MEANING OF "BUDDHA"
The story of this great sage, the Buddha Gautama, has been told thousands of times and it is known in the whole planet. Neither a Master like him nor his teachings can be hidden.
Well, if Buddha is a title then…
WHO WAS SIDDHARTA GAUTAMA?
Some scholars believe he was born in Nepal, others in India. He was the son of king Suddhodana and Queen Maha Maya. A sage called Asita appeared when the king introduced Siddhartha to his people. Asita saw on the prince’s feet a symbol and he kneeled and paid homage to the infant; the king did the same. The sage said the infant was born to be a great teacher for humanity. Nevertheless, his father wanted him to be a king, but not a teacher.
Siddhartha got married to Yasodharā when he was 16. They had a son called Rāhula.
The king wanted Siddhartha to be happy to avoid the prophecy to become true. So, he hid sick, old and even dead people away from him. Suddhodana did not want his son to see any pain and he kept him without seen regular people doing their regular tasks.
One day, it is said, Siddhartha wanted to see the world outside of palace. The king made arrangements so he could see only happy people and nothing related to suffering. But he encountered old people, a sick person and the death of someone. He felt pain to be aware of the pain of others. The last thing he saw was an ascetic.
Amazingly, he had everything he wanted; but pain of others changed his life. He decided to become an ascetic to find real happiness and real freedom away from suffering.
He went to talk to his father. The king said he hid all pain and suffering away from him because of love. He added that his son was born that day. Siddhartha answered that neither his love for his wife nor his love for his newborn could remove the pain he was feeling for the suffering of others. So, he went to say good bye to his wife and child. Siddhartha found out that they were sleeping as everybody else. This is a symbol of people trapped in illusion (Maya).
REFLECTIONS ON BUDDHA: LIFE, LOVE AND COMPASSION.
It is said that he walked as soon as he was born. A lotus flower came out form his first seven steps. Then he spoke about his mission on Earth. This has to be symbolic and, I think, those steps are related to the seven chakras. In other words, he was born with the seven chakras ready for action. This is telling us that Siddhartha was not a regular human being, but someone really special. He did show how special he was because he was full of love and compassion. Remember he gave up all his fortune, his crown, his power, etc. just because other people, not him, were suffering.
I do not mean he was not able to make miracles. I just want to point out that his life is mixed with symbols. Why were there five ascetics the first disciples? Whoever knows about numbers will answer that question easily: Five is the number of the Law of Karma. In other words, the law helped him to develop his inner abilities; the law gave him the first disciples.
That inner interest was growing within the young prince; but just after the four encounters (Watching old age, a sick person, a dead one and the ascetic) he realized the need to find an answer to a very basic question in life: What is the cause of suffering?
It really takes courage to give up everything just to find a solution to the suffering of humanity. There are not many people able to give up things for others. He went from opulence to almost starvation. He had so much (Luxury, servants, palaces, etc.) and he left everything to go to the forest to live as a beggar. He reached a point where, thinking that controlling the body was the answer to overcome suffering, he was eating almost nothing and he was practically starving.
What kind of feeling can make a human being to go through all those penitence? What was he feeling to go through all those tortures? The amazing thing is that he was doing that for others; but not for himself. That feeling is not other thing than love. It was real love for others. That feeling comes just from a deep state of compassion. No wonder why his philosophy is based on LOVE AND COMPASSION.
A real master develops such a love for others that he is willing to give up even his own life if needed. It cannot be a master without love. Love is a force that moves masters to make huge sacrifices for others; even if the others do not appreciate the sacrifice. Love is giving, giving and giving. Real love does not ask for anything in return.
BUDDHA: SEARCHING FOR ENLIGHTENMENT.
It is said that when living the palace all guards and horses were sleeping. Only the elephants were awake. The elephant is a symbol of the soul. This is a representation that everybody was trapped in Maya, but not the great soul of Siddhartha.
Queen Maya, Siddhartha’s mother, had a dream before his baby was born. She dreamed about a white elephant entered in her belly. That elephant was Siddhartha’s soul.
Now he is going to the forest with no other power, but his huge love and compassion. It is said that a beggar asked him for help. Siddhartha gave him his royal clothing and he got the beggar’s clothing. A tree, says the tradition, bend over to vow this action.
He met five ascetics who became the first disciples. They saw how the huge cobra came to protecting from the rain. They were really surprised to see the huge serpent above Siddhartha’s head.
They spent several years trying to master their bodies in order to overcome suffering. Here Siddhartha went too far. He was not eating proper food and he was starving. His will was so powerful that he was not afraid of dying.
Everything has a reason to happen, even if we do not see the reason. Why I say that? A man was passing on a boat close to Siddhartha. That man was explaining his how a musical instrument works. He told him if the strings are too tight then they will break; but if they are too soft they will not play.
Those words were so simple, yet powerful. They went deep down into his conscience. Those were magical words that changed the way he was thinking and the way he was doing things. He understood he went from one extreme to another one: From opulence to starvation, from luxury to having anything.
The great soul of that man understood the need of balance. Neither one extreme nor the other one could ever solve the problem of suffering. He discovered a new way that he called: THE MIDDLE WAY.
