“G” for Gautam Buddha मुद्रण ई-मेल

Indian culture has accepted various philosophical tenets as part of its rich heritage encompassing diverse ways to spirituality. One of the powerful philosophies that was born out of this culture is that of Buddhism. Gautam Buddha is well known as the founder of Buddhism. "Buddha" literally means the "awakened one" or "enlightened one". Even today, his teachings are revered and followed by millions of people across the world, who have embraced the Buddhist way of life. Indian culture considers Gautam Buddha as one of the reincarnations (avatar) of the Almighty.


Gautam Buddha was born to King Shuddhodana and Queen Mayadevi in Lumbini which falls in modern day Nepal. His childhood name was Siddhartha. Soon after his birth, sages had predicted that he would do lots for the welfare and betterment of the society. They also predicted that young prince Siddhartha would renounce worldly pleasures to follow a different path - a path of spirituality.

King Shuddhodana was not in favour of this and hence made sure that young Siddhartha was not allowed to set his foot out of the palace. He wanted his son to become a famous king and rule his dynasty as a wise king. Siddhartha was provided with all the luxuries and material pleasures, and was shielded from all religious teachings or knowledge of human suffering. At a tender age of 16, he was married to a beautiful princess named Yashodhara who later gave birth to their son Rahul.

Fate, however, had written different chapters for Siddhartha. He grew up into an intelligent young man. One day, an opportunity helped him venture out of his palace, where he sighted suffering from which he was protected since his early childhood. He saw an old man who could barely walk, a sick man with a fatal disease, a dead body in a funeral procession, and finally an ascetic who had renounced all worldly pleasures. He was informed by his charioteer Channa that every individual has to grow old and eventually die. Never having witnessed such incidences in his life, Siddhartha was deeply moved. He thought that material possessions were not the aim of life and he started questioning his existence. Despite all family and material happiness, the young prince felt a void in his life and left his palace and family in search of “true happiness” when he was just 29.

He led a life of an ascetic for a few years, travelled to various places, met learned people and discussed a lot about virtues and meaning of life. However, unsatisfied with all that, he finally sat under the shade of a tree in Bodh Gaya and meditated for several days. Eventually he was blessed with a divine light through which he attained complete awakening and realized the ultimate Truth, which gave him an insight into the cause of suffering and the path to salvation. It was after this experience he was named “Buddha - The Enlightened One.”

For the next 45 years of his life, Buddha carried his message across various parts of the country. He preached the four noble truths and devised the 8-fold path to salvation. During his lifetime and even later, after he left his body to attain Nirvana, his disciples carried forward his work and teachings across the length and breadth of the country and to many other parts of the world. His principles and teachings were soon embodied into a religion called Buddhism. Buddhism is today followed and practiced pre-dominantly in many Asian countries.

What would I like to learn from Gautam Buddha?

a) Compassion and nobleness of heart

b) Ability to introspect and follow one's conviction

c) Determination to seek the ultimate Truth and meaning of life

d) Dedication to spread the enlightenment to the masses

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