- The Life of the Buddha and His Greatness
- Narada Mahathera
I. The Birth
In the full-moon day of May [I] in the year 623
B. C.  there was born, in the Lumbini Park  at Kapilavatthu,
on the borders of Nepal, a noble Prince of aristocratic Saakya clan. His father was King
Suddhoodana, and his mother Queen Mahaa Maayaa.
Seven days after the birth of the child, the mother died, and Mahaa Pajaapati Gootami, her
younger sister, who was also married to King Suddh6dana, became his foster-mother.
Great were the rejoicings of the people over the birth of this illustrious prince. A
certain ascetic, named Asita, also known as Kaaladeevala, was particularly pleased to hear
this happy news and, being a tutor of the King, visited the palace to see the royal baby.
The overjoyed King brought the child, to pay him due reverence, but, to the surprise of
all, his feet turned and planted them-selves in the matted locks of the ascetic. Instantly
the ascetic rose from his seat and foreseeing the child's future greatness, saluted him
with joined hands. When he thus honored him, the royal father too saluted him in the same
The great ascetic at first smiled and then was sad. Questioned as to his mixed
feelings, he replied that he smiled because the Prince would, eventually become a Buddha;
and that he was sad because he, owing to his prior death and rebirth in a Formless
Plane - Aruupalooka, could not
benefit by the superior wisdom of the Enlightened One.
2. The Naming Ceremony
On the fifth day after the Prince's birth, he was named Siddhattha Gootama,
which means 'wish fulfilled'. His family name was Gootama.
In accordance with the ancient custom, many learned Brahmins were invited
to the palace for this naming ceremony. Amongst them were eight distinguished men.
Examining the characteristics of the child, seven of them raised two fingers and gave a
double interpretation, saying that he would either become a Universal Monarch or a Buddha.
But the youngest Konda~n~na, who excelled the others in knowledge, raised only one finger
and firmly declared that he would definitely retire from the world and become a Buddha.
3. The Ploughing Festival
A very remarkable incident took place in his childhood. It was an
unprecedented mental experience which, in later life, during his search after Truth,
served as a key to his Enlightenment.
As an encouragement to agriculture the King arranged for a Ploughing Festival. It was
indeed a festive occasion for all, as both nobles and commoners decked in gala dress
participated in the ceremony. On the appointed day the King, accompanied by his courtiers,
went to the field taking with him, the young Prince together with the nurses. Placing the
child on a screened and canopied couch under the cool shade of a rose-apple tree to be
watched by the nurses, the King took an active part in the Ploughing Festival. When the
festival was at its climax, the nurses stole away from the Prince's presence to catch a
glimpse of the wonderful spectacle. The thoughtful child, mature in intellect though young
in age, seeing none by him, sat cross-legged, and intently concentrating on inhalation and
exhalation, gained one-pointedness of the mind and developed the First Ecstasy - jhaana.
In the midst of their enjoyment the neglectful nurses suddenly remembered
their duty, and when they saw the Prince absorbed in meditation, were struck with awe and
immediately reported the matter to the King. He hastened to the scene and beholding the
Prince in meditative posture, saluted him saying: "This, dear child is my second
4. Prince Siddhattha's Youth
As a royal child Prince Siddhattha no doubt received a good education,
although the books give no details about his schooling. Being a scion of the warrior race,
he must have been specially trained in the art of warfare.
At the early age of sixteen, he married his beautiful cousin Princess Yasoodharaa, who was of equal years. After his happy marriage, he
led a luxurious life, blissfully unaware of the vicissitudes of life, outside the palace
gates. Of his luxurious life as a prince he states:
I was delicate, excessively delicate. In my father's dwelling three lotus ponds were
made purposely for me. Blue lotuses bloomed in one, red in another, and white in the
third. I used no sandalwood that was not of Kaasi.[I0] My
turban, tunic, dress and cloak were all from Kaasi. Night and day a white parasol was held
over me so that I might not be touched by heat or cold, dust, leaves or dew."
"There were three palaces built for me-one for the cold season, one for the hot
season, one for the rainy season. During the four rainy months, I lived in the palace for
the rainy season, entertained by female musicians, without coming down from the palace.
Just as in the houses of others, food from the husks of rice together with sour gruel is
given to the slaves and workmen, even so, in my father's dwelling, food with rice and meat
was given to the slaves and workmen."
