ေႏြးေထြး လႈိက္လွဲစြာ ၾကိဳဆိုပါ၏။

Monday, June 2, 2008


"A unique Being, an extraordinary Man arises in this world for the benefit of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and happiness of gods and men. Who is this Unique Being? It is the Tathāgata, the Exalted, Fully Enlightened One."
-- Anguttara Nikāya. Pt. I, XIII P. 22.


On the full moon day of May, in the year 623 B.C. there was born in the Lumbini Park at Kapilavatthu,on the Indian borders of present Nepal, a noble prince who was destined to be the greatest religious teacher of the world.

His father was King Suddhodana of the aristocratic Sākya clan and his mother was Queen Mahā Māyā. As the beloved mother died seven days after his birth, Mahā Pajāpati Gotami, her younger sister, who was also married to the King, adopted the child, entrusting her own son, Nanda, to the care of the nurses.

Great were the rejoicings of the people over the birth of this illustrious prince. An ascetic of high spiritual attainments, named Asita, also known as Kāladevala, was particularly pleased to hear this happy news, and being a tutor of the King, visited the palace to see the Royal babe. The King, who felt honoured by his unexpected visit, carried the child up to him in order to make the child pay him due reverence, but, to the surprise of all, the child's legs turned and rested on the matted locks of the ascetic. Instantly, the ascetic rose from his seat and, foreseeing with his supernormal vision the child's future greatness, saluted him with clasped hands. The Royal father did likewise.

The great ascetic smiled at first and then was sad. Questioned regarding his mingled feelings, he answered that he smiled because the prince would eventually become a Buddha, an Enlightened One, and he was sad because he would not be able to benefit by the superior wisdom of the Enlightened One owing to his prior death and rebirth in a Formless Plane (Arūpaloka).

Naming Ceremony

On the fifth day after the prince's birth he was named Siddhattha which means "wish fulfilled". His family name was Gotama.

In accordance with the ancient Indian custom many learned brahmins were invited to the palace for the naming ceremony. Amongst them there were eight distinguished men. Examining the characteristic marks of the child, seven of them raised two fingers each, indicative of two alternative possibilities, and said that he would either become a Universal Monarch or a Buddha. But the youngest, Konda? a, who excelled others in wisdom, noticing the hair on the forehead turned to the right, raised only one finger and convincingly declared that the prince would definitely retire from the world and become a Buddha.

Ploughing Festival

A very remarkable incident took place in his childhood. It was an unprecedented spiritual experience which, later, during his search after truth, served as a key to his Enlightenment.

To promote agriculture, the King arranged for a ploughing festival. It was indeed a festive occasion for all, as both nobles and commoners decked in their best attire, participated in the ceremony. On the appointed day, the King, accompanied by his courtiers, went to the field, taking with him the young prince together with the nurses. Placing the child on a screened and canopied couch under the cool shade of a solitary rose-apple tree to be watched by the nurses, the King participated in the ploughing festival. When the festival was at its height of gaiety the nurses too stole away from the prince's presence to catch a glimpse of the wonderful spectacle.

In striking contrast to the mirth and merriment of the festival it was all calm and quiet under the rose-apple tree. All the conditions conducive to quiet meditation being there, the pensive child, young in years but old in wisdom, sat cross-legged and seized the opportunity to commence that all-important practice of intent concentration on the breath -- on exhalations and inhalations -- which gained for him then and there that one pointedness of mind known as Samādhi and he thus developed the First Jhāna (Ecstasy). The child's nurses, who had abandoned their precious charge to enjoy themselves at the festival, suddenly realizing their duty, hastened to the child and were amazed to see him sitting cross-legged plunged in deep meditation. The King hearing of it, hurried to the spot and, seeing the child in meditative posture, saluted him, saying -- "This, dear child, is my second obeisance".


As a Royal child, Prince Siddhattha must have received an education that became a prince although no details are given about it. As a scion of the warrior race he received special training in the art of warfare.

