Did you know?
– Buddha’s birth name is Siddhartha Gautama. The exact date of the birth is unknown. According to historians, Buddha was born in 563 BCE or 623 BCE at Lumbini, Nepal, in a garden, beneath a sal tree, when the future mother was on her way from Kapilavastu to her father’s kingdom. The mother died soon after. His mother, Maya, was a Koliyan princess.
– His father, King Suddhodhana, was the leader of Shakya clan
– Siddhartha was brought up by his mother’s younger sister, Prajapati
– Before Gautama Buddha was born, an astrologer predicted that the child will either be a great and known holy man, or he will become a great king. His father wanted him to stay away from the sufferings, and even did not let him have the religious teachings, in fear of him becoming a holy man. His father even built three palaces for him with all the luxuries of life so that he does not have any desire to see the outside world. Siddhartha was not allowed to step out of the palace, and he spent his early days in the lavish palaces, in Kapilavastu.
– Siddhartha married Yasodhara when he was 16. Later, Yasodhara gave birth to a son, Rahula.
– At the age of 29, prince Siddhartha started to sneak out, along with Channa – a servant, and he saw things of which he was not aware about. These things changed Siddhartha’s life completely. In his four trips outside the palace he saw an old man, a corpse, a sick man and a wandering ascetic. He was so disturbed, realizing that’s so much suffering in the world, that decided that his life has to be dedicated to end all this suffering. So, he left his palace, despite all the efforts done by his father.
– Once out of the palace, Gautama wanted to find a master who could teach him about the truth of the world. He wandered and tried to learn from the wisest teachers. But none of the teachers could tell him how to end the sufferings and so, finally, he decided to go in search of the answer all by himself. For six years he led a life of self-discipline and abstinence, surviving on roots, wild fruits and grains. He learned meditation practices, he mastered the art of Yogic meditation, but nothing satisfied him. Later, Siddhartha and a group of five companions, led by Kaundinya, set out to take their austerities even further. They tried to find enlightenment through deprivation of worldly goods, practicing self-mortification to the extremes. He almost starves himself to death by restricting his daily meal to a leaf, or a nut, or a grain of rice. Eventually he realized that neither the wealthy life in the palace, nor the ascetic life in forest is an answer to what he was looking for. The end of suffering.
– At one point, the five hermits, sawing that he decided to renounce to the extreme ascetic life for a moderate one, later called The Middle Way, split up, leaving him with his delusions (as they said at that time).
– Siddhartha then made his way to a place near Bodh Gaya in India, where he found a suitable site for meditation. There he sat under a pipal tree (which is now popularly known as the Bodhi tree), and vowed that he won’t get up until he’ll find the ultimate truth. After meditating for very long period of time (49 days), emphasizing a meditation called “space-like concentration on the Dharmakaya”, in which he focused single-pointedly on the ultimate nature of all phenomena, he removed the final veils of ignorance from his mind and, having won the battle with Mara – the chief of all demons, Siddhartha became a Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, a fully enlightened being. He was 35.
– He then travelled to the Deer Park near Varanasi (Benares) in northern India, where he set in motion what Buddhists call the Wheel of Dharma, by delivering his first sermon to the five companions with whom he had sought enlightenment. Together with him, they formed the first sangha: the assembly of buddhist monks.
– It is said that for the remaining 45 years of his life the Buddha have travelled many places and gave teaching to a diverse range of people.
– During his journey throughout the world (with the intention of spreading the Dharma), Buddha visited his son, father, his wife and his foster mother. Eventually his family joined the monastic community. His cousin, Ananda, also became his disciple and became a monk. His son, Rahula was the youngest monk in the community, becoming monk when he was just seven years old.
– According to historians, Buddha died in 483 BCE or 543 BCE in Kushinagar when he was 80 years old.
And That :
– In general, ‘Buddha’ means ‘Awakened One’, someone who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and sees things as they really are.
P.S – He was not as chubby as many depictions of him would make it appear – he was mainly portrayed this way because for some eastern cultures chubbiness was considered symbolic for happiness and well being.
Chubby or not, be happy and stay tuned.