Life of Buddha
About two thousand five hundred years ago, there ruled in north India King Shaddodhan of Shakya dynasty. His capital was in the city of Kapilvastu.
Shakya dynasty in ‘Surya Vansha’ is considered to be a branch of Eksvaku dynasty. Lord Rama was born in the Eksvaku dynasty in ‘TretaYuga’King Shuddodhan had two queens.The elder was Mahamaya and the younger, Prajawati But he Had no issue.
One night queen Mahamaya saw in her dream a white elephant with six tusks and a hexagonal bright star. The star had entered in her body.
The queen conceived that very day whan she was going to her father’s house. She stood holding the branch of a tree on the way in Lumbini forest. There a son was born to her without any pain. This strange boy immediately after birth moved seven steps wherever he placed his step, lotus flowers sprang up from the earth.
Queen Mahamaya breathed her last in a few days, The other queen prajawati brought up the prince. Even in his infancy Sidhartha used to sit in meditation Leaving aside his toys. The parents felt worried seeing this condition of the child.
On growing up a little, there appeared strange virtues in prince Sidhartha. He did not shoot with his arrows even the deer which came close to him. He would allow it to run away.
When his horse panted due to running, he would get down, wipe off the dust, pat lovingly and shower his affection on it.
One day swan dropped down in his darden. Prince Devadutta had shot it down with his arrow. Sidhartha took out the arrow, washed its wound and held it to his bossom. When Devedutta demanded it, he refused to part with it. The metter reached to the court, but the decision of the court was in favour of sidhartha as he had saved the life of the swan. When the swan was fit to fly, he allowed it to fly away.
Last prince Sidhartha may be detached from the world. King Sunddhodhan wanted to get him married. An ‘Ashok’ ceremony was arranged to find out which princess he preferred. All the princess came to the garden by turn to receive presents from the hands of the prince. Last of all when princess, Gopa (Yashodhara) came, the prince took off his garland of jewels and give it to her.
For the marriage of Jashodhara a trial of strength and knowledge among the princes was arranged. In this prince Sidhartha proved to be the ablest. None could equal him in the use of sword and in riding. He pierced the ‘Laksha Vedha’ by putting the string on the unbending ‘Singha Henu’.
Princess Yashodhara placed the pridal garland round the neck of victorious prince Sidhartha. Their marriage was solomnised with due ceremony.
At the time of the birth of the prince, astrologers had predicted that he would either be an unvissible king or a detached thinker. King Shudbhodhan had arranged for the prince to reside in a big palace. No old man or sick person was to go there. No talk on grief was to be held there which might create feeling of detachment from the world in the prince. Once the prince expressed his desires to see the city. The king got the city decorated on a grand scale. Prince Sidhartha came out to see the city on a chariot. By chance he happened to see an old man moving with the help of a stick.
For the second time he went out to see the city disguised an ordinary merchant in the company of the son of the minister. This time he happened to see a sick man with wounds all over his body. The Prince supported him to rise up.
15 On the third occasion when he went out to see the city on a chariot, peoples were seen carrying a dead body.
Evening one has to face old age and disease. They destroy beauty strength and body. Every one has to die some day or other. This was clear to him by seeing the old the sick and the dead. He felt completely detached from the pleasures of the world. From him onward he was seized with the one and the only one idea. How to attain immortality. One night he went out of his house leaving behind his wife Yashodhara and the newly born son, Ruhul.
The name of prince Sidhartha’s Horse was ‘Kanddhak’. He continued moving on it. His only companion was the charioteer ‘Chhandak’. When he was crossing river ‘Anama’ on his horse Chhandak also swam across, holding the tail of the horse.
18 After crossing the river, the Prince cut off his long hair with a sword. He cast off his royal garments and ornament and giving these to his charioteer bade him to return with his horse.
In search of true religion, Prince Sidhartha went to several scholars. All the aminent scholars of that time in the neighbourhood, accorded him a warm reception.
