Biography of The Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Part 1

About the famous religious figure Siddhartha Guatama, history and biography of the Buddha.

MESSIAHS AND PROPHETS

SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA (BUDDHA) (c. 563-483 B.C.)

Siddhartha Gautama was born about 563 B.C. in what is now Lumbini, Nepal. Myth and legend surround the few known facts of his life.

Tradition has it that he was the high-born son of a king of the Sakya clan, and that his mother dreamed that a magnificent white elephant entered her body at the moment of conception. Palace holy men interpreted the dream to mean that the queen would bear a son who would become either a mighty king or a great spiritual leader.

Fearing that his heir might choose the latter vocation, Siddhartha's father went out of his way to impress the boy with the benefits of kingship. The young prince was raised in his own palace, surrounded by every earthly pleasure and well cloistered from the harsh realities of life.

Then, at 29, Prince Siddhartha visited a city and saw, in rapid succession, a man bent with age, another crippled by disease, and the corpse of a third being carried to a funeral pyre. His chariot driver explained that old age, disease, and death come to all men. Siddhartha also saw a humble yellow-robed monk bearing a look of peace that seemed to transcend the squalor about him.

Back at the palace, it occurred to the young prince that life itself must be the root cause of the unhappy cycle of pain, infirmity, and death. This was the beginning of his enlightenment. To learn more, he decided to leave behind his family and life of ease.

That night he gazed for a final moment upon his sleeping wife and young son, then fled the palace without a backward glance. He gave away his royal clothes, shaved his head, and put on a beggar's rags. For the next six years Siddhartha lived among the Hindu yogis and engaged in systematic self-torture, starvation, and humiliation. But it only gave him a certain pride in self-denial that blinded his spiritual insight.

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