How long did buddha sit under the tree

How the Buddha gained enlightenment

Young Siddhartha renounced all worldly things in search of the ultimate truth and enlightenment, going on to become one of the world’s greatest religious leaders—Gautama Buddha.

By Sonia Mehta

After wandering around for days and nights, Gautama found himself near a large peepul tree.

Something about the tree called out to him. He made a resolution. ‘I shall sit under this tree and meditate upon my questions. And I shall not move until I have my answers. Even if my skin rots and my body decays, I shall not budge till I see the light,’ he decided.

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He sat in the lotus position, closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing. As the night passed, he went through many different feelings.

Did You Know? Sitting cross-legged in meditation, with the eyes shut, is called the lotus position. It has been named so after the Buddha’s posture.

The Temptation of Mara

(Source: Puffin Books)

First, the evil demon Mara came to him. Mara tried his best to tempt Gautama away from his pursuit. He painted pictures of wealth and beauty. He tried to scare him with awful images of starvation and death. But Gautama remained steadfast, not tempted nor scared. Finally, Mara gave up and went away.

Gautama sat deep in profound meditation. He felt as if he was floating.

Suddenly, he could see the world as if from far, far away. He saw himself. He saw that he had died many times before and that he had been reborn each time. He saw all his past lives. He saw all the things he had done in his lives—the good as well as the bad. And finally, he realized something.


The Enlightenment

(Source: Puffin Books)

Gautama realized that people are born again when they desire things. Specifically, the bad things they do in their former lives cause them to come back to earth in a new life, as if to correct them. But the people who realize this and free themselves of desire—those who want nothing from life—are finally free from the cycle of birth and death. That’s when they reach nirvana, the perfect heaven.

Of course, all this was in Gautama’s mind while his body sat still, which seemed to glow brilliantly from within. At that moment, Gautama had become a Buddha. He had seen the light.

Oh Really? The peepul tree under which Gautama saw the light is called the Bodhi tree. It still stands tall in present-day Bihar, in a place called Bodhgaya. Buddhists from all over the world continue to visit it as it is one of the most holy spots for them.

What Is Nirvana


Nirvana, according to Buddhism, is the state in which the mind is at complete peace and the soul is merged with the universe. It is reached when a person’s desires and suffering all go away and they need nor want nothing.


The Next Seven Weeks

For the next seven weeks, the Buddha continued to sit in silence, allowing his mind and spirit to understand what he had just seen.

During the first week, the Buddha was happy and content, feeling true peace for the first time.

OH REALLY? Even now, it is customary for Buddhists to pay homage to the Bodhi tree that canopied the Buddha, as well as the offshoots of the tree.

During the second week, he felt a deep gratitude to the peepul tree that had sheltered him as he’d sought the light.

During the third week, the Buddha saw the devas. Not sure if they were indeed gods, he built a golden bridge in the air and walked across it to the heavens.

During the fourth week, he created a special chamber in which he meditated. His mind and body became so pure that it is said to have radiated bright rays in six different colours—blue, orange, red, white, yellow and a combination of these five colours. These colours stood for purity, confidence, wisdom, the lack of desire and holiness. The five colours together stood for all these qualities.

Did You Know? The Buddhist flag is in these six colours.


During the fifth week, three beautiful girls appeared, who tried their best to distract the Buddha and lure him away from his thoughts. Their names were Raga, Rati and Tanha. But no matter how much they tried, the Buddha remained unmoved.

(Source: Puffin Books)

During the sixth week, the Buddha went to meditate at the foot of the Mucalinda tree. It began to rain and the air was freezing. That’s when an enormous king cobra called Mucalinda appeared and coiled himself around the Buddha seven times. Then he raised his hood and covered the Buddha, keeping him warm and dry.


During the seventh week, two merchants called Tapussa and Bhallika appeared. The Buddha, seated under the Rajayatana tree, had been fasting for forty-nine days by then. They brought rice cakes and honey to help him break his fast. When the Buddha explained what he had experienced, they were entranced. They became his first ordinary followers, and the Buddha gave them a strand of hair from his head as a token.

Oh Really? The strand of hair that the Buddha is said to have given Tapussa and Bhallika is enshrined in a Buddhist pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.

(Excerpted with permission from Junior Lives: Gautama Buddha, authored by Sonia Mehta, published by Puffin India 2018. MRP: Rs. 150.)

7 Weeks after Enlightenment (Part One)

(Part One) 18. Seven Weeks After Enlightenment

Under the Bodhi Tree

During the first week after enlightenment, the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree experiencing the happiness of freedom and peace. He was free from disturbing thoughts, calm and blissful.

Gazing at the Tree

During the second week, in thanks and 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.

Following this example, it is the custom of Buddhists to pay respect to not only the original bodhi tree, but also to the descendants of the bodhi tree that still thrive today.

