Ashoka the great and the kingdom of Buddha built by him

Everyone knows the true story of the eminent ruler in the Indian history, the emperor, the great King Ashoka, building his kingdom of righteousness in the regions which came under his custody, after nearly 280 years of the parinirvana of Gautama Buddha. Another true story hidden in this story is covered by the sands of time. In proving this, we can also use a lot of information of the book written on the Indian history in Ashoka’s time by Professor A L Basham[1] This book was published in English language. Later it was translated in to Sinhala language too. Some details in the original English book have been missed out in the Sinhala translation. It seems that, otherwise, the opinions of the translators too are taken in to the book.

The emperor Ashoka came in to the throne in India by conquering the Greeks. First, the great king Ashoka conquered the East India, West India and then North India, finally he turned towards the South Indian region. Final and the bloodiest battles planned by him was the Kalinga war. The slain was in thousands, a similar number of people were taken in to the prisons and finally he was able to stretch his reign up to river Kaveri.

He heard and knew about the rich culture prevailed in Hela Diva and his armies were sent from Kalinga to conquer Hela Diva. Though he sent the armies several times to Hela Diva, they could not even reach Hela Diva.

By this time, Buddha Dhamma was well established in many parts of Hela Diva, Bhikkus could be seen frequently even in South India. Buddha Dhamma was extended up to river Kaveri in South India. Asoka the Great was able to know about Buddhist Bhikkus and also about principles of non-violence found in Buddha Dhamma. After the battle in Kalinga, King Ashoka was exhausted and then a special incident happened and that brought him a great mental relief and total change in his life. That is to see the Bhikkus and to know about the principles of non-violence found in Buddha Dhamma. The emperor, by this time, was able to know certain things about Hela Diva and Buddha Dhamma from the Bhikkus themselves.

All the attempts he made to conquer Hela Diva using his armies were not successful. “I could conquer this big land, Barath Desha, but not this very small land, what is the strength behind that?”, King Ashoka asked from the Bhikkus.

The Bhikkus replied, “Oh great king, Janbudveepa is that island. It is a land of Buddha. It is Dhamma prevails in that land. The land of Buddha cannot be conquered by the strength of the military force. And it is then better to give up the idea of conquering Hela Diva by war”. The King Ashoka kept aside the idea of a war against the island totally and came out with a new thought. That new thought was to building a model kingdom of Buddha, a kingdom of Dhamma within his own land. With this idea, he ended up ruling his kingdom by war and started to run the kingdom by the righteousness. Chandashoka – Ashoka the fierce, became Dharmashoka – Ashoka of Dhamma.

Ashoka the Great then sent nine Purohithas[2] to Hela Diva and they studied and reported to him on things such as what is kingdom of Buddha? What is Janbudveepa?, What are the special places and rituals & customs of the island?. They were further ordered to find out all the relevant facts and information about the kingdom of Buddha and Janbudveepa (This is very clearly stated in the Mahavamsa).

This helped the King Ashoka to find all the relevant information about Hela Diva, Janbudveepa, kingdom of Buddha and Buddha Dhamma from his Purohithas. After finding out all the relevant information, the great King Ashoka got a very strange idea to build an artificial kingdom of Buddha across his Indian empire. Following this idea, in India too, he started building the models of the Viharas[3], monasteries, cities, all other religious places found in Janabudveepa in Hela Diva. Within a period of three years, his commands came in to actions by building eighty four thousand dagabas, temples & monasteries across the entire Indian empire and, not only that, some of these were named following their original names found in Janbudveepa in Hela Diva. In addition to this, following the names of the sixteen janapadas[4] in Janbudveepa, he used those identical names for the janapadas built in India as well. He built special monuments to commemorate the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the place of his Enlightenment, the place where he had his first sermon and the place where he entered in to his parinirvana. Likewise, he also built very special places found in Heladeepa such as Devram Vihara Jethavanarama[5] Vihara, Veluwana Vihara in the city of Rajagaha. That was not the end, Ashoka the Great appointed ministers of Dhamma for the service of these monasteries and made arrangements to bring down Bhikkus from Heladeepa.

