Buddhism, Life of Buddha, Buddha teachings, Enlightenment
[Buddhism, Life of Buddha]
Enlightenment, Nirvana, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, Buddhism

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Life of Buddha

Buddhism, Enlightenment & Nirvana

  The life of the person who would become known as the Buddha began some two and a half thousand years ago when Siddhartha Gautama, the founding figure of Buddhism, was born at Lumbini south of the Himalayas. In terms of today's states this birthplace is in Nepal and quite close to India.

  Before and after his birth into a locally influential minor Royal House certain signs and portents seemed to indicate that the child would have a momentous future.

  Given these prophecies Siddharta's father decreed that his son should be raised in all luxury and also be strictly sheltered from such realities as illness, old age, and mortality.

  As a teenager the young Prince was entrusted to the hospitality and education of priests and teachers. Siddhartha subsequently took a Princess Yashodhara as his wife and lived a life of some material luxury and sensual licence.

  Then, in his late twenties, Prince Siddharta, and several friends were out hunting and met with a person who was in grievious pain, a person who was incapacitated by the effects of extreme old age, and then with the funeral observances for yet another person. These meetings with the misfortunes of life took place despite the orders of the King that the aged, the ill, and deceased persons, were not to be allowed to cross Siddhartha's path !!!

  Thoroughly disillusioned and troubled Prince Siddharta headed towards his palatial home.
  Some time later Prince Siddhartha came across an itinerant priest, who was of a profoundly tranquil demeanour, who discreetly sought alms. The Prince was much impressed by the calm and peace that seemed to radiate from the Holy man. 

  That very night Prince Siddhartha, in what Buddhism calls the Great Renunciation, abandoned his high station and himself embarked on life as a seeker after truth.

  Some time passed in contemplation and travel, many visits were made to the abodes of Holy persons. Despite his contemplations, travels and severe austerities Siddhartha did not consider that he made worthwhile progress for all of seven years although he had become known to others as Sakyamuni - the Sage of the Sakya's.

  Siddhartha concluded that the life of austerity he was leading was not going to be of assistance in his search for truth and began to live less austerely.

  Then one day, whilst sitting under a great, spreading, Bo tree Siddhartha felt that he was undergoing profound, and extensive, alterations of realisation and awakening. It is from this time that Siddhartha began to be referred to as the Buddha, a name implying his having gained Enlightenment.  
 
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha is said to have attained Nirvana in association with this Enlightenment experience. Nirvana being a state where suffering is eliminated through the abandonment of desires - desires being the cause of suffering. The attainment of Nirvana is held to bring release from an otherwise endless succession of reincarnations or rebirths. The term Nirvana has suggestive associations with a verb indicating cooling, or possibly, extinguishment!!!
 
One of the key Buddha teachings is known as the Sermon at Benares (aka Varanesi).

Buddha teachings
The Sermon at Benares

Introductory quotations
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Life of Buddha
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Life of Buddha