Siddhartha Gautama: Hvordan buddhismens fader gik fra lidelse til oplysning

Siddhartha Gautama: Hvordan buddhismens fader gik fra lidelse til oplysning

Siddhartha Gautama, også kendt som Buddha eller "Enlightened One", er sandsynligvis en af ​​de mest indflydelsesrige personer, der kom ud af Indien gennem den tilfældige grundlæggelse af buddhismen. Siddhartha Gautama, i sin modstand mod det herskende religiøse etablissement og sin lære om medfølelse og afkald på verdslig rigdom, sammenlignes ofte med Jesus fra Nazareth, senere kaldet Kristus eller "Salvet". Siddhartha Gautama og bevægelsen kendt som buddhismen ligner Jesus og den kristne bevægelse i afkald på ritualer og religiøst hierarki til fordel for en dybere spiritualitet, der involverer personligt ansvar for ens åndelige tilstand.

Siddhartha Gautamas liv før buddhismen

Ifølge traditionen blev Siddhartha Gautama født i Lumbini i nutidens Nepal. Hans forældre var af Shakya -klanen og medlemmer af hersker/ kriger -kaste. Som et resultat havde Siddhartha et behageligt liv i sine første år. Buddhistiske historier fremhæver overdådigheden af ​​hans tidlige år, der boede på paladset. Ifølge en legende i buddhismen hørte hans far en profeti om, at hans søn enten ville blive en magtfuld konge eller Buddha. Han ønskede ikke, at hans søn skulle blive Buddha, men gjorde alt, hvad han kunne for at forhindre, at hans søn støder på lidelse.

Spædbarn Buddha tager et bad Gandhara 2. århundrede e.Kr. ( CC BY SA 4.0 )

Denne plan virkede et stykke tid. Siddhartha nød en palads livsstil og var gift med en kvinde ved navn Yasodhara. De havde en søn ved navn Rahula. Rahula, ville senere blive en af ​​Siddharthas tilhængere. Efter at Siddhartha nåede voksenalderen, blev han mere opmærksom på den lidelse, der var til stede uden for paladsets mure. Buddhistiske sagn siger, at han også kom til den erkendelse, at denne form for lidelse også kunne ske for ham. Dette og andres lidelser i verden forårsagede ham stor nød, og til sidst besluttede han, at han ikke kunne fortsætte med at leve så luksuriøst, når så mange andre led.

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Afgang af prins Siddhartha.

I en vis alder, omkring 29, forlod Siddhartha sit tidligere liv for at blive en vandrende asket. Buddhistisk tradition siger, at han forlod i det skjulte, men det er ikke sikkert. Han sluttede sig til Sramanas, vandrende asketer, der havde dannet sekter i hele Indien på det tidspunkt, der gav afkald på verden og konventionel religion. I årevis levede Siddhartha som en asket, der ledte efter noget, en måde at give mening om menneskelig lidelse. Hans askese var meget alvorlig, og på et tidspunkt døde han næsten. Efter at have prøvet en sådan ekstrem askese havde han dog stadig ikke fundet svaret. Tilhængere af buddhismen mener, at han til sidst besluttede, at svaret ikke var at finde i ekstrem asketisme mere end det var at finde i at leve en overdrevent luksuriøs livsstil.

Billede af et vægmaleri i et laotisk tempel, der skildrer Bodhisattva Gautama (Buddha-to-be), der udførte ekstreme asketiske fremgangsmåder inden hans oplysningstid. En gud overvåger hans stræben og yder en vis åndelig beskyttelse. De fem munke i baggrunden er hans fremtidige 'fem første disciple', efter at Buddha havde opnået fuld oplysning.

Buddhismens fremkomst

Ifølge traditionen sad Siddhartha under et figentræ og mediterede en dag, da pludselig svaret kom til ham. Det var på dette tidspunkt, at han opnåede, hvad buddhister kalder Nirvana. På dette tidspunkt blev Siddhartha Buddha, den Oplyste. Det var kort tid efter, at han holdt sin første prædiken i Sarnath og begyndte at forklare, hvad der senere ville blive centralt for buddhismen i dag.

Det nøjagtige svar, som Siddhartha fandt, er ikke helt klart, da selv buddhister i dag stadig debatterer om det. Ordet nirvana stammer fra et ord, der betyder "udblæst" eller "snuset ud". Det giver ideen om udryddelse eller ophør. Mange buddhister i dag betragter det som ophør af ønsker. Centralt i Buddhas lære er tanken om, at tilknytning til ting førte til lidelse. Siddhartha indså, at ting som rigdom, godt helbred og endda venner og familie alle ville falme eller dø væk, og at tilknytning til disse ting kun ville gøre afsked med disse ting mere smertefuldt og dermed føre til lidelse. Buddhistisk tradition siger, at Siddhartha mente, at løsningen var at lade sig ikke knytte disse ting til, og at alle sådanne ønsker ophørte med at eksistere.

Buddhas Nirvana. Farve på silke. Beliggende ved Kongōbu-ji, Mount Kōya, Wakayama, Japan.

Buddhismens kernelærer

Siddhartha fjernede alle ritualer fra den dominerende indiske religion på det tidspunkt for at komme til en grundlæggende kerne -åndelig sandhed, omend en sandhed, som buddhister ikke helt kan nå til enighed om. Nogle mener, at kernen i buddhismen er medfølelse med de fattige og ramte. Andre mener, at det er at bryde fra cyklussen med død og genfødsel. Andre mener, at det ganske enkelt handler om at leve et afbalanceret, moralsk liv uden lidelse.

Selvom mange anser disse for at være en vigtig del af buddhismens lære, forekommer de i andre religiøse og filosofiske traditioner på det indiske subkontinent, der daterede buddhismen. Et aspekt af buddhismen, der synes at være særligt karakteristisk, er humanisme. Buddha var klar over, at mennesker var ansvarlige for deres handlinger frem for guder eller magi. Han mente også, at enkelte mennesker var ansvarlige for lidelse samt at finde en løsning på lidelse. Buddhistiske historier understreger altid almindelige menneskers handlinger og motiver frem for overnaturlige enheder.

Buddha underviser i de fire ædle sandheder. Sanskrit manuskript. Nalanda, Bihar, Indien.

Gennem århundreder har buddhismen opnået en række forskellige rituelle og liturgiske traditioner samt overnaturlige, metafysiske og kosmologiske ideer. Ingen af ​​disse kræves imidlertid virkelig for at være buddhist. Siddhartha selv betragtede dem egentlig ikke som meget vigtige og betragtede det vigtigste som, hvordan man burde leve, og hvordan spørgsmålet om menneskelig lidelse skulle behandles.

Sammenligning af Siddhartha Gautama og Jesus fra Nazareth

Dette er en måde, hvorpå Siddhartha Gautama og Jesus fra Nazareth ligner hinanden. Deres lære om medfølelse og kritik af det eksisterende religiøse etablissement sammenlignes ofte, men en anden ting, der er særpræget både ved Siddhartha Gautamas og Jesu lære, er, hvordan de begge brød igennem religiøse traditioner og ritualer for at komme til eksistensens centrale spørgsmål. Siddhartha Gautama mente, at de vediske ritualer og religiøse ceremonier havde mistet deres oprindelige betydning og betydning. Jesus havde lignende følelser om de jødiske præsters og farisæeres religiøse praksis. Selv om han holdt tempelkulten i ærbødighed, mente han, at præstedømmet i sig selv var blevet korrupt og ikke længere tilbad Gud ordentligt. Begge virkede mere optaget af penge og magt end åndelig fornyelse.

Buddha -undervisning, fra Buddhas livshistorie, vægmaleri, Tharlam -klosteret i tibetansk buddhisme, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal. (Wonderlane/ CC BY 2.0 )

På samme måde som Siddhartha lagde det til side, som han så som tomme ritualer og traditioner, til side for at lede efter en dybere åndelig sandhed, selvom det ikke er helt klart, hvad denne sandhed var, afsatte Jesus også ritualer og traditioner, der med tiden var blevet tomme, til afsløre en dybere åndelig sandhed.