And also the King Ashoka announced that the people in all the religious sectors in India can come and reside in those model temples and monasteries. Replacing the supreme Buddha Dhamma prevailed all these times in Hela Diva, the great King Ashoka could establish ‘Buddhisam’, which was a combination of good principles in religions found in the ancient India, principles of Pancha Seela, [6] and some special features & certain worldly non-violence principles found in the Buddha Dhamma in Hela Diva. The King Ashoka spread out this new religion in his vast empire and sent out the missionaries to propaganda the new religion in all the neighboring countries of India. He made arrangements for the third Dhamma Sangayana[7] also and got this ‘Buddhism’ well established in his empire. During his life time he could spread out Buddhism to many countries in the east. The ultimate result of this action was that, the supramandane Dhamma of Gautama Buddha of which Nirvana was the main objective, after 300 years of time, came under the influence of religious concepts and started to spread out as Buddhism.

The history says that there had been more than twenty to thirty thousand Arahants who had followed the supreme teachings of the Buddha in one part of Deva Hela (Janbudveepa where Buddha was born) even at the time that Ashoka the Great established a kingdom of Buddha, kingdom of Dhamma in India and made Buddhism the religion of the country. In this period too, the supermandane Buddha Dhamma was existed in one part of Janbudveepa in Hela Diva and in another there lived a tribal community who did not have any belief in any religion. That is the Yakka Hela. Those days in Janbudveepa in Hela Diva, in Buddha’s time too, most of the people in the tribal communities like Yakka, Naaga, Kumbanda and Ghandharva lived in this part in Hela Diva did not accept the teachings of the Buddha at all. Later, the Indian King Vijaya killed the leaders of the Yakkha community and became the ruler of Yakkha Hela, general citizens and the other kings who came after Vijaya did not have any interest in following Buddha Dhamma. What Arahant Mahinda Thero and the great King Ashoka did was introducing the Buddhism to the king of the Yakkha Hela and to the people of the Yakkha Hela who did not follow even Pacha Seela. Hence its clearly stated in the history that even when the time Arahant Mahinda Thero and the great King Ashoka introduced Buddhism to the kingdom of Anuradhapura, there had been thousands of Arahants in many parts in Deva Hela in this very country. It should be highlighted that the most venerable Arahant Mahinda Thero who is considered as the one who introduced Buddhism to Lanka and also his sister Sanghamiththaa had come to the areas such as the city of Savath, city of Rajagaha where the real teachings of the Buddha were practiced, had learnt the Buddha Dhamma from the great Aranhaths and attended to the supermandane status. Venerable Arahant Mahinda Thero learnt Hela language and Maaghadi language in this Deva Hela, not from anywhere else.

Even at the time that venerable Mahinda Thero and princess Sanghamiththaa came to Lanka from India, Shakyan princes had ruled many Shakyan cities situated in the east, Central and Southern directions in Hela Diva. King Kawanthissa, King Mahasena & King Abhaya and also many other known & un-known kings had ruled the cities like Thissamaharama, Sithulpawwa, city of Rajagaha, city of Devdaha & Kimbulwathpura situated in Janbudveepa in this Hela Diva itself. With the introduction of Buddhism to the kingdom of Anuradhapura (Lankapura), the culture of hunting animals practiced in Anuradhapura for all these times got changed. Gradually, a culture of cultivating paddy fields came into existence. The history says that when the time Buddhism was introduced to Anuradhapura by Arahant Mahinda Thero, even in the full moon Poya Day [8]the ruler of Anuradhapura had gone on hunting with his fellow men.[9]  The influence of the group of intellectual men of eighteen castes who came to Anuradahpua from India would have been a strong reason to change this culture from animal hunting in to the cultivation of paddy. Due to the influence of this group, reign of Yakka in Anuradhapura came to an end, the reign of Hela Diva got totally changed and not only the reign of Yakkaha Hela, even the Deva Hela, gradually came under the control of Anuradhapura.