Married Life

At the early age of sixteen, he married his beautiful cousin Princess Yasodharā who was of equal age. For nearly thirteen years, after his happy marriage, he led a luxurious life, blissfully ignorant of the vicissitudes of life outside the palace gates. Of his luxurious life as prince, he states:

"I was delicate, excessively delicate. In my father's dwelling three lotus-ponds were made purposely for me. Blue lotuses bloomed in one, red in another, and white in another. I used no sandal-wood that was not of Kāsi. My turban, tunic, dress and cloak, were all from Kāsi.

"Night and day a white parasol was held over me so that I might not be touched by heat or cold, dust, leaves or dew.

"There were three palaces built for me -- one for the cold season, one for the hot season, and one for the rainy season. During the four rainy months, I lived in the palace for the rainy season without ever coming down from it, entertained all the while by female musicians. Just as, in the houses of others, food from the husks of rice together with sour gruel is given to the slaves and workmen, even so, in my father's dwelling, food with rice and meat was given to the slaves and workmen."

With the march of time, truth gradually dawned upon him. His contemplative nature and boundless compassion did not permit him to spend his time in the mere enjoyment of the fleeting pleasures of the Royal palace. He knew no personal grief but he felt a deep pity for suffering humanity. Amidst comfort and prosperity, he realized the universality of sorrow.


Prince Siddhattha reflected thus:

"Why do I, being subject to birth, decay, disease, death, sorrow and impurities, thus search after things of like nature. How, if I, who am subject to things of such nature, realize their disadvantages and seek after the unattained, unsurpassed, perfect security which is Nibbāna!" "Cramped and confined is household life, a den of dust, but the life of the homeless one is as the open air of heaven! Hard is it for him who bides at home to live out as it should be lived the Holy Life in all its perfection, in all its purity."

One glorious day as he went out of the palace to the pleasure park to see the world outside, he came in direct contact with the stark realities of life. Within the narrow confines of the palace he saw only the rosy side of life, but the dark side, the common lot of mankind, was purposely veiled from him. What was mentally conceived, he, for the first time, vividly saw in reality. On his way to the park his observant eyes met the strange sights of a decrepit old man, a diseased person, a corpse and a dignified hermit. The first three sights convincingly proved to him, the inexorable nature of life, and the universal ailment of humanity. The fourth signified the means to overcome the ills of life and to attain calm and peace. These four unexpected sights served to increase the urge in him to loathe and renounce the world.

Realizing the worthlessness of sensual pleasures, so highly prized by the worldling, and appreciating the value of renunciation in which the wise seek delight, he decided to leave the world in search of Truth and Eternal Peace.

When this final decision was taken after much deliberation, the news of the birth of a son was conveyed to him while he was about to leave the park. Contrary to expectations, he was not overjoyed, but regarded his first and only offspring as an impediment. An ordinary father would have welcomed the joyful tidings, but Prince Siddhattha, the extraordinary father as he was, exclaimed --"An impediment (rāhu) has been born; a fetter has arisen". The infant son was accordingly named Rāhula by his grandfather.

The palace was no longer a congenial place to the contemplative Prince Siddhattha. Neither his charming young wife nor his lovable infant son could deter him from altering the decision he had taken to renounce the world. He was destined to play an infinitely more important and beneficial role than a dutiful husband and father or even as a king of kings. The allurements of the palace were no more cherished objects of delight to him. Time was ripe to depart.

He ordered his favourite charioteer Channa to saddle the horse Kanthaka, and went to the suite of apartments occupied by the princess. Opening the door of the chamber, he stood on the threshold and cast his dispassionate glance on the wife and child who were fast asleep.

Great was his compassion for the two dear ones at this parting moment. Greater was his compassion for suffering humanity. He was not worried about the future worldly happiness and comfort of the mother and child as they had everything in abundance and were well protected. It was not that he loved them the less, but he loved humanity more.

Leaving all behind, he stole away with a light heart from the palace at midnight, and rode into the dark, attended only by his loyal charioteer. Alone and penniless he set out in search of Truth and Peace. Thus did he renounce the world. It was not the renunciation of an old man who has had his fill of worldly life. It was not the renunciation of a poor man who had nothing to leave behind. It was the renunciation of a prince in the full bloom of youth and in the plenitude of wealth and prosperity -- a renunciation unparalleled in history. It was in his twenty-ninth year that Prince Siddhattha made this historic journey.

