This is the last episode about the life of Buddha, in this post we are going to learn about the teaching of Gautam Buddha which is now the ideals for millions of people in this planet. After reading this post you will be able to know about The Teaching of Gautam Buddha or Learning by Buddha.
If you have landed firstly in this post please read first and second parts of this post, links are given below:
The life of Buddha.
Born of Lord Buddha | Where Buddha was born?
Four sights of Siddhartha (Gautam Buddha).
Noble truth of Gautam Buddha.
Now lets begin the story about the noble truth of Lord Buddha ……..
The teaching of Gautam Buddha.
From a prince to a wandering monk, the life of the Buddha is an example of sorts- an example of how a person rejected all worldly comforts and joys in search of the ultimate truth of life!
After his enlightenment, the Buddha and his disciples went from place to place spreading the Dhamma- his teachings.
The Buddha won the hearts of all the people he met, either they are beggars or kings, All who came to him became his followers.
An example of this, is the story of the great bandit Angulimala, the son of Bhaggawa and Mantani.
Bhaggawa was he advisor to the king of Kosala. He lived happily with his wife, Mantani. In due course of time, Mantani gave birth to a son. The parents named their son Ahinsaka. When Ahinsaka was born, a strange thing happened. All the weapons in the country shone live never before. The king ws shocked by theis unusual happening and called Bhaggawa to unfold the inexplicable occurrence. “Your Majesty, my wife has given birth to a son,” Bhaggawa said. “But why did the weapons shine so bright?” asked the king quite puzzled. “My lord, he will be a bandit. The shining of the weapons was just a sign of this.”
The king was shocked to hear this. He thought for a while and then told Bhaggawa that his son had to be killed. Hearing this, Bhaggawa fell at the king’s feet and pleaded him not to do so. “Once he becomes a bandit, send all your forces to arrest him,” begged the poor father, “but do not kill him now.”
The king, after thinking for a while, agreed to his request. And so, Ahinsaka lived and grew up in the kingdom of Kosala. Ahinsaka grew up into a strong healthy boy, and when he was old enough his father sent him to a school in Takhshila.
Ahinsaka was a good student and did better than most of the others. This became a cause for envy among his fellow students. Their jealousy made them plot against him. They decided to tell the teacher stories about Ahinsaka. They formed a group, went to the teacher and said, “Respected teacher, we hear stories that Ahinsaka is planning to make trouble for you. We have heard that Ahinsaka wants to take your job as professor at this university. He says that you are too old and you should have retired yours ago.” The teacher believed the students and thought that the only way that he could feel safe in his job was to get rid of Ahinsaka. When the last day of the school came, Ahinsaka went up to his teacher and asked, “What fee should I offer you, sir?”
“I don’t want any gold or silver but one thousand right-hand human fingers. And remember not to bring two right-hand human fingers from the same person,” replied his teacher.
The teacher thought that, in obtaining his gift, Ahinsaka would be killed or that the king’s soldiers would catch him and put him to death. Ahinsaka replied, “How can I bring you such a gift? My family has never been engaged in violence. We respect all life.”
“Well,” replied his teacher, “if your learning does not receives its proper reward, and then it will not be of any use to you. You will not get your certificate.” Ahinsaka was taken aback when he heard this, then he promised to bring the thousand right-hand human fingers. So, he picked up a sword with a shining blade from the blacksmith and hid himself in the woods, outside the gates of the kingdom.
Ahinsaka lived on a high cliff where he could observe the road below. Whenever he saw anybody on the road, he would hurry down, kill them and cut off a right-hand finger. He made a garland out of the finger bones and wore it around his neck. Soon, he came to be known as ‘Angulimala’ ‘he with the finger garland.’
After a few months, Angulimala went to another district and began to kill again. His acts of terror reached the ears of the king of Kosala. He decided to send a huge army to capture the bandit.
