Siddhartha Gautama also known as Sakyamuni and who later came to be known as Buddha was the founder of the religion Buddhism. His birthday is celebrated as “Buddha poornima” as it is believed that he was born on poornima which means a full moon day. He was given the name Siddhartha which means “one who achieves his aim” and his name which was given by his disciples, Buddha means “the enlightened one”. Archaeologist debates his existence, but there are still some evidences that he existed. People know him as the founder of Buddhism, but there are many things people don’t know about his life. His life can be divided into two parts: the one before he became enlightened and the other after his enlightenment. Here are some of the facts you might not be aware about his life. Read them on to know about the great enlightened man.
10: The Word of wisdom
He preached by travelling throughout the world till the age of eighty after which he died. He died in Kushinagar and according to the sources it is said that he died in the 483 BCE. He encouraged his followers to work for their deliverance and he told them that happiness is in learning that nothing in the world is permanent. Even after so many years of his death, his words of compassion and kindness are still followed by people in different parts of the world.
During his journey throughout the world to spread their teachings, Buddha visited his son, father, his devoted wife and his foster mother. Eventually his family joined the Sangha, which is the Buddhist monastic community. His cousin Ananda also became his disciple and joined the community and became a monk. His son, Rahula was the youngest monk in the community and he became monk when he was just seven years old.
8: His teachings
After achieving the enlightenment he started sharing his idea and his teachings. Buddha and his disciples for the next forty five years went to different places in the world to spread their words and teachings. Buddha taught people that to become the enlightened one, a person should never be ignorant, angry and hate people. It was not hard for Buddha to win hearts of people wherever he went as he knew the true feelings of people and knew how to deal with them.
7: Reluctant teacher
It is not easy to think that a great teacher like him, who taught the whole world about Buddhism, could be hesitant to teach at the first place. He considered that the thing he knows is very difficult not only for the people to understand but it is also difficult for him to express what he knows into words. He believed that it is not possible to attain the reality if one is not disciplined and does not have a pure mind. But later his compassion swayed over him and he finally decided to teach the people about the doctrines of enlightenment. The first sermon of Lord Buddha was in Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.
Siddhartha soon realized that extreme asceticism is not the right path for enlightenment, he finally discovered the” Middle Way”. Middle way was the path of restraint which does not support the extreme self mortification and self indulgence. He sat under a “pipal” tree which is now popularly known as the Bodhi tree to meditate and vowed that he won’t get up from the place until he finds the ultimate truth he is looking for. After medicating for 49 days he finally achieved “Enlightenment”.
5: Seeking teacher
After leaving the palace it was hard for Gautama to find a teacher for himself who could teach him about the truth of the world and about different religions. To learn about the sufferings he used to wander in robes and tried to learn from the wisest teachers. But none of the teachers could tell him how to end the sufferings and so finally he decided to go in search of the answer all by himself. For around six years he led a life of self discipline and abstinence by surviving on mere roots, fruits and raw food. He also learned yoga and meditation practices. In a very short period of time Siddhartha mastered the art of Yogic meditation, but nothing satisfied him. Later he realized that neither the wealthy life in the palace and nor the modest life in forest is an answer to what he was looking for.
After seeing the sufferings in the world, Gautama could not enjoy his life in the palace and used to wander in the palace. He finally had the ultimate realization that nothing is permanent and the good things and the beauty around him will perish and die one day. Nothing made him happy after his trip outside the palace, not even the news of his son’s birth. Eventually he gave up all the comfort and left his loved ones behind to become a wandering monk in search for the enlightenment.
3: The Four sights
Destined to be a great holy man, Gautama soon became tired of his materialistic life and desired to leave the palace to see the outside world. At the age of 29, while on his ride to see the countryside, he saw four different things during his four different trips outside the palace which he was not aware about. These four things changed Siddhartha’s life completely. In his four trips outside the palace, he saw an old man, a corpse, a sick man and at last he saw a wandering ascetic. He was so disturbed at these sites and he wondered how he can enjoy his life so much when there is so much suffering in the world. He finally realized that the reality is not what he has seen till now in his life, but the reality is what he was seeing in the life.
2: The predictions
Before Gautama Buddha was born an astrologer predicted that Shuddhodhana’s son will either be a great and known holy man or he will become a great king. His father wanted him to stay away from the sufferings and even did not let him have the religious teachings in fear of him becoming a holy man. His father even built three palaces for him with all the luxuries of life so that he does not have any desire to see the outside world. Siddhartha was not allowed to step out of the palace and he spent his early days in the lavish palaces.
1: A prince by birth
Though Gautama Buddha is known to live a very modest and simple life many people does not know that he was born as a prince of the Shakya Clan in Nepal. His father, Suddhodhana was the chief of the Shakya Clan in India while his mother Queen Maha Maya was known to be the princess of Koli. He was born in Lubini under a sal tree in a garden. Though he was born as a prince but turned to Budha religion. He found its path was more important than to rule and the wealth. He was married to Yasodhara and even had a son named Rahula. After leaving for his religious quest he realized that marital wealth is not the ultimate goal of anyone’s life.