He journeyed far and, crossing the river Anomā, rested on its banks. Here he shaved his hair and beard and handing over his garments and ornaments to Channa with instructions to return to the palace, assumed the simple yellow garb of an ascetic and led a life of voluntary poverty.

The ascetic Siddhattha, who once lived in the lap of luxury, now became a penniless wanderer, living on what little the charitably-minded gave of their own accord.

He had no permanent abode. A shady tree or a lonely cave sheltered him by day or night. Bare-footed and bare-headed, he walked in the scorching sun and in the piercing cold. With no possessions to call his own, but a bowl to collect his food and robes just sufficient to cover the body, he concentrated all his energies on the quest of Truth.


Thus as a wanderer, a seeker after what is good, searching for the unsurpassed Peace, he approached Ālāra Kālāma, a distinguished ascetic, and said: "I desire, friend Kālāma to lead the Holy Life in this Dispensation of yours."

Thereupon Ālāra Kālāma told him: "You may stay with me, 0 Venerable One. Of such sort is this teaching that an intelligent man before long may realize by his own intuitive wisdom his master's doctrine, and abide in the attainment thereof."

Before long, he learnt his doctrine, but it brought him no realization of the highest Truth.

Then there came to him the thought: When Ālāra Kalāma declared:

"Having myself realized by intuitive knowledge the doctrine, I -- 'abide in the attainment thereof --' it could not have been a mere profession of faith; surely Ālāra Kālāma lives having understood and perceived this doctrine."

So he went to him and said "How far, friend Kālāma, does this doctrine extend which you yourself have with intuitive wisdom realized and attained?"

Upon this Ālāra Kālāma made known to him the Realm of Nothingness (Āki?a?āyatana), an advanced stage of Concentration.

Then it occurred to him: "Not only in Ālāra Kālāma are to be found faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. I too possess these virtues. How now if I strive to realize that doctrine whereof Ālāra Kālāma says that he himself has realized and abides in the attainment thereof!"

So, before long, he realized by his own intuitive wisdom that doctrine and attained to that state, but it brought him no realization of the highest Truth.

Then he approached Ālāra Kālāma and said: "Is this the full extent, friend Kālāma, of this doctrine of which you say that you yourself have realized by your wisdom and abide in the attainment thereof?"

"But I also, friend, have realized thus far in this doctrine, and abide in the attainment thereof."

The unenvious teacher was delighted to hear of the success of his distinguished pupil. He honoured him by placing him on a perfect level with himself and admiringly said:

"Happy, friend, are we, extremely happy; in that we look upon such a venerable fellow-ascetic like you! That same doctrine which I myself have realized by my wisdom and proclaim, having attained thereunto, have you yourself realized by your wisdom and abide in the attainment thereof; and that doctrine you yourself have realized by your wisdom and abide in the attainment thereof, that have I myself realized by my wisdom and proclaim, having attained thereunto. Thus the doctrine which I know, and also do you know; and, the doctrine which you know, that I know also. As I am, so are you; as you are, so am I. Come, friend, let both of us lead the company of ascetics."

The ascetic Gotama was not satisfied with a discipline and a doctrine which only led to a high degree of mental concentration, but did not lead to "disgust, detachment, cessation (of suffering), tranquillity; intuition, enlighten-ment, and Nibbāna." Nor was he anxious to lead a company of ascetics even with the co-operation of another generous teacher of equal spiritual attainment, without first perfecting himself. It was, he felt, a case of the blind leading the blind. Dissatisfied with his teaching, he politely took his leave from him.

In those happy days when there were no political disturbances the intellectuals of India were preoccupied with the study and exposition of some religious system or other. All facilities were provided for those more spiritually inclined to lead holy lives in solitude in accordance with their temperaments and most of these teachers had large followings of disciples. So it was not difficult for the ascetic Gotama to find another religious teacher who was more competent than the former.

On this occasion he approached one Uddaka Rāmaputta and expressed his desire to lead the Holy Life in his Dispensation. He was readily admitted as a pupil.

Before long the intelligent ascetic Gotama mastered his doctrine and attained the final stage of mental concentration, the Realm of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception ("N'eva sa?ā N'asa?āyatana), revealed by his teacher. This was the highest stage in worldly concentration when consciousness becomes so subtle and refined that it cannot be said that a consciousness either exists or not. Ancient Indian sages could not proceed further in spiritual development.

