Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Buddha - enlightened one

Life of Buddha The Buddha, or "enlightened one", was born Siddhartha ( which means "he who achieves his aims"). Gautama was born in the year 624 B.C. in Lumbini (Nepal) as a prince. His father was king Suddhodana and his mother was Queen Mahamaya. Gautama Buddha was a spiritual leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.  Born as a prince, he spent his childhood in the lap of luxury. Once on a trip through the city on a chariot he witnessed on old man, a diseased person, and a corpse. This new knowledge  about the sufferings in the world gave rise prince soon renounced all his worldly affairs in order to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Siddhartha then made his way to place near Bodh Gaya (Bihar) in India, where he found a suitable site for meditation. Finally after years of rigorous contemplation and meditation, he found Enlightenment, and became the Buddha, meaning "awakened one" or "the enlightened one".
Buddha Teachings: The earliest available source of Buddha's teachings is the Pali Sattapitaka consisting of Five Nickayar. Buddha was a reformer who took note of the realities of life.The religion of Buddha is famous as Buddhism. The followers of that religion are known as Buddhist. In his teachings, Buddha showed a new path. In his religious mission, he did not give value to the so-called sacred rites and rituals. Instead, he showed the way for a life of ethics and spirituality. His doctrines were simple as well as practical for adoption. He preached against the extreme means of worldly life which lead to man's self indulgence, pleasures, and unending desires. At the same time, he did not prescribe for the common man extreme hardship of ascetic life by physical punishment and self-torture. He was the noble 'Middle Path' which was possible for every man to follow. Between the two extremes of pleasures and penance, he showed the path of really virtuous life. Buddha in his own word says, Learn from the earth, whether people spread pure and fragrant and flowers, perfume, or fresh milk on it, or discard filthy and foul-smelling fees, urine, blood, mucus, and spit on it, the earth receives it all equally without clinging or aversion. When pleasant or UN-pleasant thought arise, don't let them entangle or enslave you.

Learn from the water. When people wash dirty things in it, the water is not sad or disdainful. Learn from fire. Fire burn all things without discrimination. Learn from the air. The air carries all fragrances whether sweet or foul.

Practice loving kindness to overcome anger. Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return. Practice compassion to overcome cruelty. Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return. Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred. Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others and wishes others well-being and success. Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice. Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally.

Loving kindness, compassion,sympathetic joy, and non-attachment are beautiful and profound states of mind. Practice them and you will become a refreshing source of vitality and happiness for others.

Buddha explain what self-sufficiency and what is the better way to live alone. A self-sufficient person is a person who dwells in mindfulness. He is aware of what is going on in the present moment, what is going on his body, feelings, mind, and objects of mind. He knows to look deeply at things in the present moment. He does not pursue the past nor lose himself in the future, because the past no longer is and the future has not yet come. Life can only take place in the present moment. If we lose the present moment, we lose life. This is the better way to live alone.

To pursue the past means to lose yourself in thoughts about what you looked like in the past, what your feelings were then, what rank and position you held, what happiness or suffering you experienced the giving rise to such thoughts entangles you in the past.

Learning yourself in the future means to lose yourself in thoughts about the future. You imagine, hope, fear, or worry about the future, wondering what you will look like, what your feelings will be, whether you will have happiness or suffering. Giving rise to such thoughts entangles you in the future.

If you are ruled by worry, frustration, anxiety, anger, or jealousy, you will lose the chance to make real contact with all the wonder of life. At the time of his enlightenment he gained complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. He called these steps the "FOUR NOBLE STEPS"

The following main doctrines constitute the substance of his teachings.

Four Noble Truths or the Arya Satya.

This documentary tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. It features the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millennia, have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity.

The path he suggested is a code of practical ethics which has a rational outlook. Buddhism was more social than religious. It advocated for social equality.He was more conceived to worldly problem. In his enlightenment, Buddha discovered the real causes of the miseries of human existence. He also discovered the way to escape from those miseries which followed endlessly in the wheel of karma, birth and rebirth. These discoveries were called the Four Noble Path.

  1.  Dukkha -The existence of suffering.
  2.  Samudaya -The cause of suffering.
  3.  Nirodha -The cessation of suffering, and
  4.  Marga -The path which leads to the cessation of suffering.

1. The First is the existence of Suffering:  Birth, Old age, Sickness, and Death are suffering. Sadness, Anger, Jealousy, Worry, Anxiety, Fear, and Despair are suffering. Separation from loved ones is suffering. Association with those you hate is suffering. Desire, attachment and clinging to the five aggregates are suffering.

2. The Second Truth is the Cause of Suffering:  Because of ignorance, people cannot see the truth about life, and they become caught in the flames of desire, anger, jealousy, grief, worry, fear, and despair.