The Golden Bridge

In the third week, the Buddha saw through his mind’s eye that the devas in the heavens were not sure whether he had attained enlightenment or not. To prove his enlightenment the Buddha created a golden bridge in the air and walked up and down it for a whole week.

The Jewelled Chamber

In the fourth week, he created a beautiful jewelled chamber and sitting inside it meditated on what was later known as the "Detailed Teaching" (Abhidhamma). His mind and body were so purified that six coloured rays came out of his body — blue, yellow, red, white, orange and a mixture of these five. Today these six colours make up the Buddhist flag. Each colour represented one noble quality of the Buddha: yellow for holiness, white for purity, blue for confidence, red for wisdom and orange for desirelessness. The mixed colour represented all these noble qualities.

Three Girls

During the fifth week, while meditating under a banyan tree, three most charming girls called Tanha, Rati and Raga came to disturb his meditation. They danced in a most seductive and charming manner and did everything to tempt the Buddha to watch their dance. Yet he continued to meditate unperturbed, and soon they tired and left him alone.

The Mucalinda Tree

The Buddha then went and meditated at the foot of a mucalinda tree. It began to rain heavily and a huge king cobra 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. The Buddha then said:

"Happy are they who are contented. Happiness is for those who hear and know the truth. Happy are they who have good will in this world towards all sentient beings. Happy are they who have no attachments and have passed beyond sense-desires. The disappearance of the word "I AM " is indeed the highest happiness."

The Rajayatana Tree

During the seventh week, the Buddha meditated under the rajayatana tree. On the fiftieth morning, after seven weeks of fasting, two merchants came into his presence. They were called Tapussa and Bhallika. They offered the Buddha rice cakes and honey to break his fast and the Buddha told them some of what he had found in his enlightenment.

These two merchants, by taking refuge in the Buddha and his Dharma (translated as "teachings of the Buddha"), became the first lay followers. There was no Sangha (order of monks and nuns) then. They asked the Buddha for something sacred to keep with them. The Buddha wiped his head with his right hand and pulled out some hair to give to them. These hair relics, called Kesa Datu, were later reputed to be enshrined by the merchants on their return home to what is now known as Burma, in the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.


Bodhi tree - what is it and why is it sacred

Hello dear friends.

Today we will talk about one of the most important symbols of Buddhism, which takes place in all directions of this religion - the Bodhi tree. According to legend, it was under its spreading branches that Prince Gautama attained enlightenment and became the Buddha.

According to historical facts and testimonies, this refers to a very specific plant that once grew on the territory of the present city of Bodh Gaya in northeastern India. However, let's talk about everything in order.

under which tree Buddha was meditated by
History of Enlightenment
What happened with the tree
Bodhi tree ficus in other religions

9000 9003 Buddha meditated

The essence of almost all areas of Buddhism (in one way or another) is the achievement of enlightenment or a state of detachment and freedom from everything that exists. The Buddha achieved this state by meditating under the Bodhi tree, and therefore its symbol is very significant for Buddhists. Let's try to figure it out: the Bodhi tree - what is it, and what is the symbolism of this plant?

Ficus or banyan

Not only in remote regions, but even in the homeland of Gautama himself - in India - many believe that he became a guru by meditating under banyan. Others dispute this fact, naming the ficus tree as a sacred plant. Who is right? It should be recognized that both.

The fact is that the banyan, called Ficus indica in the scientific literature, belongs to the genus Ficus. As well as another similar tree - pippala, whose Latin name is Ficus religiosa. It is this type of ficus that is “the same” - it is a close relative of the banyan tree and looks like it.

Ficus religiosa

It is this type of ficus that is popularly called the Bodhi tree, which is also known as the Sacred Fig or Sacred Ficus. This evergreen plant is widely distributed in Hindustan, Indochina, in the South-Western part of China and Sri Lanka.

Its leaves and fruits contain natural laxatives, alkaloids and minerals that contribute to a general increase in body tone, normalization of digestion, and strengthening of the cardiovascular system, so the plant is important not only as a religious symbol, but is also widely used in Ayurveda.

One of the interesting features of Ficus religiosa is the structure of its leaves. Due to their special shape - large width and long petiole - they are set in motion by the slightest breath.

This creates a feeling that the whole plant trembles, trembles even in calm weather, so since ancient times it was believed that pippala is a haven of spirits and a carrier of divine energy.

The story of enlightenment

According to legends and ancient Buddhist texts that have come down to us, Prince Gautama felt the presence of supernatural power and energy from his very birth, but for a long time he could not understand the essence of his destiny.

In his wanderings around the country, he once reached the state of Dhyana, remembering that as a child he had already plunged into a similar trance, and then, exhausted, he remained under the ficus and plunged into meditation, vowing that he would not leave this place until he regained his sight and will understand the truth.

