by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes The Week at the Golden House (Ratanaghara Sattaha) 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 Buddha’s stay at the Seven Places. 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).
On the fourth week, the Buddha reflected on the supreme doctrine of the Abhidhamma while staying cross-legged in the Golden House (Ratanāghara), created by devas and Brahmās, at the corner to the north-west of the Mahābodhi tree.
According to the Jinālaṅkāra Tīkā, when the Buddha sat cross-legged in the Golden House and reflected on the Dhamma, as well as surveying the beings worthy of teaching, He discerned perfectly the course of practice composed of sīla, samādhi and paññā. These beings of devas, humans and Brahmās-world would attain the noble state of the Path, Fruition and Nibbāna by establishing themselves in morality through sīla, by concentrating their minds through samādhi and by putting efforts in their attempt at Insight through paññā. Therefore the Buddha reflected first on Vinaya Piṭaka which teaches sīla, then on the Sutta Piṭaka which teaches samādhi and lastly on the Abhidhamma Piṭaka which teaches paññā. When He reflected on the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, He tackled first the lower (six) treaties of Dhammasāngani Vibhaṅga, Dhātukathā, Puggala Paññatti, Kathā Vatthu and Yamaka, there occurred no radiance of His six rays then because His Omniscience was comparatively vast and the doctrinal methods (in those treatises) were comparatively limited. The rays simply could not get activated yet. But, when He contemplated the seventh treatise of allembracing Paṭṭhāna with an unlimited number of methods (anantanaya samanta), His Omniscience found the opportunity to display its extensive brilliance (just as the giant fish, Timiṅgala, which was one thousand yojana in size, had a chance to play about in the great ocean).
As the Buddha applied His mind to the most subtle and profound points in the allembracing Paṭṭhāna with an unlimited number of methods, there arose in His mental continuum great rapture. Because of this rapture, His blood became clearer; because of the clearer blood, His skin became cleaner; because of the cleaner skin, the rays of the size of a house or a mountain came out from the front part of His body and spread, shooting through the countless world-system in the east, just like Chaddanta, the king of elephants, flew across the sky.
In the same way, the rays appeared from the rear part of the Buddha and rushed to the countless world-systems in the west; the rays appeared from the Buddha’s right side and rushed to the countless world-systems in the south; the rays appeared from the left side and rushed to the countless world-systems in the north; and from the soles of the feet came out the coral-coloured rays, plunging into the space below after penetrating the mass of earth, the mass of water, and the mass of air, just as a sapphire studded chain was made to turn round and round; balls of blue rays arose one after another from His head, reaching the space above, after passing through the six deva-abodes and twenty Brahmā abodes of Kāmāvacara planes. At that time, the countless beings in the countless world-systems shone with golden colour.
N.B. The rays emanating from the body of the Buddha, on the day He contemplated the Doctrine of Paṭṭhāna, are still moving towards the countless world-systems even today as continuous chain of temperature-conditioned matter (utujarūpa).
Verses eulogizing The Six Rays (Chabbaṇa-raṃsi Buddha Vandana)
In this connection, the verses eulogizing the six rays of the Buddha and their translations done by Mahāvisuddhārāma Sayadaw will be reproduced here for the benefit of those seeking knowledge (sutakāmī).
The noble Buddha, Lord of the three types of beings, reflected on the seven books of Abhidhamma, namely, Dhammasaṅgani, Vibhaṅga, Dhātukathā, Puggala Paññatti, Kathā-vatthu, Yamaka, and Paṭṭhāna while staying in the Ratanāghara in the middle of the seven weeks or during the middle seven days of the forty-nine days of Pallanka-sattāha, Animisa-sattāha, Cankamasattāha, Ratanāghara-sattāha, Ajapāla-sattāha, Mucaliṅda-sattāha and Rājāyatana-sattāha. He reflected by means of His Omniscience that is incomparably deep, subtle and powerful owing to the variety of glorious Perfections which were fulfilled aeons after aeons. Then by applying His wisdom, He reached the all-embracing Paṭṭhāna which, with its various new methods, is even larger and deeper than the ocean which is eighty-four thousand yojanas in size and surrounded by the range of rocky mountains. Having reached the Paṭṭhāna thus, His Omniscience, that is incomparably deep, subtle and powerful owing to the variety of glorious Perfections, which were fulfilled aeons after aeons, has an opportunity to display its brilliance.
(2) Yojanānaṃ satāyāmo
gambhire labhate yathā.
To give an illustration for the purpose of comparison; the gigantic fish named Timirapiṅgala, five hundred yojanas long, gets the chance to swim and play, flapping his tail, only in the ocean, eighty thousand yojanas in depth and fringed by mountains. Similarly, the Buddha’s Omniscience, uniquely profound, subtle and powerful owing to the variety of glorious Perfections, which were fulfilled through successive aeons, had the occasion to display its brilliance.
