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The life history of birth of Buddha and Buddhism

By Gaurav Manandhar at
life history of birth of buddha and buddhism
Buddha – the enlightened one

The Buddha, a well renowned prince-turned-into a spiritual leader, has been the symbol of peace and harmony for well over two centuries. With plenty of stories and belief surrounding his story of origin, the most historically accurate one has been the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautam.

Prince Siddhartha was the only child of King Suddhodhana and Queen Mayadevi of Kapilvastu city state in ancient Nepal. Claimed to have born around 3rd Century BC previously, but the recent studies have claims of him originating around 5th-6th centuries BC, he was raised by his aunt Gautama after his mother Queen Mayadevi’s death immediately after his birth. Legend has it; the baby prince took seven steps right after his unusual birth in the gardens of Lumbini. This was taken as a sign of his greatness back then. A sacred astrologer prophesized the young prince would either turn into a global conqueror or a world renowned inviolable saint. The aristocrat King made the young prince have a luxurious life without outside world’s knowledge. He was given every kind of privilege inside the palace walls as Suddhodhana wanted to see Siddhartha succeed him as a king. At the age of 29, the young prince decided to visit beyond the palace walls to get the knowledge of his citizens and subjects. The visit made him learn the cruel truth of life; sickness, old age and death. Knowledge of this misery made him curious about the truth and purpose of life. This curiousness led the young prince to leave the palace, his young queen and a young son, to be an ascetic. After years of hardship and meditation, Siddhartha came to know of the middle path and then followed the path to gain the enlightenment. From the moment of the enlightenment, he was known as the Buddha – the enlightened one.

After attaining the enlightenment, he taught and spread the knowledge he gained among many followers to have the right path of life. His teachings had drawn people from every tribe and caste, devoted to practicing the path led by the Buddha. The path or Dharma he spread not only helped him gain hundreds of followers but also developed a community of Sangha of monks and nuns around him as he wandered the plains of Northeastern India for more than 45 years. These communities later transformed into what we now know as the religion of Buddhism.

Buddhism is basically the principles and the teaching of the path taught and preached by the Buddha and has been followed throughout the ages. It has transformed into a spiritual tradition focusing on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. The spiritual nature of the religion is the main reason for the followers not worship any god (even the Buddha), instead, the followers try to follow the path of Dhamma and believe in Wheel of Life to seek the hidden truth and meaning behind their lives. The Buddhists believe in impermanence of life and the change is an inevitable fact of life. They focus on achieving enlightenment and believe that it can be attained through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom. The belief of life’s endless journey and also that it is perishable, uncertain and suffering has been the basic teachings for the Buddhists all over the world.

Though some Buddhist followers establish special shrines with Buddha statues and Buddha images at home to meditate and practice, the religion is not focused on the idea of gods and deities.