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Siddhartha Gautama

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Siddhartha Gautama
• Siddhartha Gautama was born in 563 B.C. into
a noble family that lived in Kapilavastu
• The foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal
• Siddhartha as a baby, displayed features of a
great man
• Siddhartha was visited by a prophet when he was a child:
“If the child stayed at home, he was destined to become a
world ruler. If the child left home, he would become a
universal spiritual leader”
• To make sure that he became a King,
Siddhartha’s father isolated him in his
palace.
– Siddhartha was separated from the outside
world
• He ventured from his palace at age 29 and
saw four events that he’d never seen
before:
– An elderly man
– A sick man
– A corpse
– A Holy man
• The Holy man seemed as if he was at peace with himself
and his surroundings
• Siddhartha understood these events to mean that every
living thing experiences old age, sickness, and death.
• He believed that only a religious life offers refuge from
suffering.
Siddartha decided to spend the rest of his
life searching for religious truth and an
end to life’s suffering.
– He wandered through the forests of India for
six years searching for enlightenment
• He first tried to find it by debating with other
religious leaders
• He fasted ate only six grains of rice a day.
• He meditated under a fig tree.
• He meditated under a fig tree for 49 days.
• After 49 days, it all made sense!
– Achieved an understanding of the cause of
suffering the world
– He became, “Buddha”
*The enlightened one*
• The Buddha preached his first sermon to five
traveling companions
• The First Sermon explained the four main ideas
that Buddha had to understand in order to
reach enlightenment
• These are the Four Noble truths
1)
Life is filled with suffering and sorrow
2) The cause of all suffering is people’s selfish desire for
the temporary pleasures of this world
3) The way to end all suffering is to end all desires
4) The way to overcome such desires at attain
enlightenment is to follow the Eightfold Path, which is
called the Middle Way between desires and selfdenial
• The Eightfold path is a guide to behavior.
• If you’re seeking enlightenment, you need to master
one step at a time.
If you follow the eightfold path, then you will reach
nirvana
– Nirvana: the Buddha’s word for release from
selfishness and pain
• Just like Hinduism, the Buddha accepted the
idea of reincarnation
• Buddha rejected the many gods of Hinduism
• Buddha also rejected the accommodations that
priests received
– Rejected the caste system
• The Five men who followed Buddha in the forest
became the first monks admitted into the
Sangha
– Sangha is a religious order, but evolved into a
Buddhist community
• The monks swore to a life of poverty
• Because of no caste system, many of Buddha’s
early followers were laborers and craftspeople.
• Buddhism spread to Sri Lanka, Southeast
Asia, and into China
• Several theories exist about Buddhism’s
departure from India.
– Hinduism absorbed Buddhism and added aspects of
the religion into their own.
– Hindus persecuted and ran Buddhists out of India
*Modern Buddhists still travel to India for pilgrimages*
pilgrimage: Religious journey.
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