One) 17. The Sun of Enlightenment Shines
Buddha had withstood the worst attacks of Mara. Finally, the
Evil One retreated and the terrible storm he had raised died
away. Now the mind of the Blessed One relaxed into peace.
The great darkness faded away and the full moon and stars
Lord passed into a deep meditation, passing beyond the limits
of ordinary human understanding, seeing the world as it is,
and not as it appears to be. Like an eagle soaring effortlessly
toward the sun, his mind moved swiftly onward and upward.
saw his past lives and all his former births, with their good
and evil deeds, with their gains and losses. As his mind soared
upwards he saw the round of birth and death of all mankind.
He saw beings born repeatedly and dying according to their
who do good actions have heavenly births. Though these lives
last longer than those on earth they also end in death, as
they are also subject to the law of impermanence. Those who
were suffering in the hell realms would also continue in the
round of rebirths. So all beings (except Buddhas) are caught
in the same round of existence, due to ignorance.
his vision became even clearer, he saw the so-called soul
of man, which man claims as his own, broken up into parts
and laid before him like the unwoven threads of a garment.
He saw the cause of the chain of existence ignorance.
The ignorant person, who clings to things that are worthless
and transient, creates in him or herself more and more dangerous
illusions. But when desire dies, illusions end, and ignorance
vanishes like the night. Then the sun of enlightenment shines.
having understood the world as it is, the Buddha was perfected
in wisdom, never to be born again. Craving and destructive
desire had been completely eradicated as a fire goes
out for lack of fuel.
in the brilliant light of all wisdom and truth sat the Buddha,
the Perfect One. And all about him the world lay calm and
bright and a soft breeze lifted the leaves of the bodhi tree.
with compassion, the Lord sat beneath the tree in deep contemplation
of the Dharma, residing in the perfect peace of nirvana.
the dawn after his enlightenment the Buddha uttered this verse: