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How a Prince Became the Buddha

How a Prince Became the Buddha


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Asian Art Museum Storyteller Leta Bushyhead tells a story about how a prince became a Buddha using artworks in the museum's collection.


The Prince Who Had Everything

Of all Buddhist tales, the best-known and best-loved is the story of Buddha’s own birth and youth. Buddha—“the Enlightened One” or “The Awakened One”—is the religious title given to Siddhartha Gautama, a prince of the Sakya clan, which ruled an area that today straddles the border between Nepal and the Indian state of Bihar. He is believed to have lived from around 563 to around 483 B.C.

No official account of Buddha’s life was left by either Buddha or his disciples. As with most great religious leaders, the stories of his early life were gradually expanded and embellished by his followers. Still, the legend probably represents in symbolic form the early spiritual life of the young man who became the Buddha.

In the royal city of Kapilavatthu, a son had come to the great King Suddhodana and his lovely Queen Maya. They named the boy Siddhartha, which means “He Who Reaches His Goal.”

Soon after the birth, the king was visited by a great seer named Asita. The baby was brought for him to see. To the king’s alarm, the holy man burst into tears.

“Sir, what is wrong?” asked the king. “Do you foresee some disaster for my son?”

“Not at all,” said the seer. “His future is supreme. Your son shall become a Buddha, an Enlightened One, and free the world from its bonds of illusion. I weep only for myself, for I will not live to hear his teachings.”

Now, the king was distressed that his only heir might turn to a life of religion. He called upon eight Brahmin priests, all skilled in interpreting signs, and asked them to prophesy for the prince.

When the priests had conferred, their spokesman addressed the king. “Your majesty, if your son follows in your footsteps, he will become a Universal King and rule the known world. But if he renounces home and family for the life of a seeker, he will become a Buddha and save the world from its ignorance and folly.”

The king asked, “What would cause my son to renounce home and family?”

The priest answered, “Seeing the four signs.”

“An old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a holy man.”

“Then none of these shall he see,” the king declared. And he placed guards around the palace to keep all such persons away.

As Siddhartha grew to manhood, the king sought ways to strengthen the prince’s ties to home. He married him to the lovely Princess Yasodhara, who in time bore a son. And he surrounded him with dancing girls to while away his hours. The prince became a creature of pleasure and seldom left his luxurious apartments in the palace’s upper stories.

But one day Siddhartha thought he would visit a park outside the city. The king arranged the outing, with strict orders to his guards to keep the road clear of the old, the sick, the dead, and the holy.

As the prince passed through the city in his royal carriage, people lined the road to admire him. The guards followed the king’s orders as best they could. But even so, the prince spied in the crowd a man with gray hair, weak limbs, and bent back.

“Driver,” said Siddhartha, “what is wrong with that man?”

“And what is ‘old’?” asked the prince.

“‘Old’ is when you have lived many years.”

“And will I too become ‘old’?”

“Yes, my lord. To grow old is our common fate.”

“If all must face old age,” said the prince, “then how can we take joy in youth?”

Not long after, the prince spied a man yellow‑faced and shaking, leaning on a companion for support. “Driver, what is wrong with that man?”

“‘Sick’ is when your health has left you.”

“And will I too become ‘sick’?”

“It is likely, my lord. To be sick is our common fate.”

“If all must face sickness,” said the prince, “then how can we take pride in health?”

Before long, the prince spied a stiff, motionless man being carried along by four others.

“Driver, what is wrong with that man?”

“‘Die’ is when your life is finished.”

“You will, my lord, without a doubt. Of all our fates, death is the most certain.”

“If all must face death,” said the prince, “then how can we delight in life?”

At last the prince spied a man with shaved head and saffron robe.

“A ‘seeker’ is one who renounces home and family to wander about, living on what he begs. Avoiding pleasure, he subdues the passions meditating, he controls the mind. And so he strives for freedom from this world of tears and the endless round of rebirths.”

“Driver, return to the palace. No more do I care for parks or pleasure or anything that may pass away. Soon I too will be a seeker, renouncing this life that binds me.”

That very night, Siddhartha slipped into the women’s quarters for one last look at his sleeping wife and son. Then quietly he descended to the courtyard, mounted a white steed, and set out.

The city gate, too heavy for a single man, swung open by itself at his approach. And as the prince passed through, he made this vow:

“Never shall I enter this city again, till I’ve seen the farther shore of life and death.”


