Buddhism began with the Buddha. The birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha is celebrated as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti. It falls on a full moon day in the months of April or May (Vaisakh or Vesak) according to the Hindu calendar. This year Buddha Purnima will be celebrated on May 7.
The word ‘Buddha’ means ‘one who is awake’ or the enlightened one. The Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama into the royal family of a small kingdom on the Indo-Nepalese border. Although he had a privileged upbringing, he was jolted out of his sheltered life upon realising that life includes the harsh realities of old age, sickness, and death which then prompted him to think about the meaning of life. Eventually, he left his palace and all the comforts behind to seek answers to his questions.
It is said that Buddha had a vision soon after attaining Enlightenment where he saw the human race as a bed of lotus flowers. Some of these lotuses were still covered in mud, others were emerging from it, while the remainder were on the verge of blooming. In other words, everyone had the ability to unfold their potential to its fullest capacity. The teachings of Buddhism may be seen as attempts by the Buddha to fulfil this vision and to help people grow towards Enlightenment.
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Buddha gave his first discourse called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta or Turning the Wheel of Dhamma. The Wheel is the symbol of the Dharma (religion) and is represented with eight spokes, one for each of the paths in the Eightfold Path: They are: Right View; Right Thought; Right Speech; Right Action; Right Livelihood; Right Effort; Right Mindfulness; Right Concentration. The five ascetics to whom Buddha gave the first discourse became his first disciples and his teachings attracted many followers, who then joined the Sangha or the community of monks. Gautama Buddha thereafter visited his ailing father to preach the Dhamma. After hearing his teachings, the king attained arahatta (perfect sanctity) before passing away. This was followed by preaching the Abhidhamma or the Higher Doctrine to his former mother, who was reborn as a deva with other deities in the Tavatimsa heaven.
What does Buddhism teach?
The universe is the product of karma, the law of the cause and effect of actions, according to which virtuous actions create pleasure in the future and non-virtuous actions create pain. The beings of the universe are reborn without beginning in six realms: as gods, demigods, humans, animals, ghosts, and hell-beings. Their actions create not only their individual experiences but the domains in which they dwell. The cycle of rebirth, called samsara is regarded as a domain of suffering, and the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice is to escape from that suffering. The means of escape remains unknown until, over the course of millions of lifetimes, a person perfects himself, ultimately gaining the power to discover the path out of samsara and then compassionately revealing that path to the world. (Source: Brittanica.com)
Here are some of Buddha’s quotes that you can apply in your life to lead a happier, more content life:
* Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.
* Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance.
* It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults.
* Three things cannot hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.
* Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.
* Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except yourself.
* If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.
* As a mountain of rock is unshaken by wind, so also, the wise are unperturbed by blame or by praise.
* Better than a hundred years in the life of a person who is idle and inactive, is a day in the life of one who makes a zealous and strenuous effort.
* Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
* It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.
* You only lose what you cling to.
* The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live.
* The trouble is, you think you have time.
* Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.
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