Sakyamuni Buddha - Siddhartha Gautama
Sakyamuni the Greatest of all Indian Leaders
Buddhism originated in India in the Sixth Century BC, Gautama Buddha (Sakyamuni) was the greatest of all Indian leaders and was born between 563 and 483 B.C. in the area known as Indo-Nepalese region. As a bodhisattva, before coming to Earth for his ultimate transmigration he passed through 1000’s of existences.
His previous life began as the son of the King of the warrior tribe called the Sakyas, (where he derived the title Sakyamuni, meaning the Sage of the Sakyas) His father Sudhodana ruled at Kapilavastu.
Buddha taught the concept of Nirvana and subsequent teachings about the state of enlightenment.
Buddhism contains the attainment of Buddhahood or Nirvana as being central to its’ teachings. Christ taught the same concept, though in a veiled form, by saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us.
In Buddhist though the world has a relative reality in that it is a Maya (Queen Maya was the mother of Buddah) or illusion in which we go round and round the whirlpool of Samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death, gain and loss, pain and pleasure until we begin to search for a way out of the maelstrom of matter. In this material world nothing lasts forever, everything changes.
According to ancient tradition, Queen Maya, his mother, dreamt of a beautiful white elephant which touched her left side with a white lotus held in it’s trunk. This was interpreted as a sign that the Buddha, or a universal emperor, was In miraculous terms: Buddha came from was born while she stood in a garden and came from Maya’s right side, he immediately walked, spoke, and was received by Brahma.
The young prince changes his name to Siddhartha
As the son of a wealthy nobleman he lived in a Royal manner, several palaces and was entertained by thousands of dancing girls and a her of elephants adorned in silver.
Five days after his birth, the young prince received the name of Siddhartha. When his parents took him to the temple, the statues of the gods prostrated themselves before him, great were the rejoicings of the people over the birth of this illustrious prince. Also at this time a devout old man named Asita came down from the Himalayas to meet the newborn prince. An ascetic of high spiritual attainments, Asita was particularly pleased to hear this happy news. Having been a tutor to the King, he visited the palace to see the royal baby. The king, who felt honoured by his unexpected visit, carried the child up to him in order to make the child pay him due reverence. To the surprise of all, the child's legs turned and rested on the matted locks of the ascetic.
When the prince was only 12 years old, the king called the wise Brahmans in council. They revealed that Siddhartha would devote himself to asceticism if he cast his eyes on age, sickness, or death ~ and, if he were to meet a hermit.
The king wanting his son to be a universal Monarch and found a suitable bride. At 16 he married the most beautiful princess in the land, Yasodhara, a woman of high status, whom he won by his athletic’s feats and prowess at contest. Soothsayers prophesised he would become a Universal Emperor unless he was summoned to become a Universal Teacher by the four signs, which would he would realise the misery of the world. Although his father ordered the royal parks to be emptied of the sick and destitute and proclaimed that the use of the words death and grief were forbidden.
The gods arranged that one day while riding in the parks, that Gautama should see for himself.
The precautions his father took were in vain for while Siddhartha was travelling through the streets, an old decrepit man appeared before him. The young prince learned that decrepitude is the fate of those who live life through. He then met an incurable invalid and then a funeral procession. Finally heaven placed in his path an outcast begging for food, who told Siddhartha that he had left the world to pass beyond suffering and joy, to attain peace at heart.
He had learned the Four Signs - Firstly – Age, Second Sign – Suffering, The Third – Death and the final sign Peace in withdrawal from earthly belongings.
Tibet - Home of the Buddhist Temples
Gautama (Siddhartha) leaves Yasodhara
It was not long after these encounters Gautama left his home in the middle of the night, bidding a silent farewell to his sleeping family as he feared he would not be able to leave Yasodhara and his newborn had they been awake and smiling at him. He sent his charioteer back to the palace with locks of his hair as trinkets for his family and his horse died from grief.
He attempted to discover the realm of life where there is no age or death when he was only 29. He sat at the feet of a guru and learned the wisdom of the Upanishads. This teaching failed to satisfy him and went in search of salvation, the life of austerity.
He joined a band of ascetics and retreated into the forest. He ate only a bean a day and grew so thin he could touch his spine when he touched his stomach. He was revived by a village maiden when after 6 years he collapsed, she fed him some gruel and when he recovered he turned to solitary meditation.
He settled under a fig tree for 49 days and when he awoke from his trance to see the state of mankind with superhuman clarity he became the Buddha – The Enlightened One.
To find out more about Gautama – watch my blog posts.
The Life of Buddha Sourced from Youtube
Buddha Carved from Rosewood
Buddha - The Enlightened One
He remained under the tree for a further 49 days pondering some of the life’s riddles which he had solved and then headed for the holy city of Banara to spread his teachings. Outside the city he gave his first sermon with his ascetics as his only audience, the same ascetics who had abandoned him now were his rapt desciples.
The sermon was to become the most celebrated in Buddhism history, these being the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.
The first Noble Trhuth is dukkha, a word translated as suffering, in the Pali language it meant an axle sepated from its wheel or a bone detached from its socket. In the Buddha’s statement, life is out of whack, hence the reason man is doomed to suffer.
The Second Noble Truths – tanha – the reason for the suffering – translated as lust or desire, in Buddhas terms is meant craving for fulfilment. As long as man strives he will be dislocated from the universe and will suffer. The Buddha was building on an idea from the Upanisads in that every man should seek identification with everything. The Buddha didn’t regard this process as involving a universal spirit like the Brahman of the Upanisads.
The Third Noble Truth is the craving for individuality has to be overcome and the Forth Noble Truth is the means for overcoming it is the Eightfold Path.
Like the Bibles’ 10 Commandments, the Eightfold Path is the code by which we are to live by, however unlike the Commandments, are to held to be true and binding for all mankind forever, the Path is a set of rules by which to follow in ascending order, and until the 1st one has been mastered one cannot proceed to the next.
The 1st step is Right Understanding: If man is to win salvation he must know the Four Noble truths.
The 2nd is Right Purpose, man must try to reach salvation. T
he 3rd is Right Speech, man must not lie nor commit slander as both come from the will to perpetuate identity and therefore shut the aspirant of from salvation.
The 4th is Correct Behavior toward which Buddha offers five precepts as follows
Do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, do not be unchaste, do not drink intoxicants.
The 5th is Right Means of Livelihood: one must be engaged in an occupation conducive to salvation- with preference the monastic llife.
The 6th is Right Effort, one must have will to success.
The 7th is Right Awareness: one must examine one’s behaviour and as a patient in psychoanalysis, trace it to its’ roots and understand and discard the cause of wrongdoings.
The 8th and final step on the Path is Right Meditation: one must reflect often and reflect on the truth if one is to find true salvation.
The Buddha our most enduring Icon
You do not have to be religious to be interested in its' philosophy.
The message of Buddhism is represented in the texts written here and this video give you a very good insight into the life of the Buddha.
Buddhism was almost wiped out until the 1800's.
Buddhism spread to China and Japan and many westerners practice Buddhism.
Archaic Jade Buddha Sakyamuni
Your thoughts on Buddhism
Religions like politics can be a very difficult topic to discuss with people, however, I would like your thought on the teachings of Buddha.
Unlike other religions Buddhism is very tolerant of other religions - what do you think?
Would like your feedback on the overthrow of the ruling family of Tibet by the invasion of the Chinese and massacre of the family and others.