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Den sandhed, som Jesus måtte afsløre, var naturligvis meget forskellig fra den sandhed, Siddhartha måtte afsløre, men det kunne hævdes, at begge havde at gøre med personligt ansvar for ens åndelige tilstand. Selvom Jesus lærte, at kun Gud virkelig kunne transformere en persons åndelige tilstand, var det stadig personens ansvar at indgå i et personligt forhold til Gud, så transformationen kunne være mulig. På samme måde lærte Siddartha Gautama, at det var den enkeltes ansvar at acceptere de fire ædle sandheder og leve i lyset af dem for at opnå et fredeligt liv uden lidelse.

Hvad Jesus og Siddhartha mente, at den enkelte skulle tage ansvar for, var ganske anderledes, men de understregede begge dette personlige ansvar. Dette er sandsynligvis en grund til, at både buddhisme og kristendom har udholdt. De holder begge individet ansvarlig for hans eller hendes åndelige tilstand og involverer således individet på en måde, der går ud over blot eksterne aspekter som tradition, ritual eller endda politiske holdninger til noget dybere, noget mere universelt.

Buddhistiske munke i Lumbini, Lord Buddhas fødested. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )


Siddhartha Gautama

Følelsen af ​​at have en fuld forståelse for sig selv og hvem man er, er noget, som alle stræber efter. At kunne undgå fornøjelser og dovenskab for at nå selvopfyldelse og klarhed er at opnå oplysning. Siddhartha Gautama, en prins fra Shakya -riget, tog på en rejse for at opdage sig selv og årsagerne til menneskelig lidelse.

Siddhartha levede et meget interessant liv, begyndende med sine yngre år. Da han blev ældre, blev han mere betydningsfuld på grund af hans teorier og religionens udvikling. I dag er han stadig en meget vigtig historisk figur på grund af hans opdagelser, og mange mennesker tilbeder ham. Siddharthas søgen efter oplysning formede en helt ny tankegang, og han skulle altid huskes for sin arv.

Omkring 536 f.Kr. i bjergregionen Himalaya i en by kaldet Lumbini blev Siddhartha Gautama født i rigdom. Hans far, Suddhodana, og hans mor, Mahamaya spiller ham hans navn, fordi det betød ønskeopfylder eller ham, der har nået sine mål (Pearson, 2). Det siges, at hans forældre forudsagde ham for at blive Buddha ved fødslen, derfor kaldte de ham et navn med en sådan betydning (Pearson, 4). To dage efter at han blev født, døde hans mor og efterlod ham i sin søster, Mahapajapati, fordi hans far var en meget travl regerende konge for Shakya -riget.

Da han voksede op, levede Siddhartha i komfort og luksus på grund af sin far, men han var meget beskyttet, så han kun ville alder opleve rigdom og følge i sin fars fodspor. Mens han levede i kongelige, fik han et meget højt uddannelsesniveau og blev undervist i filosofi, litteratur og endda kampsport. I en alder af seksten blev han indrettet til at gifte sig med Yasodhara, og de fik et barn, da han var niogtyve. Fra han var gift til hans søn blev født, begyndte Siddhartha at stille spørgsmålstegn ved hans liv og hvad der foregik omkring ham. Han lagde mærke til en masse lidelser fra almindelige mennesker, hvor han boede. Al denne eksponering fik ham til at blive meget ængstelig og paranoid. Tanken om at han var modtagelig for alderdom, sygdom, død og mange andre former for lidelse sendte ham ind i en krise.

Ascetics var meget selvdisciplinerede og undgik alle former for selvforkælelse. Denne livsstil fascinerede Siddhartha, og derfor blev han så væmmet over folket i hans landsby. Han var også påvirket af udsættelse for asketikere, mænd, der havde givet afkald på alle verdslige goder i den tro, at praktisering af selvfornægtelse som åndelig disciplin kunne bringe oplysning (Pearson, 6). Han blev først en munk og overgik derefter langsomt til fuld asketisme, fordi han troede, at livsstilen var den eneste vej, der ville føre ham til oplysning. Han opgav alt for denne rejse sin familie, sit hjem og alle sine materielle goder. Han var fast besluttet på at opdage noget, som han betragtede som meget vigtigt.

Han oplevede mange strabadser på sin søgen og måtte revurdere, hvad han lavede mange gange for at få succes.
Som munk begyndte han ofte at dyrke yoga og meditation. Han ville begynde at komme i kontakt med sit sind og sin krop. Arada Kalama og Udraka Ramaputra var hans ledere, og de forsøgte at lære ham, men Siddhartha var ikke tilfreds (Violatte, 14). Han vendte sig til asketisme for en mere alvorlig og opgavemetode for at nå oplysning. Ifølge Pearson ville asketer praktisere alvorlig fratagelse af mad og søvn sammen med andre selvfremkaldte fysiske strabadser. De ville bruge yogisk meditation til at lindre smerter og spare energi. Der var en skov, der var af betydning for hinduerne, en fælles religion for befolkningen i området, hvor Siddhartha gik for at bo som asket.
De prøvelser, Siddhartha måtte stå over for, var fysiske, mentale og åndelige.

Han oplevede en masse kamp og strabadser i løbet af den seksårige periode, han boede i skoven. Nogle gange fører hans egne tanker og ideer ham til fare. Fasten var en almindelig ting for munke at øve, og Siddhartha troede, at hvis han fastede i længere tid, kunne han få et bedre greb om sin bevidsthed og opnå oplysning. En kvinde, der rejste igennem og lagde mærke til, at Siddhartha kom hen og tilbød ham mad, og det var først på det tidspunkt, at Siddhartha indså, at oplysning ikke ville komme fra afsavn. Derefter besluttede han at fokusere på et koncept kaldet The Middle Path (Pettinger). Den midterste vej er noget, som Siddhartha ville lære i fremtiden. Efter at have levet i sult i årevis, kom han til den konklusion, at han skulle undgå overdrevne faste- og festmåltider (Pettinger). Efter denne erkendelse begyndte han at fokusere hårdere og blev mere beslutsom.

Ifølge John Pearson, der skrev en biografi om Siddhartha Gautama for EBSCO, siges det at have oplevet hans tidligere væsens død. Dette betyder at gå ud over livets oplevelse som en cyklus af fødsel, død og genfødsel (kendt som samsara) for i stedet at opleve nirvana, hvad han kaldte? Den fuldstændige udryddelse af aldring og dø. ’ Det tog ham seks år at opnå denne oplysning, og det ville ende med at blive en af ​​de vigtigste dage i historien. Efter at Siddhartha opnåede nirvana, blev han kendt som Buddha, hvilket betyder oplyst.

Oplysningskonceptet er meget interessant og kompliceret. Det er meget selvorienteret, og det er noget, der ikke kan læres. Nirvana er en tilstand, som en person befinder sig i, mens oplysningstiden finder sted- nirvana sker også ved døden. Ifølge Immanuel Kant fra Columbia University er Oplysning menneskets fremkomst fra hans selvpålagte nonage.

Nonage er manglende evne til at bruge sin egen forståelse uden en anden vejledning ikke i mangel på forståelse, men i ubeslutsomhed og mangel på mod til at bruge sit eget sind uden en anden ’s vejledning. Det betyder, at oplysning er noget, der er personligt, og følelsen af ​​at være i nirvana vil blive tydelig, og alle en persons lidelse vil ende. Det er tanken om at gøre tingene for dig selv og ikke vente på, at andre fortæller dig at gøre det, og træde frem i dit liv i stedet for at blive tilbage. Nirvana beskrives som salig bevidsthed af Pettinger. Oplysning er et helt nyt livssyn, og Siddhartha var i stand til at finde det og beholde det hos ham resten af ​​sit liv på jorden.

