Jumbu (rose-apple) tree reflection

Hi all

I wonder if anyone knows where in the Pali Canon is the reflection of the Buddha on his experience as a youth under the Jumbu (rose-apple) Tree, while his father conducted the ploughing festival?

It is interesting to me, as I remember his reflection as: he recalled his experience of Jhāna and realised ‘this is the Middle Way’, not just one (the eighth) step in the path, as commonly understood.

thanks so much for your time

best wishes

The sutta is the MN36. The relevant passage is:

Siyā nu kho añño maggo bodhāyā’ti?
Tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, etadahosi:
‘abhijānāmi kho panāhaṃ pitu sakkassa kammante sītāya jambucchāyāya nisinno vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharitā.
Siyā nu kho eso maggo bodhāyā’ti?
Tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, satānusāri viññāṇaṃ ahosi:
‘eseva maggo bodhāyā’ti.
Tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, etadahosi:
‘kiṃ nu kho ahaṃ tassa sukhassa bhāyāmi, yaṃ taṃ sukhaṃ aññatreva kāmehi aññatra akusalehi dhammehī’ti?
Tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, etadahosi:
‘na kho ahaṃ tassa sukhassa bhāyāmi, yaṃ taṃ sukhaṃ aññatreva kāmehi aññatra akusalehi dhammehī’ti.

Could there be another path to enlightenment?’
“I considered:
‘I recall that when my father the Sakyan was occupied, while I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.
Could that be the path to enlightenment?’
Then, following on that memory, came the realisation:
‘That is indeed the path to enlightenment.’
“I thought: ‘Why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states?’
I thought: ‘I am not afraid of that pleasure since it has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states.’


P.S. I took the liberty of adding “(rose-apple)” to the topic’s title so people can come to this conversation by searching for either jambu tree or the equivalent rose-apple tree. If you disagree please feel free to revert it.


It seems to me that he is seeking elements of the path to enlightenment. He only knew the full path once he fulfilled it (he tried the ascetic practices and knew that didn’t work- it looks like he abandoned the immaterial jhana prior to the ascetic practices).

with metta

great, thanks so much, for the quote and modifying the title.

I notice he did not later change the reflection he had with some comment like: ‘since my enlightenment I realised that this was only part of the path’, which is what I’d expect if that were the case and he was the unexcelled teacher.

The passage: ‘That is indeed the path to enlightenment’ could be read as ‘the first jhana is…’ but the sentences that follow, clarify it for me. That is, pleasure that ‘has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states’ is the path and that could be presented as the Four Jhana, or probably in various other ways. Up to 50 different ways of presenting the path have been identified in the Pali texts.

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What he was missing was the dhamma itself. Many ascetics were able to attain jhana but were not even stream enterers.

The moment when he attained enlightenment was when he contemplated how this world works and discovered what we now call patticasamupada, the doctrine of the 5 aggregates, the non existence of a self, etc. In other words he understood how this world works by contemplating, by using his brain. It is explained in SN 12.65

But such levels of contemplation required in order to discover the dhamma by himself require very low hidranes. Without previously having jhana, his hidrances would not have been so low as to permit such levels of wisdom. If a person has big hidrances his thinking will be influenced by that and will not be of high quality. Jhana is not required to understand the dhamma and become a stream enterer by yourself, it is only required for non-returning and higher. We see in the suttas that ordinary people and even a serial killer always attained only stream entry after being explained the dhamma. But ascetics usually achieved non returning or arahantship on the spot. Out of numerous cases, probably 50-100 where people got exposed to the dhamma in the suttas and achieved something, there is no lay person that ever achieved higher than stream entry after just hearing the dhamma. Not a single case.

But to discover the dhamma by yourself I believe jhana it is required in order to cut the hidrances enough to allow the levels of wisdom required for such a discovery. Probably that is why those who do discover it by themselves but do not teach it are called “silent buddhas”. In my opinion, if one does discover the dhamma by himself he will achieve arahanthip on the spot just like the current Buddha.

The way reduction of hindrances allows for bigger levels of wisdom is not done through some mystical way. It is done in a normal and simple to understand way. I can explain it with normal life examples of how hindrances influence our clarity of thinking and levels of wisdom if someone is interested.

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