when was Gautama Buddha born and died
The name of Mahatma Gautam Buddha is the most prominent among the masters of the atheist sect of the sixth century BC. The religion he promoted later became an international religion. If he is also evaluated on the basis of his post-mortem effects on the world, then he was the greatest person to have been born in India (A. L. Basham – The Wonder that was India p. 256).
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Buddhism was one such movement which caused a great blow to Brahmanism. The movement was founded by Gautam Buddha, a contemporary of Mahavira. The three pillars of Buddhism are the Buddha, its founder, the Dhamma, his teachings, and the Sangha, the organization of Buddhist monks and nuns.
when was gautama buddha born / Gautam Buddha – 563-483 BC
*Gautam Buddha was born in about 563 BCE in the Lumbini forest (modern Rumindei or Rumindeh) near Kapilvastu.
*His father’s name was Shuddhodana, who was the head of the Shakyagan of Kapilvastu.
*His mother’s name was Mayadevi who was a daughter of Koliya Republic.
Gautam Buddha’s childhood name
His childhood name was Siddhartha.
Siddhartha’s mother died a few days after his birth, he was brought up by his mother Prajapati Gautami.
Gautam Buddha was married at the young age of 16 to a girl named Yashodhara of Shakya clan.
Mahatma Buddha got a son, who was named Rahul.
Secretly he used to go out of the palace, Gautam first saw a shabby old man, second time he saw a sick person suffering and third time he saw a dead man being taken to the funeral.
At last Gautam Buddha saw a devout or ascetic who was completely self-paced and of sound mind. The personality of this soulful man greatly influenced Buddha.
Gautam Buddha left his home at the age of 29, leaving his wife and son sleeping. In Buddhist texts it is called ‘Mahabhinishkraman’.
Mahatma Buddha first did penance in the ashram of a monk named Alarkalam near Vaishali, but here also he did not find peace.
After this he reached Rudrakaramputta’s ashram, but he did not get peace.
Disappointed, he left for a place called Uruvela (Bodhgaya).
After six years of penance, at the age of 35, on the night of Vaishakh Purnima, he attained knowledge under a peepal tree. After this he became known as Buddha.
Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath.
The first sermon was given to five brahmins.
The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
1 Dukh (sorrow ) – There is only sorrow in the world. Life is full of sorrows and sufferings. Joy is the main cause of sorrows, we suffer at the end of pleasures.
2-Dukh Samudaya (sorrow ‘community’ ) – Everything has some reason or the other. So there is a reason for suffering because nothing can happen without a cause. Avidya (ignorance) is the main cause of suffering.
3-Dukh Nirodha (grief cessation)- The end of sufferings is impossible. Because every thing arises due to some reason, so if that cause is destroyed then the thing will also be destroyed. When the cause ceases, the work will cease to exist. Therefore, if the root cause of suffering, reaction is destroyed, then suffering will be destroyed. The cessation of sorrow is also called nirvana.
4- Dukh Nirodhagamini Pratipada (anti-sorrow )- The Eightfold Path is the remedy for the destruction of Avidya, the value of sorrows.
Ashtangik Marga or Madhya Pratipada (Madhya Marga)/ Eightfold Path / Middle Path
1- Right view- Right vision free from superstition and ignorance.
2-Samyak Sankalpa (right resolution) – To keep thoughts free from hatred and violence.
3-Samyak Speech (right speech) – Totally abandonment of unpleasant words.
4-Samyak Karmant (right action) – One should follow charity, kindness, truth, non-violence.
5-Samyak Aajiva (right living)- Life with virtue.
6-Samyak Vyayama (proper exercise)- One should continue to strive for moral, mental, and spiritual progress.
7- Samyak Smriti (Right memory-)- Right awareness, active and right action.
8- Samyak Samadhi (Right concentration)- Right concentration and serious reflection on the deepest mystery of life.
This path of Buddha is called the Middle Path (Madhyama Pratipada).
The Middle Path of Buddha is similar to Aristotle’s Golden Path.
Mahatma Buddha rejected the theory of soul but accepted the theory of reincarnation and karma.
The word Tathagata means ‘Truth is knowledge’ which is a famous name of Buddha.
Mahatma Buddha strongly opposed sacrificial rituals and evil practices like animal sacrifice.
Mahatma Buddha said that the difference between a human being is not on the basis of birth, but on the basis of virtue, intellect and action. So he refuted the claim of birth superiority of Brahmins.
Mahatma Buddha did not believe in any discrimination like caste, caste, untouchability, that is why he opened the doors of his union to all castes.
