Buddha’s Enlightenment

‘The Buddha’s enlightenment is the most important single moment in Oriental mythology, a counterpart of the Crucifixion of the West.  The Buddha beneath the Tree of Enlightenment (the Bo Tree) and Christ on Holy Rood (the Tree of Redemption) are analogous figures, incorporating an archetypal World Saviour, World Tree motif, which is of immemorial antiquity. 

   Dante, it will be recalled at the opening of Inferno I, 28-68, tells of three beasts that in a savage wood confronted him, barring his way to Salvation: a lion, signifying Pride; a leopard, luxurious Desire; and a she-wolf, Violence and Fear.  Dante’s leopard is equivalent to Gafurius’s hopefully, Alexandrian dog, and the triad of obstructive sentiments names is exactly of those three temptations that were overcome by the Buddha in yoga at the foot of the Bodhi-tree: “desire” (kama), fear of “death” (mara), and attachment to temporal social ideals (dharma). 



Footnote - Cont’d … This doctrine of the incommunicability of the Truth which is beyond names and forms is basic to the great Oriental, as well as to the Platonic traditions.  Whereas the truths of science are communicable, being demonstrable hypotheses rationally founded on observable facts, ritual, mythology, and metaphysics are but guides to the brink of a transcendent illumination, the final step to which must be taken by each in his own silent experience.  Hence one of the Sanskrit terms for sage is muni, “the silent one.”  Sakyamuni means “the silent one”  Sakyamuni (one of the titles of Gautama Buddha) means “the silent one or sage (muni) of the Sakya clan.”  Though he is founder of a widely taught world religion, the ultimate core of his doctrine remains concealed, necessarily, in silence.