Monday, April 12, 2010

Siddhartha returns after becoming Buddha

Siddhartha true to his words planned to return to Magadha after attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. He first went to Isipatana (now Sarnath) and from there on started his journey to Magadha; to see king Bimbisara, to share his philosophy and sow the seeds of his teachings through the population of the Magadha. On his way, he met the most prestigious guru of the Jatils, Kassapa worshiper of the fire. As the Buddha unveiled the shortcomings of the austere fire practice, even the great mountain Gayashirsa seemed to roar to acknowledge the presence of the blessed one. Kassapa along with his thousand disciple listened as he explained the concept of consciousness and that for most humans caught up in their own needs and desires, unaware of their surroundings, senses and sensation is on fire. As long as there is anger, greed, ignorance and lust fueling the fire, the cycle of birth and death along with despair and sorrow would continue infinitely. The Buddha’s precious words are recited today as the Āditta-pariyāya sutta (AA.i.165f, Vin.i.24ff). Kassapa and his disciples were now followers of the Buddha’s teachings and together they arrived at the state of Magadha; and with the Buddha arrived the “Three Virtues”, The Buddha, The Dhamma and The Sangha and began the precursor of a life long association of the Buddha and Rajgriha.

The Buddha’s pious steps in Rajgriha caused a riot of people along with thousands of disciples to gather, to hear him speak and get blessings from him. As soon as king Bimbisara heard of the Buddha’s presence in his own land, he came to greet the enlightened one at Supatittha cetiya in the Latthivanuyyāna (Now Jethian) (Vin.i.35) about 10 Miles on the outskirts of Rajgriha. He approached the Buddha and paid his respects, but others accompanying the king were not sure whom should they pay their respects to first — the Buddha, or Venerable Kassapa. They wondered whether the Buddha was leading a holy life under Venerable Kassapa or the reverse, as both were highly respected religious teachers. The Buddha read their thoughts and asked Venerable

Picture: The Rajgir –Jethian valley - the route taken by Bimbisara to reach Latthivanuyyāna from Rajgriha

Kassapa why he had given up his fire sacrifice and gave Kassapa an opportunity to explain his change of heart, he said that he preferred pursuing the peaceful state of nirvana to the continuance of physical cycle of life and death. After that, he fell at the feet of the Buddha and said, "My teacher, Lord, is the Exalted One: I am the disciple."

The meeting of the Buddha and Bimbisara is preserved in Pratyudgamana-Sutra.

Next Post: Bimbisara understands Buddha’s teachings

No comments: