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In the Pali tradition, it is believed that each and every Buddha was offered milk-rice from some or the other maiden just before his illumination. For example, Vipassi Buddha accepted the milk-rice from Daughter-of-Sudassana-Setthi; Sikhi Buddha accepted the same from Daughter-of-Piyadassi-Setthi; Vessabhu Buddha accepted it from Sirivaddhaa; Kakusandha Buddha accepted the milk-rice from a brahmin girl Vajirindha; Konagamana from a Brahmin woman Aggisoma; and Kassapa Buddha from his wife Sunanda. In the list the last one is Gotama Buddha, who accepted the milk-rice from Sujata.

Being separated from the five priests with whom Gotama had carry out some ascetic self-punishment in Uruvela for the illumination after leaving his two gurus, , Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, he sat under a banyan tree called the Ajapala Nigrodha. As he felt that the severe asceticism for the spiritual achievement was not a necessary condition to understand the spiritual goal, the natural human drive for the normal human food once again became active in him. His need was, however, fulfilled by a woman named Sujata, who offered him the same dish which was namely milk-rice.

Sujata, who was the daughter of the village landowner of the  Senani near Uruvela had once promise that she would offer the milk-rice to the spirit of the tree if she gave birth to a baby boy. As her wish was fulfilled she asked her maid Punna to visit the tree and prepare the place for gift. When Punna visited the place she saw Gotama sitting under the same tree. She then confound him to be the tree-Deva and stated the issue to Sujata, who in a great joy reached the spot and presented him the milk-rice in a bowl of gold.

Then Gotama accepted the golden bowl; walked to the river-bank; bathed in the Suppatthita; and then ate the food. This was his only meal after the space of forty-nine days.