The Maha Bodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree

Bodhi temple where Buddha achieves the enlightenment now has been one the historical and famous pilgrimage site for devotees. After the 250 year of Enlightenment, the emperor Ashokavisited the site and erected a diamond throne shrine monastery. Inside the temple there is a big statue of Buddha &ldquoBhumisparsha mudra&rdquo. The colossal is said to be 1700 years old and is facing towards east precisely where the Buddha meditate and at his back there is a bodhi tree.Buddha continued to meditate for seven weeks under the bodhi tree after enlightenment. And the seven things he observed are as:

Under the Bodhi Tree

During the first week he sat under the tree, enjoy the experience and freedom of being the awakened one. He was independent from wrong thoughts, serene and ecstatic.

Gazing at the Tree

During the second week, he pays gratitude to the Bodhi tree which provide him shed during his struggle for Bodhisattva. The Buddha stood in front of the tree and meditates without moving his eyes.

The Golden Bridge

In the third week, the Buddha saw through his minds the delusion in Gods mind in heaven about that whether he has really achieved the enlightenment or not. Henceforth, he created a golden bridge in the air and walk fro and thru it for a whole week.

The Jewelled Chamber

During the fourth week, he generates a beautiful jeweled chamber and sat inside it meditating, which is now also known as detailed teaching or Abhidhamma. His body and soul were so much purified that, the six different color rays reflect from his body. The six colors were red, orange, blue, yellow, white and a mixture of these which gives out a Buddhist flag.

Three Girls

In the fifth week, while meditating under a banyan tree. The three beautiful girls came up in front of him and try to seduce him through seductive dance in a cajole way. The every temptation was failed in front of Buddha meditation and Tanha, Rati and Raga return their own way.

The Mucalinda Tree

During sixth week, Buddha went to meditate under a Mucalinda tree. And it began to rain during the course of meditation. In order to protect a huge king cobra appeared to him and coiled his body seven time to keep his body warm as well cobra placed his hood over the Buddha&rsquos head to protect. The rain stopped after seven day, the King cobra turned out to be a man and pay his respects to Buddha. The Buddha than offered his sacred lessons of happiness to the man.

The Rajayatana Tree

In the last seventh week, Buddha meditated under the Rajayatana tree. On the fifth day of his fasting, the two merchants Tapussa and Bhallika appeared to him and offered him rice, cakes and honey to break his fasting. The Buddha then told the lessons to them he achieved during his enlightenment. Later these two merchants become the first disciples of Lord Buddha.


Siddhartha grew up in a life of privilege and luxury. In general, he experienced protection from all knowledge of pain and suffering. Young Prince Siddhartha Gautama at the age of 29 left the family palace to meet his subjects. At which time, the reality of human suffering confronted him.

Having been confronted with the Four Passing Sights, (a sick person, an aged person, a corpse, and a holy man) and greatly troubled by them, the young prince renounced his life of luxury. As a result, he left his home and family to discover the truth of birth and death. Certainly, to find peace of mind. He sought out one yoga teacher and then another one. Subsequently, after mastering what they taught him, he moved on.


A very long time ago, in ancient India, a new baby was born in the royal palace, a boy. His parents named him Prince Siddhartha Gautama. His parents loved him very much. All his life, growing up, his parents gave the prince excellent food to eat, fine clothes to wear, and good servants to wait on him. When he became a man, his parents gave him a different palace for each season of the year. The prince and his wife were blessed with the birth of a baby, a new son, who was strong and healthy. You might say the prince had everything!

But all the prince could see was suffering. It had bothered him greatly, all his life, that pain and old age, and sickness and death were all part of life. The thought of this had always made him very unhappy.

One day, the prince met a monk. That changed his world. He could not believe the monk could find happiness in a world that held such misery. The prince made a startling decision. He decided to leave his parents, his wife, and his newborn son, and become a monk.

The prince traveled ancient India, in search of peace and calm in the face of suffering and sadness. He traveled for six years, as a monk. He was beginning to despair. Perhaps there was no answer. Perhaps all his life he would be unhappy. It was a miserable thought.

It was when he was resting under a fig tree that the way to end all suffering occurred to him! That was the day the monks began to call him "the Buddha", or the Awakened One.

Four Noble Truths: What Buddha has realized, while resting under the fig tree, is that life is ruled by four truths, truths the Buddha called the Four Noble Truths. Those truths are:

Life is filled with suffering

Suffering is caused by people's wants.

Suffering can be ended if people stop wanting things, like more pleasure or more power.

To stop wanting things, people must follow 8 basic laws, called the Eightfold Path.

Eightfold Path: These are the eight basic laws that all people must follow if they wish to end suffering:

To not say anything to hurt others

To respect life, property, and morality

To work at a job that does not injure others

To try to free one's mind from evil

To be in control of one's feelings and thoughts

To practice appropriate forms of concentration

The Middle Way: Buddha realized that people could not follow rules if the rules were too strict. That's why the Eightfold Path is also called The Middle Way. The rules demand a certain behavior, but it is behavior that costs nothing except effort and care.

