The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes The Week at Rajayatana Tree (Rajayatana 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).

Part 7 - The Week at Rājāyatana Tree (Rājāyatana Sattāha)

After spending seven days enjoying the bliss of arahantship at the foot of Mucalinda tree and on the seventh week, the Buddha moved from that place to Rājāyatana tree (Buchanania latifolia) to the south of the Mahābodhi tree and sat at the foot of that tree enjoying the bliss of arahantship for seven days.

(In this way, Sattasattāha or 7x7 days = 49 days had been completed. During these forty-nine days, the Buddha did not do any of the followings: rinsing the mouth, washing the face, cleansing the body (discharging the body); bathing, taking meal, drinking water, or lying down. He spent the time by entirely enjoying the bliss of jhāna and Fruition.)

When the forty-nine days had completed, on Wednesday, the fifth waxing moon of Āsāḷhā, while staying at Rājātana, Sakka appeared and offered the medicinal fruit of myrobalan (Terminalia citrina) as he knew the Buddha’s desire to wash the face and clean himself. The Buddha ate the fruit. As soon as He had eaten the fruit, He answered the call of nature. Thereafter, Sakka gave the tooth-cleaner from the nāga abode, and the water from Anotatta lake (for washing the face). The Buddha used the tooth-cleaner, rinsed His mouth and washed His face with the Anotatta water, and remained sitting under the Rājāyatana tree.

Tapussa and Bhallika took Double Refuge

The two merchant brothers, Tapussa and Bhallika, were travelling with five hundred carts from their home in Ukkalājanapada to Majjhimadesa for trading. As they were travelling along the main road and approaching near the Rājāyatana tree, their carts stopped suddenly, as if they were stuck in the mud, but the ground was even and free from water. Just while they were asking: “What is the cause?” and were discussing between themselves, a male deity, who happened to have been closely related to them in the past existence, revealed himself, clearly in his physical form, from up the fork of a tree and said: “Young men, not long after attaining Buddhahood, the Buddha, absorbed in the bliss of arahantship, is still staying at the foot of the Rājāyatana tree at present, without having taken any food for the whole duration of forty-nine days. Young men, adore and honour the Buddha with offering of alms food. This will bring you welfare and happiness for a long time.”

On hearing this, they became much delighted and considering that “It will take time to cook rice”, they went to the Buddha taking with them rice-cakes and balls of honey-food which they had brought with them all along. Having approached the Buddha, they respectfully paid obeisance to Him, and stayed at a suitable place. “Blessed One, may the Blessed One accept our rice-cakes and balls of honey-food. Your acceptance will cause welfare and happiness to us for long.”

Thereupon the Buddha wondered: “My brother-like predecessors had never received alms food with their hands. So, with what shall I now receive these rice-cakes and balls of honey-food being offered by these merchant brothers?” (Because the earthen bowl, given by Ghaṭīkāra Brahmā on His renunciation, had disappeared since the day He received Sujātā’s milk-rice). Knowing the thought of the Buddha, the Four Deva Kings of the four directions, namely, Dhataraṭṭa, Viruḷhaka, Virūpakkha and Kuvera, respectfully handed four bowls of blue stone. The Buddha, however, refused to take them. Again, the Four Deva Kings gave the Buddha four bowls of (natural) stones, having the colour of green gram (Phaseolus mungo). These four bowls the Buddha accepted. And out of compassion and goodwill towards the Deva Kings, He placed one bowl upon another and resolved thus: “Let there be only one bowl.” No sooner had the Buddha resolved thus, the four bowls reduced themselves to just one bowl with four rims.

The Buddha then received the rice-cakes and balls of honey-food with that alms-bowl and partook them and then delivered a sermon of appreciation which was suitable to the merchant brothers. Then the two brothers took refuge in the Buddha and the Dhamma (as the treasure of the Sangha had not come into existence yet at that time) and thereby became devotees who had to pronounce only two-word refuge (Devācika-saraṇa) with reference to the Buddha and the Dhamma, saying: “We take refuge, sir, in the Blessed One and the Dhamma—Ete mayaṃ bhante, Bhagavantaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāma dhammañ ca.” (These two were the first devotees in whom the two-word refuge was established.)

Thereafter, the two merchant brothers made a request saying: “Blessed Buddha, give us something, out of compassion to us, for our worship forever.” The Buddha then rubbed His head with the right hand and gave them His hair, conceding to their request. Obtaining the hair, the brothers were very much delighted, as if ambrosial waters were poured on them. After finishing their trading, they returned and arrived back at their native town of Pukkharavatī in the district of Ukkalā where they built a cetiya, enshrining in it the hairrelics kept in a gold casket.

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