(3) Sammasantassa taṃ
tadā satthu sarirato
Taṃ taṃ dhāvanti chabbaṇṇā
When He had thus the occasion to display, the rays of six colours of blue, gold, white, red, pink and a massive brightness (of all these assorted colours) spread overwhelmingly to all places: left and right, front and rear, above and below, from the Buddha’s body of eighteen cubits height, because of the clear and shining state of His blood, etc., while reflecting on the Doctrine of Paṭṭhānawhich was (subtle) like atomic particles. He is the Teacher who poured out His words of advice from His cheerful, golden heart to those of the three worlds of devas, humans and Brahmas.
(4) Nīlāyo nīlaṭṭhānehi
pitodātā ca lohitā
tamhā tamhā tu maājeṭṭhā
From the blue parts (of the Buddha’s physical body), such as the hair and the pupil of the eye, emanated blue rays about the size of a house or a mountain. Shinning brightly, the rays, that were somewhat greyish, somewhat bluish and somewhat greenish like butterfly-peas, blue lotus and blue collyrium, making the whole sky and the earth blue, or like blue fans of rubies and cloths that were swinging gently and smoothly, have been spreading since the day the Buddha reflected on the Paṭṭhāna up till now, this evening.
From the yellow and golden parts of the Buddha’s person such as the skin, emanated the yellow and golden rays about the size of a house or a mountain. Shinning brightly, the rays, that covered the ten directions, making them all yellow like cloths of a gold sprinkled with the liquid of gold and spread out and placed in the the vicinity or like powders of saffron and realgar and (golden) kanikara flowers filling up the sky, have been spreading since the day the Buddha reflected on the Paṭṭhāna up till now, this evening.
From the white parts of His body, such as the bones, the teeth and the white portions of the eyes, emanated the white rays about the size of a house or a mountain. Shinning brightly, the rays, that are like the stream of milk poured around from a silver jar, or like a silver canopy completely coveting the sky, or like silver fans swinging gently and smoothly from the high clouds in the sky, or like silvery jasmine, maghya, white lotus, sumana and muggara mixed together, have been spreading since the day the Buddha reflected on the Paṭṭhāna up till now, this evening.
From the red parts of His body, such as the eyes, the flesh and the blood, emanated the red rays about the size of a house or a mountain. Shinning brightly, the red rays, that are like the powder of red-lead, molten lac, shoeflower (China rose), the flower of Pentapetes phoenicea (Bandhujīvaka puppha), the flower of the Indian coral tree (parijata), making the surface of land and water and the whole sky red, have been spreading since the day the Buddha reflected on the Paṭṭhāna up till now, this evening.
Besides, from the various unascertainable spots of the Buddha’s body emanated the rays of light and dark colours (mañjeṭṭha) resulting from a mixture of black, red and blue and the rays of sparkling, flaming and glittering hues (pabhassara) about the size of a house or a mountain.
Shinning brightly, the rays, like the lighting in the sky during the month of Vesākha or like the skin of playful insects, or sparks of a blazing fire, have been spreading since the day the Buddha reflected on the Paṭṭhāna up till now, this evening.
Thus the six rays of blue, gold, white, red, darkish and glittering colours shined in the directions of all ten quarters at a time when the Buddha’s Teaching still shines forth. The rays of the body and the glory of those devas and Brahmas, that happened to be at kappa-rukkhas or wish-fulfilling trees, gardens and mansions which were along the course of the Buddha’s six rays and which could illuminate the entire ten thousand world-systems, only by means of their ten fingers, disappeared as they were not capable of outshining the rays from the Buddha.
To the Buddha, Lord of the world, who has earned the name Angirasa because He has possessed the rays of six colours in the aforesaid manner, who is endowed with the good reputation spreading throughout the three worlds, who is worthy of honour done to Him by the whole world, who knows the four Noble Truths thoroughly as though they were put on the palm of His hands, like a lively ruby, the so-called ‘I’, whose body is found, on contemplation, to be composed of thirty-two portions of dirty, disgusting nature, pay homage repeatedly in full faith with my head bowing, recalling the time when the Lord was still alive.
The Paṭṭhāna teaching is full of an unlimited number of methods, like the sky; it is extensive, like the mass of the earth; it is deep, like the mass of water in the ocean. And yet its survey by the Buddha was completed within seven days because Omniscience is vast but quick in its application. The place where the Buddha contemplated the Dhamma-Jewel for seven days came to be known as Ratana-ghara-cetiya.