Gautam Buddha was the founder, pioneer, great scholar and philosopher of Buddhism. He is also considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Lord Rama. He was born in 563 BC in Lumbini (now in Nepal) near Kapilavastu, the then capital of the Shakya Republic. When Mahamaya, the queen of Kapilvastu was going to Devdah, there was labor pains on the way and she gave birth to a child. This baby was named Siddhartha, who later became famous as Gautama Buddha. Gautama Buddha’s initial name was Prince Siddhartha. He was called Gautama because he was born in the Gautama gotra.
Gautam Buddha’s Childhood
As per the legend, the queen of Kapilvastu and the mother of Gautam Siddhatha, Mahamaya died seven days after his birth. So, he was raised by his aunt, Mahaprajavati (Gautami), the second queen of Shuddhodhana. During the birth ceremony of Siddharth, a sage had predicted that the child would become a great king or a pioneer in something new and innovative. Siddhartha was of a compassionate nature from childhood and this is what propelled him to find the truth, which can be used by humankind for their guidance.
The Education of Gautama Buddha
From childhood, Siddhartha had a desire to know new things. As per some sources, his early education was with Guru Vishwamitra. There he studied the Vedas and the Upanishads and also learnt about warfare. He did not like wrestling, horse racing, archery and so on.
Gautam Buddha’s Marriage, Wife And Children
Siddhartha was of a compassionate nature, so from his childhood, his mind did not seem to enjoy sensual pleasures. After this, his father married him to a girl named Yashodhara. After marriage, Yashodhara gave birth to a son, who was named Rahul. However, Siddhartha could not feel peace or content in the house. Because of this, he used to be lost in thoughts all the time. After Rahul’s birth, he left his wife and Rahul and went for penance.
How Siddhartha Became The Buddha
As per the story, one day he went out to visit the city. On his way, he saw many people, including the sick people, the elderly and the deceased. His mind became restless when he saw these situations. When his father came to know about it, he commanded all the people in the city, including the city guards, that no such scenes should come in front of the prince, as they may propel the prince towards renunciation.
However, one day Siddhartha expressed his desire to roam and set out with the city guards. Everyone tried their best to not let Prince Siddhartha see any such situation. Meanwhile, Siddhartha saw an old man on the way. He asked the charioteer about this old man. The charioteer said that he is an old man and after young age, this condition happens to everyone. Thereafter, Siddhartha saw a sick man and he also enquired about him from the charioteer. Siddhartha got the reply that illness is a usual phenomenon in human beings. Then they saw some people carrying a dead body. When he enquired about it, he was told that after old age & sickness, death is an inevitable outcome for everyone. Siddharth noticed that the wife and family members of the deceased are mourning after his death. Seeing all this, he became disenchanted with worldly matters and his mind became restless and uninterested in worldly matters. His father had prepared a palace with all the means of enjoyment in it, but none of them attracted Lord Buddha.
One night while his wife and child were sleeping, he left his house silently. He went to the forest and started doing severe penance there. Gradually, due to penance, his body became very weak, but he did not find the mental peace that he was looking for.
Thereafter, he chose the middle path and left austerity (and sensuality) and reached Gaya (in Bihar) and started meditating there. He took deep meditation for 6 years. At the age of 36, Siddhartha attained enlightenment under a peepal tree on the banks of the Niranjana River on the full moon night of Vaishakh month. Due to this incident, Gaya came to be known as Bodh Gaya and the tree under which he had received knowledge became famous as Bodhivriksha.
The Teachings Of Gautama Buddha
The Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath (near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh), which is called Dharmachakra Pravartan in Buddhist texts. He gave his sermons in Pali language in the states of Kosala, Kaushambi and Vaishali.
Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha are considered Triratnas in Buddhism. They are recited as follows –
I Take Refuge In Buddha,
I Take Refuge In Dhamma,
I Take Refuge In Sangha.
