Life of the Buddha – The Light of Asia

The Buddha brought the world a philosophy in which to navigate the world of suffering.  Here is a brief account into the life he led and the experiences that showed him the middle way to the cessation of suffering and samasara.

Birth

Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, the “Awakened,” was the son of Suddhodana, ruler of the Sakhyas, a region lying to the northeast of Oude, in northern India and now this place is inside the border of the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. It is believed that Queen Maya, wife of the King Suddhodana, had a dream that a shiny light appeared in the sky, gradually approached her, and melted into her body. The queen filled with joy described the dream to her husband and both of them met a wise man to know the meaning of the dream. The wise man’s words made the king very happy as the man explained that the king is going to have an heir to the throne. The prophecy came true and the queen gave birth to a beautiful son in the Lumbini gardens. All the people experienced great happiness and peace of mind. The joyous parents named the cute little Prince “Siddhartha”, which means “the one who has brought about all good.”

The words of hermit Asita

Asita was a Holy teacher and he came to visit the newborn. He saw many good signs in the child and told the king that if the child chooses to stay with the king, then he will be one of the greatest rulers in the history, who will rein a large kingdom and keep the people happy. However, if the child chooses to leave the palace, seeking a way to end all suffering of humanity, then he will attain the greatest knowledge and will become the greatest spiritual leader ever.

Childhood

The queen Maya could not stay long with Siddhartha and she asked her sister to take care of the little prince. The Prince grew up to be a handsome and kindhearted young man. He always loved to remain alone in the garden, when other children of his age group were busy with harsh games. He spent his childhood in Kapilavastu and its vicinity, and was very passionate to all the living beings; even the wild animals were friendly with him. Many instances that took place during his childhood describe the passion, love, and kindheartedness of the prince. The prince was very bright and intelligent in studies, but never liked to learn how to rule a kingdom.

Marriage

The king was so happy to know about the intelligence of his son, while sad that the prince was very gentle. Therefore, he along with minister made a plan and found the perfect match for the Prince. Siddhartha was married to Princess Yasodhara at the age of sixteen.

Path of renunciation

Prince Siddhartha was happy with his wife and they were blessed with a son, named Rahula. At the age of twenty-nine, the prince wanted to know more about his people and world outside his palace gardens.  He managed to get out of the palace and roam in the streets, with his servant Channa. The sight of a decrepit old man, a sick man, and a corpse changed the life of the prince and turned him to the path of renunciation. These sights made him leave the palace, wealth, power, father, wife, and the his only child to find a way to renounce the world of miseries and sorrows.

Enlightenment

The prince reached Magadha, and met the saints Arada and Udraka and learned from them. He was not satisfied with their teachings and moved to Nairangana River, near the holy town of Gaya. He then began to practice yoga, severe austerities, and Pranayama for several years. He finally tried to attain supreme peace by practicing self-mortification. He sat below the sacred Pipal tree or fig tree at Bodhi Gaya, abstained from all temptations, his mind became calm and relaxed, and by midnight, he attained nirvana. He woke up very happily with a calm and peaceful smile, and his face shone with divine splendor and effulgence. He became the Buddha, meaning the Awakened One. He was also known as Sakhya-Muni.

His Teaching or Dharma

Buddha travelled to different villages and farms of Banaras and wanted to spread the knowledge to all people and relieve all from the sufferings of this worldly life. His teachings were so powerful that regardless of the conditions, caste, creed, or types of men and women, people began to listen to his teaching and found that self-realization is the only way to get supreme peace of mind and happiness. Buddha treated all people as one, without any discrimination for the rich or poor, simple or intelligent, of noble birth or low. His first teaching, known as “Turning the Wheel of the Dharma,” given to five monks, who pleaded for knowledge to Buddha in the Deer Park, at Sarnath around 527 BC. He also revealed the four noble truths of life. People were attracted to him and he used different ways of teaching, which included interesting stories that will appease the children.

