Life of the Buddha Context • Prince Siddhartha Gautama • Part of the Shakya Clan (hence name Shakyamuni) • Born Kapilavastu in Northern India, 563BCE • Indian religion at time was Hinduism Siddhartha’s Birth • • • • • • • Queen Maya’s dream: elephant in side Born in garden at Lumbini Trees bent down to support Queen Maya Born out of her side (no pain) Golden Skin Walked seven steps and lotuses grew at his feet Declared this was his last rebirth Siddhartha’s Early Life • A seer called Asita told his father King Sudohanna that he would either grow up to be a great king, or a holy man. • To make sure he became a king like him, the King kept Siddhartha in the palace for his whole life. • He was surrounded by youth, beauty, pleasure and wealth, and had no idea that life could be any different. The Great Renunciation (The Four Sights) • However, Siddhartha was still not happy, and wanted to find out what was beyond the palace walls. • He convinced his charioteer Channa to take him outside 4 times. • On these occasions he saw an old man, a sick man, a corpse, and lastly a holy man (saddhu). • The first three sights depressed him, but the fourth gave him hope that he could find happiness • He decided to leave his family to become a wandering holy man in search of the truth Asceticism • Siddhartha joined some yogins who taught him the art of meditation. He stayed with them for a couple of years, then moved on to join a group of ascetics. • Ascetics deny themselves things in order to ‘force’ the mind to see clearly. For example, a lazy person might force themselves to stand all the time. • Siddhartha decided that since he had lived a life of material luxury, he would starve himself. • Legend has it that he reduced his food until he was living on 3 grains of rice a day and almost died. • He eventually realised that this was not helping him realise the truth, and (with some help from a local girl) made himself better. Enlightenment • Then, Siddhartha sat under a bodhi tree and decided he would not move until he had an answer to the world’s suffering. • For many days Siddhartha meditated, facing Mara and all of his temptations. • Eventually Siddhartha came to realise the truth about reality and became enlightened. • He was now the Buddha (this means enlightened one) • He spent the rest of his life travelling and teaching what he had learned. Watch the following clip • http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/bu ddhist-beliefs-about-suffering/3789.html In your jotter • Convert the story of the Buddha's life into 10 key bullet points with a picture to illustrate each point. In the back of your Buddhism jotter put the heading GLOSSARY Then add the following terms with their meanings: • • • • • • • Buddha Enlightenment Ascetic Siddhartha Gautama Seer Renunciation Yogi Watch the following clips • http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/de caying-fruit/862.html • http://vimeo.com/19360936http://vimeo.co m/19360936http://vimeo.com/19360936 So is the story true? • Probably not, there is no historical evidence to verify the story of the Buddha’s life. • Especially the more miraculous parts like his mother giving birth through her side and feeling no pain! What would a Buddhist say? • Well a Buddhist would say that whether it’s true or not isn’t the point. • The point is what the story means, what does it teach us or help us to understand. What does it all mean? • The Buddha's life story is full of symbolism • What do you think the ‘four sights’ were trying to tell the Buddha? • What does this tell us about the human condition?