How the Buddha spent the 'Sath Sathiya'
You may have gone sightseeing yesterday and the day before, and the
sight of some of the Vesak lanterns and pandals may have held you
captivated. At least a few of these pandals may have featured the 'Sath
Sathiya', the seven weeks the Buddha spent immediately after attaining
So, what is this 'Sath Sathiya'? This week, we'll see how the Buddha
spent these seven weeks in the vicinity of the bodhi tree where He
First week: Under the bodhi tree - During the first week after
Enlightenment, the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree, experiencing the
happiness of freedom and peace. Throughout the week, He sat in one
posture, experiencing the Bliss of Emancipation (Vimukthi Suva).
Second week: Gazing at the bo tree - In 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 (Animisalochana
Pooja), thus teaching a great moral lesson to the world. Buddhists who
follow this example pay their respects not only to the original bo tree,
but also other bo trees.
Third week: Golden bridge - The Buddha saw through His mind's
eye that the gods were not sure whether He had attained Enlightenment,
as the Buddha had not given up His temporary residence at the bo tree.
To clear their doubts, He created, by His psychic powers, a golden
bridge in the air, and walked up and down it for a whole week.
Fourth week: In the jewelled chamber - The Buddha created a
beautiful jewelled chamber (ratanaghara) and sitting inside it,
meditated on what was later known as the 'Detailed Teaching' (Abhidhamma).
His mind and body were so purified that rays of six colours came out
of His body - blue, yellow, red, white, orange and a mixture of these
five. Each colour represented one noble quality of the Buddha: yellow
for holiness, white for purity, blue for confidence, red for wisdom and
orange for defeat of desire.
The mixed colour represented all these noble qualities. Today these
six colours make up the Buddhist flag.
Fifth week: With a Brahmana and three girls - While meditating
under the Ajapala banyan tree, the Buddha replied to a Brahmana, who
came to see Him, that one becomes a perfect Brahmana by one's deeds and
not by birth.
Three charming girls called Tanha, Rati and Raga (the daughters of
Mara) came to disturb His meditation. They danced around the Buddha and
tried to distract Him, but soon got tired and left Him alone.
Sixth week: Under the muchalinda tree - The Buddha started
meditating under a muchalinda tree. It began to rain heavily and the
huge Muchalinda Nagaraja (cobra king) 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.
Seventh week: Under the Rajayatana tree - The Buddha meditated
under the Rajayatana banyan tree. Two merchants, Tapassu and Bhalluka,
came into His presence and offered the Buddha rice cakes and honey.
The Buddha told them some of what He had found in His Enlightenment.
These two merchants, by taking refuge in the Buddha and His Dhamma,
became the first lay followers in the Buddhist world. There was no
Sangha (order of monks and nuns) then.
They asked the Buddha for something sacred and the Buddha wiped His
head with His right hand and pulled out some hair to give them. These
hair relics (Kesa Datu) were brought home and enshrined by the