Buddha Shakjamuni

Buddha — «the enlightened one» (literally). This Enlightenment is transcendental knowledge itself in the highest meaning. This is the state of knowledge in which the true «self» is known as it is. It is the consciousness, separated from all transient and finite, or simply phenomenal. Buddhahood — the Highest State of Holiness.

Siddhartha Gautama — an Indian prince. According to one of the versions, he was born on the May full moon day, 623 BC in Kapilavasthu, the city on the border of Nepal and India, where the great sadhu Kapila used to live.

His father, King Suddhodana from the Shakya aristocracy ( hence, one of the Buddha names — Shakyamuni). Shakya kings had been the genealogy of king Ikshvakula, a son of legislator Manu, and there was even a sage Gotama among their ancestors. Their family name Gautama was taken after him (derived from Gotama).

His mother — Maya, dearly beloved wife of the King, died after seven days of his birth. On the fifth day after birth he was named Siddhartha, which means «a fulfilled wish.» According to the ancient tradition, lots of noble Brahmins were invited to the ceremony. Examining the child, seven of them had found certain marks, consisted of 32 main and 80 minor characters, and one of the Brahmins, sage Asita, said that Siddhartha could become either a great monarch, or an enlightened one. According to this prophecy, Siddhartha would become an eremite, which caused his father’s grudge, since this could break their family continuation.

As a royal child Siddhartha had to get a proper education, but no information about this is available.

At the age of 16, Buddha got married with his first cousin, Yasodhara, the daughter of autonomous principality king Soprabuddha. After this event, he had spent thirteen years of luxurious life, without knowing what’s going on behind the walls of his palace. By the king’s order, he was strictly shielded from the realities of life, for Asita prophecy never to come true.

Once upon a time, while passing from his palace to the entertainment park, his eye caught an old man, a sick one, a corpse and an eremite. What he had often wondered about was finally seen by him for real. The first three views convincingly demonstrated him the relentless nature of life. The fourth view prompted a way of overcoming the disease of life and achieving peace and tranquility. Then he decided to leave the world in search of truth and eternal peace. There are several interpretations of the reasons why Siddhartha left the secular life — a difficult political situation in the country Shakya, the insult by Kosala rulers, the impending conquest of the country by growing kingdoms of Kosala and Magadha.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha went into seclusion. Initially he was taught by Alara Kalama, who had given him a high degree of consciousness concentration. However, Gautama wasn’t satisfied, because his knowledge had not brought the cessation of suffering and nirvana. At that time, it wasn’t difficult to find a competent teacher in India and Gautama went to the teacher Uddaha Ramaputta. From this teacher he had learnt how to maximize mental concentration. Still, he wasn’t completely satisfied. So he left the beholder and started to engage himself in self contemplation independently.

At the age of 35, as a result of his contemplation practice, Buddha attained enlightenment and reached the Four Noble Verities.

Knowing the cause of sufferings and the way of deliverance from them, Buddha had long pondered if he should give the achieved knowledge to mankind, and driven by compassion to the world, had decided to share it with people. As the legend sais, the god of death — evil demon Mara — tried to prevent this. Buddha defeated Mara, came to Varenasi and gave his first sermon there, in which he proclaimed the main principles of new religion.

Initially, Buddha was disappointed. Instead of the expected success he had met only ridicule and contempt. Many had questioned his mental abilities and thought he was crazy. Siddhartha was completely lost in the mass of philosophers from different schools and directions, spread all over the country. In their turn, seeing a dangerous rival in Buddha, they also pursued him.

According to some of the legends, Buddha managed to get 5 ascetic followers, during his stay in Varenasi, they were his old comrades. Moreover, he started to look for a way to acquire as many followers as possible. To this end, he had convinced the sage Kasyapa of his views, which made Buddha the master of five hundred students instantly.

After this, Buddha went along the Ganges valley, making miracles and preaching. These wanderings were not carefree, as many remembering his origin, were inclined to see the political motivation in his actions. Besides, there were some serious opponents of his teachings, few philosophical schools, in particular — Lokayata. Just as well, among the Buddha’s disciples, there were dissatisfied ones, trying to rebel against Siddhartha and even to deprive his life.

Buddha died because of the food poisoning in Kusinaghara vicinity, in arms of his faithful disciple Ananda. Death overtook him at the age of eighty, in 543 BC, and coincided with the date of birth and enlightenment. Since that, the May full moon day — triple sacred day for Buddhists. According to the legend, the Buddha’s last words were:

«All created is a subject to the law of destruction. Achieve the goals by non promiscuity.»