Buddha continued to travel around India, telling everyone he met about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Many people listened. They too had trouble finding happiness in a world full of suffering. Some who listened became monks, and helped to spread the word.

Proverbs: The rules of the Eightfold Path are simple to list, but are sometimes difficult for people to follow. To help people better understand and remember the rules, Buddha's teachings were written down as proverbs many years ago. Here are two proverbs written down over 1000 years ago:

As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind,
even so the wise are not ruffled by praise or blame.

Hatreds never cease by hatred in this world
by love alone they cease.
This is an ancient law.

Many statues of the Buddha show him laughing. The Buddha is laughing to remind us that we need to greet each day with joy.

Another goal of Buddhism is to become the greatest person in the world. This teaching is often misunderstood. It does not mean that you are better than everyone else. It means that you are the best person you can be. The famous example that Buddhists use is the story of the ant. When an ant puts his best effort into carrying a grain of rice, the ant is no longer just an ant he is the best ant he can be, and thus the greatest ant in the world. But, when a horse carries a grain of rice, it is not much of an achievement.

The Growth of Buddhism: After a time, many people began calling the prince "the Buddha". Buddhism spread rapidly throughout Southern and Eastern Asia.

Today, Buddhism is a world religion. People who follow Buddha's teachings are called Buddhists. There are over 500 million Buddhists in the world. Buddhists value goodness, self-control, wisdom, calm, and love.


The Life of Shakyamuni Buddha

In 563 or 566 B.C.E., a prince was born to a noble family of the Shakya clan, in a very beautiful park called Lumbini Grove, which lay in the foothills of the Himalayas (in present-day southern Nepal). This beautiful park was not far from the capital city of the Shakya kingdom, Kapilavastu. The prince’s father, King Shuddhodana, named his son Siddhartha. He was a member of the Kshatriya, or royal warrior caste, and his clan lineage, the Gautamas, was ancient and pure. His mother was Mahamaya or Mayadevi, daughter of a powerful Shakya noble, Suprabuddha. Before the conception of Siddhartha, Queen Mahamaya dreamed that a white elephant, extraordinary and utterly beautiful, entered her body. Soon after the birth, soothsayers predicted that the young prince would become either a Chakravartin, a universal monarch, or an “awakened one,” a buddha. So from the very beginning of his birth, he showed signs of perfection.

The large Shakyamuni Buddha thangka being unfurled in Bodhgaya by the Karmapa.

Life as a prince

Seven days after the birth, Queen Mahamaya died her sister, Siddhartha’s aunt, Mahaprajapati Gautami, who was also married to King Suddhodana, thereafter raised and brought up Siddhartha like her own child, with great care and love, in the wealthy circumstances of a noble family.

His father naturally wanted his son to be his successor and provided him the very best possible education and pleasurable occupations. He tried to prevent Siddhartha from coming into contact with any religious or spiritual path in order to steer him toward becoming the next king of the Shakyas.

As a young prince, Siddhartha was fully educated and mastered the arts and sciences of his day, including even the art of war and other trainings, displaying a sharp intellect and the strength and power of a great physique. When the young prince reached the age of sixteen, he married Yashodhara and engaged in the pleasures of the world. He continued to relish the comforts of the palaces, gardens, and varieties of wealth of the royal lifestyle.

The renunciation of his kingdom

In his late twenties, Prince Siddhartha encountered the “four signs” during excursions from the palace. They made an extremely strong impression on him. These signs were: an old man, a sick person, a corpse, and a monk or a yogin. Through them he realized that the vanity of youth, as well as one’s health, and even life, may end at any time furthermore, he realized that the only way out of this suffering world of samsara was through finding and following the right spiritual path.

At twenty-nine, after the birth of his son, Rahula, Siddhartha left the palace and kingdom behind and engaged in an ascetic path. He became a homeless, wandering yogi, seeking the truth for the sake of all sentient beings. He began to practice, mainly under the guidance of two ascetic teachers, Arada Kalama and Rudraka Ramaputra.

The enlightenment of the Buddha

When Siddhartha realized that he was not reaching his goal, liberation, he gave up the ascetic way of life and turned to meditation, deciding to seek enlightenment on his own. After six years of hardship and practicing near Nairanjana River, he began to travel and gradually came to the region of Gaya. Siddhartha went to Bodhgaya, where he sat under what was later to be known as the Bodhi-tree, vowing to exert himself in his meditation until he reached his goal of enlightenment.

Jamgon Kongtrul, Karmapa, and Gyaltsab Rinpoche in front of the famous statue of Shakyamuni Buddha in the Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya.

