Ajahn

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Enlightenment


After the bowl floated upstream like that, Ascetic Siddhartha, crossed the River Anoma. A little way up the banks of the river he found a shady tree. Spreading the handful of grass, which was offered to him by a passing Brahmin underneath this tree, He sat down at this hitherto unknown  tree in folded legs. Thus seated in meditative posture, He resolved “May my sinews and bones become dust, I will never get up from this seat, until I realize “Sam-bodhihood”  the end of suffering (“Nibbana” ). He then reflected thus   “ I have  studied, trained, practiced and excelled completely in all that the other Gurujis (=teachers)  had to offer. All that did not lead to “ Nibbana” . Then I had practiced totally and fully completed the severe ascetic practices, which all the other yogis believe, would lead to “Nibbana” , but  to no avail. None of these practices would lead to enlightenment.  I have thus far tried everything taught by others.  Now, I have only one resort.  That is my own inheritance.”
A Sinhalese artist's depiction of little Prince Siddhattha, in deep meditation
under the rose apple tree on :"Wap Magula Day" - the October ploughing ceremony day 

He then recalled how he entered a blissful state of mind, as a seven year old boy, on the Wap Magula day (Ploughing ceremony day), sitting under the rose apple tree, seeing the buffaloes suffer.  He reflected that it may be the path to enlightenment. Thus, he resorted to his own bequest, and in a perfect mind of loving kindness (as a basis) he started doing his own unique method of meditation “ Ana-pana sati” - mindfulness of in and out breathing.

With this he accessed the first Jhana, second, third and fourth. Thereafter, he accessed, the four “Arupa” Jhanas (immaterial Jhanas) of neither perception nor non perception ( nēwa sañña nãsaña yatana ),connsciousness of space,(Akasha sañña yatana), consciousness of infinity (Ananatha sañña yatana)  and consciousness of nothingness (Sunyatha).

Thereafter, he saw how beings go on from birth to birth on an endless cycle of suffering, caused due to craving (Thanha). He realized then that beings could end this suffering if they got rid of “ craving”  in the mind. Thus, on the glorious full moon day in the month of May in the early hours of the morning just before 4.00 a.m. he realized Perfect enlightenment – “ Samma sam Buddhahood” and found the way out of suffering for all beings.

At last, at long long last, he has achieved the unachievable, done what needs to be done, finished all that needs to be finished, “laid down the burden” and won deliverance, not only for himself but to all mankind.  In joy he rejoiced thus :-

“ Anekajātisaṃsāraṃ , sandhāvissaṃ anibbisaṃ;
Gahakāraṃ gavesanto, dukkhā jāti punappunaṃ.
Gahakāraka diṭṭhosi, puna gehaṃ na kāhasi;
Sabbā te phāsukā bhaggā, gahakūṭaṃ visaṅkhataṃ;
Visaṅkhāragataṃ cittaṃ, taṇhānaṃ khayamajjhagā”

For endless number of births I have been passing from birth to birth and death to death, repeatedly, looking for the (house) builder of suffering. Now I have seen the builder.  No more building,.. you builder (of the house) for me, I have seen you .... raving the builder ,(tanha). Eradicating craving (tanha) the mind is free from sankharas and therefore free from all suffering.


A Sinhala artist's depiction of the Buddha being offered lotus flowers after his enlightenment by Devas.
In the background, the Maha Brahma invites him to teach the world.
"Namo Tassa Bagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa"
Hommage to the Blessed One, The Exalted One, the Perfectly Enlightened One

The very first week enjoying the bliss of fully enlightenment, Siddhattha Gauthama, now the Fully Enlightened Buddha, continued in the same meditative posture under the tree that gave him protection and shade during His ordeal of defeating Mara the evil one and enter Sambodhihood.  This tree came to be known as the Bodhi tree after this, and is even venerated today in Buddhist countries. 

Throughout the second week,  the Buddha, paid his gratitude to this tree, by keeping his glance (Dharshana) at the whole tree and thereby blessing it. This way he set the first example to the world  - i.e. to be grateful for what is given. Today, the Bodhi tree is a beautiful tree with lovely leaves that flutter in the wind in a silvery gold reflection.  Therefore, it can be recognized among other trees in a forest at a distance.  This tree can never be used for anything.  Therefore, it is never cut as it can never be utilized.  It can thrive wherever its seeds fall, in countries in which this species grows. In Buddhist countries it is adored, as the tree that helped Gauthama Buddha to achieve enlightenment.