With the march of time truth gradually dawned upon him. His contemplative
nature and boundless compassion did not permit him to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of a
royal household. He knew no woe, but he felt deep pity for sorrowing humanity. Amidst
comfort and prosperity, he realized the universality of sorrow.
One glorious day, as he went out of the palace to see the world outside, he came into
direct contact with the stark realities of life. Within the narrow confines of the
palaces, he saw only the rosy side of life; but the dark side, the common lot of mankind
was veiled from him. His observant eyes met the strange sight of a decrepit old man, a
diseased person, a corpse, and a dignified hermit. The first three sights convinced him of
the inexorable nature of life and the universal sickness of humanity. The fourth signified
the means to overcome the ills of life and attain calm and peace.
Realizing the worthlessness of sensual pleasures highly prized by ordinary men, and the
value of renunciation in which the wise seek delight, he decided to leave the world in
search of Truth and Peace.
When this final decision was made after much deliberation, the seemingly happy news of
the birth of a son was conveyed to him. Contrary to expectation he was not overjoyed but
regarded the first and only offspring as an impediment. Normally an ordinary father would
have welcomed the joyful tidings, but Prince Siddhattha, extra-ordinary father as he was,
exclaimed, "An impediment - Raahu, has been born; a fetter has arisen."
The infant son was, accordingly, named Raahula by his grandfather.
The palace was no longer a congenial place for the destined Buddha. The time was ripe
for him to depart. He ordered his favourite charioteer Channa to saddle the horse
Kanthaka, and went to the suite of apartments occupied by the Princess. Opening the door
of the chamber, he stood on the threshold and cast his dispassionate glance on the wife
and child who were fast asleep. His compassion for his two dear ones as well as for the
whole world dominated him at the moment of parting. He was not worried about the future
worldly comforts and happiness of the mother and child as they had everything in abundance
and were well protected.
Leaving all behind with a light heart, he stole away from the palace at midnight and
rode into the dark on his horse, attended only by his loyal charioteer. As a penniless
wanderer he went forth in search of Truth and Peace. It was in his twenty-ninth year, the
turning point of his career, that Prince Siddhattha made this historic journey.
He journeyed far, and crossing the river Anomaa rested on the bank. Here he shaved his
hair and beard and, handing over his garments and ornaments to Channa with instructions to
return to the palace, adopted the simple yellow garb of an ascetic and led a life of
The ascetic Siddhattha, who as a Prince had lived in the lap of luxury, became a
penniless and homeless wanderer living on what little the charitable gave of their own
accord. He had no permanent abode. A shady tree or a lonely cave sheltered him day and
night. Barefooted and bareheaded, he walked in the scorching sun and in the piercing cold.
His humble dress was made of cast-off, worthless, coarse rags. With no possession to call
his own except a bowl to collect his food and robes just sufficient to cover the body, he
concentrated all his time and energies upon discovering the Truth.
6. The Search
As a seeker after what is good (kim kusalagaveesi) searching for the
unsurpassed peaceful state most excellent, he approached Aalaara Kaalaama an ascetic of
repute, and speedily learnt his doctrine and developed the seventh Aruupa jhaana,
the Realm of Nothingness, (Aakinca~n~naayatana), an advanced stage of
The unenvious teacher, delighted to hear of the success of his distinguished pupil,
honoured him by placing him on a level with himself and admiringly said:
"Happy, friend, are we; yea, extremely happy, in that we look up to a respected
ascetic like you! The doctrine which I know, that also do you know; and the doctrine which
you know, that I know also. As I am, so are you; as you are, so am I. Come, friend, let
both of us lead the company of ascetics."
The ascetic Gootama was not satisfied with mere mental concentration and an ordinary
system, which did not lead to Nibbaana. Dissatisfied with Kaalaama's system, he left him,
and approached one Uddakaa Raamaputta, who readily admitted him as a pupil.
Before long the intelligent ascetic Gootama mastered his doctrine and attained the
final stage of mental concentration, The Realm of Neither Perception nor Non-perception
- Neeva sa~n~naa naasa~n~naayatana. This is the highest stage in worldly concentration
when consciousness becomes so subtle and refined that it cannot be said that a
consciousness either exists or not. Ancient sages could not proceed any further in mental
development. His teacher then honoured the ascetic Gootama further by inviting him to take
full charge of ail disciples as their teacher. He said:
"Happy, friend, are we; yea, extremely happy in that we see such a venerable
ascetic as you! The doctrine which Raama knew, you know; the doctrine which you know,
Raama knew. As was Raama, so are you; as you are, so was Raama. Come, friend, henceforth
you shall lead this company of ascetics."