From the tenth year till the end of the reign, Ashoka the Great ruled his country based on the concepts of kingdom of righteousness. It is very visible that the King Asoka did not want to believe in Nirvana administered by Gautama Buddha in the supermandane Dhamma and he never wanted to follow the path of Dhamma. He never gave up what he believed so far, which is also the belief of the mass in India, Hinduism based on the concepts of gods. Professor Basham clearly mentions that the king frequently went on pilgrimages and that is to the religious places of Hindu Brahmins.  Also it can be very clearly seen that any Ashoka inscriptions do not contain any note of supermandane Buddha Dhamma, but they carried frequent notes on religious concepts and divine prayers & rituals. Because of this, it’s a fact that Ashoka The Great formed a kingdom of Buddha, a kingdom of Dhamma & also a model of Janbudveepa in India only as a righteous mean of securing the power and the stability of his vast empire won by the wars and also to establish a reign of Dhamma which will then not bring any further killings in the country. He had no any knowledge and any confidence on Nirvana.

Buddha Dhamma very strongly helped the King Ashoka to end up all animal sacrifices, slaughtering of innocent animals, numerous rituals date back to thousand years practiced by the Indian religions such as Vedha, Shiva and Jainism and also to spread out the non-violence among his citizens.

Buddha Dhamma which was formed by a concept of King Ashoka, spread out in India and also in all neighboring countries for a short period of time, at least. This Buddhism came to Anuradhapura also, which was a part of the kingdom of the Yakkha tribe in Hela Diva. The next transformation was that the supermandane Buddha Dhamma prevailed for years in Deva Hela – Janbudveepa – in Ruhuna, which helped the people to attend to Nirvana, came to an end gradually. Finally, only its new form, the Buddhism, became popular across Hela Diva. The supermandane Buddha Dhamma of which the main aim is to direct people to Nirvana was not popular among the ordinary people. It is not an interesting religious concept to the ordinary men and women. According to supermandane Buddha Dhamma there isn’t a thing called happiness, Sukkha. It is just an illusion. We experience Dhukka[10], suffering, only because we go behind happiness, Sukkha. But according to the King Ashoka’s Buddhism formed with the conjunction of concepts of gods, worldly religious concepts which aspire Nirvana only after enjoying pleasure in divine worlds & in the human world came in to being[11]. The Buddhism was transformed in to a worldly religion of the ordinary mass which praised the values of all the meritorious acts, ordinary rituals aiming at the happiness in this world & in other divine worlds, and was popular among kings and the businessmen also. Because of this, in later years, a particular religious Buddhist group came in to being in this Hela Diva who works only for the worldly pleasures leaving the prime aim of supreme Buddha Dhamma, Nirvana. This is the transformation experienced in the ancient times in Anuradhapura.

In this manner, nearly after 1000 years of parinibbana of Buddha, the supreme Dhamma which purely aimed at Nirvana, taught by Gautama Buddha by rejecting nearly sixty religious beliefs existed in the Deva Hela in Janbudveep, vanished forever from Hela Diva. People again started to practice religious concepts and Buddha Dhamma was treated as nothing but a belief. It was mixed with religious concepts of gods and now it has passed nearly 1500 years. In the history of Hela Diva, Buddhism was accepted as the religion of the kingdom in many eras. By this way, the sublime path taught by Gautama Buddha for Nirvana, got disappeared. That is nature of the Darmatha.

There were mainly sixteen Sakyan states in Deva Hela known as Janbudveepa and it is the birth place of the Buddha. The supreme Buddha Dhamma was in practice in most of these cities in Heladiva even in the reign of King Ashoka. There were great Arahants as well as other noble ones who had attended in to certain stages in the path of Nirvana. The supreme Buddha Dhamma was embraced by the many. Even the members of the royal families in Hela Diva, discarded the wars, sacrificed all the royal comforts for the happiness in Dhamma, wanted to experience the renunciation of lay life and, gradually, as a result of this, the throne got fully affected. Generations of kings, queens and their descendants got extinct. Many parts of the country came under the control of the new kingdom in Anuradhapura. Sometimes later, the King Dhuttugamunu from a kingdom in Deva Hela conquered the kingdom of Anuradhapura too, became the very first king to rule the entire Hela Diva under one flag. According to the history of Hela Diva known to us, the great King Dhuttugamunu from Ruhuna was the very first king ruled all four parts of Hela Diva under one throne.

