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Buddha Jayanti being celebrated  on 4th May 2015

 

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Lord Buddha or Siddhartha Gautama

   Siddhartha Gautama (सिद्धार्थ गौतम)
   The Great Departure
   Enlightenment
   Sangha
   Parinirvana
   Basic Teachings of the Gautama Buddha
   The Noble Eightfold Path
   The Triple Jewel
   The Five Precepts
   Wheel of Life
   Buddhists Moncks and Nuns
   Buddha Purnima (Buddha Jayanti)
   Bodh Gaya
   Dharma Day
   Sangha Day
   Lotus Sutra
   Buddhist pilgrimage

Siddhartha Gautama (सिद्धार्थ गौतम)

     Lord Buddha

  Lord Buddha or Siddhartha Gautama (सिद्धार्थ गौतम)  was a spiritual teacher from ancient India and the founder of Buddhism. Buddhism is one of the major religions in the world. It began around 2,500 years ago in India when Siddhartha Gautama discovered how to bring happiness into the world. Buddha was born on the Full Moon day in the month of Vaisakh in 563 BC in Lumbini in Nepal  and raised in the small kingdom of Kapilavastu. His father was King Suddhodana the chief of the Shakya nation and Gautama was the family name. When his mother Queen Maya fell pregnant, she returned to her father's kingdom to give birth, but after leaving Kapilvastu, she gave birth along the way at Lumbini in a garden beneath a sal tree. Various sources hold that the Buddha's mother died at his birth, a few days or seven days later.



  His father, King Śuddhodana , wishing for Siddhartha to be a great king, shielded his son from religious teachings or knowledge of human suffering. Siddhartha was brought up by his mother's younger sister, Maha Pajapati. As the boy reached the age of 16, his father arranged his marriage to Yaśodharā. In time, she gave birth to a son, Rahula. Siddhartha spent 29 years as a Prince in Kapilavastu. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha was provided with everything he could want or need, Siddhartha felt that material wealth was not the ultimate goal of life

  The Great Departure

  At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace in order to see the outside world. In the way Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man. Disturbed by this, when told that all people would eventually grow old by his charioteer Channa, the prince went on further trips where he encountered, variously, a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. Deeply depressed by these sights, he sought to overcome old age, illness, and death by living the life of an ascetic. Siddhartha escaped his palace, accompanied by Channa aboard his horse Kanthaka, leaving behind this royal life to become a mendicant. This event is known as "The Great Departure".

  Siddhartha initially went to Rajagaha and began his ascetic life by begging for alms in the street. King Bimbisara, offered him the throne after hearing of Siddhartha's quest. Siddhartha rejected the offer, but promised to visit his kingdom of Magadha first, upon attaining enlightenment. Siddhartha left Rajagaha and practiced under two hermit teachers. After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama, Siddhartha became a student of Udaka Ramaputta, but  he was still not satisfied with his path, and moved on.

  Siddhartha and a group of five companions led by Kondanna  tried to find enlightenment through near total deprivation of worldly goods, including food, practicing self-mortification. After nearly starving himself to death by restricting his food intake to around a leaf or nut per day, he collapsed in a river while bathing and almost drowned. Siddhartha began to reconsider his path. As he laid there, he overheard the conversation  "If you tighten the string too tight it will snap, but if it is too loose it will not play." From this, he realised that he would have to take a "middle-way" to reach enlightenment and not by using extremes.

  After asceticism and concentrating on meditation and anapanasati, Siddhartha is said to have discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation away from the extremes of self- indulgence and self-mortification. He accepted a little milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata, Then, sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, he vowed never to arise until he had found the Truth. Kaundinya and the other four companions, believing that he had abandoned his search and become undisciplined, left.

   Enlightenment

  After 49 days meditating, at the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment. Gautama, from then on, was known as the Buddha or "Awakened One." He realized complete awakening and insight into the nature and cause of human suffering which was ignorance, along with steps necessary to eliminate it. These truths were then categorized into the Four Noble Truths; the state of supreme liberation —possible for any being—was called Nirvana. He then came to possess the Nine Characteristics, which are said to belong to every Buddha.

