Buddha's Path to Enlightenment

Buddha's Path to Enlightenment

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  • The prince will either become a mighty king or a religious leader.
  • No son of mine is becoming a religious leader!!
  • The prince is coming! Anyone and everything unpleasant must not be seen!
  • Why is there so much suffering?!
  • Buddha was born a prince named Siddhartha Gautama around 563 B.C. His father ruled a kingdom in what is now Nepal. When a fortuneteller predicted that the young prince could either become a mighty king who would unite all of India or a religious leader, Siddhartha's father tried to guide his son toward becoming a king. 
  • I feel weak....
  • So hungry... must eat.... can not take it anymore.... must have food.....
  • Siddhartha's father protected him from everything unpleasant, such as anyone who was poor, sad, or sick. When the prince rode out of the palace in his chariot, guards traveled ahead of him. They made sure there were no sick people or beggars in the streets. As young man, Siddhartha married, and he and his wife had a son.
  • Is this what enlightenment feels like?
  • One day when Siddhartha was about 29, he rode out of the palace without any guards, and saw an old man leaning on a stick. During a second ride, Siddhartha saw a man shrunken by disease. During a third, the prince saw a man who had died, and the man's family, who stood nearby crying. When Siddhartha came upon the fourth sight, a wandering holy man, he seemed content, so the prince decided to search for the same serenity,
  • Join the movement, and overcome selfish desires!
  • The Buddha accepts everybody, no matter what caste or skin color!
  • Siddhartha began his search by studying with Hindu gurus, but their answers to his questions did not satisfy him. So, he joined a group of religious ascetics, denying himself of all physical comforts. Siddhartha wore scratchy clothes, ceased bathing for long periods, sat for days in one position while meditating, and began to eat less and less until he fainted. When he awoke, he ate the food offered to him, so the ascetics abandoned him.
  • As his strength returned, Siddhartha continued his search, sitting under the Bodhi Tree for 49 days while meditating. He was visited by Mara, the god of desire and death, but could not be tempted. Siddhartha went deeper into meditation, saw his past lives, and understood the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. He had achieved enlightenment, and become the Buddha, which means "the Enlightened One."  
  • The Buddha had freed himself from the cycle of rebirth and suffering but chose to go back into the world to teach others what he learned. For the next 45 years, the Buddha traveled across India, answering peoples' questions and preaching a message of truth and hope. The Buddha's purpose was to awaken the world to the true nature of life.  He continued to travel and teach, attracted many followers, and died at about age 80.
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