The Buddha goes to a banyan tree; the daughters of Mara try in vain to lure him

After the enlightenment, the Buddha sat under the Great Bodhi tree, imbibing the bliss of deliverance, for seven days. The term "imbibing the bliss of deliverance" is used to refer to those who are enlightened. In ordinary terms, we may say that the Buddha was resting after his heavy labors.

After the seven days he went to the ajapalanigrodha tree, which was situated to the east of the Great Bodhi tree. A nigrodha is a banyan tree. The letters "ajapala" mean "place for herding goats." According to the legend, this banyan tree had long been a resort of goatherds, and goatherds in the local area had long used the shade of this banyan tree to graze their goats.

The compilers of this story, who lived in the time of the Commentaries, many hundred years after the Buddha's passing away, have written an episode in honor of the Buddha, stating that while he was staying here, the daughters of Mara, who had launched his armies against the Buddha just before the enlightenment and been defeated, volunteered to try to seduce the Buddha into Mara's power. Mara had three daughters: Tanha, Raga, and Aradi.

The three of them approached the Buddha and did everything in the way of sensual enticement to try to attract him, such as taking off their clothes, transforming themselves into young maidens on the verge of maidenhood, fully grown ladies, and women of various ages, but the Buddha's mind was already utterly purified and he exhibited no reaction, not even opening his eyes to see.

The episode of the attempted seduction by the daughters of Mara is an allegory. The three daughters of Mara are allegories for defilements. The first is delight, the second is aversion or hatred. Delight is further analyzed into tanha, craving, endless desire; another is raga, lust; aversion or hatred here is expressed in aradi, which here means jealousy.

That the Buddha showed no reaction, even opening his eyes, refers to the fact that the Buddha was utterly removed from all those defilements.
 

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