Higher RMPS World Religions: Buddhism Introduction to Buddhism The Life of the Buddha

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  • Higher RMPSWorld Religions: BuddhismIntroduction to BuddhismThe Life of the Buddha

  • Siddhartha GautamaSiddhartha Gautama is the name of the man who became the BuddhaHe lived in northern India 2500 years agoHe was born in Lumbini which is in modern day NepalHe spent 45 years travelling and teachingHe passed away at the age of 80 in Kusinara less than 200km from where he was born

  • ConceptionThe Buddhas conception and birth are marked by miraculous eventsAs his mind descended into his mothers womb from one of the heavens, a great light appeared in the worldHis mother Queen Maya dreamed that a magnificent white elephant entered her bodyHer pregnancy lasted 10 months which is normal for enlightened beingsShe had no pain in child birth

  • Birth of the BuddhaAccording to the story, queen Maya gave birth standing upThe baby emerged from her right side with no blood or waterAs soon as he was born he was able to walk and talk Lotus blossoms appeared in his footsteps, he declared that this would be his last rebirthHe was given the name Siddhartha which means fulfilment of wishesThe renowned holy man Asita visited the palace, he prophesised that Siddhartha would become a great leader like his father or a homeless holy man depending on how much suffering he saw

  • Life in the PalaceSiddhartha was a Hindu prince brought up with the greatest luxury and splendour The prophecy of Asita determined how his father brought him upHe was excellent at all he did, sport, wrestling, archery, mathematics,, music etc.He was tall and handsome, kind and well manneredWhen he was a child his father took him to a ploughing competition where he fell into the fist state of meditation

  • A Life of IndulgenceAll suffering was kept hidden from SiddharthaAll possible comforts were provided for himHe was given 3 palaces, one for each seasonHe was surrounded by parks, gardens, music and beautiful young attendantsAt 16 he married the beautiful Yashodhara They had a baby son whom they named RahulaIt seemed Siddhartha had everything he could want

  • Leaving the PalaceSiddhartha decided that he wanted to see the world outside the palace, he went with his servant ChannaHis father had arranged for him to follow a specific route on which all suffering had been removedYoung healthy people lined the route that Siddhartha was supposed to takeHe came across an old man at the side of the road, he had no teeth, white hair, his legs were so weak that he needed a stickSiddhartha was shocked by the sight and asked Channa what was wrong with himChanna replied that he is old; old age comes to everyone, it destroys youth and beautySiddhartha was filled with compassionSiddhartha was so upset that he returned to the palaceHe made three more trips out of the palace

  • The First Sight: Old Age

  • The Second and Third Sights: Sickness and DeathThe second time he left the palace he saw a very sick person, not knowing what was wrong he asked ChannaChanna explained that sickness would happen to everyone at some point in their livesThe next time he left the palace he saw a dead body being carried to the cremation groundNever having seen death he asked ChannDeath is the end of life which no one can escapeSiddhartha was deeply sadened by this

  • The Fourth SightOn his final journey out of the palace Siddhartha saw a homeless holy manHe owned nothing but what he carriedHe told Siddhartha that he was seeking the Truth and had given up all worldly pleasuresHe was happier than he had ever beenSiddhartha was inspired by this manHe wanted to find a way to be happy

  • Finding the AnswersWhy do people suffer and is there any way to overcome it? These were the questions that Siddhartha was now askingHe was so affected by suffering that he could no longer live a life of luxuryHe escaped from the palace, cut off his hair as a symbol of renunciation and He practiced meditation with 2 masters for a number of years but still had no answer to his questions

  • AsceticismOn giving up meditation Siddhartha decided to try something else to help him find answersHe found 5 ascetics in the forest and spent a number of years with themHe practiced an extreme form of body mortification known as asceticismHe fasted, held his breath for long periods of time, sit in the burning sun all day or bathe in ice cold waterHe became very weak from lack of food and realised that he would die if he did not eat

  • The Middle WaySiddhartha accepted some food from a village girl and gave up this extreme way of lifeHe decided to practice a middle way; a life between the two extremesThe extremes had not brought him any closer to the answersHe had experienced life in the palace, indulgence and life as an ascetic and neither had workedHe decided that the only way to live was to live a balanced life between the two extremes

  • The EnlightenmentSiddhartha decided that meditation was the only way to uncover the truthWhile meditating under a bodi tree he was tempted by MaraMara is the demon which represents sensual desire and death, he corrupts the mindMara used fear to distract Siddhartha and then he used his daughters to seduce himNothing worked, Mara failed and fledSiddhartha experienced unimaginable joy and an awakening known as the enlightenment