And, if so, where is that recorded? Because in the Ariyāpariyesanā Sutta, for example, I don’t see anything about vowing not to move until the goal is reached, but that seems to be general tone I recall about the incident. Is that perhaps simply tradition?
This may help …
‘Willingly, let only my skin, sinews, and bones remain, and let the flesh and blood dry up in my body, but I will not relax my energy so long as I have not attained what can be attained by manly strength, by manly energy, by manly exertion. ’ SN12.22 (Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation)
In a note, Bhikkhu Bodhi informs the reader that :
at Jatika I 71,24–27 the Bodhisatta makes the same resolve when he takes his seat at the foot of the Bodhi Tree.
The “skin, sinews and bones” passage quoted above appears also as the third of the Kīṭāgirisutta’s four declarations concerning “a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation”:
“Bhikkhus, for a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, it is natural that he conduct himself thus: ‘The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple; the Blessed One knows, I do not know.’
“For a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, the Teacher’s Dispensation is nourishing and refreshing.
“For a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, it is natural that he conduct himself thus: ‘Willingly, let only my skin, sinews, and bones remain, and let the flesh and blood dry up on my body, but my energy shall not be relaxed so long as I have not attained what can be attained by manly strength, manly energy, and manly persistence.’
“For a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, one of two fruits may be expected: either final knowledge here and now or, if there is a trace of clinging left, non-return.”
Thank you for those responses. However, I am looking specifically for references to the Bodhisatta’s resolving not to move from that spot, to sit unmoving until awakening. (Or until death.)
I ask because I’ve heard this several times; but, as with so much we accrue over years of “hearing,” it’s hard to distinguish what is canonical and what is tradition. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn’t. For me, right now, it does.
Jains combine awakening through meditation and dying when they vow to fast unto death (samādhi maraṇa). And they make a similar vow: they vow not to move until that is accomplished. I’m exploring where these two schools of practice overlap and where they diverge. In any case, I’m looking to confirm whether or not idea that the bodhisatta resolved not to move from his seat is canonically supported.
Is it possible that it’s MN 32?
“You’ve all spoken well in your own way. However, listen to me also as to what kind of mendicant would beautify this sal forest park at Gosiṅga. It’s a mendicant who, after the meal, returns from almsround, sits down cross-legged, sets their body straight, and establishes mindfulness in front of them, thinking: ‘I will not break this sitting posture until my mind is freed from the defilements by not grasping!’ That’s the kind of mendicant who would beautify this park.”
Anyway, it’s not a vow, just a normal statement.
I think the earliest explicit descriptions of such a resolution are from commentarial Buddha biographies like the Pali Nidānakathā:
The Bodhisatta turning his back upon the trunk of the Bo-tree, and with his face towards the East, made the firm resolve, “My skin, indeed, and nerves, and bones, may become arid, and the very blood in my body may dry up; but till I attain to complete insight, this seat I will not leave!” And he sat himself down in a cross-legged position, firm and immovable, as if welded with a hundred thunderbolts.
and the Sanskrit Buddhacarita.
However, it does find implicit canonical support in the MN32 passage quoted above by @hdvd2309. That is, we know that each of the arahant bhikkhus in this sutta is describing how he himself practised, so it would be no great stretch to infer that the Buddha is doing likewise.