I have started to tell about His holiness Buddha’s early life in my post: Lord Buddha :Early Life – Childhood I’m going to add tell little more in this one.
When Prince Siddhartha was only seven days old, his mother “Mahamaya devi” had passed away. Afterwards he had been raised by his mother’s younger sister “Prajapathi Gautami”, who also was already married to his father. In ancient India kings could have many wives. Prince Siddhanta’s father King Suddodana had also married the two daughters of a king of a nearby country. From a conversation, with his holiness Buddha and aged Prajapathi theri, It can be understood that even the prince has lost the warmth of his own mother, he had received so much love and warmth from every one else, specially from his aunt Prajapathi.
There is a story about a sowing feast, when the prince was an infant. First harvesting had been done as a festival attended by the king. Everyone in the palace had come to see this festival So prince was also brought and kept in a tent where festival can be seen. While he was asleep, nannies had gone out to have a close look. Meanwhile the prince had waken up and no one else were nearby.
The prince could have seen the buffaloes threshing, and men after them with sticks. Watching how the animals suffer with the weight of yoke and beatings with sticks had made him remember what he had learned and practiced in his previous lives. So he had seated and started meditating based on breath. When nannies came back to check on him they were shocked to see the young prince meditating and they had alarmed the king and the others.
It says that the king honored the little prince for the second time touching his feet, seeing that the prophecy could become true. Even it was a pleasure to see by a father, it had also increased his fear about his son becoming the savior of the sufferers, other than the great king he wished him to become one day.
What would we do if we have to go on an expedition. Most of us will find information about the journey first and arrange what we may need on the way, carefully They may be money, baggage, other necessities or a method to get them when we need credit cards, friends , hotels, etc). All these would be helpful to go on our trip comfortably. If any traveler starts after carefully arranging everything he may need on the way he would be more comfortable, fast and success oriented to carry out his task . So will be us as Buddhists on our way to liberation.
Earlier I have said that a Buddhist should have four assets. First of them which is ” having a noble friend “. that lead us to obtain information about our way to enlightenment.
But then get exact information to go fast, does not look like an easy task. It would have been easier if we were lucky to meet Lord Buddha alive. But we aren’t. We are here after 2550 years later . But still we are lucky enough to hear Lord Buddha’s teachings via generations of his students. So we can learn from, what is left at the present and try to figure our way.
As a kid I was crazy on reading adventures about treasure hunting. I think path to enlightenment also look like a finding a lost treasure hidden centuries ago. A treasure hunter may try various methods to get his information. He may check in libraries and analyze maps, related books, history, listen to locals and their tales, find guidance that could be trusted, etc. Finally he would decide on those he gathered and plan a strategy.
But then as Buddhists we don’t have much difficulties as a treasure hunter. We have the access to teachings of lord Buddha that were protected from the start by theravadists ( there may be many other resources in other branches, too). So there are guidance and could get a clear idea of what we have to do.
Then we are able to discover our path.
So let’s continue from my previous post . A Buddhist also should have a wealth or a fortune to continue his journey Then he is prepared for hindrances he might come across. The four assets I stated in that post would aid in our way. Let’s start with the first.
What is meant by the word? kalyana mitta is for ” spiritual friend, good friend, virtuous friend, noble friend or admirable friend ” and sevana is for ” acquaintance with “
So “Kalyana mitta sevana” means “acquaintance with a kalyana mitta or noble friend or…”.
Before we become friends with any one what we have to do is, recognize such a person. So I think, it’s better if we get to know about noble friend, before anything else.
Because of these, he becomes a noble fried to a Buddhist.
When you’ve found such a friend ( made acquaintance with a kalyana mitta ) you now have the first of the four assets, that is: “Kalyana mitta sevana”
Whatever they are, the final outcome of having a noble friend, will be that, we would be gifted with the chance to hear the teachings of lord Buddha.(i.e. Dhamma Savana the second of the four assets ) dropping us to the path, that ends sufferings.
In my last post: Basics: How to know your path I have said that ” to go along the path, you need to start analyzing using Dhamma. For that at least basics of Dhamma are needed “
His holiness Buddha has stated anyone wants to achieve enlightenment (nirvana) , should be equipped with four assets to start and continue. They are :
A real Buddhist is someone who is following the path to liberation.
If anyone want to go along any path they have to find about it, right?
