Siddhartha Gautama was born around 623 BC in Lumbini which is near Kapilvastu in the Sakya’s family. He was the son of king and queen as he was born in the royal family. Since then Lumbini is known by the place of Buddha. Lumbini has become the major attraction place of tourist and also enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage site. The name of Gautama’s father was Suddhodhan who was the leader of the Shakya Clan. The name of his mother is Yashodhara who died just seven days after the birth of Buddha. Buddha used to be called Siddhartha Gautama in his childhood.
When Buddha was born, the king called a priest to predict about the future of Buddha. Then the priest examined the child with his Clairvoyance and told the king. It means there were signs that the boy could become either a Chakravartin king, a ruler of the entire world or a fully enlightened Buddha. Then the king decided that he will not let the Buddha go out of the palace, he will not let his son be familiar with the outer world. After that, the childhood of Buddha fully spends inside the palace. Buddha got all the facilities inside his house and was totally unknown and unaware of the outside world. In another word he has everything.
But he was not only satisfied by the inner knowledge, but he also wanted to outside. Then one day he went outside the streets of Kapilavastu. On that day he noticed a sick man, an old man and a dead body carrying for the funeral. He had never experienced this kind of things in his easy and luxury life. When his Charioteer told him that all the living beings who take birth in this world have to face sickness, old age, and death. Everybody has to die one day. After listening such kind of words from the charioteer Buddha cannot rest then after. As he was returning to the palace he passed away from the ascetic wearing globe and carrying a single bowl that was Sadhu. Then a question begins to arise in the heart of Buddha that “What is the reasons for all these sufferings”.
At the age of 16, he got married to a girl named Yashodhara and they had a son Rahul. Although he was married and he had everything he was not happy because he wanted all the answers that arose in the mind n heart of Buddha. He became a member of Sakhyasangh at the age of 20. But after 8 years disputes occur between Shakya and Koli in the topic of using water of Rohini river. Some of the peoples of both sides got injured. Then the head of Shakyasangh decided to do war with Koli to teach them a good lesson. But Siddhartha opposed the plan and said “war is not the solution of any problem, better have a council between two sides and that council will solve the issue’. Almost all the member of Sanghwere disagreed by Siddhartha. Another day head of Sangh said to he is recruiting new soldiers for the war and for those soldiers above 20 years and below 50 years is needed. Again Siddhartha refused to do this. Being angry with Siddhartha head of Sangh recalled him in the meeting and made the council but Siddhartha was not ready for the war anymore. Then the whole Sangh told to Siddhartha that if he is not ready to do war with Kolis then he had to be ready for death penalty either or he had to leave the palace. But the head of Sangh said if Siddhartha will die then the king will not let us live too. Then the Siddhartha replied if this is your problem then I am ready to leave the palace. So in that night Siddhartha left the palace as well as his families too and went in search of his answers of sufferings.
However searching process of Siddhartha started from there. He started by seeking out by renowned teachers. They thought him about lots of religious philosophies of his day as well as how to meditate. After he had learned as they had to teach but his doubt and question remained. He along with five disciples left to find enlightenment by themselves. The companion of six tried every possible trick to find answers through a physical discipline like enduring pain, holding their breath, and fasting nearly to starvation. Yet Siddhartha was still unsatisfied. He realized that instead of getting answers to his questions he was getting pain and self- mortification. Then he started to start a middle way between those two extremes. He remembered the experience of childhood and realized that instead of starvation he needed nourishment to build up his strength for the effort. When he accepted a bowl of rice from a young girl, his friends became angry with him with the thought of he had given up from mission and they abandoned him.
That night, Siddhartha sat under the Bodhi tree vowing not to get up until the truths he sought came to him, and he meditated continuously till the next day. He remained seated there for several days, purifying his mind, seeing his entire life, and previous lies, in his thoughts. After some days Mara an evil demon came to threat the Siddhartha. When Mara was threatening the Siddhartha in every possible way, Siddhartha touched his hand to the ground and asked the earth to bear witness to his enlightenment, which it did, banishing Mara. And after that whole picture began to form in his mind of all that occurred in the universe. Siddhartha finally got all the answers of sufferings after the long period meditation and he proved his bravery and courtesy. So, at that moment pure enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha it means “he was awake”.
After that, Buddha started his journey as a teacher. At first, Buddha was reluctant to teach because what he had realized could not be understandable by other peoples. People will able to understand those teachings only if people attempt full discipline and clarity of mind. Listeners without that direct experience would be stuck in conceptualization and surely will have negative thoughts about everything Buddha said. So being ready to bear the risk, Buddha made the decision to spend the remainder of his life teachings others how to escape the inherent sufferings of life. For many years Buddha traveled around India, especially around the Ganges plain and in Nepal, teaching his philosophy of liberation. But his teachings remained only into orally and not written down till many years after his death.
In his teachings, many stories related to the life of Buddha were included. His main teachings were of love, compassion for all living beings and this was the most important teaching. The following main doctrines constitute the substance of his teachings;.
