Life of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha or Siddhartha was born in 563 B.C. in a Shakya Kshatriya family in Lumbini in Nepal near Kapilavastu, Gautama’s father Suddhodhan seems to have been the elected ruler of Kapilavastu, and headed the republican clan of the Shakyas. His mother Mahamaya or Mayadevi was a princes from the Koshalan dynasty . At the age of 29 Gautama left the home. He kept on wandering for about seven years and then attained knowledge at the age of 35 at Bodh Gaya under a pipal tree. From this time onwards he began to be called the Buddha or the enlightened.
Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermons at Sarnath in Banaras. His missionary activities did not discriminate between rich and poor, high and low and man and woman. H passed away at the age of 80 in 483 BC at a place called Kusinagar.
Principles of Buddhism
The Buddha proved to be practical reformer. He said the world is full of sorrows and people suffer on account of desires. If desires are conquered , nirvana will be attained, that is man will be free from cycle of birth and death.
Gautama Buddha recommended an eight fold path ( Ashtangika marga)
· Right observation
· Right determination
· Right speech
· Right action
· Right live hood
· Right exercise
· Right memory
· Right meditation
Gautama Buddha also laid down a code of conduct of his followers:
· Do not covet the property of others
· Do not commit violence
· Do not use intoxicants
· Do not speak a lie
· Do not indulge in corrupt practices
Special feature of Buddhism
(i)Buddhism does not recognize the existence of god and soul. It appealed to the common people. It particularly won the support of lower order as it attacked the verna system. Women also were admitted to the sangha and thus brought on par with men . Buddhism was liberal and democratic.
(ii) The people of Magadha responded readily to Buddhism because they were looked down upon the orthodox brahmanas. Magadha was place outside the pale of the holy Aryavarta the land of Aryas.
(iii) He tried to fight evil by goodness and hatred by love. He refused to be provoked by slander and abuse.
(IV) The use of Pali, language of the people , also contributed to the spread of Buddhism . Gautama Buddha also organized the sangha or the religious order, whose doors were kept open to every body irrespective of caste and sex.
(v) Three main elements of Buddhism , Buddha , Sangha, Dharma
(VI) Two hundred years after the death of Buddha, the famous King Ashoka embraced Buddhism . Ashoka spread Buddhism into central asia , West Asia, Sri Lanka and thus transformed it into a world religion
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