Gautam Buddha is commonly known as Lord Buddha or The Buddha. He was a famous religious leader in ancient India. He is considered as the founder of Buddhism. It is currently one of the most followed religions in the world.
The followers of Buddha are known as ‘Buddhists’ – the enlightened beings. They are regarded as the people who have rediscovered the path to freedom. Buddhists believe in reincarnation. Gautam Buddha had himself propagated the religion for nearly 45 years.
He believed that suffering and dissatisfaction lead to a state called ‘Nirvana’.
Gautam Buddha is regarded as one of the greatest religious preachers to have ever lived on the planet. He was a true ambassador of peace and harmony.
Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini in 6th century BC (Terai region of Nepal). He was looked upon as the messenger of peace, equality and fraternity. His original name was Siddhartha Gautam. He was born in the royal family of Kapilavastu. King Suddhodhana was Gautam Buddha’s father. His mother Maya Devi, died soon after giving birth to him. As a child, Buddha was very thoughtful and had a broad mind. Being very disciplined, he started questioning contemporary concepts out of curiosity.
Gautam Buddha always wanted to devote his life to spirituality and meditation. However his father was not really happy with his son’s approach towards life. King Suddhodhana always feared that Gautam would leave his family to pursue his wishes. He never really let his son leave the palace at any time. Gautam got married to beautiful princess Yashodhara when he was 18 years old. They had a son called ‘Rahul’. Even though Siddhartha had a happy family, he could never really find peace. He always wanted to ‘explore’ beyond the four walls of his magnificent palace.
Way to Enlightenment
According to the manuscripts, Buddha had understood that nothing in this world is permanent after meeting an old man, an ailing person, and a corpse. He realized that all the pleasures he enjoyed were temporary and understood that he will have to eventually leave them behind! It was a turning point in his life. He soon left his family, gave upon his throne and kingdom, and started roaming in the forests and places aimlessly. He was determined to find the real truth and purpose of life. In his journey, he interacted with several scholars and saints.
He started meditating. He could only realize the ultimate truth after sitting under a huge banyan tree for six years. At the age of 35, Gautama Buddha got enlightened at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. He attained limitless ‘wisdom’. The tree under which he sat was named as Bodhi Vriksha. Post enlightenment, Gautam Buddha delivered his first speech in Sarnath. He could find out the ultimate truth behind the sorrows and troubles faced by the people in the world. He pointed out that it was due to their desires and attraction to earthly things.
The teachings of Buddha are compiled in the Vinaya. Through oral traditions, his teachings were passed on to the Indo-Aryan community.
In his lecture, he talked about the Noble Eightfold Path for conquering desires and attaining full control over our lives. The first three paths were for gaining physical control, the next 2 paths were meant for attaining mental control. The last 2 paths were meant for helping people attain the highest level of intellect. The paths include Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration!
According to Buddhism, there have been Buddhas in the past before Gautam Buddha and there will be Buddhas in the future as well.
- He believed that the ultimate motive of our soul was to find liberation.
- He stressed on the fact that it was important to be aware of the noble eightfold paths for attaining salvation.
- According to Buddha, each suffering makes us experience a new version of ourselves.
- If you are born, you are destined to die!
In short, for Buddhists, attaining ‘Nirvana’ was the ultimate goal of their lives!
Buddha never really talked about any god or almighty controlling our fate. According to him, following the Noble Eightfold Path was the only way to attain Nirvana!
Buddha died in 483 BC in Kushinagar. His life continues to be an inspiration for millions of his followers across the globe.
Check your knowledge
Answer) Siddhartha Gautam.
Answer) Bodhi Vriksha.