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Teachings Now the Buddha wanted to tell other people how to become wise, good and do service for others. He advised his followers to follow the Middle Way, avoiding the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-torture. H

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Early Life Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama on the foothills of Lumbini, in what is now Nepal, in about 563 BCE. His father, King Shuddhodana was the ruler of the Shakya clan and his mother was Queen Mayadevi. The legends surrounding Buddha suggest that both his conception and birth were miraculous. His mother, Queen Mayadevi, conceived him when she dreamt that a white elephant entered her womb. She gave birth to him in a standing position while holding onto a tree in a garden. The child emerged from Mayadevi's right side, fully formed. He then proceeded to take seven steps and proclaimed, "I am the foremost of all. This is my last birth. I will cross the ocean of existence." 1 Queen Mayadevi died seven days after the birth and Siddhartha was raised by his aunt Mahaprajapati, the King's second wife. It was predicted at his birth that Siddhartha would become either a world ruler or a world teacher. Siddhartha's father felt very strongly about him taking over as ruler. He therefore gave Siddhartha everything he wanted and every luxury he could have. Siddhartha was kept inside and was not permitted to see the elderly, the sickly, the dead, or anyone who had dedicated themselves to spiritual practices. ...read more.


Now, in spite of this desertion, Siddhartha was unwavering in his decision about reaching enlightenment. So determined was he that he sat under at tree for seven weeks until he was able to reach divine reality and knowledge. As he sat in a meditative state, the demon Mara tried to cast him away with his temptations; however they were futile and seemed to reflect of Siddhartha, since he had such a strong concentration and determination to fulfill his aim. Mara even tried to deny him the right to be enlightened, but yet again, Siddhartha called upon the Earth goddess as witness, and eventually, upon realization that Siddhartha would not be beaten, Mara backed down. Then the real enlightenment took place, in the form of the four watches. The first watch began with Siddhartha recalling past lives with unbelievable detail and understanding. The second watch took place with Siddhartha watching people and animals passing into and out of existence, and crucially at this point realizing constant change. The third watch was the realization that all suffering is caused by a constant continual cycle of craving, and he realized the way to overcome suffering. Finally, he was enlightened, showered with supreme knowledge and understanding. ...read more.


During the next century his teaching spread throughout most of Asia. Today there are well over 500 million Buddhists living in countries such as India, Nepal, Thailand, Japan etc. There are many Buddhist centers in England, Europe and the U.S.A. Buddhists believe that everyone can achieve enlightenment. They hope to do so. Some say that we all have the 'Buddha nature' within ourselves. Siddhartha is called the Buddha because he was the first to be enlightened in this way. Buddhists respect the Buddha in many different ways. They respect him as a great and famous teacher, helping others to understand the truth and meaning of life, and to help them gain enlightenment as he achieved. 1 Dr. Radha Banerjee, Birth of Buddha and its Vedic Parallel (http://www.ibiblio.org/radha/p_a058.htm) 2 Dr. C. George Boeree, The Life of Siddhartha Gautama (http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/siddhartha.html) 3 Rupert Gethin. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press, 1998 4 Denise Cush: Buddhism London, Hodder and Stoughton 1995 5 Rupert Gethin. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press, 1998. 6 Narada Thera, Buddhism in a Nutshell (http://www.buddhanet.net/nutshell05.htm) 7 Bhikkhu Bodhi ,The Noble Eightfold Path (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/bps/misc/waytoend.html) 8Buddha Dharma Education, Buddhist Studies: Life of the Buddha (http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha) 9 Buddha Dharma Education, Buddhist Studies: Life of the Buddha (http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha) 10 Buddha Dharma Education, Buddhist Studies: Life of the Buddha (http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha) 11 Dr. C. George Boeree, The Life of Siddhartha Gautama (http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/siddhartha.html) ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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