The noble teacher was delighted to hear of the success of his illustrious royal pupil. Unlike his former teacher the present one honoured him by inviting him to take full charge of all the disciples as their teacher. He said: "Happy friend, are we; yea, extremely happy, in that we see such a venerable fellow-ascetic as you! The doctrine which Rāma knew, you know; the doctrine which you know, Rāma knew. As was Rāma so are you; as you are, so was Rāma. Come, friend, henceforth you shall lead this company of ascetics."

Still he felt that his quest of the highest Truth was not achieved. He had gained complete mastery of his mind, but his ultimate goal was far ahead. He was seeking for the Highest, the Nibbāna, the complete cessation of suffering, the total eradication of all forms of craving. "Dissatisfied with this doctrine too, he departed thence, content therewith no longer."

He realized that his spiritual aspirations were far higher than those under whom he chose to learn. He realized that there was none capable enough to teach him what he yearned for -- the highest Truth. He also realized that the highest Truth is to be found within oneself and ceased to seek external aid.


"Easy to do are things that are bad and not beneficial to self,
But very, very hard to do indeed is that which is beneficial and good".



Meeting with disappointment, but not discouraged, the ascetic Gotama seeking for the incomparable Peace, the highest Truth, wandered through the district of Magadha, and arrived in due course at Uruvelā, the market town of Senāni. There he spied a lovely spot of ground, a charming forest grove, a flowing river with pleasant sandy fords, and hard by was a village where he could obtain his food. Then he thought thus:

"Lovely, indeed, O Venerable One, is this spot of ground, charming is the forest grove, pleasant is the flowing river with sandy fords, and hard by is the village where I could obtain food. Suitable indeed is this place for spiritual exertion for those noble scions who desire to strive." (Majjhima Nikāya, Ariya-Pariyesana Sutta No. 26, Vol. 1, p. 16)

The place was congenial for his meditation. The atmosphere was peaceful. The surroundings were pleasant. The scenery was charming. Alone, he resolved to settle down there to achieve his desired object.

Hearing of his renunciation, Konda?a, the youngest brahmin who predicted his future, and four sons of the other sages -- Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahānāma, and Assaji -- also renounced the world and joined his company.

In the ancient days in India, great importance was attached to rites, ceremonies, penances and sacrifices. It was then a popular belief that no Deliverance could be gained unless one leads a life of strict asceticism. Accordingly, for six long years the ascetic Gotama made a superhuman struggle practising all forms of severest austerity. His delicate body was reduced to almost a skeleton. The more he tormented his body the farther his goal receded from him.

How strenuously he struggled, the various methods he employed, and how he eventually succeeded are graphically described in his own words in various Suttas.

Mahā Saccaka Sutta describes his preliminary efforts thus:

"Then the following thought occurred to me:

"How if I were to clench my teeth, press my tongue against the palate, and with (moral) thoughts hold down, subdue and destroy my (immoral) thoughts!

"So I clenched my teeth, pressed my tongue against the palate and strove to hold down, subdue, destroy my (immoral) thoughts with (moral) thoughts. As I struggled thus, perspiration streamed forth from my armpits.

"Like unto a strong man who might seize a weaker man by head or shoulders and hold him down, force him down, and bring into subjection, even so did I struggle.

"Strenuous and indomitable was my energy. My mindfulness was established and unperturbed. My body was, however, fatigued and was not calmed as a result of that painful endeavour -- being overpowered by exertion. Even though such painful sensations arose in me, they did not at all affect my mind.

"Then I thought thus: How if I were to cultivate the non-breathing ecstasy!

"Accordingly, I checked inhalation and exhalation from my mouth and nostrils. As I checked inhalation and exhalation from mouth and nostrils, the air issuing from my ears created an exceedingly great noise. Just as a blacksmith's bellows being blown make an exceedingly great noise, even so was the noise created by the air issuing from my ears when I stopped breathing.

"Nevertheless, my energy was strenuous and indomitable. Established and unperturbed was my mindfulness. Yet my body was fatigued and was not calmed as a result of that painful endeavour -- being over-powered by exertion.

