Facts About Buddha

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Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born around 400 BCE. Historians, however, are still not sure about the exact date. He was the son of King of “Shakyas,” the king Suddhodana at Lumbini, which is now in Nepal. His birth name was Siddhartha, and his father wanted him to be a great ruler. Hence, he named his son “Siddhartha,” which means one who achieves his aim. He wished one day his son would be a great ruler and conquer the world. Buddha did conquer the world but not as ruler; he was a saint, a religious leader who tried to tell the entire world that happiness is not about material achievements.

Fact 1:  When the child Siddhartha was born, a wise man predicted his future and told his father that he would one day become a great religious leader. He was not meant to be a king; but King Suddhodana wanted him to be one and, hence, was worried by the prediction. So he decided to keep his son away from all the sorrows in the world because it was believed then that a great amount of sorrow made a man lose interest in material life and become a saint.  All his childhood, Siddhartha was kept in luxurious palaces and pampered with all possible luxuries. His father assumed that his son would get used to the luxuries and never see anything that could cause him any sorrow.

Fact 2: Before the birth of Buddha, his mother, Princess Maya, saw a dream where a white elephant from heaven entered her womb. The white elephant indicated strength and purity. The dream meant that a child with a pure heart and thought and strong influential personality would be born to her.  She died seven days after his birth.

Fact 3: The young Siddhartha was curious and wanted to see the world outside his palace. Therefore, he went on four visits outside the palace. During his first visit, he saw an old man who made him realize that every living being has to get old someday. During his later three visits, he saw a sick man, a corpse, and a monk, which made him think that anyone someday could fall ill and one day die. No luxury in this world could keep a man always happy. A monk is the one who is not affected by any such physical problems and always has a peaceful mind. So he decided to be a monk who would not be affected by any problems of the world.

Fact 4: The word “Buddha” means the “Enlightened One.” This name was given to Siddhartha by his disciples. During the period of his enlightenment, he was called “Gautama,” which means one who dispels the darkness of unwise thoughts and practices with the light of true knowledge.

Fact 5: “Rahula” was the son of Buddha and his first wife Yashodhara, and he was later a disciple of his father. He had accepted this path at the age of seven years.

Fact 6:  Buddha died at the age of 80 years. From the age of 29 until his death, he devoted his life to  seeking knowledge and preaching it.

Fact 7: He began his meditation toward attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, which is found in Northern India. The place is now a Buddhist pilgrimage and is present at Bihar State. There is an 80-foot statue of Buddha in this place.

Fact 8: Maha Prajapati Gautami was the first female disciple of Buddha. She was one of the wives of Siddhartha’s father Suddhodana, and she was the one who took care of him as a child since his mother had died just seven days after his birth.

Fact 9: The tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment was a Peepal tree, which is called “The Bodhi Tree” and is considered a sacred tree by people belonging to Buddhism.

Fact 10: The “Mara” is the demon who tried to distract Buddha from his meditation.

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