About Buddha - the founder of Buddhism
Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism in this world, was born
as a prince in 624 BC in a place called Lumbini, which was originally
in northern India but is now part of Nepal.
'Shakya' is the name of the royal family into which he was born, and
'Muni' means 'Able One'. His parents gave him the name Siddhartha
and there were many auspicious predictions about his future.
In his early years he lived as a prince in the royal palace but when
he was 29 years old he retired to the forest where he followed a life
of meditation. After six years he attained enlightenment under the
Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India.
Buddha, the founder of Buddhism
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He was subsequently requested to teach others the path to enlightenment.
As Geshe Kelsang says in Introduction to Buddhism:
"As a result of this request, Buddha rose from meditation and
taught the first Wheel of Dharma. These teachings which include the
Sutra of the Four Noble Truths and other discourses, are the principal
source of the Hinayana, or Lesser Vehicle, of Buddhism.
In all, Buddha Shakyamuni gave eighty-four thousand teachings. revealing
many profound methods of spiritual training, all of which are practical
ways to purify and control our mind. If we put these methods into
practice we shall definitely gain a special experience of mental peace.
By continuing to improve this experience, deluded states of mind will
gradually diminish and our inner peace will grow.
Later, Buddha taught the second and third Wheels of Dharma, which
include the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and the Sutra Discriminating
the Intention respectively. These teachings are the source of the
Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, of Buddhism.
In the Hinayana teachings Buddha explains how to attain liberation
from suffering for oneself alone, and in the Mahayana teachings he
explains how to attain full enlightenment, or Buddhahood, for the
sake of others.
Both traditions flourished in Asia, at first in India and then gradually
in other surrounding countries, including Tibet. Now they are also
beginning to flourish in the West."
Introduction to Buddhism
by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Eventually, by abandoning delusions altogether we shall attain the
permanent inner peace of nirvana, just like Buddha himself. Having
overcome our own delusions, such as anger, attachment, and ignorance,
and developed profound spiritual realizations of universal love, compassion,
concentration, and wisdom, our ability to help others will be far
In this way we can help others solve their problems not just for a
few days or a few years, but forever. We can help them find an inner
peace and joy that nothing, not even death, can destroy. This unchanging
inner peace is the final goal of the Buddhist path.
Further information about Buddha, the founder of Buddhism,
see Geshe Kelsang's books, Introduction
to Buddhism and (from tharpa.co.uk) Joyful
Path of Good Fortune.
If you would like to attend meditation classes near you and learn about Buddhism, visit the main website for Kadampa Buddhism which has details of Buddhist Centres around the world.
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