Still he felt that his quest of life was not achieved. He was seeking Nibbaana, the
complete cessation of suffering. Dissatisfied with Raamaputta's system too, he departed.
He found that nobody was competent to teach him what he sought as - all were enmeshed in
ignorance. He gave up seeking external help, for Truth and Peace are to be found within.
7. His Struggle for Enlightenment
Meeting with disappointment but not discouraged, the ascetic Gootama,
seeking for the incomparable state of Peace Supreme, wandered in the district of Magadha
and arrived in due course at Uruvela, the market town of Seenaani. There he spied a lovely
spot of ground, a charming forest grove, a flowing river with pleasant sandy fords, and
near by was a village where he could beg for his food. The place was congenial for his
meditation. The atmosphere was peaceful, the surroundings were pleasant, the scenery
charming. He resolved to settle down there alone to achieve his desired object.
Hearing of his renunciation Konda~n~na, the youngest Brahmin who predicted his future,
and four sons of the other sages - Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahaanaama, and Assaji- also
renounced the world, and joined his company.
In ancient India great importance was attached to rites, ceremonies, penances, and
sacrifices. It was then a popular belief that no salvation could be gained unless one led
a life of strict asceticism. Accordingly for six long years he made a superhuman struggle
practising all forms of severe austerity, with the result that his delicate body was
reduced almost to a skeleton. The more he tormented his body, the farther his goal receded
8. Temptation of Maara the Evil One
His prolonged painful austerities proved utterly futile. They only resulted
in the exhaustion of his energy. Though physically a superman, on account of his delicate
nurture as a prince, he could not possibly stand the great strain. His graceful form faded
almost beyond recognition. His golden coloured skin turned pale, blood dried up, sinews
and muscles shrivelled, his eyes were sunk and blurred.
At this critical stage, Maara  approached
the ascetic Gootama and said:
You are lean and deformed. Near to you is death. A thousand parts (of you belong) to
death; to life (there remains) but one. Live, 0 good sir; life is better. Living you could
perform merit. By leading a life of celibacy and making fire sacrifices, much merit could
be acquired. What will you do with this striving? Hard is the path of striving, difficult
and not easily accomplished.
0 Evil One, kinsman of the heedless! You have come here for your own sake. Even an iota
of merit is of no avail. To them who are in need of merit it behoves you, Maara, to speak
thus. Confidence - Saddhaa, self-control - Tapo, energy Viriya, and wisdom - Pa~n~na are
mine. Why do you question me, who am thus intent, about life?
Even the streams of rivers will this wind dry up. Why should not the blood of one who
is thus striving dry up? When the blood dries up, the bile and phlegm also dry up. When my
flesh wastes away, more and more does my mind get clarified. Still more do my mindfulness,
wisdom, and concentration become firm.
While I live thus, experiencing the utmost pain, my mind does not long for lust. Behold
the purity of a being!
Sense-desires - Kaama, are your first enemy,
The second is called Aversion - Aarati,
The third is Hunger and Thirst - Khuppipaasa,
The fourth is called Craving - Ta"nhaa,
The fifth is Sloth and Torpor - Thina-Middha,
The sixth is called Fear - Bhaya,
The seventh is Doubt - Vicikicchaa, and
The eighth is Detraction and Obstinacy - Makkha-Thambha,
The ninth is Profit - Laabha, Praise - Silooka, Honour- Sakaaira, and that
ill-gotten Fame-Yasa. The tenth is the extolling of oneself and the contempt of
This is your army, the opposing host of the Evil One. That army the coward does not
overcome, but he who overcomes obtains happiness.
This Munja  do I display! What boots life
in this world! Better for me is death in the battle than that one should live on,
With these words the ascetic Gootama dismissed Mara and made a firm' determination to
attain his goal, Buddhahood.
9. The Middle Path
The ascetic Gootama was now fully convinced, through personal experience, of
the utter futility of self-mortification. Abandoning it forever, he adopted an independent
course - the Majjhimaa Patipadaa - the Middle Path.
He recalled how when his father was engaged in ploughing, he sat in the cool shade
of the rose-apple tree, having attained to the first Ecstasy. He thought - well, this is
the Path to Enlightenment!
