Life of the Buddha

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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
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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:
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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?

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