The Lord Buddha’s History.
Our great Bodhisatta considered the “five important factors” which include 1) the Human continent; 2) the country; 3) the average human lifespan; 4) the lineage; 5) the birth mother. When he saw that all five factors were in place, he agreed to be reborn in the Human Realm. He determined that his father would be King Suddhodana and his mother would be Queen Sirimahamaya.
On the day that our Bodhisatta entered Queen Sirimahamaya’s womb, she dreamt that a white elephant king had brought her a white lotus.
When our Bodhisatta was conceived, his Perfections caused the landmasses to quake and there was great brightness everywhere. As he sat in a half-lotus position inside his mother’s womb, he did not feel at all confined; neither did he cause his mother any discomfort. His mother continued to feel light and comfortable. It was as though she had not been pregnant at all. Moreover, her son was clearly visible to her.
When it was near the time of delivery, Queen Sirimahamaya returned to the city of Devadaha. During the trip on the 15th day of the 6thwaxin moon 80 years before the Buddhist Era at a place called Lumbini Grove, Queen Sirimahamaya gave birth to her son. He possessed the 32 attributes of the Perfect Man. As a result of his Perfections, the little Bodhisatta could take seven baby steps as soon as he was born. Each of the steps was cushioned by a lotus which appeared miraculously. The little Bodhisatta subsequently pronounced these words of grandeur, “I’m a superb being. I’m the most advanced being in the world. I’m the most sublime being in the world. This is my final rebirth. There will be no more rebirths for me.”
Five days after his birth, our Bodhisatta was given the name “Siddhattha” which means one whose wishes are fulfilled. Seven learnt Brahmins predicted that if the little prince remained a householder, he would become a Universal Monarch but if he took up the religious life, he would become self-enlightened as the Lord Buddha. However, the Brahmin Kondanna predicted that the little prince would most certainly take up the religious life and become self-enlightened as the Lord Buddha.
When our Bodhisatta was 7 years old, he went to the Planting Ceremony with his father, King Suddhodana. As he waited for his father, he stayed in the shade under the Java Plum tree and went into meditation. The power of his focus concentration caused a miracle to happen in that the shade of the free did not move with the afternoon sun but remained in the same position to continue providing shade for him. The miracle caused King Suddhodana to be filled with such reverence that he paid his son homage.
Prince Siddhattha was brilliant and had an excellent memory in ways which were incomparable. When he was 7 years old, he was able to finish all the 18 branches of knowledge (which can be compared to earning 18 degrees by today’s standard) within the miraculously short period of just 7 days. In other words, he had exhausted all of his teachers’ knowledge within 7 short days.
When Prince Siddhattha was 16 years old, King Suddhodana had three beautiful castles built for each of the three seasons in order to provide the prince with celestial happiness. The king also arranged for the prince to marry Princess Yasodhara, the daughter of the King of Devadaha. She possessed incomparable beauty which included the five characteristics of true female beauty. The king wanted to keep Prince Siddhattha attached to the householder’s life so that he could assume the throne later on.
One day, Prince Siddhattha went on an excursion outside the palace. He saw an old person, a sick person, and a dead person, a sick person, and a dead person. The impermanence of life saddened him. However, when he saw a monk, he felt pleased and believed that only the religious life could lead him out of aging, sickness, and death. Therefore, he had the wish to become a monk. Although he had every desirable thing in the world and soon he would assume his father’s throne, he was not at all enamored by them.
When Prince Siddhattha was 29 years old, Princess Yasodhara gave birth to their son “Rahula”. As much as he felt love and concern for his son, the prince’s desire to help all beings escape from suffering was greater. Therefore, on the night of his son’s birth, the prince left the palace on the royal steed “Kanthaka”. He was accompanied by the royal page “Channa”. He more than willingly left behind his material wealth, the throne, the privileges, and all manner of worldly happiness in order to take up the religious life because it was conducive to his search for Emancipation.
Our Bodhisatta had the strongest desire to search for the way out of suffering. Therefore, he began by practicing self-mortification, a popular practice among the ascetics at the time. He had pressed his teeth together. He had severely restricted his breaths. He had starved himself until he was just the way out of suffering; therefore, he decided to stop the practice altogether and resumed eating. As soon as he was healthy again, he took up meditation practice instead. The five Ascetics, who had been attending to our Bodhisatta during his period of self-mortification, decided to leave him because they believed that he would never become self-enlightened.
At the time, Phya Mara mobilized his army in an effort to obstruct our Bodhisatta’s attainment of Enlightenment. The Mara Celestial Being rode the elephant “Girimekhla” which stood 2,400 kilometers tall. He created 1,000 arms where each hand carried a different kind of weapons. These Mara beings possessed grotesque forms and they converged upon our Bodhisatta from the four cardinal points. However, our Bodhisatta remained unperturbed and recalled instead the Perfections which he had pursued for 20 Asankheyyas and 100,000 Kappas. This caused the Mara army to retreat. This encounter shows that our Bodhisatta had overcome Mara even before he attained Enlightenment.
After the Mara troop retreated, our Bodhisatta practiced meditation by keeping his mind completely still at the center of his body. This practice ultimately led him to discover the “Middle way”. By continuing to keep his mind completely still through the “Middle Way”, our Bodhisatta eventually became self-enlightened as the Lord Buddha at dawn on the morning of the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon, He was 35 years old.
Our Lord Buddha is the Supreme Teacher. His boundless compassion moves Him to teach sentient beings to end suffering and attain the everlasting bliss of Nibbana. He has penetrated the whole truth. He can see through all sentient beings in terms of their nature, temperament, defilements, and intelligence. He chooses a particular Dhamma lecture to give to each person so that the person can attain the Dhamma easily. Our Lord Buddha knew that the Five Ascetics were ready for Enlightenment; therefore, He set out for the Deer Park in order to save them.
On the 15th day of the 8th waxing moon, our Lord Buddha gave the first Dhamma Lecture called “DhammacakkappavattanaSutta”. The ascetic Kondanna attained the Dhamma-Eye; therefore, he was the first person to prove the fact that whoever practices according to the Lord Buddha’s Teachings can attain the Dhamma. The day that Kondanna became the first Buddhist monk was also the day that the Triple Gem (The Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha) came into being. We call this day the “AsalhaPuja Day”.
After the Lord Buddha gave His final advice, he attained complete Nibbana near dawn at the foretold date on the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon at the age of 80. The Lord Buddha attained complete Nibbana in a most dignified manner through His meditative attainments, The entire sacred process was witnessed by PhraAnuruddha who was most excellent in the area of Celestial-Eye. On the 8th day of the 6th waning moon seven days after the Lord Buddha attained complete Nibbana, his body was cremated. This day is called “AtthaPuja Day”.