Buddha¡¯s Enlightenment Day
Siddhartha overcame all the undesirable feelings, instinct, desires and impulses through six years of serious practice. Then he stopped ascetic practices. After taking a bath he accepted a bowl of milk and rice offered by milkmaid Sujata.
The face of the Bodhisattva became brightly radiant because of the practice. Mara, the lord of the world of passion let his daughters hinder Siddhartha from attaining enlightenment.
When Mara¡¯s daughters failed in dong so Mara deployed all of his demonic hordes such as wild beasts, evil spirit and hungry devils to impede Siddhartha¡¯s final effort.
Finally Mara attempted a desperate attack on the prince by mobilizing eight billions of his devil forces but ht result was in vain. All the attacking weapons used by devil forces, fell down or changed to lotus flowers without harming the Siddhartha.
After having defeated Mara, when a morning star rose, Siddhartha attained the great enlightenment of Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi and became a Buddha.
After attaining enlightenment the Buddha accepted an offering of honey soup from two merchants, Tapusa and Balica under Lassa Yata tree. The four heavenly kings in the right were holding bowls.
For a while the Buddha hesitated to preach the truth that he had just realized because he thought that most people who had a low level of wisdom, could not understand it. However he decided to begin with the Dharmma of three vehicles instead of the fundamental Dharmma.
Being asked by some heavenly gods the Buddha gave his first discourse to five people including Kondanna, who had once accompanied him during his six years of ascetic practice. This was his famous first wheeling of the truth held in the Deer Park.
Story of the Buddha¡¯s Enlightenment Day for Children
One day, while meditating alone, Gautama fainted and fell down because of exhaustion. A girl named Sujata fed him some delicious rice porridge.
Soon he regained consciousness and began to feel better. He realized that without the girl¡¯s help he would have died before attaining enlightenment. From the on, Gautama began eating normally. Soon his health was completely restored.
It was clear to him now that asceticism was not the way to enlightenment. Having sat down under a bodhi tree, Gautama made a vow to himself: ¡°Even if my blood dries up and my muscles shrink leaving only skin and bones, I¡¯ll not leave this seat until I finally and absolutely achieve the goal of finding, for myself and all beings, a way of deliverance from suffering of the turning round of life and death.¡±
While Siddhartha sat under the large bodhi tree, the Mara-Papimant, a demon, tried every thing he could to distract him. He even sent his three beautiful daughters, enticing Gautama to linger on the pleasures of the past, and arousing his desire to return to the royal palace and enjoy the sensual life of former days.
¡°How could you resist! Then I¡¯ll surprise you again with thunder and lightning! The angry Mara-Papimant attacked, to disturb Gautama¡¯s mind with thunder and lighting. But because of his resolute vow, Gautama resisted these temptations with forceful Mental effort.
Finally he succeeded in completely dispersing all the illusory thoughts that were disturbing him. His mind became calm and tranquil like a pond of still water.
After Gautama had resisted the demon¡¯s temptation, his mind cleared up like a calm lake.
At last, seven days after he started meditating, Gautama looked at a rising star, and feeling joy from escaping from all the suffering that he hadn¡¯t been able to put behind him, he attained Enlightenment.
Gautama was 35 years old, and the date was Dec. 8.
After that, people called him ¡°Sakyamuni¡¯, which means ¡®The Great Saint of the the Sakya Clan.¡±
-from Biography of the Buddha for Children-
Overnight Intensive Meditation Retreat (Winter)
The Buddha¡¯s Enlightenment Day Schedule