Efter at have oplevet nirvana, fortsatte han med at meditere i uger efter, fordi han ville forbedre sin læring og opleve mere af sin nye virkelighed. Af oplysning. Buddha besluttede, at han ville lære andre om hans visdom og spredte sine nye ideologier til alle. Derefter tog han valget om at gå tilbage til samsara den fysiske verden og begynde at uddanne. Buddha ville have, at folk skulle forstå De fire ædle sandheder, hvilket var noget, han komponerede, mens han var i oplysningstid.

De var: Menneskelig eksistens er lidelse, lidelse er forårsaget af begær, kun ved at afslutte begær kan mennesker afslutte lidelse, Buddhas ottedelede vej kan afslutte begær, (Pearson). Den ottefoldige vej er sporet til oplysning. Han lærte også et koncept kaldet Middle Way. Disse tre ideologier blev grundlaget for buddhismen.

De fire ædle sandheder er Buddhas grundtanker om lidelse og er essensen af ​​buddhismen. De spredte tanken om, at lidelse er uundgåelig, men at lidelse kan komme til en ende. Ifølge PBS er tanken om lidelse ikke beregnet til at formidle et negativt verdensbillede, men derimod et pragmatisk perspektiv, der behandler verden som den er, og forsøg på at rette op på den. Hver sandhed blev omhyggeligt gennemtænkt og bestemt af Buddha i bestræbelserne på at forklare livet på jorden, og hvorfor der er lidelse. Han sammensatte disse ideer ud fra sine egne erfaringer, der søgte oplysning. De giver vejledning gennem den fysiske verden og lader folk vide, at oplysning kan opnås. Den sidste sandhed beskriver Buddhas ottefoldige vej, og hvordan den kan få mennesker til at leve et liv uden jordiske ønsker. Alle elementer i buddhismen hænger sammen og blev skabt af Buddha.

Den ottefoldige vej er som den praksis eller moral, der ifølge Buddha bør følges for at sikre oplysning. De otte aspekter er, Den korrekte forståelse af den korrekte tankegang, den korrekte måde at tale det korrekte levebrød, den korrekte indsats den korrekte mindfulness og den korrekte koncentration, (Gale Resource). Disse ting kan læres og forklares, men en del af den buddhistiske religion handler om at tænke selv og opdage, hvad et begreb betyder for et individ. Denne praksis tilskynder folk til at være respektable og gøre, hvad de ved er rigtigt. Buddha valgte disse specifikke principper, fordi de alle fører til en velafrundet person, der er mere tilbøjelige til at kunne nå oplysning.

Middle Way er ganske enkelt Buddhas syn på livet. Soka Gakkai International siger, at det er den måde eller vej, der overskrider og forener den dualitet, der kendetegner mest tænkning. Den midterste måde er den perfekte balance mellem at have for meget og for lidt. Buddha opdagede dette, da han først havde meget luksus, og derefter næsten ikke havde noget i skoven. Han kom til den konklusion, at overbærenhed eller ikke nok overbærenhed ikke ville føre til oplysning, men et sted i midten ville. Nogle udveksler endda udtrykket The Middle Way og buddhismen, fordi konceptet om mellemvejen fuldstændigt fatter buddhismens grundlag. Buddha mente, at alle disse ideer og forestillinger skulle formes til en religiøs tro. Buddha antog, at folk ville følge, hvad han sagde og forpligte sig til dette nye trossystem for oplysning. Han ville have, at andre skulle have den samme befriende oplevelse, som han havde (Hallisey, 13).

Buddha vendte tilbage til sit hjemland for at tale om sine oplevelser og for at undervise andre i og omkring Indien. Han holdt sin første religiøse tale- eller prædiken- kaldet Drejning af sandhedens hjul på et sted kaldet Sarnath. Han holdt mange flere foredrag resten af ​​sit liv. Hans mål var at sprede de fire ædle sandheder, hans tanke om oplysning og nirvana og mellemvejen. Da han skabte dette trossystem, gjorde han en indsats for ikke at få det til at blive en organiseret religion med en kirke og hierarki (Pearson). Han troede, at hans lære kunne bruges til vejledning til at fremme sig selv, men ikke til at stole fuldt ud på.

Det siges, at Buddha oplevede tre hjerteændringer i løbet af sit liv. Det var, da han opgav sit liv som prins, den dag han opnåede oplysning, og den dag han tog sin beslutning om at undervise i sine fund. Disse ændringer i hjertet påvirkede hans undervisningsstil og påvirkede, hvilken slags lærer han var. Han ville være motiverende, men alligevel praktisk og forsøgte aldrig at tvinge sine tanker på mennesker. For at kunne tilslutte sig flere typer lyttere gav Buddha sit budskab på forskellige måder og justerede, hvad han havde at sige i henhold til hans publikums evner og dispositioner (Hallisey). Han undgik alle forekomster af regler, da han fik flere tilhængere- han ønskede, at buddhismen skulle forblive så personlig for den enkelte som muligt.

Efterhånden som Buddha blev mere etableret som lærer, fik han nogle engagerede tilhængere kaldet sangha, der blev buddhistiske munke (Berkley). Han måtte give ham ret til at undervise i sine filosofier korrekt, fordi han ikke ønskede, at nogen af ​​hans mundtlige lektioner skulle ændres eller fejlfortolkes. Buddha fortsatte med at undervise i femogfyrre år mere, indtil han døde af dysenteri i en alder af firs. Han bestod i 483 f.Kr. i sin hjemby Kushinagara, hvor hans arv fortsatte, og hans ideologier holdt fast i mange mennesker. Nogle siger, at han forlod sin fysiske krop og fortsatte med at nå parinirvana, hvor oplyste mennesker tog hen, da de døde (Berkley). Sanghaen fortsatte med at undervise i buddhisme og etablerede den som en religion, så flere mennesker kunne slutte sig til følgende, hvis de ville. Det spredte sig rundt i Indien og Nepal og sluttede til sidst til Kina.

Så mange mennesker var forelskede i begrebet at blive oplyst og opleve nirvana.
Buddhisme er en af ​​de mest udbredte religioner i den moderne verden, og det er på grund af Siddhartha Gautama. Han havde en vision og gav ikke op, før han lykkedes med målet om realisering i den fysiske verden. Han er lige så vigtig for buddhister som Jesus Kristus er for kristne (Violatti).

Det har mange ligheder og forskelle med hinduismen, som var den dominerende religion, før buddhismen opstod. Jainisme er en anden religion, der forgrenede sig fra buddhismen, og den er langt mere intens og forbruger menneskers liv. De fleste jainister er acestics eller lever et sammenligneligt liv med en asket. Denne religion udviklede sig efter Buddhas bortgang, og det siges, at han ikke ville have ønsket det, fordi han i løbet af sin tid i skoven indså, at acestics aldrig ville nå oplysning, fordi de giver op for meget. Da alle Buddhas lærdomme var mundtlige, er der et argument om, hvad kernen i buddhismen er. Nogle siger, at det er ikke-vold, mens andre mener, at det er menneskehed. (Violatti).

Buddha så aldrig sig selv som religionsleder, men bare som lærer. Han troede, at ceremonier og ritualer, der fortærede menneskers liv, var unødvendige og mente, at folk skulle være i stand til at tilbede så meget eller så lidt, som de følte, var afgørende. Violatti siger, at han føler det er ironisk, hvordan Buddha endte med at blive tilbedt som en gud efter hans død og blev betragtet som et hierarkisk væsen.

Indiske traditioner begyndte at forbinde sig med buddhistisk livsstil, og guder og gudinder, der repræsenterede forskellige aspekter af buddhismen, blev tilbedt. Buddha ønskede ikke, at dette skulle ske, men han skabte også buddhismen for at blive fejret, uanset hvordan en person ønskede det.
Siddhartha Gautama var en meget indsigtsfuld person, der foretog en monumental ændring i sit liv til forbedring af sig selv og andre.