King Bimbisara was a disciple of Buddha and always visited Vulture’s Peak, where Buddha and his disciples lived. Buddha returned to his kingdom and by his great teaching converted his father, wife, son, and all his dear ones to his disciples.

Final Journey

At the age of eighty, Buddha felt that it is time to return to the palace where he grew up.  He summoned his faithful Ananda, and started to Kapilavasthu. On the way, Buddha and his disciples passed through the village of Kushinagar. Buddha told Ananda that this is the place where he shall pass away.

Buddha, “the enlightened one,” traveled preaching the Dharma and was successful in saving many people from sacrificing the life of innocent animals, as a part of their religious customs. Buddha is the founder of Buddhism and his teaching are known to fill with excessive intellectualism and agnosticism. The great historian Edward Arnold referred the great legend Buddha as the “Light of Asia.”

25 Quotes from Lord Buddha

View all our Buddha Statues

View all our Buddha Statues

For the world, Buddha means “Awakened One” or “the enlightened one.”
He, through his teachings, tried to relieve people from the mental obstructions.
The teachings of this great man is known as The Four Noble Truths or the Noble Eight-fold Path and here are some of the quotes that will inspire you, make you think and reflect the deeper truth of reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspirational Buddha Quotes

1. The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.

2. All wrong doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong doing remain?

3. Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

4. Embrace nothing:

If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.

If you meet your father, kill your father.

Only live your life as it is,

Not bound to anything

5. In the end

These things matter most:

How well did you love?

How fully did you live?

How deeply did you let go?

6. Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

7. However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?

8. There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

9. All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

10. Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

11. Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

12. In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true

 

Calming Buddha Quotes

 

1. To understand everything is to forgive everything.

2. The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows

3. Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.

4. The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows

5. Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others

6. The following lines are taken from Dhammapada:

Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states. Mind is chief; mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox.

Mind is the forerunner of (all good) states. Mind is chief; mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with pure mind, AFFECTION follows one, even as one’s shadow that never leaves.

7. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

8. An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.

9. The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.

10. To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.

11. To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

12. When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.

13. Every human being is the author of his own health or disease

The Third Eye in Hinduism & Buddhism

 

As the traditions change, the meaning of the third eye also changes. Here, are some of the common old and new concepts about the third eye in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Lord Shiva’s third eye

Lord Shiva, the destroyer and the restorer, is one of the most complex Hindu gods. The various symbols surrounding Him details about the qualities and powers of the deity. The Lord is also known as Tryambaka Deva, as He is often depicted as having three eyes. The devotees consider His right eye as the Sun and the left eye as Moon. The third eye is the eye of spiritual wisdom and knowledge. It is believed that He uses the third eye to see beyond the apparent and protect the good ones from the evildoers. All the evil and the ignorance vanish as the third eye opens.
Hindus believe that the physical world will be destroyed if Shiva opens His third eye.

Buddhism and third eye

In Buddhism, the third eye refers to Eye of Consciousness, which asks followers to see the world beyond their physical eyes. It advises people to see the world with their mind.

Modern concepts about third eye in Hinduism and Buddhism

As per the modern spirituality, the third eye is a symbol of enlightenment. It is often referred to as “gyananakashu”, (the eye of knowledge). In Indian and East Asian iconography, the third eye is the “Ajna chakra” or the sixth chakra. It is also known as brow chakra or brow center. The third eye, or “Eye of Wisdom”, or, in Buddhism, the urna, is denoted by a dot, or mark on the forehead in the deities of Shiva or Buddha.

In certain Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, the third eye is the gate that leads the followers within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. In the new concept, the third eye symbolizes a state of enlightenment.

 

 

Meaning of the Swastika in Buddhism and Hinduism

The word “swastika” is derived from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” (“good” or “auspicious”) united with “asti” (“it is”), along with the diminutive suffix “ka.” The swastika literally means, “It is good” or”all is well”. The swastika is a cross with four arms of equal length, with the ends of each arm bent at a right angle. It is found worldwide in the art of the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Celts, Native Americans, and Persians. It is also related with Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and is used in the flag of the Nazi Party. People use swastika as a charm to bring good fortune.

