by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes The Bodhisatta heads towards the Mahabodhi contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Attainment of Buddhahood. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
Then the Bodhisatta rested for the day in the sāla grove, on the bank of the Nerañjarā, which was replete with very fragrant flowers, verdant and delightful to everyone. He then proceeded to practise Ānāpāna meditation. After attaining the eight mundane jhāna and the five abhiññās, at twilight in the coolness of the evening, he walked along the path decorated by devas and Brahmās to the Nerañjarā and after taking a bath, he headed towards the Mahābodhi tree by the same path. Thereupon, Nāgas, Yakkhas and Gandhabba devas paid homage to him with offerings of celestial flowers, perfumes and scented paste. They also sang soft and sweet celestial songs. Then the whole of the ten thousand worldsystems was almost covered with celestial flowers and perfumes and also with wild acclaim by devas and Brahmās.
At that time, Sotthiya, a brahmin grass-cutter, was coming from the opposite direction carrying grass. Sensing the wish of the Bodhisatta (from his manner) to have some grass, he offered him eight handfuls of grass. The Bodhisatta, carrying the eight handfuls of grass, went up the high ground of Mahābodhi tree and stood at the south of it, facing north. At that moment, the southern part of the ten thousand world-systems sank, so much so that it looked as if it would touch Mahā Avīci; and the northern part of the ten thousand worldsystems rose, so much so that it looked as if it would fly up to reach Bhavagga. On seeing this phenomenon, the Bodhisatta considered thus: “This is not the place where arahattamagga-ñāṇa and sabbaññutā-ñāṇa can be realized” and so, making a clockwise turn round the Mahābodhi tree, he proceeded to the west of the tree and stood there facing east. Just at that moment, the western part of world-system sank, so much so that it looked as if it would touch Mahā Avīci and the eastern part of it rose, so much so that it looked as if it would fly up to Bhavagga. On seeing this phenomenon, the Bodhisatta considered again: “This is not the place where arahatta-magga-ñāṇa and the sabbaññutā-ñāṇa can be realized” and so, making a clockwise turn round the Mahābodhi tree, he proceeded to the north and stood there facing south. Just at that moment, the northern part of the worldsystem sank, so much so that it looked as if it would touch Mahā Avīci; and the southern part of it rose, so much so that it looked as if it would fly up to reach Bhavagga. (The positions of the great earth, at the places in the south, the west and the north where the noble Bodhisatta had stood, was such that it sank at his back and rose in front of him, like the wheel of a cart resting flat on its central hub on the ground, it rocks or reels when trampled upon at the fringe). On seeing this phenomenon, the Bodhisatta considered again: “This is also not the place where the arahatta-magga-ñāṇa and sabbaññutā-ñāṇa can be realized”; and so making a clockwise turn round the Mahābodhi tree, he proceeded to the east and stood facing west.
(In this matter, the Buddhavaṃsa Commentary mentions only this: “The Noble Bodhisatta proceeded to the Bodhi tree, and circumambulating it three times, stood at the north-east corner scattering the eight handfuls of grass.” It does not mention the fact that the great earth tilted over to one side when he stood on the south, the west and the north. The Jinālaṅkāra Tika, however, states that ‘when the Bodhisatta stood on the south, the west and the north, the great earth trembled like the drop of water falling on the Paduma lotus leaf’, and that standing at the north-east corner, he scattered the eight handfuls of grass.”)
The locality, where the unconquered throne (aparājita), would appear to the east of the Mahābodhi tree, stood unshaken and firm, being the place not to be abandoned; avijahitaṭṭhāna, where the thrones of all the Buddhas had appeared. Knowing that “this place is certainly the auspicious site of victory where all the Buddhas destroy the defilements” and holding their tips, the noble Bodhisatta scattered the eight handful of grass which he had brought.
The moment he scattered the eight handfuls of grass, they were transformed into a large jewel throne, fourteen cubits in size, which was so magnificent that no painter or sculptor would be able to paint or carve the likeness of it, and they existed in this marvellous form (of a jewelled throne).
With the Mahābodhi tree as the back-drop, facing east and with a steadfast mind, the Bodhisatta declared:
(1) Let only the skin remains,
(2) Let only the sinews remain,
(3) Let only the bones remain,
(4) Let my whole body, and all the flesh and blood dry up, unless and until I attain Buddhahood, I will not, in anyway, change the cross-legged posture I have now assumed. Thus developing a firm resolution of four factors, he sat on the jewel throne assuming the invincible (aparājita) cross-legged posture (the posture for conquering the enemies, not for conceding defeat), which cannot be destroyed, though struck simultaneously by hundreds or thunderbolts