Enlighten Yourself

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How the Buddha Came to Be

800px-Ascetic_Bodhisatta_Gotama_with_the_Group_of_Five The Buddha was born over two millennia ago, a prince who believed that beyond the palace walls a greater, more fulfilling life existed.   He began a spiritual search that ended in total enlightenment.


Over 2,500 years in the past, Prince Siddharta Gautama was born in what is currently called Lumbini in Nepal. He was born a prince and his birth had been heralded all sorts of special conditions that suggested a life of greatness. The prince's father asked a wiseman who resided in the kingdom for advice about his boy.  The sage man believed that the prince, Siddharta Gautama, might either follow in his father's  footsteps and become a great king or he might become a spiritual leader.

Praying that his son should grow to be his heir, the king managed his best to separate the prince from those activities that might inspire him towards a spiritual existence.  The prince was bombarded by luxury  and excess, all of the benefits that his royal status could offer.  Siddharta Gautama proved to be a brilliant student and exceptional sportsman.  He wed a stunning woman whom he adored and  they  bore a child.

At the age of 29, the prince learned that the world surrounding him was much more complicated than what he experienced in the walls of his palace.  Out amongst the people of the kingdom, he  found actuality: sickness, old-age and death. The shock of this discovery left the young prince shaken. He made the decision then to dedicate himself to ending the suffering. Leaving behind his wife and child  behind, the prince forsaked his worldly belongings and set out on a spiritual quest.

Guatama started a course of study with numerous teachers to understand their practices. With the aid of Alara Kalama, he began to understand meditation and discovered an exalted form known as absorption.  This permitted him to attain a state of nothingness where there was no moral or cognitive dimensions. While this was beneficial it was obvious to the past prince that it wouldn't solve the suffering he  had seen. 

Guatama continued his search for other people who might assist him on his spiritual quest.  Udraka Ramputra, helped Gautama to comprehend a state of neither perception or non-perception,  but this to was not just what he was searching for. The next step in his journey led Gautama to Uruvilva in North India.  It was there that he chose an ascetic path, living a life of deprival for nearly 6 years. This just resulted in the destruction of his body, weakness and self-destruction. Although it cost him his five followers, Gautama ended this ascetic way of life.

The end of this spiritual journey appeared as far away as ever, so the Buddha sat down under a Bodhi tree and announced that "flesh may wither, blood may dry up, but I shall not rise from the spot until Enlightenment has been one."  After forty days and nights of thought and meditation, the Buddha finally realized Enlightenment.

It's the Buddhist understanding that at that moment he attained a state of being that surpasses anything else in the universe. Our normal experiences are based on preconceptions and circumstances: how we were raised, our ordeals, flaws and shortcomings. Enlightenment is a state when the complex internal workings of existence become clear and the cause of human suffering discovered.

For the next 45 years, the Buddha moved through much of what's now north India. He taught the way of Enlightenment to all that wanted to comprehend. This instruction came to be known as the dharma or "the teaching of the enlightened one.     The Buddha took many disciples who in turn attained their own Enlightenment and they taught others.

Buddhists believe that Buddha achieved a state of existence that flows beyond anything else in the world. If typical experience is based on conditions - childhood, mindsets, views, perceptions, and so on - Enlightenment is Unconditioned. It was a state in which the Buddha acquired insight into the deepest workings of living and for that reason, into the cause of human suffering, the problem that had set Him on His spiritual journey originally.

The Buddha was not a god and would not consider himself as a divine person. He was simply a man that endeavored to transform himself through self reflection and meditation. Buddhists see him as an ideal and his quest as a guide that could encourage them on the path to enlightenment.

How the Buddha Came to Be ~ Kellog Vanderhague

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Tags - buddhism, buddhist, buddha, buddhahood, path to enlightenment, buddha origin, Enlightenment, self reflection, meditation, spiritual journey, spiritual quest

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