The Story Concerning the "Words of Exultation of the Buddha"

These two verses are expressions of intense and sublime joy felt by the Buddha at the moment of attainment of Supreme Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana). These verses were repeated at the Jetavana monastery at the request of the Venerable Ananda.

Prince Siddhattha, of the family of Gotama, son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya of the kingdom of the Sakyans, renounced the world at the age of twenty-nine and became an ascetic in search of the Dhamma (Truth). For six years, he wandered about the valley of the Ganges, approaching famous religious leaders, studying their doctrines and methods. He lived austerely and submitted himself strictly to rigorous ascetic discipline; but he found all these traditional practices to be unsound. He was determined to find the Truth in his own way, and by avoiding the two extremes of excessive sensual indulgence and self-mortification*, he found the Middle Path which would lead to Perfect Peace, Nibbana. This Middle Path (Majjhimapatipada) is the Noble Path of Eight Constituents, viz., Right view, Right thought, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness and Right concentration.

Thus, one evening, seated under a Bo tree on the bank of the Neranjara river, Prince Siddhattha Gotama attained Supreme Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana) at the age of thirty-five. During the first watch of the night, the prince attained the power of recollection of past existences (Pubbenivasanussati-nana) and during the second watch he attained the divine power of sight (Dibbacakkhu nana). Then, during the third watch of the night he contemplated the Doctrine of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada) in the order of arising (anuloma) as well as in the order of cessation (patiloma). At the crack of dawn, Prince Siddhattha Gotama by his own intellect and insight fully and completely comprehended the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths are: The Noble Truth of Dukkha (Dukkha Ariya Sacca), the Noble Truth of the Cause of Dukkha (Dukkha Samudaya Ariya Sacca), the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha (Dukkha Nirodha Ariya Sacca), and The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha (Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipada Ariya Sacca). There also appeared in him, in all their purity. The knowledge of the nature of each Noble Truth (Sacca nana), knowledge of the performance required for each Noble Truth (Kicca nana), and the knowledge of the completion of the performance required for each Noble Truth (Kata nana); and thus, he attained the Sabbannuta nana (also called Bodhi nana) of a Buddha. From that time, he was known as Gotama the Buddha.

In this connection, it should be noted that only when the Four Noble Truths, under their three aspects (therefore, the twelve modes), had become perfectly clear to him that the Buddha acknowledged in the world of Men, the world of Devas and that of Brahmas that he had attained the Supreme Enlightenment and therefore had become a Buddha.

At the moment of the attainment of Buddhahood,
the Buddha uttered the following two verses:

Verse 153: I, who have been seeking the builder of this house (body), failing to attain Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana) which would enable me to find him, have wandered through innumerable births in samsara. To be born again and again is, indeed, dukkha!

Verse 154: Oh house-builder! You are seen, you shall build no house (for me) again. All your rafters are broken, your roof-tree is destroyed. My mind has reached the unconditioned (i.e., Nibbana); the end of craving (Arahatta Phala) has been attained.

* Kamasukhallikanuyoga and Attakiamathanuyoga.
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