After forty-nine days, at the age of thirty-five, Prince Siddhartha attained complete enlightenment, or buddhahood, overcoming all the obscurations and temptations of Mara. At this point, Siddhartha was a buddha, a fully awakened or enlightened one, and he knew that for him, there would be no further rebirth in samsaric realms.

Teaching and benefiting beings

Seeing that what he had achieved was not possible to communicate directly, he remained silent for seven weeks. Buddha gave his first discourse in Deer Park in Benares, which is known as “the first turning of the wheel of dharma.” In this discourse, he taught the four noble truths, the interdependent nature, and the law of karma, at the request of Indra and Brahma. His earlier five ascetic companions became his first disciples and began to form the bhikshu (monastic) sangha. At Vulture Peak Mountain near Rajagriha, Buddha turned the second wheel of dharma, in which he taught the nature of all phenomena as being shunyata or emptiness and anatma or selflessness. There followed a period of many years of teaching at a variety of places, such as Vaishali. The teachings of this period are known as the third turning of the wheel of dharma, in which Buddha taught a variety of subjects, including the notion that all sentient beings possess tathagata-garbha – the basic heart of buddha.

Through these teachings, Buddha showed the way that leads all beings to the experience of awakening and liberation from samsara. This demonstrates clearly his limitless compassion and loving-kindness towards all beings who are looking for liberation and freedom from the realms of samsaric existences.

Inside the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, new robes are offered to the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha as part of the Kagyu Monlam festival. Photo thanks to Keith Liao.

King Bimbisara of Magadha became a follower of Buddha and offered a monastery near Rajagriha, the capital of Magadha, which became very important historically for the development of the sangha. Buddha spent a great deal of time mainly in the region of Rajagriha and Vaishali, moving from place to place and living on alms. The number of his followers grew very fast. Buddha’s most important students were Kashyapa, Shariputra, Maudgalyayana, and Ananda. Buddha later founded orders of nuns, or bhikshuni, and had many followers and establishments in these regions.

Since he was born as the prince of the Shakyas, after his enlightenment he was known as “the Shakyamuni” or “the Sage of The Shakyas,” and from his clan name, he was later called Gautama Buddha.

During his life, his cousin, Devadatta, who had always been jealous of what Siddhartha had achieved, sought to become the head of the Buddha’s sangha or community. Devadatta planned to destroy the Buddha. Though he did not succeed, he brought about a schism among the monastic communities in Vaisali that caused great harm to the sangha’s spiritual development.

The death of the Buddha

At the age of eighty, Shakyamuni Buddha empowered his close disciple, Kashyapa, as his regent to continue the sangha’s activities. Lying on his right side and facing west, Buddha entered into parinirvana. (Other accounts and some sutras state that Buddha partook of spoiled food, which caused him to pass away.) His relics are distributed and enshrined in seven stupas and elsewhere. The main pilgrimage site for buddhists is Bodhgaya, India, the site where Shakyamuni attained enlightenment.

Here is a video from inside the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment, right next to the Bodhi Tree. The Gyalwang Karmapa is making offerings to the famous statue of the Buddha Shakyamuni during the Kagyu Monlam.


Ancient Statue Reveals Prince Who Would Become Buddha

In the ruins of a Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan, archaeologists have uncovered a stone statue that seems to depict the prince Siddhartha before he founded Buddhism.

The stone statue, or stele, was discovered at the Mes Aynak site in a ruined monastery in 2010, but it wasn't until now that it was analyzed and described. Gérard Fussman, a professor at the Collège de France in Paris, details his study in "The Early Iconography of Avalokitesvara" (Collège de France, 2012).

Standing 11 inches (28 centimeters) high and carved from schist &mdash a stone not found in the area &mdash the stele depicts a prince alongside a monk. Based on a bronze coin found nearby, Fussman estimates the statue dates back at least 1,600 years. Siddhartha lived 25 centuries ago.

The prince is shown sitting on a round wicker stool, his eyes looking down and with his right foot against his left knee. He is "clad in a dhoti (a garment), with a turban, wearing necklaces, earrings and bracelets, sitting under a pipal tree foliage. On the back of the turban, two large rubans [are] flowing from the head to the shoulders," writes Fussman in his new book. "The turban is decorated by a rich front-ornament, without any human figure in it." [Photos of the statue and ancient Buddhist monastery]

The monk stands at the prince's right side, his right forearm shown upright. In his right hand the monk holds a lotus flower or palm (now broken), and in his left is a round object of some kind.

Based on the iconography of the stele, particularly the pipal leaves, Fussman believes the prince is Gautama Siddhartha Sakyamuni, who is said to have achieved enlightenment, become a Buddha &mdash someone of divine wisdom and virtue &mdash and founded the religion of Buddhism. This stele shows him at an early moment in his life, when he has yet to start his fateful journey of enlightenment.

