Enlightenment (Buddhism)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Buddhism

Dharma Wheel.svg

Basic terms

People

Gautama Buddha
Dalai Lama
Bodhisattva
Sangha

Schools

Theravada
Mahayana
Zen
Vajrayana
Nyingma Kagyu Sakya Gelug

Practices

study Dharma
Meditation
Metta

In Buddhism, enlightenment is when a Buddhist discovers the truth about life and ceases to be reborn. Bodhi means Enlightenment. You can become Enlightened by following the Middle Way.

Method[change | change source]

Buddhists generally achieve this using meditation (or deep thought), whilst deeply concentrating and "clearing" their minds.

Experiences[change | change source]

Siddhartha Gautama was a very rich prince and the son of a powerful king. His father went to a fortune teller who predicted that Siddhartha would either become a king like his father or a religious leader. His father wanted him to become a king so he lavished him with luxuries and did not allow him to see any kind of suffering. Gradually Siddhartha became more and more frustrated. He married a beautiful woman and had a son who he named Rahula meaning chains. Siddhartha left the palace in a guilded carriage on the day his son was born, and went to seek the Shramana teachers for guidance. On the first day, he saw an old man. On the second day, he saw a sick woman. On the third day, he saw a funeral and it was his first experience of death. Finally, on the fourth day he saw a sadhu (holy man). This man had given up everything but Siddhartha realized that he was still more satisfied than himself, despite Siddhartha having so many luxuries. These were the four sights. He decided to leave the palace and never return.

He walked through the forest until he came across a group of ascetics. He thought this was the way to becoming enlightened. For six years he and his followers survived on one grain of rice a day and some mud for the river bank. One day a boat came down the river with a musician and his students on it. He overheard the musician saying "If the string is too tight, it will snap. If it is too loose, it will not play." Siddhartha then knew what he wanted. Starving to death wasn't the answer, and neither was owning a palace. He wanted to find a middle way, or the perfect balance. When he took a bowl of rice from the village girl, he knew that he did not find enlightenment in starvation. His students left him because he had broken his vow of being an ascetic.

His birth was said to be miracle. His mother, the queen, was walking through the woods and two trees bent down for her to hold onto. The birth was quick and painless.

The Buddha touched His goal of enlightenment after meditating for forty days under his bodhi tree. This idea came to him after the ascetic ways of the Shramana teachers had failed to work for him and he remembered sitting under a tree as a child. During this time he learned of his past lives and saw the past lives of other people. Siddhartha Gautama became enlightened at the age of 35 and was called the Buddha (the enlightened one).

During his enlightenment he pointed towards the earth as a witness of his enlightenment, he was offered to be free from nirvana but his decision was to stay on earth and teach others about the path to enlightenment. He taught his first sermon in the deer park at Sarnath. After his teachings, he died at 80 years of age, leaving behind a legacy a vast majority of the population follow today.