Who was Buddha
All you heard the name of this remarkable and great man who became the founder of the world’s oldest religion – Buddhism. For Buddhists all over the world figure of the Buddha has the same deep meaning as the figure of Jesus Christ for Christians.
And who was this man and what is his story, I try to tell in this article.
Buddha translated from Sanskrit as enlightened, the Buddha at all – it’s probably not a name, but title. If one of us will reach this state – enlightened 1 (or Nirvana), then he becomes Buddha. In the world there were many Buddhas (that is, people who have attained enlightenment). But the man from whom the tradition of Buddhism appeared, which became the first Buddha – is a real historical figure with a very interesting life and biography. His real name Siddhartha Gautama, the title of the Buddha, he received only when he was 35 year old reached a state of enlightenment, finally freed from suffering, reaching an absolute joy and understanding all the illusions of our being.
Our hero was born in the sun of India, in the valley of the Ganges – the most economically developed parts of the country. The exact date of birth, the future founder of Buddhism is not known, historians still argue, however, it is where in the time interval between 624 BC. and 566 BC. His father was Shuddhodana – Raja’s small but powerful principality. According to legend, at the time when wife of Raja Shuddhodana was still pregnant, Raja has met with a wandering ascetic, an astrologer who predicted the Rajah that he’ll have a boy who will become a great leader who will unite all the Indian states and create a powerful kingdom, or will become a great saint. Of course his father, Raja, really wanted his son to follow in his footsteps (and what parents do not want the children to go their ways?) He was a great leader, and to his son chose the same path, tried to do everything possible (and impossible too). From early childhood, Buddha’s life was surrounded by an incredible luxury. Father tried to prevent son of any acquaintance with the religious teachings or human suffering. So, never let him out of the palace alone. When the young prince had out to walk around the city, the soldiers of Raja before force away all the weak, the sick and old people, that they have not caught the eye of the prince. All childhood and teenage years young prince lived in an atmosphere of permanent feast, in the company of beautiful girls and guys, musicians and dancers. When Prince was 16 years old, his father married his second cousin to Yashodhara, she soon gave him a son named Rahula.
However, this could not last always, and this whole glamorous life in the end he slowly became annoying. One night, Siddhartha secretly left the palace and go to town. There he sees the first ever sick, elderly, cripples, beggars. That’s all it is deeply affects, he realizes that beauty, youth, the luxury in which he lived all his life, it’s not natural and artificial. Under these deep impressions in the morning he returned to his palace, and there is yet another booze-bat, beautiful dancers dancing belly dancing, musicians playing captivating melodies, but they’re not happy with our prince anymore.
Finally ended another day of endless celebration, all drank their fill with wine, danced and went to bed. And he has insomnia, he goes to the palace at night and sees his friends and girlfriend sleeping on the floor in a beautiful dancer, straight from the open mouth dripping saliva on the face. He is disgusted by all this luxury one, in which he spent his life. That night, he leaves the palace (also leaves his wife and young son with) forever. And he becomes a wandering beggar-ascetic2.
He begins, doing various ascetic practices under the guidance of Brahmin, yoga, breathing exercises, starving, sleeping on the cold stone, meditating for months, living in the jungle. After six years of rigorous yoga practices, he still feels like it something is missing, and that this path of severe austerities can not satisfy his yearning soul.
One day he sat in meditation under a tree Bodhi, on the banks of the river. Meanwhile, floated down the river boat, which sailed with two musicians and one sitar senior and more experienced musician taught the young: “In order for your sitar playing melodic sounds, must learn to pull the strings as it should, if pull them poorly, they will hang out and You do not have from it no sounds. Pull the string too strong, they will not withstand tension and break. “
This phrase struck him like a shock (despite the fact that in those days there was no hint of electricity). He realized the error of his life. Always in two extremes, first at the palace, buried in incredible luxury, then engaged in severe austerities in the wild jungle. The truth was always in the middle. So there was the doctrine of the middle path, which is at the heart of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama and in that moment became a Buddha – an enlightened man.
On the basis of faith, which formed the Buddha, sitting under the Bodhi tree will be discussed in the next article, “The wisdom of Buddhism.”
And in conclusion I would like to say that the idea of a middle path is present not only in Buddhism but also in Christianity (and in all religions). This was a good Christian parable about Abba Antonii 3:
A man came into the wilderness to hunt wild animals and found Abba Anthony, when he told the monks all jokes, and thought about him wrong. And the old man, trying to explain to him that sometimes the monks have to be condescending, says: – Put boom on your bow and strain your bow. He did as told. The elder said again: – Another strain your! He strained at all, and again for his old man: – strain your! Hunter tells him: – You know, if too much of tensions, string breaks. And then the old man said: – That’s it, and the case of God. When talking with the monks, stretch the string over a given measure them, they will soon pluck. That’s necessary in once, sometimes to show them a little indulgence. And the hunter, having received great benefit of the soul had departed, and the monks, enjoying the joke, went away.
- Enlightenment – the highest state of consciousness in Buddhism. ↩
- Asceticism – the kind of spiritual practice that is associated with the conscious self-restrictions, the complete renunciation of material goods. Includes a miserable life, fulfillment of vows severe and even self-torture. The aim is to achieve the highest spiritual blessings. ↩
- Abba Anthony – great Christian saint and ascetic, was born in 251 in the city of the Komi Republic, Egypt, one of the first Christian monks, hermits. ↩