This is the story from the young age of Siddhartha Gautam to his journey of jungle for searching of Peace and Pleasure and about his ideals or Noble Truth shared by him. In this episode we are going to learn about:
* What happen after the born of Buddha?
* How did Siddhartha spent his young life?
* What lead Siddhartha Gautam left his luxurious palace?
* The full story of Buddha’s journey from palace to jungle.
* And The Noble Truth of Lord Buddha which are the ideal and the ultimate truth to follow till we stay in this planet.
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).
Now lets begin the story about the noble truth of Lord Buddha ……..
Four noble truths of Buddha.
Siddhartha spent the first twenty-nine years of his life in the kingdom of Kapilvastu, after which he decided to leave his family and home in search of truth. For several years he kept wandering from place to place, living the life of a monk. He learnt that all people have one thing in common, and that is suffering.
One day, as he was walking through Rajagriha, the capital city of Magadh, He passed by the palace gates. One of King Bindusar’s ministers saw him and immediately ran back to the King.
“Sir,” he said excitedly, “I have just seen the most unusual man in the city. He is dressed in rags and begs his food form door to door, but I am sure he must be a great person. His face is strong and he walks with great dignity. A special light seems to radiate from him!” The King was curious and asked that Siddhartha be brought before him.
They talked together for a while and the king was very impressed with his intelligence, modesty and royal mannerism. Then the king said, “I have never met a man whom I felt I could trust more. Please settle here in Rajagriha and help me rule my kingdom.”
Siddhartha declined politely saying, “Oh King, I have already had the chance to rule a kingdom, but I refused. I am not interested in wealthy or power. My only wish is to seek the path of truth. I thank you for your offer, but I have come to your kingdom only to find teachers who can help me in my search.” Then, the king bowed to the man in rags and said, “I wish you luck and success in your journey. If you do find what you are looking for, please come back here and enlighten me too. But even if you are unsuccessful, you are welcome to return to my palace.” Siddhartha thanked him and continued on his way.
Eventually,Siddhartha reached the forest where some wise men were known to live. He studied first with Arada and then Udraka Ramaputra. In a short time he mastered everything they had to teach him. But still he was not satisfied.
“My teachers are holy people, but what they have taught me does not bring an end to all suffering. I must continue to seek on my own.”
He continued to travel until he came to the Nairangana River, near the holy town of Gaya. He crossed the river and entered the forest on the other side. There he found a group of five men. Their life was extremely simple. They are very little, lived out in the open and sat perfectly still for many hours each day.
“What are you giving yourself so much pain?” Siddhartha asked these men.
“Most people in the world treat their bodies very gently,” they answered, “Yet experience much suffering. We feel that is we can learn to master pain, we shall find the way to control all suffering.”
Siddhartha thought to himself, ‘For many years I lived in luxurious palaces full of comfort and pleasure. I was treated very gently, yet my mind did not find peace. Perhaps these men are right. I shall join them in their practices and see if this leads to the end of suffering’.
And so he began these difficult and painful practices. He sat for hours on end at the same spot. Even when his legs and back hurt, he would not move a muscle. He let himself be scorched by the blazing summer sun and chilled by the winter winds. He ate barely enough to remain alive. But no matter how difficult it was, he thought, ‘I must continue and discover the way out of all the miseries!’
The five men amazed by Siddhartha’s determination. They said to themselves, “We have never seen anyone with as much will power as this man. He drives himself on and on. If anyone is ever going to succeed in these practices, it will be Siddhartha. Let us stay near him so that when he discovers the true part we can learn it from him.”
Siddhartha treated his body more and more harshly. In the beginning he slept only for a few hours each night, but eventually he stopped speeping. He stopped taking even the one poor meal that he used to eat everyday, and began to survive only on the seeds and berries that fell into his lap. He grew thinner. His body lost its radiance and became covered with dust and dirt. Eventually, he looked little more than a living skeleton. But still he did not give up his practices.
Six long years passed. Siddhartha was now thirty-five, having spent six years with hardly any food, sleep, shelter or decent clothing. One day he thought, ‘Am I any closer to my goal now than I was six years ago? Or am I still as ignorant as before?’
When he looked at himself he realized, ‘I have been sitting here for such a long time with no food. I am tired, dirty and weak. I am so thin that I can see my bones though my skin. How can I meditate when I am too hungry even to think clearly?’
And so, slowly Siddhartha pulled himself up and went to bathe in the river. He was so weak that he stumbled and fell, and was almost drowned. With great effort Siddhartha managed to pull himself out and he sat to rest on the shore for a while.
Eightfold Path in Forest
At the edge of that forest was a small village in which lived a herdsman and his wife Sujata. She had just given birth to her first child and was very happy. She bought the finest milk and prepared a delicious meal with it. Then she took this into the forest as an offering to the spirits she thought lived there. She had often prayed to these spirits, and wanted to thank them for helping her have such a healthy baby.