He realized that Enlightenment could not be gained with an exhausted body. So he
decided to take some food. The five ascetics who attended on him, disappointed at this
unexpected change of method, deserted him and went to Isipatana, saying that the ascetic
Gootama had become indulgent, had ceased from striving, and had returned to a life of
comfort." At a crucial time when help would have been most welcome, his only
companions left him, but he was not discouraged.
After a substantial meal offered by Sujaataa, a generous lady, he made a firm resolve
not to rise from his seat until he attained Buddhahood.
10. The Enlightenment
One happy Vesak night, as he was seated under the famous Pippala tree at Buddha Gayaa, with mind tranquilized and
purified, in the first watch he developed that supernormal knowledge which enabled him to
remember his past lives Pubbenivaasaanussati ~Naana - Reminiscence of Past Births. In
the middle watch he developed the clairvoyant supernormal vision dealing with the death
and rebirth of beings Cutuupapaata ~Naana, Perception of the Disappearing and
Reappearing of Beings. In the fast watch of the night he developed the supernormal
knowledge with regard to the destruction of passions - Aasavakkhaya ~Naana, and
comprehending things as they truly are, attained Perfect Enlightenment  - Sammaa Samboodhi.
Having in his 35th year attained Buddhahood, that supreme state of Perfection, He
devoted the remainder of that precious life to serve humanity both by example and precept,
dominated by no personal motive.
The Buddha was a human being. As a man He was born, as a man He lived, and as a man His
life came to an end. Though human, He became an extraordinary man - Acchariya Manussa. The
Buddha laid stress on this fact and left no room for anyone to fall into the error of
thinking that He was an immortal being. There is no deification in the case of the Buddha.
Nor does the Buddha claim to be an incarnation of Vishnu, nor does He call himself a
"Saviour" who freely saves others by His personal salvation. The Buddha exhorts
His disciples to depend on themselves for their salvation, for both defilement and purity
depend on oneself. "You yourselves should make the exertion. The Tathaagatas are only
teachers," says the Buddha.
The Buddhas point out the path, and it is left for us to follow that path to save
ourselves: "To depend on others for salvation is negative, but to depend on oneself
is positive." Dependence on others means a surrender of one's effort. Furthermore,
the Buddha does not claim a monopoly of Buddhahood, which as matter of fact is not the
prerogative of any specially graced, chosen person. He reached the highest possible state
of perfection any person could aspire to; and without the closed fist of a teacher, He
revealed the only straight path that leads thereto. According to the teachings of the
Buddha anybody may aspire to that supreme state of perfection if he makes the necessary
aspiring determination and necessary exertion.
As a man He attained Buddhahood and proclaimed to the world the latent possibilities
and the creative power of man. Instead of placing an unseen almighty God over man, and
making him subservient to such a belief, He raised the worth of mankind. it was He who
taught that man could obtain his Deliverance from sorrow by his own exertion, without
depending on a God and mediating priests, or on sacrifices and prayers. It was He who
taught the egocentric world the noble ideal of selfless service. It was He who revolted
against the degrading caste system and taught the equality of mankind. He declared that
the gates of success and prosperity were open to all, in every condition of life, high and
low, saint and sinner, who would care to turn over a new leaf and aspire to Perfection.
Irrespective of caste, colour or rank, he established for both deserving men and women
a celibate order which was "democratic in constitution and communistic in
distribution." He gave complete freedom of thought and wanted us to open our eyes to
see things as they truly are. He comforted the bereaved by His consoling words. He
ministered to the sick that were deserted. He helped the poor who were neglected. He
ennobled the lives of sinners and purified the corrupted lives of criminals. He encouraged
the feeble, united the divided, enlightened the ignorant, clarified the mystic, guided the
deluded, elevated the base, and dignified the noble. Rich and poor, saint and sinner,
loved Him alike. Despotic and righteous kings, glorious and obscure princes and nobles,
generous and miserly millionaires, haughty and humble scholars, destitute paupers,
downtrodden scavengers, wicked murderers, despised courtesans - all benefited by His words
of wisdom and compassion.
His noble example was a source of inspiration to all. His Message of Peace was hailed
by all with indescribable joy, and was of ' eternal benefit to everyone who had the
fortune to come under its benign influence.
11. The Buddha's Greatness
The Buddha was a unique Being. He was the profoundest of thinkers, the most
of speakers, the most energetic of worker, the most successful of reformers, the
most compassionate and tolerant of teachers, the most efficient of administrators, and
above all - the Holiest of Holies.