Siddhartha's story

According to the story, Siddhartha's father wanted him to follow a worldly path and tried to keep his son cloistered in a palace.

"Lotus pools were made for me at my father's house solely for my use in one, blue lotuses flowered, in another white, and in another red," says Siddharthain ancient writings attributed to him. "A white sunshade was held over me day and night so that I would not be troubled by cold or heat, dust or grit or dew." (This translation is from Rupert Gethin's "The Foundations of Buddhism," Oxford University Press, 1998.)

The prince's life would change when he ventured outside the palace and saw the real world. "As soon as he left the palace he became pessimistic," Fussman told LiveScience, "because by meeting these people, he knew that everybody is to work, everybody may become ill, everybody is to die."

He grew disenchanted with palace life and left, becoming a poor ascetic.

Tibetan clues

Fussman said that this stele supports the idea that there was a monastic cult, in antiquity, dedicated to Siddhartha's pre-enlightenment life. This idea was first proposed in a 2005 article inthe journalEast and West by UCLA professor Gregory Schopen. Schopen found evidence for the cult when studying the Tibetan version of the monastic code, Mulasarvastivada vinaya. [Religious Worship: Top 10 Cults]

It's a "cult focused on his image that involved taking it in procession through the region and into town," Schopen wrote. "A cult tied to a cycle of festivals celebrating four moments, not in the biography of the Buddha but in the pre-enlightenment period of the life of Siddhartha."

One section of the code authorizes carrying the image of Siddhartha (referred to as a Bodhisattva) on a wagon.

Whether or not the newly discovered stele went on a wagon ride, Fussman said the depiction of Gautama Siddhartha Sakyamuni before he became a Buddha provides further evidence of the existence of this cult. "Here also you have an instance of it," he said in the interview, "the Buddha before he became a Buddha."

Excavations continue at the Mes Aynak site as scientists explore the complex in an effort to save the artifacts before the area is disturbed by copper mining.


Ancient Statue Reveals Prince Who Would Become Buddha

In the ruins of a Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan, archaeologists have uncovered a stone statue that seems to depict the prince Siddhartha before he founded Buddhism.

The stone statue, or stele, was discovered at the Mes Aynak site in a ruined monastery in 2010, but it wasn't until now that it was analyzed and described. Gérard Fussman, a professor at the Collège de France in Paris, details his study in "The Early Iconography of Avalokitesvara" (Collège de France, 2012).

Standing 11 inches (28 centimeters) high and carved from schist — a stone not found in the area — the stele depicts a prince alongside a monk. Based on a bronze coin found nearby, Fussman estimates the statue dates back at least 1,600 years. Siddhartha lived 25 centuries ago.

The prince is shown sitting on a round wicker stool, his eyes looking down and with his right foot against his left knee. He is "clad in a dhoti (a garment), with a turban, wearing necklaces, earrings and bracelets, sitting under a pipal tree foliage. On the back of the turban, two large rubans [are] flowing from the head to the shoulders," writes Fussman in his new book. "The turban is decorated by a rich front-ornament, without any human figure in it." [Photos of the statue and ancient Buddhist monastery]

The monk stands at the prince's right side, his right forearm shown upright. In his right hand the monk holds a lotus flower or palm (now broken), and in his left is a round object of some kind.

Based on the iconography of the stele, particularly the pipal leaves, Fussman believes the prince is Gautama Siddhartha Sakyamuni, who is said to have achieved enlightenment, become a Buddha — someone of divine wisdom and virtue — and founded the religion of Buddhism. This stele shows him at an early moment in his life, when he has yet to start his fateful journey of enlightenment.

Siddhartha's story

According to the story, Siddhartha's father wanted him to follow a worldly path and tried to keep his son cloistered in a palace.

"Lotus pools were made for me at my father's house solely for my use in one, blue lotuses flowered, in another white, and in another red," says Siddharthain ancient writings attributed to him. "A white sunshade was held over me day and night so that I would not be troubled by cold or heat, dust or grit or dew." (This translation is from Rupert Gethin's "The Foundations of Buddhism," Oxford University Press, 1998.)

The prince's life would change when he ventured outside the palace and saw the real world. "As soon as he left the palace he became pessimistic," Fussman told LiveScience, "because by meeting these people, he knew that everybody is to work, everybody may become ill, everybody is to die."

He grew disenchanted with palace life and left, becoming a poor ascetic.

Tibetan clues

Fussman said that this stele supports the idea that there was a monastic cult, in antiquity, dedicated to Siddhartha's pre-enlightenment life. This idea was first proposed in a 2005 article inthe journalEast and West by UCLA professor Gregory Schopen. Schopen found evidence for the cult when studying the Tibetan version of the monastic code, Mulasarvastivada vinaya. [Religious Worship: Top 10 Cults]

It's a "cult focused on his image that involved taking it in procession through the region and into town," Schopen wrote. "A cult tied to a cycle of festivals celebrating four moments, not in the biography of the Buddha but in the pre-enlightenment period of the life of Siddhartha."

