Enlightenment of Lord Buddha

Once Buddha was in a dejected mood as he did not succeed in his Yogic practices. He knew not where to go and what to do. A village girl noticed his sorrowful face. She approached him and said to him in a polite manner: "Revered sir, may I bring some food for you ? It seems you are very hungry". Gautama looked at her and said, "What is your name, my dear sister ?". The maiden answered, "Venerable sir, my name is Sujata". Gautama said, "Sujata, I am very hungry. Can you really appease my hunger?" The innocent Sujata did not understand Gautama. Gautama was spiritually hungry. He was thirsting to attain supreme peace and Self-realization. He wanted spiritual food. Sujata placed some food before Gautama and entreated him to take it. Gautama smiled and said, "Beloved Sujata, I am highly pleased with your kind and benevolent nature. Can this food appease my hunger ?". Sujata replied, "Yes sir, it will appease your hunger. Kindly take it now". Gautama began to eat the food underneath the shadow of a large tree, thenceforth to be called as the great 'Bo-tree' or the tree of wisdom. Gautama sat in a meditative mood underneath the tree from early morning to sunset, with a fiery determination and an iron resolve: "Let me die. Let my body perish. Let my flesh dry up. I will not get up from this seat till I get full illumination". He plunged himself into deep meditation. At night he entered into Deep Samadhi (superconscious state) underneath that sacred Bo-tree (Pipal tree or ficus religiosa). He was tempted by Mara in a variety of ways, but he stood adamant.

He came out victorious with the full illumination called Annuttara Samyak Sambodhi, the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment. His face shone with divine splendour and effulgence. He got up from his seat and danced in divine ecstasy for seven consecutive days and nights around the sacred Bo-tree. Then he came to the normal plane of consciousness. His heart was filled with profound mercy and compassion. He wanted to share what he had with humanity. He traveled all over India and preached his doctrine and gospel. He became a saviour, deliverer and redeemer. Buddha gave out the experiences of his Samadhi: "I thus behold my mind released from the defilement of earthly existence, released from the defilement of sensual pleasures, released from the defilement of heresy, released from the defilement of ignorance."

While still seated following his Enlightenment, but before his departure for Benares and prior to beginning any teaching, two merchants, called in the texts Tapussa and Bhallika, along with their caravans came across the Buddha under the Bodhi-tree. Both merchants bowed and were deeply moved by his splendor and supreme presence, becoming as it were, the Buddha's first "converts."

When the Buddha was walking along the road to Benares following his post-Enlightenment pause he was approached by Upaka, a wandering ascetic. According to the custom of the time the ascetic greeted him and asked who his teacher was or what doctrine he followed. The Buddha told the wanderling that he was "the Victor and Conqueror of the World, superior to gods and men, an All-Enlightened One beholden to no teacher." The wandering ascetic could see no hint of anything of the Buddha's nature and wandered off as wanderlings are oft to do, mumbling under his breath something like, "If it were only so!" It is said the journey on foot to Benares and the Deer Park from the Bodhi-tree took eight days. There the Buddha met five of his former followers, named in the texts as Kaundinya, Mahanaman, Vaspa, Asvajit, and Bhadrajit. When they first saw Sakyamuni coming toward them from the distance they were initially unaware of the profound change that had taken place and at first thought he was not worthy of their respect. However, as he came nearer their condescending attitude began to wane and shortly thereafter were convinced that he was a teacher worthy of their attention and reverence.

Buddha told his disciples not to enquire into the origin of the world, into the existence and nature of God. He said to them that such investigations were practically useless and likely to distract their minds.

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