Even though such painful sensations arose in me, they did not at all affect my mind.

"Then I thought to myself: 'How if I were to cultivate that non-breathing exercise!

"Accordingly, I checked inhalation and exhalation from mouth, nostrils, and ears. And as I stopped breathing from mouth, nostrils and ears, the (imprisoned) airs beat upon my skull with great violence. Just as if a strong man were to bore one's skull with a sharp drill, even so did the airs beat my skull with great violence as I stopped breathing. Even though such painful sensations arose in me, they did not at all affect my mind.

"Then I thought to myself: How if I were to cultivate that non-breathing ecstasy again!

"Accordingly, I checked inhalation and exhalation from mouth, nostrils, and ears. And as I stopped breathing thus, terrible pains arose in my head. As would be the pains if a strong man were to bind one's head tightly with a hard leathern thong, even so were the terrible pains that arose in my head. "Nevertheless, my energy was strenuous. Such painful sensations did not affect my mind.

"Then I thought to myself: How if I were to cultivate that non-breathing ecstasy again!

"Accordingly, I stopped breathing from mouth, nostrils, and ears. As I checked breathing thus, plentiful airs pierced my belly. Just as if a skilful butcher or a butcher's apprentice were to rip up the belly with a sharp butcher's knife, even so plentiful airs pierced my belly.

"Nevertheless, my energy was strenuous. Such painful sensations did not affect my mind.

"Again I thought to myself: How if I were to cultivate that non-breathing ecstasy again!

"Accordingly, I checked inhalation and exhalation from mouth, nostrils, and ears. As I suppressed my breathing thus, a tremendous burning pervaded my body. Just as if two strong men were each to seize a weaker man by his arms and scorch and thoroughly burn him in a pit of glowing charcoal, even so did a severe burning pervade my body.

"Nevertheless, my energy was strenuous. Such painful sensations did not affect my mind.

"Thereupon the deities who saw me thus said: 'The ascetic Gotama is dead.' Some remarked: 'The ascetic Gotama is not dead yet, but is dying'. While some others said: 'The ascetic Gotama is neither dead nor is dying but an Arahant is the ascetic Gotama. Such is the way in which an Arahant abides."

Change of Method: Abstinence from Food

"Then I thought to myself: How if I were to practise complete abstinence from food!

"Then deities approached me and said: 'Do not, good sir, practise total abstinence from food. If you do practise it, we will pour celestial essence through your body's pores; with that you will be sustained."

"And I thought: 'If I claim to be practising starvation, and if these deities pour celestial essence through my body's pores and I am sustained thereby, it would be a fraud on my part.' So I refused them, saying 'There is no need'.

"Then the following thought occurred to me: How if I take food little by little, a small quantity of the juice of green gram, or vetch, or lentils, or peas!

"As I took such small quantity of solid and liquid food, my body became extremely emaciated. Just as are the joints of knot-grasses or bulrushes, even so were the major and minor parts of my body owing to lack of food. Just as is the camel's hoof, even so were my hips for want of food. Just as is a string of beads, even so did my backbone stand out and bend in, for lack of food. Just as the rafters of a dilapidated hall fall this way and that, even so appeared my ribs through lack of sustenance. Just as in a deep well may be seen stars sunk deep in the water, even so did my eye-balls appear deep sunk in their sockets, being devoid of food. Just as a bitter pumpkin, when cut while raw, will by wind and sun get shrivelled and withered, even so did the skin of my head get shrivelled and withered, due to lack of sustenance.

"And I, intending to touch my belly's skin, would instead seize my backbone. When I intended to touch my backbone, I would seize my belly's skin. So was I that, owing to lack of sufficient food, my belly's skin clung to the backbone, and I, on going to pass excreta or urine, would in that very spot stumble and fall down, for want of food. And I stroked my limbs in order to revive my body. Lo, as I did so, the rotten roots of my body's hairs fell from my body owing to lack of sustenance. The people who saw me said: 'The ascetic Gotama is black.' Some said, 'The ascetic Gotama is not black but blue.' Some others said: 'The ascetic Gotama is neither black nor blue but tawny.' To such an extent was the pure colour of my skin impaired owing to lack of food.

