Siddhartha was born at Lumbini in present Nepal. He was son of Shuddodana, the King of Shakya gana of Kapilvastu and Mayadevi, princess of Koliya gana. In his childhood he was taken care of by Gautami, hence he is also called as Gautama. After his enlightenment, he was called Buddha. Shuddodana provided all kinds of comforts and pleasure to Siddhartha. However, since his childhood, Siddhartha was detached from worldly pleasure and engrossed in meditation. When he arrived in his youth, he was deeply moved by the misery and agony of human life. Traditions inform us about the effects on Siddhartha of the sight of an old man, a sick man, a dead body and meditative sage. He became restless to seek the cause of such agony and real meaning of truth. Hence, at 29, he left his wife Yashodhara and son Rahul and, moved to forests to know the real meaning of truth and reason of sorrow. His departure from material pleasure for the welfare of humanity is engraved in history as maha-bhi-ni-shkramana. He spent his six years experimenting in various methods of penance supervised under various scholars. However, he felt such methods as fruitless hence left them. At the end, on the banks of Uruvela, at Gaya, he received enlightenment under the pipal (bodhi)-tree. He became the Buddha-the enlightened one and Tathagath-who knew the truth. He refuted the known methods and authority of knowledge and put forth his new version of truth. He decided to share his knowledge with the people, based on simple code of conducts and in the languages of people, i.e. Pali. He gave his first sermon at Sarnath and introduced his dhamma. This sermon refuted the earlier versions of truth and introduced a new beginning in the philosophical history of Indian culture; and hence, memorized as dhamma-chakra-parivartana. His knowledgeable, simple and sacrificial character and his teaching in a simple tone impressed people.
Gautama Buddha (566 to 486 BC):
Initially there were five disciples-Ashvajit, Upali, Mogalalana, Shreyaputra and Anand. However, within a short span of period crowds and crowds of people gathered around him and accepted his knowledge. He was followed by, along with common people, wealthy merchants-traders, artisans and kings like Ajatshatru (Magadha), Prasenjit (Kosala) and Udayana (Kaushambi) of that time.
Then, Buddha organized his disciples into a specific monachism rested on definite rules and codes of conduct. This is called the Sangha. The Buddhists express their devotions by submitting themselves to Buddha, his Sangha and his dhamma. After painstaking propagation and travels through distant lands, in the age of 80, Buddha rested at Kusinagar (Kasaya, dist. Devriya, present Uttar Pradesh) in peace. His departure is commemorated as maha-pari-nirvana.
Philosophy of Buddhism The Buddhist philosophy comprises four arya-satya, ashtang-marga, panchashila, four brhamavihara and classical concepts like pratityasamutpada, anityavada, anatmavada. Let us understand the highlights of Buddhism. Arya-satya Buddhism introduces its philosophy with four arya-satya or truths.
• dukkha (Sorrow): Human life is full of sorrow which would remain up to its end.
• dukkha-samudyaya (reasons of sorrow) (the reason): Sorrow is caused by desire.
• dukkha-nirodha (stopping sorrow): The end of desire is the end of sorrow. 100
• dukkha-samudaya-nirodha-marga (way of stopping) (solution):To end desire (that means to end sorrow), one should follow the ashtangamarga.
Ashtanga-marga (eightfold ways) For putting an end to the desire and in turn removing sorrow from human life, Buddha suggested ashtanga-marga or eight ways. He called them samyaka i.e. right or middle (not extreme) Samyak drishti knowledge of four arya-satyas Samyak sankalpa good will, good wish and love for all living beings Samyaka vacha abstaining from untruth, using words that hurt others and nonsense talking Samyaka karma non-violence, non-stealing, controlling senses Samyaka ajivika follow occupation with righteous way Samyaka vyayama consistent efforts to replace bad thoughts with good thoughts Samyaka smriti always remember that everything is full of sorrow, changing and time-being Samyaka samadhi experiencing peace after going through various stages of meditation Pancha-shila
The Buddhist monks expected to follow certain moral values, like, Ahimsa not to trouble any living being by violence Satya leaving of false speech and thoughts Asteya not to wish which is not belong to us or given to us Brhamacharya to remain abstain from sexual relationships Aparigraha not to possess which is not needed Brahma-vihara For cleansing our soul, Buddha suggested following methods, like, Maitri sustaining kindness towards all living beings and leaving of anger, jealousy and breach of trust Karuna to be sensitive towards the sorrow of others Mudita to be glad towards the happiness or progress of others Upeksha awareness of the bounded life of human being with his actions, which create happiness and misery, In short, to put an end to the desires and attain moksha, Buddha provided logic of arya-satya, and then suggested solutions in the forms of ashtanga-marga, panchashila and Brahma-vihara. Another philosophical contribution of Buddhism is Pratityasamutpada (the concept of cause-effect) According to Buddhism, every thing or action has some causes behind them; and, both, the cause and its effect are separate entities.
They say, • Initially, the entity which we call as cause is finished then the entity, called as action emerged • The cause holds no power to produce any action. This concept refutes the atmavadi’s principle according to which, the powers in causes gave birth to actions which happened through some kind of external principle Anityavada According to Buddhists, everything/being/action/quality is mortal and existed only for time being. Besides, nothing is stable and always succumbs to changes. Thus, it refutes the concept of Vedic culture of stability of soul, which is caused by some immortal principle. Anatmavada Anatmavada questions the existence of the soul. According to Vedic everything/being has a soul, which is stable and everlasting. Buddhist refutes this concept. They state that ‘this so-called soul’ cannot be experienced, hence, we must agree to such principles, which can be experienced. In short, Buddhism refutes the claim of Vedic that everything has some stability and definite principles behind them. Instead, they suggested that there is no stable, immortal principle like soul; in fact, everything is changing & mortal (anatmavada) and independent from the other one as stated in Pratityasamutpada. Such logical thinking of Buddhist and their adherence to the knowledge-by-byexperience, on one hand refuted abstract concepts of Vedic and on another influenced a large mass of population.