BUDDHISM (B.C. 567 - 487 B.C.)

Buddha’s original name was Siddhartha; He lived about the same time as Mahavira. Siddhartha was born in 567 B.C in the Lumbini Garden near Kapilavastu in Nepal. His father was Suddhodana, He was a Sakya chief of Kapilavastu. His mother, Mayadevi, died when Siddhartha was only seven days old. He was brought up by his step mother Mahaprajapati Gauthami. Siddhartha was brought up in great luxury. He married Yasodhara. A son was born to them named Rahul.

One day when Buddha was out driving in his chariot, he saw four signs. They convinced him of the misery in the world. He saw an uncared old man, a sick man, a funeral procession and a begger. These sad experiences affected the mind of Siddhartha. One day, at the age of 29 he left his child and wife. He became a hermit. He became the disciple of Aradakalama. But he was not satisfied with his teachings. Then he sought instructions under Rudraka. He found that mere meditation would not lead to final liberation. After some time he sat cross legged in deep Buddha meditation under a pipal tree for 12 years near Gaya. One fine morning he attained Supreme Knowledge. From that moment he was called Buddha (enlightened one) or Sakya Muni (Sage of the Sakya Clan). Buddha spoke about his religion in public for the first time at a place called Saranath near Varanasi. He was very strong and could walk even 30 Km in a single day. He traveled to many places in North India. He died at the age of 80 in 487 B.C. at Kusinagara in Uttarpradesh.

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