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Sujata

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Before Siddhattha Gotama began the final meditation at the foot of the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya a young woman named Sujàtà offered him a bowl of milk rice (Khuddaka Nikaya, Buddhavamsa 2.63).

This meal is said to have given him the strength he needed to continue his quest and finally attain enlightenment. Depictions of this incident are commonly found in temple wall paintings throughout Asia.

Just before the meal, the Buddha was near death as this was before he realized and practiced the middle way. Later after enlightenment, a heavy storm came and a large cobra snake protected the Buddha. It is interesting to note that in the Judeo-Christian Bible the Fall of man is blamed on a woman and a snake, but in Buddhism the world is saved (by helping the Buddha from death) by a woman and a snake. Sujata would later become a bhikkhuni (Buddhist nun).

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