Rediscovering the Buddha: Legends of the Buddha and Their Interpretation

By Hans H. Penner | Go to book overview

6
The Buddha Begins to Teach

The Buddha realized that his discovery through the watches of the night was not only profound but that it would be difficult to explain, to make clear for the comprehension of others, especially to those who lived the life of householders. Could he teach others what he had just discovered through his own efforts?

Seated cross-legged at the foot of the tree of enlightenment at Bodh-Gaya near the town of Uruvela, the Buddha experienced the peace of liberation and rehearsed the causal law of the interdependent origination of all conditioned things that explained both the cause of unhappiness and the cycles of rebirth. The Buddha realized that the cessation, the rooting out of ignorance, was the key to the cessation of the conditioned factors and forces and thus the entire wheel of this unhappy existence. He then concentrated on the significance of the twelvefold causal law of the dependent origination of suffering, grief, and unhappiness for seven days. At the end of the seventh day he left the tree of awakening to meditate under the banyan tree of the goatherd and experienced the peace of freedom and happiness for a week. He then settled under the Mucalinda tree for the third week. During that time a great storm with cold winds arose out of season, and the king of serpents, Mucalinda, encircled the Buddha with his coils seven times and spread his hood over his head to protect him. At the end of the seven days the sky cleared, and Mucalinda gave up his form as the great serpent and appeared in front of the Buddha in the form of a young boy honoring him with joined hands.

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