The Bodhisatta takes seven steps on his birth in the Lumbini forest
This picture illustrates the Bodhisatta's birth. Those who have read the Pathamasambodhi and seen the wall paintings in the uposatha halls will recognize the picture clearly.
The baby we see in the picture is Prince Siddhattha, the future Buddha. As soon as he emerged from his mother's womb he took seven steps, holding up his right hand and making a declaration as he did so. Lotuses sprang up beneath his feet to receive his steps. The words he uttered on that occasion are recorded by the poet in the Pali language. Here I translate them into Thai:
"I will be the greatest person in this world, with no equal. This will be my last birth, I will not be born again in future."
The ladies sitting and kneeling around the infant are the attendants of Queen Maya. She is the lady standing behind the Prince with her back to the tree. Her right hand is holding one of the tree's branches. The big tree is a sal tree, which we used to translate into Thai as "rang" or "teng rang," a tree commonly found in Thai forests, but which we have now come to know is not the "rang" tree and in fact is not to be found in Thai forests. It is a tree which is found in India and used by Indians to build houses, common in the Himalaya foothills.
The place where the Bodhisatta was born is known as Lumbini, outside the town of Kapilavatthu. It is now in the country of Nepal.
Here I will insert a small aside. The Buddha's relatives came from two cities, Kapilavatthu and Devadaha. Kapilavatthu was the city of the Buddha, while Devadaha was the city of his mother. The Buddha's father lived in Kapilavatthu, while his mother originally lived in Devadaha. The kings and relatives of these two cities were related as a result of the royal marriage.
As the time for Queen Mahamaya's delivery drew near, she took leave of her husband, King Suddhodana, to give birth to their child in the city of her own family. She had gone only part of the way when the labor pains began, and she gave birth then and there.
The date of the Prince's birth was the full moon day of the sixth lunar month.
Copyright © 2002 Mahidol
University All rights reserved.