3. The Third Truth is the Cessation of Suffering: Understanding the truth of life brings about the cessation of every grief and sorrow and gives rise to peace and joy.

4. The Fourth Truth is the Path which leads to the Cessation of Suffering.

Buddha said, "Life can be found only in the present moment, but our mind rarely dwell in the present moment. Instead we chase after the past or long for the future. We think we are being ourselves, but in fact we almost never are in real contact with ourselves. Our mind are too busy chasing after yesterday's memories or tomorrow's dreams. The only way to be in touch with life is to return to the present moment. Once you know how to return to the present moment, you will become awakened, and at the moment, you will find your true self.

The cause of suffering is ignorance, a false way of looking at reality. Thinking the impermanent is permanents that is ignorance. Thinking there is a self when there is not, that is ignorance. From ignorance is born greed, anger, fear, jealousy, and countless other sufferings. The path of liberation is the path of looking deeply at things in order to truly realize the nature of impermanence, the absence of a separate self, and the interdependence of all things. This path is the path which overcomes ignorance. Once ignorance

Noble Eight fold Path of Buddha: After describing the chain of causes that lead to suffering Buddha suggested the Eight-Fold Path (Arya Ashtanga Marga) as the means of deliverance from these sufferings. This path was the real path to end the cycle of karma and the re-birth.
  1. Right Understanding.
  2. Right Action.
  3. Right Thought
  4. Right Speech
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort.
  7. Right Mindfulness and
  8. Right Concentration. 
The first three practices lead to sila or physical control, the second three lead to samadhi or mental control, the last two lead to prajna or development of inner sight. Buddha call it the right path because it does not avoid or deny suffering but allows for a direct confrontation with suffering as the means to overcome it. The noble eight fold path is the path of living in awareness. Mindfulness is the foundation. By practicing mindfulness you can develop concentration which enables you to attain understanding. Right concentration, you realize right awareness, thoughts, speech, action, livelihood, and effort. The understanding which develops can liberate you from every shackle of suffering and give birth to lure peace and joy.

Buddha also prescribed a code of conduct for his followers.

These are called the 'Ten Principles' consisting of......
  1. Do not commit violence.
  2. Do not steal.
  3. Do not involve in corrupt practices.
  4. Do not tell a lie.
  5. Do not  use intoxicants.
  6. Do not use comfortable bed.
  7. Do not attend dance and music.
  8. Do not take food irregularly.
  9. Do not accept gifts or covet other's property.
  10. Do not save money.

By following these ten principles, one can lead a moral life.

Law of Karma: Buddha laid great stress on the law of karma and its working and the transmigration of souls. According to him the condition of man in this life and the next depends upon his own actions. Man is the maker of his own destiny not any god or gods. One can never escape the consequences of his deeds. If a man does good deeds in this life, he will be reborn in a higher life, and so on till he attain nirvana. Evil deeds are sure to be punished. We are born again and again to reap the fruit our karmas. This is the law of karma.

Ahimsa or Non-Violence: One of the important tenants of Buddha's teaching is ahimsa. Non-violence towards life is more important than god deeds. He advised that one should not kill or injure others either man or animal. Buddha attached great importance to non-violence, he permitted his followers to take a meat when no other food is available to keep them alive.

God: Buddha neither accepts nor rejects the existence of God. He remarked that Gods or Gods were also under the eternal law of karma. He was only concerned with the deliverance of man suffering.

Opposition to Vedas: The Buddha opposed the authority of Vedas. He also denied the utility of vedic and complex Brahaminical practices and rituals for the purpose of salvation. He criticized the Brahmanical supremacy.

Opposition of cast systems: The Buddha opposed vaina order or caste system. According to him a man is to be judged not by virtue of his birth but by his qualities.

Gautama Buddha spent the rest of his life traveling, teaching a diverse range of people from nobles to criminals.He had ten thousands of disciples and accumulated a large public following. He later established an order of monks and a corresponding order of nuns.

His health began to fail when he was in this late 70s. After forty-five years of teaching, he died in a small town named Kushinagar (Now modern town in Utter Pradesh-INDIA), at the age of 80, apparently of natural causes. His final words were, "Decay is inherent in all things. Be sure to strive with clarity of mind." for Nirvana.

He did not choose a successor. He felt that the Dharma.....his the Vinaya......his code of rules for the monks and nuns....would be sufficient guide. Two and a half centuries later, a council of Buddhist monks collected his teachings and the oral traditions of the faith into written form, called the Tripitika. This included a very large collection of commentaries and traditions; most are called Sutras (discourse).