Although, nobody realized that the murderer was Ahinsak, his mother had a suspicion that it may be her son. Coming to know about the king’s decision, Mantani said to her husband Bhaggava, “It is our son, that fearful bandit. Please go and warn him and ask him to change his ways. Otherwise the king will have him killed.” But the words of Mantani had no effect on Bhaggava. “He has become a monster,” he said. “If I go there he may even kill me.” But Mantani, who loved her son more than herself, decided to go to the jungle and save him.
By now, Angulimala had spent several months in the jungle without proper food or sleep. He has already collected 999 fingers, and was just one fingers away from his target. He was impatient to pay off his debt as soon as possible. And so, he had made-up his mind to kill the first person he met.
“Today, if even my own mother comes, I will not hesitate to kill her,’ he thought. At this moment Angulimala looked down from the mountain and saw a woman on the road below. As the woman came near him, Ahinsaka saw she was his mother.
That very day, the Buddha was looking around the world to see if anybody needed help. He was able to see, with the help of his psychic powers, what Angulimala was about to do. Out of compassion, the Buddha decided to try to prevent this horrible crime. “I most save them both,’ he thought, as he set out towards the jungle. On the way, he was warned by the villagers not to enter the forest as Angulimala was sure to kill anybody he met, even monks. However, the Buddha continued on his path in silence. Meanwhile, Angulimala was running towards his mother with a sword in his hand. All of sudden, the Buddha appeared between them.
Angulimala was happy to see the wandering monks and decided to kill him instead of his mother. And so he rushed after the Buddha. But the Buddha kept moving ahead of him.
Although Angulimala was going as fast as he could, he was unable to catch up with the Blessed One, who was walking at his normal pace! Finally, Angulimala cried out, “Oh Bhikshu! stop, stop!” And the Enlightened One replied, “I have stopped, Angulimala. It is you who have not stopped.”
Angulimala could not understand the meaning of the Buddha’s words, so he asked him, “How could you say that you have stopped, when you are running faster than me?” “I say that I have stopped because I have given up killing all beings,” the Buddha replied, “I have stopped forever, given up ill-treating all beings; I practice universal love and patience. But you have not given up killing or ill-treating others. Hence, you are the one who has not stopped.”
A great change came over Angulimala on hearing the worlds of the Buddha. He threw away his sword and knelt before the Enlightened Being, saying, “From this day, I too give up all evil.”
The Buddha blessed him and took him to the monastery, where Angulimala became a monk. When the king and his men came to capture Angulimala, they found him at ahe monastery of the Buddha. Finding that Angulimala had given up his evil ways and become a bhikshu, the king and his men agreed to spare him. And this is how the dreaded killer Angulimala was transformed into a virtuous monk by the Buddha.
This is just a example of how Gautam Buddha changed the lives of many.
In the city of Shravasti there was a merchant who lived with his wife Kisa Gautami. Sometime after her marriage, Kisa Gautami gave birth to a son. For almost a year she led a very happy life with her husband and child. But misfortune struck when her one year old son fell ill and died. Kisa Gautami could not bear the death of her child. Struck with grief, she took her dead baby in her arms and went from house to house begging all the people in the town to bring her son back to life.
Of course, nobody could help her. Seeing Kisa Gautami in such a wild state of mind, most of the people thought she had lost her senses.
At last, she came across an old man who advised her to go and see the Buddha himself. The Buddha happened to be at Shravasti at that time. Kisa Gautami carried the dead child to the Buddha and told him her sad story.
The Buddha listened to her with patience and compassion, and then said, “There is only one way to save your child. Go and get me one mustard seed from any family in which there has never been a death.”
Kisa Gautami was filled with hope, and thought that it would be very easy to find one such household. So she entered the city carrying the dead body of her child and knocked at every door. But very soon, she discovered that every family she visited had experienced the death of one person or another. Then, at one household, a man said, “The number of dead people is more than the number of people alive.”
These words made Kisa Gautami understand what the Buddha had wanted her to find out for herself- which suffering is a part of life, and death comes to all. Once Kisa Gautami accepted the fact that death is inevitable, she took the child’s body away and later returned to the Buddha to become one of his followers.