As she entered the forest, she saw Siddhartha sitting there. His body was thin and weak, but his face became radiant and handsome. Sujata gazed at him in surprise. ‘I have never seen anyone like him before,’ she thought to herself. ‘Perhaps he is the king of the tree spirits himself!’ Thinking thus, she placed the specially prepared food before him.
Siddhartha slowly opened his eyes and saw the bowl in fort of him. Smiling silently to Sujata he lifted it to his lips and began to drink. To her amazement, his body grew more and more radiant as he drank. When he was finished, he placed the bowl down and thanked her saying, “You thought I was a spirit, but I am only a man in search of the truth. Your offering has made me strong again. Now, I am sure that I shall find the truth. Much good will come from what you have done today. Thank you.”
The five men who were living in the forest with Siddhartha saw him accept the food from Sujata. They were very disappointed and said to themselves, “Siddhartha has given up his search. He is no longer following the holy life. Look, he bathes himself and eats rich food again. How can we stay with such a man any longer? Come, let us leave this forest and travel to Varanasi. We can continue our practices in the deer park there.”
So they left, thinking that Siddhartha was no longer interested in discovering the truth. But Siddhartha had decided to discard both extremes of living, i.e., luxurious living and self-mortification. Instead, he chose the middle path of ‘moderation.’ One day, he wandered into a village near Gaya and sat under a shady BO Tree, which later came to be known as ‘Bodhi Tree’. Siddhartha sat down under the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya and started meditating.
After intense meditation, he reached the stage of Nirvana or complete freedom from worldly suffering. Thus, he achieved enlightenment. So, at the age of thirty-five, Siddhartha became ‘The Buddha’, the Supreme Enlightened One.
Then he thought, ‘It was so difficult for me to reach the end of suffering and become a Buddha. I had to work so hard for so long. When I see how blind and ignorant most people are, I wonder if there is anyone who can understand the truths I have discovered. How could I possibly teach them? Perhaps it is better for me to live the rest of my life in the forests alone and enjoy the happiness of being a Buddha myself.’
Buddha filled with the happiness. His mind, free from all darkness and pain, knew a boundless joy. Then he heard an inner voice which said, “Please do not forget us! We are the suffering beings of the world. We have hoped and prayed so for many years that you would leave the princely life and discover the way to end all suffering. Now that you have found this path, please teach us. Unlike you, we are still suffering.”
So, Buddha decided to share the knowledge he had gained with the rest of humanity, and tell the suffering people of a way out of their miseries.
Remembering his five ascetic friends, he sought them out at the deer park in Sarnat. At first the five monks, on seeing Siddhartha approaching at a distance, decided to ignore him. However, as he went nearer, they could not resist giving him the due respect. Buddha convinced them of his enlightenment and all the five ascetics listened attentively to the Buddha’s teachings. He taught them about ” Four Noble Truths ” he had discovered while struggling for enlightenment, which became the central teaching of Buddhism.
He began with the first noble truth which says that suffering and pain are a part of life. Buddha said, “This world is not perfect an in the same way human nature too is not perfect. During his lifetime a man has positive as well as negative experiences. Everything keeps on changing in this world and so do things in life. Therefore nothing is permanent in life.”
After Buddha had explained the first noble truth and answered the queries of the monks, he continued to tell them the second noble truth which was about the cause of suffering. The second noble truth of Buddha, “When our mind is filled with greed and desires, suffering of all types follow. For example, if a rich man is attached to his wealth, his miserliness will bring him nothing but pain.”
When the Buddha finished explaining the causes of suffering, one of the monks got up and asked the Buddha if it was possible to end this suffering?
“Yes sage! It is possible to end this suffering,” the Buddha said. “When we remove all craving and desire from our mind, suffering will come to an end. We shall experience a peace and happiness that is beyond words. The fact that is possible to end suffering constitutes the third noble truth.”
About the fourth noble truth of Gautam Buddha he further said, “Finally, the fourth truth is the ‘noble truth of the path.’ This path leads to the end of all sufferings. If we avoid harming other living beings, sharpen and focus our mind, and gain wisdom, each of us can reach perfect happiness, and end all our miseries.”
All the five monks listened very carefully to the Buddha’s teaching. After hearing it they felt as if they had found a great treasure.
“Oh, Buddha, “they said, “You have indeed found the truth. Please teach us the path to perfect wisdom and happiness. We shall be your followers. ”
The five monks practiced diligently and with the help of diligently and with the help of fully enlightened ones or the ‘Arahants.’
The Buddha stayed at the deer park till the end of the rainy season. By then fifty-five other monks had joined the Arahant disciples of Buddha. The Buddha now told his sixty disciples- ‘Go into the world ‘Bhikshus’, and preach the ‘dhamma’ to people, for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare and happiness of Gods and men’.
Accordingly the disciples set forth to spread the new teachings throughout the world.
This is how the story of the Noble truth of Buddha goes with his adolescence. The remaining parts of this story is in our next post. Please go through this post “Teaching and Learning of Gautam Buddha” for the next episode.
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.