Buddha

Chris

This report will be about the life of Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, and his influences on the people around him. It will explain how the religion of Buddhism came about and how the Buddha created it. It will also include not only what influenced Buddha to start preaching, but what influenced the people to listen.

Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who would later be known as Buddha, was born in Lumbini, Nepal around the year 563 BC. He was the son of two important great people. Siddhartha?s father?s name was Shuddhodana, the King of the Sakyas. His mother, Queen Maya, was a lady ?of perfect form and bee-black tresses, fearless in heart and full of grace and virtue.? Siddhartha got his name from one of his mother?s dreams. Her dream was that an elephant with 6 tusks, carrying a lotus flower in its trunk, touched the right side of Queen Maya?s body. That was when Siddhartha was miraculously conceived. When she told her husband about her dream, he called Brahmins, or learned men to interpret it. They predicted that the child one-day would be the greatest king in the world or the greatest ascetic in the world. So that?s why they called him Siddhartha, meaning ?he whose aim is accomplished.? When Siddhartha was about 20 years old he married Yasodhara, who was the daughter of one of the King?s ministers. Siddhartha and his new wife had a child a year after they got married. They called their son Rahula, which means ?impediment.?

Nine years later Siddhartha asked his charioteer to take him for a ride throughout the city. While riding he saw three things he had never seen before. One was an elder man, another was a man suffering from illness, and finally he saw a dead body surrounded by mourners. Since he had never seen anything like that before he asked his charioteer, Channa, what was wrong. He responded and told the Prince that these things were natural and unavoidable, that happen to all kinds of people. ?Everything is transient; nothing in permanent in this world?.Knowing that, I can find delight in nothing?How can a man, who knows that death is quite inevitable, still feel greed in his heart, enjoy the world of senses and not weep in this great danger?? Once again Siddhartha asked Channa to take him out into the city again and this time he was to see the last of four images that would change his life forever. The last sight he saw was a wandering old holy man with no possessions. His head was completely shaved and he was wearing a yellow robe. The Prince stopped and talked to him. The holy man said some inspiring words to the Prince. When Siddhartha got home that night he kissed his family goodbye and ordered his charioteer to take him out of the city. When he came to the edge of a forest he got rid of his prized possessions, shaved his head and beard, put on the yellow robe of the old man, and gave his clothes and jewelry to Channa and told him to bring it back to his father. According to legend he left his family and wealth to find the cause of human misery.

Next Siddhathra traveled throughout the northeastern portion of India, seeking out holy men, who taught him ancient Indian techniques of meditation. Even though meditation was important to him, his main quest was to find the answer to the problem of suffering. He wanted to know why they were suffering and how this suffering could stop. So Siddhartha studied the teachings of Hinduism. He was very fascinated by the belief of reincarnation or Samsara. This was the belief of the soul, after death, would travel to a new body-being born again. Depending on the person?s previous life, its soul could enter a body of higher or lower state of existence. The determining factor of a soul?s new existence is how the person lived his last life. This is called Karma. Siddhartha found this very interesting, so he adopted a life of self-denial and penance?s, meditating constantly.

After many other complications, like fasting for several years, Siddhartha was enlightened. The experience of enlightenment was really the beginning of the history of Buddhism, the religion. This is when Siddhartha became the Buddha, which means ?the enlightened one.? As the Buddha, he experienced Nirvana, which is the condition of wanting