The Buddha taught that nothing in life is permanent. Change is the ultimate nature of all worldly things and everything that exists is bound to perish one day. This truth is exemplified in the story of Khema- the beautiful consort of King Bindusar.
Khema was very beautiful, and took a lot of pride in her beauty. Once, when the Buddha visited the king, Khema was present there. The Buddha knew about her obsession with her beauty. So he decided to make her understand its impermanence. The Buddha created the illusion of an extremely beautiful young woman. Khema too overwhelmed too see such unparalleled beauty. Then, before her very eyes, the beautiful young woman gradually became middle aged, then old, and finally collapsed at the feet of the Buddha.
Alarmed and ashamed, Khema realized the truth at last.
One day, as the Buddha was walking along the streets of Shravsti with a few followers, he came upon a young man called Sunit. Sunit was scavenger (dust collector from garbage) born in an outcaste community. He was a road-sweeper and barely earned enough to feed him. Sunit slept on the roadside, as he did not have a house. He saw other people enjoying themselves, but he could not mix with them.
Outcastes usually had no home or money, they were dirty and hungry, so nobody wanted to talk to them or even look at them.
On that fateful day, when Sunit was sweeping a dirty, dusty road, he saw the Buddha, along with his followers, coming towards him. Sunit’s heart was filed with joy and fear at the same time, and finding no place to hide, he just stood with his hands folded in respect. The Buddha stopped and spoke to poor Sunit in a gentle voice. “My dear friend, would you like to leave this work and follow me?” Sunit was very surprised. Nobody had ever spoken to him kindly before; tears of joy filled his eyes and he could hardly speak. Finally, he said that if the Buddha would accept him, he would gladly join the ‘Sanggha’. Buddha accepted Sunit as his disciple and told him, “A man’s worth should not be decided by his class but by his good deeds, as it is only the deed of a man that counts.”
In earlier times, animal sacrifice was quite a common practice. But the Buddha always believed, ‘life is dear to all beings. Animals too have the right to live in the same way as humans do. We should respect all life and not kill anyone.’ Once it so happened, that the king of Kosala saw sixteen terrifying dreams in a single night, and was in a great fear. Many learned priests from far and wide were consulted about it. Nearly all of them came to the same conclusion to avert the evil influence of these dreams, thousands of animals had to be sacrificed. Everything was arranged in accordance.
When the Buddha came to know of this, became very saddened. The Buddha went to the King’s court and advised him against such sacrifice. He asked the King to abstain from taking any life intentionally.
The Buddha’s teachings made the King realize his mistake. From the day, no any animal sacrifice hs involved in any ceremony of the Buddha’s followers.
The Buddha always advised his followers not to accept his words on blind faith.
He asked them to decide for themselves whether his teachings were right or wrong, and then follow them adn became someone who never angry or impatient. He did not speak harshly to anyone, not even to those who opposed him.
Once, the Buddha, with one of his disciples, Ananda, visited a monastery where a monk was suffering from a contagious disease. The poor man lay in a mess with no one looking after him. Seeing this, the Buddha himself washed and dressed the sick monk, and placed him on a new bed.
Afterwards, he told the other monks, “Monks, you do not have your mother and father or you family to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who else will look after you?”
The Buddha emphasized compassion in his teachings. He told us to be concerned for each other, to help each other. He emphasized on equality of all beings and stressed on self-reliance.
Each one of us is responsible for our actions. Good deeds result in good, while bad deeds results in bad. Nirvana ‘the supreme happiness’ attained by one and all if we follow the teaching of the Buddha.
This is how the story of the Teachins of Buddha goes with his teaching and learning process.
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Please go through the following posts for the more broad knowledge about Buddha and his life where we divided the full post to four individual informative topic-wise posts.
Click the link below as your preferred topic.
Four sights of Buddha.
Noble truths of Buddha.
Teachings and learning of Buddha.