It took Gautama 49 days to reach enlightenment. All this time, he continuously meditated, trying not to succumb to the charms of the tempting demon Mara, who sought to break the prince's concentration.

On the full moon night, when he was exactly 35 years old, Gautama became a Buddha. After that, he remained in nirvana for several more days, sitting under a tree, in order to decide whether he should teach his teachings to people, or if they were not worthy of this knowledge. He was convinced of this by one of the gods - Brahma-Sahampati, who also imperceptibly for Gautama contributed to his awakening.

What happened to the tree

After the death of Buddha during the establishment of the Mauryan Empire and the reign of King Ashoka, they tried to destroy the sacred tree. According to one of the legends, the emperor, although he was interested in Buddhism, doubted its real significance, and therefore ordered to burn it.

But the plant continued to shine in the flame of the sacrificial fire and did not fall. After that, Ashoka ordered him to be washed with milk. The next morning, the Bodhi tree was fully restored to its original form.

True, the “same” pippala still did not survive to this day. But its seeds were sent to all corners of India and far beyond its borders. So the "great-great-great-grandson" of the sacred ficus now grows in the same place in Bodh Gaya.

This tree near the western wall of the local monastery is over 120 years old and 80 meters high. This is one of the main Buddhist symbols, which is the object of annual pilgrimage and worship.

Another Bodhi tree grows in Sri Lanka - in the city of Anuradhapura, and is a direct descendant of the pippala from Bodh Gaya, the sprout (and according to some sources - seeds) of which was brought to the island by the daughter of Emperor Ashoka.

Later, after the death of the Mahabodhi tree from old age, the sprout of this particular Ceylon pippala was transported to its original place. There, the tree-like ficus grew for more than 800 years, until it was cut down during one of the periods of persecution of Buddhism - during the reign of the Bengal emperor Shashanga.

And again a sprout was brought from Anuradhapura, from which a new Bodhi tree grew, which lasted for several more centuries - until 1876, when it was felled by a storm. Some time later, a new sprout of the "mother plant" from Sri Lanka was planted, which still grows today.

The cult of the Bodhi tree

Pippala has been considered sacred in India since ancient times. Houses and temples were built near it. The places of growth of the sacred ficus were considered full of light divine energy. It is for this reason that Gautama meditated under the pippala in search of enlightenment.

In general, the Bodhi tree is an ancient symbol somewhat rethought by Buddhist philosophy - the World Tree, uniting three spheres of the universe into one:

  • Hell, where the roots are;
  • The earthly world where the trunk is located;
  • The sky (paradise), where the branches rush.

It is not surprising that the cult of Bodhi has so successfully "ascended" from the soil of Buddhist philosophy. Today, Ficus religiosa is found in every temple (datsan). And where it cannot grow for climatic reasons, it is replaced by the less heat-loving banyan, already mentioned above.

There is also a Bodhi tree in Russia - in Buryatia in the Ivolginsky datsan. It was grown from a sprout brought from Bodh Gaya in 1970.

The symbolism associated with the story of Buddha's enlightenment can be seen in many aspects of Buddhist culture. For example, monks and laity actively use rosaries from Ficus religiosa (more precisely, from its seeds), and the wood itself is often used to make various objects of worship.

In addition, if you look at traditional architecture, you can see that the arches and domes of Buddhist temples have a characteristic shape that follows the contours of the pippala leaf. By the way, similar forms can be found in Islamic, Christian and Hindu religious buildings. And in general, the Vedic culture itself and the faith built on the Vedas are often compared precisely with the banyan tree - for its ability to give trunks in a new place from aerial roots descending from the branches.

Ficus in other religions

In one form or another, the Bodhi tree is present in many religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and even Christianity. Here it has other names, but still the same important sacral symbol:

  • Tree of Life and Being - in Zoroastrianism;
  • Yggdrasil - in Scandinavian myths;
  • Baiterek - in Turkic mythology;
  • Sidrat al-muntaha - in Islam.

By the way, it was the fig tree (from the genus Ficus), which is a close relative of Ficus religiosa, that grew in the Garden of Eden, from where Adam and Eve were expelled in the Christian tradition. By the way, in the Bible this plant is regularly referred to as the fig tree.

Although, on the one hand, the Bodhi tree is a symbol of the World Tree, typical for all religions, in Buddhism it has acquired a special meaning and status. It can be said that the cult of the pippala and the two sacred trees (in India and Sri Lanka) underlies most Buddhist movements.


Today we have learned about the sacred tree of Buddhism. If the article turned out to be useful for you, share it with your friends on social networks, and we will search for the truth together.

See you soon!

Sacred Buddha Tree

Buddhists greatly revere the place of Bodh Gaya, which is located a hundred kilometers from Panta in India. There, the aristocratic offspring of Siddhartha Guatama was in a state of meditation under the Bodhi tree. Having attained enlightenment, he became a Buddha.

