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Late in the afternoon, the great recluse crossed the Nerannn.gif (72 bytes)jara.gif (845 bytes) to another Assattha tree on the Western bend of the river, with its sandy shoreline jutting out into the water. The scene was a delightful one with lush, emerald-green forest all around. On the way he received a bundle of cut grass offered by a grass-cutter named Sotthiya, He made a seat out of it under the shade of the Assattha tree by the riverside.
004.jpg (29509 bytes) On this 'throne' he seated himself cross-legged, facing East and making a solemn resolution to the effect that even if the flesh and blood of his body should run dry, with only the skin, sinews and bones left, he would never suspend his efforts and rise from this 'throne'. This as long as there still remained what could be attained by man's efforts, exertion and endurance.

    It was about sunset when his dedicated efforts were crowned with the complete Annihilation of all Spiritual Defilements, which was followed in the first watch of the night by the Insight into Recollection of Past Lives, then in the second watch by the Insight into the Clairvoyant Eye seeing into the births and deaths of sentient beings, and finally in the third watch by the Insight into the Four Noble Truths, with resulted in his being rightfully called the All-Enlightened Buddha, All these came to the full-final, irreversible process of Buddhahood to greet the dawn of the day following the Vesa.gif (845 bytes)kha fullmoon night, forty-six years before the start of the Buddhhist Era.

Thenceforward the Buddha seated Himself for seven weeks in various places, experiencing the bliss of Deliverance and revising and checking His own Achievement and Insights until He was absolutely certain of His Enlightenment. The seven locations during the seven weeks that followed were as follows:

In the first week, He was still seated under the shade of the same tree, contemplating the various aspects (the normal and reverse processes) of the Paticcasamuppa.gif (845 bytes)da (Dependent or Conditioned Origination).

The second week was spent while He was standing in the open, some distance on the North-east of that tree and facing it, gazed at it without closing His eyes. The place later called "Animmissaceti.gif (57 bytes)ya"

After that, He spent the third week midway between the mentioned Assattha tree and the Animmissaceti.gif (57 bytes)ya, walking meditation back on forth. The place was later called "Ratanacan.gif (66 bytes)kamaceti.gif (57 bytes)ya."

During the fourth week He proceeded towards the Northwest of the Bodhi (Assattha) tree, seating Himself at a proper place while contemplating the Abhidhamma. The place was later named Ratanagharaceti.gif (57 bytes)ya.

The fifth week was spent on the East of the Bodhi tree while He was seated under the shade of a banyan tree called Ajapa.gif (845 bytes)lanigrodha. It was during this period that He answered the question put to Him by a Brahmin named Huhugjati, who asked Him about what should make a Brahmin of a man.

The sixth week was spent on the Southeast of the Bodhi tree, where He seated Himself under the shade of a tree called Muccalinda, experiencing the bliss of His Deliverance. There had been a chill drizzle all the time during this week and the serpent king, seeing this, offered Him protection from the humid and rainy weather by curling himself around the Buddha's body and spreading the hood over the Buddha's head. It was during this week that the Buddha uttered an exclamation, praising, among other things, seclusion and non-violence (through loving – kindness) as sources of happiness.

In the seventh week the Buddha move to the south of the Bodhi tree, where He sat experiencing the bliss of Deliverance once again. During this period there came two merchants by the names of Tapussa and Bhallika coming from the district of Ukkala to that place. Seeing the Buddha they were impressed and offered Him part of their Sattu Rice, which was their provision for the long journey. The Buddha accepted their offering and partook of it. Both merchants declared themselves Upasakas i.e. male lay disciples, taking refuge in the Buddha and Dhamma, there being no Order of Sangha yet. They were then the first, and the only, disciples with the Double Gem as their Refuge.

The seven mentioned places were later regarded as being of significance to Buddhism, and Buddhists. They were called Satta Maha.gif (845 bytes)satha.gif (845 bytes)na, Seven Great Places, being ones of the Buddha Ceti.gif (57 bytes)yas, memorial places in Buddhism.

After the seven weeds, the Buddha returned to the Aja.gif (845 bytes)palanigrodha, banyan tree. This time He did not intend to, experience the bliss of Deliverance but spent the time contemplating the Dhamma of His discovery and realized how difficult and subtle it was for other people to grasp its meaning and reality. For some moments He was inclined towards desisting Himself from making it known to others. But due to His compassion, when He clairvoyantly surveyed further, He was able to know there were after all a number of people who could understand His Dhamma. He then thought first of all of His former teachers the hermits aa.gif (75 bytes)la.gif (845 bytes)ra and Uddaka, but knew clairvoyantly that they had already passed away. Next He recalled how the Five Ascetics had faithfully attended upon Him and that they were in a position to realise the truth of His teaching. With such a thought in mind He set forth on His journey, heading for the deer-park of Isipatana, in the city of Benares.


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