Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Avataar
[This information is based on "The Life of Buddha", by Patricia M. Herbert, 1993.]
See also Buddha A story about Buddha
9th Avataar in 10 Main Avataar, and 23rd Avataar in 24 Avataar
Buddha Jee lived and preached in India more than 2,500 years ago. His birth account reads as follows - he was born under a Shaal tree, in Lumbinee Forest, near Kapilvastu, situated on Rohinee River, in southern Nepal, on Vasant Poornimaa, in 623 BC.
Although his exact dates are a subject of scholarly debate, but many Buddhist countries marks the date of Buddha's death as 544/543 BC and thus beginning of the Buddhist period. He is also known as Shaakya Muni (Rishi of Shaakya people), Gotam in Paalee language, and Gautam in Sanskrit language. His followers used to call him Bhagavaan but he referred to himself as Tathaagat (means "thus come" or "thus gone"). He was the son of a chief of Shaakya, the King Shuddhodan and the Queen Mahaamaayaa, a small tribe in the foothills of Himaalaya in Kapilavastu which is now in southern Nepal. His father named him as Siddhaarth (it means "aim accomplished" in Sanskrit language).
When the Queen as pregnant she expressed her desire to visit her relatives in Devadaha country. King permitted her to visit them so she was sent in a golden palanquin with many attendants, but she delivered the baby on the way. The infant stood on the ground, walked seven paces to the north and spoke - "I am the most exalted and excellent." On the same day a holy man named Kaaldeval who knew about both forty previous and future worlds came to see the child. The child raised his both feet and placed them on his head. The man smiled because he knew that the child was Buddha, and then wept because he will not live to witness that event. After one month, the King went out to perform the royal plowing ceremony. The child was placed under the shade of a rose-apple tree. He entered the state of meditation for the first time. During that time the shadow of the tree did not change or move. On hearing this wonder his father paid respect to him. As he grew, his royal tutor, Vishwaamitra, found that he was beyond his instructions.
His father had built him three palaces, one for each season - summer, winter and rainy season. He started growing up in great luxury shielded from harsh realities of life. When he was 16 years old he demonstrated good skills in archery. At the same age he married princess Yashodharaa who was the daughter of king's brother-in-law Suppabuddh. Incidentally she was also born on the same day as the prince. (Read the account of his marriage)
One day while he went out to his royal gardens, he encountered four incidents - he saw an old man, a sick man, a corpse and a monk. Thus he learned about the old age, disease, and death; and his mind became agitated. He came to his gardens, sat down on a stone and felt a desire to put on his royal ornaments. At the same time a messenger informed about the birth of his son. When he returned to his palace in the evening, the Princess Kisagotamee expressed her joy at such occasion; but he thought that there can never be joy in the life until the fires of attachment, hatred and delusion are extinguished. Resolving to seek the path of Nirvaan, he took off his pearl necklace from his neck and gave it to the Princess. The whole palace was celebrating the birth of the Prince but his mind was busy somewhere else, he fell asleep. When he awoke he found the whole palace asleep, so he cast a last look at his young wife and the newborn child, called the nobleman Channaa, mounted his white horse Kantak and rode out of the palace with Channaa.
Buddha As a Seeker of Truth
He stayed in a mango grove Anupiya, and proceeded to the city of Raajgriha in the kingdom of Magadh, some 30 Yojan away from the mango grove, and entered with the alms bowl in his hand. People got excited to see such a man, gave him some food and informed their king Bimbisaar about this strange man. Siddhaarth moved to Pandhav Hill and ate his food with great difficulty. People were watching him so Bimbisaar came to him and requested him to visit his country first after he becomes Buddha. Siddhaarth agreed to this. For the next six years he practiced many religious activities, including extreme fasting, with five ascetics as his attendants. But such practices were not the path for enlightenment.
There lived a daughter of a rich man named Sujaataa in Senaanee named village. Once she prayed for a son under a banyan tree and her prayer was fulfilled, so she took some rice Kheer to offer the tree god. As gods were watching, they infused it with heavenly flavors. She took it to the tree where Siddhaarth was sitting, he took that bowl from her hand. He divided it in 49 parts and ate them on the banks of Nairanjar River. Then he floated the golden bowl in the river and said - "If I am truly to become Buddha this bowl should float upstream." and it did.
Then it sank to the abode of serpent king where it fell where three other bowls of previous Buddha were lying and awakened the King. He blessed Siddhaarth. While Siddhaarth was coming back to Bodhi tree in the evening, he met a grass cutter named Sotthiyaa who gave him eight handful of grass that he scattered on the ground by the east side of the tree. There appeared a throne fourteen cubits (about seven yards) high. Indra, Brahmaa, and other Devtaa worshipped him with conch shell, white umbrella, yak's tail (Chamar), circular fans and harp music.
Siddhaarth sat upon that Aparaajitaa throne. Maar (the Spirit of Evil) came there mounted on an elephant Giri Mekhalaa to wage a war upon him using nine kinds of weapons, but Siddhaarth defeated him by his accumulated virtues. During the first watch of the night he obtained the power to see his all former lives; at midnight he obtained the Divine vision possessed by perfect ones; and during the third watch he realized the four Truths. Thus being blessed with Ten Strengths and the Four Points of confidence and other qualities he attained Enlightenment at dawn and became Buddha with no comparison to anybody in three worlds.
When this great wonder took place, ten thousand worlds were shaken twelve times and echoed with "Most Excellent Being" words. Then all Devtaa came to pray him from whom light radiated in multi-colored streams. Buddha's mind remained deeply engaged in meditation for 49 days as he meditated at seven different places. Throughout this period he took no food, nor he felt any want and his appearance remained unchanged. For the next seven days he remained seated on his Aparaajit throne. Then for the next seven days he gazed on that Bodhi tree without blinking, from a distance. For a further seven days he walked to and fro along a golden walkway built by Devtaa between the throne and a spot called A-Nimesh (unblinking) from where he gazed at the tree. And for the next seven days he wrote seven books of Abhi-dharm in Ratan Ghar (a beautiful jewel house).
Then he sat in meditation under the Ajpaal banyan tree where first came Maar's three daughters to seduce him, and then came a Braahman, named Huhunk, who questioned him on the nature of true Braahman. For the next seven days he went to a tree near the lake Mucalind. During this period it rained heavily and the serpent king Mucalind sheltered him by winding his coil seven times around the Buddha and shading Buddha's head with his head. Then he seated under the Raajaayatan tree which was in the south of the Bodhi tree.
At the end of this time Indra offered him a fruit of Myrobalan tree, a tooth-stick from a stem of betel creeper and water from the lake Anotatt (one of the seven great lakes in Budhist's cosmology) for his refreshment. Then the four Devtaa of directions presented him four bowls which Buddha changed to be one bowl with four rims. There were rice cakes cooked in honey in this bowl prepared by the two merchant brothers - Tapuss and Bhallik, from a distant city of Ukkalaa in Ramannaa.
Now he returned to his Ajapaal banyan tree and thought as to where he should preach his teachings (Dhamma or Dharm)?
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/24/13