"Then the following thought occurred to me: Whatsoever ascetics or brahmins of the past have experienced acute, painful, sharp and piercing sensations, they must have experienced them to such a high degree as this and not beyond. Whatsoever ascetics and brahmins of the future will experience acute, painful, sharp and piercing sensations they too will experience them to such a high degree and not beyond. Yet by all these bitter and difficult austerities I shall not attain to excellence, worthy of supreme knowledge and insight, transcending those of human states. Might there be another path for Enlightenment!"

Temptation of Māra the Evil One

His prolonged painful austerities proved utterly futile. They only resulted in the exhaustion of his valuable energy. Though physically a superman his delicately nurtured body could not possibly stand the great strain. His graceful form completely faded almost beyond recognition. His golden coloured skin turned pale, his blood dried up, his sinews and muscles shrivelled up, his eyes were sunk and blurred. To all appearance he was a living skeleton. He was almost on the verge of death.

At this critical stage, while he was still intent on the Highest (Padhāna), abiding on the banks of the Nera?arā river, striving and contemplating in order to attain to that state of Perfect Security, came Namuci, uttering kind words thus:

"'You are lean and deformed. Near to you is death.

"A thousand parts (of you belong) to death; to life (there remains) but one. Live, 0 good sir! Life is better. Living, you could perform merit.

"By leading a life of celibacy and making fire sacrifices, much merit could be acquired. What will you do with this striving? Hard is the path of striving, difficult and not easily accomplished."

Māra reciting these words stood in the presence of the Exalted One.

To Māra who spoke thus, the Exalted One replied:

"O Evil One, kinsman of the heedless! You have come here for your own sake.

"Even an iota of merit is of no avail. To them who are in need of merit it behoves you, Māra, to speak thus.

"Confidence (Saddhā), self-control (Tapo), perseverance (Viriya), and wisdom (Pa?ā) are mine. Me who am thus intent, why do you question about life?

"Even the streams of rivers will this wind dry up. Why should not the blood of me who am thus striving dry up?

"When blood dries up, the bile and phlegm also dry up. When my flesh wastes away, more and more does my mind get clarified. Still more do my mindfulness, wisdom, and concentration become firm.

"While I live thus, experiencing the utmost pain, my mind does not long for lust! Behold the purity of a being!

"Sense-desires (Kāmā), are your first army. The second is called Aversion for the Holy Life (Arati). The third is Hunger and Thirst (Khuppīpāsā). The fourth is called Craving (Tanhā). The fifth is Sloth and Torpor (Thina-Middha). The sixth is called Fear (Bhiru). The seventh is Doubt (Vicikicchā), and the eighth is Detraction and Obstinacy (Makkha-Thambha). The ninth is Gain (Lobha), Praise (Siloka) and Honour (Sakkāra), and that ill-gotten Fame (Yasa). The tenth is the extolling of oneself and contempt for others (Attukkamsanaparavambhana).

"This, Namuci, is your army, the opposing host of the Evil One. That army the coward does not overcome, but he who overcomes obtains happiness.

"This Mu? a do I display! What boots life in this world! Better for me is death in the battle than that one should live on, vanquished!

"Some ascetics and brahmins are not seen plunged in this battle. They know not nor do they tread the path of the virtuous.

"Seeing the army on all sides with Māra arrayed on elephant, I go forward to battle. Māra shall not drive me from my position. That army of yours, which the world together with gods conquers not, by my wisdom I go to destroy as I would an unbaked bowl with a stone.

"Controlling my thoughts, and with mindfulness well-established, I shall wander from country to country, training many a disciple.

"Diligent, intent, and practising my teaching, they, disregarding you, will go where having gone they grieve not."

The Middle Path

The ascetic Gotama was now fully convinced from personal experience of the utter futility of self-mortification which, though considered indispensable for Deliverance by the ascetic philosophers of the day, actually weakened one's intellect, and resulted in lassitude of spirit. He abandoned for ever this painful extreme as did he the other extreme of self-indulgence which tends to retard moral progress. He conceived the idea of adopting the Golden Mean which later became one of the salient features of his teaching.