Meaning of swastika in Hinduism

It is believed that the word appeared for the first time Harivamsha Puranaand is noted to be absent in the Vedic Sanskrit. The word is found to be used, both in Ramayana and Mahabharata, but with a different meaning. Hindus consider the swastika as a symbol of auspiciousness, prosperity, and good fortune and use it to mark the opening pages of account books, pooja, doors, offerings, and thresholds. It is believed to have the power to ward off misfortune and negative forces from its surroundings.

The swastika is considered as Lord Ganesha, by some sects of Hindu people, and is worshiped to bring in good luck or fortune. Some people believe that the swastika’s cross represent God and creation. They consider the four bent arms stand for the four human aims (purushartha) – righteousness (dharma), wealth (artha), love (kama), and liberation, (moksha). It is a persuasive emblem of Sanatana Dharma (the eternal truth).  Swastika also represents the world wheel, where the eternal life keeps on changing from one point to another, around the fixed center, God.

In Hinduism, the right-hand (clockwise) swastika is a one of the 108 symbols of the sun and the god Vishnu, while the left-hand (counterclockwise) swastika represents night, Goddess Kali, and magic. It is also regarded as a symbol of the muladhara chakra, the center of consciousness at the base of the spine.

Meaning of swastika in Buddhism

Just like the Hindus, the Buddhist also used the swastika to mark the beginning of Buddhist texts as they consider it as a symbol of universal harmony, prosperity, plurality, good luck, abundance, dharma, fertility, long life, and eternity. In different parts of the world, the swastika is given a different meaning by the Buddhist. For instance, In Tibet, the swastika was a graphical representation of eternity. There are 65 auspicious symbols on the footprint of the Buddha and the swastika is considered as the first one. You can also find the swastika symbol imprinted on the body, palms, chest, or feet of Buddha. It is used to mark the beginning of sacred texts or as a clothing decoration. The Buddhist in India, consider swastika as “The Seal on Buddha’s Heart.”

From ancient time, Swastika is considered as noble, which is prominent in most cultures throughout history. It is also the most liked symbol of Aryans.

The Life of a Buddhist Monk

Buddhist monk statue holding alms bowl

Click to view the Buddhist monk statue holding alms bowl

In the Far East, it is considered a high honor for one to leave their family in order to delve deeper in ones Buddhist practice.  This may seem strange to westerners to think of valuing ones children to leave home in order to become a practicing monk.  But in Asia, delving one’s life completely into Buddhist practices is very highly regarded.  These monks or nuns devote their lives to their faith and helping others in their personal quests.  They live very simple and pure lives with others of similar values.  Within the monasteries, although they are there to serve and practice, they are not completely torn from their previous lives and families.  They are allowed to venture back in the case of illness or death of a family member.  Otherwise their lives are spent in simple meditation and practice.

Within a monastery, the typical life of a monk is one of devote prayer and meditation within the temple.  They have specific tasks allotted to them around the monetary so that they may collectively take part in upkeep and daily living.  Everyone works with kindness and respect for one another.  Some may teach outside the monastery in order to spread the Dharma to devotees.  They are very much devoted to not only personal development, but the development of others.  Monks need to conduct themselves in the up most regard, living with integrity and deep-rooted principles.

Most of the time monks have very few possessions.  A few simple robes and an offering bowl.  Most shave their heads in order to shed the desire for outward beauty focusing solely on their internal beauty.  Although they have an offering bowl, they rely on the contribution of others.  They do not beg for food by take what is given to them in humble graciousness.  The robes are typically simple and made of cotton with no adornments.

In every way the life of a monk is one of simple devotion and intrigue.  This is the way that the Buddha lived his on his path to enlightenment and the way he believes will produce the most uncluttered way to enlightenment.  With spirituality being of the up most calling, Buddhist across Asia strive to live a life of such simplicity.