  After becoming enlightened, two merchants whom the Buddha met, named Tapussa and Bhallika became the first lay disciples. They are given some hairs from the Buddha's head, which are believed to now be enshrined in the Shwe Dagon Temple in Rangoon, Burma. The Buddha  journeyed to Deer Park near Benares, he set in motion the Wheel of Dharma by delivering his first sermon to the group of five companions with whom he had previously sought enlightenment. They, together with the Buddha, formed the first sangha, the company of Buddhist monks, and hence, the first formation of Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) was completed, with Kaundinya becoming the first stream-enterer. All five soon become arahants, and with the conversion of Yasa and fifty four of his friends, the number of arahants swelled to 60 within the first two months. The conversion of the three Kassapa brothers and their disciples swelled the sangha over 1000, and they were dispatched to explain the dharma to the populace.

  For the remaining 45 years of his life, the Buddha is said to have traveled in the Gangetic Plain, in what is now Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and southern Nepal, teaching his doctrine and discipline to an extremely diverse range of people— from nobles to outcaste street sweepers, mass murderers such as Angulimala and cannibals such as Alavaka. This extended to many adherents of rival philosophies and religions.

Sangha 

  The Buddha founded the community of Buddhist monks and nuns (the Sangha) to continue the dispensation after his Parinirvāna  or "complete Nirvāna", and made thousands of converts. His religion was open to all races and classes and had no caste structure. He was also subject to attack from opposition religious groups, including attempted murders and framings.

  The sangha traveled from place to place in India, expounding the dharma. During the visit, many members of the royal family joined the sangha. His cousins Ananda and Anuruddha were to become two of his five chief disciples. His son Rahula also joined the sangha at the age of seven, and was one of the ten chief disciples. His half-brother Nanda also joined the sangha and became an arahant. Another cousin Devadatta also became a monk although he later became an enemy and tried to kill the Buddha on multiple occasions. Of his disciples, Sariputta, Mahamoggallana, Mahakasyapa, Ananda and Anuruddha comprised the five chief disciples. His ten foremost disciples were completed by the quintet of Upali, Subhoti, Rahula, Mahakaccana and Punna.  When the Buddha reached the age of 55, he made Ananda his chief attendant.

  Parinirvana

  According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Pali canon, at the age of 80, the Buddha announced that he would soon enter Parinirvana or the final deathless state abandoning the earthly body. Buddha then asked all the attendant Bhikshus to clarify any doubts or questions they had. They had none. He then finally entered Parinirvana. The Buddha's final words were, "All composite things pass away. Strive for your own liberation with diligence." The Buddha's body was cremated and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present.

  Basic Teachings of the Gautama Buddha

  THE THREE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS:
 1. Nothing is lost in the universe:  The first truth is that nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents, our children are born of us.  
 2. Everything Changes:  The second universal truth of the Buddha is that everything is continuously changing. Life is like a river flowing on and on, ever-changing. Sometimes it flows slowly and sometimes swiftly. It is smooth and gentle in some places, but later on snags and rocks crop up out of nowhere. As soon as we think we are safe, something unexpected happens. 
 3. Law of Cause and Effect:  The third universal truth explained by the Buddha is that there is continuous changes due to the law of cause and effect. This is the same law of cause and effect found in modern science.  The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us.

  THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
 The Four Noble Truths are:
1. There is Suffering Suffering is common to all.
2. Cause of Suffering We are the cause of our suffering.
3. End of Suffering Stop doing what causes suffering.
4. Path to end Suffering Everyone can be enlightened.
 Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing
  Birth -  When we are born, we cry.
  Sickness -  When we are sick, we are miserable.
  Old age -  When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around.
  Death -  None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.
  Other things we suffer from are:  Being with those we dislike, Being apart from those we love, Not getting what we want, All kinds of problems and disappointments that are unavoidable. 

  The cause of suffering: The Buddha explained that people live in a sea of suffering because of ignorance and greed. They are ignorant of the law of karma and are greedy for the wrong kind of pleasures. They do things that are harmful to their bodies and peace of mind, so they can not be satisfied or enjoy life.

  The end of suffering : To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one's views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate goal in Buddhism.

  The path to the end of suffering: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way

  The Noble Eightfold Path

  When the Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park, he began the 'Turning of the Dharma Wheel'. He chose the beautiful symbol of the wheel with its eight spokes to represent the Noble Eightfold Path. The eight spokes on the wheel represent the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Just as every spoke is needed for the wheel to keep turning, we need to follow each step of the path.
1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha -- with wisdom and compassion.
2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.
3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.
4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave.
 5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."
6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others
7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.

