Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
After the Buddha reached enlightenment in Deer Park he fasted for seven weeks. The stories tend to vary a bit so it is very possible that you have read a slightly different version that may contain more or even, less information.
The first week of his fast he meditated on his enlightenment. The second week he meditated on the tree that had provided shade for him while he struggled to attain enlightenment.
The third week he noted that the Devas were not satisfied that he had attained enlightenment so he created a golden bridge and throughout the entire week, walked up and down.
The fourth week he created a beautifully decorated jeweled chamber in which he meditated on the detailed or higher teaching (Abhidhamma). His mind was so pure that his body emanated five colors. Each of these colors is said to represent a different quality of enlightenment. Blue is Confidence, Yellow is Holiness, Red is Wisdom, White is Purity, Orange is lack of Desire. A mixture of these colors symbolizes all qualities of enlightenment.
The fifth week three beautiful girls, Tanha, Rati and Raga (sometimes said to be daughters of Mara) came and tried to disturb his meditation by using their charm. When that didn’t work they tried seducing him by dancing but nothing would make the Buddha lose concentration. After a week they gave up and left him to his meditation.
The sixth week the Buddha meditated under a mucalinda tree. Heavy rains started to fall but before Buddha could get wet a giant king cobra wrapped his body around the Buddha seven times and shaded Buddha with his giant hood. The rains continued for seven days while the cobra sheltered him.
The seventh week the Buddha meditated under a Raajaayatana tree. After 50 days of fasting meditation two merchants offered the Buddha rice cakes and honey. The Buddha accepted and gave the two merchants a teaching in return. The merchants took refuge before returning home. Tapussa and Bhallika became the first lay followers of the Buddha.