Buddhism became a popular religion in India and abroad during the ancient period. It was founded by Gautam Buddha. In this article, the Teachings of Buddha have been discussed.
Life of Gautam Buddha
- Buddha was born in 563 BC at Lumbini near Kapilavastu in Nepal. His father was the ruler of Kapilavastu. Buddha was inclined towards spiritual pursuits since his childhood.
- He was married at a young age to princess Yashodhara and had a son.
- Buddha in his early life was moved by the sight of an old man, a sick man, and a dead body. He was consoled when he saw an ascetic in search of salvation. These sights came to be known as the ‘Four Great Sights’.
- Later, he left the palace, his wife, and his child to find a solution to the problems of the people. This is known as ‘the Great Renunciation’.
- After leaving home, Buddha wandered from place to place. He later went to Gaya and followed the life of extreme austerity. Finally, at the age of thirty-five, he attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya in Bihar and came to be known as Buddha or the Enlightened One.
- Mahabodhi temple was constructed at the place where Buddha received enlightenment. He was also called ‘tathagat’ or the founder of the truth.
- Buddha delivered his first sermon at the Deer Park in Sarnath near Varanasi in the presence of five saints. This event in the history of Buddhism came to be known as dharmachakrapravartana or the turning of the wheels of sacred law.
- Buddha’s fame spread far and wide, and he traveled to various parts of the country spreading his messages and teachings.
- In his last years, Buddha went to the city of Kushinagar, near Gorakhpur district in present Uttar Pradesh. He attained salvation at the age of 80 in 483 BC at Kushinagar. Remains of his body were taken to eight different places by his disciples where huge mounds called stupas were erected.
Teachings of Buddha
Teachings of Buddha are as follows
Four Noble Truths
The essence of Buddhism lies in the four noble truths. These are
- The world is full of sufferings.
- Suffering has a cause.
- Desire is the cause of suffering.
- With the end of desires, sufferings can also be ended.
Eight Fold Path
The path which leads to the end of suffering is known as the Eight-Fold Path or the Middle Path. It is a mid-path between luxurious living and severe penance. These are
- Right Action: To remain away from theft, luxury and desire
- Right thought: Not to believe in rituals and evil practices
- Right belief: To give up desires
- Right living: Not to indulge in dishonest dealings with others
- Right speech: To speak truth
- Right effort: To help others and not to indulge in any sinful activity
- Right recollection: To think about pious things and help others
- Right meditation: To concentrate only on good deeds and work
Code of Conduct
The code of conduct spread by Buddha included
- Not to lie
- Not to own property
- Not to consume alcoholic drinks
- Not to commit violence
- Not to indulge in corrupt practices Buddha stressed on right karma.
He believed that man should follow the Eight Fold Path and his karma decides the type of existence in the next life. It is called the wheel of existence. He stressed morality and good actions. Buddha preached that the goal of life is to attain salvation, eternal peace, and bliss. He spread the message of universal brotherhood. Buddha rejected rituals and sacrifices. He believed in the doctrine of non-violence stressing that actions should not harm any living creature.
The organization for teachings of Buddhism
- The organization for the teaching of Buddhism came to be known as Sangha. It later became a powerful institution as it played an important role in spreading Buddhism.
- Both men and women could become members of the sangha but had to renounce the world before joining it.
- The members had to live a disciplined life and had to follow the Ten Commandments. These included speaking the truth, following brahmacharya, following non-violence, denouncing property, shunning music and dancing, taking meals only at fixed times, not use intoxicants, not use scented goods, and not possess money.
- The Buddhist monks had to go to the villages and cities and beg for food for fixed hours. Therefore, they came to be known as bhikkhus and bhikkhunis meaning beggars.
- The members led a life of chastity, austerity, devotion, and purity.
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