Adventures of Siddhartha

Adventures of Siddhartha

Storyboard Text

  • Finally, when Siddhartha was 29, he ventured outside the walls of the palace four times. These adventures were called the Four Journeys. During these journeys, he concluded that only a religious life can avoid the suffering that life offers. It's crazy to think that he spent almost three decades without leaving his home.
  • The Buddha? Oh yes. I know very much about him. You see, when he was little, his father isolated his son, (aka. Siddhartha Gautama) in the palace in order to insure his son would become a leader, according to a prophecy.
  • After various attempts of pursuing an enlightened state, he began meditating. One time, he meditated under a large fig tree called the Bodhi Tree for 49 days straight! Astonishing, right? At last, he achieved his goal to understand the cause of suffering within the world. Thereafter, he was known as the Buddha or "the enlightened one".
  • After leaving the palace, Siddhartha explored the forests of India for a handful of years. During this time, he began seeking enlightenment or wisdom.
  • The fourth noble truth also explains that in order to overcome certain desires, one must follow the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path is basically a guide of behavior and a middle way between desires and self-denial.
  • While the Buddha was in his period of meditation, he learned the Four Noble Truths. The truths outline the causes of life's inevitable suffering, explain that desires lead to suffering, how to overcome such desires, and the way to end all suffering is to end all desires. This idea thoroughly reflects the ways and values of the Buddha.
  • The Buddha's word to liberate oneself from selfishness/pain is nirvana. This can be achieved by following the Eightfold path like I talked about earlier on. In addition, one value of Hinduism that the Buddha accepted was the idea of reincarnation, but not the caste system. However, despite the differences between the two religions, both Hinduism and Buddhism possess final goals that lead to the end of the reincarnation cycle.
  • In order to spread the Buddha's teachings, missionaries (like me) traveled the world to promote the religion of Buddhism. During their journey's, they would bring only a begging bowl and live off the hospitality of other people. After the Buddha's death, the missionaries were very important in the spreading of Buddhism. I personally traveled to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
  • After the Buddha's death, three main traditions of the practices of Buddhism emerged. Two of these traditions were Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Theravada focused on the oldest writings of the Buddha. It also centered around the idea that in order to achieve nirvana, one must become a monk or a nun. Then, they must spend all their time meditating and finding enlightenment. On the other hand, Mahayana Buddhism teaches that people can work together to find enlightenment. According to the teachings, people also do not have to be monks or nuns to reach nirvana. Theravada is more of an individual religion when Mahayana is the opposite.
  • Despite the gradual fall of Buddhism in India, many Buddhists went on pilgrimages in the region. Some visited the stupas or sacred mounds that contain relics of the Buddha himself. 
  • Within Mahayana Buddhism, people known as bodhisattvas provide help to those in the process of finding enlightenment. These people delay their own achievement of nirvana to assist others in need. Seems nice doesn't it? One of these people actually helped me out long ago.
  • In addition to missionaries, traders played an even greater role in the spread of Buddhism throughout the world. Traders carried Buddhism beyond India, throughout the Silk Road, to China, Korea, and to Japan. Ultimately, the movement of trade made Buddhism the most widespread religion of East Asia! What a journey it truly was!
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