• 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. The Spread of Buddhism • A Indian Emperor names Asoka had a battle field conversion to Buddhism and sent out missionaries to help spread Buddhism. • Eventually the religions spread from India to Burma, Nepal, Tibet, central Asia, China, and Japan. • Today there a roughly 350 million Buddhists in the world.