Gautam Buddha, the First Original Scientist
Who Was Buddha?
Gautam Buddha was born Siddhartha in 6th century B.C in Kapilvastu (Nepal). Born into a Shakya principality, he is also known as Shakyamuni. He was a child prodigy who had boundless energy for learning. He could learn quick and fast, nearly anything his teachers taught. Before, he was born, his mother had dreams and premonitions of the impending arrival of a great soul. The astrologers who made his birth chart claimed that the new born baby would grow up to be either a great spiritual leader or a great monarch. Either way, the child was destined to win the world.As the later events proved, he indeed won the world as a great religious and spiritual leader. He lived for nearly 80 years and finally ended his life's journey at Kushinagar (now in U.P, India).
Buddha While in Meditation
What Distinguishes Buddha From Other Leaders?
There have been many religious founders, after Buddha. However, it is paradoxical that Buddha defied God, unlike the rest of them. In fact, he did not speak or discuss on the topic of God. Although, it is claimed that he was enlightened, yet he refused to speak on topics of the other world, God, reincarnation and other related topics. What he focused on was "now" or "this moment". He considered "this moment" as the only reality, and he built his thesis of peace on the notion of "now".
This notion is quite logical and scientific in appeal. The philosophers and scientists who have studied "time" in some depth agree that time is a dimension like space. So, if we are to observe objects under four dimensions (including time), the object should be seen as a process. It is not static. A static object would be timeless. If the object is a process from birth or origin to subsequent disintegration, it should be over a period of time. This is what our common sense says and therefore commonsensical approach to time is linear: yesterday, today and tomorrow stretching infinitely ahead. However, if that is so, there is a clear contradiction. It would be possible for us to go back in time just in case the past was tangible. I cannot hold today the brand new mobile I bought yesterday. Nor can I say let me go back in time and be what I was yesterday. In other words past is not real, when we are in present. Similarly, the future is not real when we are in present. Does it mean, yesterday I was unreal? Buddha says "Change is the law of nature". In other words, we change from moment to moment and the present moment is true and real. Yesterday was the present moment yesterday which when added with continuing change became today. So, the flicker of a moment is actually the real. Buddha compares it with the flame of a candle that continues to change from moment to moment but appears unchanged.
Why Buddha Was the First Scientist?
I have found that Buddha had in him nearly everything that a 17th or 18th century European enlightenment scientists laid the foundations for a scientific enquiry. Buddha led a very protected life because his father was advised by the court astrologers that he should not be exposed to pain. Neither should he witness the painful conditions of people, otherwise he might become an ascetic. However, he could not be restrained for long. When Buddha saw an old man, he questioned, why do people get old. Similarly, he questioned the cause of physical ailments and of death. He left his home to dedicate exclusively in pursuit of his queries like a true scientist. He practised and rejected several approaches to liberation based on extreme conditions. The scientists too reject hypotheses that they find not addressing the research question. Eventually, he found the answer.
What Did Buddha Give to the World?
Buddha gave the world not just an organized religion but a strong ethical system. In fact, after his enlightenment, Buddha preached ethics, not religion and claimed that right speech, right action, right means of livelihood, right mindfulness, etc. are central to living a good, peaceful and healthy life. Today, hundreds of thousands of people have found his approach to live worth living. In other words, Buddhism is a way of leading an ethically rich life. The mindfulness practices of Buddha are found quite useful in leading a stress free life without physical and mental conditions.
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