Hans erkendelse af lidelse og det faktum, at han havde været blind for det i sine yngre år, gav ham denne forandring i hjertet. Hans resultater med at skabe en ny religion, som har 488 millioner tilhængere i dag. 7% af verdens befolkning følger buddhas tro i håb om at nå oplysning. Buddhister går på deres egen personlige rejse for at finde sig selv, og hvad der er vigtigt for dem.


Buddhismens historie

Siddende men enormt, med lukkede øjne i meditation og refleksion, kigger de kæmpestore, stramme statuer af Den Store Buddha over en befolkning af tilhængere, der strækker sig fra Indonesien til Rusland og fra Japan til Mellemøsten. Hans milde filosofi appellerer også til mange troende spredt over hele verden.

Et sted mellem 500 millioner og 1 milliard mennesker verden over anslås at være buddhister.

Anbefalet læsning

Juletræer, en historie
Den første film nogensinde lavet: Hvorfor og hvornår film blev opfundet
Hollywoods historie: Filmindustrien afsløret

Det er præcis den tåbelige natur i Buddhas filosofi, der krydses af mange sekter af tilhængere med et svimlende udvalg af overbevisninger og tilgange til troen, der gør det så svært at vurdere præcis, hvor mange buddhister der er. Nogle forskere går så langt som overhovedet at nægte at definere buddhismen som en religion og foretrækker at omtale den som en personlig filosofi, en livsstil frem for en sand teologi.

For to et halvt århundrede siden blev en dreng ved navn Siddhartha Gautama født i en kongelig familie i et landligt bagvand i det nordøstlige hjørne af det indiske subkontinent, i nutidens Nepal. En astrolog fortalte drengens far, kong Suddhodana, at når barnet voksede, ville han enten blive en konge eller en munk afhængigt af hans erfaring i verden. Siddharthas far havde til hensigt at tvinge spørgsmålet aldrig til at se verden uden for paladsets mure, en virtuel fange, før han var 29 år gammel. Da han endelig vovede sig ud i den virkelige verden, blev han rørt af de almindelige menneskers lidelser, han mødte.

Siddhartha dedikerede sit liv til asketisk fordybelse, indtil han opnåede "oplysning", en følelse af indre fred og visdom og tog titlen "Buddha". I over fyrre år krydsede han Indien til fods for at sprede sin Dharma, et sæt retningslinjer eller love for adfærd for sine tilhængere.

Da Buddha døde i 483 f.Kr., var hans religion allerede fremtrædende i hele det centrale Indien. Hans ord blev spredt af munke, der søgte at blivearhatseller hellige mænd. Arhats mente, at de kunne nå Nirvanaeller perfekt fred i dette liv ved at leve et asketisk liv i kontemplation. Klostre dedikeret til minde om Buddha og hans lære blev fremtrædende i store indiske byer som Vaishali, Shravasti og Rajagriha.

Kort efter Buddhas død kaldte hans mest fremtrædende discipel til et møde med fem hundrede buddhistiske munke. På denne forsamling blev alle Buddhas lære eller sutraer, samt alle de regler, Buddha havde fastsat for livet i sine klostre, blev læst op for menigheden. Alle disse oplysninger udgør tilsammen kernen i buddhistisk skrift den dag i dag.

Med en defineret livsform skitseret for alle hans disciple spredte buddhismen sig til resten af ​​Indien. Forskelle i fortolkning sneg sig ind, da antallet af tilhængere voksede fjernt fra hinanden. Hundrede år efter den første store forsamling blev der indkaldt til en anden for at forsøge at udjævne deres forskelligheder, med lidt enhed men heller ingen fjendskab. Ved det tredje århundrede f.Kr. arbejdede atten separate skoler i buddhistisk tankegang i Indien, men alle de separate skoler anerkendte hinanden som med tilhængere af Buddhas filosofi.


Buddhister fejrer fødslen af ​​Gautama Buddha

Den 8. april fejrer buddhister mindesmærket for fødslen af ​​Gautama Buddha, grundlæggeren af ​​buddhismen, der menes at have boet i Indien fra 563 f.Kr. til 483 f.Kr. Faktisk placerede den buddhistiske tradition, der fejrer sin fødselsdag den 8. april, oprindeligt sin fødsel i det 11. århundrede f.Kr., og det var først i den moderne æra, at lærde fastslog, at han sandsynligvis var født i det sjette århundrede f.Kr., og muligvis i maj snarere end april.

Ifølge Tripitaka, som anerkendes af lærde som den tidligste eksisterende optegnelse over Buddhas liv og diskurser, blev Gautama Buddha født som prins Siddhartha, søn af kongen af ​​Sakya -folket. Sakyas kongerige lå på grænserne til det nuværende Nepal og Indien. Siddhartha ’s familie var af Gautama -klanen. Hans mor, dronning Mahamaya, fødte ham i parken Lumbini, i det der nu er det sydlige Nepal. En søjle placeret der til minde om begivenheden af ​​en indisk kejser i det tredje århundrede f.Kr. stadig står.

Ved hans fødsel blev det forudsagt, at prinsen enten ville blive en stor verdensmonark eller en Buddha 𠄺 yderst oplyst lærer. Brahmanerne fortalte sin far, kong Suddhodana, at Siddhartha ville blive en hersker, hvis han blev holdt isoleret fra omverdenen. Kongen gjorde sig umage for at beskytte sin søn mod elendighed og alt andet, der kunne påvirke ham i retning af det religiøse liv. Siddhartha blev opdraget i stor luksus, og han giftede sig og fik en søn. Som 29 -årig besluttede han sig for at se mere af verden og begyndte at tage på udflugter fra paladsets område i sin vogn. På på hinanden følgende ture så han en gammel mand, en syg mand og et lig, og da han var blevet beskyttet mod elendighederne ved ældning, sygdom og død, måtte hans vognmand forklare, hvad de var. Endelig så Siddhartha en munk, og imponeret over mandens fredelige opførsel besluttede han sig for at gå ud i verden for at opdage, hvordan manden kunne være så rolig midt i sådanne lidelser.

Siddhartha forlod hemmeligt paladset og blev en vandrende asket. Han rejste sydpå, hvor læringscentrene var, og studerede meditation under lærerne Alara Kalama og Udraka Ramaputra. Han mestrede hurtigt deres systemer og nåede høje tilstande af mystisk erkendelse, men var utilfreds og gik ud igen på jagt efter nirvana, det højeste niveau af oplysning. I næsten seks år påtog han sig faste og andre stramninger, men disse teknikker viste sig at være ineffektive, og han opgav dem. Efter at have genvundet sin styrke satte han sig under et pipaltræ ved det, der nu er Bodh Gaya i det vestlige centrale Indien og lovede ikke at rejse sig, før han havde opnået den højeste oplysning. Efter at have kæmpet mod Mara, en ond ånd, der fristede ham med verdslige bekvemmeligheder og lyster, nåede Siddhartha oplysning og blev Buddha i en alder af 35 år.

Gautama Buddha rejste derefter til hjorteparken nær Benares, Indien, hvor han holdt sin første prædiken og skitserede de grundlæggende lærdomme om buddhismen. Ifølge buddhismen er der fire ædle sandheder ”: (1) eksistens er lidelse (2) denne lidelse er forårsaget af menneskelig trang (3) der er en ophør af lidelsen, som er nirvana og (4) nirvana kan opnås i dette eller fremtidige liv, selvom 𠇎ightfold -stien ” med de rigtige synspunkter, den rigtige beslutsomhed, den rigtige tale, den rigtige handling, den rigtige levevej, den rigtige indsats, den rette mindfulness og den rette koncentration.