The four noble truths or the Arya Satya; In his enlightenment, he found out the real cause of miseries of human life. He also found out the solution to overcome those miseries which followed endlessly with the wheel of karma, birth, and rebirth. These foundations are called the four nobles of truths.
The first truth was the truth of pain or sorrow. It means that “ birth is a pain, old age is a pain, sickness is a pain, death is pain” which Buddha felt. There was everything sorrowful, transit and full of pain. The existence of this sorrow was in the nature of life.
The second truth founded by Buddha was the truth of pain and sorrow. This cause desires. The desire was the lost and the thirst for all worldly things. That was the root of all pain or sorrows of people.
The third truth was the truth that ends the pain or sorrows. The ending of pain was only possible by ending desires. To follow the end of the sorrows was perfect bliss. It was like the end of life and death. And that was real freedom or emancipation.
The fourth was the truth to end the desires. It means if happiness is felt by the inner heart with whatever people had then it is possible. This path was to lead to the real state of freedom or emancipation. This path was the real path to end the cycle of karma and rebirth.
The Noble eightfold path
Buddha gave 8 principles to follow to the people as his noble eightfold path. And the paths were right vision, right aims, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right efforts, right mindfulness, and right meditation.
By the right vision, Buddha meant that all man should realize how sorrowful was this world for man’s greed, desires, and selfishness. So, the man should rise above for a new vision for his own happiness and happiness for all. From the right aim, Buddha meant that man should not run after the wealth for own purpose only instead man has to help other men who are sufferings. By right speech, Buddha meant to say that man should give up all the falsehood, and criticizing others instead man should be truthful in his words and friendly and kind in his talks. By the right action, the man should avoid all the violence, killing, stealing instead could work for the good of all. By right livelihood means a man should not harm others man should be peace and simple. By right effort means a man should give up all the evil thoughts from heart and mind. By right mindfulness means a man should have to be able to differentiate between right and wrong. Finally, by the right meditation means concentrating on the real truth of existence which was essential for the discipline and training of the mind for achieving a higher goal.
Spread of Buddhism
To the poor and downtrodden, Buddha believed that all the people have equal status and freedom for all. Buddha wanted to improve the existing pattern and he did not want to replace it with a new one. The ethics and morality which Buddha propounded as the true religion of mankind had created a very deep impression on the people of India. People of India were very impressed by the teachings of Buddha. Both the learned and common people saw in the teachings of Buddha, a way of life for pure happiness. He had made an impression between all people during his life. His words have attracted princes and the poor alike. When Buddha died, the first Buddhist council held at Rajagriha were 500 Buddhist monks gathered from different Sanghas. The council adopted the council of Buddha. The second council of Buddha met one hundred years after the death of Buddha. It was at Vaishali under the patronage of the king of Magadha. Similarly, the third council was held at Pataliputra during the reign of Asoka and the fourth Buddhist Council was held in Kasmir under the guidance of Vasumitra and it was the last Buddhist council.
After that, the teachings spread as a popular religion. As the teachings of Buddha was simple and courteous the faith carried the appeal to the mass mind. It was taught in the simple language of the people, the pali, the equality of men, Where no ceremonies and costly rituals were necessary as well as there was also no need for priests. So, this was affordable and acceptable for all people. But, it was all the conversion of Emperor Asoka after his Kalinga war which gave Buddhism a new dimension. So, after the interval of sometimes Buddhism became the religion of Asian Humanity and Buddha became the “Light of Asia”.
According to Buddha
“ Happy the solitude of the peaceful; who knows are beholding the truth. Happy is that one who stands firmly unmoved, who holds himself in check at all times. Happy he whose every sorrow, whose every wish is at an end. The conquest of the stubbornness of the egoity is truly the supreme happiness”.
Death of Buddha
The Lord Gautama Buddha died at the age of 80 at a place named Kushinagar in the present days Gorakhpur. Till the last moment of his life, he was an awesome teacher. At the last moment of his death, he gave the following instruction to his most faithful disciple Ananda. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Like a lamp hold the truth very fast. Hold fast as a refuge to the truth. Do not hope for any refuge and look back to anyone besides yourselves.”
While he was uttering these words, he closed his eyes. So, the Nirvana of Buddha took place in the year 486 B.C. And the great decrease of Buddha is known as the Parinirvana. So, it was the renunciation of Buddha, his search for truth also his valuable discoveries. Related to earthy sufferings of man, his earnest endeavor for the liberation of man from the boundaries of desires. His advice for a nobler with a better life for Salvation made deep appeals to the human mind. The life story of Buddha has ever remained a source of motivational and spiritual inspiration to millions. In this world of sufferings, he suffered himself to find out the real meaning of eternal happiness as well as he lived to teach man the meaningless of worldly affairs. The life of Buddha was full of dedication and struggle. At that time when he was the inspiration of million peoples, he has won the great name and fame. Lots of reputed people used to bow head towards Buddha but he himself begging bowl for a morsel of food just for survival. So, this was the man ever born and the founder of the world’s largest religion.