   The Triple Jewel

  The Buddha knew it would be difficult for people to follow his teachings on their own, so he established the Three Refuges for them to rely on. If a person wants to become Buddhists take refuge in and rely on the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. These are known as the Triple Jewel.

  There is a special ceremony for taking refuge with the Triple Jewel. With a sincere mind, one recites the following verse in front of an ordained monk or nun.

    Lord Buddha

 The Lotus Sutra  has also been highly regarded in  Asian countries where Mahāyāna Buddhism has been traditionally practiced. Translations of this title into the languages of some of these countries include:

Sanskrit : सद्धर्मपुण्डरीकसूत्र (Saddharma Puudarīka Sūtra)
Chinese  : 妙法蓮華經 (miàofǎ liánhuá jīng).
Japanese :
妙法蓮華経 (myōhō-renge-kyō).
Korean  :
묘법연화경  (myobeop yeonhwa gyeong_ )  
Tibetan ...                              དམ་ཆོས་པད་མ་དཀར་པོའི་མདོ (dam chos pad-ma dkar po'i mdo)
Vietnamese  (Diệu pháp liên hoa kinh),

 Gautama Buddha’s teachings on old age
 Gautama Buddha’s teachings on old age, sickness and death — synopsized here — are a call for us to be compassionate to our suffering fellow human beings. Said Buddha:
1. Did you never see in the world a man or a woman, 80, 90 or 100 years old, frail and crooked, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, with broken teeth, wrinkled with blotched limbs?
And did you never think that you are also subject to decay?
2. Did you never see in the world a man or a woman, who being sick, afflicted and grievously ill, and wallowing in his or her own filth, who was lifted up and put to bed by others?
And did you never think that you also are subject to disease?
3. Did you never see in the world a corpse of a man or woman, two or three days after death, swollen up, blue, black in colour and full of corruption?
And did the thought never come to you that you also are subject to death, that you also cannot escape it?

बुद्धं शरणं गच्छामि।
धर्मं शरणं गच्छामि।
संघं शरणं गच्छामि।

I go to the Buddha for refuge.
I go to the Dharma for refuge. 
I go to the Sangha for refuge.

  The Five Precepts

 In Buddhism, the most important rules are the Five Precepts. These have been passed down from the Buddha himself. 1. No killing Respect for life.  2. No stealing Respect for others' property. 3. No sexual misconduct Respect for our pure nature. 4. No lying Respect for honesty. 5. No intoxicants Respect for a clear mind

 Wheel of Life

 Buddhists do not believe that death is the end of life. When one dies, one's consciousness leaves and enters one of the six paths of rebirth. These are:  Heavenly Beings, Humans, Asuras, Animals, Hungry ghosts and Hell-beings.

  Buddhists Moncks and Nuns

  Ideally, monks and nuns own only a few things, such as robes and an offering bowl and shave their heads. The shaven head is a reminder that the monks and nuns have renounced the home life and are a part of the Sangha.

   Buddha Purnima (Buddha Jayanti)

 Buddha was born on the Full Moon day in the month of Vaisakh in 563 BC. On the same date, Buddha achieved enlightenment and nirvana (salvation). So Buddha Jayanti also marks the death anniversary of Gautam Buddha (who died at the age of 80). For the Tibetans, it is the full moon day in the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar. In Sikkim, Buddha Purnima is called "Saga Dasa" and "Vaishakh Pooja" in the Thervada tradition. This year Buddha Jayanti being celebrated  on 4th May 2015   

  Buddhists offer prayers in their temples on this day. Prayers, sermons, recitation of Buddhist scriptures are the activities performed by the followers. Monks and devotees meditate and worship the statue of Gautam Buddha. Offerings of fruits,  flowers, candles are made to the Buddha statue.

 Along with the Buddha statue, even the Bodhi tree (pipal tree) is worshipped as Buddha achieved enlightenment at the age of thirty-six under a bodhi tree in Gaya.The branches of the trees are garlanded and decorated with coloured flags. Lamps are lit around the trees. Milk and scented waters are sprinkled on its roots. 

  Bodh Gaya

 Hundreds of Buddhists from across the world celebrates Buddha Purnima, the day Lord Buddha was born, at Bodh Gaya in Bihar  where he attained enlightenment.  

  Pilgrims from all over the world come to Bodh Gaya in India to participate in the Buddha Poornima celebrations that highlight prayer meets, sermons and religious discourses, recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions and worship of the statue of Buddha. On this day, Buddhists wear only white clothes and gather in praying halls to give alms to the monks. Many of them spend almost the whole Buddhism called Panchsheel.