Even at the time King Dhuttugamunu came in to the throne, supermandane Buddha Dhamma was still prevailed in some kingdoms in Ruhuna in Deva Hela. But sooner after he came in to the throne, he too was not escaped from the Indian influences and did his best for the success of Buddhisam. Hence, this great land in Ruhuna, a heritage, the place blessed by nature which helped for the great Enlightenment of Gautama Buddha and also all other Buddhas in the past, was gradually covered by the thick jungles. Later, there wasn’t even one single human to be seen and it turned completely in to a great jungle. Devram Vehera, city of Rajagaha & all other sacred places in Janbudveepa built in the past were covered by the dense forests, even the names of them were forgotten and disappeared from people’s mind.

Although dagabas & monasteries built in Deva Hela were covered by the forest and forgotten in time, the model kingdom of Buddha built in India by the great King Ashoka was not destroyed so soon. Religious places found in that model kingdom of Buddha, later, were considered by the Hindus as their religious places too. It is possible that many Indian and Lankan authors who wrote books in the kingdom of Anuradapura knew about the model kingdom of Buddha built in India, but did not know about the locations and the very original buildings made in Buddha’s time in Janbudveepa in Hela Diva. Because of this very reason, all the authors from the time of Anuradhapura up to date, considered, and they meant it too, the ruins in the secondly built model kingdom of Buddha by King Ashoka as Janbudveepa, but not the ruins of the very original kingdom of Buddha in Hela Diva. These ruins in Hela Diva were not destroyed due to the effect of Darmatha and anyone can see them even today.

In Buddha’s time, the name Janbudveepa was used for Deva Hela as it gave the meaning that ‘the island where Buddha was born’ and later the authors and commentary writers of this country believed in that, based on assumptions, it was the name given to India. They mentioned that in their books as well. Now, this is the time to change this wrong interpretation about Janbudveepa and disclose the real truth to the world. From the past up to date many people made certain attempts to reveal the truth about this matter, but all of them had failed to do so. It is purely because of the fact that even today many people strongly believe that Buddhism and Buddha Dhamma are the same. Actually speaking they do not know Buddha Dhamma.

When it is started to preach the re-appeared supermandane Buddha Dhamma with the aim of guiding the world to achieve Nirvana, misleading ideas & wrong interpretations which were prevailed for all this times on ‘Janbudveepa’ & its history will be disappeared. Now it is the real time for the truth to come in to being.It can actually be considered as a yuga mehewara, fulfilling a great task for the betterment of all the beings.

Ashoka the Great built a model kingdom of Buddha[12] in his empire, he was genuine and did not have any idea to mislead anyone. King Ashoka never expected the world to believe that Buddha was born in India. King Ashoka installed all his inscriptions only as a mean to commemorate those places. He merely wanted to set up a mechanism by which he will be able to keep away any future wars and rule his vast empire, conquered by war, with peace and harmony until his death. He was successful. But the authors in Lanka, later, presented this idea to the world in a false way. This change, defacement was not done in India.

In building these significant places of Janbudveepa in India, Ashoka the Great had not considered even the distances among the said places. He just wanted to build these places across his empire. If he had wished to mislead the people, he could have considered the actual distances as well.

The actual distance from the palace of Suddhodhana in the city of Kimbulwath to the city of Dewdaha, prince Siddaththa’s birth place, in Janbudveepa in Hela Diva was nearly 40 – 50 km. In today’s context it is from Dimbulagala to a place in Kundasale, Theldeniya. But the distance from the place identified first as the city of Kapilawasthu in India to Lumbini in Nepal is nearly 3000 Kms (later this distance was considered seriously by the present scholars and another new place had been identified and declared as the city of Kapilavasthu). It is very impossible to come to the assumption that especially in a period where advanced transportations were not common, a pregnant mother who expects her delivery at any time had decided to go such a long distance to see her parents for her gab perahera. gab perahera was a custom practiced in Lanka in the past as well as to the present day. Customs of this nature cannot be seen in India. gab perahara is the visit made by a pregnant woman to her parents who expects her delivery in the very near future[13].