During the early period of His renunciation He sought the advice of distinguished
religious teachers, but He could not obtain what He sought from outside sources.
Circumstances compelled Him to think for Himself and seek within. He sought, He thought,
He reflected; ultimately He found His goal of life. Having discovered the Truth, He opened
the gates of Immortality to all who wish to hear Him and seek their Deliverance from this
ever-recurring cycle of births and deaths, and not because He was an infant prodigy in the
ordinary accepted sense.
As He knew everything that ought to be known and as He obtained the key to all
knowledge. He is called Sabba~n~nu-Omniscient. This knowledge He acquired by His
own efforts as the result of a countless series of births.What He taught was merely an
infinitesimal of what He knew. He taught only what was necessary for our Deliverance. On
one occasion while the Buddha was residing in a forest He took a handful of leaves and
0 Bhikkhus, what I have taught you is comparable to the leaves in my hand, what I have
not taught you is comparable to the number of leaves in the forest.
Daily He preached His Doctrine to both the Sangha (ordained disciples) and the laity.
In the forenoon He goes in search of individuals who need His advice. Immediately after
His noon meal He exhorts and instructs His ordained disciples. In the evening for about an
hour He preaches to the layfolk who flock to hear Him. During the first watch of the night
He again preaches to His ordained disciples. Throughout the middle watch He receives the
Devas and other invisible beings and explains the doctrine to them. Practising what He
preached, He worked incessantly for forty-five long years for the good and happiness of
all to His last moment.
11.a. The Buddha and the Caste System
Very wisely and very effectively He laboured to eradicate the social evils
that prevailed in His day. He vehemently protested against the caste system that blocked
the progress of mankind. In His opinion,
Birth makes no Brahman,
nor non-Brahman makes;
Tis life doing that mould the Brahman true.
Their lives mould farmers, tradesmen, merchants, serfs;
Their lives mould robbers, soldiers, chaplains, kings.
By birth is not one an outcast,
By birth is not one a Brahman.
By deeds is one an outcast,
By deeds is one a Brahman.
According to the Buddha, caste or colour does not preclude one from becoming a Buddhist
or entering the Order. Fishermen, scavengers, courtesans, together with warriors and
Brahmins were freely admitted into the Order and enjoyed equal privileges and were equally
given positions of rank.
Upali, the barber, for instance, was made, in preference to all others, the chief in
matters pertaining to the Vinaya. The timid Suniita, the scavenger, was admitted by the
Buddha Himself into the Order. The courtesan Ambapaali entered the Order and attained
Arahantship. Saati, the monk who maintained a deadly heresy, was the son of a fisherman.
Subhaa was the daughter of a smith, Punnaa was a slave girl. Caapaa was the daughter of a
deer-stalker. Such instances could be multiplied to show that the portals of Buddhism were
wide open to all without any distinction. It was also the Buddha who attempted to abolish
slavery for the first time in the known history of the world.
11.b. The Buddha and Women
The Buddha raised the status of women and brought them to a realization of
their importance to society. He did not humiliate women, but only regarded them as weak by
nature. He saw the innate good of both men and women and assigned to them their due place
in His Teaching. Sex is no obstacle to attaining Sainthood.
Sometimes the Pali term used to denote women is "Maatugaama," which
means 'mother-folk', or 'society of mothers'. As a mother, woman holds an honourable place
in Buddhism. The wife is regarded as 'the best friend' (paramasakhaa) of the
Although at first the Buddha refused to admit women into the Order, yet later He was
persuaded by the entreaties of the Venerable Ananda and founded the Order of Bhikhhunis
Just as the Arahants Saariputta and Moggallaana were made the two chief disciples in
the Order of Monks, even so the Arahants Kheemaa and Uppalavannaa were made the two chief
female disciples in the Order of Nuns. Many other female disciples too were named by the
as amongst His most distinguished and devout followers.
Women were placed under unfavourable circumstances before the advent of the Buddha, and
this new Order was certainly a great Blessing. In this Order queens, princesses, daughters
of noble families, widows, bereaved mothers, helpless women, courtesans - all despite
their caste or rank - met on a common platform, enjoyed perfect consolation and peace, and
breathed that free atmosphere which is denied to those confined in cottages and palatial
mansions. Many who otherwise would have fallen into oblivion distinguished themselves in
various ways and gained their emancipation by seeking refuge in the Order.
