Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Prince Siddhartha Gautama and his Enlightenment

Siddhartha Gautama was born in India near the border with Nepal. His legend is the most famous embodiment of the story of Buddha and the beginning of Buddhism.

- Born a prince to a wealthy father who banished all illness, poverty and mortality from the kingdom so as to shield his son.
- Grew up handsome and intelligent. Met and married a beautiful woman of the court.
- Was continually troubled by a void in his soul.
- Began his quest to find what was missing in his life by leaving family and wealth.
- Became a sadhu and devoted himself to severe abstinence.
- While meditating under a Bodhi tree, experiences an epiphany, or enlightenment.
- Realized he should follow a Middle Way, not extreme devotion.

The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism:
* Life is about suffering.
* Suffering is caused by desire.
* The goal of a noble person is cessation of desire.
* Cessation of desire will follow from the Eightfold path:
right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Today there are few Buddhists in India. Most are in China, Japan, Thailand and other East Asian nations. India is a land of Muslims and Hindus.

And, yes, there are many similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism.

Independent work:
Research & compare Hinduism and Buddhism.