One section of the code authorizes carrying the image of Siddhartha (referred to as a Bodhisattva) on a wagon.

Whether or not the newly discovered stele went on a wagon ride, Fussman said the depiction of Gautama Siddhartha Sakyamuni before he became a Buddha provides further evidence of the existence of this cult. "Here also you have an instance of it," he said in the interview, "the Buddha before he became a Buddha."

Excavations continue at the Mes Aynak site as scientists explore the complex in an effort to save the artifacts before the area is disturbed by copper mining.

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The Emergence of Buddhism

According to tradition, Siddhartha was sitting under a fig tree meditating one day when, suddenly, the answer came to him. It is at this point that he attained what Buddhists call Nirvana. At this point, Siddhartha became the Buddha, the Enlightened One. It was shortly afterwards that he gave his first sermon at Sarnath and began to expound on what would later become central to Buddhism today.

The exact answer that Siddhartha found is not entirely clear as even Buddhists today still debate over it. The word nirvana comes from a word meaning “blown out” or “snuffed out.” It gives the idea of extinction or cessation. Many Buddhists today think of it as the cessation of desires. Central to the Buddha’s teachings is the idea that attachment to things led to suffering. Siddhartha realized that things like wealth, good health, and even friends and family would all fade or die away, and that attachment to these things would only make parting with these things more painful and thus lead to suffering. Buddhist tradition says that Siddhartha believed that the solution was to not allow oneself to be attached these things and for all such desires to cease to exist.

Buddha's Nirvana. Color on silk. Located at Kongōbu-ji, Mt. Kōya, Wakayama, Japan. ( Public Domain )


Contents

About 2600 years ago, a clan called the "Shakyas" in Lumbini, Nepal ruled the city of Kapilavastu.

Siddhartha Gautama was born just outside the city in Lumbini, Nepal as Prince Siddhartha Gautam in a Nepali Shakya clan. His father was a ruler named Shuddhodana, and his mother was named Maya. Maya died when Siddhartha was about 7 days old. His father controlled him in a very peaceful and nice way. There were home tutors for him as he was not interested in the outward things that took place at that time. Siddhartha lived in luxury his father kept trouble and hard work far from him. A seer predicted that if Siddhartha stayed inside his palace his whole life, then he would become a great king. However, if he left the palace, then he would become a great religious leader. The king did not want his son to become a religious leader. He kept Siddhartha in the palace for his entire childhood.

When Siddhartha turned 16 years old, his father found a woman for him to marry. He married a woman named Yashodhara, [2] and they had a son named Rahula. [3] Although Siddhartha had everything he could want, he was still not happy. He wanted to learn about life outside his palace.

Legend says that he got out of the castle against his father's orders. He saw the "Four Great Sights": an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a holy man with no home.

Siddhartha left his family, his land and everything else in Nepal at the age of 29. He left everything to travel to neighbouring country India to be a mendicant (a wandering ascetic) eventually he became a religious leader for the people.

Many holy men at this time were ascetics. They hurt their bodies for religious reasons. They abstain from certain pleasures so they can get rid of desire. One group of ascetics were called the Jains. They practiced self-denial and made themselves suffer very much. They believed this would free the ātman (soul) from pain and sadness. There were many types of ascetic mendicants (wanderers) throughout the region which would become known as India. Siddhartha tried these ascetic practices and meditation techniques, and eventually became better than his teachers. He still found no answer, so he left his teachers and friends to discover another way. He decided to eat only six grains of rice a day. He tried holding his breath. His body became very thin, like skin and bones, and he nearly died. Still, he had no answer.

Siddhartha began to think again about this path. He recalled sitting under a roseapple tree as a boy, and reaching a profound happy peaceful state. He thought this memory might point to a better way than hurting himself. He accepted a meal of milk-rice so he would have strength to make focussed effort. He found a fig tree (now called the Bodhi tree) and decided to meditate beneath it. He promised himself that he would not leave this spot until he had found enlightenment. He meditated under the tree (some say for 49 days). His mind is said to have become pure, and then--after a total of six years practicing--he became enlightened. He was now the Buddha the Fully Awakened

When the Buddha became enlightened, he found the answer to suffering, and he knew how to defeat suffering. This answer was called the Four Noble Truths. He was not sure if he should teach his new ideas or not. He asked himself if the world was ready for such a deep teaching. But in the end, he decided to travel to a town called Sarnath to teach the people his new way. He taught about the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The people listened to him.

