Sitting under a jambolan tree at the royal plowing ceremony, the Bodhisatta attains first jhana
This picture depicts Prince Siddhattha at seven years of age. The King had ordered the digging of three pokkarani ponds within the palace grounds for the pleasure of his son. A pokkarani pond is a pond planted with decorative lotuses. The king also had arranged sandal for spreading on the head cloth, shirt, and trousers, all of which were of the finest cloth from Kasi.
This picture depicts the occasion on which the Prince sat in meditation under a tree referred to in the Patๅhamasambodhi as Jambupikkha, which we know as the jambolan tree. The Prince came to be sitting at this particular tree because his father had, in accordance with royal tradition, declared that a royal plowing ceremony was to be held in a field outside of Kapilavatthu. The King, who was to perform the ceremony himself, had his son the Prince accompany him.
Again, we see in this picture that the Prince is sitting alone. His attendants and pages are nowhere to be seen, because they had all gone off to watch the ceremony. The Prince, sitting by himself under the jambolan tree, which the poet says "was endowed with lush branches and leaves like a mountain indanil, with broad spread, a shady place..." The prince's pure heart, endowed with the potential for the future attainment of Buddhahood, was moved to calm and naturally went into the level of concentration (samadhi) known as first absorption (jhana).
In the afternoon, when the plowing ceremony was over and the royal attendants rushed to find the Prince, they found that the shadow of the tree under which he sat had remained where it was at midday, not following the movements of the sun. Amazed, they reported the matter to King Suddhodana, and when the royal father came to see for himself, he too was amazed, and exclaimed, "When he was born, and I brought him to pay reverence to the ascetic Kaladevin, he performed the miracle of standing on the ascetic's headdress. I bowed to him for the first time on that occasion. Now I bow to him for the second time."
King Suddhodana made reverence to
the Buddha on three important occasions. The first was just after his birth when
the ascetic came to visit and, seeing the ascetic make reverence to his son, he
followed suit. The second was when he saw the miracle under the jambolan tree.
The third was after the Prince had left home, become enlightened as the Buddha,
and returned for the first time to teach his father.
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