moment of attainment of Omniscience, the 10 thousand worlds
quaked 12 times & became gloriously adorned. Throughout this galaxy
flowering trees bloomed, lotuses blossomed, and wines & trees bore fruit,
the dark spaces of the hells and between the worlds became illuminated
by a flooding blitz of radiance surpassing even that of 7 suns!!!
Fully & perfectly Enlightened - The Buddha - perceiving this immense glory
spoke these solemn 2 verses, which never has been omitted by any of
countless thousands of prior Buddhas:
Through this round of countless existences have I searched
yet failed to find the Creator who framed this formation:
What Misery! - Endless Birth, Death & Pain !
Now I see that 'the Constructor' of this structure is Craving.
shall this construction be build again as all the rafters
are shattered and the main beam is both busted & broken.
At the elimination of Craving, this mind is all Stilled
Then, friends, I myself a subject birth, ageing, sickness, death, pain,
sorrow & mental degradation, having fully comprehended the danger
in all what is subject to birth, ageing, sickness, death, pain, sorrow &
mental degradation, searching the unborn, unageing, immune, deathless,
unburning, happy, pleasant, pure & supreme security from the oppressing
bondage of craving, of becoming, of views, and of ignorance, entered this
unbecome, unborn, uncreated, unconstructed, undiverse, unformed,
unchangeable, unconditional, unimaginable, undecaying, unageing, unending,
undeceiving, universal unity, this supremely safe, immune, death & painless
state called Nibbana. This vision of certainty arose in me:
This release is irreversible, this is the last birth.
This endless reappearance is finally ended...