When he taught, he did not pretend to be a god. He said he was just a man who had found the meaning of life (enlightenment), and that any person can also find the meaning of life. For the rest of his life, he walked all over Southern Nepal and parts of India to teach people what he believed. He started a Sangha, which is a group of Buddhist monks and nuns. Many people became enlightened because of him. At the age of 80, after 45 years teaching the Four Noble Truths, Gautama Buddha died.


How & When Did Buddha Die – Gautam Buddha History From Birth to Death

Who is Buddha?

Buddhism began with the Buddha. The word ‘Buddha’ is a title, which signifies ‘one who is conscious’ — in the feeling of having ‘woken up to the real world’. The Buddha was conceived as Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal around 2,500 years back. He didn’t profess to be a divine being or a prophet. He was a person who ended up Enlightened, understanding life in the most profound manner conceivable.

Siddhartha was naturally introduced to the imperial group of a little kingdom on the Indian-Nepalese fringe. As per the customary story he had a favored childhood, however was shocked out of his shielded life on understanding that life incorporates the brutal realities of maturity, affliction, and demise.

This incited him to think about the importance of life. In the long run he felt instigated to leave his castle and pursue the conventional Indian way of the meandering sacred man, a searcher after Truth. He turned out to be skilled at contemplation under different educators, and after that took up austere practices. This depended on the conviction that one could free the soul by denying the tissue. He rehearsed starknesses so firmly that he nearly starved to death.

Be that as it may, despite everything he hadn’t comprehended the riddle of life and demise. Genuine comprehension appeared as far away as ever. So he surrendered along these lines and investigated his own heart and brain he chose to confide in his instinct and gain from direct involvement.

He plunked down underneath a pipal tree and promised to remain there until he’d picked up Enlightenment. Following 40 days, on the full moon in May, Siddhartha at long last achieved extreme Freedom.

He contacted individuals from varying backgrounds and a considerable lot of his followers picked up Enlightenment. They, thus, showed others and along these lines a solid chain of instructing has proceeded, directly down to the present day.

The Buddha was not a divine being and he made no case to heavenly nature. He was an individual who, through huge exertion of heart and brain, changed all confinements. He asserted the capability of each being to achieve Buddhahood. Buddhists consider him to be a perfect individual, and a guide who can lead every one of us towards Enlightenment.

Buddhists accept he achieved a condition of being that goes past whatever else on the planet. On the off chance that typical experience depends on conditions — childhood, brain science, feelings, discernments — Enlightenment is Unconditioned.

A Buddha is free from covetousness, scorn and numbness, and described by knowledge, empathy and opportunity. Illumination carries knowledge into the most profound functions of life, and along these lines into the reason for human misery — the issue that had at first set him on his otherworldly journey.

During the rest of the 45 years of his life, the Buddha went through quite a bit of northern India, spreading his comprehension. His educating is referred to in the East as the Buddha-dharma or ‘instructing of the Enlightened One’.

The Life of Lord Buddha

Siddharta Gautam (also known as Buddha) was born in Lumbini, Nepal around 566 BC but the death of Buddha is a subject of keen controversy among scholars. He is the son of King Suddodhana and Queen Maya Devi. King Suddodhana was the king of Lumbini and Siddhartha was the prince.

Buddha is a monk, sage, philosopher and a medicant of Buddhism. Buddha is called as an awakened one. He is known as the peaceful one as he has discovered peace.

Buddha was grown up in Kapilvastu with his mother’s sister and lived in the palace. Buddha’s teachings are spiritual and related to inner peace. Buddhism has over 560 million followers all over the world.

Although born a prince, he realized that conditioned experiences could not provide lasting happiness or protection from suffering. After a long spiritual search, he went into deep meditation, where he realized the nature of mind.

He achieved the state of unconditional and lasting happiness through enlightenment. This state of mind is free from disturbing emotions and express itself through fearlessness, joy and active compassion. For the rest of his life, Buddha taught anyone who asked how they could reach the same state.

Early Life of Siddhartha Gautam

Early in the year 624 BC, Siddhartha Gautama was born in Kapilwasthu (Nepal). He became the king after his father when he was only 19 years old. Later, when he was 29, he decided to reject lay life and live an ordinary life.

He left his kingdom and went to many teachers for gaining knowledge about the reality of life. After many unsuccessful attempts to gain satisfying knowledge from his teachers, he decided to find a new path to enlightenment on his own. Six years later, Siddhartha Gautam sat under a tree in Bodhgaya.

The neighboring country of Nepal is India at which was spiritually open at the era of Buddha. At this time of great potential, Buddha was born to the royal family( where I mentioned above).

