Thursday, June 04, 2009

Buddhism in India

An amazing fable often heard… of a wealthy prince, who leaves all the luxuries of life in search of the ultimate truth; he returns as an enlightened one and his preaching becomes one of the most widespread religions of the world. One of the many religions that evolved in India, Buddhism is supposed to be one of the most modern and widespread religions of the world. It spread instantly mainly because of its core aspect based on principals of truth and equality. An evolution of man from a normal human to an elevated soul leading the path to salvation is the primary guideline of Buddhism. The doctrine that was preached by Lord Buddha was not meant to be a religion but a path to lead the life.

On the night his son was born, the future King of Kapilavastu, Prince Siddhartha, left the house in the darkness of midnight, in search of the ultimate truth; a truth to overcome sorrow and grief in human life. The path to this truth, he never knew, neither had he known whether he would succeed. But six years later after going through severe penances and austerity and later discarding even these for meditation the Prince realized the truth. From this point of enlightenment he was proclaimed as the Tathagata; the one who knows the truth and as Buddha; the one who is awakened or enlightened. Buddha preached the four noble truths and the eight fold path to salvation and attaining nirvana. Buddha says man normally lives in extreme conditions. He either leads a life full of luxury and lust or becomes an ascetic torturing his body trying to reach to the ultimate truth. An ascetic also lusts for truth and a common man lusts for luxury, both ways they remain unsatisfied which forces them to come back on earth to search the unfound. So it is wise to walk on the middle path. This middle path is the eight fold path that can lead one to peace, insight wisdom and ultimately, Nirvana. The eight fold path comprises of: Right Views, Right Resolves, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Recollection and Right Meditation.

The four Noble truths the Lord spoke about were:

  • Noble Truth of Sorrow:
    It means all five components of individuality are sorrow.

  • Noble Truth of the Arising of Sorrow:
    Sorrow arises from desire of more which compels a person for rebirth.

  • Noble Truth of Stopping the Sorrow:
    Emancipation from this desire is the only way to stop sorrow.

  • Noble Truth of the Way leading to Stopping of Sorrow:
    The middle way of the eight fold path is the only one to stop the sorrow.
    The core of the words of the lord meant that sorrow or grief is inherent in ordinary life and the reason for this is craving for individual satisfaction. The grief can be overcome by checking the craving and yearning for more. This is possible only if one takes the middle course between self indulgence and severe austerity; leading a moral and a disciplined life. And all the composite things in the world have to decay, so death is matter of fact and one should mourn this fact.

The life story of Buddha gave an inspiration to young and old and many more fascinating stories were attached to it. These mythological stories and some real life stories form the part of the Buddhist art that is carved and painted throughout the world. Although the impact of Buddhism has weakened in India, these artistic forms of Buddhism never cease to fascinate the people world wide. These sites which are many in the country form a special pilgrimage to the Buddhists world wide. The four main Buddhists sites are: 1) The birthplace of Lord Buddha, Lumbini, today in Nepal; 2) The place of his enlightenment, Bodhgaya; 3) Saranath near Varanasi is the also important as the place of the Lord’s first sermon and 4) The place where Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, Kushinagar. But there are many others which are visited as most revered Buddhists sites.

It is said that the Lord was born, attained enlightenment and attained Mahaparinirvana, on the same day, which is celebrated on the Full moon day falling in the month of May, as Buddha Purnima. There are many Buddhist sites which celebrate thie reverred day. Come to India and visit those places and try to attain the wisdom, The Lord Buddha once preached.

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