A woman meditating near the bodhi tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment, Bodh Gaya, India.
A woman meditating near the bodhi tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment, Bodh Gaya, India.

The Grass Mat
Shakyamuni Buddha’s Diamond Throne

Now, very late that afternoon, just as the rays of the westering sun gilded the trees with a prodigal burst of glowing color, Gautama rose up like a lion bestirring himself and set out on the way back to his forest hermitage. And there, on the road which the wind had paved with fragrant flowers, the Bodhisattva met a grasscutter by the name of Svastika, And when Svastika saw the Great Being, he gave him eight handfuls of the sweet-scented grass he was carrying.

The Bodhisattva took the grass, intending to make with it a seat for sitting in deep meditation.

In Gautama’s forest grove hermitage near Gaya there was a spreading pipal tree; and on coming to it the Bodhisattva regarded it with an eye of supernormal intuition and perceived that the pipal was a “Bodhi tree”—a tree under which a Bodhisattva might sit to attain the transcendental Wisdom of Buddhahood.

He took his bundle of grass and shook it out under the tree to form a seat on the eastern side of the tree trunk. And he seated himself cross-legged upon the mat of grass which had assumed a shape so perfect that not even the most skillful painter or carver could have designed it. This was indeed the Diamond Throne of Enlightenment!

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