A banyan tree which is famous in Buddhist literature. It was in
Uruvelā, on the banks of the
Nerañjara, near the Bodhi tree, and a week
after the Enlightenment the Buddha went there and spent a week cross-legged at
the foot of the tree. There he met the Huhunkajātika
Brahmin (Vin.i.2-3). Two weeks later he went there again from the
Rajāyatana (Vin.i.4). It was then that the
Brahma Sahampati appeared to him and persuaded
him to preach the doctrine, in spite of the difficulty of the task (Vin.i.5-7;
in the eighth week after the Enlightenment, says Buddhaghosa, SA.i.152). This
was immediately after the meal offered by Tapassu
and Bhalluka, so says the Majjhima Atthakathā
(i.385; J. i.81). When the Buddha wishes to have someone as his teacher,
Sahampati appears again and suggests to him that the Dhamma be considered his
teacher (A.ii.20f.; S. i.138f).
By Ajapāla-nigrodha it was, too, that, immediately after the Enlightenment,
Mara tried to persuade the Buddha to die at once
(D.ii.112). Several other conversations held here with Mara are recorded in the
Here, also, the Buddha spent some time before the Enlightenment (D.ii.267),
and it was here that Sujata offered him a meal
of milk-rice (J.i.16, 69).
Here, in the fifth week after the Enlightenment, Mara's daughters tried to
tempt the Buddha (J.i.78, 469).'
Several etymologies are suggested for the name:
- (a) in its shadow goatherds (ajapālā) rest;
- (b) old brahmins, incapable of reciting the Vedas, live here in dwellings
protected by walls and ramparts (this derivation being as follows: na japantī
ti =ajapā, mantānam anajjhāyakā=ajapā, Ālenti arīyanti nivāsam etthāti=Ajapālo
- (c) it shelters the goats that seek its shade at midday (UdA.51).
The northern Buddhists say that the tree was planted by a shepherd boy,
during the Bodhisatta's six years' penance, to shelter him (Beal., Romantic
Legend of Buddha,192, 238; Mtu.iii.302).
The Brahmā Sutta (S.v.167) and the
Magga Sutta (S.v.185), both on the four
satipatthāna, and another Brahmā Sutta (S.v.232f) on the five indriyāni, were
concerning thoughts that occurred to the Buddha on various occasions at the foot
of this tree, when he sat there soon after the Enlightenment. On all these
occasions Brahma Sahampati appeared to him and confirmed his thoughts. Several
old brahmins, advanced in years, visited the Buddha during this period and
questioned him as to whether it were true that he did not pay respect to age. To
them he preached the four Thera-karanā dhamma. A.ii.22.