Resten af ​​sit liv lærte og samlede Buddha disciple til ham sangha, eller munkefællesskab. Han døde i en alder af 80 og fortalte sine munke at fortsætte med at arbejde for deres åndelige frigørelse ved at følge hans lære. Buddhismen spredte sig til sidst fra Indien til Central- og Sydøstasien, Kina, Korea, Japan og i det 20. århundrede til Vesten.  


Stakkels Gautama

Dette liv var ikke tilfredsstillende. Det var sværere. Ordet "hårdere" er sandsynligvis en undervurdering af hans oplevelse. 29 års luksus og derefter straks at blive kastet ud i en barsk og utilgivelig verden lærte ham lektioner, der åbnede hans øjne for evigt.

In this time, he encountered many teachers and learned something from all of them. He was still dissatisfied and lived in abject poverty and depravity. Gautama and his five friends went to the extent of eating a single grain of rice a day. A once vibrant and strong young man had wasted away to the point of his ribs showing.

Enough was enough, and thus Gautama tried to have a better go at life and tried to improve his nutrition. In doing so, his friends viewed him as indulgent, and this led to ostracization, and they finally left him. He was all alone.


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Siddhartha Gautama lived in the present-day border area between India and Nepal in the 6th century before Christ his exact birth date is unknown. Because the life of the historical Buddha is inseparable from legend, the following text is not meant to be a historically exact biography, but a short life story based on what has been passed down by generations. The dates are based on present day historians' mainstream view.

Siddhartha Gautama is born in Lumbini, near the Nepalese-Indian border to his father, King Suddhodana, ruler of the Sakya tribe, and his mother, Queen Mayadevi. The father gives his son the name of Siddhartha (=the one who obtains success and prosperity), his second name is Gautama (=name of the clan).

Seers predict that Siddhartha will either become a Universal Monarch or a Buddha. Asita, the wisest of the seers, is sure that he will become a Buddha (=one who has supreme knowledge). His mother dies seven days after the birth.

Siddhartha spends his childhood in the palace of his father at Kapilavastu, Southern Nepal, where he is raised by his aunt Mahaprajapati until the age of seven. In his early childhood, during a ploughing ceremony, Siddhartha makes his first unprecedented spiritual experience, where in the course of meditation he develops the first jhana (=meditative absorption) through concentration.

As a young boy he learns the skills of a warrior, including the technical and athletic skills of man-to-man fight. Siddhartha is trained in spiritual disciplines and becomes proficient in the art of archery.

At the early age of sixteen, he marries his beautiful cousin Princess Yasodhara, who is of equal age.

The young prince spends thirteen more years together with his wife in the royal court of his father. Three palaces are built for him, one for the cold season, one for the hot season, and one for the rainy season. Siddhartha enjoys the lavish court life while his father is trying to screen him from all troubles and worries. A son is born while Siddhartha is in his late twenties.

Despite of the amenities of life, Siddhartha is not satisfied with the mere enjoyment of fleeting pleasures due to his inquiring and contemplative nature. One day, he leaves the palace for an excursion and there he encounters what so far has been purposely veiled from him:

He sees a decrepit old man, a diseased person, a corpse being cremated, and a sadhu (=holy man, hermit). Siddhartha realises that there is old age, sickness, and death, and that people ultimately have little control over their lives. The fourth sight provides the inspiration that leads to a dramatic change in his life.

In the night of his 29th birthday, Siddhartha gives up his life as a prince and secretly leaves the court while everyone is asleep. He travels far and crosses the river Anoma, where he shaves his hair and hands over his princely garments to his groom Channa, with instructions to return them to the palace.

The Bodhisattva (=future Buddha), who once lived in luxury, becomes a penniless and homeless wanderer. He leads a life of self-mortification and spiritual study, becomes first a disciple of several then famous Brahman teachers, and later attracts his own disciples.

After a long and exhausting period of searching and self-mortification, he finally becomes disillusioned with the Indian caste system, Hindu asceticism, and the religious doctrines of his time. He gives up the ascetic life and loses all of his disciples as a result. Nevertheless, he continues his search for truth through the practice of meditation.

April/May 528 BC - Enlightenment

While meditating under a Bodhi tree in Bodh-Gaya, south of Gaya in the state of Bihar, India, the Bodhisattva experiences the Great Enlightenment, which reveals to him the way of salvation from suffering. He spends seven weeks meditating in the vicinity of the site of the Bodhi tree and attains the status of a fully realised Buddha at the age of 35.

June/July 528 BC - First Sermon

Buddha finds his former five disciples in Benares. In his first sermon he teaches them what will become the gist of Buddhism. Upon hearing it, one of the disciples instantly attains the status of an arhat (=one with enlightened wisdom). This event marks the beginning of the Buddhist teaching and his disciples become the first five members of the sangha (=Buddhist order).

During a short period of time, Buddha establishes a great reputation in western Hindustan by converting thousands of people to the dhamma (=the Buddhist teaching). People hear the dhamma delivered either by himself, or by the monks of his order. During this time he delivers the fire sermon.

The Buddha briefly returns to the palace of his father to convert the royal family and ordains many of the Sakya tribe.

Four years later Siddhartha's father, King Suddhodana, dies. Buddha returns to the palace and Mahaprajapati, where Buddha's aunt -upon meeting Buddha- becomes the first woman to ordain, despite of the protest of some contemporaries. From this moment on women were admitted to the sangha. According to Indian tradition, however, they were separated and under the authority of male monks.

In the 45 years following his enlightenment, Buddha travels around Northern India to teach the tenets of Buddhism. He is extremely successful and attracts first thousands, then ten thousands, and later hundred thousands of people from all walks of life, who voluntarily decide to follow his teachings, the dhamma. During the monsoon, when travelling becomes difficult due to the weather, Buddha and his close followers interrupt their journey. During these month, monks, as well as laypeople, receive the teachings at a site selected for retreat. One such site is Sravasti in Nepal, which has become very famous since then.

Buddha's success does not only attract admirers, but also provokes envy and ill will. Several attempts are made on his life, but all of them fail. Although he is being criticised and defamed, this does not affect the popularity of his teaching.

483 BC - Death and Pari-Nirvana

Having achieved the goal of spreading the teaching to the greatest number of people, Buddha dies at the age of eighty years, as a result of food poisoning. He dies in a forest near Kusinagara, Nepal, in the company of his followers reclining on a bed where he speaks his last words: "All compounded things are ephemeral work diligently on your salvation." With these words on his lips, he passes into the state of Pari-Nirvana.


The Enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama

Buddhism entered the world 500 years before [[Wikipedia:Christianity|Christianity]]. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, was born in what is now Southern Nepal to Queen Mahamaya and King Suddhana. Queen Mahamaya had a dream that a great royal soul would be born to her. She lay under a tree where a while elephant walked around her three times and then entered her womb. She gave birth to her holy son while standing up. Siddhartha was born upright and able to take seven steps upon birth. He also spoke "I am born for enlightenment. This is my last birth in the world of Phenomena".
  At age 29 Siddhartha left his home to find a cure for the suffering in the world. He renounced all of his power and gave up his earthly possessions to seek salvation and find a cure for the harsh world he lived in. He wandered around as an ascetic, one who gives up earthy desires, for six years (Brown, n.d.). He fasted to conquer the desires of the flesh. When he almost died of starvation, he realized that physical deprivation was not the way to find spiritual peace. He went to a place called the "enlightened place" to meditate all nightlong and it was there that he became Buddha, meaning "enlightened one".

  The path of the Buddha is to find freedom form the constraints of the world, to find peace from within, and to live a spiritual life through meditation. Through meditation, spiritual wisdom and strength are gained. Desires of the flesh must be relinquished or the wisdom will be lost.
  Buddhists believed that they have many lives. They are on a quest for nirvana, the final state of a Buddha, leaving him free from suffering. Nirvana is the ultimate goal of all Buddhists. It breaks the re-birth cycle called samsara, meaning perpetual wandering, and refers to the journey of soul through many lives. The Buddha even believes that gods can die and be replaced by other gods. Nirvana is the final resting-place for the Buddha. The Buddha must completely relinquish all fleshly desires to reach Nirvana, once he has reached Nirvana he can rest and be at peace.