Finding real knowledge no where the Prince decided to undergo ‘Tapasya’. The knowledge acquired from books did not satisfy him. He sat in ‘Aasam’ under a tree without food and water. Due to autere penance he was reduced to akeleton.
One day there appeared in the forest some women dancing and singing. The theme of the song was “Do not stretch the wire of the lyre, so tight that it may break nor leave it so loose that no music is produced” Buddha took a lesson from this song that for salvation a proper blending of happiness and misery is the right thing and not austere penance. He gave up penance and adopted the middle course.
He started from there and sat under a Banyan tree. A women named Sujata had promised to the God of the tree that if she was blessed with a son she would offer rice cooked in milk with due ceremony seeing Gautam under the tree she thought that the God of the tree had appeared in person. She offered the rice cooked in milk with great respect.
After eating the rice offered by Sujata, Gautam saw a Brahmin named Swastik going with kush. He requested the Brahmin to give him the kush. The Brahmin gave it to him with great respect.
Now Gautam spread the kush under the bodhi tree and sat with the determination that he would rise up only after getting enlightenment. The God of temptations Duratama ‘mar’ came there knowing his determination, with the Fairies and demons. He started his efforts to frighten him and to offer him temptations of different types. But Gautam remained firm and there was not even the least deviation in his meditation.
All efforts of ‘Mar’ proved futile, He returned with his companions completely vanquished. Gautam attained, enlightenment. He be came ‘Buddha’
After attaining Buddhism he came to kashi. To the five Brahmins who were with him in the beginning of his meditation and had returned disappointed finding him detached from penance, he preached the way to enlightenment. These five Brahmins were the first recipient of Buddha’s blessings.
Gradually the number of his follower started in creasing. He started the change in the wheel of religion at a place named ‘Sarnath’ near kashi. The following were the four principles of his teaching known as four noble truths, viz.
(a) Right view (e) Right livelihood
(b) Right resolve (f) Right efforts
(c) Right speech (g) Right mindfulness
(d) Right action (h) Right concentration.
Many people accepted the teaching of Buddha In course of his wandering. Buddha went to the Kashyap branmins.
Their lived a deadly poisenous snake in the ‘Agni Shala’ of the Kashyaps. When Buddha sat there, the serplnt came out and rushed at him but no sooner did Buddha cast a glance at it, then the serpent was pacified and it sat in his begging bowl.
Once their broke out an eternal fire on Gaya Shirsh ‘mountian’ Showing the burring mountain, Buddha told his disciples ‘The whole world is burning with jealousy and grief. A wise man is he who starts in search of self enlightenment coming out of this deadly fire.
From Gayashirsh mountion Gautam reached Rajgrih. On receiving the news of his arrival King Bundusar went with his queen, prince, and ministers to receive him. He be came a disciple of Buddha.
Moving through different places Buddha reached the city of his father.
When King Shuddodhan came to know that his son was begging alm in his own city he felt greatly aggrieved. He went to Gautan with his ministers. Buddha consoled him by explaining the religion of sacrifice.
At the repuest of King Shuddodhan, he went to the royal palace for begging. To devoted Yashodhara, he appeared in person. Yashodhara fell down at the feet of her husband.
There after Yashodhara taught her son Ruhul to go to his father and ask for paternal wealth child Rahul went to his father to ask for paternal wealth. Buddha took him in his company. His property was dedication and sacrifice. He brought Ruhul and made him join the Sangha of the Parivra jakas.
Some people out of jealousy, had started opposing Buddha. They used to say ‘Gautam has no power’. To pacify them, Buddha agreed to show his miracle at the insistence of his disciples.
He sucked a Mango and buried its stone underground and washed his hands over it. Immediately it sprouted and took the shape of a big tree in no time. It bore fruits. Buddha also performed other miracles.
Once Gautam Buddha remained in the forest away from his disciples for some time. There an elephant and a monkey served him with fruit flower and water.