  Dharma Day

  Asalha Puja, known as 'Dharma Day', is celebrated during full-moon in July. This holiday commemorates the first sermon of the Buddha to the five monks in the Deer Park at Benares.

  Sangha Day

  Sangha Day or Kathina Day is usually held in October. In the Theravada tradition, monks and nuns go on a three-month retreat during the rainy season. After the retreat, the laity offers robes and other necessities to them. This day symbolizes the close relationship between the Sangha and laity.

  Lotus Sutra

  The Lotus Sūtra is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sūtras  and the basis on which the Tiantai and Nichiren schools of Buddhism were established. The earliest known Sanskrit title for the sūtra is the Saddharma Pundarīka Sūtra  (सद्धर्मपुण्डरीकसूत्र ) , which translates to "Sūtra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma The Lotus Sūtra  has also been highly regarded in a number of Asian countries where Mahāyāna Buddhism has been traditionally practiced. 

 The Lotus Sutra presents itself as a discourse delivered by the Buddha toward the end of his life. The tradition in Mahayana states that the sutra was written down at the time of the Buddha and stored for five hundred years in a realm of nāgas . After this they were reintroduced into the human realm at the time of the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir. 

  The Lotus Sutra was originally translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Dharmaraka , aka Zhu Fahu, in 286 CE in Chang'an during the Western Jin Period (265-317CE). The ultimate teaching of the sutra is implied to the reader that "full Buddhahood " is only arrived at by exposure to the truths expressed implicitly in the Lotus Sutra via its many parables and references to a heretofore less clearly imagined cosmological order. Skillful means of most enlightened Buddhas is itself the highest teaching (the "Lotus Sutra" itself), in conjunction with the sutra's stated tenets that all other teachings are subservient to, propagated by and in the service of this highest truth, that there are not actually. Three Vehicles as previously taught, but only One Vehicle leading to Buddhahood.^[7] <#cite_note-6> The text also implies a parent-child relationship between Shakyamuni Buddha and living beings.

  Buddhist pilgrimage

 The four holy places of Buddhist pilgrimage related to the life of the Buddha are Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Kushinagar and Saranath.

  Lumbini: Lumbini is the brithplace of the Buddha and it's located in Kapilavastu, on the Indian-Nepalese border. The Asoka Pillar in Lumbini which was erected by Emperor Asoka in the Third Century B.C. marks the place where Prince Siddhartha was born. The Maya Devi Temple and the pond where Queen Mahamaya took her ritual dip prior to Prince Siddhartha's birth and also where the Prince had His first bath are located in Lumbini. The Maya Devi Temple and the pond where Queen Mahamaya took her ritual dip prior to Prince Siddhartha's birth and also where the Prince had His first bath are located in Lumbini. The famous Kapilavastu Palace is also situated in Lumbini.

  Both Gaya: Buddhagaya or Both Gaya in India is where Prince Siddhartha Gauthama became the Buddha, seated under the Bodhi Tree (Ficus religiosa). The Mahabodhi Temple and the Vajrasana (the Seat of Enlightenment) was founded by Emperor Asoka about 250 years after Buddha's Enlightenment. The Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura is a branch (or sapling) of the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha attained Enlightenment.

 Kushinagar: Gautama Buddha attained Parinibbana in a sal forest in Kushinara in Uttar Pradesh. Kushinara is also known as Kushinagar or Kushinga

India's tallest Buddha statue

India's tallest Buddha statue, towering at 125 ft, will be unveiled soon in this pilgrim centre in Guntur district. The cement concrete statue will be installed in such a way that it will be visible from both the national highways of Vijayawada-  Hyderabad and Howrah-Chennai.With Vijayawada -Guntur-Mangalagiri-Tenali Urban Development Authority (UDA) expressing its desire to complete the works, the prestigious project would soon become a reality. Till now, an amount of Rs 1.7 crore was spent.

UNESCO   commemorate Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi

The Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO and the Asia Pacific Group of Member States in association with the Director General and Secretariat of UNESCO   holding of an International Buddhist Symposium to commemorate the completion of 2600 years enlightenment of Lord Buddha. The scholarly symposium on “the Contributions of the Buddha’s Teachings to Universality, Humanism and Peace” will be chaired by the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and co-chaired by Indian Parliamentarian and scholar, Dr. Karan Singh was held on 20 May 2011.

 

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