Life of the Buddha Essay
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General Essay on Buddhism
Life of the Buddha
Buddhism arose in northern India in the 6th century BCE. The historical founder of Buddhism, Siddharta Gautama (c.560-480 BCE) was born in a village called Lumbini into a warrior tribe called the Sakyas (from where he derived the title Sakyamuni, meaning 'Sage of the Sakyas'). According to tradition Gautama's father, Suddhodana was the king of a small principality based on the town of Kapilavastu. His mother, Queen Maya, died seven days after Gautama's birth. Following the death of Maya, Suddhodana married Maya's sister, Prajapati, by whom Gautama was brought up in great luxury and sheltered from the harshness of the outside world.
At sixteen the prince married Yasodhara. Yasodhara bore…show more content…
In the third he identified the four noble truths: the universality of suffering, the cause of suffering through selfish desire, the solution to suffering and the way to overcome suffering. This final point is called the Noble Eightfold Path, this being eight steps consisting of wisdom (right views, right intention) ethics (right speech, right action, right livelihood), mental discipline (right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration), which ultimately lead to liberation from the source of suffering.
Although initially hesitant to share his insight on the grounds that humanity might not be ready for such a teaching, the Buddha decided to communicate his discovery to those willing to listen. His first converts were the five ascetics with whom he had lived when he himself followed the lifestyle of the ascetic. To these he preached his first sermon in the Deer Park at Benares, outlining to them the Four Noble Truths. Out of this small group the community of monks (or sangha) grew to about sixty in size and included Buddha's cousin, Ananda, and his son, Rahula. Later the Buddha was persuaded by his step-mother and cousin to accept women into the sangha.
The remaining forty-five years of the Buddha's life were spent journeying around the plain of the Ganges, teaching and receiving visitors. At the age of 79 the Buddha fell seriously ill and died. During his life the Buddha
Lord Buddha was born in 566 B.C. in a village called Lumbini in Kapilvastu. He was named Siddhartha. His father Suddhodana wished his son to become a great monarch.
Legends say that astrologers who cast the child's horoscope predicted a brilliant future for Siddhartha either as a spiritual leader or as a conquering hero. In the former case he was to be guided by four signs i.e. old age, sickness, death and renunciation.
Since his father did not want this to happen, he built three castles for his son's residence so that Siddhartha may not come across these four signs. One day the prince went out for a drive and came across a man leaning on a stick.
The sight profoundly upset him and he learnt from his charioteer all about sickness. The next day he met an old man, on the third day a dead body and on the fourth a recluse.
The Buddhist scriptures say that God had assumed these forms for detracting the prince from the worldly life his father had planned for him.
Later he was married to Yasodhara, daughter of Dandapani, noble of his kingdom. But marriage did not solve life's problem for Siddhartha. In spite of having a family life, one dark night he left the palace without being seen by anybody.
After leaving the palace Siddhartha attached himself to several teachers, one after another, but in his attempt to find a solution to the mystery of life none of them was helpful and finally he decided to tread the path alone.
Giving up asceticism, Siddhartha took food, but formed a determination that led him to enlightenment. He proceeded to the Bo-tree and sat under it in meditation, bent upon discovering the truth about life or perishing in the attempt.
After many temptations and direct attacks by the powers of evil, the Buddhist scriptures say, enlightenment one day suddenly dawned upon him and Siddhartha became the Buddha (enlightened).