From historical religious documents, one can learn that at the beginning of the 4th century BC. Siddhartha Guatama saw the suffering of the world. He wanted to get rid of them, freeing his soul. Even in his youth, he followed the teachings of Hinduism, which were of ancient origin. For training, the prince looked for spiritual mentors, asked them and used a variety of yoga and meditation practices. This went on for 7 years, three of which were distinguished by an extremely ascetic existence. But the goal of enlightenment Siddhartha failed to achieve.

Then the prince went to the ancient protected forests of Uruvela, which are located in northern India. There he wanted to descend into infinity and fully know it. In this he was guided by ghostly dreams. Siddhartha followed the footprints left by the Buddhas of the three previous periods, Kanakamuni, Krakuchanda and Kashyapa. They happened to achieve enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.

The young prince also sat under the Sacred Tree. The prince sank to the ground, crouching beside her. The young man wanted her to see the many and varied embodiments of goodness that brought him to this place of enlightenment.

Siddhartha's decision was not to get up until the very moment he had attained enlightenment. He knew that his body might shrivel, his bones and muscles might decay, but he was still determined not to leave the Tree. The young man longed to comprehend Enlightenment, for the achievement of which several time periods had to pass.

While Prince Siddhartha was in a state of prostration under the Sacred Tree, the Dark Lord of Death came to him. He wanted to distract him from his efforts. Appearing from the darkness, Mara shook the earth. He called his army of demons, who tried to prevent Siddhartha from reaching Enlightenment. The demons created illusions around the prince, Siddhartha managed to destroy them during the sacred battle.

Siddhartha was not seduced by the beautiful daughters of the Lord of Death, nor by the terrible demons who wanted to eat him. With his power of compassion, he was able to turn Mara's weapons into flowers. After that, the Dark Lord of Death and his retinue disappeared. Three days later, Siddhartha's wish came true - he became the Buddha ("Enlightened One").

After that, the Buddha visited 7 holy places in the area. There, for a whole week, he also fell into a state of meditation. He needed to reflect on his experience. The next week, the Buddha spent standing under the Sacred Bodhi Tree, not leaving a single step from it. Now this place is marked by the Animishlocha Stupa, and nearby is the Mahabothi temple complex. An ancient legend says that lotus flowers bloomed all along the path of the Buddha. Now this path is called Ratnachakarma or the Precious Path.

After days of endless meditation at the urging of the god Indra, the Buddha began to talk about the great truths he realized. He spoke of them for the first time in Isipatan. This sermon is called "Setting the Wheel of Truth in Motion." It consists of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. This is the hallmark of Buddhism. After that, the Buddha wandered for 45 years in the Ganges valley. He taught the truths to simple peasants and to the nobility.

Emperor Ashoka ruled in 250 BC. One day he visited Bodh Gaya. There the emperor founded a monastery and a temple. This event happened 250 years after Buddha's enlightenment. In the temple, a Diamond Throne was built on the site of Siddhartha's meditations. Replaced the Temple of Ashoka in the 2nd century. The Mahabodhi temple was built in its place. It has been restored several times.

Once Ashoka's wife, Queen Tissarakha cut down a Bodhi tree without permission out of jealousy of her husband. Ashoka spent quite a lot of time around him. But the Sacred Tree grew again. By order of the ruler around it was fenced with a high wall. Some time later, the Daughter of Ashoka, who became a nun, took the cut tree to Sri Lanka. There, the Sri Lankan king Devanampiyatissa planted him in the Mahavihara Monastery in Anuradhapura. This tree still grows there today.

The real tree in Bodhgaya was destroyed by the ruler Pushpyamitra in the 2nd century BC. Then he zealously pursued Buddhism. The descendant of this tree was again destroyed at the beginning of the 7th century by the ruler Sasanka. The tree that now grows in Bodh Gaya was planted in 1881 by a British scientist at the site of a man who died of old age a few years earlier. Both now and in ancient times, the surroundings of Bodh Gaya were loved by sages, yogis and meditators. Many great personalities have meditated under the Sacred Buddha Tree.

Botanically, the Bodhi tree is classified as a variety of figs from the Moraceae family. Its leaves are somewhat unusual. They have a heart-shaped shape with a characteristic elongation at the end, a kind of tailed tip. Of course, the tree that exists today is not the one that grew 2500 years ago, but it may be a direct descendant of it. The fact that the Bodhi tree is directly associated with the Buddha and enlightenment, it is sacred to all Buddhists. It has great symbolic meaning.

Many believers consider it to be the center of the world and the place of all the buddhas where they attain enlightenment. Often his image was used in Buddhist art even before the image of the Buddha. Enlightenment was depicted with the Bodhi tree. Pilgrims took with them the leaves and seeds of the Sacred Tree to monasteries and homes.

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