This is probably by far the most interesting theory that I have heard (Yes a theory or you may call it a story. I just don't have a reference to back this up!) about the life of Gautama Buddha.

The "Animisa Locana Pooja" was a act of gratitude. This is what I know and have been taught. Lord Buddha stared (wish I had a better word for this) without blinking at the Bo tree that gave him shelter during his enlightenment. But is it really the reason why he kept looking at this tree? For one whole week? I met this really interesting guy when I went on a pilgrimage that asked me these questions. And all I had to say was "Yeah he was being an example to us all by showing how to show gratitude".

Then the man asked "Son, Buddha is possibly the most perfect being we know, at least from a Buddhist's perspective. Couldn't he have been a better example by showing gratitude to his father perhaps right after enlightenment? Even as normal people whenever we achieve something the first person that we tell to are our parents. If you win the Nobel prize for literature would you rather show gratitude to your parents/teachers or your pen?"

I would be lying if I said I wasn't annoyed at this point. "Do you mean that as an insult?" I asked. He burst into laughter and said "Yes, but not an insult to Buddha but to the person who came up with the gratitude story. Son, he never showed gratitude to the tree. When Buddha attained enlightenment, at first, he felt that he had been liberated from all of the sorrows. But there was still doubt within himself as to whether he was actually a Buddha or just an Arahath. So he sat facing the tree. Using all his past lives experience and knowledge he looked at the tree and imagined that it was another Buddha and started a mental conversation with this imaginary Buddha to convince himself that he himself was a Buddha".

Honestly I was astonished! Was this man lying to me? To be honest I sort of do believe he is correct but I just could not ask him where or how he found this piece of information. What do you think? Is it what it is?

1 Answer 1


"Animisa Locana Pooja" was indeed an act of gratitude to set an example to the world. It was also done to sanctify the tree as it would become the symbol of the Buddhahood.

The story your friend has told seems to be his own imagination. King Suddhodana was doing all he could to keep prince Siddhartha in lay life. So showing gratitude to him for aiding in the quest of attaining Buddhahood is out of the question. In any case, the Buddha later visited his father and saved him as well.

But there was still doubt within himself as to whether he was actually a Buddha Blockquote

The Buddha is omniscient. He has no doubts and needs no 1 week long mental conversation with a tree to know something :)

  • Do you know a reference to "Animisa Locana Pooja" in Tripitaka? Feb 11, 2016 at 17:58
  • I would look in the commentaries. Not the Tipitaka. Feb 11, 2016 at 18:00
  • But my issue is whether attaining enlightenment happened suddenly in one day or even a moment. If enlightenment occurs in stages there can be a possibility of Buddha having certain doubts. King Suddhodana did keep the prince in the shadow but to chose a tree over a parent to show gratitude sets a wrong example when it comes to precedence right? If I show gratitude to my table/desk/book when I pass an exam rather that to the parents who said I am studying too much and go do a job, people would think I am nuts perhaps. I mean no insult in anyway and I thank you for you intellectual feedback. Feb 11, 2016 at 18:04
  • Ah but your table, books, pens are provided to you by your parents. This is different. King Suddhodana was actively trying to prevent price Siddhartha from reaching the goal. Enlightenment happens in stages, but it can happen very quickly too. Read the story of the Bahiya thero In any case, a Buddha is a Buddha. Once you become a Buddha, there's nothing more to attain and certainly no doubts Feb 11, 2016 at 18:13
  • It won't look any better if I bought them myself eh? Has Buddha himself explained why he did the Animisa Locana? Feb 11, 2016 at 18:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .