"Bodhgaya: Where the Buddha Received Enlightenment
The first step on the road to 'Enlightenment' was the transformation of the young prince into Gautama, the ascetic: a transformation effected when Siddhartha changed his royal robes and rich ornaments for the old and tattered clothes of a passing hunter and cut off his hair to show that h e had become a samana. The feast of the hair' is a popular motif in Buddhist sculpture though the artists of the Bandhara school ignore this motif and continue to show the Buddha with hair.
Gautama proceeded towards the city of Vaishali which was then the capital of the powerful republic of the Licchavis, one of the important members of the Vajjan confederacy, a political confederation of eight members, Gautama stopped briefly to consult some learned teachers and then proceeded to Rajagriha (Rajgir, east of present day Patna) the capital of the Magadhan monarchy.
From here he went to Gaya. This seven year period is traditionally divided into two unequal parts: the first during which Gautama practised various austerities and the second, at the end of which he attained 'Enlightenment'.
At Vaishali, Gautama met the yoga teacher Alara Kalana (Arada Kalpa) who taught the doctrine of the non-existence of all things. This did not appeal to Gautama and his at here was brief. He then set out to meet the leaned teacher Pudraka in Rajagriha (Rajgir). Rajgriha, The capital of Magadha, was ruled by King Bimbisara who became an important patron of the Buddha and because of this, later accounts talk of a meeting between the two while Gautama was still an unknown mendicant.
Gautama's study with Radraka Ramaputra, another yoga master, proved equally unsatisfying, for he found in the attainment of yogica states neither an end tot he problem of...