Friday, July 23, 2010

Gautama BuddhaBorn c. 563 BCE or 623 BCE Lumbini, today in Nepal Died c. 483 BCE or 543 BCE (aged 80)

The birth of Pince Siddharth was a significant event in the history of mankind. He was born in 563 B.C. to King Suddhodana and Queen Maya in the royal grove of Lumbini between Devadaha and Kapilvastu.
The royal family belonged to the Gautama Gothra of the Sakya clan of the solar race. Their kingdom Kapilvastu was between the Nepalese foothills and the river Raptu. The Shakayas were priestly-warriors, wealthy knights and landowners.

On the fifth day of the birth of the prince, the naming ceremonies were performed and it was predicted that the newly born was destined to be either a universal monarch or a supreme enlightened one, a Buddha. King was shocked by this prediction and enquired, "What will my son see that will be the occasion of his forsaking the household life?" The soothsayers said, "Four signs" and described them as "a man worn by age, a sick man, a dead body and a hermit".
The King provided his son with all luxuries, and ensured a comfortable and pleasure-filled childhood with the best education. He took special care to protect him from any negative sight. In his youth, Prince Siddhartha married Princess Yasodhara. She bore him a son. But all these worldly ties were not able to stop him from forfeiting worldly pleasures.
During one of his few excursions, Siddhartha saw four things, which opened his eyes towards the harsh realities of life. He saw an old man suffering from the frailties of age, a sick man suffering from disease, a beggar suffering from hunger and he saw a dead body. All these events affected him immensely and Siddhartha finally came to the conclusion that nothing is permanent in life. The infirmities of old age, the pangs of hunger, the pain of sickness and end of life brought sufferings that he had never experienced. All these events in his life forced him to search for truth that eventually changed his life.
At the age of twenty-nine, he left his home in search of the answers to his questions, leaving behind his wife and son, his father and a crown that held the promises of power and glory. After leaving his homeland, Siddhartha made his way to the hermitage of renowned sages of that time. But found these teachers' range of knowledge was insufficient to grant him that which was still unknown to him. He followed the path of self-mortification and went on testing the truth of it for six years but could not attain his desired goal.
Self-mortification could not lead to his desired aim. He came to death's door and realized the utter futility of self-mortification. He gave up self-torture, extreme fasting and began to take nourishing food. Gradually he regained strength and his original appearance. Then began an intense meditation program until he came to know about the absolute truth. He meditated under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya. At the end of his meditation, in just one night (C. 528 B.C.), Siddhartha came to know about all his previous lives and the truth about cycle of birth and rebirth and how to end the cycle of infinite sorrow. Siddhartha became the "Buddha" or "awakened one".
After two months the Buddha decided to impart knowledge and enlightenment to others. The first sermon of Buddha was held at the deer garden in Banaras. Buddha called his teachings "the Middle Way" because it was midway between asceticism and indulgence. His "Four Noble Truths", which are the foundation of all Buddhist beliefs, are:
1.All human life is suffering.
2.All suffering is caused by human desire
3.An end of human desire is the end of human sufferings.
4.An end to all the desire can be achieved by following the "Eightfold Noble Path".
The Eightfold Noble Path is:
1.Right Understanding
2.Right Thought
3.Right Speech
4.Right Action
5.Right Livelihood
6.Right Effort
7.Right Mindfulness
8.Right Concentration
For the next forty-five years after his enlightenment, he taught as the Buddha or "Shakyamuni" (the sage of the Shakaya). Buddha established an order of monks called the Sangha.
The Buddha attained Parinibbana (freedom from the cycle of birth and death) at the age of eighty.
After his enlightenment, he went to the Deer Park near the holy city of Benares and shared his new understanding with five holy men. They understood immediately and became his disciples. This marked the beginning of the Buddhist community.
For the next forty-five years, the Buddha and his disciples went from place to place in India spreading the Dharma, his teachings. Their compassion knew no bounds, they helped everyone along the way, beggars, kings and slave girls. At night, they would sleep where they were; when hungry they would ask for a little food.
Whenever the Buddha went, he won the hearts of the people because he dealt with their true feelings. He advised them not to accept his words on blind faith, but to decide for themselves whether his teachings are right or wrong, then follow them. He encouraged everyone to have compassion for each other and develop their own virtue, "You should do your own work, for I can teach only the way."
He never became angry or impatient or spoke harshly to anyone, not even to those who opposed him. He always taught in such a way that everyone could understand. Each person thought the Buddha was speaking especially for him. The Buddha told his followers to help each other on the Way. Following is a story of the Buddha living as an example to his disciples.
Once the Buddha and Ananda visited a monastery where a monk was suffering from a contagious disease. The poor man lay in a mess with no one looking after him. The Buddha himself washed the sick monk and placed him on a new bed. Afterwards, he admonished the other monks. "Monks, you have neither mother nor father to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who will look after you? Whoever serves the sick and suffering, serves me."