11.c. His Tolerance towards Dumb Animals
The tolerance of the Buddha was extended not only to men and women but to
dumb animals as well. For it was the Buddha who banned the sacrifice of poor beasts and
admonished His followers to extend their Loving-Kindness (Maitri) to all living beings. No
man has the right or power to destroy the life of another living animal even for the sake
of one's stomach as life is precious to all.
11.d. His Greatness
The efficient way in which He maintained the discipline of His numerous
followers, especially His Orders of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, testifies to His unsurpassed
administrative ability. He anticipated even the present Parliamentary system. Lord Zetland
writes: "and it may come as a surprise to many to learn that in assemblies of
Buddhists in India, two thousand years and more ago, are to be found the rudiments of our
own Parliamentary practice of the present day!"
The most notable characteristic of the Buddha was His absolute purity and perfect
holiness. He was so pure and so holy that He should be called "The Holiest of
Holies." He was the perfect model of all the virtues He preached. His life had not a
stain upon it." On no occasion did the Buddha manifest any moral weakness. Everybody
that came in contact with Him acknowledged His indisputable greatness and was deeply
influenced by His magnetic personality.
His will, wisdom, compassion, service, renunciation, perfect purity, exemplary personal
life, the blameless methods that were, employed to propagate the Dhamma, and His final
success all these factors have contributed to hail the Buddha as the greatest religious
Teacher that ever lived on earth.
Hindus honour Him as an incarnation of Vishnu. Christians have canonized Him as Saint
Joshaphat (a corruption of Pali term Boodhisatta ). Muslims regard Him as a spiritual
teacher. Rationalists treat Him as a great free-thinker. H.G. Wells, the distinguished
thinker, assigned to Him the first place amongst the seven great men in the world. The
poet Tagore calls Him the Greatest Man ever born. Fausboll, a Russian admirer, says:
"The more I know Him, the more I love Him." A humble follower would say:
"The more I know Him, the more I love Him; the more I love Him, the more I know
 Corresponding to Pali Vesaakhaa, Sanskrit Vaisaakha and
 Unlike the Christian Era, the Buddhist Era is
reckoned from the death of the Buddha which occurred in 543 B.C.
 A pillar erected by King Dharmaasooka stands to this
day to commemorate the sacred spot.
 The site of Kapilavatthu has been identified with
Bhuila (Bhulya) in the Basti district, three miles from the Bengal and N.W. Railway
station of Babuan.
 See the genealogical table on pp. 7-8 of the book.
 Aruupaloka are immaterial planes where those
who have developed the Aruupa jhaana (absortions or ecstasies) are born.
 Gootama is the family name, and Saakya is the name of
the clan to which the Buddha belonged. Tradition hold that the sons of Okkaaka of plotting
of their stepmother. These princes in the course of their wanderings arrived at the
foothills of the Himalayas. Here they met the sage Kapila, on whose advice they founded
the city of Kapilavatthu, which they named after him. Hearing of the enterprise of the
princes, King Okkaaka exclaimed: "Saakya vata bho raajakumaara, capable indeed
are the noble princes." The Saakya kingdom was situated in South Nepal and extended
over much of modern Oudh.
 A developed state of consciousness gained by
 Also known as Bhaddakaccaana, Bimbaa, Raahulamaataa.
 Kaasi, one of the sixteen Kingdoms of ancient India,
its capital being Benares. It was famous for its silks and perfumes.
 Maara. According to Buddhism there are five kinds of
Maara: (I) the five aggregates (khandha), (ii) moral and immoral activites (abhisamkhaara),
(iii) death (maccu), (iv) passion (kilesa), (v) maara the deity (devaputta).
 Warriors wear a Munja grass crest o their heads or
swords or on their banners to indicated that they will not retreat from the battlefield.
 As the Buddha attained enlightenment under the shade
of this tree, it was named the Bodhi tree. Its descendants are still known by the same
 Buddha is derived from the root "budh," to
understand. He is called the Buddha because He understood the four Noble truths, Usually
his disciples address their Master as Buddha, Bhagavaa, etc. When the Buddha refers
to himself he says, "Tathaagata, Thus who has come."
[Originally published in Narada's A Manual of Buddhism (Malaysia:
Buddhist Missionary Society, 1992), pp. 11-27, 81-85]
Sincere thanks to Phramaha Somnuek Saksree
for retyping this article.