Likewise, the distance between the place identified as Buddhagaya today in India, and the place identified as Isipathana where Buddha delivered his first sermon is nearly 450 Kms.

The distance of the walk that Gautama Buddha made in search of five ascetics from Hirivadunna in Janbudveepa in Hela Diva, where Sri Maha Bodhi[14] still stands legendry, to the real Isipathana (today this place is called Isinbassagala[15] in Madavachchiya) in Kaseerata[16] is nearly 60 Kms. In the ancient times, Gautama Buddha spent nearly 3 days to cover this distance. If he had walked a distance of 450 Kms, then it would have been taken 20 days. But, what is known is that the Gautama Buddha realized The Enlightenment in Wesak Poya Day[17] , spent seven[18] weeks there and at the end of the eighth week, in one Esala Poya[19], had preached Dhamma to the five ascetics at Isipathana. It is necessary to look in to these matters not by the logical approach but by the perspective of Dhamma.

The distances from city of Visala to Kusinara and city of Rajagaha to city of Visala in Janbudveepa in the ancient Hela Diva, and the distances of the these places marked in India today are beyond someone’s imaginations. To get a true picture one can compare these facts as well. All the ones who go and had already gone on pilgrimages in India had experienced this. (These places too are described in a chapter to come).

The model kingdom of Buddha built by King Ashoka in India and the foundations of the buildings of the first kingdom of Buddha built 300 years ago in Janbudveepa, here in Hela Diva, are still existing. Someone who compares these ruins would see the following differences and that will be an aid for the realization of the truth.

  1. When one looks in to the available extraordinary ruins of different buildings and monasteries built by the kings, the Counts, businessmen & rich people who lived in Buddha’s time in Janbudveepa in Hela Diva, he would notice that the foundations of all these buildings are made by solid rock or seasoned rock slates. And also would notice that all those slates are made using very advanced technology. People who lived in Hela Diva in the ancient times had used seasoned rocks and this is something similar to making granite using rocks in the present day. The rock slates & foundations of the ancient buildings available even up to this date in areas like Ritigala, Hiriwadunna, Buddangala in Ampara, Rajagala, Nilagala, Thiriyaaya and also in Budugala in Balangoda, areas in Kurugala, Sithulpawwa, Thissamaharamaya, Maligavila, Kudumbigala, Muhudu Maha Viharaya, Kottiyaram Nuwara situated to the southern direction of Seruwawila and Kataram Pura. Because of this one can imagine the development of this technology of using rocks in the ancient times. But only the bricks & tiles had been used for the buildings of model kingdom of Buddha built by King Ashoka in India. In Buddha’s time, before the period of Anuradhapura, bricks had not been used in Hela Diva.
  2. It can very clearly be seen all the available ruins of all most all the buildings built in India by the great King Ashoka, characteristics and the influence of Hindu culture, Hindu architecture or Greek architecture can be seen very clearly. But the technology and characteristics of the foundations of all the buildings in Buddha’s period in Hela Diva are peculiar to us, cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. The architectural ruins found in Ritigla only will prove this. What we call Ritigala today are the ruins of Devram Vehere built by the rich merchant, Sudhaththa (Anepidu) with his money. It is the Jethavana Vihara where Gautama Buddha resided nearly twenty years. Hence, all the dagabas & monasteries offered to Buddha & the Sanga[20] by the kings, the Counts and wealthy merchants who lived in solos maha janapadas in Dewa Hela which were known as Janbudveepa were not made by using bricks. Also they were not possessed of any characteristics of Hindu or Greek cultural. But, most of the buildings and monasteries built later, in the Anuradhapura period and thereafter, were influenced by the Hindu and Greek architecture and they were made by using bricks. That is the era after the influence of India.
  3. Sculpturing, worshipping the statues and making of statues could not be seen in Buddha’s period in Janbudveepa, in ancient Hela Diva. Sculpturing and worshipping the statues came in to practice by an influence of Greek. Sculpturing and making of altars were started in Lanka after the Anuradhapura period by the activities of the craftsmen of eighteen castes who came from India. None of these were found in the supremandane Buddha Dhamma. All these can be seen in Buddhism and Buddhist culture. The people in the ancient Hela Diva paid their homage only to the secret footprint of the Buddha and to the Asathu Bo tree.
  4. It is necessary to place a note here on the amazing technology of seasoning rocks used for different purposes in Janbudveepa in ancient Hela Diva. This had been a well advanced technology. Technologies where stonemasons first break-up huge rocks, cutting out the slates from them were not seen here. And it can also be seen that these rocky slates were used only for the constructions of buildings which had religious values. The juice, extracted from three types of herbs taken from the jungle and grinded on a particular proportion, was mixed with another juice extracted from three fruits taken again from the jungle and this was finally used to season the rocks. This mixture was used to split the rock, to smoothen it like soft clay and then to be used for molding for any structure and finally to make slates in different shapes was an advanced methodology adopted in the past. It should be mentioned here that even the Rishis[21] in India of that day did not know about this advanced methodology.

