One day, whilst sitting under a great, spreading, Bo tree
Siddhartha Gautama felt that he was somehow undergoing profound,
and extensive, alterations of realisation and awakening.
Siddhartha remained for seven days under the great tree. It is
from this times that Siddhartha began to be referred to as the
Buddha, a name implying his being Awake and Enlightened. These
few day's spent under the Bo tree are considered to have been the
time of his Enlightenment.
Buddha is said to have "attained Nirvana" - to have achieved
a state where suffering is eliminated through the abandonment of
desires - desires being the cause of suffering. Such
attainmentment 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
Considering himself to have made significant Spiritual Progress
and that he now had some Buddha teachings that he thought important to share with
others Siddhartha journeyed on foot over one hundred miles to
Buddha's Enlightenment was experienced whilst living a life
that was neither overly luxurious nor overly austere. His
teachings were subsequently framed against an idea of a "Middle
Way" that avoided such extremes. In a deer park he delivered the
celebrated "The Sermon at Benares" in which are included two of
the more central Buddha teachings i.e. the "Four Noble
Truths" and the "Noble Eightfold Path".
The First Noble Truth is that old age, illness, and death are
all forms of human suffering, and that there are many other other
ways in which people suffer. The Buddha accepted the Vedic idea
of endlessly successive reincarnations where life followed upon
life, with much suffering inevitably attending in each of these
lives. The idea of Karma further sugesting that in each existence
a person's good or bad deeds would respectively impact positively
or negatively on their store of "merit". It was this Karma-merit
that would underpin the advantageous, or pitiful, state into
which individual reincarnations would occur.
The Second Noble Truth is that suffering is closely linked
to desire, a desire for being which leads from birth to death and
involve ageing, illness, and mortality. There are also various
desires for pleasures and for powers which, frustratingly, may
not be realised.
The Third Noble Truth is that suffering can be dispelled by
the abandonment of all desires.
The last of the Four Noble Truths holds that such
abandonment of desires can be achieved by following the Noble
Right Belief (in the Truth)
Right Intent (to do good rather than evil)
Right Speech (avoidance of untruth, slander and swearing)
Right Behaviour (avoid blameworthy behaviours)
Right Livelihood (some occupations e.g. butcher, publican, were
Right Effort (towards the good)
Right Contemplation (of the Truth)
Right Concentration (will result from following the Noble
Siddhatha Gautama's Buddha teachings were to provide the
basis for the establishment of Buddhism as a most significant
religious and philosophical movement - in India for more than a
thousand years - with Buddhism also spreading widely into other
parts of Asia.
The Dhammapada - of the principal texts of Buddhism - suggests that human behaviors have identifiable
tendencies - other than spirituality.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who does not cling to
pleasures, like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the
point of a needle.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who, even here, knows the
end of his suffering, has put down his burden, and is
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana whose knowledge is deep,
who possesses wisdom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and
has attained the highest end.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who keeps aloof both from
laymen and from mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who finds no fault with
other beings, whether feeble or strong, and does not kill nor
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who is tolerant with the
intolerant, mild with fault-finders, and free from passion among
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana from whom anger and hatred,
pride and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a
Dhammapada V. 401-407
Many of our visitors seem to find the content of one of our pages -
Which is about Human Nature, (and 'Very Possibly' related matters)
- to be particularly fascinating!!!
There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee.
"…can we possibly refuse to admit that there exist in each
of us the same generic parts and characteristics as are found in
the state? For I presume the state has not received them from any
other source. It would be ridiculous to imagine that the presence
of the spirited element in cities is not to be traced to
individuals, wherever this character is imputed to the people, as
it is to the natives of Thrace, and Scythia, and generally
speaking, of the northern countries; or the love of knowledge,
which would be chiefly attributed to our own country; or the love
of riches, which people would especially connect with the
Phoenicians and the Egyptians.
From Plato's most famous work ~ The Republic ~ detailing conversations entered into by his friend, and teacher, Socrates
Pythagoras was a prominent figure in the intellectual life of the Greek world of the sixth century B.C.
Alongside his genuine contributions to mathematics and geometry Pythogoras is also considered to have recognised that there was
evidently a "Tripartite" complexity to Human Nature:-
Pythagoras who, according to Heraclides of Pontus, the pupil of Plato and a learned man
of the first rank, came, the story goes, to Philus and with a wealth of learning and words
discussed certain subjects with Leon the ruler of the Philasians. And Leon after wondering
at his talent and eloquence asked him to name the art in which he put most reliance. But
Pythagoras said that for his part he had no acquaintance with any art, but was a philosopher.
Leon was astonished at the novelty of the term and asked who philosophers were and in what
they differed from the rest of the world.
Pythagoras, the story continues, replied that the life of man seemed to him to resemble
the festival which was celebrated with most magnificent games before a concourse collected
from the whole of Greece. For at this festival some men whose bodies had been trained sought
to win the glorious distinction of a crown, others were attracted by the prospect of making
gains by buying or selling, whilst there was on the other hand a certain class, and that quite
the best class of free-born men, who looked neither for applause no gain, but came for the sake
of the spectacle and closely watched what was done and how it was done: So also we, as though
we had come from some city to a kind of crowded festival, leaving in like fashion another life
and nature of being, entered upon this life, and some were slaves of ambition, some of money;
there were a special few who, counting all else as nothing, ardently contemplated the nature
of things. These men he would call "lovers of wisdom" (for that is the meaning of the word
In all districts of all lands, in all the classes of communities thousands of minds are intently occupied, the merchant in his compting house, the mechanist over his plans, the statesman
at his map, his treaty, & his tariff, the scholar in the skilful history & eloquence of antiquity, each stung to the quick with the desire of exalting himself to a hasty & yet unfound
height above the level of his peers. Each is absorbed in the prospect of good accruing to himself but each is no less contributing to the utmost of his ability to fix & adorn human
In William H. Gilman (ed.) The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol II, 1822-1826, 305
In what is perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson's most famous essay - 'History' - we read such things as:-
… There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is
an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once
admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole
estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has
felt, he may feel; what at any time has be-fallen any man, he can
understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to
all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign
Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is
illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by
nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest,
the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every
faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in
appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact;
all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law
in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of
nature give power to but one at a time. …
We are always coming up with the emphatic facts of history in
our private experience, and verifying them here. All history
becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history;
only biography. Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself,
-- must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it
does not live, it will not know.
In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum
proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every
province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain,
and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of
the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every
object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man
is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and
fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him,
and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish
foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg
presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.
"History is for human self-knowledge ... the only clue to what man can do is what man has done.
The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is."
R. G. Collingwood
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