The Life of the Buddha

Buddha Teachings Satipatthana Sutta
Encyclopedia of Buddhism by Subodh Gupta

The 6th century B.C. was the most important era in history because of the birth of Bhagwan Buddha who showed humanity the path of liberation.

The Buddha rediscovered the path of Dhamma leading to the eradication of all problems or suffering. With great compassion, he spent forty-five years helping millions of people to come out of their misery.

His real name was Siddhartha Gautama, and he was born into a wealthy and noble family. According to tradition, he was born in Lumbini, a city in modern-day Nepal, and grew up in the nearby kingdom of Kapilavastu.

An old sage, Asita, visited the palace, and on seeing the marks of greatness in the child, first expressed joy and then shed tears. He was joyful at seeing that a great being.

From childhood, Siddarth Gotama preferred solitude and a meditative life to the games natural for his age.

Siddartha was a skilled archer but never killed any living being.

At the young age of sixteen, Siddhattha married Yasodhara, a beautiful princess. It was his father’s hope that she would bind him to the family life. Until the age of twenty-nine, he lived the life of a householder amidst great luxury and ease.

One day, as Siddhattha was going out in his chariot, he saw along the way a decrepit old man, then a sick man, then a dead body, and finally an ascetic radiating with a glow of peace and tranquillity on his face.

These four incidents made a distinct impression on him. He began reflecting on the misery inherent in existence; at the same time, he felt drawn to renounce the world and seek a way of liberation.

He left his family and his privileged life to become a wandering ascetic, practicing severe self-denial and meditation in an effort to find enlightenment.

New Encyclopedia of Buddhas Teachings

After many years of searching, Siddhartha had a realization about the nature of suffering and the path to end suffering. He then began teaching others about his insights, and he became known as the Buddha, or “the awakened one.”

The tree under which he sat became known as the Bodhi tree and the area was Bodhgaya. With the experience of total liberation the following
words of joy came forth:

The First words after becoming Buddha:
“Through countless births, I wandered samsara seeking, but not finding, the builder of the house. I have been taking birth in misery again and again. O builder of the house you are now seen! You cannot build the house again. All the rafters and the central pole are shattered. The mind is free”.

The Buddha’s teachings, known as the Dharma or Dhamma (Law of Nature), outline the path to end suffering and attain enlightenment. This path is known as the Eightfold Path, which includes ethical conduct(Sheel), mental discipline (Samadhi), and wisdom (Pragya).

The Buddha traveled mostly northern belt of India, teaching and establishing monastic communities, and he is said to have had many followers and disciples.

Buddha lived to the age of 80 and attained Mahaparinibbana in his eightieth year (no more birth), on the full moon day of Visakha in 544 B.

The Buddha’s life and teachings have had a profound impact on millions of people around the world and continue to be a source of inspiration and guidance for Buddhists today although one should always remember that Buddha never established Buddhism.