He ate, that day after a long time, proper food that a girl from a village offered him. His five disciples were disappointed to learn what his guide was eating as an ordinary man. So, they left him. He explained them the need to change; but they did not want to listen.
Remember: He was doing all that to find the root of suffering. Now using the technique of meditation he learned to use his will power and the power of concentration to find within himself the solution to the initial question: Why do we suffer?
So he had to face: MARA!
BUDDHA, MARA AND THE DEMONS.
A person wants to satisfy his/her selfish desire at any cost. He/she does not care about the pain it might cause to others, not even to himself/herself. A selfish desire leads sooner or later to mistakes. The big problem is that nobody can go backward. Whatever is done is done.
The main focus on Buddhist Meditation is achieving enlightenment and facing Mara. Enlightenment is a requirement to defeat Mara. Meditation is the tool or technique to get both goals.
Buddha had to face his weakness and passions, his thoughts and emotions; but at the end hi conquered himself.
Deep into meditation, in a real calm state, he was able to observe all his wishes. Mara’s daughters came to tempting him, but his calmness overcame them. An army of demons came to shot thousands of arrows with fire ((Thoughts); but his calmness transformed the arrows into beautiful flowers.
Finally, Mara (The root of selfish desire) appeared in front of him. He told Buddha << You are my god. >> But the Awaken One replied: << Architect, you will never build your house here again, the earth is my witness. >>
That day Mara was defeated by a great soul. Siddhartha became a real Buddha beyond the mind and desire.
TEACHINGS AND QUOTES BY THE BUDDHA.
You do not need to be a Buddhist to study his teachings. You do not need to go to pray or make an altar. What we all need is to understand his teachings as well as the teachings of other great Masters.
Buddha emphasizes the idea of mental control or the idea of studying once mind. How can anyone understand life without understanding his own mind?
The idea of the law of attraction was taken from Buddha’s teachings. He stated the following sayings:
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”
Here is a great quote that modern new age has like a flag telling you to live the present:
“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Living the present is not a mental aptitude; but a new experience beyond the mind. That could not be understood by people who are trapped in the mind and its illusions.
Here they are more good quotes form Buddha:
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
“True love is born from understanding.”
“Purity or impurity depends on oneself. No one can purify another.”
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
“Doubt everything. Find your own light.”
“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another (being).”
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
Among the teaching of Buddha, as I said before, is the idea of the control of the mind. The reason is simple. For the Buddha the different processes of the mind cause suffering.
Another interesting idea is that we should accept only what we can experiment. I n other words, the simple act of believing was not enough. He insisted that his disciple should doubt his teachings and find the real truth.
One more interesting point is the idea that everything perishes. Nothing stays forever and everything is changing constantly.
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS:
These four Noble Truth can be explained deeply, but here I will just say something short about them.
1> Everybody suffers.
2> The cause of suffering is desire.
3> There is Nirvana or the end of desire.
4> There is the Eightfold Path.
Understanding that everybody suffers is very basic; but people seem to ignore that fact. People think of their own problems as the worst ones. People tend to focus too much on their problems, but they never ask themselves about the cause of them.
The Buddha deep down into meditation look for the cause of human suffering. He grabbed the answer from beyond the realm of the mind and feelings. He discover the root of suffering; DESIRE. Here desire should be understood as SELFISH DESIRE.
Selfishness is totally the opposite of sharing. A person full of selfishness is not able to do anything for others. He/she prefers his/her own satisfaction even when that means pain for others.
Then the Awaken One experimented Nirvana, which is usually called << Heavens >> in the Christian tradition. Nirvana is not a place, but a state of total happiness far from any selfish desire. That word is usually translated as liberation. Yes, it is the liberation of human and selfish desires.
The Buddha went even farther looking for the solution to put an end to that selfish desire. He came out with the Eightfold Path as a way to reach Nirvana.
DEATH OF THE BUDDHA GAUTAMA.
Once he paid some archers to shot arrows to Buddha; but after meeting him they became his disciples. Another day Devadatta wen to a hill to push a big rock to kill his cousin, but he failed again. Then he tried to make an elephant to kill Buddha, but he failed again. He tried to create conflicts in the sangha, but he never succeeded.
The Buddha said, at the age of 80, he would soon go to Parinirvana, a heavenly state of bliss. Then he ate poisoned food. He told Ananda to explain the cook that his food was not the cause of his death. Here we can find his huge love and compassion toward the cook; but we find how a Master prepares his disciples for his departure.
THE BUDDHA MAITREYA.
That great Buddha is supposed to bring love and compassion. He would teach the Dharma to humankind. The Sakyamuny Buddha told to his disciples that he would have hundred of disciples, but the Maitreya Buddha would have thousands.
The Buddhist people are waiting for the great BUDDHA MAITREYA!
GREAT MOVIES OF BUDDHA:
The Life of Buddha (BBC Documentary)
The Buddha (Cartoon)
"Little Buddha" is another good movie. There is not a full movie link for it. The story of Buddha is told to a young American boy. So the movie goes from the present to the past and so on; but it is a good movie.