Buddha - The Enlightened One
Gautam Buddha was a sage who was born between 563 or 480 BCE in Lumbini... was a sage who was born between 563 or 480 BCE in Lumbini (Nepal) and died in between 483 or 400 BCE at the age of 80 in Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh). He was the founder of Buddhism. Through his meditation he gained the title of Buddha which means one who is awakened or enlightened. He awoke from the ignorance and unhappiness of the world and moved towards the brighter side of the life. He discovered a mid-path between sensual indulgence and severe asceticism. He taught people to live life but without hurting anyone and without getting hurt by anyone.
Buddha was named Siddhartha when he was born in a royal family in a small kingdom called Kapilavastu (India-Nepal border). Luxuries and material wealth surrounded him but he wanted to find the true meaning of life. His destination was predicted by priests who claimed that he will soon become the enlightened one and help people. His father was not happy to hear it as he was his only heir and wanted him to rule the kingdom. He made sure to make Siddhartha’s life so pleasant that he would never want to leave the palace. He was soon married to a beautiful princess named Yasodhara. They both spent their time only in the palace and never had to leave their house.
But he realized that the palace was not the complete world and so he wanted to see the outside world. He went out and saw three different phases of life, i.e., sickness, old age and death. He was hurt to see the sufferings and decided to renounce the worldly pleasures. One day, he saw a monk and decided he wanted to be like him. He left his kingdom and family and practiced severe asceticism to attain enlightenment. At times, he ate only roots and fruits and at times he didn’t eat anything and thus lost his strength. He realized that even to gain enlightenment, he needed strength and severe asceticism was not the solution and thus started eating properly.
Teachings of Buddha
Buddha discovered a noble eight-fold path which was a way to the end the sufferings one faces throughout the life. He said if people have a right view to see the world with wisdom and compassion, right intention to think clearly, right speech to utter kind and helpful words, right action to know how to behave in a civilized manner, right livelihood to do a job which doesn’t hurt anyone, right effort to do good all the times, right mindfulness to be aware of own thoughts, words and deeds and right concentration to focus on one thought at one time then one can attain peace and lifelong happiness. He represented this eight-fold path by a wheel which was made up of eight spokes. As the wheel keeps turning, the life keeps moving and one needs to take care of all the eight concepts.
Buddha also discovered three great truths of life. Firstly, nothing is ever lost in the universe. Our energy, our matter everything stays same, everything stays here. Therefore if we do wrong to others, we wrong ourselves. Secondly, nothing in this universe is permanent. Everything is continuously changing. Therefore, we should not be upset if someone dies or something gets lost as it is the nature of the universe. Thirdly, everything in this world depends on the law of cause and effect. As we sow, so shall we reap! Everything that happens to us is due to our own good and evil deeds and hence no one is to be blamed.
Finally he taught about the four noble truths. Firstly, suffering is inevitable. It happens to everyone. From birth till death, we all suffer and it is advisable to accept the fact. Secondly, we are the cause of our own sufferings, our evil deeds result in our sufferings. Thirdly, to cut the suffering, we should stop being ignorant. Consciously or unconsciously, we should never hurt anyone and stop the cycle of causing and receiving pain. Lastly, the path to end the suffering is the above mentioned noble eightfold path, also known as the middle way.
His teachings provided love and compassion to the world and thus his birthday is now celebrated as Buddha Purnima which falls on a full moon day.