GAUTAMA BUDDHA – LIGHT OF ASIAJuly 23, 2020
Gautama Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal,He was a philosopher, mendicant .His father Suddhodana was a Sakya king and his mother Maya also came from a princely family. Seven days after his birth his mother died, leaving him to the care of her sister and his step mother Mahajapati, who was also a wife of Suddhodana.
Early Life of Gautama Buddha
The young Gautama Buddha was brought up in Kapilavastha, which was the capital of Sakya kingdom. When he was born, legend records the occurrence of several miracles, confirming the arrival of a great being into the world. His father and some prominent members of his court were aware that a divine child, who was was destined to be a great person, was born amidst them. His parents gave him the name Siddhartha. They expected him to grow and become a successful and skillful king.
The Four Sights
Soon Gautama Buddha became disillusioned with the palace life and wanted to see the outside world. He made four trips outside the palace and saw four things that changed his life. On the first three trips, he saw sickness, old age and death. Gautama Buddha asked himself, “How can I enjoy a life of pleasure when there is so much suffering in the world?”On his fourth trip, he saw a wandering monk who had given up everything he owned to seek an end to suffering. “I shall be like him.” Buddha thought.
Leaving his kingdom and loved ones behind, Gautama Buddha became a wandering monk. He cut off his hair to show that he had renounced the worldly lifestyle and called himself Gautama. He wore ragged robes and wandered from place to place. In his search for truth, he studied with the wisest teachers of his day. None of them knew how to end suffering, so he continued the search on his own.
For six years he practiced severe asceticism thinking this would lead him to enlightenment. He sat in meditation and ate only roots, leaves and fruit. At times he ate nothing. He could endure more hardships than anyone else, but this did not take him anywhere. Gautama Buddha thought, “Neither my life of luxury in the palace nor my life as an ascetic in the forest is the way to freedom. Overdoing things can not lead to happiness. ” He began to eat nourishing food again and regained his strength.
On a full-moon day in May, he sat under the Bodhi tree in deep meditation and said. “I will not leave this spot until I find an end to suffering.” During the night, he was visited by Mara, the evil one, who tried to tempt him away from his virtuous path. First he sent his beautiful daughters to lure Gautama into pleasure. Next he sent bolts of lightning, wind and heavy rain. Last he sent his demonic armies with weapons and flaming rocks. One by one, Gautama Buddha met the armies and defeated them with his virtue.
As the struggle ended, he realized the cause of suffering and how to remove it. He had gained the most supreme wisdom and understood things as they truly are. He became the Buddha, ‘The Awakened One’. From then on, he was called Shakyamuni Buddha.
Basic Teachings Of Gautama Buddha
- Nothing is lost in the universe: We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, Gautama Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.
- Everything Changes: Once dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers roamed this earth. They all died out, yet this was not the end of life. Other life forms like smaller mammals appeared, and eventually humans, too. Now we can even see the Earth from space and understand the changes that have taken place on this planet. Our ideas about life also change. People once believed that the world was flat, but now we know that it is round.
- Law of cause and Effect: The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think.
Four noble truths of Gautama Buddha
1. Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing
Birth- When we are born, we cry.
Sickness- When we are sick, we are miserable.
Old age- When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around.
Death- None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.
2. The cause of suffering : Gautama Buddha once children have had a taste of candy, they want more. When they can’t have it, they get upset. Even if children get all the candy they want, they soon get tired of it and want something else. Although, they get a stomach-ache from eating too much candy, they still want more. The things people want most cause them the most suffering. Of course, there are basic things that all people should have, like adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Everyone deserve a good home, loving parents, and good friends. They should enjoy life and cherish their possessions without becoming greedy.
3. The end of suffering: To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one’s views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. It is like blowing out a candle. The flame of suffering is put out for good. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace.
4. The path to the end of suffering: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way
The Noble Eightfold Path
1 Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha–with wisdom and compassion.
2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.
3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.
4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.
5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, “Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy.”
6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.
7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.
What we can learn from Gautama Buddha
- Give generously to others.
- Free yourself from attachments.
- Take the journey within to find answers.
- Walk a humble path.
- Conquer the ego (mind) and free the soul.
- Release feelings of hate, resentment, and fear.