Birth of Gautama Buddha
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Gautama Buddha, who founded Buddhism, is considered the spiritual teacher and philosopher. Buddhism is based on Buddha’s teachings. Buddhism is a philosophy, a moral code and for some a religious faith which originated 2,500 years ago in India. Gautama Buddha is the primary figure in Buddhism. He is considered the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Seeing the darkness of ignorance, cruelty, degeneration and unrighteousness everywhere, Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as Buddha. Buddha's original name was Siddhartha. It meant one who had accomplished his aim. Gautama was Siddhartha's family name. He is also known as Shakyamuni, because he was born in the shakya clan. Siddhartha was known all over the world as Buddha. Buddha was born to save the people and disseminate the message of equality, unity and cosmic love everywhere in the world. He spent his boyhood in Kapilavastu and its surrounding areas.
Birth of Gautama Buddha
The primary sources of information regarding Buddha's life are the Buddhist texts. According to them, Buddha was born to Suddhodhana and Maya. He was born in B.C. 560 and died at the age of eighty in B.C. 480. The place of his birth was a grove known as Lumbini, near Kapilavastu. One day, as the queen Maya was resting in her palace, she dreamt that a white elephant carrying a white lotus in its trunk entered into her womb. Sometime later, a baby was born to the queen. He was named Siddhartha Gautama. Gautama Buddha's father, Suddhodana, was the king of the Sakhyas. Maya died seven days after her son's birth, and the child was brought up by Maya's sister Mahaprajapati, who became its foster-mother. A group of astrologers predicted that the young prince would grow up to be either a great emperor, or that he would turn his back on privilege and power to become a great sacred leader. The prince grew up within the palace walls, having no contact with the outside world. Prince Siddhartha married a beautiful princess named Yashodhara and a son was born to them, whose name was Rahul. They all lived happily together within the world of wealth and power.
One day, when walking with his servant Channa, the sight of a feeble old man, a sick man and a monk finally induced Siddhartha to renounce the world. He felt that he also would become a prey to old age, disease and death. So, at the age of twenty-nine, Buddha suddenly abandoned his home to devote himself entirely in the search of spiritual knowledge and Yogic practices. He travelled many places for the enlightenment. After going through a life of self-denial, discipline and meditation, he attained enlightenment. Gautama quit his palace for the life of a mendicant. Buddha did not attach any importance to religious rituals; he laid great emphasis on internal purity. Buddha's emphasis was entirely on purity in every aspect of daily life. Purity in vision, purity in thought, purity in speech and purity in action.
Buddha set on a journey of teaching people the path to enlightenment that would liberate them from the cycle of life and death. Through seeking guidance and meditation, Siddhartha achieved Enlightenment. From that point, he was known as the Buddha, which means 'Enlightened One'. For the rest of his life, the Buddha travelled several places teaching people about the path to salvation. Buddha went to Shravasti, the capital of the kingdom of Kosala. Here a wealthy merchant gave him residence and beautiful forest. Buddha spent many rainy seasons there and delivered several grand discourses. Thus Lord Buddha preached his doctrine for over forty-five years traveling from place to place. Buddha’s quotes are very famous and they contain deep meanings. After the Buddha's death, his pupils continued to spread his teachings. Buddha's disciples, Sariputta, Mahamoggallana, Mahakasyapa, Ananda and Anuruddha are believed to have been the five closest to him.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend india.