Buddhism is a religious belief system that is practiced by close to 360 million people all over the world and its influence is strongest in the Far East. This particular belief system was founded in Northeastern India in 520 B.C. which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline with World History. A Prince by the name of Siddharta Gautama laid the foundation for Buddhism. Since its inception, Buddhism has caught on places such as China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asian.
Buddha means “awakened one” or “enlightened one” and it also refers to the first awakened being in a particular era. Siddharta is regarded as the supreme Buddha of the modern era. He was born in 563 B.C. Kapilavastu which is an area that is believed to have been located in modern day Nepal. Suddgarta was born to king Suddhodana who was the leader of the powerful Shakya clan. His mother was named Queen Maha Maya who is also important to the development of Buddhism.
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When the Queen was pregnant with Siddhartha she had a very important dream. Legend claims that this dream was about a white elephant with six tusks that entered her side right before Buddha was born. While she was pregnant, Queen Maha Maya left her husband’s homelands to have Buddha in her father’s home but she ended up having Buddha during her journey. He was born under a Lumbini tree in a garden. The Queen died after she had given birth to Buddha. He was then named Siddhartha which means “he who achieves his aims”.
After Buddha was born a great holy man or seer named Asita told the people that Buddha was going to be a great king or religious leader. Eight Brahmins or holy men also reinforced Asita’s prophecy and one of them claimed that Siddhartha would become the Buddha or the enlightened one of the current age. Buddha’s father didn’t like these teachings and prophecies. He supposedly kept Prince Siddharta from religious teachings and practices while he was being raised. The king made it a point to have Buddha live the early part of his life in pleasure and great wealth.
Prince Siddhartha eventually became fed up with this type of lifestyle and he left the palace. The prince ventured out into his kingdom. He encountered a lot of suffering and many teachings that he was protected from during his youth. He met old people, diseased individuals and even seen the dead. He was so sheltered from the world that he was ignorant of the fact that people grew older over time. He tried to overcome these problems by living the life of seclusion and denial, but it didn’t work.
Buddha then decided to travel around his lands. His first journey was to a nearby kingdom where he lived life as a beggar until he was discovered to be the prince. They offered him their throne, but he refused it and then subjected himself to two religious teachers. Ultimately, this didn’t go as planned and he was still left searching for the answers to life.
He discovered this path when he realized that meditative jhana was the right method to take in life, but it had to be balanced with moderation from extreme aesthetics and self-denial. These set of circumstances help to discover the Middle Way. While he was living out this newfound pathway to life, he became extremely hungry to the point of starvation and a young girl gave him some rice pudding. After eating the pudding, he was revived and the girl believed he was a spirit. Buddha then decided to grant her a wish. He then sat himself under a Bodhi tree and vowed to never get up again until he learned the pathway of truth. He finally discovered what the truth is after 49 days.
He then discovered the Four Noble Truths and the steps that people would need to take in order to accomplish them. Nirvana or supreme liberation is obtained through these truths. Ultimately Nirvana is the end of the person in the fact that it totally releases a person from their identity and boundaries within their mind. Once a person reaches this state they will then have obtained the 10 characteristics belonging to Buddha. Buddha then went on to teach nobles, merchants and peasants his knowledge. Throughout the time that he was teaching people, there were many assassination attempts on his life. His fame grew far and wide eventually died of old age in 483 B.C.