Today, May 10, 2017 is the birthday of Buddha – celebrated as “Buddha Jayanti” in Nepal. Budhha, originally named Sidhartha Gautam was born in about 543 BC in Kapilvastu of Nepal. He taught people of non-violence and love to each other. UNESCO has listed Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, as a world heritage site.
Birth of Gautam Buddha
Siddhartha Gautam was born 2558 years ago (as of May 10, 2017) to father king Suddhodhan and mother Maya Devi in Lumbini. He died (Buddha left his physical body) at the age of 80. There he. Buddhists believe Buddha attained “Para Nirvana” – as Nirvana is believed to be beyond the life and the death.
Buddha’s birthday is determined according to lunar calendar – on the full moon day of May. That is the reason, the birthday falls on a different date every-year. He is believed to have born on the full moon day and achieved nirvana (left the world) on the full moon day of Baisakh Shukla Purnima. So, Buddha was born on the Buddha Jayanti day and he had also died on the same day after 80 years of his birth.
Siddhartha’s mother was going to her parental home when he was born on the way, near a pond in Lumbini Garden. After birth, he was given a bath at the pond and it is known as Siddhartha Kunda. In Lumbini, an idol of Buddha’s mother, Mayadevi is built at the location where Siddhartha was born. It is believed that Maya Devi had died seven days after giving birth to Siddartha Gautam.
Life of Gautam Buddha
Siddartha grew up to be a very good prince. At an age of 16-years, Siddhartha was married to Yasodhara. They had a son named Rahul. Siddhartha lived a luxurious life of a prince until he was 29 year sold. He had soft corner towards living being and was a very compassionate person.
As he grew older, his life changed drastically. According to legends, he was devastated by sight of different types of sufferings the mankind were going through. He wanted to know the reason behind those sufferings mankind went through. After seeing a monk who left everything in search of the solution of the problem mankind faced. Siddhartha also decided to go in search of the answer.
One day he quietly left the palace in search of the answers to the sufferings of mankind. After leaving the comfort of the palace he went through a lot of tough situations and problems. He started meditating in various places. Once while meditating under a tree, he got insight of the facts of life. That was how he became ‘Buddha’ from Siddhartha Gautam. The name Buddha means an “Awakened One”.
Four Noble Truths of Buddha
- Life means suffering – Every human being goes through suffering and no one can escape life’s sufferings.
- Suffering originates from attachment – The main cause of suffering is the greed and lust. These physical attachments create suffering from their own greed. So, suffering comes from within us, not from outside world.
- Suffering can be avoided – Stop doing the things that causes suffering can end the suffering.
- The path to the end of suffering – Nirvana / enlightenment causes the end of the suffering. Buddha suggested The Noble Eightfold Path to end suffering and to live a fulfilled life.
How to reach to the end of suffering?
Being satisfied by what we have is the main path to get rid of suffering and to live a satisfied life. Living a light life without collecting unnecessary materials helps in reducing grieves and sorrows in life. The name of the state when there is no suffering is called Nirvana – a stage beyond life and death.
The Noble Eightfold Path to Nirvana
The way to the end suffering according to Gautam Buddha is described as ‘The Noble Eightfold Path’:
- Right View
- Right Intention
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
Buddha’s teaching is summarized in Buddha Mantra:
बुद्धं शरणं गच्छामि। : Buddham saranam gachhami. (I go to under shelter of Buddha.)
धर्मं शरणं गच्छामि। : Dharmam saranam gachhami. (I go to shelter of Dharma.)
संघं शरणं गच्छामि। : Sangham saranam gachhami. (I go to shelter of Shangha.)
Buddha is the guide to the better life. So, I go to the shelter of Buddha. Dharma is made up of the right behaviour so, I follow the path of Dharma. The Sangha are the teachers or companions along the way. It is very difficult to learn Buddha’s teaching and the rules of Dharma.
To summarize the teachings of Buddha, here are the main points.
- Do not harm or Kill any living creatures.
- Do not take the things that is not yours. (do not steal)
- Do not do any sexual misconduct.
- Do not lie. Always speak the truth.
- Do not drink or eat anything that intoxicates your brain.