• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Life and Teachings of Siddhartha Gautama

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Annabel Weaver The Life and Teachings of Siddhartha Gautama Buddhism is a way of life for Buddhists, based on the teachings of a man who had lived more than two and a half thousand years ago in northern India. He was born in the foothills of Lumbini, in what is now Nepal, in about 563BCE, and was called Siddhartha. His family was called Gautama, and his father (Shuddhodana) was the rular of the Shakya clan at that time. Everyone who followed Siddhartha called him the Buddha, which means 'the enlightened one'. They believed that he had found the truth about life. Many stories about the life of the Buddha were passed on by word of mouth for about 600 years before anyone wrote them down. They were a constant reminder of the Buddha and all the things he did for other people. Siddhartha's father felt very strongly about him taking over as rular. He therefore gave Siddhartha everything he wanted and every luxury he could have. He didn't tell his son about suffering and death because he didn't want to upset him. ...read more.

Middle

He wanted to become more like a Sadhu, who gave up all his possessions and time to lead a spiritual life. He knew that this 'spiritual life' was for him to live. Then, one night, he left his family at the palace. Channa, his charioteer, drove him out of his father's city. He cut off all his hair, took off all his fine clothes and, wearing just a simple robe, he set out to a homeless life. He was 29 years old. For six years Siddhartha lived under strict discipline of the Hindu religion. In other words he lived as an ascetic. He had settled to live with five other holy men near the River Nairanjana. He had trained himself to fast for long periods of time and when he had done that he only ate a little, just enough for him to live on. Some people said that he nearly killed himself fasting like that. He grew so thin that you could see his backbone through his stomach. Then, one day, he decided that this fasting and discipline wasn't doing him any good. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of the main places where he taught was Varanasi, where he explained his teaching-which is now the basis of all Buddhist understanding and practice. He found the sanga- the order of monks and nuns who spent their lives spreading the teaching. Most people don't choose to be monks or nuns. They follow the Buddha's teaching, and apply it to work and family life. The sanga refers to all those who are monks or nuns. By the time the Buddha had died thousands of people in India had become his followers. 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 centres in the west, Europe and the U.S.A. The 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. The 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 like the Buddha. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Buddhism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Buddhism essays

  1. In what ways and to what extent did the European Enlightenment challenge established sources ...

    In other words the enlightenment lead to science and natural philosophy replacing religion as the means of knowledge. In England a philosopher called Francis Bacon (1561-1626) had a big influence on moving away from the traditional rules of the church.

  2. Emergence Of The Buddha

    The best way to do this was to meditate. They also wanted to get out of the life cycle and achieve Nirvana. Siddhartha Gautama was an ascetic, he was born a Hindu but wanted to escape the life cycle. He emerged as the Buddha after achieving enlightenment and people began to follow his way of life.

  1. Today is a result of yesterday, tomorrow is a result of today.(TM) To what ...

    This notion is an avowed view of most Buddhists however this position is not reflected in the abortion statistics in Buddhist countries: In more conservative countries such as South Asia, abortion is generally illegal, unless there is a threat to the mothers life, however illegal abortions are common with 300,000

  2. Compare the Buddhist understandings of life after death with on other view

    Parallels could also be seen between the intermediate state between death and rebirth in Buddhism, bardo, in which no physical body exists although senses do, and the idea of purgatory in Catholicism. Both are intermediate however the extreme contrasting views of what these two concepts are mean they are inevitably

  1. Why Buddhism, Why Now? AND WHY IN AMERICA

    giving meaning to this life but also in articulating what people have to hope (or fear) in the afterlife. The average adherent of Biblical religions do not believe that Buddhism can fulfill any unmet needs, do not believe that it would be complementary, and do not believe it's worldview is compatible with theirs.

  2. Teachings Now the ...

    A white sunshade was held over me day and night so that I would not be troubled by cold or heat, dust or grit or dew...Yet even while I possessed such fortune and luxury, I thought, 'When an unthinking, ordinary person who is himself subject to aging, sickness, and death,

  1. Buddhism is one of the biggest religions founded in India in the 6th and ...

    about life and about the path to salvation; at this point he became Buddha, remaining in the same spot for many days in a trance-like state. This experience stirred in Gautama a desire to share his knowledge with others. He spent the remainder of his life as a preacher and a teacher until his death in about 483 BCE.

  2. Book report: Siddhartha from Herman Hesse

    One day, the boy escaped the hut and returned to town. Longing for his son, Siddhartha became more understanding of normal people for he shared with them the common nature of loving without reason his child. Then he recalled that he too had left home against his father's will.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work