Higher RMPS World Religions: Buddhism

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Transcript Higher RMPS World Religions: Buddhism

Higher RMPS World Religions: Buddhism Introduction to Buddhism The Life of the Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama

Siddhartha Gautama is the name of the man who became the Buddha He lived in northern India 2500 years ago He was born in Lumbini which is in modern day Nepal He spent 45 years travelling and teaching He passed away at the age of 80 in Kusinara less than 200km from where he was born


The Buddha’s conception and birth are marked by miraculous events As his mind descended into his mother’s womb from one of the heavens, a great light appeared in the world His mother Queen Maya dreamed that a magnificent white elephant entered her body Her pregnancy lasted 10 months which is normal for enlightened beings She had no pain in child birth

Birth of the Buddha

According to the story, queen Maya gave birth standing up The baby emerged from her right side with no blood or water As soon as he was born he was able to walk and talk Lotus blossoms appeared in his footsteps, he declared that this would be his last rebirth He was given the name Siddhartha which means ‘fulfilment of wishes’ The renowned holy man Asita visited the palace, he prophesised that Siddhartha would become a great leader like his father or a homeless holy man depending on how much suffering he saw

Life in the Palace

Siddhartha was a Hindu prince brought up with the greatest luxury and splendour The prophecy of Asita determined how his father brought him up He was excellent at all he did, sport, wrestling, archery, mathematics,, music etc.

He was tall and handsome, kind and well mannered When he was a child his father took him to a ploughing competition where he fell into the fist state of meditation

A Life of Indulgence

All suffering was kept hidden from Siddhartha All possible comforts were provided for him He was given 3 palaces, one for each season He was surrounded by parks, gardens, music and beautiful young attendants At 16 he married the beautiful Yashodhara They had a baby son whom they named Rahula It seemed Siddhartha had everything he could want

Leaving the Palace

Siddhartha decided that he wanted to see the world outside the palace, he went with his servant Channa His father had arranged for him to follow a specific route on which all suffering had been removed Young healthy people lined the route that Siddhartha was supposed to take He came across an old man at the side of the road, he had no teeth, white hair, his legs were so weak that he needed a stick Siddhartha was shocked by the sight and asked Channa what was wrong with him Channa replied that he is old; old age comes to everyone, it destroys youth and beauty Siddhartha was filled with compassion Siddhartha was so upset that he returned to the palace He made three more trips out of the palace

The First Sight: Old Age

The Second and Third Sights: Sickness and Death

The second time he left the palace he saw a very sick person, not knowing what was wrong he asked Channa Channa explained that sickness would happen to everyone at some point in their lives The next time he left the palace he saw a dead body being carried to the cremation ground Never having seen death he asked Chann “Death is the end of life which no one can escape” Siddhartha was deeply sadened by this

The Fourth Sight

On his final journey out of the palace Siddhartha saw a homeless holy man He owned nothing but what he carried He told Siddhartha that he was seeking the Truth and had given up all worldly pleasures He was happier than he had ever been Siddhartha was inspired by this man He wanted to find a way to be happy

Finding the Answers

Why do people suffer and is there any way to overcome it? These were the questions that Siddhartha was now asking He was so affected by suffering that he could no longer live a life of luxury He escaped from the palace, cut off his hair as a symbol of renunciation and He practiced meditation with 2 masters for a number of years but still had no answer to his questions


On giving up meditation Siddhartha decided to try something else to help him find answers He found 5 ascetics in the forest and spent a number of years with them He practiced an extreme form of body mortification known as asceticism He fasted, held his breath for long periods of time, sit in the burning sun all day or bathe in ice cold water He became very weak from lack of food and realised that he would die if he did not eat

The Middle Way

Siddhartha accepted some food from a village girl and gave up this extreme way of life He decided to practice a middle way; a life between the two extremes The extremes had not brought him any closer to the answers He had experienced life in the palace, indulgence and life as an ascetic and neither had worked He decided that the only way to live was to live a balanced life between the two extremes

The Enlightenment

Siddhartha decided that meditation was the only way to uncover the truth While meditating under a bodi tree he was tempted by Mara Mara is the demon which represents sensual desire and death, he corrupts the mind Mara used fear to distract Siddhartha and then he used his daughters to seduce him Nothing worked, Mara failed and fled Siddhartha experienced unimaginable joy and an awakening known as the enlightenment