Who is the true Founder of Buddhism?
Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest religions. Its foundation stretches over 2,000 years into the distant past. The teachings of the religion are centered on the life and philosophies of Buddha Shakyamuni also known as Gautama Siddhartha Buddha. Therefore, the Buddha is seen as the true founder of Buddhism. But who was he? Here’s everything that you need to know about the main founder of the Buddhist religion.
Siddhartha Gautama came from a rich family background; he was born around 563 BCE in Lumbini, close to Nepal and India’s border. His parents were Śuddhodana (father) and Maya Devi (mother). Growing up, Gautama departed from luxurious living and dedicated himself to asceticism (extreme self-denial) and discipline. Buddha was a teacher, preacher, philosopher, monk, and above all a leader.
Spirituality was part of the Indian culture even before the Buddha came into the world. Born into a wealthy royal family, Gautama showed signs of intelligence and greatness. He was a tall, energetic and good-looking young prince. Due to his family’s royal status, Gautama was tipped to become a ruler over their kingdom. Belonging to the warriors class, the prediction was that Buddha would one day become a king or a religious leader. His parents pampered him with love and gifts including women. Gautama Buddha was a great sportsman and an archer; he won the heart of his wife Yasodhara through an archery competition.
At 29 years-old, Gautama encountered suffering. One day, he came across an ill person and got moved by compassion. The following day, he met a weak old man, and later on , a dead person. Realizing that life is short and full of misery, Gautama turned over a new leaf.
After seeing a man meditating, it became Gautama’s eureka; he had found his true passion, meditation.
After meditating for 49 days, Gautama’s spirituality reached a new level of greatness, far above that of the average person. He became the Buddha, which literally means “the enlightened one”. Around 528 BCE, the Buddha publicly announced his enlightenment; his message was well-received. He gained followers who would become Buddhist monks traveling throughout northern Indiana and preaching the Buddha’s teachings.
The Four Nobel Truths about Happiness
Gautama Siddhartha Buddha unlocked the secrets of happiness, and preached that happiness is priceless. Everyone’s happiness lies in their own hands. Summarizing his 4 Noble Truths which are nothing but guiding principles about life, Buddha taught that — life is full of afflictions; our desires bring us suffering; killing your desires means conquering suffering; living a simple, disciplined and humble life will therefore slowly stop desire, and automatically end suffering.
He also spoke about the Noble Eightfold Path: the right belief, resolve, speech, effort, occupation, mind, conduct, and meditation.
Death of Gautama Buddha
The Buddha lived an accomplished life, teaching others how to live happily. Around 400 BCE, the founder of Buddhism died of suspected food poisoning in Kushinagara, India. His last advice to his followers was that they should be their own light. Today, the Buddhist religion has about 350 million followers.
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