Buddha : life ,beginning of an era
In the sixth century B.C., in the parts of north india in the modern day uttar Pradesh there was a place named kapilvatsu ruled by the sakya clan. The king or raja the clan was Suddhodana. Suddhodana was married to Mahamaya. Suddhodana was a man of great military prowess and was a very wealthy person. he had a second wife, named Mahaprajapati. She was the sister of Mahamaya.
In the month of Ashad. Suddhodana and Mahamaya came together, and Mahamaya conceived. In her sleep she had a dream,in which she saw that she was in the Himalayas and a Bodhisatva , by name Sumedha, appeared before her saying, and asked for her consent so that he can take birth on this earth. Next morning Mahamaya told her dream to Suddhodana. Suddhodana summoned eight Brahmins who were most famous with there foretelling. Suddhodana related to them the dream Mahamaya had and asked them what it mean. The Brahmins said, “not to worry , You will have a son, and if he leads a householder’s
life he will become a great king, and if he leaves his home becomes a sanyasi, he will become the enlightened one , a dispeller of illusions.
When Mahamaya was going to her maternal home in Devadaha for delivering the baby. She had to pass through a pleasure-grove of sal tree in lumbini
She delivered a son in the adobe of sal trees.The child was born in the year 563 B.C. on the Vaishakha Paurnima day. when the child was born, there was a great sage named Asita visited the kings palace. Asita after observing the child, beheld that it was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man and also had eighty minor marks, his body surpassing that of many gods.he fore told that the prince has two careers and no third. “either he will become a great king or if he leaves his house he will become a fully enlightened Buddha.” Asita knew that the child would become a Buddha started shedding tears thinking that he is old age and will not be able to see it. He said the boy will become Buddha and attain enlightenment , after that he will turn the supereme wheel of dhamma and will spread happiness and harmony for everyone.
On the fifth day, the ceremony took place in which The name siddharth was chosen for the child. Gautama was his clan name .thus he came to be called as siddharth Gautama
In the middle of rejoicing over the birth and the naming of the child, Mahamaya suddenly fell ill, and her illness became very serious. She entrusted the responsibility Prajapati and king suddhodana.
At the age of eight, Siddharth started his education under the eight brahims who had interoperated Mahamaya’s dream. After that he studied under a great philologist Sabbamitta who had all the knowledge of Vedas, Vedangas, and Upanishads
Siddharth also learned the science of concentration and meditation from one
Bhardawaj, who was a disciple of Alara Kalam,
Siddharth gautam showed early traits whenever he could he use to go a quiet place and practise mediation.
The prince belonging to the warrior class(kshatriya) was received teachings of combat also. He had being taught archery and use of weapons also. But he did not like it , he refused to join hunting parties with his friends and family. He was often ridiculed by his friends also because of this , they said he was afraid of tiger so didn’t go for hunting. But after all this also he maintanied that he didn’t like killing of inncocent animals.
Siddharth gautam was very compassionate about all living things from the beginging , he belived all to be equal. He explained that while thinking about living beings we create distinction and discrimination within us only. We divide them on the basis of friends and enemies, we divide them in animals and human beings. We discriminate between friends and enimies in the same way we discriminate pets from wild animals. He belived that universal love can be developed by meditating on the right subjects.
His supereme senese of compassion for all living beings lead him to make many enemies also. Once he was resting in the gardens , when a wounded bird fell in front of him. The bird had been shot by an arrow, the prince rushed to help . he removed the arrow and dressed its wound. He gave the bird water and help it him against his chest. His cousin devdatta came with a bow and arrow and asked siddarth that he had shot a bird has he seen it. Siddharth showed him the bird devadatta tried to take the bird but siddharth refused. There was a long argument between the two which reached the king. Devadutta argued that he had shot the bird so the bird belonged to him. Siddharth explained the person who saves the life has the right to claim it. He explained that a person who saves a life will always be greator than the person who tries to take it. In the end Siddharth got the bird.
In his sixteen year Siddharth was married to Yeshodhara . Yeshodhara was the daughter of another sakyan named Dandapni, she was famous for her beauty and conduct. After few years Yeshodhara gave birth to a son who was named Rahula.
The king was worried about the prophecy of the sage asita. He was ready to anything so that the prophecy fails. Hethougth of engrossing the prince with all the pleasures and joys of life. He built three luxurious palaces one for summer , one for rainy season and one for winters. These palaces had huge gardens with all kinds of flowers and trees.
He even built a place for courtseans who could keep Siddharth occuipied with sensual pleasures. But all of them failed as Siddharth thought how can some one be attracted to beauty which is perisable.
At the age of 20 Siddharth Gautama was introduced to the sangh and he started participating in the activities if the kingdom. He was always against war once there was a conflict between the sakyan’s and the neibhouring koliyas . Siddharth tried his best to persue the sangh not to go to war. He explained to them that enmity does
not disappear by enmity. It can be conquered by love only.”
When Siddharth was 29 he went to see his kingdom with channa his charioteer. His father had made all the efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering because he didn’t want to proficy to come true. Siddhartha while travelling in his kingdom was said to have seen an old man. Then he asked charioteer Channa about the old man he explained to him that all people grew old. The prince took further interest and increased his trips trips beyond the palace. During these trips he encountered a sick man, a dead body, and an ascetic. These depressed him, and he tired to find the reason for suffering of human beings.
One night when Siddharth was around 30 years old he left the palace with Channa in serach for the answers of suffering of life. Siddharth send back channa and his horse and went on foot. He initially reached Rajagaha where King Bimbisara’s recognised Siddhartha after learning of his pursuit , king Bimbisara offered Siddhartha his throne. Siddhartha respectfully rejected the offer, but promised the king that he will visit again after attaining enlightenment.
After that he practised yogic meditation under two teachers on of the teachers was alara kalama. When he completed his learnings there he was asked by Alara Kalama to succeed him. However, Siddharth felt that his pursuit was not over and he felt unsatisfied so he moved on . then he practised under a yoga teacher named , he reached the highest level meditative consciousness under him. again he was asked to succeed Udaka Ramaputta. But, again he felt that he had not found his answers so he moved on
Siddhartha then met five ascetics led by Kaundinya, they decided to get enlightenment through restricting themselves on food intake and by undergoing self-mortification. He practised it for many days and nearly starved himself to death by reducing his food intake. One day he fell down near the river because of the strict practise he was following .A village girl named Sujata saw Siddharth on the ground and gave him some kheer (milk and rice). after having that Siddhartha recoverd and got back some energy . then Siddhartha started to contemplate the path he was following.
He realises that extereme asceticism does not work , he realized the middle way- a path of moderation. He discovered that the two exteremes of self- indulgence or self- mortification should be avoided. Thus awakened to this fact he decided to find the truth of life he sat under the bodhi tree (commonly know as pipal tree) on the banks of niranjana river near gaya(bihar). He mediated for many days. He realised complete insight in into the cuse of suffering and how to finish it. He realised the four noble truths and the eight fold path. He was awakened to this truth and after that Siddharth gautam became the enlighted one or the awakened one whom we commonly call the Buddha.
After awkening he gave his first discourse at sarnath near banars to the 5 asthetics led by kaundinya who had abondened him. He explained the four noble truths and eight fold path. He explained the end of suffering was possible by achieving nirvana. Nirvana was a state free from greed , ill-will and delusion. These 5 ascetics became his first disciples and started sperding Buddha teaching everywhere.
For next 45 years Buddha preached his Dhamma to all .