If not for this advanced technology practiced in Buddha’s time in Hela Diva, it would have easily been taken more than one thousand years to make hundreds of thousands of soft rock slates which are spread out in 58 special locations today in a large area of 1000 acres in Ritigala. In the past, all these had been made within a period of one or two years. Today all these are considered as a work of Vishvakarma[22]. It is nothing but a demonstration of advanced technology used in Janbudveepa in the past.

[1] Professor Arthur Llewellyn Basham (24 May 1914 – 27 January 1986) was a noted historian and ideologist and author of a number of books.

[2] Chief advisers, chief priests to the king.

[3] The vihara is considered as an outstanding type of architectural creation of ancient Lanka. The vihra is also known by synonymous names such as chaithya, stupa, thupa,seya and dagaba.

[4] solos maha janapada, the great sixteen cities or states.

[5] Jethavana Arama. Arama of Jetha, the garden belongs to Jetha. These are well maintained gardens owned by very wealth persons or given for the use of disciples of the Buddha. These gardens are classic examples for the plots of land with utmost serene beauty, ideal for the use of the ones who lead the ascetic life. Lanka is full of these places and without knowing the reason driven to establish them, ‘treasure hunter’ destroy the ruins (specially dagabas and statues of the Buddha and others) found in these places in their attempts in searching ‘valubles’.

[6] The Five Precepts (Pali: pañca-sīlāni) constitute the basic Buddhist code of ethics, undertaken by lay followers of the Buddha in the Theravada as well as in Mahayana traditions. The precepts in both traditions are essentially identical and are commitments to abstain from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication. Undertaking the five precepts is part of both lay Buddhist initiation and regular lay Buddhist devotional practices.

[7] The Council of Dhamma.

[8] Poya or Poya Day is the name given to a Buddhist public holiday in Sri Lanka which occurs every full moon day. The Full moon is important to Buddhists all around the world, who have adopted the Lunar Calendar for their religious observances. Owing to the moon’s fullness of size as well as its effulgence, the full moon day is treated as the most auspicious of the four lunar phases occurring once every lunar month (29.5 days) and thus marked by a holiday. Every full moon day is known as a Poya in Sinhala; this is when a practicing Buddhist visits the Temple for the rituals of worship. There are 12 or 13 Poyas per year. The term poya is derived from the Pali and Sanskrit form uposatha (from upa + vas: to fast) primarily signifying “fast day”. Generally shops and businesses are closed on Poya Days, and the sale of alcohol and meat is forbidden.

[9] Specially in poya days , Buddhists keep themselves away from acts like killing any living being.

[10] The impermanence of life. The interpretation given for this in the common world is ‘suffering’ which is highly misleading, harmful to Buddha Dhamma. Ones who do not have a thorough knowledge in Buddha Dhamma would come under the impression that Buddha taught only about suffering(s) in life. But what the Buddha taught here is that the non- existence of anything forever. This Dhamma suggests that nothing is permanent in this world, everything is subjected to change.

[11] After any type of meritorious deed done by Sinhala Buddhists, for example a particular serman or an alms-giving which is a part of the culture of Sinhala Buddhists, the monk(s) who headed the event will bless ( to transfer merits to the seen and unseen beings) the auduiance that they would experience, in the event of the maturity of the deed they just performed, many lives in the human world and also in the hevenly realms and finally realize the bliss in Nirvana. This is the pathetic consequence of the influence made by popular Buddhisam on the sublime teachings of Buddha. In fact, Nirvana is not something to be postponed and realize later in the future.