The Four Noble Truths:

1.  All things and experiences are marked by suffering/ disharmony/ frustration (dukkha)

2.  The arising of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration comes from desire/ craving/ clinging.

3.  To achieve the cessation/ end of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, let go of desire/ craving/ clinging.

4.  The way to achieve that cessation of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, is walking the Eightfold Path.

The eightfold path to the cessation of suffering:

1.  Right Understanding of the following facts:
  • the truth about suffering ... (The Four Truths);
  • everything is impermanent and changes;
  • there is no separate individual self- this is an illusion. (We are one!)
2.  Right Determination to:
  • give up what is wrong and evil;
  • undertake what is good;
  • abandon thoughts that have to do with bringing suffering to any conscious being; cultivate thoughts that are of loving kindness, that are based on caring for others' suffering, and sympathetic joy in others' happiness.
3.  Right Speech:
  • Abstain from telling lies.
  • Abstain from talk that brings harm or discredit to others (such as backbiting or slander) or talk that creates hatred or disharmony between individuals and groups.
  • Abstain from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, or abusive language.
  • Abstain from idle, useless, and foolish babble and gossip. Abstain from recrimination and negative statements.
  • Abstain from harsh speech—practice kindly speech.
  • Abstain from frivolous speech—practice meaningful speech.
  • Abstain from slanderous speech—practice harmonious speech.
  • Speak the truth if it is useful and timely. Practice only necessary speech. Let your speech be filled with loving kindness. Speak that which alleviates suffering.
4.  Right Action:
  • Peaceful, honorable conduct; abstain from dishonest dealings; take concrete steps necessary to foster what is good.
  • Do things that are moral, honest, and alleviate suffering. Do not do things that will bring suffering to others or yourself.
5.  Right Livelihood:
  • Abstain from making your living from an occupation that brings harm and suffering to humans or animals, or diminish their well being. This includes: activities that directly harm conscious beings, and activities that indirectly harm sentient beings, e.g., making weapons or poisons.
6.  Right Effort:
  • Foster good and prevent evil;
  • Work on yourself—be engaged in appropriate self-improvement. The essence of right effort is that everything must be done with a sense of proper balance that fits the situation. Effort should be properly balanced between trying too hard and not trying hard enough. For example, strike the balance between excessive fasting and over-indulgence in food. Trying hard to progress too rapidly gets poor results, as does not trying hard enough.
7.  Right Mindfulness or wakefulness:
  • Foster right attention.
  • Avoid whatever clouds our mental awareness (e.g., drugs).
  • Systematically and intentionally develop awareness.
8.  Right Concentration:
  • Developed by practicing meditation and/or mental focusing. Proper meditation must be done continuously while awake, and should include work on awareness of body, emotions, thought, and mind objects.

Five basic precepts:

1.  Abstain from killing living beings (from destroying/taking life)—or practice love.

2.  Abstain from taking the not-given (from stealing)—or practice generosity, practice giving.

3.  Abstain from sexual misconduct—or practice contentment.

4.  Abstain from false speech (from lying)—or practice truthfulness.

5.  Abstain from taking intoxicating drinks—or practice awareness and mental clarity.

Buddha said:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

The following prose, attributed to Buddha, is a poetic expression of the way he saw the world.

Buddha said:

  • I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes.
  • I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles.
  • I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags.
  • I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil upon my foot.
  • I perceive the teachings of the world as the illusions of magicians.
  • I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes.
  • I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, nirvana as a nightmare of daytime.
  • I look upon the judgments of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of belief as traces left by the four seasons.  
  • Just click on link what Budhha said,-

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