He recalled how when his father was engaged in ploughing, he sat in the cool shade of the rose-apple tree, absorbed in the contemplation of his own breath, which resulted in the attainment of the First Jhāna (Ecstasy). Thereupon he thought: "Well, this is the path to Enlightenment."

He realized that Enlightenment could not be gained with such an utterly exhausted body: Physical fitness was essential for spiritual progress. So he decided to nourish the body sparingly and took some coarse food both hard and soft.

The five favourite disciples who were attending on him with great hopes thinking that whatever truth the ascetic Gotama would comprehend, that would he impart to them, felt disappointed at this unexpected change of method. and leaving him and the place too, went to Isipatana, saying that "the ascetic Gotama had become luxurious, had ceased from striving, and had returned to a life of comfort."

At a crucial time when help was most welcome his companions deserted him leaving him alone. He was not discouraged, but their voluntary separation was advantageous to him though their presence during his great struggle was helpful to him. Alone, in sylvan solitudes, great men often realize deep truths and solve intricate problems.

Dawn of Truth

Regaining his lost strength with some coarse food, he easily developed the First Jhāna which he gained in his youth. By degrees he developed the second, third and fourth Jhānas as well.

By developing the Jhānas he gained perfect one-pointedness of the mind. His mind was now like a polished mirror where everything is reflected in its true perspective.

Thus with thoughts tranquillized, purified, cleansed, free from lust and impurity, pliable, alert, steady, and unshakable, he directed his mind to the knowledge as regards "The Reminiscence of Past Births" (Pubbe-nivāsānussati māna).

He recalled his varied lots in former existences as follows: first one life, then two lives, then three, four, five, ten, twenty, up to fifty lives; then a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand; then the dissolution of many world cycles, then the evolution of many world cycles, then both the dissolution and evolution of many world cycles. In that place he was of such a name, such a family, such a caste, such a dietary, such the pleasure and pain he experienced, such his life's end. Departing from there, he came into existence elsewhere. Then such was his name, such his family, such his caste, such his dietary, such the pleasure and pain he did experience, such life's end. Thence departing, he came into existence here.

Thus he recalled the mode and details of his varied lots in his former births.

This, indeed, as the First Knowledge that he realized in the first watch of the night.

Dispelling thus the ignorance with regard to the past, he directed his purified mind to "The Perception of the Disap-pearing and Reappearing of Beings" (Cutūpapāta māna). With clairvoyant vision, purified and supernormal, he perceived beings disappearing from one state of existence and reappearing in another; he beheld the base and the noble, the beautiful and the ugly, the happy and the miserable, all passing according to their deeds. He knew that these good individuals, by evil deeds, words, and thoughts, by reviling the Noble Ones, by being misbelievers, and by conforming themselves to the actions of the misbelievers, after the dissolution of their bodies and after death, had been born in sorrowful states. He knew that these good individuals, by good deeds, words, and thoughts, by not reviling the Noble Ones, by being right believers, and by conforming themselves to the actions of the right believers, after the dissolution of their bodies and after death, had been born in happy celestial worlds.

Thus with clairvoyant supernormal vision he beheld the disappearing and the reappearing of beings.

This, indeed, was the Second Knowledge that he realized in the middle watch of the night.

Dispelling thus the ignorance with regard to the future, he directed his purified mind to "The Comprehension of the Cessation of Corruptions" (Āsavakkhaya nyāna).

He realized in accordance with fact: "This is Sorrow", "This, the Arising of Sorrow", "This, the Cessation of Sorrow", "This, the Path leading to the Cessation of Sorrow". Likewise in accordance with fact he realized: "These are the Corruptions", "This, the Arising of Corruptions", "This, the Cessation of Corruptions", "This, the Path leading to the Cessation of Corruptions". Thus cognizing, thus perceiving, his mind was delivered from the Corruption of Sensual Craving; from the Corruption of Craving for Existence; from the Corruption of Ignorance.

Being delivered, He knew, "Delivered am I and He realized, "Rebirth is ended; fulfilled the Holy Life; done what was to be done; there is no more of this state again."

This was the Third Knowledge that He Realized in the last watch of the night.

Ignorance was dispelled, and wisdom arose; darkness vanished, and light arose.

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