Buddhism, Worldly Sorrows and The Eightfold Path
Talking about Buddhism, after the fourth Buddhist association, Buddhism divided into two parts Hinayana (officially, the Therevada) and Mahayana. It is well known that Siddhartha, suffering from worldly sorrows, had chosen the path of disinterest after killing him. In such a situation, he has said many things in his sermons regarding worldly sorrows. In relation to worldly sorrows, he has preached four Aryan truths, which include grief, grief community, grief prevention and sorrow prevention, Gamini Pratipada.
Not only this, Buddha has also suggested the way of liberation from worldly sufferings. These are asexual paths – Samyak Darshan, Samyak Sankalpa, Samyak Vani, Samyak Karmant, Samyak Aajeev, Samyak Exercise, Samyak Smriti and Samyak Samadhi.
Gautam Buddha – Special Points About Him & His Teachings:
- Saddened by worldly illusions and problems, Siddhartha renounced life at the age of 29. In Buddhism, it is called Mahabhinishkamana.
- Subsequently, Siddhartha received Sankhya philosophy from Alarkalam in Vaishali. Alarkalaam was his first guru.
- After that, Siddhartha got education from Rudrakaramput of Rajgir.
- In Uruvela, Siddhartha found 5 sadhakas named Kaundinya, Vappa, Bhadia, Mahanama and Assagi.
- His principal followers were Bimbasar, Prasenjit and Udayan among the rulers.
- Entry into Buddhist Union is called Upasampada.
Gautam Buddha has given more emphasis on 10 things for attaining nirvana, these include truth, non-violence, non-stealing, not possessing any kind of property, avoiding alcohol consumption, not eating junkies, not sleeping on a comfortable bed, wealth accumulation, being distant from the opposite gender, staying away from dancing, singing, etc.
Buddhism in India
Buddhism is the gift of Gautama Buddha. It is a religion and philosophy derived from the tradition of India. Well, Buddhism originated before Christianity and the Islamic religion. It is considered to be the fourth largest religion in the world after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Buddhism spread in India in a big way during ancient times. Although it does not enjoy that much clout now, it still has a reasonably good following in the country.
Buddhism has spread to other countries as well. Even today, Buddhism is the main religion in many countries like China and Japan. Besides, other countries with a large or sizeable or reasonable Buddhist population are found in: South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Tibet, Bhutan, Macau, Burma, Lagos and Sri Lanka. Similarly India, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, United States of America, France, UK, Germany, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Canada, Singapore, Philippines, Brazil and Afghanistan also have a small number of Buddhist believers. In Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, due to atrocities on the Buddhists, their numbers are declining gradually.
The Teachers And Disciples Of Gautama Buddha
Although Gautama Buddha got his first education from Alarkalam, he had various other gurus during his search for truth. His chief gurus were Vishwamitra, Uddaka Ramaputta, etc. The principal 10 disciples of the Buddha were Anand, Anirudha, Mahakashyapa, Rani Khema, Mahaprajapati, Bhadrika, Bhrigu, Kimbal, Devadatta and Upali. Promoters of Buddhism prominently include Angulimal, Greek Emperor Milind, Emperor Ashoka, Hiuen Tsang, Fa Shien, E Jing, He Cho, Bodhisattva or Bodhidharma, Vimal Mitra, Venda, Upagupta (Guru of Ashoka), Vajrabodhi, Ashwaghosh, Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Maitreyanath, Arya Asanga, Vasubandhu, Sthimati, Dignag, Dharmakirti, Shantarakshita, Kamalashila, Sautratrik, Amrapali and Sanghamitra etc.
The Establishment Of The Buddhist Association
When the number of Buddhist monks began to increase in numbers, due to the spread of Buddhism, the Buddhist Association was established, which was called the Buddhist Sangha. The special thing about the Sangha was that the Buddha also allowed women to join the Buddhist Sangha. Women were also prominent preachers in the Sangha.
Indeed, Buddha offers the crux of spiritual intellectuality and the gist of extensive rational-spiritual churning. This religion offers the golden rule to erase sufferings and establish happiness.