Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seven Co-natals (Sahajata) of Siddhattha Gotama (3)

Kanthaka horse 

Kanthaka, the most efficient horse in the court of King Suddhodana was the favourite of prince Siddhattha Gotama. It was 18 cubits in length and purely white colour. Its neighing was said to be heard from a distance of one yojana.

Kanthaka took part in some of the prominent events of Siddhattha Gotama. To marry princess Yasodhara, Siddhattha Gotama had to prove his capabilities. In other words, he had to compete in the contest where expertises in archery, sword play and horse riding were shown among princes. Siddhattha Gotama won all these sports while mounting on Kanthaka horse.

Siddhattha Gotama was in the chariot drawn by Kanthaka when he saw the Four Sights (an old man, a sick person, a corpse and an holy man). It made him realized the unwholesomeness of sensual pleasures.

The last event was a tragic one. After seeing the Four Sights, Siddhattha Gotama decided to renounce the world. He left the palace, riding on Kanthaka horse accompanied by Channa. Kanthaka carried the prince thirty yojanas away from the city to the bank of Anoma river.

Siddhattha Gotama then compelled Channa and Kanthaka to return to Kapilavatthu. On departing its beloved master, Kanthaka with great grief fell dead. It immediately became a deva in the Tavatimsa for its virtue.

The Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi tree was said to have sprung up at the moment when Siddhattha Gotama was born. Botanically, the bodhi tree is Ficus religiosa, commonly called fig tree. It is a large tree with heart- shaped leaves. Gotama Buddha attained Supreme Enlightenment or Bodhi seated under this tree. So it was named the Bodhi tree.

Buddha stood still and gazed without a blink at the Bodhi tree throughout the second seven-days after his achievement. It was to show gratitude for the shelter that Bodhi tree had given to him.

People believed that the ground in which the Bodhi tree grown and where the Buddha attained full enlightenment was very firm. Even a violent earthquake could not shake it. Also, the powerful Sakka Devaraja could not travel in the air above it. And so, this place was recognized as the 'Navel of the Earth.'

The descendants of the original Bodhi tree took the same name of 'Bodhi tree'. In the history of Buddhism, two Bodhi trees were planted. One was the Ananda Bodhi tree located in front of the gate way of Jetavana monastery near Sravasti. The other was in Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka).

Buddhists pay homage to these Bodhi trees with great respect. Many people misinterpret that Buddhists are 'tree worshippers'. The truth is, Buddhists intentionally pay homage to the Bodhi trees as the symbols of the Buddha.

Four Golden Treasure Pots
  1. Sankha golden treasure pot: size....... one fourth yojana
  2. Jala golden treasure pot: size............. half yojana
  3. Uppala golden treasure pot: size......... three fourth yojana
  4. Punnarika golden treasure pot: size.... one yojana
Neither Siddhattha Gotama used these treasures nor inherited to his son, Rahula. It was known that they disappeared when Siddhattha Gotama gained supreme enlightenment.

These co-natals (sahajata) were also the supporters of Siddhattha Gotama. They supported him in one or the other way. Hence, all of them had good endings.
Posted by Aye Sat

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