Simple. Lord Buddha Has clearly described how to find your path in Dhamma, the second of the triple gems . On my post: “Buddhism and the difference from other paths“, I mentioned what His Holiness Buddha has said about Dhamma.
intellectuals should individually experience Dhamma
Why intellectuals? Does that mean, we have to assess our intellects, before starting to follow? NO : That would be just a waste of time. Because that, Dhamma has clearly instructed on how to become an intellectual. Of course that is why, we should have proper advise on Buddhism i.e. not to go astray. (Ah don’t worry! I will be posting, in near future, regarding “proper advice”. Until then…”How to know your path”).
there’s only three things you have to start with. Just Three, but Extremely Important! ( Kalama sutta )
This is the base to become an intellectual. If you don’t start your path with it you are stuck. ( they could always be used for thinking in generally , too)
What about part “should individually experience ” ? This happens when you do the third step above. Learning Dhamma accurately, is the next important key to find your path. But only knowledge wouldn’t do the miracle. To go along the path, you need to start analyzing using Dhamma. For that at least basics of Dhamma are needed . If not, you might end up using misconceptions (a wrong idea or impression.) for original Buddhist teachings, thinking that you are doing great, Who knows?
Everything you’ve learned should be based on your own intelligence. Never should take someone’ idea without analyzing.Also it would simply break above three steps. A person’s Knowledge of Dhamma is something that always will grow, if you keep on learning it. So scope of analyzing ability would eventually grow developing the scope of intellect.
Keep practicing Dhamma with what you’ve started and you will be always be on the right track of your expedition.
Wish You all the success with your expedition!
We can see a lot of religions in this world. But if we analyze Buddhism is not in the category of religions. It can be said as a Philosophy. It contains the path to enlightenment found By lord Buddha.
Buddhism Cannot also be called as a science. Sciences can be changed when new knowledge emerge. But Buddhism is knowledge that has been tested and proved by lord Buddha, the founder of it. Later so many people had followed the path and gained success.
It is true you can’t go back in history and check what others had done. History is also a part of any community. But You always can analyze and check Buddhism in real life.
Buddhism is a free path that anyone can always come and check, if it suits to their lives, understandings or they can leave. of cause they always can come back again if wanted or just leave for ever. No one forces to follow anything or anyone. Lord Buddha has never forced it on anyone.
(These are in the gata we use to honor Dhamma,
Svàkkhàto Bhagavatà Dhammo,
Sanditthiko akàliko ehi-passiko,
Opanayiko pacchattam veditabbo vinnuhi’ti.
So it is our own liking to practice Buddhism or not. Only thing it needs to follow is the need itself (to follow). I.e. desire to practice Buddhism. Practicing Buddhism Is not suppressing our feelings. It’s analyzing and understanding the reality (truth) of everything about us. One who follows the path would eventually reduce sufferings and finally put all in to an end.
As I discussed in my post “Why there are branches in Buddhism” Dhamma today is what has retained with the time.
Venerable Sangha is the community that protect Dhamma by dedication for future generations. We can learn it from Sangha or nowadays there are a lot of resources to be found if searched. i.e. books, ‘articles in media’ ( news papers, web etc.), Blogs, Audio and video recordings of Dhamma preachings, Buddhist broad castings, etc.
I hope to give available information on these resources I can find in a future post
From now on, this is the branch , all dhamma I can relate to you. That is because I am a Theravada Buddhist. All I know about Mahayana are the information I have read about it. You also can find them searching internet. That’s how I read about it most. (How you find something does not matter, if it is helpful to you)
When lord Buddha existed His holiness had prescribed some rules that sangha should follow.(These are called vinaya).These were for the long survival of Buddhism.
But some time after ‘ his holiness Buddha ‘ had passed away, senior arahat bhikkus noticed that some of the monks, who had not achieved any stages of enlightenment, had started to ignore these rules.
So elderly arahat sangha lead by “Maha kasapa thera” arranged a convocation with the support of the king Ajasath( an Indian king). This was after three months of his holiness Buddha’s parinirvana( death). Only enlightened bhikkus : arahats had participated in this convocation. These venerable arahat sangha discussed all dhamma they had heard from his holiness Buddha. They had categorized these teachings accordingly.
Decisions were made how to keep the knowledge available as long as possible. That was, senior bhikkus and their student generations, should take care of the section of dhamma they were entrusted with and learn it by heart. This kept collected Dhamma at that convocation.
Some Bhikkus at that time had not agreed with these decisions and had kept to their own ways. Followers of the decisions protected dhamma with them generation by generation. this group is called known as Theravada.
Theravada can be considered as more closely to what was taught by his holiness Buddha at about 550 BC. venerable Theravada sangha had remained to learn everything by heart as they have agreed. But in Sri Lanka when a rough time had arisen some centuries ago, venerable sangha in Sri Lanka had discussed and converted Tripitaka in to writings. These were written on some dried leaves from a native tree that was used for papers at that time with a native ink. I don’t know how it is in the other Buddhist countries, but it i o in Sri Lanka.
Note: This blog would be mainly on this branch.