Growing up, Buddha was intelligent and compassionate. Tall, strong and handsome Buddha belonged to the warrior caste. Since it was predicted that either buddha’s gonna be a great king or a spiritual leader.

But his parents wanted him to be the great ruler of the kingdom so they surrounded him with great pleasure and tried preventing him from unsatisfactory nature of the world. Suddenly, at the age of 29, he was confronted with suffering and impermanence.

It was a rare outing of him to the streets and he saw an old man severely sick. He also saw a decrepit old man and finally a dead person. He finally realized and was very upset to see that old age, sickness and death would come to everyone but he had no refuge to offer them.

After looking at all these things, he went to a mediator who sat in deep absorption the very next morning. Meeting that man gave the future Buddha a first and enticing taste of mind, a true and lasting refuge which he knew he had to experience himself for the good of all.

Buddha’s Enlightenment

As he sat under the tree, his knowledge grew brighter. In a clear mindset, he began to examine the nature of life. He understood that everything has a cause and effect relationship. That, nothing happens with any cause. He slowly began to understand the life, pain, sorrow, joy and gained the ultimate enlightenment.

After he got enlightenment, he decided to give his wisdom to other people. Slowly, his teachings regarding life started getting diverse and he ultimately became the religious teacher. Based on this teaching, a new religion was developed ‘Buddhism’.

After leaving the royal responsibilities and his family in order to realize full enlightenment, he set off to the forest. Over the next six years, he met many talented meditation teachers and mastered their techniques.

Always he found that they showed him mind’s potential but not mind itself. Finally, at a place called Bodhgaya, the future Buddha decided to remain in meditation until he knew the mind’s true nature and could benefit all beings.

After spending six days and nights cutting through mind’s obstacles, he reached enlightenment on the full moon morning of May, a week before he turned thirty-five. He became timeless, all-pervading awareness.

Through every cell of his body, he knew and was everything. He became the Buddha, The awakened one.

After the enlightenment, Buddha traveled on foot to northern India. he taught constantly for forty-five years. People of all castes and professions, from kings to slaves were drawn to him.

Throughout his life, he encouraged all his students to questions and always pointing towards that is ultimately real. This non-dramatic attitude still characterizes Buddhism today.

The teachings of Lord Buddha will help to live a better life. Buddha’s teachings are universal. Buddha’s main teaching is in ‘Doubt Everything, find your own light’.

Lastly, Buddha’s teachings are very useful to us in our daily life and we can follow up the teachings to live a better life. Buddha’s teachings have not only given a deeper insight into one’s existence but also made a significant contribution in liberating one from day-to-day conflicts in minds.

His teachings have given strength to awaken people to reality and make them introspect themselves. Buddha is the enlightened one. The basic teachings of Buddha that are core to Buddhism are the three universal truth, the four noble truths, and the noble eightfold paths.

Hence, having in practice the teachings of Buddha we can lead a happy and prosperous life.

Death of Siddhartha Gautam (Buddha)

According to Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Lord Buddha declared at the age of 80 that he would soon gain the Parinirvana or the last deathless state and give up his earlier body.

After he said that, he was given the final meal as an offering from “Cunda”. Feeling violently ill, Buddha died of Mesenteric Infarction, a symptom of old age and gave up his body.

However, many also believe that Buddha died of food poisoning from the food offered to him at the final stage. But, Von Hinuber argued that Buddha died of old age and abandoned his body.

According to Buddhists, Buddha died at Kusinara (Present day India). Now, it is also the pilgrimage center for all Buddhists.

After his death, the Buddha is well believed to have said his followers to follow no specific leader. But, Mahakasyapa was selected to be the chairman, by the Sangh, of the first Buddhist council, with the two other chief followers.

While Buddha was alive, he was well known by very respected names Buddha, Shakyasimha, Shakyamuni, Bho, and Bhante. After his ultimate nirvana or Parnirvana, he was known as Arihant.

Relics

After the death of Buddha, Buddha’s cremation relics were believed to have been divided amongst 8 royal families and the disciples. Centuries later they were enshrined by Emperor Ashoka into 84000 different stupas around the world.

Many mystic legends edge the history of unproven relics as they escorted the feast of Buddhism and gave legality to rulers

In this way, Lord Buddha gave up his body and went to the ultimate Nirvana stage. Today, he is considered to be the god by all the Buddhists. Though he is no more, his religious teaching and principles are well known. He is the Light of the World.

Related terms and posts about Lord Buddha

How Did Buddha Die?
Life of Gautam Buddha From Birth to Death
How did Lord Gautama Buddha die?
When did Buddha die?
Where did Buddha die?
Why visit Lumbini Nepal – Birthplace of Lord Buddha


Watch the video: Lord Buddha - Birth of the Buddha The Life of Buddha (June 2022).


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