A robber of sri vasti named Angulimal wanted to prepare a garland of fingers by killing a thousand persons. He had killed many men. When Buddha happened to pass that way he rushed at him in order to kill him. Buddha was moving with the ordinary speed, but the robber failed to reach him even by running to wards him. In the end Buddha, by his teaching, detached him from his evil action.
There lived a Yoksha in Arvik village near the City of Sri Vasti. His abode was in a banyan tree. The villagers used to give one man every day as his food. In course of his wandering Buddha reached there and sat under the same banyan tree. No power of the Yaksha could influence Buddha. On the other hand he gave up violence through the teachings of Buddha.
Once Buddha saw a shepherd driving his sheep. One of the lambs had an injury in its feet. It was limping with difficulty. It lagged behind others due to this. Its mother repeatedly turned behind to see it. Buddha took the lamb in his lap and continued moving behind the sheep.
Prince Devadutta was the chief among those who have enimity to wards Buddha. He incited King Ajat Shatru to kill Buddha by letting Loose a mad elephant named Nilgiri. But the elephant sat down before Buddha and started throwing the dust under his feet over its body.
Bishikha was the wife of the treasurer of King Prashanjeet. She was deeply religious minded. She Begged Buddha for the Gift. That she might arrange for the dress, grain, fruits, medicine and diet of the Bhikshukas. Her devotion was always selfless.
The son of ‘Krisha Guatami’ died. She came to Gautam Buddha with his dead body. Buddha said, I shall bring back your son to life if you bring me a handful of mustard seed from a house where no one has died Krisha Gautami moved to several houses at last she thoroughly under stood that when death occurs in every house and all have to die how could her son alone can be Brought back to life? This was Buddha’s peculiar way of imparting his teachings.
He showed kindness to all the dancing girl, Amrapali, cordially invited him. He went to her house with his disciples. Through his teachings, she was converted into a sincerely religious soul. She donated the mango grove where Buddha had stayed and donated it for the construction of Sangharam.
From time to time Buddha explained to the people the mystries of their religion. Seeing the Vaishya Sigal Saluting t he four directions, Buddha said to him, “Do not commit violence, do not steal. Do not tell a lie and do not be in the company of a woman other than your wife.” These are the four cardinal points of religion, while saluting the four directions a promise should made not to commit a sin. He gave him other pieces advice also.
In this way he explained to a Brahmin named Bharadwaja that the highest person is one whose action is the noblest and most respected. The pride of one born in a high family is false if his action is not noble.
King Prashanjeet came to Buddha saying that the Bhikshukas were accepting water from the hands of every one which was improper. Gautam Buddha explained to him that the Bhikshukas did not belong to any caste. For them it was certainly not proper to accept water or food every where. But they should respect good behaviour, devotion, and religion of man,
In this way lord Gautam Buddha showed the way of true religion to every section of people through his preaching. He delivered his last massage to Anand and other Bhikshukas at a place called ‘Chaplya Chaitya’.
After this preaching when Anand went to way with the Bhikshukas, the God, ‘Mara’ came and prayed to Gautam saying ‘Guatam’ your work is done, You should now accept Nirwana’ Tathagata accepted the request of Mara.
On returning when Anand came to know that the lord had renounced the solemn promise of life, he was over whelms with grief Tathagata consoled and pecified him.
On arrival at Kusinagar from there, he asked Anand for water. There was a small river through which five hundred carts had passed just then. Still its water was pure. Anand brought that very water and made Buddha drink it.
There after, in the shall forest of the Mallahs at Kusinagar, he ley down for the last time on the bed sheet spread by Anand between two shall trees. while lying down. He attained ‘Pari Nirvana.’
At the Nirvana of Buddha Bhikshu Sanghas with the whole country were over whelmed with sorrow beyond measure. At last his funeral rites were performed with greats lemnity. His ashes were kept in stupas at eight places in the country. One stupa was built at the place where the funeral pyre was lighted and the other, where the ashes were preserved. There ten stupas in all were built in memory of the Buddha.