Saturday, May 09, 2009

Full Moon of Visakha: Story of Sumedha.

[ Introduction: Today is the Visakha Full Moon in the month of May ruled by the Zodiac sign of the
Taurus and its ruling planet the beautiful and gracious Venus. Buddhist legend has that
the historical Buddha Tathagata Gautama was born, enlightened and also died on this full moon
night. Buddhism has that the historical Buddha is only one in the lineage of infinite number of Buddhas both past present and the future including both the Buddhas who actualized as human
beings and those that are transcendental Dhyani Buddha's who symbolize the five basic wisdom
and qualities of the universal mind signified by the five colours red,yellow, green, blue and white
and the five directions of North, South, East, West and Centre named the Buddha Amitabha (red), Ratnasambhava ( yellow), Amoghasiddhi ( green), Aksobhya ( blue) and Vairocana (white) each being the genesis of a lineage of actualized Buddhas.
LinkLink ]

Amongst the Buddhas who have actualized in the world of Samsara or relative existence, there was one who belonged to the BuddhaVamsa or the Buddha family, called Dipankara or the giver of light. He was the Buddha of the past many aeons ago. In the time of the Buddha Dipankara there was a city of Amara, a city of plenty, propserity, enjoyment, peace and harmony.It was a city blessed by the gods abounding with
good will wisdom and holiness. In this city of Amara lived the young man called Sumedha. A learned person from the priestly section of society, intelligent wise,accomplished and prosperous with bountiful assets in grain and coin. Sumedha had learnt all the ways and duties of the priestly class, conversant with the Vedas and all the holy texts. Yet his mind was not at rest as he thought of the phenomenal world and of the decay, death and regeneration of all phenomena in the endless cycle of Samsara, the relative existence of impermanence and change. Sumedha was struck by the repetitive nature and the cycle of suffering and pain inherent in Samsara. He sought a way for repreive from this meaningless circle of impermanence and change.A way symbolized by the freedom from the fetters and bonds of the cycle of Samsara.The path of absolute realization of the self called Nirvana through enlightenment to be a Buddha.

Sumedha realized through his contemplation the nature of all desires and acquisitions and how they were a burden on the path towards realization. He discarded all his wealth and prosperity to become an ascetic a Sraman in the far away location of Himavant in the hills of Dhammakka. There he stayed wearing a cloth of the bark of a tree eating wild fruits and sleeping beneath the trees spending his time in meditation and contemplation till he understood the universal law and recognized the path towards enlightenment. One day when he passed through the plains he saw in

a city that a great preparation was being made for some event and the joy of the people being invloved in the celebrations. Upon enquiry he learnt that the great Buddha Dipankara majetsic in his enlightenment and the realization of the self was to pass through the city. The preparation was
in the honour of this enlightened being. So Sumedha
thought that this was a great opportunity to see for himself someone who had broken through the ignorance and illusion of all relative existence of Maya and the Samsara. When Dipankara was passing there was a strech of the road still muddy with rain waters which could not be cleaned in time for his passing. Sumedha in reverence for the perfect being Dipankara refused to allow the gross mud to touch the feet of the holy being. He opened his long hair of an ascetic and laid it on the path inviting Dipankara and his disciples to cross over his body and his hair so that the mud may not touch their feet.

Dipankara with his perfect insight recognized the mind of Sumedha to be that of a Bodhisattva a being on the way towards enlightenment. Then the great Buddha of the past, the giver of light Dipankara prophesized that many years from now and after many births and lives the young Sumedha would in his last life time be born as the Siddhartha Gautama to the glorious King Suddhadhona and the beautiful Queen Maya of the Sakya tribe on a glorious Full moon night of the month of Visakha in the majestic Sal groves of the Lumbini forest. And this Prince Gautama would be the Buddha Tathagata and completely realize the self to attain liberation from Samsara in Nirvana. Further he said that this Buddha would show the path of love peace and righteous wisdom to the entire humanity. His closest disciples would be Kotila and Upassita and his closest friend will be called Ananda. Thus prophesizing the Buddha Diapnkara went on his way.

And so it happened one glorious full moon night of the month of Visakha many aeons later and many lifetimes later the young man Sumedha was reborn as the Prince Siddhartha Gautama to the Sakya king of Kapliavastu, Suddhodhona and his Queen Maya in the Sal forests of the Lumbini and thus the Buddha of the present the great Tathagata was born to show humanity the path to peace and enlightenment, the path to realization of the true reality and freedom from all bonds of desire and longing, the path to Nirvana of perfect existence.


At 10:50, Blogger mohitparikh said...

wht do u think abt the truth of it?

At 20:57, Blogger gautam said...

Dear Mohit,

This is part of the Jataka tales we read
usualy in our childhood. Its part of the Buddha legend and if one believes in Buddhism one believes in the legend.

But its not important if its true or not.
What is important is the commitment and dedication it illustrates for person who seeks the meaning of life and existence.




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