A person understands or learns something within the scope of his knowledge. This could also be limited by that person’s intelligence. According to his scope of his abilities to understand, he may, see it as it is or misunderstand it or form a whole different perception. This new perception may (almost 99.99*) not hold the true meaning of the original fact.
If some person ‘x’ state a concept, the way he understands, contradictions from his audience could rise if it is controversial . It may divide the main group into one or more sub groups as to their acceptance of the view. If the members of the second remain to follow ‘x’ and consider ‘x’ as their leader (in that view), a sub branch may occur.
The real issue in this lie on the difference between the two understandings. So followers of latter are more likely to lose their way. It’s similar to if a person had got information differently, when he was directed to some destination.
i.e. a boy named ‘Peter’ wants to go to ‘Helen’s’ house. But he had not got the directions correctly.
Peter is more likely to never reach Helen’s house, if he never tried or had the opportunity to revise his directions from an accurate resource.Anyway it would be a sad story as he had been trying ( so he gets tired, could have had some fun somewhere else) in vain.
Any way that can happen to any of us. So wish you all the best of luck!
His holiness Buddha had lived for eighty years. Three months after Lord Buddha had passed away, all the teachings (Dhamma) that had been known/learned by sangha ( monks/bhikku ), were discussed and categorized into main 3 sections known collectively as ‘ Tripitaka ‘ and then into more subcategories.
Limited number of senior arahat bhikkus had participated in this convocation. Some of the other bhikkus had not accepted decisions made in it, as they had not thought, those were worthy. Some had stated that what they (themselves) had learned from lord Buddha were enough and no need to hear what others had learned.
Theravada is the branch that have accepted convocation. South Asian countries follow this.
Mahayana can be seen in East Asia.
Note: Why there are branches in a community : Discussion on ‘Discussions’ page
‘His holiness Buddha’ (I Prefer to use His holiness to lord) was an Indian prince named ‘Siddhartha’. His family name was ‘Goutama’. His father was the king of the area called ‘Kapilavastu’. This was located in ancient India, which is now in Nepal. As prince Siddhartha was the first son of king ‘Suddodana’, was the heir to the crown of his kingdom.
When the prince was born, king’s teacher had visited him. This teacher (named Asitha Kaladevala ) seeing prince siddhartha, he had stated a prophecy, that the prince will become a ‘sakviti’, the greatest king in the world or become a great teacher called Buddha if he ever went in search of liberation.
At that time in India , there had been a spiritual revolution. Lot of people had left family lives in search of liberation. many of aged men joined this after completing their duties to the families.There had been diverse methods practiced at that time. these types included, methods recommended to chase away sins and types of meditation used at that time. Later ‘His holiness Buddha’ had himself approved some of these meditations, as they help to gain concentration in mind. This type is called ‘samatha’).
This teacher of the king, also had been on meditation and had been a person who had achieved certain levels of progress. Later astrologers also had confirmed this prophecy.
So king had given a great consideration on it and had made his mind to take every possible step to prevent from, his son becoming bored being a layman. He had wished his son become the greatest king in the world. As a first step, he had built three palaces, suiting to three seasons in the area. These palaces had been very beautiful and comfortable according to the Buddhist history. I have heard from a venerable monk that these still can be seen in Nepal and he have visited these palaces.
Buddhism can be described as a Philosophy. It contains the teachings of ‘ his holiness Buddha’, who had lived about 2550 years ago (about 550BC). So Buddhism is old about that much years .
Lord Buddha, was an Indian prince (in ancient India, now in Nepal), who left everything to find a solution to quit sufferings of living, had achieved fully enlightenment (nirvana) without anyone’s help, Lord Buddha had traveled through India and surrounding areas and had taught many others, how to achieve enlightenment (nirvana) for 45 years.
people had gathered around ‘his holiness Buddha’ to follow his teachings. Some of these people had dedicated their lives to achieve liberation, turning into monks (shramana). This community is called ‘Sangha’ and is continued until today in many countries. They keep practicing dhamma for their own enlightenment and help others to achieve theirs, by teaching Buddhism.
Who are the first ones? There are people who have inherited Buddhism to be their religion. They could have inherited Buddhism, as their religion, from their ancestors . But it’s very rarely these people practice Buddhist teachings properly. Some of them may not even know the simplest idea of the teaching. The word ‘Buddhist ‘ seems to be only an identifying way to any one like this. Any of us can say, I am a Buddhist, but being it, totally depends on our selves. Some one can be called as a (real) Buddhist, when accepted Buddha, Dhamma and sangha to be their spiritual liberation (stop suffering).
However, practicing or not practicing would benefit the practiser mainly. so it’s no concern of mine. But I just want you to know if any of you are seeking knowledge, I will be more than glad to help. Of course that would be within my scope of knowledge. So anyone is welcome here!.