Four monks came to the Buddha und asked him for a topic of meditation. He gave them various topics und they, having retired to various places, all became arahants: one by understanding the six-fold sphere, the second the fünf khandhas, the third the four mahābhūtas, und the fourth the eighteen dhātu. They returned und related to the Buddha each the particular excellence attained by him, und one of them asked the Buddha how all these methods could lead to Nibbāna. The Buddha related a story of the past where four sons of Brahmadatta, König of Benares, having asked their charioteer to show them a kimsuka-tree, are shown the tree at four different times: when the buds were just sprouting, when the leaves were green, at the time of blossoming, und at the time of fruit-bearing.
When asked to describe the tree, the first likened it to a burnt stump, the second to a banyan tree, the third to a piece of meat, und the fourth to an acacia. The matter was referred to the König, who solved the difficulty.
Der König was the Bodhisatta. J.ii.265f