- The ruler of Magadha, Bimbisara, built a vihara named ‘Veluvan’ for the abode of Buddha.
Buddha spent the fifth rainy season in Vaishali. Amrapali, the famous city-bride of Vaishali, became his disciple and gave her Amravatika for the residence of the Bhikshu Sangha. It was at this place that the Buddha for the first time allowed women to enter his sangha and a union of nuns was established. The first woman to enter the Sangha was Prajapati Gautami, the step-mother of Buddha, who had reached there from Kapilvastu after the death of King Suddhodana.
Ananda was a dear disciple of Mahatma Buddha.
Udayana gave Vikalaram Vihara to the Bhikshu-Sangha.
Buddha resided twelfth in Mathura.
Mahatma Buddha did the most preaching skills in the state, where Buddha did 21 residences.
The Buddha left his body (mahaparirvana) in 483 BC at the age of 80.
After the funeral, his ashes were sent to 8 places and stupas were built on them.
Buddha gave his teachings in Prakrit, the language of the common man.
1-First- The first Buddhist council was held in the Saptaparni cave of Rajgriha immediately after the death of Mahatma Buddha. At this time the ruler of Magadha was Ajatashatru. Mahakashppa presided over this committee and Anand and Upali, the chief disciples of Buddha, were also present in it. In this the teachings of Buddha were compiled and divided into two pitakas named Sutta and Vinaya.
2-Second Council – The second Buddhist council was organized in Vaishali, about 100 years after the death of Buddha during the reign of Kala Ashoka.
3-Third Council- The third Buddhist council was convened at Pataliputra during the reign of Maurya ruler Ashoka, 236 years after the Mahaparinirvana of Mahatma Buddha. It was presided over by Moggaliputta Tisya and it was dominated by the Sthavira sect.
4-IV – The fourth sangeet was organized by the great king of the Kushan dynasty, Kanishka. This Mahasabha was organized in Kundal Van Vihar or Jalandhar (Punjab) in Kashmir. Acharya Basumitra presided over this sangeet. Renowned Buddhist scholar monk Asvaghosha was also present in it. In this association, Buddhism was divided into two sects, Hinayana and Mahayana.
Major texts of Buddhism
Vinay Pitaka –
It mentions the rules of conduct for Buddhist monks and nuns.
The Sutta Pitaka is a compilation of major discourses given by Lord Buddha on various occasions. The Sutta Pitaka is divided into 5 Nikayas 1- Dighghnikaya 2- Majjhim Nikaya 3- Aguntar Nikaya 4- Samyukta Nikaya and 5 Khuddak Nikayas. About 550 stories before the birth of Buddha have been compiled in the Jataka.
Abhidhambha Pitaka- This book contains philosophical explanation of Buddha’s teachings and spiritual thoughts.
Milindapanho- This is a Buddhist text written in Pali language, in which the questions and answers are compiled between the Indo-Greek king Minander or Milind and the Buddhist teacher Nagsen.
Buddhism was spread in China during the reign of Kushan ruler Kanishka, from where it spread to Korea and Japan and thus Buddhism developed as a great religion of the world.
During the reign of Kanishka, the first statue of Buddha was built in the Gandhara style, which was a great event in the history of Buddhist art.
According to Huen-Tsang, during the reign of Harsha, there were 10000 Buddhist viharas in which about 75000 monks and nuns resided.
In the 12th century, Qutbuddin Aibak’s general Ikhtiyaruddin Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji plundered the famous Buddhist monasteries at Nalanda, Vikramshila and Odantapuri, and most of the monks living in them were murdered.
Ashoka sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka to propagate Buddhism.
Famous Buddhist Scholars and Philosophers
1- Ashvaghosha- was a contemporary of Kanishka, he composed the Buddhacharita.
2- Nagarjuna- was a friend and contemporary of the Satavahana king Yagyasree Gautami Putra (166-196) of Andhra. He was the exponent of ‘nihilism’.
Asanga and Vasubandhu were famous Buddhist monks of Ithe and Punjab of century AD. Vasubandhu wrote the Abhidhammakosha.
4-Buddhaghosha – was a great scholar of Pali language.
5- Dharma Kirti- Another great Buddhist of the 8th century AD was Nayayak. He was a subtle philosophical thinker and linguistics scientist. Dr. Strachebatsky has described him as ‘Bharat Kant’.
Lumbini (in Nepal), Buddh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar saw the four major events of Buddha’s life i.e. birth, enlightenment, first sermon and Mahaparinirvana.