  Buddhism compares to other religious belief systems such as Judaism, [[Wikipedia:Christianity|Christianity]], Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism in several ways. In all belief systems the believer follows a God, gods or someone who is considered holy. The believer must make sacrifices to enter the final resting-place and be at peace. The believer must meditate or pray to gain inner strength. They must live a decent, moral life, free of sin to enter the final resting-place. All of these belief systems compare to Taoism and Zoroastrianism because all of the belief systems are a state of mind and of being. They are all seeking an eternal peace and moral fortitude.

  All civilizations are shaped by their belief system. If the people believe in God or gods, and eternal damnation, the society will be better for it. Belief in God or gods and their authority over the society as a whole requires people to have morals. If a society is anti-moral and allows a "anything goes" attitude, the society will certainly fail. Buddhism, [[Wikipedia:Christianity|Christianity]], Islam, Hinduism and Confucianism have thrived for so many years because of the belief in God or gods who expect them to have morals before they can have eternal peace and life which has kept the belief system moral and strong.


Investigating Awakening

This part of the Buddha’s story is a bit foggy, as much of our understanding comes from the suttas. Siddhartha’s father tried to shield him from the suffering of the world, but he went out on his own one day. Believed to be 29 years old, Gautama left his home with a charioteer to meet with others in his community.

He came across what are now known as the Divine Messengers. He saw an old man, a sick man, and a decaying corpse. This was the time in which Siddhartha came into contact for the first time with the realities of old age, sickness, and death. He also saw an ascetic, or wandering spiritual man. He was immediately discontented by these sights, and set off to investigate religious and spiritual practices for himself.

Just as there are many different types of Buddhism today, there were many different forms of meditation and spirituality then. The Buddha meditated with various teachers, including Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta. With both teachers, he excelled quickly. Eventually, he was asked to succeed the teacher and lead the community. However, the Buddha did not feel fulfilled by these teachings and moved on.

He investigated a strong ascetic practice, which was a popular method of spiritual growth at the time. Part of this practice was the belief that material pleasure was a hindrance to spiritual progress. As such, people starved themselves, carried nothing, and lived a life free of pleasure. However, the Buddha found for himself that this was not the most useful path to awakening.

He discovered what we now call the Middle Way, or Middle Path. This is a path of moderation, steering clear of extremes. It’s become a foundational Buddhist teaching, and was one of the first teachings the Buddha discovered that has made its way into modern Buddhist teachings.


Siddhartha Gautama: How The Father of Buddhism Walked From Suffering to Enlightenment - History

1. Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born of the Sakya clan in northern India (in 560 B.C.). His father was a nobleman, of the Kshatriya class or caste. According to legend, at Gautama's birth it was foretold that he would either become a great political ruler of all India or he would become a spiritual redeemer. To make sure of his son's political future, Gautama's father protected him from the pain and suffering of human beings. Despite this "sheltering," Gautama is said to have witnessed "Four Passing Sights" -- a man wracked by disease, a man decrepit with old age, a corpse, and a monk begging alms. These sights so affected the sensitive Gautama that he resolved to leave his relatives and his life of luxury in order to discover for himself the truth of human life and suffering.

2. At first, he studied meditation with three Hindu ascetics. This did not answer his question. Then, he tried severe self-mortification and fasting, almost to the point of death. This too, he resolved, was not the answer. He determined that when it comes to the needs of the body, the "Middle Way," or the mean between excess and defect, is proper. One should give the body what is natural and necessary and no more. Finally, Gautama tried a new more intense period of meditation. This led to his enlightenment or awakening under the famous fig tree or, as it is now called, the "Bodhi" tree. Bodhi means enlightenment or awakening. The title "Buddha" means one who is wide awake. According to Gautama, men sleep away their lives in senseless and self-centered preoccupations this self-centeredness can lead only to pain and suffering. The illusion of selfish craving blocks awareness of things as they really are. Self-centered striving is a painful dream from which humans must awake in order to have peace. After his enlightenment, Buddha was tempted by the evil one (Mara) to enjoy this nirvana or peace by himself for, as Mara tried to deceive him, no one would listen to Buddha or understand what he was saying. But Buddha replied, "There will be some who will understand." Gautama possessed a rare combination of mind and heart he was extremely logical and philosophical and at the same time extraordinarily loving and compassionate. In fact, one might say that the two branches of Buddhism that later arose, the Theravada (or Hinayana) and the Mahayana, were based on these two sides of the Buddha himself. Theravada Buddhism stressed meditation. Mahayana Buddhism stressed compassion.

3. Gautama taught for many years. His teaching was regarded as heretical by conservative Hindus. After all, Gautama disregarded many of the traditional Hindu religious views. First, he questioned the authority of the Brahmins or the priestly caste or class. In fact, he rejected all divisions into castes and the proscription of certain individuals as "outcastes." Many of Gautama's most famous disciples were at one time "outcastes." According to Buddha, each person can and must strive for enlightenment through his own efforts. Secondly, though he was extremely "philosophical" in his own way, Buddha had no patience with philosophical systems or metaphysics. What one does, not what one believes, is important. When asked about eternity of the world and life after death, Buddha replied that explaining such things will not solve the problem of human suffering here and now. Thirdly, Buddha had no interest in miracles and rituals. He taught that there was no quick road to salvation or nirvana. Neither god nor ritual can bestow salvation salvation must be worked for by each person through self-discipline, practice, and meditation. Years after Buddha died, Buddhism was indeed transformed into a full-blown religion with rites, mysteries, and other such trappings. But this was not Buddha's original intention. When asked if he was a god, Buddha replied, "I am not a god." Buddha did not want to be prayed to or worshipped.

4. After nearly fifty years of teaching, Buddha died (480 B.C.) from eating a poisonous mushroom accidentally served up by a friend. With great compassion and sensitivity to his grieving friend, Buddha told him that he had had two exceptional meals in his lifetime. The first was the meal he enjoyed under the fig tree after he had attained nirvana. The second was this meal served by his friend, that opened the gates to final release from suffering.
5. Buddha's first sermon at Benares contained the essence of his message. He taught there the "Four Noble Truths":

(1) Life is suffering (dukkha). Dukkha has the connotation of losing one's center or balance, like a wheel that has come off the axle, or a "dislocation," like a bone that has come out of joint. Dukkha is the suffering of existence that is not what it should be, that is out of whack, that is missing the point. Sickness and death are what they are human life is impermanent and transient. But the pain associated with these and other parts of life is due to a subjective dislocation, an attitude that takes things the wrong way, that wants things to be different.

(2) The cause of suffering is self-centered craving (tanha). The cause of suffering is the need to refer all things to ourselves. According to Buddha, there are five skandhas or types of grasping that give us trouble they are: the grasping of the body, or concern over this body that I call mine, "my body" the grasping of perception, or concern with my way of seeing things, my perspective, my view the grasping of feeling, whereby I am concerned with my feelings and subjective states -- I call them mine and I am attached to them the grasping of emotions or impulses, that I am attached to the grasping of ideas or thoughts, about which I am defensive, which I claim to be my own. According to Buddha, the body, perception, feeling, impulses, and thoughts are indeed real. The are constantly changing conditions of existence. What is unreal is the linking of these conditions to the notion of a "self." The illusion of a self (ego) only appears or "emerges" in an attitude of self-concern and selfish striving. The self is a name that we give to the point of intersection of all inwardly directed craving we wish to appropriate the world for ourselves, to suck everything into the ego, to draw things into ourselves. What we call the ego or the self or the spiritual substance or "soul" is really the creation and the byproduct of a selfish and self-referential attitude. Self-consciousness is an attitude that creates the illusion of an individual soul it is not a method that scientifically discovers the soul. According to Buddha, there is no such thing as an individual soul behind the "heaps" of body, perceptions, and the rest, there is but one life or consciousness that flows through all living things. My outward existence is but one manifestation of innumerable manifestations of the hidden absolute life. Thus, for Buddha, preoccupation with "me, myself, and I" is the cause of all human suffering. One must overcome "subjectivity" and "self-concern" in order to obtain release from suffering, peace, or nirvana.