[12] Buddha Rajja

[13] Probably this could be her first visit to her parents’ house after her wedding.  Prince Siddhathth’s mother, queen Maayaa too followed this custom.

[14] The sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa) under which The Buddha attended to his enlightenment.

[15] Isin (irsheen or rishis or seers) +bassa (came down from..) +gala (the rock or stretch of rocks) – the rock or the rocky area from where the seers came down …

[16] The kingdom called Kasee.

[17] Buddhists believe that the Buddha realized The Enlightenment in the full moon day in May.

[18] Sath Sathiya. The General\traditional understanding of this is as follows.

First week: Under the bodhi tree – During the first week after Enlightenment, the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree, experiencing the happiness of freedom and peace. Throughout the week, He sat in one posture, experiencing the Bliss of Emancipation (Vimukthi Suva).  Second week: Gazing at the bo tree – In gratitude to the tree that had sheltered Him during His struggle for Buddhahood, the Buddha stood without moving His eyes as He meditated on the bodhi tree (Animisalochana Pooja), thus teaching a great moral lesson to the world. Buddhists who follow this example pay their respects not only to the original bo tree, but also other bo trees. Third week: Golden bridge – The Buddha saw through His mind’s eye that the gods were not sure whether He had attained Enlightenment, as the Buddha had not given up His temporary residence at the bo tree. To clear their doubts, He created, by His psychic powers, a golden bridge in the air, and walked up and down it for a whole week. Fourth week: In the jewelled chamber – The Buddha created a beautiful jewelled chamber (ratanaghara) and sitting inside it, meditated on what was later known as the ‘Detailed Teaching’ (Abhidhamma). His mind and body were so purified that rays of six colours came out of His body – blue, yellow, red, white, orange and a mixture of these five. Each colour represented one noble quality of the Buddha: yellow for holiness, white for purity, blue for confidence, red for wisdom and orange for defeat of desire. The mixed colour represented all these noble qualities. Today these six colours make up the Buddhist flag. Fifth week: With a Brahmana and three girls – While meditating under the Ajapala banyan tree, the Buddha replied to a Brahmana, who came to see Him, that one becomes a perfect Brahmana by one’s deeds and not by birth. Three charming girls called Tanha, Rati and Raga (the daughters of Mara) came to disturb His meditation. They danced around the Buddha and tried to distract Him, but soon got tired and left Him alone. Sixth week: Under the muchalinda tree – The Buddha started meditating under a muchalinda tree. It began to rain heavily and the huge Muchalinda Nagaraja (cobra king) came out and coiled his body seven times around the Buddha to keep Him warm and placed his hood over the Buddha’s head to protect Him from the rain. After seven days, the rain stopped and the snake changed into a young man who paid his respects to the Buddha. Seventh week: Under the Rajayatana tree – The Buddha meditated under the Rajayatana banyan tree. Two merchants, Tapassu and Bhalluka, came into His presence and offered the Buddha rice cakes and honey.The Buddha told them some of what He had found in His Enlightenment. These two merchants, by taking refuge in the Buddha and His Dhamma, became the first lay followers in the Buddhist world. There was no Sangha (order of monks and nuns) then. They asked the Buddha for something sacred and the Buddha wiped His head with His right hand and pulled out some hair to give them. These hair relics (Kesa Datu) were brought home and enshrined by the merchants.(Source-‘ Variety’,How the Buddha spent the ‘Sath Sathiya, S\Observer – 2006/05/14).

[19] Esala is the Sinhala name given for the month of July. This is the full moon day in this month.

[20] Sangas or Bhikkus are the members of the Order, non-lay disciples of Buddha, ones who have renounciated the lay life and entered in to path of Nirvana. They are known as Buddhist priests, especially in the western world.

[21] The Sages.

[22] In Hinduism this is the architect of god. But here ‘a work of Vishvakarma’ means that it is great work or a miracle.

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