(3) In order to bring an end to suffering, one must bring an end to self-centered craving. If each desire is like a draft, that draws inward toward a point called the self, one must stop or even reverse this flow. One must stop referring all things to oneself. One must overcome subjective interpretations in the light of subjective needs and desires. One must see things as they really are, not simply as they are for us. One must reverse the flow so that one no longer draws things inward, but rather lets the absolute within swell up and flow outward in universal compassion toward all living things. As long as one draws to himself, the inner power of compassion is trapped if the drawing ceases, the compassion is allowed to emerge. All living things partake of the same life, the same infinite stream that flows within. Self-centered striving is an obstacle to the discovery and release of this universal life.

(4) The way to cease craving is to follow the eightfold way or path. This includes right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

6. There are no simple explanations of the Eightfold Way, but some brief comments might be of help:

(1) Right views: Though Buddha had little interest in complicated theologies or doctrines, some beliefs are necessary. Quite simply, right belief is acceptance of the Four Noble Truths.

(2) Right intention: One must dedicate himself wholeheartedly to overcoming the dislocation of self-centered craving one must want this emancipation more than anything else. One must not let his heart wander from this path.

(3) Right speech: One must stand guard over his speech, avoid lies and deceptions, cultivate honesty and truthfulness. One must refrain from unkind speech and practice speech that is kind and benevolent.

(4) Right action: One must examine his behavior, determine whether each action is selfish or self-less. One must practice other-centered rather than self-centered actions. Moreover, one must obey such precepts as: Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not be unchaste. Do not drink intoxicants.

(5) Right livelihood: One must not engage in any occupation that opposes or distracts one from the path. For example, since all life is sacred, one may not become a butcher, etc.

(6) Right effort: One must pursue the path with the right exertion. On the one hand, one must strive diligently in order to practice the cultivation of virtues and the curbing of vices. On the other hand, one must not be "over-zealous" and run the risk of burning oneself out and abandoning the way altogether.

(7) Right mindfulness: One must elevate his thoughts, to see things as they really are beyond the haze of moods and emotions. One must clear up his mind, clean "the dust off of the mirror." One must rid his mind of self-centered thoughts, thoughts that separate, and replace them with thoughts that bind together, that see all beings together. One must make his concentration objective rather than subjective. One must think in terms of others as well as oneself.

(8) Right concentration: This is similar to raja yoga in Hinduism. Through self-discipline and rigorous meditation, one gradually overcomes self-centered ways of thinking. In the advanced stages, one learns to concentrate all of one's consciousness on a single object -- perhaps the flame of a candle. By so concentrating, all other thoughts and objects are extin- guished. Then, one must extinguish consciousness of even this one object. In this way, one extinguishes the last flame of grasping consciousness. This is readiness for nirvana. Nirvana is the complete bliss of "blowing out the candle" of the self, extinguishing all thoughts of the self. Having let go of all concerns, having relinquished all objects, one is finally empty. This emptiness is the peace of nirvana. It is not the emptiness of nothing, but a pregnant emptiness, an open-mindedness wherein there is room for all things. Having cleared itself of "my things," "my desires," "my thoughts," there is room now for everything. Nirvana is the empty room that makes room for all things, the heart that is attached to no one thing and is therefore ready to love all things.

7. As Buddhism spread to countries throughout the Far East, two main branches developed: Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. Theravada, the Buddhism "of the elders," emphasized solitary meditation and detachment from the world. The Arhat or sage, who had achieved bodhi or wisdom, was the central figure of Theravada Buddhism. But Mahayana Buddhism referred to Theravada Buddhism as "Hinayana" Buddhism. The word yana means "raft." Hinayana means "little raft." Mahayana means "big raft." Mahayana Buddhists were critical of Theravada Buddhists, who seemed to restrict salvation to but a few -- the monks. Mahayana Buddhists, on the other hand, believed that salvation was for everyone Mahayana Buddhism was seen as a big raft that could carry everyone -- all living creatures in fact -- from suffering to nirvana. The Mahayana Buddhists, who stressed universal compassion (karuna), were not content until the last blade of grass would be saved, would be carried over to nirvana. Thus, although Gautama had stressed both wisdom (bodhi) and compassion (karuna), the branches of Buddhism were less able to maintain this balance. Mahayana Buddhism had broader popular appeal and a greater following throughout the Far East.

8. For Mahayana Buddhism, the central figure is the Bodhisattva (enlightenment-being), who postpones his own enlightenment in order to help others. This concept is found in Theravada (Hinayana) Buddhism, but is especially emphasized in Mahayana Buddhism. According to Mahayana Buddhism, the Arhat (the saint or sage or solitary enlightened one in Hinayana Buddhism) has not completely shaken off attachment to I or mine. The Arhat seeks and wins Nirvana for himself, sees himself as different from others, set off from others. This separating off or dividing himself from others is seen, according to the Mahayanists, as an indication that ego has not yet been extinguished, that the "turning-about" has not yet been achieved. In other words, once the ego and ego-concerns have been extinguished, to celebrate one's enlightenment would be missing the point such celebration would be but another manifestation of "ego." According to the Mahayanists, one who has reached enlightenment does not see himself as different from others. He is more like them than he has ever been before. Before enlightenment, one struggles in the midst of others one climbs the highest mountain to get a better view. After enlighenment, one is once more down below in the midst of others one is different and sees differently, but one is not conscious of the difference. One is filled with universal love and compassion.

9. The Bodhisattva, according to the Mahayanists, must take the whole of creation with him into Nirvana. Unselfishness goes beyond giving material goods to the needy (although this is also necessary) to helping the suffering towards enlightenment (release from suffering). The Bodhisattva does not separate himself from others, either in the mind or in the heart he must wait until everyone has been helped into Nirvana. The Bodhisattva sees no individual persons, yet is resolved to save individual persons he sees the center of the universe as nowhere in particular and everywhere and therefore is not biased toward himself or any one at the same time, he is "other-centered" and places the well-being of others ahead of his own. In him, love is not lust or desire or need to have or possess or bring others and things to himself, but a clear flowing stream that issues from his heart and toward others to cleanse and refresh them.

10. To be enlightened, one must see the truth that all things are empty. Sunyata means emptiness sunya means relating to the swollen. Thus, things are empty or swollen or hollow. Our personality, built up from the five skandhas, is swollen but also hollow inside. Swollen can also mean filled with something foreign. According to this meaning, personality contains nothing that really belongs to it it is filled with foreign matter. Thus, the "self" is empty and open in itself it is in fact an emptiness, an opening, a place or space where things and people can enter. We tend, however, to fill this space with clutter, like a vacuum cleaner bag filled with dust and dirt and debris sucked in from the world. We call this debris our own we feel we can not live without it we name the whole collection "self" and we pride ourselves (self-esteem) on our self-possession. These attachments, bodily, sensational, perceptual, emotional, intellectual, though they cause us suffering, are tied so tightly to our ego (or rather, the ego is the tying) that we are unwilling to untie them. We are unable to "lighten up," "loosen up," stop taking ourselves so seriously, see ourselves in perspective, see ourselves as no more and no less important than others, see our needs as not absolute, see that this ego which we believe to be the center of the universe is not in fact the center, see that the center is nowhere or everywhere (as God in Christianity is nowhere and everywhere). Even more absurdly, our suffering as the result of self-preoccupation itself can become an ego possession that we can not let go of. We can become morbidly attached to our own misery (a pathological state).

11. Emptiness is not nothing it is the absence of self (ego or center or point of reference) or self-effacement, self-extinction. It is openness. Intellectually, we are open when we do not cling to a yes or no, when we do not insist on defending an opinion (from our military bunker -- the ego) we are ready to listen and to learn because we have not shut out what we do not believe. We call this open-mindedness. Emotionally, we are empty when we are free of bias we have emptied out prejudices, preferences, etc. The empty heart, uncluttered by particular concerns, has room for all. It is neither a storehouse for things nor a pure nothingness. It is a realm of infinite possibility. It is like the clear, empty, tranquil sky, where birds and clouds and rain enter and leave without restraint, without being captured or "possessed" or "owned" or "hitched to an ego." Emptiness is the pure "can be." As an empty room is full of room, so the emptied heart can let in everyone (without possessing).

12. Another word for reality without me, myself, and I connotations is suchness: reality as it is in itself without subjective references, interpretations, self-reference, etc. Enlightenment means emptying out rigid actualities, becoming full of possibility (openness), and viewing and loving the world as it is in itself (not as we wish it or need it to be). Enlightenment means waking up to see things as they really are for the first time -- not from a self-centered point of view, but from a universal or total point of view. Self-preoccupation is a self-centered sleepiness wherein the real world is never able to penetrate past the self-constructed dream world -- the idiosyncratic world of my interests, my suffering, my needs, my goals, my friends, my failures, my successes, my religion, my God. The real world is clear, transparent light the self is a paintbrush or a colored glass that tints everything. Suchness is the plain, homely truth that things are what they are apart from our desires and claims.

13. Enlightenment is characterized by:

(1) Non-attainment: Nirvana can not be attained, obtained, gotten, caught, possessed, etc. Nirvana is not reaching a goal. Nirvana is not a thing, not an object. It is a way of being that has ceased to attain and grasp and desire. One could never know that one is in Nirvana. Nirvana is forgetting oneself in complete self-surrender. It would be extremely odd for one who does not think of himself, is not self-conscious, to think to himself that he has reached Nirvana. When one has crossed the water (on either the big or the little raft) one no longer distinguishes one shore from the other. Nirvana is not a higher, superior point of view it is the extinction of point of view in order to be open to and to accept all. The process is not one of learning and becoming greater, but of unlearning and becoming no one in particular (open to everyone). Thus, one can be with anyone and can live in any place.

(2) Non-assertion: One is not "defensive." One is beyond yes and no. One is empty of all theories, philosophies, theologies, etc. Nirvana cannot be defined, explained, named, etc. It is not an object of consciousness it is a different kind of consciousness -- a consciousness unattached to content. The Bodhisattva does not debate or defend a view. If consciousness can be thought of as a mirror and objects of knowledge as images in the mirror, becoming enlightened requires that one first "clear the dust from the mirror" (by ridding oneself of all vices or selfish habits), then empty the mirror of all objects, and finally let go of the mirror itself. The highest consciousness is the consciousness that dissolves and lets beings be and shine for themselves as they really are, unreflected by subjective consciousness.

(3) Non-relying: One must live without supports. One must accept radical insecurity. One must learn to let go of all things and of all persons. Generally, most of us, when insecure, grab onto the nearest life-raft. For one who is non-relying, peace does not depend on security. In fact, grasping for security and fleeing from insecurity can cause the greatest suffering and turmoil. Pain and suffering are the result of clinging and grabbing. One must learn to let go, even of oneself. The Buddhist believes that letting go of everything does not leave one with nothing letting go releases everything and everyone, including oneself, to really be for the first time.

(4) All-knowledge: Nirvana is not a "trance" or a perpetual dreamless sleep. It is being wide-awake (remember: Buddha is one who "woke up" from the daydream of self-centered existence). One who has overcome self-concerns sees things as they truly are. He does not see into a "transcendent" other world rather he finally sees this world as it really is, unfiltered by subjective concerns and subjective desires. His "mind" freely includes and is wide-open to all things his "heart" freely includes and is wide-open to all living things. He is free from intellectual and emotional partiality.
14. Of some interest is the "Unlimited," a method for cultivating the emotions. There are four stages to this method:

(1) Friendliness: wishing others well.

(2) Compassion: concentration on the sufferings of others, suffering with them, desiring to remove their suffering.

(3) Sympathetic joy: joyous sympathy with the happiness of others, feeling their elation, identifying with their joy.

(4) Evenmindedness: to treat all people alike, to steadily diminish one's personal preferences and antipathies.

1. Describe Siddhartha Gautama's life and its importance for Buddhism. What were the "Four Passing Sights"? Describe his coming to enlightenment.

2. How was Gautama's teaching regarded by conservative Hindus? Explain.

3. Name and explain the Four Noble Truths.

4. List and describe briefly the Eightfold Way.

5. Explain in detail right mindfulness and right concentration, the steps on the Way closest to nirvana.

6. How did Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism differ? What do the words Hinayana and Mahayana mean? What do they refer to?

7. Who were the central figures of Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism? Discuss their importance. Was Gautama himself closer to one than the other? Explain.

8. Explain emptiness. How do Westerners view emptiness? How do Westerners view non-possession? Contrast Aristotelian self-fulfillment with Buddhist self-extinction.

10. Describe non-attainment? Why can one not "strive for" enlightenment?

11. Describe non-assertion? How might a Westerner view non-assertion? Discuss.

12. Explain the difference between non-relying and "self-reliance."

13. Is nirvana a state of "trance" or self-hypnosis? Explain. Does nirvana give one a glimpse of a transcendent realm? Discuss.

14. Explain the "Unlimited" and its importance for cultivating universal compassion.

15. Do Buddhists believe in a "spiritual soul"? Explain.

16. Describe the process of transforming selfish grasping into unselfish giving.

17. Name the five skandhas. How is the self or ego fabricated over and above these five skandhas? Why does this cause suffering? How can the process be reversed and suffering be reduced?

18. What is nirvana? What is nirvana not?

19. Using the metaphor of crossing the river by raft, describe Buddhism and nirvana. Explain in this way, also, the difference between Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism.

20. Compare the notions of craving, suffering, and "happiness" in Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Hobbes, Kant, and Buddhism.


The Eightfold Path

In order to end suffering and gain enlightenment practitioners should follow “The Eightfold path” (The Noble Eight Fold Path),This is a set of principles that encourage a Buddhist lifestyle that can create happiness, peace, balance, and self-control.

  1. Right understanding- The truth
  2. Right Intent- Think Morals
  3. Right speech- Don’t tell lies
  4. Right action- Peaceful conduct
  5. Right livelihood- Moral living
  6. Right effort- Do good
  7. Right mindfulness- Be aware
  8. Right meditation- Be discipline

The Eightfold Path is just one step in order to teach Buddhism’s ethical conduct. Like most religions, these ethics create a robust foundation that supports a healthy lifestyle. By walking on the right path we can end suffering, create happiness and achieve enlightenment.

Attachment can manifest in trauma, self-destructive habits, negative lifestyle, and more suffering. Our frailties have made us susceptible to suffering, but moral conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom can end such suffering and create better versions of ourselves. The Three Universal Truths, The Four Noble Truths, and The Eight Fold Path are fundamental principles to live by.

Desire only leads to suffering because of the impermanence of that desire and the presumption that you are entitled to it. Absorbed in one’s Ego, det attachment to desirable things and refusal of inevitable change is the three most detrimental internal and external conflicts that we will face throughout our lifetimes. How we deal with these conflicts determines our Karma cycle of reincarnation. To end this endless cycle one must reach Nirvana, the highest form of selflessness, happiness, and spirituality.


Se videoen: Thth Siddhartha Gautama MR